I decided to get some new skates after I took some heavy shots off of my foot in some games the season before (one resulting in a hospital visit). My cheap skates I had before were so thin on the inside of the foot it was embarrassing. This is where the S12's came in; the boot is SOLID. I have already taken a shot off of the same spot with these and while it hurt it wasn't as bad as before.
I had these skates baked when I got them even though I had a lucky streak of not ever needing to bake my skates ever. The baking probably helped immensely, mainly because after wearing them a week I had some pain in my foot that eventually went away as the boot broke in all the way on about 10 hours of ice time.
The heel-lock feature is incredible and I have never felt so locked into my skate ever. It really helped my explosive starts and the works.
It did take a little getting used to them overall because I guess the profile was a little bit different than my Synergy's that I had before. So far outside of knicks in the runner and the boot from skates/sticks/pucks everything is holding together well.
One thing you might want to make sure you don't do is leave a soaker over the blade after the game with the blade down in your bag. I know this is a noob mistake but the stainless steel actually began to chip in certain spots. So I had them re-sharpened and now after each game I turn them upside down and remove the insole.
You will like this skate if you want a lot of the great features the top-of-the-line skates have but don't want to pay the top-of-the-line price. These skates in that light are affordable!