“I met up with David James last week and he’s a really good guy” says Georges Martins, owner of HO Soccer, “but the thing about him is that he’s got big hands, really big hands with long narrow fingers. So every glove that we make for him has to be specially designed.”
When Martins talks about goalkeeping gloves, you listen. The man is passionate about them (as we discovered in HO Soccer Part I) and that passion has seen HO Soccer grow to be a major player in the football market since it was launched at the back end of 2001.
James is one of the company’s biggest endorsees and like many of the 250 goalkeepers on their books, he has special requirements.
Such is the technology now being used to design and make the modern day glove, they’re requests that HO Soccer are happy to deal with.
They are without doubt at the forefront of their field as can be seen with the production of the ‘Elite Pro’ make.
Gone are the ‘one size fits all’ days. These are serious bits of kit.
As Martins explains, “These are unique as they have 3 highly designed additions making them stand out from the rest. First there’s the ‘punch assist control’ panel, a piece of rubber which sits over the knuckles allowing the keeper to have more directional control when he punches the ball. Secondly we have invented a length adjustment system which means the player can pull the gloves downwards to fit tight over the finger tips and lastly, there’s our patented ‘micro strap’ which tightens the glove above the wrist in addition to the conventional velcro strapping.”
Despite all this new technology, the life of a goalkeeper’s glove is pretty short. Martins reckons most professionals don’t wear the same pair of gloves for more than 2 weeks with semi-pro or good standard amateur players making them last about 2 months, perhaps less if the club buy them rather than the individual.
That being the case, Footy Boots asked the HO Soccer boss for his top buying tips for goalkeepers looking to purchase new gloves.
1) Choose a pair of gloves that match/can handle the surface that you are playing on most of the time. If its grass, you’ll need to choose different gloves than if you are playing on, say, artificial turf.
2) Don’t go for style; always go for a good fit.
3) Make sure the gloves are in tune with the match ball that you normally play with. Different types of latex perform better with different types of ball. Indeed, take the ball with you to the shop when you buy.
4) Weather conditions are important. Again, different types of latex will be required for the weather conditions you usually experience be it dry, wet, humid etc.
Not content with designing and marketing gloves, Martins is thinking about branching out and has had his eye on goalkeeping football boots for some time. “I think keepers should have different football boots” he explains, “as they move more laterally than outfield players. It’s something I’m working on so watch this space.”
If his football boots prove as successful as his gloves, the world of goalkeepers could be an even better one than it is now.