There is no shortage of online HEMA articles regarding gloves. Pros and cons of mitten versus fingered, hard shell versus leather, and even steel versus modern materials. I have tried Red Dragons, SPES Heavies, and Koning Gloves (my favorite) and have to say that while the finger and hand placement is certainly a big deal, I find myself struggling more with wrist mobility.
If I use forearm protection, the cuffs of most gloves drastically decrease my ability to fight effectively, especially with one handed swords. If I don’t use forearm protection, I get a large number of painful bruises. I understand that all protection is a trade-off of saftey versus mobility, but so far, I have not found another protection choice that impacts my fencing effectiveness as much as wrist mobility. Wrist and forearm are primary targets for most one handed sword fighting styles (except rapier), so the problem isn’t just a matter of fighting style. If you are following the source material, then then you will be targeting the wrists and forearms when they are available.
So far, sparring gloves seem to be the best answer to this issue as they integrate forearm protection into a flexible wrist system. That being said, I do believe that these gloves are also a compromise as while the wrist is protected, it is much thinner and has less padding then most other gloves in this area.
Short of modding my forearm protectors to end just as the glove cuffs begin (something I have not yet tried), I have not found any solutions that provide the right balance of wrist mobility and protection for me. I will keep watching the internet sources to see if new options appear, but I don’t see nearly as much discussion on this topic so I would have thought given my experience. Am I the only one struggling with wrist mobility?
2 thoughts on “Wrist Mobility is more important than Glove Mobility”
Hi, I think that the trade off between mobility and protection is a critical one in HEMA, not just wrists. I combine Sparing Glove hoofs with Superior Fencing forearm and find they work well. There is some binding up at the joint but it’s acceptable. Have you seen the new ‘hour glass’ cuff from Sparring Gloves? It is wide so it allows the forearm guards free movement with less of a compromise to protection. One guy in my club has them and they are top of my list for my inevitable upgrade.
If only we could be safe and mobile at the same time…
I have not seen the hourglass gloves, I will keep an eye out for them!