Those of you that have been at the Thursday night sessions lately have probably heard the discussions between Zach, Cam, Tyler, and myself about team gloves. Cam and I really like the Reebok gloves, but they cannot be customized. Zach is pushing for a traditional company like Brine or Warrior. Part of this is that he is afraid that with the "big 3" of Nike, Adidas, and Reebok in lacrosse, the smaller companies will be pushed out. I understand his point, except that three of the smaller companies - Warrior, Brine, and STX - are not so small.
Warrior and Brine are completely owned by New Balance, the world's fourth largest athletic footwear company (Nike, Adidas [owns Reebok], & Puma). STX is a major player in the golfing world and is cooperating with Nike on many levels. in fact, all of Nike's lacrosse equipment is made by STX.
So that leaves Maverik and Gait as the only major lax companies untouched. Rumors are beginning to circulate that Maverik may begin working with Under Armour. Paul Rabil's role as a major endorser for both companies may be fueling this speculation. Gait just has problems carving its niche.
Beyond that there are several small lax companies that seem to come and go - Scorpion, Voodoo, Serpent, etc. However, some new equipment companies seem to understand the need for a true grassroots movement. They seem to understand the need to find a niche and market to a specific type of player. The most promising of these companies is Tribe 7.
First Tribe 7 set ought to make the ultimate lacrosse head. A head that is strong enough not to crack during normal use. A head that will not stretch or pinch, preventing it from becoming illegal. A head that is lightweight and flexible enough to be used at the highest level. From the early reviews, it looks like they succeeded.
They did not stop there though. They also created a head that can scoop ground balls fro ma reverse angle. You really have to see the demonstration to understand. Again, the early reviews indicate that this is legit. The head retails for $34.99 - less than a Warrior Mojo!
On top of that, the guys at Tribe 7 decided that players have been ripped off long enough when buying shafts. In addition to their revolutionary heads, they have a 7075 Titanium alloy shaft in both attack and defense lengths. The shorties sells for $24.99 and the pole for $34.99!!!!!! By comparison, all of the aforementioned companies sell titanium d-poles starting at $200; their basic entry-level aluminum attack shafts are not much less than the ThunderShaft.
Complete sticks from Tribe 7 are and even better deal. A S7 head with colored hard mesh and a ThunderShaft shorty costs $49.99. A S7 and long pole combo costs $59.99. The heads come in white, black, orange, and red (blue is on back order). The shorties come in red, silver, and black. You can get your pole in silver or black. There are many choices for mesh.
I have written this post to help spread the word about Tribe 7. The early reputation for high quality equipment and low prices are strong selling points. It will not be long before more people discover Tribe 7 and the brand really takes off. In the coming months they will offer gloves, pads, and even a helmet! I have not seen the shell for the new lid, but the lining will include a very high tech gel material that should go a long way towards preventing concussions. Based on their offerings so far, expect a great product at a great price.