Review: Shock Doctor Lacrosse Gloves

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Review: Shock Doctor Lacrosse Gloves

Postby KeithFarrell » 01 Jul 2013 15:17

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Protection

This is what is most important to a lot of people, so I will deal with it first.

Thumb

The thumb is well protected with this glove. There is a lot of padding over the knuckles, joints and thumbnail, with a solid plate as well as padding to protect the base of the thumb and where it joins the hand.

Along the edge of the thumb, there is not any padding; however, the padding over the digit extends out quite far, and if you don't have particularly wide thumbs this will provide a measure of protection to the side of the thumb.

As for the thumb tip, there is not a lot of protection.

Fingers

Protection for the fingers is decent, about average for mid-price hockey/lacrosse gloves. There are "lumps" of padding that cover the fingers, but there are considerable gaps between the "lumps" into which a slim blade can find its way. When the hand forms a fist, these gaps are quite noticeable, although it would take a very unlucky shot indeed to miss all of the padding!

The side of the forefinger is also quite well protected, more so than on most hockey/lacrosse gloves.

The side of the pinky has some protection but also a significant gap where it meets with the hand. This is not really any different to other hockey/lacrosse gloves.

Fingertips

There is no padding on the fingertips in these gloves, so it would be advisable to wear plastic fingertip inserts for additional protection.

Back of Hand

The padding on the back of the hand is excellent. There is a small gap where a sword with a narrow tip might find its way in a thrust, but a sword with some kind of tipping device to make it bulkier should not pose much of a threat. Against strikes across the back of the hand, the padding is superb.

Wrist

The padding on the wrist covers the top, sides, and to some extent the underneath of the wrist. While it is not up to the task of stopping a full power hit (or at least, I don't want to give anyone the opportunity to do so while I am wearing these gloves), the protection is certainly sufficient to protect against less powerful strikes, or strikes landing with a large surface area.

General Notes

On the whole, the protection is very good. The gaps are a bit worrying, so I would not recommend using these while sparring against feders at full power, but they are definitely up to the task of sparring with synthetic swords. The gloves give a very pleasant feeling of security.


Visual Appeal

Although not as important as protection, the gloves do look good. They look quite massive, but they look like they give good protection. Unlike some other hockey/lacrosse gloves, these are not garish in their colour scheme; they have a main colour, and another colour for highlights, and the overall effect is reasonably tasteful.

Worth noting is that the gloves do come in various colours, including blue gloves and red gloves, so this makes them a good choice for loaner equipment for synthetic tournaments where there is a blue competitor and a red competitor!


Dexterity / Mobility

The fingers have excellent mobility, and the thumb is somewhat agile. There is a bit of restriction on movement of the thumb due to the large quantities of protection above it, but there is enough mobility to "thumb the blade" and to move the hand, thumb and fingers around a sword grip in a fairly dextrous fashion.

The wrists are also relatively unhampered, although moving to "crossed wrists" positions such as a right (crossed wrists) Ochs might be difficult with a sword with a shorter grip.


Durability / Comfort

The gloves stand up to punishment without a problem. They do not tend to break, tear, rip at the seams, or otherwise fall apart. Not much to say here other than the fact that they need very little (if any) repair work after several outings.

The gloves are very comfortable to wear, even for an extended period of time.


Grip

The palm of the gloves is made from pieces of suede stitched together with breathable netting. The result is a good grip on the sword even in sweaty conditions, which develop much more slowly due to the breathability of the netting.


Size

The gloves are fairly bulky. They can be bought in medium (12") and large (13") sizes, and they do fit a lot of people with various sizes of hands. However, the bulk of the gloves means that they stand out quite far from the hands.

They will not fit into a Rawlings synthetic basket-hilt, and probably not into any steel sabre/broadsword with a smallish shell.

On a simple hilt such as the crossguard of a longsword or arming sword, the gloves make the hand a very big target. It is easy to be hit on the glove even if parring a strike correctly; the sheer bulk of the glove makes it available as a target anyway.


Conclusions

The Shock Doctor lacrosse gloves are relatively cheap and very good value for money. They provide a lot of protection and are superb as a pair of gloves for beginners. They are not any good for complex hilt weapons due to their bulk, but they provide plenty of protection and dexterity for simple hilt weapons.

In the Academy of Historical Arts, we have a few pairs of these as loaner gear for synthetic longsword sparring and tournaments. They are perfect for working with synthetic weapons, but are not quite so good for working with steel; admittedly, they are just as good for working with steel as most other hockey/lacrosse gloves, but I don't feel safe in anything short of the Arcensis or Absolute Force gloves for sparring in a friendly fashion with steel, and nothing short of the Absolute Force gloves for truly competitive sparring.

The Shock Doctor gloves are on sale through Corsair's Wares for £40 per pair, and are available here: http://www.corsairs-wares.com/martial-arts/index.php?main_page=advanced_search_result&keyword=Shock+Doctor
-- Keith Farrell --
Academy of Historical Arts: website | Facebook | blog
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