NoetZ Glove Company doesn’t shy away from creating bold, unique looking goalkeeper gloves, and their latest AZUL glove is no exception. Equipped with removable finger spines, a lightweight neoprene backhand, and grippy Contact latex, these gloves were designed with the professional goalkeeper in mind, and, therefore, are perfect for games and elite level practices in all weather conditions. We put them through their paces to see how well they hold up in goal.
On the palm of the glove, the AZUL features 4mm of German Contact latex which is known to have an incredible grip, one of the best grips you can get on a goalkeeper glove. For this reason, the palms come with a protective plastic layer to keep them from sticking together. This plastic should be peeled off before you wear the gloves for the first time. Since the lower palm is the area where the latex deteriorates the fastest, NoetZ have stitched on a latex abrasion zone made of a more durable latex to combat this deterioration.
The cut is hybrid style, meaning it’s a mix between two different cuts; flat and roll finger. The latex rolls around the fingertips and then turns into a flat cut lower down on the fingers; in between, there are mesh gussets for proper ventilation of the gloves. In addition, there’s a latex extended palm and latex wrapped thumb for increased latex-to-ball contact. Many gloves come equipped with latex wrapped thumbs but not many come equipped with latex extended palms, too, making the AZUL a serious contender for those in search of gloves with as much latex as possible.On the backhand, NoetZ have chosen a full neoprene body with fused rubber shapes on top. Placed at knuckle flex points, the rubber shapes aim to give you more grip and distance when punching the ball away. Underneath the neoprene body there’s a good amount of soft padding for comfort and protection. Moving to closure (how you get the gloves on and secure them), the AZUL features a shortened elastic wrist strap and an 8 cm wide elastic wristband. At the end of the wrist strap, there’s a rubber pull tab to help you wrap the strap around your wrist easier. This feature, while commonly found on many goalkeeper gloves, is very helpful because it prevents the latex fingertips from coming in contact with the velcro on the wrist strap, something that could result in ripping of the delicate latex.
Lastly, the AZUL features removable finger spines in all five fingers, which can be removed through the zipper above the wrist. If you like playing with finger protection, leave them in; if not, you can take some or all of the finger spines out. The NoetZ AZUL FG goalkeeper gloves are available to purchase on Amazon by clicking here.
The grip, the most important part of any goalkeeper glove, is incredible on the NoetZ AZUL. As expected, the 4mm of German Contact latex gets a secure and confident hold on the ball whether you’re jumping up to save a cross or making an intense breakaway save. This grip isn’t just great in dry weather, though; it’s great in all weather conditions, such as sunshine, rain, or snow. Before every match or practice, make sure you dampen the latex palms with water to “activate” the latex and achieve the best grip possible. Also, before you wear the gloves for the first time, make sure you pre-wash them to remove the chemicals that preserve the latex during storing and shipping. These glove care activities should be done with all types of latexes, but especially with professional level latexes such as Contact latex. In terms of durability, the Contact latex holds up decently well. However, as a rule of thumb, the better the grip, the softer the latex, and therefore, the worse the durability. Playing on artificial grass will only expedite this deterioration since turf is harsher on latex palms than natural grass is, so take your playing surface into account before you opt for professional level latex. Also, since this is a professional latex, durability is not the greatest concern; if you’re looking for a latex with better durability, look into Giga Grip or Super Soft latex.The latex abrasion zone on the lower palm is made out of a harder compound, therefore allowing it to withstand damage better than soft Contact latex does. This abrasion can be caused by one’s technique or just the nature of some saves, so it’s nice to have more durable latex in that area to prolong the life of the gloves. Regarding the latex extended palms, I thoroughly enjoy gloves that have them since they get a more safe, secure hold on the ball.Regarding the cut, the mix between flat and roll finger feels comfortable on hand. However, I noticed that the fingers feel a bit weird both with and without the finger spines in. With them in, the fingers feel very tight; this tightness took some time to get used to. You can really feel the finger spines pressing up against the back of your fingers when they’re in the gloves. Lower down, it feels less tight and quite comfortable because that’s where the latex is cut flat style (the flat cut is known to have a loose fit and boxier appearance). When you take the finger spines out, though, the lower part of the fingers start to feel too loose. NoetZ purposely did this to make room for the finger spines when they’re in the gloves, but I feel like this could’ve been designed better. I don’t usually like using finger spines, but I found myself using them in these gloves to avoid that loose, overly roomy fit. The mesh gussets do an awesome job of regulating air flow in and out of the gloves, especially on hot summer days.The AZUL’s backhand is quite different from the majority of backhands I see on goalkeeper gloves; instead of being made of latex, NoetZ have chosen neoprene for the backhand and the glove body. This material is lightweight, comfortable, and flexible, so it’s easy to see why NoetZ chose it. Because it feels quite slick and smooth to the touch, NoetZ put fused rubber shapes on top of the knuckles to give you grip when punching the ball. Inside the glove, backing foam and soft padding provide an extremely comfortable fit on hand. However, I do have one bone to pick with the backhand. When the finger spines are out of the gloves, there is a lot of excess space in the backhand area; the glove doesn’t really fit close to your hand, contributing even more to the already loose fit. When the finger spines are in, though, this isn’t a problem because they take up that extra space. Again, this is something I think NoetZ could’ve improved on in the design process; it seems to me that these gloves fit best only when there are finger spines in them.The closure sees another problem which, according to NoetZ, has since been fixed. The shortened elastic wrist strap was too short to the point where you couldn’t get it to reach the velcro on the wristband without it feeling too tight. The strap just needed some extra length for a more comfortable fit, something NoetZ have since sorted out. Prolonging the life of the gloves, the rubber pull tab at the end of the wrist strap prevents the latex fingertips from touching the velcro on the wrist strap, something that can result in small rips and tears of the delicate latex. The 8 cm wide elastic wristband is the perfect width; it’s soft, stretchy, and fits comfortably on my wrist. Regarding finger protection, the five removable finger spines do a good job of preventing your fingers from hyperextending when hard shots come your way. While the NoetZ AZUL goalkeeper glove has a few minor flaws, it really is a glove that you feel confident wearing in intense games. The professional level grip and comfortably snug fit (when the finger spines are in, of course) make it a worthy option for goalkeepers on the hunt for a new pair of quality game gloves. Not to mention, you won’t find a design as cool as this one on any other glove currently on the market. However, you have to weigh the pros and cons since these gloves cost ninety US dollars, and that’s not very cheap. So, think about how much you’re willing to spend, what surface you play on, how long you’d like them to last, and what kind of grip you’re looking for. If you have any questions regarding goalkeeper gloves or soccer equipment in general, feel free to ask us; we’re here to help you make informed buying decisions and get exactly what you’re looking for in soccer gear.