How to Make Your Soccer Cleats Last Longer

HTBSoccerCleats
Everyone wants their soccer cleats to last as long as possible, but many players do one thing that can seriously ruin them; wearing them on pavement. Walking from the soccer field to your car, it probably doesn’t cross your mind that you might be doing damage…but as you walk, the pavement is eating away at the plastic studs on the bottom of your cleats. This is how you can prevent it:

SSYAD078285-2Slip Into a Pair of Slides or Sneakers

This is a popular solution that we see many players, especially high school and collegiate players, adopting. At a highly competitive or elite level, it’s not reasonable to let your top-tier soccer cleats deteriorate at a much faster rate. It’s important to keep them in the best shape possible to ensure the longest lifespan possible. Since many top-tier cleats don’t have a very long lifespan to begin with (most last just one full season if you’re lucky), taking them off on the field and slipping into a pair of soccer slides or sneakers is strongly recommended. You can pick up a pair of slides for yourself on Amazon.

Cleatskins PremierSlip on a Pair of Cleatskins

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of untying and pulling off your soccer cleats, you can simply slip on a pair of Cleatskins instead. Cleatskins are thin, rubber cleat covers for soccer (and every other cleated sport for that matter) that easily slip over your cleats so you don’t have to worry about wearing down the plastic studs on the soleplate. They can be worn on all surfaces and in all weather, and the flexible Compression Molded Rubber shell ensures a proper fit no matter what cleat brand or model. When they get too dirty, simply throw them into the washing machine to make them as clean as new. Cleatskins are convenient for running those quick errands before or after games and practices, making trips to the bathroom or concession stand at tournaments, or even driving because of their sneaker-like outsole. They’re suitable for players of all ages and come in a variety of colors. You can pick up a pair for yourself on Amazon.1 - Soccer Slide

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Uhlsport Eliminator Supersoft Bionik Goalkeeper Glove Review

IMG_6419The Uhlsport Eliminator Supersoft Bionik is a relaxed fitting, flat cut goalkeeper glove with a good grip in dry weather. It comes equipped with a latex punching zone, high quality finger protection, a breathable textile body, and SUPERSOFTPLUS latex foam. They’re available to purchase on Amazon.

IMG_6424Tech Specs

Palm: SUPERSOFTPLUS latex foam.

Cut: Ergonomically pre-curved flat cut with breathable textile gussets.

Backhand: Embossed soft latex with SCHOCKZONE latex area for punching. Breathable textile body.

Closure: 5.5 cm wide latex wrist strap set on a 7 cm wide elastic wristband.

Finger Protection: Newly developed & patented BIONIKFRAME technology for advanced stabilization of the fingers and lightweight protection. Designed to mimic the natural arrangement and operation of the musculature of the human hand.

The Uhlsport Eliminator Supersoft Bionik Goalkeeper Gloves are available in sizes 7-11 for around seventy US dollars on Amazon.

IMG_6429My Thoughts

Palm: When kept damp (as suggested), the SUPERSOFTPLUS latex palm gets a very good grip on the ball and holds onto shots with ease. I did not experience any problems with grip in dry weather. Usually when a glove has a great grip it sacrifices on durability, but that’s not the case with the Eliminator Supersoft Bionik. The durability is pretty good; the latex palms can withstand moderate to intense use without getting any major rips or tears which is impressive. However, this may differ with different players’ diving techniques and the type of grass they’re used on (firm, natural grass is advised; artificial grass, like turf, is more likely to eat up the latex).

IMG_6449Cut: The cut is where I loose my liking for this glove. Personally, I’m not a fan of flat cuts because of the lack of latex compared to other cuts (roll finger, negative, etc.) and also because of the loose fit. I prefer snug fitting gloves in general because of my slim, skinny fingers. If you have wider fingers or have had a good experience with flat cuts in the past, then this glove is a viable option for you. There is a noticeable amount of wiggle room in the fingers making this not the best choice for goalkeepers with slim fingers like me. However, it’s a great option for keepers with larger, wider fingers. The textile gussets add to the breathability and comfort of the gloves.

IMG_6451IMG_6450Backhand: The embossed soft latex on the backhand adds to the flexibility and comfort of the Eliminator Supersoft Bionik, making it more suitable as a game glove than a training glove. The SCHOCKZONE latex area on top of the knuckles is great for punching the ball away with power. The breathable textile body is very flexible and comfy on hand, and it adds to the breathability of the gloves because it’s exposed above the wrist, on the thumb, and in between the fingers ensuring proper ventilation for those hot summer days.

