With the HR 1.3 skates and boots, Remz brings back one of the most capable, and versatile skates and boots setup for 2013. Our Team Rider, Phil England, has had hands on experience with these skates, and can’t wait to tell you all about them!
First, I want to offer a little background, so y’all can see my perspective in writing this. My favorite skates up until this point have been USD Carbon 2’s, though I have owned many different brands of skates. The only time I have ever skated Remz was when I had a pair of OS 3’s, and due to a combination of me having very unrefined skills and my feet not being well shaped for the skates, I quickly opted out.
The Overall Impression:
Though I had a slightly bitter taste in my mouth from the last pair of Remz, I was actually pretty eager to try these, having looked into the philosophy and design behind the HR 1.3’s. I used the complete setup, as it comes straight out of the box. My first impression of the soft boot was excellent! “Freedom of Feet” is such a great description of what Remz brings to the table in their design. Nothing above the soul plate feels rigid, and it was strange at first, but after becoming accustomed to that fact, I realized how organic and natural it feels. They are comfy and flexible, and lack no support, whatsoever.
I personally like the look of Remz’s large hockey skate –esque design, and always have. So in my book, that’s style points added immediately, just by virtue of them using the same general tried-and-true design. The color scheme is mostly generic; black matches anything. I have always opted for flashier colors in the past, so this is actually only my second pair of black skates ever.
The orange highlights are somewhat of a low point for me, since orange is not one of my favorite colors. I also don’t find that it matches many other colors, but that’s personal preference. Furthermore, there is not much orange on them anyway. On a positive note, orange is rare and unique in the skating world, so maybe Remz has opened a door or two with this decision.
The graphic on the instep is the word TEAM, and I find the font and pattern to be really cool, color choice aside. The laces look good, and the buckle is concealed, which is a plus for the visual aspect, as well as for maintenance, since it is less vulnerable to utter destruction.
The black soul plate/ backslide plate/ frame/ wheel/anti-rocker setup maintains the black theme, but being flashier, I am a little bored by it. Thankfully, Remz and Inline Warehouse offer interchangeable soul and backslide plates, and replacement frames to freshen up the appearance if you feel like it! (I think I am eying white soul plates and a grey backslide plate, myself).
Starting where the skates hit the cement, the Remz HR 1.3’s offer Remz Team wheels. The wheels are 57mm/88A with a generic black graphic. Medium sized wheels on the softer side. These make a nice thud sound upon landing, and have proven to be very grippy. They look to be wearing a tiny bit on the inside after four days skating, but I’m 6’2” and 180 pounds, so that’s not bad for 88A’s. The bearings are ZZ809 ABEC 5’s, and they roll great so far.
Next up are the frames. Here, we are presented with black Ground Control Featherlite 2’s if you purchase the full skate model. Ground Control frames slide great, are durable, and have a huge assortment of colors. They use the anti-rocker system, which requires less grind precision, and provides very few instances of wheel bite, even on ledges. These are proven and popular frames, though the stock anti-rockers are on the industry’s lower end of quality.
The soul plates are redesigned for Remz new True-Balance designs. The frames are centered better than old Remz skates allowed them to be, and the design gives a more stable base of support where your body weight focuses. I don’t know what old models felt like, but I have definitely noticed that my landings feel almost automatic, as long as I do my job. I don’t need to fight the skates’ tendencies at all, and I suspect this is the direct result of the True-Balance redesign, so big props to Remz, and the boot design team! The plates slide very well, take a beating, and have well-placed grooves right out of the box.
The boot itself is incredible. I have no idea how someone could make something rigid enough to handle the nastiness of the sport while still providing so much flexibility and comfort without also rubbing your feet raw. You simply have to feel it for yourself. One small gripe I have is that there is a rub point on the outside of my little toe, but I think my foot will soon callus, removing the issue. The boots lace up near the Achilles tendon, as well as the top of the foot. The laces actually have a big effect on how the skates fit and feel. Other skates don’t seem to feel much different when the laces are looser or tighter. That said, I have not really noticed much contribution from the pull-string lace system at the back of the skate, though it is well designed.
The skin of the boot has left me scratching my head multiple times. I frequently skate a ledge with a very sharp metal edge, and when I miss soul tricks, I have a habit of looking at the side of the skate to assess the damage… however I keep finding none, which is not at all what I am expecting. This has happened multiple times, and I am beginning to think Remz really does have something going with the High Resilience skin design. (Enough to make three boots hinging on it? I think so…)
The Remz brand liners that come stock are pretty amazing, also. They are thick and comfortable, and have the perfect amount of give in them. As I mentioned before, I experience pain on the outside of my foot, so it might be better if there was more padding there so the hard part of the shell wouldn’t press into my foot, but it’s not a deal breaker by any means. There is a shock absorbing foot bed in the liner, and it is also top-notch. I know I keep shouting praises to all the different parts, but they really do come together to provide a comfy, stable experience! Remz has implemented a removable V-cut insert that attaches uniquely with both Velcro and buttons. It allows customization to the lateral (sideways) flex of the liner: attach for more rigidity/support, or remove for more flex/freedom.
On to the cuff and buckle. The cuff is much like most Remz cuffs, though it does NOT come V-cut from the factory. There is a (sort of) perforated V-cut guideline, in case you opt for EVEN MORE flex. I would personally be nervous to try it, having noticed no lack of flex with it uncut. The cuffs are concealed under the HR skin, and at this point, I am in doubt that they will ever need replacement. The buckle is the standard Razors/Remz buckle, which I have never liked, since the connection point fails really quickly under normal wear and tear. Since the buckle is mostly concealed, though, I have hopes that it will actually last a respectable amount of time, but we shall see. Worst case, ten bucks replaces it, in whatever color you want. For the rare and truly daring souls with the heartiest ankles imaginable, I have heard that the cuffs can be fully removed to provide what I am going to call UltraMegaFlex. Basically, you would be wearing grindable high tops. As a note, skating UltraMegaFlex will also remove the buckle.
I think I have effectively diced the skate up into little bits, so I will just wrap up with a quick and dirty recap. They look great with a lot of options for customization, should you so choose. The skates feel incredibly organic, almost melding with your anatomy. They are really resistant to scuffing and damage, and absorb shock very well. The new relocation of the frames from the True-Balance redesign provides support right where the weight of the body focuses in the feet, improving skating and landing. It probably improves grinding weight distribution, too, but that’s hard to wrap my mind around…lots of forces at play. There is a LOT of freedom to customize the flex of the skates, which plays into the whole organic feel of the boot. The stock setup covers all the bases, and none of the components disappoint. See for yourself what Kato Mateu and Remz mean when they proclaim their gift of Freedom of Feet!
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