Just a few small tips I’d like to share for buying new OBO kit.
I recently upgraded my body armour and thigh pads to the OBO Cloud Range, (very good by the way). The first time i brought kit i got it straight from the internet, the sizing worked pretty well so it was alright. This time because of the cost i wanted to be absolutely sure the kit fit before anything was payed for. Luckily my chemistry tutor, (Who plays cricket) told me about a company that had competitive prices and a show room in London. They were very helpful and ordered it all in for me to try.
Now heres the tips.
CLOUD Body armour – don’t rely solely on the OBO sizing of arm length, every one is unique so work out what size you are by them then order the sizes around it as well to try on, i measured as a small and ended up in a medium.
CLOUD Hot Pants – wide waist = Tall is unfortunately the principle most companies work on, my waist size was for a hight of 5’10 -6’2, I’m 5’6 at the most. Try the different sizes, the waist stretches and it has a belt, and I’ve been told by other keepers that it’s better they be too small around the waist than having them catch on the leg pads
ROBO Overpants – A bit of a grey area, medium hotpants doesn’t always mean medium over shorts, because of how they wrap the size varies, if you’re at the larger end of medium like me you might want the large over shorts, it just allows for more flexibility.
Just try before you buy, if you can’t get it ordered to try, ask other keepers in your club or even on other teams you play (We do tend to be nice people us keepers), if they have what you’re after ask them if you can quickly try then to get a size idea, hopefully they’ll let you, (just remember to do it after the match when you have time). If all that fails, post an article and hopefully other people maybe able to help you estimate, last thing you want to do is pay out on expensive kit that doesn’t fit.
OBO Size Guide Link
The alternative upper leg coverage available to goalkeepers, rather than wearing padded shorts, are girdles. Rather than having main padding to the front of the short, the padding is spread right around the leg and hips, conforming to the body shape as the layering develops. High density foam is used throughout, giving you suitable protection.
A lot of field hockey companies, getting in on the act of selling goalkeeper gear, now produce girdles specific to the position; often cloning old versions and adding new sections. Unlike shorts, girdles give extra protection to the upper thigh area, conforming to leg pads to allow most possible movement, making them great for reflex orientated goalkeepers who prefer to dive around acrobatically, and aggressive goalkeepers who need to charge down a player in challenging the ball.
There are a few girdles on the market, as produced by Gryphon and Grays.
There are also older ice hockey versions that are available and work the same, such as Bauer’s. Girdles used to be, and still are, used by ice hockey players, with girdles worn as padded shorts, because of the design for fuller movement with protection in mind. Girdles are also produced for inline hockey (the type of ice hockey played on an indoor court), which can be worn for upper leg protection.
More protection to upper thigh
Specifically suited to modern goalkeeper’s needs
Extra movement, with padding moulding to body shape
Layered padding provides padding to vulnerable areas
With recent strides in technology and production, hockey kit producers have been able to design a pair of shorts that best suits the goalkeeper’s needs; using strips of strong foam around the leg (with thick padding at the hip and body area to cover when sliding or going down to block), providing a hybrid of quality protection with the flexibility needed for explosive movements in jumping or diving, as well as helping leg movements for kicking, given the active nature of the position.
The ‘stripper’ short design has pieces of foam that wrap around the keeper’s leg to fix to the individual’s leg width (for best fit), with a velcro strapping system to hold them in place, leaving gaps around the groin/thigh to allow for the groin guard to fit within the shape without interference (as shorts can often become tighter as they stretch to fit the jock; limiting your chance to move), which maximises the movement possible for forward and sideward drives. There is thinner and flexible padding inside to cover the inner thigh and groin as well.
Obo’s Hot Pants design is the pioneer of this unique design, matching the keeper’s playing needs for enhanced movement as well as strong protection. The TK GX 1 padded short, is actually a stripper short, with the leg padding attaching together separately. Gryphon have also produced something similar, as have Monarch, along with Mercian’s international shorts.
High level of protection for the top levels of play
Work well with the keeper’s ‘box’ to help stop possible interference when moving
Great speed of movement provided, without the cost of shot stopping safety
Easier to take off and put on when padding up due to the strapping design of linking the parts together – you can ‘tie them’ on when standing, rather than having to pull on the shorts!
Padded shorts are the basic type of lower body protection; hard foam padding or strong plastic are sewn into the shorts. Unlike girdles, the shorts do not cover the whole of the upper legs, but do give considerable protection to the lower area above the pad.
What with the game and technology constantly evolving, field hockey companies are now producing padded shorts, taking the model and design of ice hockey shorts (their equipment predating ours), and adapting it to suit the game. The shorts mainly have two large ‘blocks’ of strong plastic, with padding around the joins.
There is greater movement as the shorts are baggier and roomy for more active leg movements, such as when shuffling across, or launching off for an aerial save. There is thin and flexible padding to the inner leg, making movement considerably less restricted, making them very suitable to fast and active goalkeepers.
They also have padding to specific areas like the sides and upper leg areas, making use of square sheets of shatter proof, moulded plastics. The main manufacturers, TK, have a basic model graded for different levels of play, whilst Grays have their own make, with a more circular mould to the lower leg. The Cloud shorts are probably the closest thing to a specifically padded short that are made by Obo.