Lupos Goalkeeper Glove Review

IMG_3203The first model in Lupos’ goalkeeper glove lineup lacks a proper title, but that doesn’t stop this glove from competing with the big goalkeeping brands for the best training glove title. Equipped with 4mm of Giga Grip Latex on the palm, unremovable fingersaves, a Soft Latex backhand, a roll finger cut and a price of approx. thirty US dollars, these gloves are a bargain and are perfect for training. They’re available on Amazon.

IMG_3195Tech Specs

Palm: 4mm of German Giga Grip Latex.

Cut: Roll finger cut. Latex wrapped thumb.

Backhand: 4mm of Soft Latex on top of 8mm of cushioning foam. Soft mesh body.

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

Extras: 4 unremovable fingersaves.

The Lupos Goalkeeper Gloves are available in sizes 6-11 for around thirty US dollars on Amazon.

IMG_3196My Thoughts

Palm: When I initially tried on these gloves I noticed slight cracking in the latex fingers which caused me to have concerns about the latex’s durability. However, after a pre-wash and multiple training sessions, those concerns quickly went away. I experienced minimal wear and tear in two months of regular training use in wet and dry weather. The 4mm of German Giga Grip Latex proved to be quite durable and high quality for a training glove, and is far better than many of the latex palms on the current training glove options on the market. While not super grippy, the latex kept a decent grip when well-maintained (washed every week or so, depending on wear time), and always felt well-cushioned, never thin or flimsy. For a pair of gloves costing approx. thirty US dollars, I was highly impressed with the cushioning, grip, and durability that this Giga Grip Latex palm provided.

IMG_3204IMG_3216IMG_3201Cut: The roll finger cut feels very slim and narrow on my fingers. Therefore, these gloves would best fit goalkeepers with skinny, narrow fingers. If you have larger, thicker fingers, I recommend staying away from these gloves as the cut fits very snug and there is barely any wiggle room. The latex wrapped thumb increases latex-to-ball contact.

IMG_3208IMG_3218Backhand: I’m glad that these gloves feature a 4mm Soft Latex backhand rather than a cheap plastic backhand found on many similarly priced training gloves because not only is it softer and more flexible, but it offers a more comfortable fit and feel on hand. Coupled with 8mm of cushioning foam, the 4mm of Soft Latex never became slippery in wet or dry weather when punching the ball away nor did it ever feel too thin and unprotective. The soft mesh body allows for some breathability but not a lot. The only places where there’s exposed mesh is on the thumb crotch and right above the wrist. On hot days, my hands got pretty sweaty in these snug gloves but there was not much I could do about it.

IMG_3198IMG_3199Closure: The elastic wrist strap allows the goalkeeper to determine how tight or loose of a fit they want. I mostly prefer elastic wrist straps for this reason, with the exception of extended latex palms where a latex wrist strap is better for the job. It would be a nice touch if Lupos added a rubber pull tab at the end of the strap to prevent the latex fingertips from touching the velcro, but considering that these gloves cost around thirty US dollars, it’s most definitely not a deal breaker. However, if Lupos was marketing these as game gloves, I’d expect to see one on there. The 7cm wide elastic wristband fits comfy and snug on my skinny wrists.

IMG_3211Fit: These are very snug fitting gloves so if you’re a goalkeeper with larger, thicker hands, I recommend staying away from these. If you’re a goalkeeper with skinny, slim hands, then these are perfect for you. The 4 unremovable fingersaves help make these gloves feel very snug on hand, and they do a great job of protecting your fingers from hyperextending without feeling too stiff or rigid. There’s still decent flexibility in the fingers and the more you play in the gloves, the less you realize those fingersaves are there. From the elastic wristband to the roll finger cut, every part of these gloves fit snug, so keep that in mind if you’re considering a pair.

IMG_3200Overall, these Lupos Goalkeeper Gloves are a great practice glove option for goalkeepers looking for a durable, snug fitting, comfortable glove with a decent grip and a low price. It would be nice if they had a proper name, but for approx. thirty US dollars, you really can’t go wrong. For more information or if you’re interested in purchasing, visit Amazon and check them out on Instagram.IMG_3192

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Puma Future 18.1 Netfit

Puma Future 18.1 Netfit Review

Puma Future 18.1 NetfitGone are the days of endlessly searching for the perfect-fitting boot since Puma have recently come out with, quite literally, the Future. Featuring customizable lacing as part of Puma’s new Netfit technology, an evoKNIT ankle sock, and a lightweight Pebax outsole, the revolutionary Future 18.1 Netfit is one of the most accommodating boots on the market, engineered for players of all foot types looking for a truly customizable and form-fitting synthetic football boot. They’re available on Amazon

