When looking for a decent pair of goalkeeping shorts the options are limited. Luckily OBO has a couple and I decided to try out the Cloud ones.
From the box (or bag, which they come in) they looked pretty good. Not bulky, padding in the parts that matter the most and they are very light. The Velcro wrap around design and the belt make for good adjustability and ensure a perfect fit. Also the way you wrap the legs of the pants around your legs make for a good fit as soon as you have done up the Velcro. Unlike some other brands where they close the other way around and you need to fiddle to get them in the right place.
A small area of concern was the mesh cloth on the inside of the pants. As I know that this can easily tear I was wondering whether if it would stand up to “normal abuse”. (I will come back to this point later on) Also the padding on the front seemed a bit on the thin side, but I would just have to see how it would face up to shots. (Again, will get back to that)
After I put them on for the first time, they immediately felt good. Hardly any restriction of movement (if any) and the open crotch design makes for a good interaction with the abdo-guard and enough ventilation. It felt very natural and needed no breaking-in time.
During the first training session I intentionally used the pants to take a few shots, where I would normally use my gloves, just to see how they held up. I don’t play at top level (that’s why I gave the Cloud a chance instead of the much more expensive Robo) but still, there a few hard-hitters in my team (senior men’s league). When the first hard hit headed for the pants I braced for impact and I’m glad I did, because although the real sting was taken out of the shot I really felt it. (“So that’s why they’re much cheaper than the Robo…”)
As said before, I intentionally let the some shots hit the pants just to try them out, which is not what you would normally do. In a normal game situation you will just get hit by the occasional deflection or short distance flick or low power hit and in those situations the Cloud stands up to the job really well. And in ladies games (no offence intended) they will probably be good enough for nearly all shots.
There isn’t a lot of padding on the side/hip area, just one pad on the hip bone, so when diving the landing can be quite hard. Also during sliding this can be somewhat of a miss. The pads did stay in the right place during the sliding and diving, so that’s a good thing.
Some years have past since I bought the Cloud hotpants and they look like a patchwork due to all the repairs that I had to make.
After about half a year the seams around the hip pad pockets started coming loose and the mesh cloth on the inside of the pants started to tear in places. The stitching was fixed easily enough and the mesh can be replaced without too much trouble. (If you save the bag the pants came in, you can use this as a replacement for the mesh.)
After about a year the corners of the leg padding pockets started to show holes on the outside due to the edge of the padding rubbing against it. Also the outside of the pants around the slide area was showing some wear even though I wear the Robo overpants over them. I do tend to slide a lot, probably more than average, so that’s probably why.
Luckily all the padding comes out really easy and the design of the pants is very simple. This means repairs can be made without a lot of hassle and if you do this in time you can extend the lifetime of the pants significantly.
Would I buy them again? To be honest: No. There are a lot of positive things: the weight, fit, movability and that they are easy to repair. But for me the negative points weigh much heavier. They wear quite fast and the padding is mediocre. But above that: for the price of the Cloud you can nowadays buy shorts that are a lot better. When I bought the pants there weren’t that many “clones” around, so I had less options to choose from. Now that almost all other brands have “stolen” the hotpant design there is choice is much more extensive.
In all fairness, my Cloud hotpants are about 3-4 years old and I don’t know if any improvements have been made to the design since then. If there are then the Cloud might give better competition to the other hotpants than the one I have.