IMG_6446IMG_6432IMG_6436Closure: The 5.5 cm wide latex wrist strap combined with the 7 cm wide elastic wristband makes for a very secure and supportive fit once the strap is wrapped around your wrist. The latex wrist strap connects with velcro at two points so you won’t have to adjust the strap during play; the connection is well secured. I do wish the elastic wristband was wider for an even more comfortable and secure fit, though; it runs a bit too short for my liking.

IMG_6439IMG_6444Fit: The Uhlsport Eliminator Supersoft Bionik is definitely a relaxed fitting glove. If you have skinny or slim hands, I recommend staying away from these gloves and looking at what else Uhlsport has to offer unless you do want a loose fit. The BIONIKFRAME finger protection is flexible and not overly restrictive; you hardly even notice that it’s there, When a hard, fast shot is flying your way and your fingers need that backup protection, it gets the job done very well. It’s by far the most technologically advanced, comfortable, lightweight, and protective finger protection system I’ve seen equipped on a goalkeeper glove.

IMG_6411Overall, the Eliminator Supersoft Bionik is an impressive game glove for middle or high school goalkeepers. It’s an okay option for collegiate goalkeepers and above, but at that level, I’d recommend some of Uhlsport’s gripper game gloves. It has a good grip in dry weather, a comfortable, relaxed, breathable fit, and an incredible finger protection system. Due to its loose, relaxed fit, it is best suited for goalkeepers with larger, wider hands. You can pick up a pair for yourself on Amazon.IMG_6401

Adidas Gloro 16.1 Soccer Cleat Review

adidas gloro 16.1 soccer cleatsA more affordable and modern version of the beloved Copa Mundial, the adidas Gloro 16.1 soccer cleat offers a soft kangaroo leather toe box, a synthetic leather midfoot, and eleven conical studs. Priced around one hundred ten US dollars, it’s a simple yet effective and affordable boot for players in search of a classic look and a comfortable fit. They’re available to purchase in a variety of colors on Amazon.

IMG_1793Tech Specs

Made for firm ground pitches, the outsole features only conical studs and a comfort frame for stability. An EVA insole absorbs some of the shock on hard, dry fields. With a soft kangaroo leather toe box, the Gloro 16.1 offers that classic leather touch while the synthetic midfoot provides stability for powerful strikes.

-Premium K-leather vamp with synthetic leather in heel for great combination of softness and stability

-Synthetic lining for a lockdown fit and step-in comfort

-Die-cut EVA insole for lightweight comfort and shock absorption

-Flexible TPU firm ground outsole with comfort frame and eleven conical studs

The adidas Gloro 16.1 is available in a variety of colors for around one hundred ten US dollars on Amazon.

IMG_1833My Thoughts

Breaking In & Fit: Within the first day of testing the Gloro 16.1 out, I did not experience any pain, discomfort, or have an awkward fit. They fit perfectly right out of the box and hug my feet nice and snug. That being said, there really isn’t a “break in” period for these boots; they feel very comfortable from the first time playing in them and only get more comfortable the more you wear them. The fit isn’t too tight or narrow; it feels pretty snug at first, but the kangaroo leather stretches over time making for a more comfortable fit that should fit most foot types. The adidas Gloro 16.1 runs true to size.

IMG_1841Performance: The Gloro 16.1 has proven to be a very good and high quality boot for its relatively low price point (MSRP is one hundred ten US dollars). The kangaroo leather toe box is pretty soft right out of the box, but gets even softer and stretches the more you wear the boots. It offers a nice padded leather sensation when dribbling or striking the ball. What’s so great about the Gloro 16.1 having a synthetic midfoot is that it’s extremely stable and supportive, allowing you to achieve maximum power when striking the ball. I had no issues with the perforated synthetic lining; the step-in comfort you get when putting on the boots is impressive. The lockdown you can achieve with the Gloro is also quite impressive. The outsole features a comfort frame for stability, and that definitely holds true from my experience testing these boots. The eleven conical studs (seven up front, four at the back) get great traction on firm, natural ground surfaces, like dry grass. They penetrate the ground well and allow you to turn easier with the ball at your feet. Note that the Gloro is not designed or made for artificial grass; it’s strictly intended for firm ground use only.