Puma Future 18.1 NetfitPuma Future 18.1 NetfitThe Look

When I first laid eyes on this Fizzy Yellow/Red Blast/Puma Black colorway, I was captivated by its brightness and unique graphics. “Fizzy Yellow,” which is drenched all over the upper of the Future 18.1 Netfit, is bright but not overwhelmingly so. “Red Blast” is the color of the Puma branding found at the heel, on the soleplate, on the pull tab, and on the lateral side of the boot, and “Puma Black” serves as the dominant color of the digital-esque graphics carrying from the upper to the translucent Pebax soleplate. Personally, I love flashy colorways so I’m all over this one, but for those who aren’t, Puma released a more subtle Puma Black/Fizzy Yellow/Asphalt colorway back in November. Besides the eye-catching colorway, the boot itself definitely looks futuristic (no pun intended). When laced up as Puma’s suggested “the speedster” or “the goal machine” lace configurations, it truly does look like a revolutionary boot with a purpose of innovating the current football boot space. The unique Netfit technology and evoKNIT ankle sock gives the Future 18.1 Netfit a modern look that will surely have players checking them out.

Puma Future 18.1 NetfitPuma Future 18.1 NetfitTech Specs

With a name as bold as “future,” the Future 18.1 Netfit most definitely comes equipped with Puma’s latest technology and features. Their new Netfit technology provides infinite lacing options for any foot shape, lock-down, or style needed, creating a custom, snug fit for top on-pitch performance. When I first learned about this new lacing system, I was intrigued by the innumerable lacing configurations and loved the idea of being able to truly customize your fit. Having tested it out, I’m an even bigger fan of the technology as it allows me to achieve the most snug, foot-hugging fit possible and look cool while doing so. However, lacing the boots does take some time and effort; some of the holes are harder to get the laces through than others, especially near the Puma formstrip on the lateral side of the boots. Also, if you’re in a rush or using too much force, I’m concerned that the lace tips could break. To prevent this from happening, you really have to take your time and be careful with lacing the boots. The evoKNIT ankle sock hugs your ankle nice and snug and makes for a seamless transition from your leg to your foot; you don’t feel one point or area where the boot starts, something you feel with a traditional low cut boot. The Pebax outsole is lightweight and features a combination of conical and bladed studs for flexibility, grip, and maneuverability.

Puma Future 18.1 NetfitThe Touch

Due to the form-fitting synthetic upper and Netfit lacing technology, the Puma Future 18.1 Netfit offers a true, solid touch on the ball. With the Netfit lacing technology laying directly on top of the upper, you get a pingy sensation when striking the ball which I really like; and if you’re worried that the Netfit technology makes the upper feel bulky, it doesn’t. The raised upper (due to the Netfit system laying on top) coupled with a thin protective coating over the toe box provides great grip and texture on the ball which is noticeable during play. Considering the touch the Puma Future 18.1 Netfit provides, I’d say it’s very similar to the first generation Nike Magista Obra which featured a Flyknit upper and sported a similar “honeycomb” pattern. Both boots offer a true, pingy touch when striking the ball.

Puma Future 18.1 NetfitPuma Future 18.1 NetfitPuma Future 18.1 NetfitFit and Feel

As I had originally hoped, the Future 18.1 Netfit was ready to go straight out of the box; there was no break in time needed. The boots feel very comfortable and lightweight on feet, and the Pebax outsole is quite flexible and springy. I like how Puma went with a mix of conical and bladed studs for the soleplate as it provides great traction on both firm ground and artificial grass, making this a viable option for players wanting a single boot to use on both surfaces. The synthetic upper begins to form to your foot after some time playing in the boots, and the lockdown you receive once you lace them to your liking is incredible. Whether you have narrow feet, wide feet, or something in between, you can definitely achieve a comfortable fit and impressive lockdown once you find which lacing configuration is the best for you. If you have narrow feet, I recommend lacing wider to achieve greater lockdown, and if you have wide feet, I recommend lacing more narrow to achieve a comfortable and not overly tight fit. Once I found the configuration that worked for me, I stuck with it, but you can feel free to change up the style if you have a special game or just want to try something different. Despite being able to customize your fit, I found that the toe box was a bit wide. This is good news for players with wide feet, but for players with narrow feet, this just means you don’t get a super snug foot-hugging fit in toe box area. The evoKNIT ankle sock aids in the Future 18.1 Netfit’s comfortable fit as it hugs your ankle nice and snug without being too tight. The sock is very stretchy and so far, it hasn’t loosened up or lost its elasticity, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to anytime soon. The Future 18.1 Netfit fits true to size as I went with my usual size seven and they fit perfect.

