Hockey World Blog

CCM RBZ Skates Review

CCM RBZ Hockey Skates

CCM Hockey has steadily been improving their game over the last few years. The U+ CL skates were another move in the right direction, and were followed by the RBZ stick which has been lighting lamps since its introduction. However, with a lot of hype surrounding CCM’s RBZ skates before they were launched, would the product be able to live up to its expectations? Fortunately, CCM Hockey sent us a demo pair to review. Read on to see how we think the CCM RBZ skates perform in a competitive skate market.

Design & Construction:

CCM has often maintained simple designs for their skates. Recently, the model seems to be a primarily dark boot with red and white accents. They continued that tradition with the RBZ skates, making the boot all black, except the accents. There’s a reason why CCM hasn’t strayed far from this model though – it’s because it works. The RBZ skates have an excellent look and appeal to them, despite not being overly flashy.

The design isn’t the only thing about these skates that is solid, however, as the boots also seem very well constructed despite being made in Thailand. While I think it’s a downgrade, compared the the U+ CL which were made in Canada, they still seem to hold their own. The RBZ skates are plenty stiff for a top end boot, although it’s definitely not the stiffest that we’ve seen. It’s not necessarily a bad thing though, as stiffer is not always better. It certainly depends on each skaters personal preferences.

A new addition to the skate this year are the custom support footbeds. While it’s definitely not a brand new innovative feature that marketing can throw a bunch of buzz words around, it’s definitely an important inclusion for CCM. Stock footbeds are typically, for lack of a better word, crap. For CCM to spend the resources on these custom footbeds shows a lot, and proves that they are taking even the small things seriously.

CCM also spent a lot of resources developing their new holder and steel for the RBZ skates. We’ll touch on these more later on in the review, but we’re pleased to see this adjustment. CCM’s engineers and designers are definitely trying to make an impact and gain a bit of market share and it really shows.

Fit:

From the time I began playing ice hockey, I have been a fan of CCM skates. The fit of the CCM V08 skates were nearly perfect for my foot, and baking the U Foam only made it better. The last on the skates seemed to be adjusted for the U+ CL series, however, and they became a bit too narrow for my liking. It seems that more tweaks have been made to the last for the RBZ skates as well, but for the better in my opinion.

One of the biggest changes made with the RBZ compared to their previous models is in sizing. What was once a 9.5, now becomes a size 9. You can expect to fit into an RBZ boot about a half size smaller than what you’re typically used to. So for me, having fit into a size 9.5 in CCM skates before, the size 9 demo we received offered the perfect fit.

Additionally, the RBZ skates are going to provide a medium-high volume boot, along with a medium ankle area. They have widened the forefoot area in the RBZ skates, and have provided a medium toe box. Baking the skates will of course help to minimize any hot spots, and provide a more customized fit for your foot.

When I first tried the RBZ skates on, the experience was very reminiscent of trying on those V08 skates. The RBZ’s immediately felt great, despite coming right out of the box. The addition of the medium support footbed and baking have yielded even better results. These skates are extremely comfortable.

CCM RBZ Ice Hockey Skates

Performance:

While an additional four millimeters added to the holder may not seem like a big difference, you will definitely notice it. I expected to be able to  step on to the ice and immediately perform in these skates, but there was definitely an adjustment period.

The changes to the holder and steel resulted in some uncomfortableness on my part during warm ups. I had to make small tweaks and adjustments to my stride and skating style throughout warm-ups in order to get more comfortable moving around the ice. And, while I had a pre-game warm up to figure things out, it definitely wasn’t long enough. It still took an additional 10 or so shifts to really have things figured out. By the third period of my first skate with the RBZ’s, I reached a point where I was completely comfortable with them. My best recommendation to avoid this is to wear the skates to an open skate or a practice before taking them to a game situation – which most of you will undoubtedly do anyway.