IMG_1845IMG_1851Durability & Looks: I really don’t foresee the Gloro 16.1 having any durability issues, especially since the back quarter and heel are synthetic. After testing these boots for two months, I have not found any signs of deterioration or possible durability issues. However, because the toe box is kangaroo leather, that area is most susceptible to deterioration; it’s known that k-leather doesn’t hold up too well when exposed to wet or sloppy weather. To attempt to combat this, looking after your cleats and washing them after those exposures is advised. The Gloro 16.1 definitely sports a simple and classic look with it’s “Vivid Red” upper and three adidas white stripes on both the lateral and medial side of the boot. There’s nothing too extravagant or out of the ordinary with these boots, making them a nice, basic option for all that take a liking to these. They also come in other colors such as black, white, and blue.

IMG_1866Overall, the Gloro 16.1 is a boot focused on simplicity and comfort and for a very competitive price of one hundred ten US dollars (MSRP). It’s definitely a more modern and affordable version of the traditional Copa Mundial, with much needed modern improvements such as the weight-saving synthetic midfoot and the comfort frame outsole. You can purchase a pair for yourself on Amazon.IMG_1807

Bend-It Knuckle-It Pro Soccer Ball Review

IMG_0427The Knuckle-It Pro is an eight panel soccer ball designed to help you visually see improvement in your knuckle kicking with Bend-It’s Visual Response Color technology. Bend-It has also developed Valve Position Marker technology that shows you precise foot placement—the “sweet-spot” position—on the ball, the valve. It ships inflated and ready to go and is available to purchase on Amazon.

IMG_0431Tech Specs

-100% PU (polyurethane) wet prismatic latex gripping textured leather with four layers of inner lining

-Visual Response Color technology helps you visually track knuckle ball movement so you can perfect the knuckle ball kick

-Valve Position Marker technology shows the precise foot placement, the sweet-spot position on soccer balls, to help you generate additional power off your foot

-Knuckle-It Pro soccer balls ship inflated and ready to go out the box and they stay inflated for months

-All Bend-It soccer balls retain air for months due to their high-performance, high bounce butyl bladder which holds air ten times longer than any other FIFA official match ball bladder they’ve tested

-The seamless surface thermal bonded construction ensures the tightest seams and the most spherical shape possible in a match quality soccer ball

-All Bend-It soccer balls are Fair Trade with no child labor used in their global sources (verified manufacturing plants)

-Meets FIFA, NFHS and NCAA regulations on shape, circumference, size, weight, rebound and water absorption uptake and meets International Matchball Standard (IMS) regulations

-All Bend-It soccer balls ship inflated in an eco-friendly shipping box for your convenience and immediate use

The Bend-It Knuckle-It Pro is available to purchase on Amazon.

IMG_0434The Verdict

After months of testing, the Knuckle-It Pro soccer ball has thoroughly impressed me. For starters, it feels very cushioned yet lightweight when shooting, juggling, and passing with it. The colors on the ball, while very bold and out there, make it easy to track when the ball is soaring through the air, a design that I find to be very helpful especially for those looking to improve their knuckleballs. Bend-It calls this their “Visual Response Color” technology, basically fancy words for circles and rings of bright colors all over the ball. The outer surface of the ball surprisingly feels very premium and nice to the touch. I was skeptical if it would actually feel this premium considering it costs around fifty US dollars and not one hundred fifty US dollars like most, if not all, official match balls, but to my surprise, it does feel very high quality. It’s very similar to the texture of high quality match balls such as the ones used in the UEFA Champions League and MLS. The Knuckle-It Pro, along with all of Bend-It’s other models, meets FIFA, NFHS and NCAA regulations on shape, circumference, size, weight, rebound and water absorption intake. Their “Value Position Marker” technology highlights the “sweet spot” of the soccer ball, the valve, which noticeably does offer a bit more powerful strike when kicked. To put it short, the Bend-It Knuckle-It Pro has definitely impressed me and I thoroughly enjoy shooting and training with it. I often find myself taking this ball along with me for shooting sessions because of its easily trackable design, premium feel, and butyl bladder that retains air for months at a time; yes, months. How great is it to not have to refill a soccer ball with air every other week or so? Well, I’ll tell you; it feels great. In terms of price, the Knuckle-It Pro comes in around the fifty US dollar range which, for a ball trying to compete with official match balls that retail around one hundred fifty US dollars, is quite a good deal. It definitely beats out many of the soccer balls in its own price range. For more information or if you’re interested in purchasing, visit Amazon.IMG_0448

Which Soccer Shin Guards Should You Buy?

Soccer Shin GuardsWhile shin guards may not be fun to wear, they’re just as necessary as soccer cleats or a jersey. After all, they do protect you from painful shin injuries and, depending on the type of shin guard, they may protect you from ankle injuries, too. Today we’re going to be discussing the two main types of shin guards and which model is the best in that category.