Puma Future 18.1 NetfitPuma Future 18.1 NetfitThe Verdict

Overall, the Puma Future 18.1 Netfit is an innovative game changer, one that offers a truly customizable fit and allows for individual creativity. They offer a clean, pingy touch on the ball thanks to the soft, form-fitting synthetic upper. Thanks to Puma’s new Netfit technology, these boots are suitable for both players with narrow and wide feet. The only problem that they presented me with was the difficulty of lacing them in some areas of the Netfit system; I’d like to see Puma improve on this in future generations. Other than that, I’m fully impressed with Puma’s innovative push forward in the boot world and look forward to seeing more of the creativity these unique boots call for. You can pick up a pair for yourself on Amazon. You can check out my unboxing of these boots here and watch how to lace them here. Puma Future 18.1 NetfitPuma Future 18.1 Netfit

Tees of All Time T-Shirt Review

IMG_0100Tees of All Time t-shirts are the perfect gift for all soccer fans, regardless of age or gender. Featuring soccer’s most iconic players and moments, these soft, lightweight t-shirts are made of 100% combed and ring-spun cotton and are available in a variety of different colors on etsy.com/shop/teesofalltime.IMG_0102Tech Specs

-100% combed and ring-spun cotton (heather colors contain polyester)

-Fabric weight: 4.2 oz (142 g/m2)

-Shoulder-to-shoulder taping

-Side-seamed

-Graphic on front

-Handmade item

-Made to order

The Lionel Messi Shirt is available in White, Black, Navy, or Deep Heather and in sizes Small through 2XL for $28.99 USD ($35.00 USD for 2XL) on etsy.com/shop/teesofalltime.IMG_0106IMG_0109The Verdict

Tees of All Time produces high quality t-shirts and hats for the diehard soccer fan. Their expansive range of players, teams, and iconic moments in soccer make this a great gift for a friend or a loved one, or even just a gift for yourself. For a relatively low price, you’re guaranteed a t-shirt that’s lightweight, soft, and with the right amount of stretch, as each shirt is made of 100% combed and ring-spun cotton. If you’re interested in purchasing, visit their Etsy page here and check them out on Facebook and Instagram.IMG_0105IMG_0112

Prime Focus Locus Pro Goalkeeper Glove Review

IMG_0862An outstanding glove from new goalkeeping brand Prime Focus Goalkeeping, the Locus Pro has everything a goalkeeper could want in a goalkeeper glove for just $60. A high quality latex palm coupled with breathable mesh, a latex backhand, fingersaves, and a snug-fitting expanse cut makes the Locus Pro a glove equipped with all the necessities and nothing more. They’re available on primefocusgoalkeeping.com.IMG_0866IMG_0869Tech Specs

Palm: 4mm of German Contact Latex.

Cut: Gecko Roll/Expanse cut. Mesh gussets. Latex wrapped thumb.

Backhand: 3mm of Super Soft Latex on a soft mesh body. Strategically placed latex rubber punch zone over knuckles.

Closure: 5cm wide Super Soft Latex wrist strap on a 9cm wide elastic wristband.

Extras: Removable fingersaves through the zipper above the wrist. Option for customization on the wrist strap.

The Prime Focus Goalkeeping Locus Pro Goalkeeper Gloves are available in sizes 6-10 for $60 USD on primefocusgoalkeeping.com.IMG_0870IMG_0872My Thoughts

