Friction Gloves – Review

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As the sport of Ultimate continues to consume more and more of my previously free time, I recently found myself reviewing a new product on the market – Friction Gloves.

For some years now, if an Ultimate player wanted to enhance their grip, they’d have to turn to the fine sports of football, golf, or baseball for hand attire. The gloves in these more mainstream sports obviously weren’t designed for Ultimate, but sometimes you have to make a circle fit in a square.


People got upset when I tried bringing the Jai Alai Hand wear over to ultimate. .

 People got upset when I tried bringing the Jai Alai hand-wear over to ultimate. 

In 2011, at the Oktoberfest Tournament in Waterloo, we ended up playing in some sort of arctic hurricane, and I ended up throwing on a pair of batting gloves. They were thoroughly ruined after one day, and kept my hands as warm as you would expect – considering the gloves were designed to not do that at all. But as far as I knew, they were the best thing available.

Then, someone clued in. Unfortunately that someone lived in Japan, where they made and sold gloves that were designed just for ultimate frisbee.  This was a perfect answer for 2 types of ultimate players:

1)      Those living in Japan

2)      Those capable of navigating a Japanese website, dealing with international customs, and paying international shipping fees.

The rest of us were out of luck, until a man named Chris “Hanky” Hancock stepped forward with Friction Gloves, a product that ships from our friendly neighbours in the good ol’ USA.


Here’s how these break down in terms of their usefulness on the field:

First of all, if you’re not part of the x-men, and just throw with one dominant hand like regular non-ambidextrous-folk, then it’s hard to come up with a reason not to wear one of these gloves on your non-throwing hand.

The gloves give you a touch of tack, and take a bit of the ouch-ies off of hard throws, so if you have a hand that you only use for catching, you might as well put a glove on there.


These will also take some of the sting out of catching a hard throw, with the added benefit of allowing a good hard punch to fit within the Spirit of the Game.

 Alternatively, these will also take some of the sting out of  a hard throw, while allowing a good hard punch to fit within the Spirit of the Game.


The real question is do you double-up and put one on your throwing hand?

Aside from the numerous pro’s and top international club teams that rock the double gloves, the handwear gives you a better grip, which translates to more spin (and thus better control and more distance).  They also give you a more consistent grip than boring old hand-flesh (so 2006), letting you keep the confidence up whether you’re playing in a blistering beach tourney or running around in a parka for some blizzard-ultimate.

There’s really not a big learning curve – you can throw the gloves on and be ready to go after a brief warm up, but the gloves obviously put a small rubberized layer between your hand and the disc, which may not be to everyone’s preference.

Otherwise, all you really have to be wary of is that people at the office might mistake you for a golfer.

 Seven games of ultimate, or a weekend on the links?