Saturday, December 4, 2021

The best hockey equipment guide: THP’s shoe reviews

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Hockey Paper staff
Latest breaking news, previews and match reports written by Hockey Paper staff

Stay in the know as our field hockey equipment specialist RUPERT BARKER tackles the best shoes on the market

Osaka Kai Mk.1  

Cost: C. 85 
Colours: Black, navy/fire, fire/cream 
Key features: All-round shoe, lightweight 

The Osaka Kai Mk. 1 has a water resistant upper and heel lock lacing to allow for a secure fit. It’s a lightweight shoe as the sole has been designed with smart cribbing and geometry. Essentially, the studs are positioned strategically to save weight, but also maximum grip on all surfaces. The grip is continued up the side and heel of the shoe to allow players to maintain balance even when the foot in not centered. This a real all-rounders shoe as it is designed for use on several surfaces, so can be used as a running as well as hockey shoe. 

adidas Fabela X Empower 

Cost: C. £130 
Colours: White, Aqua with purple sole 
Key features: Lightweight, Exceptional grip 

The Fabela X Empower is lightweight with a durable and water resistant upper. They have a sock like inner, which makes them comfortable and provides an adaptive fit. The insole uses BOOSTTM technology which harnesses the energy from downward pressure and allows players to accelerate with additional force. The sole has elongated studs that provide exceptional grip, which in combination with the heel stabiliser gives real security when turning. There is also a neoprene toe bumper to give additional protection from the ball. 

adidas Hockey Lux 2.0 

Cost: C. £140 
Colours: Blue/orange, White/black 
Key features: Incredible comfort, great stability 

The Hockey Lux 2.0 is breathable and water resistant with a fast drying upper mesh. The sole contains several small studs to allow for good grip when cutting. The lightstrike insole provides real cushioning under the foot and alongside the internal foot cage make this a comfortable and stable shoe. When making a sharp turn the shoe does not give or wobble, so no power is lost in the direction change. There is also a neoprene toe box to provide extra protection from impact. 

Asics Field Ultimate FF 

Cost: C. £120 
Colours: Black/orange, black/teal, black/pink, black/lime, clear blue/yellow, blue/lime, red/black 
Key features: Lightweight, heel counter 

The Asics Field UltimateTM FF feels like part of the foot. The grip is good and paired with the weightless feel, it allows players to reach their top speed quickly. There is an extended rubber toe to provide protection, as well as rubber running all the way up the front of the shoe. The FLYTEFOAMTM midsole combined with the TRUSSTICTM system gives comfort and stability. A key feature is the internal heel counter which secures the foot inside and minimizes the chances of slippage. 

Osaka IDO Mk.1 Japan Edition 

Cost: C. £130 
Colours: Red/white 
Key features: Outstanding look, excellent fit 

The Osaka IDO Mk.1 is the top of the range shoe from the brand and they look fantastic. They have more of a trainer style than that of a hockey shoe and really stand out from other offerings. They have a fast drying mesh upper and a specially designed sole to combine cushioning and grip. The sole is also a little thicker than most shoes providing comfort and energy return on the launch. There is a heel lock lacing option and the eye stay system in the heel. These gel pads make the shoes comfortable and secure the heel in place, giving an excellent fit. 

Mizuno Wave Panthera 

Cost: C. 120 
Colours: Blue/silver, white, black, light blue/red 
Key features: Comfort, support 

The Mizuno Wave Panthera is an extremely comfortable hockey shoe. It has an internal boot structure which really cushions and supports the foot. They have the X10TM rubber outsole combined with the D-FlexTM grooves and the Mizuno WaveTM technology that provides good grip when turning and accelerating. This sole also minimizes the weight in the bottom of the shoe. It still feels sturdy and provides good cushioning and protection for the foot. 

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