This quartet of SK Brann (Norwegian second tier) players are modeling the club’s new rubber kit.
Ostensibly the ideal behind this “innovation” is to keep the players warm and dry in the harsh Scandinavian climate of Bergen, Brann’s home on Norway’s western coast. On the face of it, that kind of makes sense, but the more I think about it, the more skeptical I become.
As far as I can tell, this is not your waterproof/breathable material ala Gore-Tex. It is instead, the kind of rubberized fabric one might associate with an old fashioned yellow “slicker,” or to put it in a context a little closer to home for the Norwegians out there. This is the kind of fabric you would usually expected to find a North Sea fisherman wearing-
As I mentioned, I spent two years working a job that required me to wear this kind of gear (mostly just the pants) and I can tell you a few things about it. First, it will definitely keep you warm- it doesn’t breath, at all. All of your body heat stays inside it. However, that also means that if you engage in strenuous activity and begin to sweat, you’ll end up just as wet as you would if you weren’t wearing it at all. Still warm, yes, but soaked to the bone. I can only imagine the “hot house” environment that will be created by players running the equivalent of 5-6 miles in the course of a 90 minute match!
Second, if it’s backed with fabric, it doesn’t stretch much at all. I’m sure the fine folks an Hummel have tackled that problem to as great a degree as they possibly can, perhaps by omitting the fabric backing, but if that’s the case, can you even imagine how much this stuff will stick to a player’s skin when it gets wet? The club is going to need a legion of assistants just to peel these kits off the players after the final whistle.
Finally, I find this approach even more strange given that one can purchase waterproof/breathable garments that would serve the same purpose without causing all of the overheating, sweat-producing problems this kit seems to be in danger of creating. There are waterproof/breathable jackets for sale that come in at under six ounces and that’s with the weight of pockets, zippers, hoods, etc. included. Combine that with an insulating/wicking base layer and you’re probably still well under a pound for the whole kit.
Any-who… I will say this, it’s a good looking kit. Probably best with white socks with black trim, but Brann have worn red socks and black socks in the past and either of those would also be fine.
You know what’s strange? I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t even have fazed me if the club that introduced the first rubber kit to football was German. In fact, it would have made perfect sense.