818tgk-DKjL._SL1500_Slip-In Shin Guards

Arguably the most popular among professional, high school, and collegiate players, slip-in shin guards are lightweight, thin, and easy to insert or remove. They usually come with a pair of sleeves to keep them in place, or they can be held steady with stays or tape. If your socks are snug enough, the guards technically can be worn alone, but this isn’t recommend since, regardless of your position, they will most likely end up sliding around in your socks and become a hassle trying to keep in place.

A1QUbVtyBCL._SL1500_cobra shin guardsBest Pick: Cobra Shin Guards

Having worn Nike, adidas, and Puma slip-in shin guards for years, none quite compare to Cobra shin guards. Constructed of a lightweight, high-impact material, Cobra shin guards are remoldable year after year, meaning you get a truly custom fit tailored to your leg shape. Nike, adidas, and Puma only sell pre-molded plastic shin guards, and while they are lightweight, you’re stuck with the pre-determined fit that might not fit your legs perfectly. With Cobra shin guards, you can mold them to fit your legs specifically, and if your leg shape ever changes, there’s no limit to how many times you can remold them. In addition to providing a custom fit, the comfortable, closed-cell foam on the inside of the guards eliminates odor, the high-impact material on the outside protects against hits, and the double layer sleeves (comes free with each pair of shin guards) hold the guards in place better than any other shin guard sleeve on the market. For only a couple more dollars than Nike, adidas, or Puma’s most popular slip-in shin guards, Cobra shin guards will last for years and will provide you with a truly custom, comfortable, protective fit. You can pick up a pair for yourself here and read our full review here.

4e92c611-c782-4712-8287-dbac30241a4eAnkle Shin Guards

Because of the additional protection they provide, ankle shin guards are most popular with youth or intermediate players. This type of shin guard offers additional padding on both sides of the ankle to shield it from kicks and features a stirrup running underneath the foot to keep the padding in place. It also features an elastic strap that wraps around the calf to provide a secure fit. Some ankle guards can be removed from the shin guard.

espinillera-nike-protegga-flex-pl.jpgBest Pick: Nike Protegga Flex Shin Guards

The Nike Protegga Flex shin guards are an all around durable, comfortable, and protective pair of shin guards that will last a long time. Crafted from a high quality K-resin material, they provide superior protection and coverage from abrasions and tackles on the field. The anatomically correct shell and soft EVA foam backing absorbs the force of impact and offers a comfortable and protective fit while the reinforced padding protects both the ankle and the achilles tendon. The ankle guard is removable on the Protegga Flex, therefore allowing you to choose the level of protection you want. The elastic strap at the top wraps around your calf, ensuring a secure fit. The Protegga Flex is available in a variety of colors, giving you many choices to choose from. You can pick up a pair for yourself on Amazon.

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Cobra Custom Moldable Shin Guards Review

IMG_4796When you buy a new pair of shin guards, you’re often stuck with the lackluster fit that the pre-molded plastic provides. You no longer have to settle for that pre-determined fit since Cobra Shinguards have created re-moldable shin guards that provide a truly custom, comfortable fit, tailored specifically to your leg shape. In addition to being re-moldable year after year, they also remain stink free due to their closed-cell foam and come with a free pair of Cobra shin guard sleeves that keep your guards sandwiched in place at all times. They’re available for just $29 USD per pair here.

Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 11.59.28 PMTech Specs

Moldable: Cobra Shin Guards fit perfectly on your shin since they’re able to be molded specifically to your shins. The custom molding technique ensures a tight fit around your leg and eliminates bulky looking shin guards. They provide you with a light, comfortable, custom fit, are made of durable, high-impact material, and are re-moldable, so they grow with you as the shape of your legs change.

No more tape or straps: Cobra shin guard sleeves come with every pair of shin guards, keep your shin guards in place, and allow proper blood circulation for your legs so they can function without fatigue throughout the entire game. They perfectly cover the size of the shin guards and keep them steady in place while offering a comfortable fit.

Stink Free: Cobra Shin Guards are made of a closed-cell foam used for odor control while still providing cushioned comfort.

Cobra Shin Guards are available in sizes small, medium, and large for $29 USD per pair here.

IMG_4813IMG_4815My Thoughts

When I first learned about the ability to custom mold your own shin guards, I was very excited to try it out and discover if it was actually effective. Now, having molded them and worn them, I’m even more impressed than the mere thought of being able to do such a thing.

