Best Place to Find Low Prices - Discontinued Gear

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Part 5 Mizuno

This is the dark horse of my equipment predictions. This Japanese company is relatively unknown in the US outside of baseball. The rest of the world sees Mizuno as a highly regarded athletics manufacturer. Their core products are in golf, but they also produce volleyball, tennis, cycling, soccer, and martial arts gear, shoes, and equipment. The Mizuno soccer shoes are all but nonexistent in the US, but British online stores feature them and they appear in televised European soccer matches from time to time. Mizuno has long been a leader of the Japanese athletics industry. It began as a small company importing baseball and golf equipment from the US before deciding (like most Japanese companies) that it could do better. The company quickly produced high quality goods that rivaled and then surpassed the American originals. As the sport grows in Japan, Mizuno will undoubtedly see a market and choose to capitalize on it.
There is a company in Japan currently producing lacrosse shafts for the home market known as Samurai. Samurai's shafts ( are very clean and classic; the kind of thing you would expect from a Japanese company. They lack the flair and flash of most contemporary US shafts. Still, their traditional look makes them beautiful and desirable. I would be proud to yield one of their weapons on the field.
Should Mizuno decide to pursue lacrosse, it is very likely that they would consume, or at least work very closely with, Samurai. Before long, the Japanese company would be able to produce sticks that rival the goods of long time US companies like Warrior and STX. Their bats are already highly coveted even with their premium prices. Perhaps that is due to their excellence at "America's pastime." Imagine what will happen when the Japanese invade lacrosse.

Continue to Part 6

Friday, October 31, 2008

Part 4 Under Armour

Under Armour is an interesting company. Their situation is quite different from the others I am discussing because they are still a young entity and have been quite cautious about their growth. Many times they have been reluctant to put the cart before the horse and other times they have gone all out. To date, they still have not released Under Armour lacrosse uniforms for private club/team sales nor do they have readily available UA replicas of the NCAA lax teams they sponsor.

Yet, they were a featured sponsor in the movies "Any Given Sunday" and "The Replacements," which came out in their infancy. The logos are quite different from the current crop, but there is no mistaking what Jamie Foxx, Orlando Jones and their respective crews are wearing.

Essentially based on pantyhose, the fact the UA is still around is amazing. When the shirts were first brought to Maryland football players, they were tested with some skepticism. When they worked, they spread like wildfire. Before too long, all performance compression apparel became colloquially known as "Under Armour," even if it was made by other suppliers like Nike. When it became commercially available, UA really took off. Many have adopted their compression shorts and boxer jocks as everyday underwear. Their compression shirts are viewed as more comfortable than classic cotton tees under dress shirts.

The company was well known for its under apparel, but managed to have great success when they began producing outerwear as well. Their neoclassic intersecting UA logo is almost as well known as Nike's Swoosh. But it would be their venture into football cleats and the infamous "click-clack" and "our house" slogans that would truly put the company on the map.
Nobody expected their cleats to go anywhere. Not only did they prove popular with UA afficiandos, but the were a hit with the pros. UA became the third approved NFL cleat in the Reebok era after Nike and Reebok (UA beat Adidas to approved status by over a year). Not long after, baseball cleats debuted and their shoes appeared on lacrosse fields.

UA has since released training and running shoes and soccer uniforms. Soccer cleats will appear within the next couple of years. More and more schools are wearing UA football uniforms and Maryland became the first school to have EVERY sport sponsored by UA.

Already a presence in the performance apparel, bag, shoe, and NCAA lacrosse markets, UA will most likely make their equipment debut in lacrosse. Football, baseball, and soccer are over saturated with equipment suppliers and UA knows they have a strong presence and respect in the lax world due to their Maryland connections.

Although they tend to build rather than acquire, in this expansion they lack the technology and equipment to efficiently build from the ground up. Most likely, they will buy a smaller, but successful company like Maverik, Scorpion, or Serpent. It is also conceivable that UA would purchase Louisville before or after that brand enters the lacrosse fray. UA has yet to enter the hockey world in any real capacity, but a foothold in lacrosse would indicate some ice time on the horizon. Expect it around 2012. Click-clack.