What originally seemed to be a simple glove from a promising new goalkeeping brand has turned out to be just that; simple. The Locus Pro is a basic glove that offers the high quality materials necessary to make this a viable game glove option for goalkeepers. With the option of fingersaves, you can choose to keep them in or take them out at your disclosure.IMG_0883IMG_0884Palm: The 4mm of German Contact Latex definitely did not disappoint while I was testing these. The latex has retained its very sticky grip from its first game to the most recent game I played in as well as throughout all of my training sessions. The durability of this latex is quite impressive as well. Usually when a latex is very sticky and grippy it’s normal for it to sacrifice durability, but this German Contact Latex held up quite well during the testing period; there are no major tears or chunks taken out of the latex after multiple games and training sessions and the “stay focused” message on the lower palm remains intact.IMG_0886IMG_0888IMG_0882Cut: The Gecko Roll/Expanse cut fits best on goalkeepers with slim/skinny fingers since it’s a narrow and skinny cut. I personally like the snug fit that this cut provides but it might not be for everyone. The mesh gussets make the cut feel even more comfortable on hand and serves as a great form of ventilation to let heat and sweat out of the gloves while allowing your hands to breathe. The widened fingertips and latex wrapped thumb make for increased latex-to-ball contact allowing for a better and safer hold on shots.IMG_0879IMG_0867Backhand: The soft mesh body is exposed in just the right areas to aid in a flexible, breathable, and comfortable fitting glove. Right over the thumb and thumb crotch is a crucial comfort area and Prime Focus GK made sure to layer up with with soft mesh in that area. Exposed mesh is also found just above the wrist and over the fingers to aid in flexibility. The 3mm of Super Soft Latex makes a noticeable difference in the comfort of the gloves as opposed to if it was a cheaper latex or a synthetic material found on gloves listed at this price point from other brands. The strategically placed textured/ribbed latex over the knuckles makes for a good surface to punch away the ball with.IMG_0876IMG_0877Closure: The 5cm wide Super Soft Latex wrist strap coupled with a 9cm wide elastic wristband makes for an incredible fit. Having an elastic wristband as thick as 9cm provides for a very stable, secure and comfortable fit that makes these gloves very enjoyable to wear knowing that you only have to focus on saving shots that come your way rather than worrying about the fit of your gloves.  Once wrapped around your wrist, the 5cm wide Super Soft Latex wrist strap offers a very tight and secure fit. The zipper above the wrist makes taking out or putting in the fingersaves simple and easy.IMG_0880For just $60 USD, the Locus Pro from Prime Focus Goalkeeping is an incredible goalkeeper glove that is worth every penny. Featuring high quality materials, a great grip, and a super comfortable fit, the Locus Pro is best suited to be worn in games but can definitely be worn in practice at the higher levels due to its high quality latex. The fingersaves do a good job of protecting your fingers without being too overbearing, stiff, or uncomfortable in any way. Although it might not be for everyone because of its narrow and snug expanse cut and overall fit, this glove is definitely one worth considering. For more information or if you’re interested in purchasing, visit primefocusgoalkeeping.com and check them out on Facebook, Instagram, and TwitterIMG_0874IMG_0858.jpg

Crazy Catch Wildchild Double Trouble Rebounder Review

IMG_5854Used by top clubs and players, the Crazy Catch Wildchild Double Trouble is a soccer rebounder with two functional sides; one with a more controlled rebound for passing and improving your touch, and the other for unpredictable bounces, helping to improve your reaction speeds and responses. The lightweight, portable, pre-assembled, and adjustable rebounder is available on Amazon.

IMG_5851Tech Specs

-Adjustable angled frame for variations in height of the ball return, hence range of drills you can perform

-Features two usable rebound nets, one on each side

-Smaller net side returns small balls (such as baseballs, softballs, tennis balls, etc.) in an unpredictable manner to train coordination/reflex skills and large balls (soccer balls, volleyballs, etc.) in a predictable manner

-Best selling, medium sized model with rubber feet for indoor and outdoor use

-Lightweight and portable; already assembled for instant use

-Durable with super strong patented net technology

-Includes Crazy Catch level 2 vision ball, Crazy Catch timer, Activity pack with scorecard, throwing targets, and a carry bag

The Crazy Catch Wildchild Double Trouble is available for approx. $150 USD on Amazon.

IMG_5845IMG_5832My Thoughts

Set Up: The Crazy Catch Wildchild Double Trouble does not need to be set up; all you have to do is take it out of the carry bag (which is very helpful in transporting the rebounder) and adjust the angled frame to whichever setting you’d like. I found adjusting the angle to be a bit difficult; you have to bend down and go under the already pretty small rebounder to adjust it. When you’re done using the rebounder, it folds up quickly and easily; you simply unclip the adjustment bar and fold the rebounder flat.

IMG_5848IMG_5849Performance: After using this rebounder for over a month now, I must say I am very happy with it. It stays in place pretty well when throwing a soccer ball at it, the net surface area is a good size for juggling and kicking, the net tension is strong, the frame is durable and sturdy, and there are several different drills you can do with it. I am both a midfielder and a goalkeeper and I found this rebounder very useful in improving my skills for both positions. It’s very useful for working on your first touch, juggling, passing, catching, etc. and the adjustable angled frame gives you several different ball return height options. The “insane” side of the rebounder (larger squares) returns the ball in an unpredictable manner forcing you to stay ready, focused, and on your toes because you never know where the ball is going to go. I like this side of the rebounder because it helps improve reaction speeds, the difference maker between a save and a goal conceded for a goalkeeper.