To create the perfect, custom, molded fit, you simply place the guards (plastic face down) in a large pot/pan with one inch of almost boiling water in it. Wait one minute or until they’re soft and pliable before taking them out; in the mean time, put the Cobra sleeve on with the top of the sleeve just below the knee. The center seam should be positioned above your ankle where you want the bottom of your shin guard to be. Using a spatula, lift the shin guards out of the water and place them on a dry towel, gently wiping off any excess water. Immediately place the shinguard on your leg where you would like them molded. With the guard still warm and pliable, pull the lower half of the sleeve up over the guard. The guard should now be sandwiched between one layer of the sleeve underneath and another layer folded over the top. Use your hands to form the guard to the contour of your leg; the guards will mold to the exact contour of your legs, so remain standing while the guards cool off and harden. Leave the guards on for a total of 5 to 10 minutes.

A1QUbVtyBCL._SL1500_Once I completed the quick and simple molding process, I noticed how well the guards fit the shape of my legs. For years, I’ve been stuck wearing $20-$30 plastic Nike shin guards that always slid around, no matter how much I taped them; I’m beyond glad that, coupled with the double layer Cobra shin guard sleeves, these guards stay perfectly in place. The guards feel very comfortable and lightweight on my legs while playing; I hardly even notice I’m wearing them. The double layer Cobra shin guard sleeves are hourglass-shaped; you turn them inside out, pull them on your legs, pull the ‘top half’ up over the ‘bottom half’, and then slide the shin guards in. I found that this type of sleeve does an incredible job of keeping the guards in place at all times, much better than the subpar job Nike’s shin guard sleeves do. When playing soccer under the hot, sweaty sun in the summer, it’s very common to come home drenched in sweat, and have all of your gear, including your shin guards, smelling stinky. I am glad that shin guard stench is now one less thing to worry about since these guards are stink free due to the odor control closed-cell foam. For just $29 USD per pair, a comparable price to plastic Nike and adidas shin guards that you cannot custom mold to the shape of your legs, these Cobra shin guards are an incredible bargain and will be the only pair of shin guards you’ll ever need, since they’re re-moldable year after year. For more information or if you’re interested in purchasing, click here and check them out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.IMG_4792IMG_4794

glovestix

GloveStix Sports Gear Odor Control Review

glovestixGloveStix are a patent pending odor management system that, when placed into your sports gloves or shoes after practice or games, absorb harmful moisture, eliminate odors, and inhibit 99.9% of odor-causing bacteria growth on the product surface. They work well in lacrosse gloves, hockey gloves, goalkeeper gloves, skates, sneakers, boots, boxing gloves, and more. They’re available to purchase here.

glovestixTech Specs

-Patent pending odor management system

-Designed to easily insert into gloves and shoes when not in use

-Comes with 2 deodorizing insert bags

-Works over a 24 hour time period

-Infused with Silver Seal Technology that provides antimicrobial protection

-Absorbs harmful moisture and eliminates odors

-Inhibits 99.9% of odor-causing bacteria growth on the product surface

-Fresh scented insert should be replaced every 90 days for optimum performance

-Fits lacrosse gloves, hockey gloves, goalkeeper gloves, skates, sneakers, boots, boxing gloves, and more

GloveStix are available for $29.99 USD per pair here.

glovestixglovestixMy Thoughts

After testing the GloveStix in both a stinky pair of soccer cleats and a sweaty pair of goalkeeper gloves, I am truly impressed with how well the product works. They do an amazing job of eliminating the odor and moisture in my cleats and gloves in just 24 hours, which is super convenient if you have practice or games two days in a row. I come home from practice, put the GloveStix in my cleats, and they are as fresh as new and ready to go for the next day. All the moisture miraculously gets absorbed by the sticks, and the foul, sweaty odor is eliminated. GloveStix were also able to absorb the moisture in my goalkeeper gloves, keeping them dry, comfortable, and stink-free. It’s uncomfortable to put back on damp, sweaty, smelly gloves after a hot summer session; thankfully, with GloveStix, I don’t have to anymore. The two fresh scented inserts last for about 3 months (depending on the amount of moisture in the shoes or gloves) before they need to be replaced. Refill bags are available for $7.95 USD (Set of 2) on their website. For $29.99 USD per pair, GloveStix are a great investment for players with stinky sports equipment. They are capable of working in lacrosse gloves, hockey gloves, goalkeeper gloves, skates, sneakers, boots, boxing gloves, and more. Overall, I am very satisfied with how well GloveStix held up to their odor eliminating, moisture absorbing, and bacteria inhibiting claims and definitely recommend them to all athletes with stinky gear. You can pick up a pair for yourself here. glovestixglovestix

New Balance Audazo Pro Turf Soccer Shoe Review

IMG_8831Designed for small-sided play on 3g surfaces, the Audazo Pro Turf soccer shoe features a lightweight synthetic upper and an aggressive texture toe cap to deliver lightweight performance, fit and feel made for a true competitor. Traction and support take center field with an Ndurance rubber outsole combined with Pro Bank technology and a REVlite midsole. They’re available on Amazon.

