Since 1921, Graf has been dedicated to the performance fit of hockey skates and takes this to a whole new level with the addition of the brand new G9035 goal skate. Once these released mid-2014, we were able to get our hands on a pair here at GoalieMonkey for a long-term review on the performance, fit and durability of this Canadian made pro skate.
After the G7500 and 750 models, Graf took a drastic turn in construction, focusing a performance based Glass Fiber/Ionomer shell and 3-D Anatomical Fit liner, giving the goalie the best fit possible while keeping the skate stiff, making it incredibly responsive during pushes and shuffles across the crease.
Out of the box, my initial impression focuses on the look. The gloss quarter panel finish with Graf Yellow colored accents really make the skate pop on the ice. This is a far cry from the previous conservatively designed G7500. A fresh carbon fiber finish throughout the side of the boot paired with grey accents and modern applique logos really set this skate apart from the rest. Internally a bright Volt colored liner give the skate a unique personality that’s sure to catch the eye.
Next, let’s talk about the fit. Based around an all new Sweatproof 3-D Comfort liner, the G9035 utilizes a three dimensional molded foam throughout the heel, ankle, and mid-foot, rather than the traditional stacked foam approach. Not only does this allow for an even more exact fit than ever before, but virtually eliminates the possibility of foams and glues shifting and braking down over time, ensuring your investment will last through the rigors of the crease. I was pleasantly surprised by the fit BEFORE baking even. These would have felt great straight out of the box. With that, I knew the ability of Graf skates to fully mold and form via the heat molding process, so I had this done so nonetheless.
Post baking, the fit went from great to incredible. The skate was snug and comfortable with very little wiggle room. Everything Graf had been hyped up to be. Most impressive was the heel lock and ankle padding. With the help of the 3-D Liner padding and a moderately pronounced heel shape, there should be no reason why a properly fitted G9035 would cause heel slippage whatsoever.
As a side note, Graf has introduced a Broad Fit for this skate. Some goalies experienced too narrow of a fit with previous models, and in that case, we urge you to give them a second shot with the new 9035 or 5035 models.
Now, here at GoalieMonkey we realize readers often have many options for product info, from blogs, reviews, and even personal hands-on demos. So with that, it’s exciting when we get the opportunity to show something different and incredibly exciting. Graf has been kind enough to send us a disassembled G9035 to show off some of the internal features and how Graf construction unique compared to every other skate on the market.
The base quarter panel construction features Graf’s exclusive MCI Tech carbon fiber and resin composite. This unique material allows for precise flex management, with the G9035 Goal skate featuring a moderate 85 flex throughout the mid-section. Many skates on the market (both for players and goalies) have trended toward an ultra-stiff outer construction, limiting movement and ultimately hindering a player’s traditional skating ability. The MCI 85 flex construction walks the line between stiffness and proper flex, providing good ankle and lower foot support while allowing for proper movement. In the end, per Graf standards, these skates will come comfortable out of the box, but take on a whole new fit when heat molded.
Now, as many goalies have unfortunately found, a solid quarter panel construction is useless without a good liner. Often skates will feature a rock stiff shell, yet fail to provide adequate ankle padding, leaving you with excruciating pain every time you step onto the ice.
Knowing this, with the G9035 Graf introduces their brand-new 3-D Comfort Liner into the skate, combining a firm yet extraordinarily comfortable memory foam into a single, continuous section. The utilization of a continuous liner prevents premature breakdown of materials and negates the ability of traditional layered foams from coming unglued and shifting around throughout the life of the skate.
The base is the first skate on the market to feature arch support within the outsole. No longer will you get cheap, flimsy foot beds with no arch. In constantly looking for ways to take their skates to the next level, Graf has designed the main outsole with arch support to give you the anatomical comfort you need.
Often with the final retail product, it’s difficult to see the attention to detail that goes into each and every pair of skates. This is clearly the case with the tongue of the G9035 skate. It was a surprise when we sorted out all the parts to the tongue and found that it consisted of a staggering 6 individual pieces! A traditional 3/8” felt tongue is reinforced with a 5/8” closed-cell EVA and finished with a two-piece molded lace bite pad and a quality leather finish strip. All is complimented by a unique stamped leather accent with a great conservative embroidered Graf logo. When all these parts are combined, the result is one of the most incredible tongues anyone here at our office has ever seen in any type of skate. …and if that’s not enough, the tongue is the only on the market to be heat moldable. How’s that for attention to detail?
The last thing that needs mentioning is the route Graf has taken with the toe cap. Gone are the days of pinched toes from too small of a toe cap. Since the introduction of the G7500 skate, Graf has utilized a wider toe cap, addressing customer complaints of the old narrower style. With my foot flaring out towards the toe, this was a welcome addition to the traditional fit that I was used to.
After having used the G9035 skate on ice for the past 6 months, it’s had given me true insight to the performance and durability over extended periods of time. I am pleased to report that over these 6 months, the skate has not only broken in to be a dream every time I step out on the ice, but has held up to everything I have thrown at it. Using the skates for 1-2 times per week, they show nothing more than a few scuffs and slight discoloration on the tongue and liner. Upon first arrival of the skates, one of my main concerns was the substantial tongue, as it almost seemed to be too thick and too stiff. After just a month of use, it became more and more flexible, eventually compressing to a more traditional thickness, yet still providing exceptional protection from lace bite. Meanwhile, the anatomically correct 3-D comfort foam and sweat proof liner has lived up to its name, showing virtually no wear and still retaining its extraordinary comfort and grip. Stitching and outer materials have held up the test of time, giving me the confidence every time I step out onto the ice.
From the two-piece MCI-Tech quarter panel construction to the 6-piece tongue and 3D Comfort Liner, it’s clear that Graf has poured every piece of technology into the new G9035 skate, cementing itself in history as one of the greatest skate makers to have ever graced the game of hockey.