Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Adidas Response Fingertip gloves
A wet day and greasy surface is a good time to test out a new pair of goalkeeping gloves, if not a new goalkeeper. These were the conditions I faced when trying out the new Adidas Response Fingertip gloves, and with their 'punch control', wrist support and the endorsement of Petr Cech, I fancied putting in a performance worthy of the Premier League's top 'keeper.
A first firm strike right down my throat (following a few errant ones from out-of-practice friends) confirms the feeling of stability you get as soon as these gloves are slipped on. Strong support around the wrists and fingers, coupled with a yielding and grippy 3mm latex palm, helps to boost your confidence.
Good looks are rarely synonymous with goalkeepers but every 'keeper puts some emphasis on the style of their gloves. The ones we had were all white and very Iker Casillas - a few saves in and they were more Neville Southall. They also come in darker shades for the more pratical fashionista 'keeper.
For fingertip saves, these gloves provide enough bulk and structure to ensure you get every bit of help possible. On more than one occasion, I was left feeling that the gloves had been more involved in the save than I had been.
After being initially sceptical when reading of the benefits of 'punch control', my mockery is quickly left behind as a few crosses are easily and accurately dealt with in tricky conditions. The cushioned material over the fists really does allow for confident, consistent punches - a skill essential for 'keepers of all standards as ball designers vent their fury on the concept of nil.
The comfort and size of these gloves are particularly good, although these factors tend to be personal. As someone who has never liked oversized gloves, this pair offers good feel for throwing and catching with enough bulk to help with shot-stopping. The velcro around the wrist - or 'slit wrist closure for expanded freedom of movement and easy entry' - is also very secure, a factor too often overlooked by glove designers.
A bit like a honeymoon period with new boots, it can be tricky to determine just how good a new pair of gloves really are. The extra grip in the early days can betray those of us who will have to make them last a season or two. However, Adidas seem to have struck the right formula of feel, support and grip that will provide the amateur 'keeper with a hardwearing and high-performing glove.