Koning Gloves are my favorite piece of kit and have kept my hands safe for two years. In the time I have owned them, I have taken many hits to the hands from synthetic and steel weapons alike. Once broken-in (more on this later), I have found the mobility and flexibility to be better than any other gloves I have tried.
The Koning glove is a heavy HEMA glove with at least 4 layers:
- The first layer is leather and provides much of the glove’s distinct look and toughness.
- Second, there are internal plates that align when the hand is closed to provide protection on the top and sides of my fingers and hand.
- Under the plates, there is enough padding to provide additional force diffusion from particularly hard hits, a much appreciated improvement over some other five-finger gloves.
- Finally, there is a layer of cloth that provides separation from the padding and comes in contact with your hand. This layer acts as a built-in under-glove.
When I first received my Konings, I did not like them very much due to the stiffness. I could barely make a fist. I spent hours watching TV with them on my hands, opening and closing them to stretch out the leather and break them in (I am told that this process could have been eased by the use of a leather conditioning agent). You could argue that a product at this price point should be more ready to use at time of purchase. Still, the process was worth the time investment as their mix of protection and dexterity really started to shine through drills and sparring. I participate in HEMA 6 hours per week and despite all the hits I take to the hands, I have never been injured while wearing my Koning gloves.
I have read online that other people have had issues with durability or injury with these gloves. It is possible I am simply fortunate or received a particularly good pair, but I do not believe this to be the case. I attended IGX this year and Koning gloves were in use by a fair number of participants. Some friendly chatting with some of the users and I didn’t find a single person that did not swear by them.
In addition to being one of the more expensive options available for HEMA gloves, availability of the Koning gloves is sketchy right now. A search of facebook finds a number of angry people waiting for long overdue orders. I purchased mine direct from the manufacturer https://www.saintmark.se/ and did not have any problems. They are also occasionally available from https://www.woodenswords.com/Koning_Gloves_Medium_Pair_p/glove.k.htm. If you see a pair available and have been considering trying them, I highly recommend the product.