Part of CCM’s marketing campaign surrounding the RBZ skates involves the “strap a rocket to your feet” catchphrase. While I’m definitely aware of the marketing efforts there, I have been pleasantly surprised with how quick I actually am on these skates. There have been a few instances now in the RBZ’s where I’ve been in a flat out sprint as I back check or try to pull away from a defender on a breakaway. In most instances, I have felt quicker on my feet in these skates than some of the competitors I’ve used. Whether this can be attributed to the skates, or if its just in my head, is another story. But the feeling of being able to catch someone that I don’t believe I should have has hit me more than a few times with the RBZ’s.

In terms of forward flex and energy transfer, I think you’re going to get about what you expect out of these skates. The carbon composite outsole provides good energy transfer, but if you’re coming from another high end skate, you will not notice a difference. You will, however, if you’re making the jump from a lower end skate. In terms of flex, I’ve been pleased, but again it performs as expected. The boot is not too restrictive, and allows for good movement all around.

One of my quirks is that I like to leave the top eyelet open to allow for a bit of extra forward flex when I skate. However, when I did that, I felt that the boot was a bit too loose around my ankle. To rectify the situation, I laced all the way up and didn’t over tighten at the top. If you have similar quirks, you may find a different lacing style to be appropriate as well.

CCM’s RBZ skates utilize a full clarino liner inside, which is not only soft and comfortable, but does a great job of wicking away moisture. The liner, combined with an air vented outsole, have done a great job of keeping the boots try. Sure my feet sweat during games like anyone else, but the liner is definitely on the dryer side after a good skate. This also helps to make maintenance a bit easier as I’m confident the inside of the skates will dry quickly and not cause any damage.

While I haven’t had to block any shots with the RBZ skates yet, thankfully, there have been a handful of passes I’ve been able to knock down with my boot. The amount of protection they provide in those types of situations has been good. The tongue also provides additional lace bite protection which has come in handy. Initially, I wondered if the boot might be a bit low on the volume side for my foot, but I have yet to have any issues with lace bite.

CCM RBZ Skates

Overall Impressions:

As hockey equipment manufacturers such as CCM are able to pack more and more features into their products, the consumer sees the prices on those top end products continue to rise. Competitors have seen their top end prices rise to $800 or $850, but CCM comes in at a comparatively modest $749.99 for the RBZ skates. While it’s still shelling out a lot of money for skates, the top end performance you’re getting out of the RBZ skates comes at a relatively good value.

The value CCM has provided, in addition to the good looks and great performance, make this skate a true contender in the marketplace. It’s also a pair of skates that you should strongly consider if you’re in the market for an upgrade this coming season.

If you are looking to upgrade and want to check out a pair of CCM RBZ ice hockey skates, head over to IceWarehouse.com. As I mentioned, these new jets will set you back $749.99. If you’re ready to take a look or order today, click here to head to IW and check them out.

Have additional questions about the RBZ skates, or want to share your thoughts or your own review? Drop us a note in the comments or send a tweet to @hockeyworldblog or @matthwb.

25 Comments

  1. Aileen

    September 6, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    die Schlittschuhe hab ich auch und ich kann sie nur empfehlen die sind der Hammer und besser als die Bauer mit diesen kann ich viel besser laufen und Greise fahren machen also sind die bis jetzt Schlittschuhe die ich je hatten und das gute ist die hat auch nicht jeder.

  2. Nick

    September 8, 2013 at 12:54 am

    Assessment based off of a two day old purchase – 5 hours of ice time. My background comes from high level hockey so similar to you I expected to perform immediately upon stepping on the ice. Nope. Unfortunately so many variables have changed since the last skate that I can’t pinpoint the problem — could be sharpening, could be contour, could be new pitch. Ultimately I couldn’t hold any speed while crossing over to the left. Constant wipe out. I intend to get a few more hours before changing the contour, but so far it looks like they may be going back to the factory.

    • Nick

      September 13, 2013 at 2:09 am

      Figured I might as well amend my previous post. Following another skate sharpening, the turning issue was resolved. I decided to bake them for a 2nd time, post skate, which seems to generate a better fit. There are still some issues around where the boot and toe cap meet. Skating-wise, feel pretty good, haven’t found anything to complain about so far. I would suggest a new purchaser to test out the new geometry a few times before making any major decisions on whether to contour.