IMG_8819Tech Specs

The Audazo Pro Turf shoe features a synthetic/mesh upper that is breathable and flexible. Plus, the rubber molded outsole offers a superior grip, comfort and durability on 3g surfaces.

  • Additional widths
  • Lightweight, cut-out, rubber turf outsole for specific use on turf pitches
  • Printed graphic visible through transparent rubber outsole
  • Removable Fresh Foam insert
  • REVlite midsole with Pro bank insert for added support during cutting movements
  • Synthetic vamp and medial quarters
  • Textured toe bumper for durability
  • TPU and mono mesh lateral for increased breathability

The New Balance Audazo Pro Turf shoes are available in sizes 7-13 (including half sizes) for approx. $100 USD on Amazon.

IMG_8828IMG_8838My Thoughts

Fit & Breaking In: The Audazo Pro Turf is definitely not a shoe that you can take out of the box and immediately play a game in. Because the synthetic upper and rubber outsole is initially pretty rigid, you need to take baby steps in breaking in these shoes to achieve the most comfortable fit. After wearing the shoes for several practices and training sessions, I found that the flexibility and comfort had gradually increased the more I played in them. In terms of the fit, I went with my usual size 7.5 although the fit was a bit tighter than usual. New Balance suggests ordering a 1/2 size bigger than your typical NB size since the shoes have a “performance fit.” The shoe itself seems to be a bit on the narrow side.

IMG_8844IMG_8841Feel & Touch: Once broken in, the shoes feel very comfortable on feet. The mesh tongue allows for decent breathability since the synthetic upper doesn’t allow for much. The flexible synthetic upper, although not very breathable, gets a great touch on the ball and has a pingy sensation when striking the ball. Although it doesn’t offer as nice of a touch as a leather turf shoe (specifically the adidas Mundial Team), the durability that comes with this synthetic upper is well worth it. Priced similarly to most other popular turf shoes on the market, the Audazo Pro Turf offers a great touch on the ball that makes it worth checking out, especially if you’re looking to try something that’s not from Nike, adidas or Puma.

IMG_8835IMG_8849Performance: Due to the high quality synthetic upper and the texture toe bumper, the durability of the Audazo Pro Turf is great. Having worn these shoes for several months now, I have not experienced any deterioration or issues with durability and I do not foresee these problems in the future. The rubber turf outsole gets an amazing grip on 3g surfaces, making this a serious contender for Nike, adidas and Puma turf shoes. I had no problem changing directions, accelerating, decelerating or making sharp turns while wearing these shoes. The removable Fresh Foam insert is very thin, lightweight and offers great comfort. The REVlite midsole, composed of a foam compound, allows for a very comfortable, supportive and responsive ride. The internal heel counter locks your foot in place for extra stability.

IMG_8850IMG_8855IMG_8837Overall, the New Balance Audazo Pro Turf shoes offer almost everything a good pair of turf shoes should have; comfort, stability, a great grip and a good touch, but they lack breathability. This may not be a deal breaker for many players but it’s worth noting as your feet could get pretty sweaty in there. For approx. $100 USD, the Audazo Pro Turf is a great contender for many of the popular turf shoes already on the market and is a worthwhile option for those looking to try a shoe from someone other than the big three brands Nike, adidas and Puma. For more information or if you’re interested in purchasing, visit Amazon and check them out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.IMG_8829

Mauer Obenkrieger Goalkeeper Glove Review

IMG_2876The uniquely named Obenkrieger from Mauer Athletics is not only an affordable goalkeeper glove, but it’s a durable and comfortable, too. Designed by a goalkeeper tired of spending hundreds of dollars on goalkeeper gloves a month, the Obenkrieger delivers on everything one could wish for in a pair of gloves. These $55 goalkeeper gloves, suitable for games or high level practices, feature a Quartz latex palm with an abrasion zone, a negative cut, a latex backhand, and an elastic wrist strap for an all-around snug and ergonomic fit. They’re available on mauerathletics.com.

