Review: SPES Heavy Gloves

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Review: SPES Heavy Gloves

Postby KeithFarrell » 11 May 2015 14:40

I spent my weekend testing the SPES heavy gloves for longsword fencing. My thoughts are that they are suitable for the task, and they do provide excellent protection for the fingers and back of the hand (although the thumb isn't quite ideal) - in fact, I would say the mitten part of the glove is virtually bomb proof. They are quite comfortable to wear and they do not rub raw the skin on the hands and fingers.

However, while the dexterity of the wrist is great, the dexterity of the fingers and thumb is not particularly good. Shifting grips on the sword is problematic. The sheer bulk of the gloves is tremendous, with the gloves protruding about and inch and a half beyond my fingers. I took several hits to the hand over the weekend that I believe were simply due to the bulk of the gloves, and my crossguard was left unable to provide the necessary defence to prevent a hit landing.

Overall, while I would be happy enough for people to wear these gloves during my longsword lessons and in sparring sessions in terms of the level of protection offered, my recommendation would still be for people to buy and use the Sparring Gloves. They provide excellent protection, with better useful mobility and dexterity, and they are considerably more form-fitting and without the excess bulk of the SPES gloves.

So, if you have a pair of the SPES gloves, they will probably do well for you. However, if you are wondering what gloves to buy for serious study of longsword with a high level of intensity, then save your pennies for the Sparring Gloves.

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PS: I do intend to keep my SPES gloves and use them on a regular basis, but primarily for the private lessons I teach, where I might ask my student to hit me on the hands repeatedly for 30 to 40 minutes. The SPES gloves are probably the better option for sustaining such repeated punishment over a prolonged period, due to their bomb proof nature. However, for regular training and sparring, I think I will continue to use my Sparring Gloves.

As a further comment, I received several hits to the hand during sparring while wearing the SPES gloves, and I did not actually feel most of them. A few times, I only realised I had been hit on the hands because I heard the sound of steel striking plastic! So they do provide good protection, but maybe in some ways a little too much protection, since several times I was unaware that I had been hit at all and so continued to attack my opponent when they had expected me to acknowledge the result of the exchange.
-- Keith Farrell --
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Re: Review: SPES Heavy Gloves

Postby admin » 14 May 2015 11:39

Hi Keith,
I was examining a pair of these at training this week and my views more or less tally with yours. Though my hands are probably bigger than yours, so they were a coy fit for me and perhaps relatively not as bulky. I found the mitten and thumb parts very good, with good mobility, though everything did seem a bit bigger than it needed to be. I suspect what SPES really need to do is make these in 3 different sizes, as what they are currently making seems to be an XL size. What I really didn't like and would change on them is the cuffs - they were certainly protective enough, but I found them way too wide and flappy - not only annoying, but they just seemed to get in the way. They seem to be massively wider than required. I'd almost be tempted to chop them off entirely.
Overall though I am pretty impressed with these gloves and prefer their flexibility to the Sparring Gloves (still the worst most-non-specific name ever!).
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