Nike Lacrosse has been playing an interesting game in the lacrosse space, and personally, I kind of like it. They haven’t flooded the market with a millions heads, or 4 different gloves. They don’t offer a ton of different options, but when they find something that people like, they stick with it. Give the people what they want. It’s sheer genius! You can look at the CEO head, Vapor glove line, their metal shafts, or the Lakota head as prime examples of this tried and true process and influence in the college game.
(Check out our other published 2018 Gear Reviews – Powell Lacrosse’s new heads and shafts, Cascade Lacrosse’s new S Helmet, and Maverik Lacrosse’s 2018 gloves, shafts, and heads. There are more reviews to come!)
So when I heard there were going to be changes to the Vapor glove, I got a little nervous. When I found out there were some big changes to the Lakota head, I got even more nervous. Then I got my hands on the actual products themselves, and those concerns evaporated. Yes, there are some changes, and some of them are pretty notable, but the key things about these products that made them so popular have stayed the same. Neither product was broke, but Nike Lacrosse went ahead and fixed them both anyway, and the results are positive. Phew!
Nike Lacrosse is still making waves in the game, and these products will help that continue.
Nike Lacrosse – Vapor Gloves
The first thing you’ll notice about the new Vapor gloves is the index finger and thumb. Gone are the old faux leather covered foam pads, and in their place you now have a single piece of exposed padding, with cuts to allow for movement and flex. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this in a glove before, and it is definitely different from anything on the market right now. It’s a really interesting take to expose the pad directly, with no covering, and while I actually like the look, I’m always more concerned with the function.
And you know what? It works! I went ahead and flexed every joint or cut point in the index finger and thumb before I put the gloves on, and once my hands were in them, they moved quite freely. The feel was just like a normally padded pair of gloves, and the rubbery foam is tough and provides great protection. Moving forward, I can only imagine the customization options for this (think of Nike splatter midsoles perhaps?) or how they could use FlyKnit to cover the rest of the padding, but that’s another story for another day. Right now, the gloves have a pretty high tech look to them, without going to crazy. And they work. That’s always important!
The palms on these gloves are really nice. The fingers and thumb are thin and soft for great feel, and the lower palm is little more reinforced. It’s a high quality material, and there are only two or three seams on the entire palm, which is always great for touch and consistency. The fit is nice and snug, but the gloves have a little flex to them and open up as your hand requires. Mine loosened up when I first went out and played wall ball in them, and molded to my hand a little afterwards. They feel fully broken in by now. The wrist is covered, but the cuff is a little short and sparse for my tastes, so I would add in a wrist guard personally, but I’m likely in the minority here, as many players like a shorter glove on the lower arm. Aside from the shorter cuff, the protection is fully there.
The new Vapor gloves are very comfortable, break in quickly, show off a new take on external padding, and offer a really solid option for any player looking to play the game. The palms are great, the gloves have a great modern look to them, and the Swoosh rolls on in the padding world.
Nike Lacrosse – Lakota 2
The OG Lakota is a favorite of mine. The HS, The U… it doesn’t matter. I love high offset, full sidewall depth, and face shape. Great stringing options, great for any position… the old Lakota had it all. The Lakota 2? It meets all those same requirements, it just does so in a slightly different way.
Gone are the round stringing holes. They have been replace with trapezoid shaped holes for the most part, and they are definitely bigger. They still run from high on the sidewall down to the throat, but their larger sizes opens up the door for double knots and other fancy sidewall techniques. It’s also easy to string a simple, but effective, mesh pocket in the Lakota 2, and if you loved the way the old Lakota strung up, this newer version offers no drop off. The scoop holes are also bigger, making it easier to put in different top strings, or leathers.
The new Lakota is also a little stiffer through the middle, and won’t hourglass as easily. The head still feels really light, but it feels tougher than the old Lakota, with better reinforcement. A great head got greater. Great!
You might read this review and ask why they changed it all, but I honestly think the changes Nike made to the Lakota made it a slightly better product on the whole. It’s a little stiffer and a little tougher but just as light, and it still retains a great face shape, sidewall depth, and string-ability. The Lakota 2 should continue to be a favorite for players all over the field. What’s new is old, and still an excellent option.
2018 Gear Review Methodology – We did outreach to manufacturers asking them to send us any new (or relatively new) product they wanted reviewed for 2018. We made no promises on what we would say, and every brand is given an opportunity to participate. Our focus is on Heads, shafts, helmets, gloves, padding, and footwear. We will also a giant 2018 Mesh Review soon. No scores are given. We simply talk about the positives (and negatives) of any product. Our goal is to help you, the consumer, make informed decisions on equipment purchases. That’s it!