IMG_2878Tech Specs

Palm: 4mm of Quartz latex. Abrasion zone strategically placed on the lower palm to protect against wear and tear where the latex typically rips the fastest.

Cut: Negative cut. Perforated latex gussets.

Backhand: Embossed Super Soft latex. Air mesh body.

Closure: Elastic wrist strap on a 7 cm wide elastic wristband. Pull tab stitched onto the elastic wristband.

Finger Protection: 4 non-removable fingersaves are optional.

The Mauer Obenkrieger Goalkeeper Gloves are available in sizes 7-10 for $55 USD on mauerathletics.com.

IMG_2877The Rundown

Palm: After several months of testing, the 4mm of Quartz latex has proven to be very durable and has held onto its good grip in both dry and wet weather. Despite working well in both types of weather conditions, the grip performs better in dry weather than in wet weather. The 4mm of latex never felt too thin nor too padded when catching the ball. The strategically placed abrasion zone on the lower palm serves its purpose well; it effectively protects the underlying Quartz latex from frequent wear and tear. When diving to make a save, especially on turf, the lower palm is the area most prone to serious latex deterioration and damage since latex material is generally very delicate. The abrasion zone, which is composed of a much tougher latex, counteracts this easy wear and tear by covering that most delicate area.

IMG_2886IMG_2895IMG_2896Cut: This negative cut fits just like any other negative cut; snug and with minimal wiggle room. If you have slim, narrow fingers like me then this isn’t a problem for you, but if you have fingers on the thicker side, I would recommend staying away from this cut unless you’ve had a positive experience with it in the past. In terms of durability, there are several miniature tears in the latex at the tips of the fingers after several months of use, which is very common with negative cuts. The more you play in the gloves, the worse it gets, but I haven’t had any significantly sized chunks of latex come out yet. The perforated latex gussets increase latex-to-ball contact providing a more seamless feel when catching the ball, and the mini holes on both sides of each finger increase air flow and breathability so your fingers don’t get too hot and sweaty inside the snug negative cut.

IMG_2892IMG_2894Backhand: The embossed Super Soft latex backhand adds to the flexible fit and comfortable feel of the Obenkrieger. Not once did I feel like I didn’t have free motion or flexibility while testing these gloves. The exposed air mesh body on crucial parts of the backhand allows my hands to breathe and prevents them from getting too hot at any given point, however, I would have liked to see a bit less latex and a bit more exposed mesh on the backhand. The embossed latex flex grooves over the fingers increase the flexibility of the fingers and make them easier to bend.

IMG_2885IMG_2903Closure: The elastic wrist strap is a nice feature since it allows you to adjust your own personal fit. It’s guaranteed to fit just about everyone since you can stretch it and wrap it however many times you like. I would have like to see Mauer Athletics add a rubberized tab to the end of the wrist strap to grab onto when wrapping the strap around your wrist, however, it’s not a dealbreaker. The 7 cm wide elastic wristband is comfortable, stretchy, and fits nice and snug on my wrists. The pull tab stitched onto the elastic wristband makes getting on the gloves much quicker and easier, but I can’t help but wonder when it’s going to snap off. In the few months I’ve been testing the gloves it hasn’t ripped off, but it’s a thought that occurs in my mind every time I put the gloves on. The nylon tab feels thin and cheap, which is understandable since the gloves don’t cost $100+ USD, but I would prefer a more secure, durable pull tab.

IMG_2879IMG_2884Fit: Primarily due to the negative cut, the Obenkrieger is an overall snug-fitting goalkeeper glove. There’s not much excess space inside the glove so if you like a snug, hand-hugging fit, this is the glove for you. From the closure to the fingers, the Obenkrieger is designed to hug your hand and offer you the most snug, comfortable fit possible.

IMG_2898Final Thoughts

The durability, comfort, and great fit is what you’re paying for with the Mauer Obenkrieger. The Quartz latex holds up very well and offers a good grip in all weather conditions while the negative cut and latex backhand aids in the comfort of the gloves. Additional features such as an abrasion zone, a pull tab, exposed mesh for breathability, and flex grooves for flexibility make this glove even better, and at a price of $55 USD, the Obenkrieger is an all-around great bargain that is worth looking into if you’re in the market for a new pair of affordable game or top training gloves. For more information or if you’re interested in purchasing, visit mauerathletics.com and check them out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.IMG_2874IMG_2904

HPG Jon Busch Goalkeeper Glove Review

IMG_3126Designed and endorsed by MLS veteran goalkeeper Jon Busch, these goalkeeper gloves from High Performance Goalkeeping aren’t just for the pros. Featuring a grippy Contact latex palm, a negative cut, a lightweight latex backhand, and an extended latex palm, these gloves are well-qualified for match play. They are available for $84.95 USD on hpgoalkeeping.com.

