Product Review: Bauer Reactor 5000 Skates

I do not like buying new skates. I literally wear them until they fall apart. I have been playing goalie since 1992. In that time I have had three pairs of goalie skate. Three pairs in 27 years!

My first pair of goalie skates were purchased at a Play It Again Sports. They were used, and cost my parents $20. They had neon green laces that I replaced with white waxed laces. I wore them for about three seasons when I started to outgrow them. Luckily though my feet were almost done growing.

We traded in the old skates at a shop called Hockey Unlimited which was across from the Southwest Ice Arena where I skated, and catered to goalies. We traded my skates in for a brand new pair of Bauer goalie skates with black cowlings. We got $30 for the old skates. Once the sale was final we told the shop owner, Linus, what we bought them for, and he laughed and said, “Looks like you made a good deal.” I swear a week later I was in the shop, and he was selling those old skated for $50. I don’t remember the model of those Bauer skates I got, but they lasted 10 years.

I wore those skate through high school, and into college. When I started college the skates were clearly past their prime. Stitching was coming undone, and I had tape keeping seems together. By my sophomore year I was getting one of my ankles taped before every skate, not because of an injury, but because parts of the skate were so warped they were digging into my ankle. The trainer had fashioned a piece of padding that she’d tape onto my ankle to prevent my skate from digging in. It was at that point I knew it was time to get new skates.

While home in Chicago on break I went to the local pro shop and looked at skate, tried some on, and settled on some Bauer Reactor 5000 skates. When I got back to school I placed my order. The only reason I didn’t order them through my local shop is because I got a better deal ordering them through my team.

In those days, this was the year 2000, it usually took a week or two for you to break-in skates. There was no baking them unless you had Graf forward skates. Not the case with the Reactors though. I put them on the first time, and they felt great. There was no break-in period. For the first two and a half years that I had the skates I was skating six to seven times a week, year round. After college it was about four to five days a week as a coach for a few years.

If I sharpened my skates more than once or twice a year I probably would have had to replace them by now because there would be no steel. Instead there is some rust on the blades. I try to take a stone to them on a regular basis, but rust happens. I did recently see a video on social media from Bay Area Hockey Repair where they had some solution they used on rusty blades to remove the rust. I’m going to have to reach out to Essan to see if he’ll share the secret with me.

I dread the day I have to replace these skates. It will be weird to have a skate without a cowling, and be able to take the steel off to get it sharpened. I’m not worried about breaking new skates in as they’re all oven backed to perfect fit these days. New skates, which seem to sit higher off the ice would probably help in my butterfly slides, but I am a creature of habit and don’t like major changes. These skates are my favorite piece of footwear I own – that’s why I chose them for a photo shoot my wife and I did of our favorite footwear. It did make for a cool photo.

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