By Mason Howe
Today I’m taking a look at Gripeeze gloves from Grip Aid Ltd. Made originally for builders to help reduce muscle strain, the company claims that their latest gloves can help people with hand disabilities or injuries take part in sports.
The inner palm and fingers are covered in tiny dots of what feels like some kind of hard gel that are designed to improve grip by giving your hand lots of contact points. The index finger is left uncovered on each hand in order to let the user feel whatever they are holding. The most distinctive feature is the leather strap on the left glove which hangs off the bottom of the wrist. When in use the strap reaches around from the wrist to a piece of Velcro placed at the top of the hand. This causes the fingers to curl around and holds them in place as if you were holding an invisible broom.
To test how well the gloves work, I gave a pair to 88-year-old Margaret Watkins to use for a week when she does housework or goes out to play bowls. She suffers from fairly severe arthritis in her hands which affects her ability to grip for long periods, so she’s the perfect candidate for some tests.
So how did it feel just for everyday use?
“The right one fits very well, especially when I’m trying to pick something heavy up it works really quite well to take away some of the strain around my thumb. It’s very comfortable too.”
And for sports?
“When I was holding the bowl it helped me keep a firm hold of it but I wasn’t really able to feel how hard I should roll it and that did put me off a little but I think it could be just that the bowl is so smooth. Being able to feel it is important. I think I’d really rather just use it round the house, it’s really a very handy thing to have.”
As far a price goes, this is where the Gripeeze’s shine dulls a little. Most retailers stock a pair for around £20 plus shipping which may put some people off. I got this pair online at £15 so it’s worth shopping around to find the best deals. Another issue is that there are multiple types of Gripeeze and sometimes the differences aren’t clear enough which may confuse some people.
Gripeeze does what it says on the tin. It helps ease strains on the hands and makes it a little easier to, well, grip. The strap is quite an inventive method of keeping your fingers tight around an object but only really works for narrow things. However its price and lack of skin contact does means some people might not find it as accessible as some other products.