IMG_3133Tech Specs

Palm: Green professional Contact latex.

Cut: Negative cut with latex gussets, a latex wrapped thumb, and an extended latex palm.

Backhand: Black soft german latex on an air mesh body.

Closure: 4.5 cm wide soft latex wrist strap on a 7.5 cm wide elastic wristband.

Finger Protection: None.

The HPG Jon Busch Goalkeeper Gloves are available in sizes 7-11 for $84.95 USD on hpgoalkeeping.com.

IMG_3149IMG_3150The Rundown

Palm: Although High Performance Goalkeeping has not specified how thick the palm latex is, I would estimate it to be about 4mm thick, the thickness of most glove palms. The palm doesn’t feel too thin nor too thick when catching the ball; it feels just the right amount of thickness to feel confident when making a save. Contact latex is one of the best and highest quality latexes you can buy, so I wasn’t surprised to see it on these $84.95 match gloves. In addition to providing a great grip in all weather conditions, the Contact latex holds up very well, too. After several months of testing, there are very few signs of latex deterioration; only minor tears on the lower palm and at the top of the negative cut fingers which is very common.

IMG_3153IMG_3155IMG_3151Cut: This negative cut fits perfectly on my slim fingers. There is very little wiggle room in the fingers which is great if you like a finger-hugging, snug fit. If you have thicker fingers, I recommend staying away from negative cuts unless you’ve had a positive experience with them in the past, but just note that this one is pretty snug. Having latex gussets instead of mesh gussets make catching the ball a much more seamless and confident catch knowing that you’ve got 100% latex coverage. However, because the gussets are latex and not mesh, you compromise on breathability. HPG makes up for this on the backhand, though. Lastly, the latex wrapped thumb and extended latex palm increase latex-to-ball contact, therefore increasing confidence when making saves. Getting as much latex on the ball as possible is crucial to making a save, so it’s great to see HPG keep that in mind while designing these gloves. Also, since the gloves cost $84.95, I expected to see features like those on these gloves.

IMG_3156IMG_3147Backhand: The soft german latex backhand is noticeably high quality and adds to the comfiness of the gloves. For gloves costing $84.95, I wouldn’t expect to see anything other than a high quality latex backhand. The multiple flex grooves across the backhand (over the main four fingers, near the wrist, on the thumb, and at the base of the knuckles) not only make for a very flexible fit, but they eliminate excess, baggy backhand space inside the gloves as well. The air mesh body is exposed a decent amount just above the wrist, allowing for not just air flow and ventilation of the gloves, but also flexibility. However, I would have liked to see more exposed mesh across the backhand as my hands sometimes got pretty hot inside the gloves.

IMG_3140IMG_3148Closure: While the 4.5 cm wide soft latex wrist strap does a decent job of providing a secure fit, it takes several times of re-wrapping it to get the level of tightness that I want. This could be in part due to the 7.5 cm wide elastic wristband not fitting completely snug on my wrists: there is a small gap of room between my skinny wrists and the wristband. The pull tab at the end of the wrist strap is a great feature as it allows me to quickly and easily wrap the strap around my wrist without having to come in contact with the velcro on the strap itself. Again, I expected to see this feature on these gloves considering the $84.95 price tag.

IMG_3135IMG_3158Fit: Overall, these gloves fit snug and very comfortable. There is minimal excess space or bagginess throughout the gloves, especially in the negatively cut fingers and the flexible backhand. They are far from feeling heavy or bulky on hand; they feel very flexible and lightweight yet still protective.

IMG_3146Final Thoughts

Committing to spending $84.95 USD on your next pair of match gloves is not such a bad thing with these HPG Jon Busch goalkeeper gloves. With an abundance of useful features, a grippy Contact latex palm, and a very lightweight, comfy fit, the price is well-justified. I highly recommend picking up a pair of these grippy, durable, and snug match gloves; they have served me well game after game, and I’m sure they will do the same to you, too. For more information or if you’re interested in purchasing, visit hpgoalkeeping.com and check out High Performance Goalkeeping on Facebook, Instagram, and TwitterIMG_3125