As we’ve mentioned many times in these reviews lacrosse goalie gloves are arguably one of the more important pieces of protective equipment a goalie needs when stepping into the cage.
Having a glove that provides optimum protection, mobility and comfort is key to playing your best in one of lacrosse’s most challenging positions.
The Integra Elite goalie gloves are Epoch’s next evolution in protection, comfort, and performance for the goaltender. Here’s is a review of their previous model called the Epoch Integra Pro.
As the name suggests, the new model is designed for the elite lacrosse player looking for the best in protection and comfort. The Integra Elite utilizes Player Core Control, Tri-Layer Dual Density Foam Stack, flexible Composite material, and more to maximize feel, design, and control.
But do these gloves hold up compared to others on the market? And is it really for an elite level goalie?
Read our review to learn more.
Helping us out with our review today is former Brock Badgers goalie and Canadian University National Champion Simon Bellamy.
In terms of gloves what we want to look for is protection, comfort, fit, durability, look, and price. In this review, we will go over all of these aspects and provide you with our final thoughts at the end.
Epoch Integra Elite: Protection
When it comes to protection in goalie gloves we really want to look at thumb protection.
The Epoch Integra Elite glove features composite material in key thumb zones while also using Epoch’s Tri-Layer Dual Density Foam Stacks with hard plastic to shield you from impact.
What that is is a thumb cap that sits on the top of the glove to provide you with protection.
The biggest concern for me upon seeing these gloves was the lack of protection throughout the entirety of the thumb area. We’re so used to know seeing goalie gloves that have massive thumb protection to keep that area of the hand safe from shots. An example of this is the Nike Vapor Goalie Gloves we reviewed with Mira Shane.
I wasn’t alone in that concern:
On my initial unboxing, the Epoch goalie gloves look very similar to the company’ Integra Elite player glove with one minor difference which is the plastic thumb cap that sits atop the thumb tip.
With my first use of these gloves, I actually took a shot that wasn’t too hard off of the thumb, and it actually off of the tip of my thumb that ended up completely splitting my nail and ending my training sessions for that day.
The Integra Elite goalie gloves also offer Epoch’s new ARIAPRENE® material for maximum protection throughout the gloves. These areas are decently protective.
Both Simon and I have experienced taking slashes when playing out of the net or shots off of the knuckle area of the hand where they’re backed up by the shaft of the stick and it doesn’t hurt. We’re this glove lacks protection is a direct hit to the thumb area which is where injuries are caused.
If I was a player these gloves would probably be great to use. However, as a goalie, the protection that these gloves offer especially to the thumb area in my opinion is lacking and in need of major improvements.
Simon’s thoughts: “I think there’s two different things to look at when it comes to goalie glove thumbs: thumb protection and thumb support. Epoch, Gait, and Under Armour all make goalie gloves that look very similar to player gloves and place the horseshoe-like plastic cap that protects the tip of the thumb but it doesn’t necessarily support the entire thumb and lower joints.
If you look at other companies such as Maverik, Warrior, and STX they have much more stability going all the way back to the bottom thumb joint. What that is going to do is not only take the initial impact of a shot but it’s going to keep your thumb from jamming in of the other joints on impact.
I’m sure a lot of goalies out there have broken their thumbs and very rarely does the injury actually happen in the tip of the thumb it occurs more in the first or second joint lower in the thumb. With that in mind as far as protection goes I think that this glove could be a little better. I had a couple of thumb injuries with them but that’s also the nature of the game.”
Epoch Integra Elite: Comfort & Performance
I think the major focus of the design of this glove was to create a glove that provides maximum flexibility and comfort in the hand.
Some goalies do love to have a little more flexibility in their thumb:
When it comes to this glove I really like this aspect. Once you get the glove on it really doesn’t feel like you have anything on your hand, which could be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it.
The glove really flexes and moves with your hand providing you with optimal movement when you’re in the cage.
The one thing I will say is that when it comes to fit with these gloves they’re really hard to get on your hand. The glove features a really tight elastic band piece that sits on your wrist area that is really tough to get past but once you do holds the glove in place and keeps it from slipping off your hand.
I was using a large 13” glove which is my normal size and it takes some time to get these on your hands. They’re almost like latex gloves in that sense that they’re tough to get on but once you do you don’t really notice them at all because they don’t restrict your movement.
Simon’s thoughts: “As far as performance goes these gloves are really good. That is where these gloves make their name. It fits like the latest glove and while it’s difficult to get on once it is on they’re snug to your hand.
I think this would work really well for a goalie who doesn’t like a glove that rattles around in your hand a lot. Although they don’t have the bulky thumb that protects against injuries, where that does benefit you is that you have much more maneuverability in your thumb. So for outlets or ground balls, you’re not going to have any sort of hindrance from your gloves.
