Welcome to EN’s Product Review series! Who doesn’t love shopping, especially when the object of your search is new gear for yourself or your horse? As an enthusiast of all products equine, I LOVE trying out new gear. Please join me as I narrate my personal journey of trying out all of the products featured. While I will make no recommendations, I hope you have fun reading about my many adventures of trying new products, and that hearing about my personal experiences helps you on your own quest for new gear. Go Shopping.
When it comes to riding, gloves are an absolutely must have item for me. My hands simply demand it, because they don’t fare so well without them. That’s why I always reach for a pair of gloves before heading out to the barn…because if I don’t, then my hands end up paying the price of my forgetfulness in the form of some lovely blisters.
Over the years, I’ve worn many different pairs of gloves. I’m pretty tough on them, so I do tend to go through pair after pair. After pair. The thing about gloves is that it can be a tricky prospect to find a pair that fits my hands just so. Finding a well-fitting pair of gloves is much (much) harder than finding, say, the perfect t-shirt.
Earlier this year, I was intrigued after I heard of an equestrian riding glove designed by an orthopedic hand surgeon. The concept of a glove that was designed to fit the natural contours of the hand and to improve the grip was an interesting one to me. And when I had the chance to learn about Bionic Gloves, I was also interested to be able to try on a pair for myself.
One of the first things that I noticed about the Bionic Gloves is their totally unique and original appearance. The gloves depart from tradition, as they have Lycra vents that look like ‘cut out areas’ on the back of the hands…across the knuckles, and where the fingers connect to the hand. Lycra vents offer both movement to the hand when it flexes and ventilation.
When I tried on that pair of Bionic Gloves for the first time, I was really pretty surprised at what I felt. First and foremost, I was pleasantly surprised to feel the relief of pressure on my hands when I flex them or try to grip. Thank you Lycra vents. Once I was able to draw my attention away from the vents, the next thing that I did was to grasp on to a pole, as part of the demonstration.
When I reached for the pole and grasped on, I was pleased to feel the improvement that I felt in my grip. What I hadn’t immediately seen was something that was pointed out to me…that the gloves have anatomical relief pads incorporated into the design. The anatomical relief pads are incorporated into the design of the gloves where the fingers bend.
Normally when fingers bend, they create empty space…which can lead to the need to tighten the grip in order to have enough traction. With Bionic Gloves, I had the sensation that when my hand gripped, the anatomical relief pads helped to fill in the empty space; which means I felt an improved grip without having to grip as tightly.
After trying on a couple of different pairs of Bionic Gloves, I was really pretty excited to be able to have the chance to try out a pair of their AquaGrip gloves. And the AquaGrip gloves are really pretty cool. From a technical perspective, they did feature both the anatomical relief pads, as well as Lycra vents…but they also include some additional features to further improve functionality.
The AquaGrip gloves are crafted out of a lightweight suede microfiber, which is designed to be more durable than a traditional leather glove. But what’s more, is that the suede microfiber also boasts an improved grip when gloves become wet while riding in wet conditions. A more secure and tacky feeling grip when wet? Yes, please!
Some other features of the AquaGrip gloves to point out…the fingers also include a pre-rotated design, which allows them to contour to the natural bend of the hand. I also like the slight elastic stretch that is incorporated into the cuff and across the back under the knuckles. And after the large Velcro flap is fasten, I basically feel like I’m wearing a second layer of skin.
I’ve found that I really do feel an improvement in my grip when I’m wearing the AquaGrip gloves for my rides. They do fit my hands really nicely (like a second skin, really), thanks to the thought that was put into the pre-rotated finger design. And while I personally think that the Lycra vents give the gloves an awesomely unique appearance, they help provide relief and flexibility in my fingers.
When gripping the reins, I notice that instead of feeling the gloves tighten across my knuckles or the back of my hands, they feel free to move and bend as they naturally should. The Lycra vents were thoughtfully placed to alleviate tension. Plus on warmer days, I (definitely) appreciate the thin and stretchy fabric of the vents. From a durability standpoint, I haven’t noticed any signs of wear on the gloves since I’ve started wearing them.
And wet gloves…they don’t create a problem. When my hands got wet, the AquaGrip gloves did not seem to absorb a lot of the water. The fingers did get damp, but did not soak through (so my the gloves did not feel squishy!). What really resonated with me though, was the secure grip that I felt, even after the AquaGrip gloves got wet. Cross country ready? Yup, that’s for sure.
The AquaGrip gloves are available in both a women’s and men’s version from The Bionic Store, and both versions have a very affordable retail price of $29.95. You can find the women’s version that I tried out here, and for the gents, you can check out the men’s version of the glove here.
Go Gloves Designed to Fit and Grip (even when wet!). Go Bionic Gloves. Go Eventing.