      • Nick

        October 11, 2013 at 4:42 pm

        So a month into having these skates, there still seem to be issues with where the toe cap and boot meet. I am slowly starting to develop a callus on my big toes — think this is a result of the skate’s steeper pitch.

  3. Jacques LeHatte

    October 13, 2013 at 9:31 am

    It’s been CCM for me since 1961 : I came off another Canadian manufacturer’s boot, put on a pair of kangaroo skin Tacks – and never looked back . And now I’m playing recreational hockey, it’s still CCM . However .. I’ll wait till next season, before I replace my current CL custom boots . It’s a fact that any new boot needs a year for the maker to iron out the problems . Then, Joe Public, give ’em a go . Fit is such an obviously individual choice, that reviews should concentrate on construction qualities, and whether the boot can take the strain of top line hockey . That way, us ‘lesser’ players can benefit from improvements .. it’s an on-the-job way, and that’s the best way .. let the skate company’s wallet take the strain .. not yours . Jacques LeHatte Glasgow Scotland ps : I presume the RBZ RocketBallZ boots are made in Canada ??

  4. carla

    October 29, 2013 at 11:46 am

    When having the skates sharpened, do I need to instruct the rink with any special instructions for these skates?

  5. Jerry Lozinski

    January 28, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    I have 2 sons that purchased the RBZ skates. All 4 top eyelets on both pairs split so the pro shop replaced them under warranty. Within 3 weeks, all 4 top eyelets on the replacement pairs split. That’s 16 eyelets that split, shred laces and eventually fall out. Luckily, a finger hasn’t been cut from the razor sharp burrs when lacing up the skates or removing the insoles to dry them!!!! I suspect that the steel used in Thailand is not specified properly as the previously Canadian made skates. Eyelet steel should not split from the stress of a tightened lace and unfortunately the author of the review didn’t use or tighten his top eyelets so he missed this defect in the CCM RBZ’s!

    • Matt

      January 28, 2014 at 11:26 pm

      I use and tighten my top eyelets but have not run into this issue.

      • Jerry

        January 29, 2014 at 1:54 pm

        Post from ‘Stephen’ on Ice Warehouse comments for RBZ. Is there a recall pending?
        Comments: I have worn CCM for ever. Love these boots. Heat molded made for literally no breakin period. The new steel is awesome. Very fast and holds the edge for much longer.

        Only problem is with the top eyelets. I am on my second pair, first pair exchanged by the the retail shop, and am still having issues with the eyelets breaking down and coming out of the skate. The eyelets, as a result of breaking down are also snagging the laces and cutting them. Have gone back to the retail shop and am seeking resolution from CCM. Nothing yet. I spoke with another person who knows other people having the same problem,

        Except for this the best skate ever.
        From: Stephen

        • Matt

          January 31, 2014 at 2:01 pm

          Hi Jerry,

          I reached out to CCM for comment on the issue and this is what they had to say:

          Matt,

          There is no eyelet issue with our RBZ skates.

          Isolated issues can always come up, it is a physical game and getting hard shots or a skate blade hit onto the skates can always happen.

          We change to a stronger copper this year, so I am not concerned.

          Thanks

          • Jerry

            February 3, 2014 at 12:11 pm

            Matt, thanks for follow up but split eyelets on 4 pairs (all 4 top eyelets x 4 = 16) and after only 3 times on the ice to referee? Sounds like they strengthened material for a non problem. Hopefully our third set of skates will result in better results. And per the other comment on the blog, what is the point of the polished blades? Look good new, look scratched up like old after sharpening.

          • Scott

            February 27, 2015 at 1:38 pm

            Nice try my 11yrs old skates have fallen apart in less than 4 months I could send you a pic if you like. Both skates in the exact same spot top eyelets and upper heal , CCM has a real problem here and the distributers that I have talked with said that this is not the first pair they have seen like this. I am currently pursuing CCM for answers.

  6. Hal

    February 2, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    These runners have a high polish which will be destroyed by stoning the runners. So what’s the point?

