Storelli is a very unique company. In an industry dominated by the few, where even fewer have chosen to specialize in soccer specific products, two people (an Italian attorney and a PhD biochemist) with a great passion for the game set out to revolutionize the tools in the player's arsenal. In 2 short years the concept for Storelli was taken from napkin drawings doodled out in a NYC indoor soccer locker room to launching products to mass acclaim. It's a company that you just Want to like (and I do)!
Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect when I received these new "shorts" in the mail. In The Beautiful Game, equipment is basically limited to your boots and a pair of shinguards - I wasn't sure what a company could do to innovate on a pair of undershorts, nor did I know if I really liked the idea of someone touting their ability to revolutionize soccer equipment! Well.... I stand here pleasantly surprised and quite impressed (and truly thinking about the implications for this young start-up company).
So here's the deal: yes, they have pads in them, and yes they're foam... but nothing like I (and I dare say you) expected. The material they use is 3mm polyurethane foam but somehow the padding is very thin, very flexible, yet very protective. Though this is really nice in slider shorts, where the implications appear huge is in their goal keeper line. The reason is this: the foam's energy absorption (rebound killing) properties are quite staggering.
If you do nothing else, watch this video demonstrating their material's amazing ability to stop force dead in its tracks:
First things first: What are they? It's a pair of compression slider shorts for soccer (come on... is there another Beautiful Game!?). As most of you know, my first requirement for compression gear (in any circumstance) is that it must disappear. So, in order to test these soccer shorts, I first didn't use them for soccer at all - I took them on a 6 mile run just to check the feel when there were no other distractions. They felt great, they truly disappeared. What makes this even nicer is that the reason I tested them this way is that they padding looked so, well, padded, that I was very afraid of the rubbing, bunching, and (most importantly) restricting movement. On the run test they performed great, I could just forget they were there and run. The padding wasn't noticed at all, I felt no restriction, and the level of compression was spot on (not too tight - not too loose).
So with the first basic wear test out of the way, I decided to put them through their intended paces: on the pitch.
Again, the bases were covered: the shorts held in place, they were comfortable, and also cooler (temperature) than expected.
From there I went and played striker with a group of overzealous, testosterone charged, high school varsity boys (coaching high school provides an excellent pool of test subjects). At this point, the shorts went from being really nice to amazing.
The tackles on plush Tennessee grass (aka clay, stone, and gravel pit covered periodically by out of season Bermuda grass) were unreal. No cuts, no abrasions, no strawberries, no bruises. Not only that, the tackles were smoother (turns out their NASA inspired super foam slides better than epidermus - who knew) and stronger (because you didn't have to worry or even think about your legs).
What impressed me even more than the fact that the back of my thighs weren't all cut up was that the shorts themselves showed no sign of the abuse I had just put them through.