No flick of the wrist
I have written about wrist guards BEFORE, but I have some new ones.
The last wrist guard gloves I had and wrote about were by Harbinger. Harbinger quit making them, even though they still make some very slick looking weightlifting gloves. I liked their wrist guards very much, even after my puppy chewed them up a bit. After long enough, though, you just have to move along, so I tried to order a pair of HillBilly wrist guards from Unicycle.com (the same place that had offered the Harbingers). The HillBillys seemed to have the same design and materials as the Harbingers- like maybe somebody saw the need for really nice wrist guards and said, “We’ll make ’em if Harbinger won’t!” “Good” I thought, and ordered some. The problem arose when I opened the box. I received Kris Holm Pulse wrist support gloves instead.
They look good, too, but they weren’t what I ordered. It was easy to see at a glance why such a switchup could occur, the package was marked in such a way that it could have been either glove. I had to look twice to realize they weren’t what I ordered. Some rushed kid filling boxes all day, mostly with unicycles and parts, isn’t going to spend a lot of time double-checking to makes sure the right gloves are coming out of the bin and going into a box. I mean, how many different kinds of wrist guards do they sell, right? Right. They sell two. Damn.
I intended to send them back to get the right things, but the cost isn’t too crazy, I like the look of them, and I thought I might just reorder the Hillbillys and keep these, too, “I can use them for stuff other than skating, even if they don’t have a rigid wrist piece in them.”
My mistake. I took them out of the package, thinking I’d check ’em out, decide where I could use them, and then go order the HillBilly’s again. But they DO have a rigid piece of plastic in them, just not where the Harbingers do.
I thought these were going to be ‘wrist support’ gloves in the same way that my high-top skate shoes are ‘ankle support’ instead of ‘ankle brace’ shoes. (I have a wonky ankle. Gotta watch it or it folds like origami. The difference between ‘ankle brace’ and ‘ankle support’ has become important to me.)
These gloves, though, had the rigid plastic bit along the BACK of my hand, with nice thick goatskin pads on the palm. “Hmmmm” I said, while trying them on. “This might work.”
So I’ve tried them out. I admit I was nervous. Up to this point, I’d been using my Harbingers as little wrist skis. If I went down, I’d slide along on my padded knees and my palms (like a cow on ice, see?), then hop up and go again. These Kris Holm gloves weren’t designed to slide so much. And I worried that with the rigid spine, that if I fell badly, my wrist (that I use a lot when I draw, right? You guys get that the reason I’m cranky about my wrists is that I draw for a living?) would get mangled without the plastic between it and the nice concrete surface of our skatepark.
Not so much. In fact, I haven’t had to panic and think about how I’m falling or anything. There have been no rude surprises. The gloves are nice. I fall, I get up, it hasn’t impinged on my mind which gloves I have on yet. That’s a good sign.
I won’t say they’re an improvement over the Harbingers, just that I feel confident wearing them to skate. (keep in mind that Kris Holm is, after all, a unicyclist- and an amazing one at that. These gloves, unlike the Harbingers, were probably never intended for the kinds of falls taken in a skatepark, but then, the kinds of falls I take from a skateboard and the kinds of falls I take from my offroad unicycle are pretty similar.)
Here’s the details of the gloves themselves. Fingerless (fingered gloves are also available) and fitted well for my hand (I ordered the Large. I have trouble with gloves. My palms are probably more nearly a Medium, but my finger length is mutant long and my wrists are skinny, so fitting fingered gloves is an issue. I roll the dice with fingerless- it could go either way. Large turned out to be right) Nice goatskin suede palms. Plastic spine on the backs of the gloves, held in place by the wrist support wrap, which is held both at the back of the glove with a small bit of velcro (an improvement over the Harbinger, I think) and by the long piece of velcro of the whole wrap.
Good solid construction. Feels like it’ll be hot and sweaty, but I haven’t noticed it while riding. I sweated the Harbingers through so many times that white salt lines formed in the leather. Haven’t had that so far with the Kris Holm, but time, and a LOT more riding/skating, will show whether that’s a factor.
I like ’em. If you do stuff that requires wrist guards and, like me, you don’t like the little Ace Bandage/Grandma style thingies you can get at Target/WalMart/Sportsmart etc., then these are well worth the $30 they cost.
And if your job means that your wrists aren’t worth $30 to you, then I envy your freedom to ride unencumbered.