Goalkeepers hold one of the most important positions on a soccer field, they are the last resort, they need to be ready at every moment. Having a goalkeeper that you are confident in and can rely on, can completely change the complexion of your team. With that in mind, the team at Uhlsport got to work on creating a soccer cleat that would compliment the needs of any goalkeeper. The result they named the Uhlsport Torkralle. There are several advancements with the Torkralle that make them extremely beneficial for all goalkeepers:
- Additional Forefoot claws: Instead of just having a normal stud design, Uhlsport have added additional forefoot claws that are designed to provide improved lateral grip. This is essential for goalkeepers who need to move from side to side quickly, especially when saving shots! There are 8 claws in total that run right around the front of the cleat. (seen in the images)
- Raised Heel: The heel of each cleat has been raised by 4mm. This is to allow sufficient weight towards the forefront of the cleat, allowing a goalkeeper enhanced agility and spring. One of the first rules you learn as a goalkeeper is to stay on your toes!
I recently spoke to Chivas USA Goalkeeper Danny Kennedy, who spent some time testing the Torkralle for Uhlsport. His reaction to the cleat was positive, specifically with the raised heel, which he says is more likely to keep you on the balls of your feet, while also giving you an extra 4mm of height (what goalkeeper doesn’t want to be a little taller?). Danny will be wearing Uhlsport gloves and cleats this season in MLS. Former German goalkeeper Robert Enke worked with Uhlsport through the development of the cleat. He was due to wear them at this summers World Cup in South Africa before his untimely death. Arsenal goalkeeper Lucasz Fabianski has been wearing them in recent Champions League action.
I also spoke with former Georgetown standout goalkeeper Jade Higgins (who runs a goalkeeping website called Shutout Central), to get her perspective on the new Torkralle. When I asked her about the benefits these offer Goalkeepers her opinion is similar to that of Kennedy, “I like the extra blades that outline the sole of the cleat. When goalkeepers dive, they put a lot of their weight on their toes. The extra blades provide better grip, but don’t make you feel ‘stuck’ in the ground. I’m surprised more companies haven’t tried developing a specialized goalkeeper cleat.” And this is something I tend to agree with. Coaching goalkeepers from a young age can be challenging, and there are several critical skills that need to be learned in order for them to have growth in the position.
In my opinion, the Torkralle are probably a great companion for any young goalkeeper. They almost give an unfair advantage as they can be used to train muscle memory. The key component of learning a new movement is doing it over and over again, basically training your mind to control your movements. For example, keepers need to be on the balls of their feet at all times. Jade told me about some training techniques one of her goalkeeping coaches used. He would make his goalkeepers put their heels on tennis balls when practicing basic handling, so their weight would be forward, and that is something the Torkralle are designed to offer without using tennis balls. Worth noting is the fact that Uhlsport have patented their technology to ensure they are the only ones that can reproduce the design – now that shows how serious they are about these cleats!
I have had an opportunity to try on the Torkralle but as an outfield player, I am not a huge fan. They are definitely designed for one player on the pitch, and one player alone…the goalkeeper! Looking at them, they seem to look bulky and full, yet they weigh in at a pretty nice 10oz, this is lighter than the Predator X and Total90 Laser III.