I chose to write about the Ultra Tacks line of shin guards first for a couple reasons. First off, I use the Ultra Tacks shin guards myself, and can personally attest to its protectiveness – I block more shots than any sane beer leaguer ever should, from every imaginable angle, and they haven’t let me down once. Second, the Super Tacks line is right around the corner, so you may be able to snag some deals on these models.
As a whole, the Tacks line shares a few features across all models. First, the high-volume shell is designed for players looking to maximize coverage, or just those with thick legs. For this reason, they are one of the most protective pads available at most price points (though the exact level of protection will vary by price quite dramatically), and suited best for those who want to prioritize coverage and protection over having the lightest equipment available. Second, each model uses a thick elastic strap on the calf, and a rigid nylon strap just below the calf, to keep it firmly in place on your leg. For those who like the tight, locked-in feeling you get from sock tape, the nylon strap is very useful.
With those things in mind, here is a breakdown of each standard model in the Ultra Tacks lineup:
CCM Tacks 1052 Specs
1052: This is the cheapest model in the Tacks line, and predictably, it lacks virtually all of the features found in higher end models. The plastic shell feels quite flimsy, the padding is thin, and the calf wrap is essentially nonexistent. It does have a removable liner, which is a surprising feature to find on any shin pad at this price point. Overall, this is a shin pad best suited for ball hockey or shinny. Expect it to protect against light whacks but not a whole lot more. Not bad for the price, though. Retail Price $39.99 (HockeyMonkey affiliate link)
CCM Tacks 2052 Specs
2052: When I first picked this up, I thought it was another 1052 but in black – and it almost is. The shell, calf wrap, straps, and liner are all virtually identical to the 1052, while the only differences I could find were the color, a small foam piece on the bottom for comfort, and the slightly thicker inner padding. If you were thinking of getting this pad, I would suggest bumping up to the 4052 or down to the 1052 instead, depending on the protection level you’re after. This one just isn’t worth the money. Retail Price $54.99 (HockeyMonkey Affiliate link)
CCM Tacks 4052 Specs
4052: This is CCM’s mid-tier offering in the Tacks line, and it fits that description quite well. The plastic shell is beefed up compared to the cheaper models, and it has an actual calf wrap (though it’s just thickened mid-density foam all the way through, no reinforcing materials). The liner also gets an upgrade and now has a “donut” shape around the knee, which improves comfort and protection, and the calf strap is slightly thicker as well. Retail price $74.99, currently $59.99 (HockeyMonkey affiliate link)
CCM Tacks 6052 Specs
6052: This is where the Tacks line really starts to stand out. In addition to the beefier plastic used in the shell, the 6052 also has a backing of mid-density foam – by this I don’t mean the inner padding sling that’s stitched to the shell; I mean a secondary layer of foam glued to the backside of the shell – hard to notice unless you’re looking for it, but sure to help with impact dispersion from harder shots. The calf wrap is quite nice as well, having mid-density foam and plastic inserts on the outer calf (great for blocking shots), and a mid-density wrap on the inner calf (nothing great, but at least it’s there). Then there’s the improved liner, D3O knee pad (doesn’t do much for overall comfort, but great at absorbing bigger impacts), a beefed-up guard above the kneecap for that area between your shin pads and pants, and a joint protection flap made of high-density foam. Finally, the knee strap comes with a piece covering the area sits against your leg, for slightly improved comfort, and some (but not all) units come with a fancier calf strap. Overall this is a great pad with a very high level of protection. Retail price $99.99, currently $74.99 (HockeyMonkey affiliate link)
CCM Ultra Tacks Specs
Ultra Tacks: The Ultra Tacks adds a couple nice features from the 6052. Most notably, the inner calf wrap now has a plastic insert, making the Ultra Tacks one of the all-around most protective pads on the market. The outer calf wrap, while similar-looking to that of the 6052, has also changed a bit. The plastic insert is gone, but this whole section uses a much thicker, stiffer foam to make up for it, giving it a very solid level of protection without getting too heavy overall. Also like the 6052, the inside of the shell has a foam backing, but this one is made of a very stiff, high-density material that gives excellent protection against hard shots. The liner, knee protection, and other foam areas haven’t changed much from the 6052. Also worth mentioning – some promotional pictures show this pad as having a fancy-looking calf strap. For reasons unknown, some units come with it, while others don’t. Not that it matters much anyway. Retail price $139, currently $104 (HockeyMonkey affiliate link)
For quick reference, you can use the chart below to quickly see what each model offers in comparison to the others.
ULTRA TACKS SHIN GUARD COMPARISON CHART
1052 Model 2052 Model 4052 Model 6052 Model Ultra Tacks Model
Ultra Tacks Model
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