by Mel @troubleon8wheels
It's always exciting when Moxi bring out a new pair of skates. With the Lolly being the comfortable skate, the Jack Boot being the professional level boot and the Ivy Jungle and Beach Bunny offering a cute vinyl skate, what's left? The Moxi Panther, of course! They have only just landed in the UK and here are my first impressions.
Here's the official blurb:
"Dress it up or down, the new Moxi Panther is ready to shred! Building from the same reinforcements that make the Beach Bunny so versatile at the park and on the streets, the Panther swaps out the vinyl uppers of those skates for drum-dyed, hand-sorted genuine suede that offers a more personalized fit, extra abrasion-resistance on tough surfaces, and a rich, colorfast look. Accented with a panther-print lining, laces and toe caps, the Moxi Panther is on the prowl for a good time on 8 wheels!"
The colour is indeed rich and the leopard lining, teamed with leopard laces and toe caps looks really great. The boot feels heavy, and is stiff. As I had heard these join the Beach Bunny family, and are more Bunny-like than Lolly-like, I expected them to be pretty stiff. If you are used to skating in a Lolly, you will find these very stiff and probably won't like them straight away, but if you are used to a Beach Bunny or a non-Moxi stiff boot, you'll be fine! The toe of the Moxi Panther is just like the Beach Bunny, it's fairly round, and has laces almost to the toe, compared to the slightly narrower looking Lolly and Jack boots. With both these boots, you can adjust the width fitting to some degree by using the laces to loosen or tighten. The Panther's are made from a different material, so you can't use the laces to adjust the width in the same way. That means getting the correct size is really important!
I love the clear glitter wheel, it contrasts nicely with the boot. The overall look of the Panther skate is sassier than the cute colours of the Beach Bunny range. Where the Ivy Jungle skate has an all-over leopard print, the hints of leopard print on the Panther's dri-lex lining make it more subtly cool, and unmistakably Moxi. Also, black and leopard does go with everything in your wardrobe, so no more must-buy-that-outfit-to-match-my-skates as they will all match! Which means you either already have all the clothes to match, or you need to go shopping! A final comment about the out-of-the-box skate is that I liked that they arrive partly pre-laced. Definitely a time saver for the busy skater. I'm also pleased to see these have an adjustable toe-stop, although with Moxi, I wouldn't expect any less. An adjustable toe-stop is a much better choice than a fixed or bolt-on toe-stop, as it means you can change the stem length according to your needs and ability.
As we are in a lockdown, I felt it was wise to skate only a short distance outside (although I live in a small town and didn't actually see anyone), just to see how they fare. Initially they were comfortable. The boots are very padded around the ankle, the tongue is padded and the innersole is also comfortable. As the tongue has a rubbery lining it does grip your sock a bit. This makes them a bit of a struggle to get on as you have to fully loosen the laces, but it also means the tongue stays in place once they are on. (I found the tongue on my Lolly skates used to slip to one side after a while.) Anyway, even after only a short distance, I could feel the outer part of my foot near my little toe starting to ache, as the boot needs breaking in. As I have experience of breaking in a hard boot, I know that if I persevere, they will be epic.
FYI the boots are not so uncomfortable that I felt I needed to rip them off my feet shouting "be gone!" but just an ache. The Panther's need breaking in like a pair of Doc Marten boots. Wear them little and often to get them to mould to your foot and they will offer a lifetime of comfort, or go for it and wear them intensively. Both break-in methods work! By the way, Len and I have tried skates on by other brands and thought "Whoever designed these have never actually put them on!" This is why we test everything we sell at Roller Girl Gang.
I like to have some movement around my ankle, particularly for roller dance, so choose not to lace them up to the top. I love the versatility of a high cut boot, as you can decide how far to lace. I want to do a bunch of skate tutorials that I have had in my book mark list for ages, so I'll be wearing these to see how long it takes to break them in. From my Beach Bunny experience though, I am expecting them to mould to my foot over time, so they will be really comfortable and supportive. If you would like to know more about my opinion about Beach Bunnies, see the blog post here.
Once I have fully broken them in, and we are out of lockdown, I am also keen to try these at the skate park, as they definitely feel more solid than the lolly skates, with a solid feeling toe box and stiffness around the ankle. I think ankle stability is really important in a skate park boot, as it is just too easy to do yourself a mischief. (Another reason to stay away from skate parks right now - don't give the NHS a further reason to be stressed please).
Overall, I really like the Panther skates. I think they offer good value for money, and look really stylish. You need to be prepared to give them some break in time though - wearing them round the house is ideal! If you don't want to have break-in time, go for the Moxi Lolly. Even though there is absolutely no need, I'm already thinking about what other accessories would look incredible with these. Maybe a set of red Grindstone Heartstoppers would look awesome, or some RollerStuff fringing... ooooh *goes off in a little daydream*.
One final word on sizing.
For UK customers, please make sure you size up. In the USA there are men's and women's sizes, which makes it confusing for us. Moxi use US men's sizing. The Panther skates will not particularly stretch, but they will ease and mould to your feet.
I am a UK 6.5-7 (depending on the width of the shoe). I wear a US8 in all Moxi skates and they are spot on. I don't have particularly wide feet... but I like padded socks, and always wear Skater Socks when I'm skating, as they really are the best I've tried. So if you are a UK5, you would wear Moxi 6. If you are a UK 5.5 I would suggest you go to Moxi 7.