I love finding local companies in our space. These guys are based in Vermont.
dGearOG make gloves for OCR. They’re a spin off of Damascus Protective Gear, and have been making protective equipment for military, police and corrective use since the 50s – think gloves, knee/elbow pads, riot suits – during last years Baltimore riots, they were shipping gear in for the officers. They also make archery gloves too. These guys know what they’re doing!
For OCR gloves can be controversial, of course.
Should you wear them? Do you need them? Do they hinder, or help?
I’ve never really bothered, to be honest, unless it’s purely for warmth in a winter event – so when I heard about dGearOG and their OCR specific glove, I was interested in learning more.
I stumbled across them in a weird way. They were posting photos on Twitter of the small team they sent to the VT Beast in 2015 – and lots of photos of gloves in different patterns being used on obstacles. I messaged them through Facebook and they offered to ship me a couple of pairs of gloves to check out. They weren’t quite ready for production yet, and didn’t have them for sale in stores or through their website – so I jumped on the chance to check out a pre-production set.
They shipped me an XL and M in their fingerless style – both with slightly different patterns, but the same features – fingerless gloves with super grippy palms, pull loops, velcro closures.
The first race I tried them at was Shale Hill – and if you know Shale Hill, you know grip and grip strength are key to many of their obstacles. I wore the XL and offered the M up to Chris “Flux” Hoey, who also isn’t typically a glove guy – we wore for the whole course, and tried them out on everything from traverse pipes, walls, ropes and more.
What we found:
The grippy palm was excellent – in dry conditions it was glued to pipes and ropes. In wet conditions, it was less useful, but the quick pull tabs meant you could get it off quickly, and it would stay right side out, so its easy to pull back on again after a wet rope obstacle.
“They definitely help protect your hands from extensive wear and tear on a long course. The grip surface is great until it gets wet. It would be no extra benefit in a rope water climb though.” – Flux
The velcro held tight, and is of a type that won’t get gunged up mid-race – contructed of a plastic, more than a fabric, this isn’t going to be a point of failure.
We both found that the gloves moved around on our hands more than we’d like – it has so much grip, that when hanging from the Zig Zag of Awesomeness at Shale Hill, the glove held tight and our hands slid inside – a testament to proper fitting (remember, neither of us picked our sizes!). In fact, dGearOG have said they reduced the overall sizing of the gloves as a result of that feedback, so they should be fitting snugger from the vendor than before – which will be perfect.
“You never know what race day conditions bring, these gloves are a must have in your Arsenal to be ready for whatever may be thrown at you. Built to perform and last there are no seams in the grips to get caught on and provides protection for race torn hands!” – Flux
Those quick pull tabs are WAY more useful and functional than I initially gave them credit for. How often have you dug through your bag after a race and found socks or gloves or sleeves inside out and gunky – and had the unpleasant experience of turning them back around? The pull tabs keep the gloves right way out, and mid-race? Perfect.
Ultimately, gloves will always be a personal preference. Maybe you want to protect your hands, maybe you have rough and tough skin already and don’t want to lose “feel” mid-race – but if you DO want to protect your hands, these are a fantastic way to go, not too expensive, and the brand is local, and focused on OCR. The have new styles coming, including a full finger, and a pink option for the ladies – so keep your eye on them!
Have you tried dGearOG Gloves? What do you think? Leave your feedback in the comments below!