Been trolling for a while, but recently getting back in the game and want to get some insight on how much equipment has changed and the impact to performance. Do note this is not to spark a debate on what's best, or who should/shouldn't be using what equipment. There are plenty of other threads on them already. I'm of the camp of buy what you can afford and what works best for you. A bit more context, i'm in my late 30s. Started in my 20s. Career low tier beer leaguer with a few clinics and stick n puck tossed in between. I've owned 2 pairs of skates - mega air 90, and now, nike/bauer flexlite 18. Loved both. Very comfortable, and I get around the ice just fine with them. The rest of my gear is a mixed lot of price point stuff, which i've used for years. As some of them are wearing down, i'm looking at the newer equipment. The marketing is pretty fierce, which each manufacturers tossing buzzwords after buzzwords, which could mean different things or the same things...I don't know. Sticks, I do understand some of the performance gain, and the "extra edge" you get if you're fundamentally sound with shooting mechanics. Pads/Lids, top end stuff are all about achieving best protection with lowest weight. Skates, i'm not so sure about. With that said, what are the "eureka" moments (perceivable/measurable/practical performance differences, with performance = feel, control, comfort, and even reliability) you have when changing from one equipment to another? ie. Equipment from: x skate Equipment to: y skate Eureka moment(s): tighter turns due to 'fill in the blank on skate characteristic', took a slapshot to the skate and didn't feel a thing. Sacrifice(s): boot wore down faster on y vs. x. Equipment from: x shoulder pad Equipment to: y shoulder pad Eureka moment(s): it's more breathable and i stay cooler Sacrifice(s): none. no perceivable protection/weight difference Please refrain from bringing cost into the assessment, so we can focus on the equipment and performance.