Get a Grip on the Right Glove for You

September 20th, 2010 by Ben

by Jeff Kettering

About the Play Test

During this test, I tried 9 different gloves from 6 different companies. One thing I found is there is definitely a difference between gloves. Although most of them got the job done, I noticed quite a bit of difference between several of the gloves, and some felt much better to play with than others. During this testing period, each glove was used for a minimum of 5 games and I tend to be a person that changes gloves after every game. Also, all of the gloves were tested using a Python Rubber Grip. I tend not to dive much, so dive padding or any other protection of the fingers did not get tested.

***As a general comment Ektelon gloves tend to run larger than all the other gloves. All the gloves tested were size large, with the exception of the Ektelon gloves, which were mediums.***

Ektelon Cool Max Ice

This glove out of the case fits extremely well. It is quite a bit thinner than the other gloves, but the extra added grip on the palm makes up for the thinness of the glove. This glove is tackier than most of the gloves that were used, did not stretch after several games played and breathability was good. For a thin leather glove, this one is great. I did get some irritation on my hands after several games with this glove on, which I believe was due to the thinness of the leather and the rough rubber grip. Overall, a very good glove.

coolmax

Ektelon O3

This glove right out of the package was one of my favorite gloves I used. The fit was great (size M) and the thicker leather was enough to give the hand the extra protection. The leather on the palm was durable and gripped very well. My hand did tend to sweat more in this glove than others and that is more than likely due to the thick leather and added material on the top of the glove. The only downfall I found on this glove was that after a few games it did tend to stretch out a little. I would strongly suggest when buying/ordering this glove that you buy at least one size smaller than you would in other gloves.

o3

Head Ballistic

This glove looks tough. Black with just a touch of white and gold gives this one a mean look. The playability of this glove keeps up with the look. The fit was ideal and over a course of six to seven games it did not stretch out and felt as good as new. This was one of the few gloves that I felt comfortable playing more than one game before switching to a dry glove. The leather on the palm is on the thin side compared to other gloves, but did not seem to cause a problem after extended play.

ballistic1

Head Airflow Tour

When I first looked at this glove, I thought…oh no, back to black and orange. I remember the days when HEAD had everything Orange, so I went into this one thinking…not again. I was pleasantly surprised with this glove. The leather is thicker than what I would have thought with the “air holes” in it. The breathability does definitely play a role in comfort and the lack of moisture that develops in the glove. This glove in my size fit very snug and did not seem to stretch out over the course of several games played with it. Although not a new concept with the air holes, HEAD seems to have taken it to a level not done before and they have done quite well.

airflow

Head Amp Pro

This was the regular glove I played with up until about eight months ago. This is one of the better gloves out there if you like a thicker glove. This glove is similar to the Pro Kennex Pure 1 glove. Fit on this one was snug, but did seem to stretch out after a few minutes on the court. I wasn’t able to play more than one game at a time as it seemed to absorb moisture in the palm more than other gloves. Breathability seemed good as there is adequate mesh on the front of the glove. Although this is a thicker glove, there were no issues with gripping a racquet or getting good feel on the racquet.

amp

Gearbox Movement

Gearbox has recently changed their color pattern on the sole glove that they produce. I used the new, all black glove for this testing; I had not used a Gearbox glove in the past. My first impression was surprised at the thickness of the glove. This glove did take a bit of getting used to due to that thickness. The fit of the glove was good in size large. I did notice that the fingers of this glove are on the long side. The length of the fingers caused an overall uncomfortable fit for the entire glove. After playing several games with it, I got used to the fit, and it played well. The other very noticeable quality of this glove is the amount of “bleeding” of the dye in the palm. My hand and grip were very dark after wearing it for the first 2-4 times. After that, there were no more dye issues. For a thick glove, the gripping was great. Once I got used to it, I was able to grip the racquet well and I didn’t have to think about the glove. For those that enjoy an extremely thick palm on your glove, this one should work for you.

movement

Wilson Red Zone

This was the first time I had ever used a glove by Wilson. I was looking forward to trying this glove as I had heard good things about it. The look of the glove is different from the outset as not too many companies make a glove with a red palm. The look was great but this is one glove I had a very difficult time getting used to. The fit was ok when I first put it on, but the glove never seemed to give me good grip each time I wore it. Several times while wearing the glove, the racquet would get loose in my hand, leading to a poor shot. I don’t know if it was me or the glove, but out of all the gloves I tested, this was one of the most difficult gloves to be consistent with during the testing process. There seemed to be plenty of air flow in the glove and the glove did not seem to get heavy with sweat during the games I played. There was little to no stretching of the glove after several uses.

red-zone

E-Force Chill

I had tried this glove one time when it first came out, and was not a huge fan, but I wanted to give it another solid try before forming my opinion. When you put this glove on, it feels great. It is extremely comfortable to wear and fits great to the hand. You immediately notice the air flow coming through the glove. During play, you can notice the difference in breathability in that there is constant air flowing through the glove to your hand, reducing the sweat on the hand. This is a very thin glove, the thinnest glove I used during this process. I was able to grip the racquet quite well with the glove but I had a difficult time because of the thinness of the material in the palm of the glove. I continued to use this glove for several games over the past couple of weeks, and was not able to get a good feeling with this glove. If there are individuals out there that enjoy a very thin glove, this one may work for you.

chill

ProKennex Pure 1

This is a glove that I used when I first started playing racquetball 9 years ago and I used it for about 7 years, before trying out other gloves a couple of years ago. This is one of the better gloves out there and that hasn’t changed since I used this product regularly. The softness and thickness of the palm is just right for the needs of a racquetball player. The glove is thicker than some of the other gloves, but along the same lines as the Amp Pro and 03 gloves. The difference is in the softness of the leather. There is no break in needed for these gloves and feel great right out of the package. The only negative I find with this glove is once they get wet, they are difficult to use and I noticed racquet slippage when the gloves are damp.

pure-1

CONCLUSION

This is the first time I have used so many different gloves over a four week time period. It was fun, challenging and informative all at the same time. It also gave me an added excuse at home to go to the gym and play racquetball. What I found overall is that all of these products are good, solid, well made gloves. It comes down to preference. There is quite a bit of difference between these gloves, and each player has different preferences and likes/dislikes when it comes to gloves. Personally, I could use most of these gloves on a regular basis and feel comfortable with them. The ones that are extremely thick or thin tended to be difficult to play with, but I’m sure after getting used to them, they would be just fine. My goal was to provide some insight into products that are purchased frequently so when making an order with Racquetball Warehouse you are going in informed and with some general information concerning gloves.

Jeff Kettering is a racquetball enthusiast, agent to the pros, and an elite level player, playing out of Turlock, CA.

Posted in Product Reviews | 202 Comments »

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.