by Kyler Parris (read more “In the 18” columns here)
West Coast Goalkeeping Founder Shawn Norris believes putting on a pair of ‘keeper gloves should be “like Superman putting on his cape”. “You should feel powerful, prepared”. With this in mind, there is no question how Shawn and his team came up with the Spyder-Max line.
West Coast Goalkeeping is based in the Seattle area. When I first heard about a local company making goalkeeper gloves, I knew I had to get a pair. What I have learned, though, is that West Coast are not just local, they are a growing national (and international) brand making top of the line gloves.
PHOTOS: Provided by Corey Parris. Kyler Parris in goal. See a gallery at Facebook.com/goalWA
I got a pair of the Spyder-Max. For just $55, these gloves are priced below most mid-level gloves. They are one of three cuts currently available in West Coast’s new Spyder line.
The first thing I noticed was how big the gloves are. The max cut is a wide-fingered hybrid cut; the palm and fingers are flat cut while the thumb and fingertips have some qualities of a roll cut. By design, these gloves adds a lot of surface area for ball contact. They also make for a spacious glove, which has always been my preference.
When I put the gloves on, I didn’t instinctively think of superman like Shawn did, but I really see where he is coming from. I definitely felt prepared and ready for anything. Along with large surface area, this could be attributed to the luxurious Giga Grip Latex that is generally only used on very expensive gloves. From personal experience, I can tell you that the Giga Grip is a big step above the standard Super Soft foam. The palm is 4mm thick foam while the backhand is 3mm, providing a very thick glove.
The only problem with having such a thick glove is the heat. On hot summer days, these have gotten very hot and stuffy. To minimize this remember to wet your gloves often while playing to keep the heat bearable (this also prevents your gloves from chipping away as rapidly). I do love the thick palms, though, making the heat just a minor trade-off.
Another issue I generally have with flat cut and hybrids is that your hands aren’t in catching position to begin with. West Coast has successfully combated this by pre-curving the glove; essentially leaning your fingers forward into catching position.
All West Coast Gloves are equipped with their Guardian Finger Protection System. Just like many other brands, each finger has an individual, bendable piece of plastic that slides into a zippered pocket behind your fingers. Usually, you have to pay $100-plus to get a glove with removable finger protection.
I’m never a fan of full finger protection in gloves, so the removable protectors are great for me. I have actually found that I prefer to have protection just in my middle fingers for helping get my fingertips to the ball.
The Spyder-Max comes in orange or green colors. Nothing ridiculous or too out of the ordinary, but fairly original. A classy, sleek look.
Overall, the Spyder-Max are a fantastic pair of gloves. They rival the top of the line, $150+ gloves for only $55. With their smart design, sturdy construction, and high-level materials, I would recommend these gloves to anyone from a rec. goalie to a world-class goalkeeper. It just makes sense: who wouldn’t want to be Superman?
Kyler Parris is a seventh-grader at Skyview Junior High (Bothell, WA). He is a goalkeeper and midfielder for his Northshore Select team, as well as the co-captain. He enjoys writing, photography, and, most of all, soccer. Kyler is a participant in our new internship program that allows young writers, photographers and videographers a chance to gain experience covering soccer online. Contact us at goalWA@gmail.com for more intern program.
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