  7. Jake

    February 21, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    They certainly are comfortable and light. However I have gone through 2 pairs in 7 months and am soon to be on my third. They both have broken where the toe cap meets the footbed. There is a gap between the two. CCM just keeps sending me the same faulty skates over and over….Figure it out CCM.

    I would NOT recommend these skates at all.

  8. Regan

    May 14, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    As far as fit goes… for me vector 08 (chain mesh early ovechkin era) fit me like a glove. And RBZ D width are way too wide for me. Even baked them a second time and tightened hard with waxed laces. my feet were slopping around in them still. And vapour skates are too narrow for me so its not like my feet are super narrow.

  9. Ron

    November 2, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    My grandson wears CCM RBZ skates and plays Midget AAA. This is his second season wearing them. In the game today, the left skate broke where the toe cap meets the footbed, the same problem Jake reported on Feb 21, 2014. About a month ago we had to have both tendon gaurds re-stitched because they were coming apart, with a price tag of around $800 and the warranty of 90 days long gone, not much recourse. He needs the deep boot of this skate for a good fit for his type of feet. Well, off to whine to the retail outlet tomorrow.

  10. Kyle

    November 7, 2014 at 1:45 am

    My 12 year old wears these skates and tonight at practice the eyelet broke at the top of his skate! The other three eyelets are probably going to break as well because they are starting to wear. Not very impressed! We’ve never had a issue like this before. Starting to look like a defect as I’ve seen similar complaints on other websites. Back to the store tomorrow to buy new skates, he’s only been wearing these for two months.

  11. paddy hodgens

    November 26, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    I bought two pairs of these last year, for my 15 and 17 year old boys, the stitching started unraveling, eyelets have popped out, my older boy now has a long horizontal crease or fold along side of skate, rendering it too loose and poorly fitting now. These are both made very cheaply, I won’t buy this brand anymore!!!!

  12. Ray

    November 27, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Bought a pair of U08’s for oldtimers recreational hockey. The achilles guard soon started to rip slightly and eventually tore off completely.I contacted CCM but I got no satisfaction from them. All I can say is stay away, they are junk and CCM/Reebok don’t stand behind there products!

  13. Matt

    December 24, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Theses skates started off great and i was very happy for the first year.
    I have recently run into some issues.I took my skates to be sharpened and expressed that i seem to be falling more and i am experiencing a wobble when starting to dig in to take off like the blade is loose.
    The gentleman showed me that my blades are bent and the bottom moulding that attaches to the boot is pulling away from the boot.I can literally watched blade flex away from the boot and the rivets pulling out on the inside.He said he can re rivet the blade but the bottom boot material is now weak and they will just pull out eventually.I really like the skate but not for the money for 1 1/2 years usage.I would purchase the new Tacks but the CCM video explains that the construction of the skate is similar to RBZ.
    Not sure what to do now.

    • Greg

      December 29, 2014 at 10:33 am

      Bought these skates for my son who plays Bantam level. In about 1/2 season he has had 4 rivets pull out on the back of one skate. This is absolutely unacceptable and casts a very poor light on the CCM RBZ brand, at least for skates.

  14. ANDREW cAMPBELL

    January 26, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    i have a son who plays Bantam hockey and has had a pair of RBZ for 1 year. We had the eyelet problem the first few weeks and after a year the boot is pulling away from the blades. Not sure if anyone else is having these quality issues but it is frustrating with a few months left in the season to be changing skates due to poor quality! WE WILL NOT BE BUYING CCM.

  15. OBeaulieu

    February 27, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Hi I just buy the ccm rbz skates and I am concern about the bad review about the bad durability of the skates. Does anybody have a good story to tell ?

    • RockinRon

      March 16, 2015 at 11:55 am

      Yes. I sold mine for $700.

  16. Laura

    December 7, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    my son plays college hockey and just had his second pair of skates boot split in less than 9 months ( 3 were summer when he didn’t skate a lot) the first pairs boot broke away from the tuuck after 8 months of use. This is rediculous!!!!!! HE HAS A BIG GAME WEEKEND COMING UP AND NO SKATES

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