Continue to Part 5

Even More Nike Gear

Thought I would share recently obtained pics of the rest of the Nike line. Here we have the Vapor gloves ($175 on,

Huarache checkerboard ($90 on,

Blur head ($85 on,

and lacrosse duffel bag ($60 on

That is all I have found for now. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Part 3 Puma

Puma is an unknown quantity at this point. They are a highly reputable producer of fine fashion-forward footwear and clothing. Their soccer gear is favored by many, including the Italian national team and CONCACAF.

Before signing an exclusive deal with Adidas, MLS used Puma balls and outfitted one of their premier teams, the Chicago Fire, in Puma kits. Prior to the Reebok era, a few NFL teams wore Puma uniforms and gloves. Many players wore Puma cleats.

Their logo is not as popular on the baseball diamond, but that market is fairly saturated as it is.

Will Puma make lacrosse equipment? Probably not unless they see enough crossover with soccer to make it worth their while. Most likely, they will dabble in lacrosse specific footwear and uniforms. Bags will most likely be produced as well. They will slowly work their uniforms onto college and high school campuses with subtle yet trendy designs. Granted the NFHS rules will limit their ability to make anything too eye catching for the younger crowd. Still, the possibilities at the college level are promising. Their footwear will be second to none in no time.

Eventually it is possible that Puma will look into expanding into the equipment market, but doing so will be under a partnership deal similar to Nike's relationship with STX. My prediction is that deBeer/Gait or Maverick will work with Puma to create a high end signature line adorned with the leaping cat. They will be a specialty or niche brand that only a few outsiders will gravitate too - at least on this continent. Asian, Australian, and European players will quickly snatch Puma gear, as their soccer equipment is already more popular overseas. Shots of the Australian lacrosse league show that many players are already wearing the cat on their feet.

Continue to Part 4

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Part 2 Easton & Louisville

I am leading off this series with Easton. Long renowned as a top quality arrow maker and baseball supplier, Easton is a well known name in US sports. Their bats are highly regarded at all levels of amateur baseball and softball and their arrows are the creme de la creme of the archery world. Their knowledge of working with high strength and light weight metals and composites are legendary.

This knowledge led Easton to become the first company to produce an aluminum hockey stick in the early 1980s. About a decade later, they were the first to bring graphite composites to the ice. Boasting such high quality endorsers as Steve Yzerman, Jerome Iginla, and Henrik Zetterberg, Easton is considered to be one of the top brands in hockey. Their sticks constantly receive high praise for the their strength and durability.

Why will they enter lacrosse? For the same reason as Nike and Adidas - because it is the fastest growing sport in the US. They will realize soon that by staying out of lacrosse, they are missing a premier market for which they are uniquely qualified. The composites, aluminum, and titanium used by Easton in their current sports applications lend themselves perfectly to the sport of lacrosse and their factories could easily add the necessary tooling for sticks and heads. The glove and pad construction is similar enough to hockey equipment that the change in tooling or procedures would not be that great. They would take a page from Reebok's book and use their existing know how to create high quality gear.

How will they enter lacrosse? While it is not difficult to imagine Easton decided to go all out on their own, the most likely scenario sees them buying a smaller company like Scorpion or Serpent to have ready made tooling available from day one. It is possible that they will prefer just to create every thing from scratch, including designing their own stick shape (the rules are "roughly cylindrical") and freshly designed heads using their advanced work with plastics. Undoubtedly they will reciprocate Warrior/New Balance's entry into the hockey world by luring an inside man from Warrior Lacrosse (for those of you that do not know, Easton had a large lawsuit against New Balance when an executive left the former for the latter with several trade secrets in tow). I highly doubt the Easton move would be so underhanded, but it would be just.
I predict that Easton will get wise by 2012 and may be the first company to have their entire line of heads compliant with the 2010 NCAA rules.

