Lifting gloves are a staple for some athletes, especially those who switch between many types of grips and devices, like CrossFitters. Between friction from rotational forces, the drying effects of chalk, and switching from smooth to knurled grip, the skin of the hands can take a real beating without a good pair of gloves.
To address the needs of dynamic activities like CrossFit, HumanX, a division of Harbinger, has introduced the X3 Competition Gloves. The X3 gloves are tight-fitting with a high grip. The gloves enclose the whole hand and are designed for use on various surfaces. They come in four colors, with green or purple varieties for women and orange or blue for men.
One problem I find with some gloves is the way they grip the smooth portions of the barbell. If the gloves I’m using don’t make my grip better than it normally is, their purpose is severely curtailed. In addition to creating about the same level of grip I get from my bare hands on the knurling of a bar, I got a superior grip on the smooth portion of the bar using these gloves.
The improved grip was thanks to the SpiderGrip reversed top grain leather that makes up the palm side of the glove. While the leather felt supple enough to the touch, it created an awesome grip on metal, no matter how smooth. It also helped me grip smooth ropes like battle ropes and performed as well as my bare hands on rougher style ropes, but without the risk of rope burn. It took some time to get accustomed to the gloves and feel confident with the new feel when climbing a rope, but the tight fitting design allowed as close a reaction time to bare hands as you’re going to get.
The leather construction of the front means that the gloves are built to last as well, which is important for people who get a lot of friction on their gloves during a workout. The palm and fingers are designed to be curved inward, so there’s no bunching when you grip. The reverse side of the glove is a synthetic material called StretchBack, which allows the rest of the glove, along with the curved palm, to stretch comfortably over the hand. This material also protects the back of the hand from abrasions.
Unfortunately, the gloves I was sent were the wrong size. That doesn’t mean this will happen to you, as I received my pair without actually choosing a size. I have fairly big hands and long fingers, so the glove ended up being too small. This may have limited my experience of the glove, but even though they were too small I’m happy to say they still worked pretty well and were comfortable, too.
In fact, I used the small size to the advantage of this review by conducting an experiment. I tried to to over-tighten the Velcro fastening of the glove to see if I could get the glove to pop open. I could imagine this happening in a competition setting for gloves with Velcro in general, so I wanted to see if this glove would open when tightened too quickly and tightly. My attempts to subvert the gloves failed and the overly small, overly tightened gloves remained securely on my hands, despite my best attempts.
All in all, I found the X3 Competition Gloves to be a quality product. They fit tightly yet comfortably and provide the most hand protection with the least amount of invasiveness you will find in a lifting glove.
HumanX X3 Competition Gloves are available for $39.95 at ShapeItUp.com.