At STEAKS® we don’t only love hearing our customer’s feedback but also make a point to act on that feedback. We listen to what our customers need to then develop for those needs. The Shank Tank is one of our products that was developed because YOU – our customers – requested it.
Today Shank McCoy is part of the STEAK®S Crw but when he met our founder and product designer Suvi for the first time in 2016 at the very first Euro Derby Con he was a skater looking for upper body protection. He was not the first male skater to ask about this but up until then, we did not have anything that fit his body type. But it was time: Suvi decided to develop and test the prototype of the Shank Tank (which formerly had the very catchy name “Male Top”) with Shank and another – now – STEAKS® Crw skater: André Morson.
We recently met up with Shank to talk about his experience with the prototype and being part of the process of helping develop The Shank Tank.
How was it like testing the prototype of the Shank Tank?
When I met Suvi in Barcelona we discussed what I was looking for and what I felt I needed. I received the prototype a few months later in the winter of 2016. I tried it on and the placement of the padding was nearly perfect already. The prototype has a vest-like fit and padding on the ribs and the sternum – so just where I needed it. After trying it out for a while I sent Suvi some feedback on the fit and also wrote a blog post about the experience.
Shank had been using his Shank Tank prototype from two years ago up until the 2018 MRDA Champs. Before he wore the new version, we discussed how his prototype had been holding up:
I should really get the new version – my old top fit well when I got it in 2016 but I’ve gotten a bit bigger from my off-skates training. But my other top is still in great shape, which is why I have not gotten the new one yet. It does not stink and the padding is still in perfect shape. Normally – with padding – it gets lumpy and out of shape within a year but the way it is used and worked in, in STEAKS the padding stays just where you need it. The lycra material also has not stretched or gone out of shape yet – with my top or my pants.
Do you use the Shank Tank for other sports other than roller derby?
I don’t actually. Because I do not do any other sports anymore. I wear the Men’s Crash pants in the gym when lifting weights but while I do not use them for the padding I like the compression. I am also keen on trying the STEAKS Shinners in the gym because a lot of people who weight lift or power lift use shin guards for protection against the weights hitting their shins. My background, however, is Rugby and if I was still playing Rugby the Shank Tank – especially with the addition of the shoulder and collarbone protection – would be perfect for that.
You tried the final version of The Shank Tank for the first time during the 2018 MRDA Champs in Salem. Can you describe the difference between your prototype top and the new version?
After now wearing my fully-formed Shank Tank in all its glory throughout the 2018 MRDA champs and ensuing training sessions, I can say that the main differences between this and the prototype are that:
- The updated version is a better fit – in terms of sizing for me but also larger straps mean that the Tank does not dig in like the predecessor tended to.
- Padding around the shoulder area gives more comfort when giving hits as a jammer (this would obviously apply to blockers giving hits in this way such as offensive manoeuvres) and lessens the pain and bruising in these areas which I have previously felt after particularly physical games or training sessions.
- The final Tank is also more comfortable in terms of padding placement and distribution of material. The prototype often moved around slightly or rode up and this is not the case now.
How did the Shank Tank finally end up with its name?
Suvi asked surveyed STEAKS® Fans on Facebook, who preordered the first version of the Shank Tank what she should name it and “Shank Tank” was the winner.
And how awkward is that?
Yeah, it is kind of awkward, but I am terribly humbled that the product carries my name and I really hope the people love it.