Five finger HEMA gloves that provide good protection? The list of contenders is surprisingly short. With my beloved Koning gloves apparently having gone the way of black lance and armadillo gloves (extinct), there are only a few steel-capable options on the market. Sparring Gloves has two options; the Infinity glove that I am reviewing here and five finger special. There is also the Pro Gauntlet that I have not tried. I do not count Red Dragon gloves as steel-capable.
When choosing a new glove, I decided on the infinity gauntlet due to the reputation of the manufacturer, the fact that I wanted a five-finger glove rather than a mitten style, and price. I considered the Pro Gauntlet, but the fact that the vendor did not have a long track record and the price was so much higher made the decision easy.
I placed my order through Hema Supplies using the provided measurement template to customize the gloves to my hands (no extra charge for this). I elected to get the hourglass cuff as I believe it provides better wrist protection. The gloves arrived without issues after a few months with excellent communication from the vendor.
First impressions were very good, the gloves fit perfectly and unlike other HEMA gloves I have used, they required little to no break-in time. I am able to put on and take off the gloves easily and have enough dexterity to work the zipper on my coat and manage my helmet. After taking up some of my swords, I found the grip to be secure and comfortable and could even use the finger ring on my Regenyei sidesword.
The real test of a HEMA glove is protection. I have sparred with the gloves for a few months with many hits to the hands with both steel and synthetic weapons. I have never had any pain or discomfort from a hit and sometimes must rely on sound to even know I have been hit. The shell of the glove forms a secure shield around my hand and fingers that braces against the handle of the weapon. This design, along with padding between the inner glove and the hard shell, effectively transfers force into the weapon handle and away from my hands. The only issue I have had is that occasionally the plates will pop from under to over one of the other plates. This is easy to fix, and I can usually feel it when it happens.
I am incredibly happy with my Infinity Gloves and trust them to protect my hands. Are they as good as the Pro Gauntlet? I can’t say, but I can say they are far less expensive and have not failed me. If you are looking for a five-finger glove, I highly recommend them.