Review: SPES Heavy Gloves

Open to public view.

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.


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 --
Academy of Historical Arts: website | Facebook
Fallen Rook Publishing: website | Facebook website
User avatar
Lieutenant Colonel
Posts: 1162
Joined: 18 May 2010 18:38
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

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!).

I like swords more than you.
User avatar
Posts: 35094
Joined: 13 Mar 2006 17:28
Location: Guildford, Surrey, England.

Re: Review: SPES Heavy Gloves

Postby ponkster » 25 Jan 2018 11:54

Well three years on from these reviews and the Spes Heavies are still the dependable safe option out there.
I have big hands and I find them great for my Longsword training and sparing.

Over the years many 'new' Longsword HEMA gloves have come and gone with most being hailed as the best thing since sliced bread - with the honest views on the gloves taking a while to appear - I guess no one wants to admit they spent £200+ on gloves that don't quite do what they want !

The Spes gloves have been consistently priced somewhere in the middle - I picked up a pair in the UK recently for £120 which is a quite a bit cheaper that some of the other 'Big names' in the Longsword glove market.

It seems to me that with the current technology and materials available we are still not able to purchase a glove that provides us with 100% protection whilst also giving maximum flexibility , mobility and comfort - so the real decision a Longsword practitioner in 2018 has to make is what is more important to them - protection or mobility ?

As an old git with RA hand injuries are needed to avoided at all costs - protection all the way for me - I wear the Spes Heavies and am very happy with them.
User avatar
Recruit in training
Posts: 6
Joined: 25 Oct 2015 20:35

Return to Buying, Selling & Reviews

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests