First Look Review: G7 Hand Jam

G7There are crack climbing gloves and Crack Climbing Gloves, the new G7 Hand Jam are the latter. G7, a brand that’s known for innovation, rethought the entire idea of a crack glove. They ditched the rubber or other similar materials altogether and made them from leather. Real leather. Really nice leather actually. These things feel great to wear. But how do they perform and stack up against other gloves from companies like Ocun or OR? Amazingly well actually! I was surprised that the rubberized material isn’t really needed.

Specs:

  • Materials: Leather w nylon reinforcement
  • Thickness: 1.2mm
  • Sizes: 5 from XS to XL

Performance:

There are a couple of different metrics that I like to use when evaluating the performance of a climbing glove – how thin they are and how secure they feel when jamming.

Starting with relative thickness, G7’s new Hand Jam gloves are a bit thicker than the OR gloves but thinner than Ocun’s offering. So if you’re tackling thin hands on an Indian Creek splitter then a little tape is the way to go. However, if you end up climbing cracks that aren’t laser cut black Metolius cracks then Hand Jam gloves are great!

Crack Climbing Gloves
Side-by-side comparison of the thickness of the G7 and OR gloves. It’s not obvious but the G7 gloves are just slightly thicker.

As mentioned in the intro, the rubbery material that a lot of climbing glove manufacturers apply to their crack gloves isn’t really needed! The soft and supple leather on the Hand Jam’s works just as well at providing a very secure feeling when jamming. The unpadded leather also allowed me to feel the inside of a crack while still protecting my hand which helps avoid over-jamming.

Fit & Feel:

Leather crack glove
The soft and supple leather of the Hand Jams feels great to wear.

The G7 Hand Jam gloves come in a fairly standard range of 5 sizes from S to XL which covers 99.9% of hands so finding a pair that fit shouldn’t be an issue.

The soft leather of the Hand Jam’s feels amazing, by far the most comfortable climbing glove I’ve ever used. The gloves break-in over time and just get more and more comfortable and they seem to breath much better than synthetic options. The only downside is the finger loops. They’re a bit on the bulky side and while the leather does break-in over time this feeling lingers a little, mainly when first putting the gloves on.

Durability:

G7’s gloves have thicker finger loops than other offerings which can feel a bit bulky at times but fit nice and are definitely more durable. The wide wrist strap is more durable and quite comfortable.

Amazing! Well at least for now. I’ve only been climbing on my pair for month or so but after some abuse on newer, very sharp granite cracks and a bunch of laps on old classics, they still look brand new! I tested them on some wet muddy cracks (not necessarily on purpose) and they still jammed well. The mud also disappeared once they dried out and I used them a few more times.

Crack gloves typically wear and break on the finger loops or wrist strap. The new G7 gloves have definitely been designed to withstand this particular flaw.

The Achilles heel of crack gloves is generally the wrist strap. This is then followed by the finger loops. G7 definitely had that in mind when designing these bad boys as both the wrist straps and finger loops are quite durable. I particularly like the design of the thick wrist straps. They’re much wider than the competition. This makes them a bit more comfortable, protects my wrist and certainly ensures that they’ll last. Unlike the OR gloves which I can easily wear out in a season, even when protecting the wrist strap with tape, I expect these crack gloves to stand the test of time.

Other Comments:

When I first got a pair of the Hand Jam gloves for testing I was impressed with just how nice they were, the materials and attention to detail far superior. Because of that I had assumed they’d come with a price tag that was equally as impressive. Especially with the 3 year warranty! I was pleasantly surprised when G7 announced their kickstarter campaign with an MSRP of $85 US. I had them pegged for well over $100.

Summary:

Pros: Climb well, Soft & Comfortable, Durable,

Cons: Thick Finger Loops

Overall: The G7 Hand Jam gloves work well, feel nice, look great and come with a 3-year warranty. If you’re in the market for a new pair of crack climbing gloves it’s a no-brainer!

If you’re interested in a pair check out the G7 Kickstarter: Hand Jam Gloves

BlackSheep Adventure Sports was provided with a test sample for review but of course this didn’t influence us in any way.