Accessories: Keeping a Grip on the Racquet
Tennis gloves have never been a widely successful category. Many players don’t know the product even exists, and those who do haven’t shown wide interest. The lack of popularity in the category has even led Louisville Slugger, longtime maker of the stalwart Bionic tennis glove, to plan on retiring their product at the end of 2013.
“Even though the technology works amazingly well in this style of glove for tennis — like it does for golf, football, cycling, racquetball, etc. — the tennis community has not embraced the idea of wearing a glove unless in cold weather,” says Vickie Boisseau, Louisville Slugger’s director of accounts services. “Until a professional walks on the court with one on, the tennis glove will never be cool enough. It was a struggle to convince players to change.”
But even after the Bionic leaves the shelves, gloves will still be available from other manufacturers. Moreover, they still serve a purpose, says Marcy Bruce, a PTR national clinician/tester and a TRX/Cardio Tennis director based in the Pittsburgh area.
“One reason is to prevent slippage,” she says, and that’s why she recommends gloves for players with excessively sweaty hands or those performing highly active workouts such as Cardio Tennis. “Another reason is that when players use a glove, they don’t grip the racquet as tightly. Some people have hand problems, maybe arthritis, and using a glove helps alleviate a little of that. Also, because of the closure on the glove, it helps keeps the wrist stable.”
For players who want to use a glove, Bruce recommends finding one that keeps the hand dry and offers a good grip, but that also allows for a good feel of the racquet. “You want to have the same feeling as you would with your bare hand,” she says.
To help customers get a grip on their tennis-glove options, RSI breaks down what this market has to offer. (Prices are suggested retail.)
Advantage Tennis Glove
The Advantage Tennis Glove was created and patented in 2000 after more than a year of research and design cooperation between the company and a group of play-testing tennis players. The glove offers a non-slip, shock-absorbing grip, aimed at reducing fatigue and thereby increasing playing time and match performance. $17.99 (uniquesportsaccessories.com)
Bionic Tennis Glove
Louisville Slugger claims its tennis glove is the only one of its kind designed by an orthopedic hand surgeon. It features wrist support, an Anatomical Pad System to maximize grip while reducing fatigue, a terrycloth interior to absorb moisture and a Coolon exterior to accelerate sweat evaporation. Available in adult and children’s sizes. $29.99 (pair), $19.99 (single), $24.99 (child pair) (bionicgloves.com)
Head AMP Pro
Designed for racquetball, HEAD’s AMP Pro crosses over well to tennis. The company cites its Premium Pittards WR100X Leather as one of the best available. The glove’s water-resistant fiber structure allows moisture to pass through, keeping the hand cool and dry even in extreme heat. $35 (head.com)
Prince Ektelon Classic Pro
Though also marketed for racquetball, Prince’s Ektelon Classic Pro glove is great for tennis, too. The premium sheepskin leather is light and ultra-thin, so players won’t lose the “feel” of the handle. Meanwhile, the mesh backing helps keep the hands cool and dry. $10 (ektelon.com)
Unique Hot Glove Tennis Mitt
While other gloves help players keep their grip in the heat, the Hot Glove Tennis Mitt insulates their hand in the cold. Made of breathable fleece, the glove (more of a mitten, really) slides over the racquet hand, allowing skin-on-grip contact in chilly conditions. One size fits all. $7 (uniquesports.us)
See all articles by Chris Nicholson
About the Author
Chris Nicholson is a contributing editor of Tennis Industry magazine.