Last time I wrote a little piece about Blank frames that come with Solo Estilo RG2 skates. Now it’s time to say a word or two about Blank liners.
Liners were first products released under Blank brand, in a year 2011, as stock liners in first Solo Estilo RG pro boot. Liner I describe below is second generation, but apart from colours, very little was changed.
First of all – forget all you know about Rollerblade liners. Blanks are whole another story and worlds apart from standard Solo liners. Fusion liners, made to fit the same shell, look silly in comparison. Actually, many liners do – Blanks are definitely one of best liners in rollerblading industry right now…
Liner have skin made of synthetic leather. White portions of the skin (on the sides) are mat material, probably because manufacturer encourages you to draw custom graphic on them (that’s the idea of transparent shell after all). There aren’t any vent holes present, unlike on first iteration.
One of best features of these is rubber sole with grid pattern. Liner is semi-walkable – good thing if you don’t want to carry shoes in backpack and can’t get on the bus with skates on – but Xsjado footwraps they are not, I do not recommend using them as regular shoes. Main purpose of this sole is different – it prevents liner from moving inside the shell, as it “stick” to the plastic, and liner sits firmly in its place. This provides you with more options, how to use the skates. I did an experiment and laced only liner, tightly, without lacing the shell at all – this created more flexible “softboot” feeling, but my foot didn’t move inside the skate at all.
Sole is more than 1cm thick under the heel, and if you’ll add to it thickness of insole, and shock absorber of Solos, you’ll quickly realize you have more than 3m of padding under your heel. This makes RG2s skates with most excessive shock absorption on the market. Also, it pretty much makes them skates with lifted heel. If you plan to use Blank liners in other skates, for example USD VIIs, you should be able to get rid of stock shock absorbers and probably you won’t even feel any difference. You can even skate these liners without insoles and still have comfortable footbed, thanks to so much padding.
You can lace Blanks to the very top, and I recommend doing it – this really makes them one with your feet. That’s the part where it is clear that these were made to work with Solo shell as best as possible – if you won’t lace them, you’ll get insane amount of forward flex (some people might like it), but liners laced tightly, give you a bit more support, while still allowing you to bend your ankles. Lower part have metal eyelets, and cuff area have fabric loops. I’m usually sceptical about this kind of lacing systems, as loops tend to rip easily, but in Blanks they are made of thick, artificial leather – they should be just fine.
Liner is flat cut, or at best halfway there between flat cut and v-cut. I would not call it full v-cut, as it is a bit too shallow.
Foam is rather dense, and not in particularly anatomical shape, but lining is comfortable. I get no pressure points in these liners, while Fusion liners in the same shell were killing my ankles. Foam in Fusion liners was also much softer when they were new. I do not think Blanks will stretch and break-in the same way, as they are stiffer, much more supportive construction.
Insole is standard Rollerblade insole, but I noticed it is a bit thicker than in my old Sifika liners (I bought RB insoles for them separately, as stock ones were horrible and RB ones were cheap). It have a thin foam pad under heel, and that’s all. It does it’s job just fine, but you might want to change it for something better (or thinner, if you want to get rid of some padding).
Liners have large loops to carry skates around, but it’s a shame that these are sewed on to skin, and not reinforced like small loop in first version, or the ones in USD Phoenix liners. So you better do not use them to put your skates on, as you can rip them off that way! That’s only one shortcoming of these liners I’ve been able to find…
I can honestly say, these are one of best liners I’ve seen in my life. Well thought design with quality execution. I do realize some bladers might not like them because of thick insole – but for the rest I would definitely recommend.
Again – thanks to Jakub “Zico” Ciesielski and zicoracing for these beauties!
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