Black by RBK
Company: Reebok Lacrosse / Product: Black Arm Guards / Price: $84.99
Reebok recently introduced their new Black line of equipment, and as the big name in the NLL and Box lacrosse I had pretty high expectations of their equipment going into them. Especially considering how rough Box lacrosse can get for everyone involved.
The new line of gear is marketed for the elite player and comes in one color – black.
As the name states, the line is Black. I personally have no problem with all black equipment, but not everyone may feel the same. Aesthetically, the pads look pretty good. I’m a little hesitant about the triangle-shaped pads above and below the elbow cap, but we’ll find out soon how those play out.
The make-up of the pads is VERY minimal, eight pads if you want to count them. There are four small pads up the outside of the arm, three on the backside, and one on the inside. The elbow cap is the centerpiece for sure, with it’s carbon fiber look and super hard shell, this should keep your elbow well protected. The pad on the inside is an extra cushion between your elbow and the cap, this should make it a little more comfortable as well.
Overall, the appearance is sleek, tough, and with the carbon fiber and leather touches, has a very manly appeal.
As something that is marketed for elite players, you should expect an elite level product. If you paid attention earlier, you saw that there isn’t much padding on the inside of the arm. Realistically, the amount of time you get checked there is limited, so it makes sense to cut those out to help reduce the weight of the product. I will admit, at first it was a little weird not having anything there.
The pad was very lightweight and comfortable though and the elbow cap is surprisingly comfortable. Reebok has manufactured it in a way that slightly conforms to the shape of your elbow. It isn’t a perfect semi-circle, but kind of hooks under the elbow and wraps around to the outside.
Reebok also has their own version of the anit-slip technology with ‘griptonite’ that is inside the pads along the outer part of the arm. I was pleasantly surprised by how little these slipped. This could be attributed to the griptonite, but probably more so the light weight of the pads and their breathability.
I’ll start out by reemphasizing that this is a pad made for elite players. It isn’t super protective and outside of the elbow cap, I was actually pretty disappointed with what it offered.
Other than the cap itself, the pads are pretty squishy and don’t really soften the blows of stick checks that much. You can actually squish your fingers together when you pinch the pads on either side. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the triangle-padding above and below the elbow cap. While it definitely helps with the flexibility of the pads, I wasn’t too fond of getting checked in the areas left open by it.
Take the pictures below with a grain of salt since my arms are so long, but this is the general coverage of the pads. It is really focused around elbow itself. For being arm pads, these remind me more of elbow caps in terms of protection and coverage.
When your arm is stretched out, the pads move with it.
When you bend your arm, the pads cluster up for more protection.
The durability is definitely a high point for Reebok and even just looking at the pads, you can tell the materials used are high quality. The stitching is all very well done, the cloth on the pads haven’t frayed at all, and the leather touches with the straps not only look good, but function well.
The big question mark I had going in with durability was the elbow cap itself. If you look in the picture below, it looks like it is already come off the sleeve – fortunately it isn’t. Even when I just pulled a bit on the cap, the stitching held it firmly to the sleeve of the pads. I was definitely impressed by this and didn’t expect something so stiff to stay so secure on something that was so pliable.
For $85, this puts you right in the midst of things. It is a decent price, but could be a little cheaper given the protection issues. As being touted as the pad for elite players though, it makes sense that it would have a little higher price point. You can probably also attribute some of it to the high quality of materials and durability of the arm pads.
My biggest issue with the price point on this is that there are other ‘elite level’ pads that have similar weights and flexibility, but offer more protection. To each their own, I guess.
Overall Score: 7.2/10
As a pad marketed for the elite level player, I was a little letdown. I felt like it really lacked in protection and therefore value as well. While elite players may enjoy more mobility and lightweight pads, you could get that AND more protection in several other pads I’ve seen on the market. The Black Arm Pads are super light and comfortable, but I feel like they leave a little bit too much exposed to your defender.
I would definitely recommend this only to elite level players and people not afraid to take a little punishment from checks during a game. Ironically enough, I wouldn’t use these for indoor lacrosse, not with the amount of check landing on your arms in a game. Field lacrosse is another story though, they are pretty lightweight and with how flexible they are, might be a good pad for someone looking for some great elbow protection.
If Reebok were to throw in denser pads to offer up more protection outside of the elbow cap, I might consider wearing these myself. For now though, I think a 7.5 out of 10 is a pretty fair score for them.