Editor’s Note: Mumaer Razic and Payu (of the Thailand Lacrosse Association) have gotten up close and personal with the new STX Assault line and they’re here on Sweet Sweet Lax to fill the rest of us in with all the details! STX loves their new line of padding… do we?
So back on January 4th of 2011 I did a review of STX’s Assault commercial for their new line of assault padding. Step 1 was complete with the initial outlook on the items and what they would be like.
Now Step 2 is about to be completed! FULL GEAR REVIEW!
First on the list are the STX Assault shoulder pads and I have to give these bad boys a 9/10. They are so lightweight and super protective! I can honestly say that they are the best shoulder pads I have ever owned.
The first time I put these pads on I kept them on for a bit to get used to how they felt, and well, I forgot I had them on… Yeah; they’re THAT comfortable. Not only are they comfortable but they are protective. As an attackman I take my fair share of checks so I need something lightweight and protective and I get 100% of that in these shoulder pads. So thank you STX for coming out with an amazing product that can be used by all positions!
I passed them around to a few teammates of mine and the middies love the mobility of the shoulder pads the most and the defenders loved how lightweight they are and the fact that they don’t restrict any movement. I know that these shoulder pads look kind of funny (sorry STX) but “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Well, in this case don’t judge the effectiveness of these shoulder pads just by how they look. These shoulder pads are going for $149.99, a little steep, but these are worth every penny. The pricetag was the only reason we went 9/10.
Next up are the Assault Gloves and Arm Guards/Pads; these will be reviewed by Payu, seeing as Team Thailand has custom Assault Gloves and Arm Guards/Pads, plus the shoulder pads burned a hole in my pocket so as much as I wanted to purchase the entire line I had to hold myself back from them!
How did they feel when you first put them on? How long did they take to break in?
When I first put these gloves on I noticed that they were probably the tightest/stiffest fitting gloves I’ve ever had, they kind of felt like old brand new Brine Supercrosse gloves. I had the 13″ which felt like it was one size smaller from the Maverik Maybachs we used last year which were a 13″ as well. However; it doesn’t feel like it’s one size too small since the overall “proportions” were still correct (I have long fingers, so if it were 12″ the fingers part would have been off) and even though they were tight, they were ready to go right away. The mesh palms reminded me of STX Catalyst; my all-time favorite gloves.
The gloves broke in pretty fast; I would say playing 2 hours of lacrosse with them is all it took, and it got better each time I wore them, which was the quickest rate of any other gloves I ever used. Same thing with the armpads, very form fitting BUT flexible and “ready to go”. Maybe the humidity here played a part in how fast they were broken in, I’m not sure, but we have guys who got the gloves then played with them in that practice/ game right away without any problems (Editor’s Note: Connor Wilson agress. He has done this with Assault gloves twice and they are ready to go very quickly).
Like I said, they felt very stiff in parts of it in the beginning compared to other gloves I have worn in the past, but that’s partly because of the new protective foams they use. BUT! The gloves became more and more flexible each time I used them. You could really tell the difference in the “non-bending” areas. Ergonomically speaking, the gloves have many flexing/bending parts to allow them to mimic the movement of the hand more so than other gloves so they are more maneuverable, but those additional joints can be a double edged sword because they can leave a few “temporary” exposed areas to checks.
The Arm guards (the most protective of the two, excluding the defense pad since it’s the Cell line) are the best part out of the assault line. To me it doesn’t feel like I’m wearing any Arm pads… (I mean really). They’re flexible without the need to sacrifice the protection, they’re light, and best of all the material used to make the Arm guards DOES NOT hold moisture (e.g. sweat!), which gets you the non “wet dog” feel on the pads after you sweat buckets on them.
They are very protective; I’m also an attackman so I take abit of beating when it come to checks on the hands. I’ve worn them for 2 months now and thus far no injures on the hands! I like the floating cuff separates from the outer padding which is shorter so it won’t disturb the movements while you’re cradling. However, the part that sits on the forearm should be longer, not the same length, as the outer cuff. Who knows, maybe the longer I use the gloves the elastic that attaches the forearm cuff to the gloves, will stretch out to cover more part of the forearm. There are areas where additional pads could be added to it without sacrificing out gains in mobility or comfort.
Do you sacrifice comfort or protection in these gloves?
Not at all, the tight fitting design prevents the need of having to “tightly” pull the cords at the wrist (actually I don’t even use it) to keep the gloves on. Although there are some areas that more pads could be added without affecting its ergonomics/mobility, or comfort. For example: along the side of the pinky finger. After all, that is the side of the glove that is exposed to checks.
The gloves and pads are very durable, especially the “hard rubbers” along the fingers and knuckles, I would like to see them translate these to more parts of the gloves and maybe make them bigger. The dyed leathers are good and don’t show any discoloration or separation of colors due to impact from playing like other gloves do. They are very easy to clean as well; just a damp towel and wipe it over the gloves. The jury is still out on the palm area, with the mesh part. The mesh palms gives a good feel to the gloves but it could POTENTIALLY fray and rip easily like they did on the STX Catalyst gloves… however, they might be using better quality of mesh now for the palm.
In what ways do you think the gloves could be better?
I think STX went all out with their flagship gloves this time. Is there room for improvement? Of course, but just finer details like I pointed out. The second generation Assaults will be even better. To compare: I look at the Assault as more of Super car: stream-lined, ultra high performance, with some sacrifices made on the “practicality” side, which require a certain type of driver. And the K18 would be a Sport car you can drive every day, and is more user friendly for the masses. Also they should work on the color choice for the stock gloves, maybe a little less “silver” on the stock gloves, and go more colors that school kids or club teams that don’t do custom can relate to for their team (like Warrior did with the stock gloves.. like white with blue, red, green etc.).
Going back to my “Super car” analogy… to me the glove is certainly visually stunning BUT at the same time it can turn people away from it. It’s certainly an attention grabber, and not for the light-hearted. It’s something that can only be done for the higher price bracket, but then again, there are other companies that have done more “over the top” designs (or names).
So far the feedback has been positive, on both of our gloves (main/alternate). One thing I want to add is that, the “stock” assault look just doesn’t do it justice when you customize them… might be the “material” they use for the stock gloves, but the Customs just look that much better.
I think the price is right where it should be if you consider the competition’s pricing. I’m glad they didn’t use the “they’re our flagship gloves so we’ll charge you ridiculously more” excuse like other companies do, which then makes you break out of the $200+ threshold for a pair of gloves; because that’s just absurd.
Overall, considering the small amount of improvements needed, the small scale of the importance on the things that need to be changed, as well as pricing… I would give them a 9 out of 10 total!
If you want to see more pictures of the STX Assault line for Team Thailand along with some of their other sick gear click the links!