Louisville will follow much the same path as Easton (save the whole Warrior-revenge deal). In many ways, they mirror the larger company in quality on the diamond and on the ice. Their sticks and bats are quite comparable to Easton's and their pads are top notch (the best shoulder pads I've ever owned for hockey were TPS).

The big question with Louisville would be what they would title their lacrosse line. "Slugger" is well known in baseball circles and "TPS" stands out in hockey. I think something like "Whips" or "Pride" would accompany the Louisville lacrosse line. They have many of the same options as Easton when it comes to entering, but I see them more likely to purchase a small company like Serpent. They will most likely come to the market within two years of Easton.

Continue to Part 3

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Who will be the next equipment company to move to lax? Part 1

For years the sport has been dominated my smaller companies specializing in lacrosse - Warrior, STX, Cascade, etc. Then mainstream sports companies like Adidas and Reebok entered the fray a couple of years ago. The reception of their equipment has been mediocre to the hardcore laxers, but I highly doubt that was their target audience anyway. To me, it seems that a mainstream company like Adidas would only venture into an expanding sport like lacrosse with the intention of grabbing new players. This makes sense because most newbies in any sport will move towards brands they know rather than unknown quantities like Scorpion.
Now the world's largest sports manufacturer, Nike, has entered the fray. Although STX makes their equipment, the Swoosh is still on everything making it easily identifiable as Nike. There is no doubt in my mind that newer and younger lacrosse players will gravitate towards Nike. Hockey players converting to the sport may also prefer the Swoosh based on the strong sales and quality of ice hockey gear. Reebok could see a surge of these as well.
Now that the big three (and New Balance) are involved in lacrosse, who will be next? My predictions are: Under Armour, Puma, Easton, Louisville, and Mizuno. This series will explore the reasons why I think each of these companies will move into the lacrosse world and how they will do so. Yes, Under Armour already makes bags, shoes, and uniforms for lacrosse, but I am referring to going whole hog and producing sticks, heads, and pads. As the game continues to grow and spread, I feel that more of the mainstream equipment companies will enter the fray and make an impact.

Continue to Part 2

Monday, October 27, 2008


Not that I am campaigning for any particular name here, but I suppose some explanation of the Dragoon name is in order. No, I did not misspell "Dragon," the legendary creature that spews fire. A Dragoon was (and still is) a specific type of soldier in the French Army.
You may or may not know that Des Moines (all of Iowa) was the property of France up until a little real estate deal known as "the Louisiana Purchase," sold the rights to the US government. Until that time, French troops were stationed in a little place called "Fort Des Moines." A specific regiment of troops, the Dragoons, patrolled the area thoroughly.
For Iowa's sesquicentennial, signs were placed around the city to mark the trails used by the Dragoons. Many of the trails later became major thoroughfares and others are in the middle of nowhere. Still, the signs are all over the city and connect modern Des Moines to the 19th century French occupiers.
There you go, your free mini history lesson of the day. Feel free to vote however you choose.


You may have noticed the Long Island Lizards picture and link on my side panel. Obviously, they are my favorite team in the MLL. This is odd for me because I tend to HATE all teams from New York. The Yankees, Giants, and Rangers are a thing of absolute loathing to me and I am not fond of the Mets, Jets, Red Bulls, or Islanders either (although Kyle Okposo is playing for the Isles now, so...). The exception to my New York hatred has long been the Dragons, but that is only because they are the REAL Barnstormers and many of the players made the move.

As for the Lizards, well when I started getting into lacrosse, I searched long and hard for a pro team to root for. At that point, the league had not yet expanded to the west so Chicago and Denver were not options (I did consider changing my affiliation to the Machine, but decided to stay with LI). So why a team from my most hated city? The answer is simple and stupid - their colors and logo absolutely rock! I know, dumb, right? Still, what criteria does one use when picking a "favorite" team?