These gloves also allow your hands to be super fast and responsive because the tighter your gloves are to your hands the faster your reaction time will be as opposed to loose gloves where you have to move your hands and then your gloves move with you.
With that in mind we’re talking about factions of a second but it all adds up. With all gear, there’s always that give and take and I feel that this glove focused more on the comfortability and performance side which took away from the protection aspects.”
The palm of the glove is made from Epoch’s Axe Suede material and their Player Core Control featuring S. Café® technology that helps cool, reduces odor, dries quickly, and has UV protection during game play to achieve maximum comfort.
Again to me, this glove feels very comfortable when you put it on your hand but the piece that I really didn’t like about this area is that there aren’t any vents or holes in the palm to allow your hands to breathe.
I found that my hands couldn’t really breathe in these gloves and on hot days just really felt uncomfortable and warm. If it wasn’t or the fact that I was testing these gloves’ features I would probably end up cutting holes in the palm myself to allow for some breathability in my hands.
Simon’s thoughts: “ I couldn’t agree more. On those hot days, your hands do get really hot but they fit really nice and feel really comfortable on your hands so that’s just another give and take aspect of these gloves.”
Epoch Integra Elite: Look
The glove features Epoch’s signature glove look which in my opinion is a really nice, sleek design. For me, you can never go wrong with the all-white look. It’s such a great look that goes with any other color combination.
You can purchase the Epoch Integra Elite goalie gloves online at LacrosseMonkey.
The gloves come in an all-white, black, and grey option. You can also build a custom option of the Pro goalie glove on Epoch’s website.
Simon’s thoughts: “They’re fresh! Especially the all-white pair. They look really clean. Sometimes with the more durable and protective gloves, they have protective features which may not be as visually appealing. But these are form-fitting and sleek. If you’re a goalie who likes the baggy long sleeves they look really good. As far as the looks go I really like these.”
I’ve used these gloves quite a few times now and I’ve found there’s not much mark-up on the gloves at all. Simon however had used these gloves for a season and has since transitioned out of them and noticed that like most gloves the Integra Elites began to wear them in the palm area. He also noticed that the felt covering of the plastic thumb cap eventually wore out and that piece slipped right out after a year’s use. Keep in mind he’s out taking shots with these gloves 4-5 times per week so they experienced extreme wear in a short period of time.
Here is a video that Evan and Simon did talking about the Epoch Integra Elite goalie glove.
Huge thanks to Simon Bellamy for helping out with this goalie gloves review!
When it comes to goalie gloves thumb protection is a really important feature for me and I think that this is something that these gloves are really lacking. Personally, with the investment that you’re making with these gloves being an upper-tier priced gloves, I would want something that I would feel has better protection in the thumb area to keep me safe. But that’s my personal preference.
When using these gloves I ended up changing the way I held my stick thanks to some advice I took from Coach Damon’s podcast with Josh Kirson and switched my grip so that my thumb on my top hand was held behind the throat of the stick and hidden from the ball which made me feel a lot more comfortable using these gloves.
The one thing I will say though is if you do like these gloves because of the flexibility that it provides but would like to find some ways of protecting yourself better you can also look at getting additional thumb protection for your gloves.
People like Hand & Occupational Therapist and Lax Goalie Rat Facebook member Evan Mark are creating custom splints that can help keep your thumb safe while in the cage. So reach out to Evan or talk to an orthopedic surgeon, occupational therapist, or physiotherapist in your area about ways in which you can provide additional support to your thumb area.
However, if I’m going to invest $160 into a pair of gloves and then have to spend additional money to provide more support for my gloves just to feel safe I would rather spend my money on a glove that I know is going to protect my thumb area from an injury.
The fit and the flexibility of these gloves are great! Again I would’ve like to see more vents in the palm so provide more airflow to cool my hand.
Simon’s thoughts: “I would recommend this glove to goalies who care more about the performance of the gloves in terms of throwing outlets, and having fast hands that are willing to jeopardize some thumb safety. At the end of the day yes, thumb injuries happen. But you’re not guaranteed to break your thumb if you use these gloves.
I soaked probably hundreds of shots that didn’t break my thumb with these.I would also recommend these gloves to recreational goalies who are only playing once or twice a week in the summer and would also recommend these to youth goalies. These gloves fit comfortably, you can throw the ball well with them and not a lot of youth players are shooting the ball hard enough to seriously injure your hand area.
I think automatically if you’re having to buy something to add on to a product that you’re buying there’s something that you’re missing in terms of bang for your buck goes. With the time and money that would go into that, you might as well just spend your money on a glove that is going to better protect that area.
Lacrosse is my passion! The game has given me so much and this blog is my way of giving back to the lax community. Specifically the most bad a$$ part of that community - the goalies! After learning to play goalie from scratch, I wanted to create a site where I could share what I learned with others so they too can become champions in the crease and in life. Learn more about Coach Damon.