Written By Justin on Thursday, July 23, 2009 | 1:01:00 AM
Rain. We'll all die without it. Rain is important and fine. But it's generally no friend to the goalkeeper.
Luckily, glove manufacturers these days all have specialty wet weather gloves in their lineup. For years, HO's Aqua Grip has been one of the better aqua gloves on offer, and one of the only ones featuring internal latex. I've been testing the latest version, the Aqua Grip 4, for the last month. First, the specs:
Latex: Duo Mega Grip, 4mm plus 1mm internal latex and 2mm backing foam.
Cut: HO has both a flat and rollfinger version.
Backhand: Embossed latex and fabric.
Features: Micro Adjust Strap, Dry+ lining for moisture management.
Wrist: Bandage wrist, 9 cm strap, three fasten points.
HO offers Mega Grip on several glove models, so it's not unreasonable to ask what makes this model a wet weather specific glove. HO is a little vague about this. They say the glove features a "special wet grip latex palm," which suggest the Mega Grip here is slightly different than what is found on their other models. From my own experience, I can say this is almost certainly true. The latex is far softer than the Mega Grip on the Kontrol 4 or the Elite Pro Rollfinger.
In any case, what matters is performance. The Aqua Grip 4 grips the hell out of a ball in wet or dry. The internal latex gives the glove a snug feel without it actually being a tight fitting glove, and it has plenty of palm thickness for shock absorption. Durability, in recent years a major problem with Mega Grip, seems to have greatly improved. After a half dozen wears on 3G turf, the palms show only tiny nicks on a couple of fingertips. This is very impressive given how incredibly soft this latex is.
I have only one quibble, which is the Micro Adjust Strap: it works, but when pulled tight, the end of the strap extends nearly an inch past the end of the velcro fastening spot. In the picture above, you can see the M.A.S. sticking out about a quarter of an inch. Imagine it sticking out a full inch. Nobody wants that. It would be like some kind of nightmare. Granted, I have skinny hands, so this might be more my problem than HO's.
HO still seems to be sorting out their distributors. You might have to hunt around a bit to find them (Pro Direct has the rollfinger version), but it's worth the effort. Solid 8 out of 10 from me.