IMG_5834IMG_5840Overall, the Crazy Catch Wildchild Double Trouble is a great rebounder for players looking to improve their touch and skills. The rebounder is sturdy, durable, lightweight, portable, and is perfect for either outdoor or indoor use. If you’re looking for a high quality and affordable rebounder that will last you a long time, the Crazy Catch Wildchild Double Trouble is definitely worth looking into. For more information or if you’re interested in purchasing, visit Amazon and check them out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.IMG_5821IMG_5817

New Balance Visaro Pro Soccer Cleat Review

New Balance Visaro ProThe Visaro Pro is a top end New Balance soccer cleat with a mid tier price tag. Worn by Aaron Ramsey and Marouane Fellaini, it comes equipped with a 4mm Ariaprene mesh upper, a TPU “Rotation Zone,” a Fresh Foam footbed, and more. With an array of technological features, a comfortable fit, and a very appealing price point, the Visaro Pro is a great bang for your buck.

IMG_5908Tech Specs

-4mm Ariaprene® mesh upper

-Additional wide fitting

-Bio-mechanical stud placements

-Debossed 2mm “Sweetspot”

-For use on firm ground surfaces

-Lightweight nylon outsole with polished TPU “Rotation Zone”

-Low pressure zone instep for instant control

-Medial pivot zone for supremely quick turns

-Pro-form last for unsurpassed feel and unbelievable comfort

-PU bonded top layer

-Super-Flex soleplate for exceptional ground contact

-Fresh Foam footbed/midsole provides a plush, more natural ride

-Internal heel counter

The New Balance Visaro Pro soccer cleats are available in US Sizes 6.5-13 (including half sizes) for $179.99 USD on newbalance.com.

IMG_5921IMG_5914My Thoughts

Fit & Breaking In: I have heard nothing but great things about the New Balance Visaro so I have been very excited to test them out. Immediately upon slipping your feet into the boots, the synthetic upper hugs your feet pretty snugly (especially in the toe box) and comfortably, similar to the Hypervenom Phantom. The Visaro fits true to size and offers great lockdown. My foot feels like it’s locked well into place once I tie the laces nice and tight. The area around the heel is noticeably cut lower than what you’d normally find on a soccer cleat, making for a more shallow feel on feet but you get used to it over time. The 4mm Ariaprene mesh upper noticeably becomes softer and more flexible after wearing the boots for a couple of hours. The synthetic suede heel liner is very soft to the touch and is padded for comfort. There isn’t really an actual break in period for these boots as they’re ready to go from right out of the box, but I recommend gradually increasing your wear time in them just to get used to the fit and feel of them on your feet. If you have very wide feet and are concerned if these will fit you, New Balance offers an additional wide fitting Visaro.

IMG_5903IMG_5916Feel & Touch: The Visaro Pro is more often than not compared to the original Hypervenom Phantom from Nike. The upper of the Visaro is very similar to the honeycomb pattern on the Hypervenom, and both have that waxy/grippy but smooth feel to the touch. The undistracted surface on the instep and toe box of the boot allows for clean and crisp passes and strikes. Just like with the Hypervenom Phantom, I get a powerful ’pingy’ sensation when striking the ball in the Visaro Pros. In terms of weight, the Visaro Pro weighs 10 grams heavier than the Hypervenom Phantom, but this difference is hardly noticeable on feet.

IMG_5924IMG_5904Performance: There is nowhere near as much rollover with the Visaro Pro as there is with the original Hypervenom Phantom (there are no Flywire cables to prevent rollover). The TPU plastic Super-Flex soleplate is a bit stiff right out of the box, but it becomes much more flexible after some wear time. The triangular studs dig into firm ground surfaces really well; I had no problem changing directions, making sharp turns, accelerating, or decelerating. Unlike most top end soccer cleats, the Visaro Pro’s midsole is glued in the shoe to prevent slippage; it is not able to be removed (or easily, at least). The Fresh Foam footbed offers a comfortable, cushioned ride underfoot, more so than most regular insoles.

IMG_5912Overall, the New Balance Visaro Pro is a comfortable, high quality, top end soccer cleat with an attractive price point. Normally, for a boot with these many high quality features, you’d be paying about $80-$100 USD more if it was adidas or Nike, so for just $180 USD, the Visaro Pro is a steal and is definitely worth picking up. For more information or if you’re interested in purchasing, visit newbalance.com and check them out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.