I bought the Bauer Vapor X40 skates at the beginning of the 2014-2015 season since I was sick of borrowing my friend’s skates for the last few years. I’m only just learning how to really skate and decided to invest in a pair of my own to really get going.
So, right off the bat, I knew I didn’t want to spend too much on a pair but also didn’t want something that was garbage. Since hockey is such a big sport in New England, theres no shortage of skates and hockey pro shops. The pricing spectrum ranges from $60 to $600, but the budget I decided on was $100-$140. I figured this would put me in a range that would get me a comfortable pair of skates, even if they wouldn’t be high performance.
Why The Bauer Vapor X40 Skate
What won me over was the styling, inner padding, and, obviously, fit.
So we’ll start with the most important, fit. Since I could get these skates cheaper on sale online, I tried them on a big sporting goods store, rather than a local pro shop. (Note: While I do promote supporting small shops, I don’t want to waste a local shop’s time). Luckily, this sports store, let’s call them Rick’s, had all 3 pairs of skates in stock and in my size (US 8).
Since everyone’s feet are differently, I’ll skip the goldilocks style description of how each fit and just say that I found the Bauer Vapor X40’s in size 7 fit my normal 9’s the best. They hugged my ankles tightly, just barely touched my toes, and allowed enough room for my wide feet.
After bringing them home, lacing them up and baking them, they fit even better. I got a lot more grip along the upper ankle, which is good since I have very skinny legs.
One thing I found was that I get severe lace bite if I don’t lace these from outside-in and leaving the upper instep loose when lacing them up. It’s a little tough to get the toes very tight without baking them again after you’ve got the initially molded. When I baked them for the second time, I pulled out the Shock Doctor insoles I put in them while baking. Once they were heated up, I quickly put them back in and then I cranked down on the toe box and then lowered the tension on the top of the foot-ankle and then cranked down on the top three eyelets. This greatly reduced the lace bite but I’ll still get it after a good 45 minutes of skating. Before that, it came on after 10 minutes! Doing this whole or process in front of a small space heater helps keep the skates warm while you do all of this.
The second thing that I liked about these, which helps with the fit, is the light inner padding they have. Most hockey skates below this price point, and even some above it, for that matter, have zero padding inside the skate. A little padding is nice. Especially when you’re not hardcore. The Reebok and CCM’s didn’t have much of anything in the way of comfort added.
Lastly, I like the look of these skates, which follow a similar design scheme among the Bauer Vapor skate line. I think they look way more expensive than they actually are. While that’s all personal opinion, I’ve always found CCM skates to look weird, and Reebok’s to be pretty boring. Then again, I’m sure most people think Bauer’s look pretty gaudy. However, I’ll tell you that the online images of the silver and black striping on the sides of these looks far darker in person.
As a new-but-not-new skater, I would definitely recommend the Bauer Vapor X40 skate as a really high value purchase for $100. You should take that with a grain of salt, since I’m not going to be experienced enough to comment on how well the skate “performs”. I did have to add some Shock Doctor insoles (which I purchased from the local pro shop) since I needed additional arch support. Among the 3 skates I compared, which I thought were the top contenders at the ~$100 price point, these offered way more features, comfort, and styling than anything else out there.