The best gear for the last line of defence.
Never has it been cooler to be a goalkeeper. The role has evolved much more than just being a defensive wall. In today’s game, you’re also tasked to be the starting point of attack. Players like Ter Stegen, Ederson and Neuer are so good with their feet that they can easily slot in to midfield.
With demands on goalkeepers being higher than ever, we worked with the goalkeepers’ union to highlight selected football boots and gear that could give you the edge in your weekend match.
The Sweeper Keeper
Nike Mercurial Vapor Elite
With the high line being the norm in football, the goalkeeper has to be ready to snuff out any opposition attacks in a wide open, gaping defensive line. A split second can be the difference between a successful last ditch clearance or a mistimed tackle punishable with a red card.
For the sweeper keeper, go with a boot that makes you feel fast and gives you the edge in sprinting forward. It’s hard to look past the Nike Mercurial Vapor (or Superfly) when it comes making you feel fast. The Mercurial series is famous for its stiff soleplate that snaps back into position when flexing your foot, giving you the spring effect when running. The boot’s tighter feel and lockdown also makes you feel like you should be on your toes, ready to get to the ball before anyone else.
An honourable mention goes to the adidas X Ghosted for its carbon fibre soleplate which was developed purely with this snapback sensation in mind. However, at the time of writing, the review isn’t ready yet and we’ll be updating this list if the X Ghosted surpasses the legendary Nike Mercurial.
The Playmaking Goalkeeper
Exquisite first touch
adidas Copa .1
Another demand of the modern game is for the goalkeeper to be the starting point of attack. The goalkeeper is now deemed just as important in the build up as the central midfielders. Often, the ball will circulate precariously around the defensive half, demanding that the goalkeeper receive the ball at feet and redistribute it under a pressing opposition forward.
To be able to do this well, the goalkeeper must feel comfortable on the ball with an emphasis on a good touch under pressure. Any number of leather boots could do a decent job to help you cushion the ball but we’re going for the most cushion-ey one of the lot – the adidas Copa 20.1. The boot’s leather forefoot is ridiculously soft and would do a fine job of trapping the ball when fizzed into feet.
A big bonus is how soft the entire boot feels on the inside, keeping you comfortable and cocooned in its luxurious pads while you keep yourself ready for action.
The Old School Long Punter
Long ball hero
Concave Volt 2.0
If you’re from the old school who love to kick it long, then look no further than a Concave boot. It’s an obscure Australian brand that first developed their boots for Australian Rules Football where kicking it long was encouraged.
Concave installed a hard and wide plastic shield, called the Powerstrike zone, at the top of the lace area of all their football boots to help players kick the ball harder and more accurately. We’re not sure if those claims are legitimate but the Powerstrike zone at least removes the sting of the hard impact of a drop kick.
Personally, we have reviewed a Concave boot, the Concave Aura, and it wasn’t a comfortable ride. But if you’re curious about trying out the Powerstrike zone, most Concave boots are pretty low priced in comparison to the bigger brands and this might just be worth a punt just for the experience.
The Corner Kick Melee Battler
Set Piece Slugger
Puma Future 6.1
Corner kicks are not fun for goalkeepers. From having to organise their team in a crowded space to jostling with hulking opposition players, these set pieces become a mini skirmish that will leave you bruised and battered. Goalkeepers are targeted and have their movement impeded, often with their toes cynically stepped on.
Such scenarios require a sturdy boot which offers sufficient protection but also isn’t too thick that you can’t get a feel of the ball at your feet. Step in, the Puma Future 6.1. The knitted upper is soft and comfortable but also provides adequate density to protect your feet when the opposition nonchalantly leaves his studs on your feet.
The boot is also an excellent all-rounder, providing a close touch on the ball and is one of our favourite boots to strike the ball with.
Protect your head
Storelli ExoShield Headgear
Speaking of bruises, goalkeepers have to be brave to fling themselves into the thick of the action against onrushing forwards who may not be too concerned with the ‘keeper’s welfare.
Football is a contact sport and we’ve seen how players like Petr Cech have been on the end of some life threatening injuries. Unlike Cech, we Sunday League players don’t have world class healthcare facilities and services if and when such freak accidents do happen.
If you’re looking for a safety first approach, look no further than Storelli’s protection line. Their headgear was used by Wayne Rooney and is built with military-grade protective foam to resist impact. Their 3/4 pants use Poron along the lateral side of the leg to protect goalkeepers from the fall impact when making a save. Padding is also included around the hips and knees for added protection without restricting mobility.
Storelli ExoShield GK Pants
Did we miss any boot or gear that would aid a goalkeeper? Let us know in the comments below.