Location is the most obvious, but at that time the teams were all on the east coast. Favorite players is another factor, but I was still fairly new to the game at that point and did not know a lot of players. Family choices also influence people, but as far as I know, I am the only one in my family (except my wife now) who follows lacrosse. So that left the most juvenile of factors - coolness. The fact that their original logo was based on SoBe helped too (I love that stuff). So now I am a confirmed Long Islands Lizards fan and hope to see them next time they play in Chi-Town.

As a side note, I considered including an "Iowa Lizards" or "Des Moines Lizards" option in the GPLL poll, but decided against it at the last minute. Obviously the team would share the MLL club's colors. I would even go so far as to seek permission to use their logo or a modified version of it. Maybe I would try to see if I could swing an affiliation deal of some sort. Who knows?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

More Nike Gear!

Here we have the Nike Elite head for $105,

Vandal shaft (silver and green) for $72,

and the zoom shaft (blue) for $99 at Great Atlantic Lacrosse.

So far, these are the only items added to the site. Hopefully we will see more soon. Enjoy!

Nike Lacrosse

I am not the only new thing coming to lacrosse this season. Much like hockey in the early 1990s, the sport of lacrosse is seeing a massive increase in interest and participation. This attention has led both Adidas and Reebok to introduce gear in the last couple of years. Although the companies are one and the same, their lacrosse products are completely separate. Every expert says that the Reebok gear is far superior and on par with traditional companies like STX and Warrior. Reebok also has greater exposure as the exclusive sponsor of the indoor NLL.

Now perennial sporting goods powerhouse Nike is entering the fray. It seems they are not satisfied with their place as the number one producer of sporting goods and apparel; perhaps it is the rapid catch up by the combined Adidas/Reebok. As a result, they are now entering the world of lacrosse. Sure, they have been making bags, uniforms, and shoes for years, but now they are producing the essential gear - gloves, pads, heads, and shafts.

Of course they are following their entry into the hockey industry by using an established company to produce their stuff. Back then it was the purchase of Bauer that brought them to the ice; now it is a cooperative effort with STX. STX is well known for its high quality equipment and big name players Gary Gait and Kyle Harrison (both STX lines were supposedly designed by Nike). It also happens that Harrison endorses Nike footwear. Nike has also signed one of the legendary Powell brothers, Ryan.

When Nike put Bauer up for sale earlier this year, they cited its lack of growth (undoubtedly hurt by the NHL strike) as the primary reason. They said they wanted to focus on expanding markets - specifically soccer - which prompted them to buy Umbro. Behind the scenes, they latched onto the other fast growing sports, lacrosse. Traditionally an East Coast rich white kid sport, lacrosse has spread like wildfire across the US (Denver leads the MLL in attendance) and attracts an increasing amount of nontraditional players (Harrison is black). It is also the only sport to feature a Native American team in its international competitions (the Iroquois Nationals). It has jumped across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and competitive teams come from England, Scotland, Germany, Australia, and many others. Bermuda even has a very competitive team!

Nike saw this potential and grabbed hold. It is clear they are aiming at people similar to those I am aiming at - new players from new areas. People that are new to a sport tend to gravitate toward equipment companies they already know. This undoubtedly lead Reebok, Adidas, and Nike to Lacrosse while preventing New Balance from renaming Warrior upon their purchase. Will it work? Probably. Reebok bought The Hockey Company (CCM, Koho, and Jofa) and the RBK lines are among the top sellers in US. Nike's hockey products consistently flew off the shelves and Warrior is making a killing in hockey as well. While lacrosse and hockey are similar, they are different, so maybe Nike's strategy will fail. Their premium prices (usually about $15-30 more than equivalent products from STX) will not help much. Time will tell...

Here are their Huarache gloves,

Vapor arm guards

and shoulder pads,

Dunk head,

and top of the line shaft, the Sprint.

How do they look?

Tribe 7