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Should I Do Parkour In Gloves?

The brief answer: No. The real answer: No, but there are exceptions.

These are the reasons why you shouldn’t wear gloves while doing parkour, plus an explanation of why it may sometimes be okay to wear them.

Grip

In almost all cases, your hands have better overall grip than gloves. The outside surface of the gloves may stick better to whatever you’re grabbing than your skin, but the extra slippage created by inside of the glove rubbing on your hand will reduce the gloves’ grip to worse than your hands’ grip.

Spatial Awareness

There is no contest here: your hands can feel your surroundings much better than gloves. You need this sensitivity to be fully aware of your surroundings in order to best adapt your movements to them. I shouldn’t have to explain why you need to be aware of your surroundings, but allow me to tell you a story that shows exactly what I mean.

Once upon a time, I was training under an overhang. I jumped on a table, ran forward, leaped, grabbed the metal bar near the roof, intending to do a laché – but instead I stalled out as slow as possible. There was an invisible layer of slick pollen on the bar, pollen that could have made me slip and fall flat on my back. However, because I could feel the pollen making my grip fail, I was able to adjust my movement. If I had been wearing gloves, I would have fallen. It would have hurt.

A lot.

Preparedness

If you are surprised somewhere and you have to use parkour to reach/escape something, your speed and efficiency will be reduced – because you’re used to training in gloves. “Be strong to be useful” is one of parkour’s mottos. The more gear you need, the less useful you are. The zombies won’t wait for you to pull on gloves– and neither will a thief or mugger.

Calluses are more useful

There are a lot of reasons to have calluses, even aside from parkour:

  1. Your hands will be more resilient in general. I haven’t gotten a splinter in my palm in months. I can draw a knife across my hand and nothing much happens.
  2. You’ll be able to open metal-capped bottles easily, making you an instant favorite at your friends’ drunken orgies – err, dinner parties.
  3. Calluses fascinate soft-handed people in a twisted sort of way (which is hilarious).
  4. According to my sister, I can exfoliate skin with my hands. Not sure if this is a positive or negative, but I like the idea. I’m going with positive.

However!

If you’re conditioning, gloves are acceptable. For example: the number of repetitions of exercises that are hard on your hands, like pull-ups, is sometimes limited by your grip. In this case, it’s okay to use gloves in order to get a better workout. This is acceptable because when you condition, you usually focus on one group of muscles. Conditioning is always a worthy cause, so in this case, there is no negative to wearing gloves. Don’t rely on them too much, though. Remember: calluses are better.

If you won’t accept any other reason:

When was the last time you saw David Belle or Daniel Ilabaca or Ryan Doyle or Tim Shieff wearing gloves? Never.

If you won’t take my advice, at least follow their example.

–Alan

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  • Anonymous

    The way you’re making it sound, your hands must be extremely callused. How can I get my hands up to that point?

    • BrendonATH

      gripa bar such as monkey bars…swinging and pull ups will help and dnt wear lotion on your hands (but if you need to put lotion on other parts of your body wash you and after ward intill the silky feeling go away)
      -All Time High

    • Louis

      train.

  • Joe

    Shock! We have the same bike glove. And I do mean ‘glove’: I’ve only got the left-hand one.

  • http://www.RoadToEpic.com Adam Wik

    I tried training in gloves once and never will again. I apply the same logic to my feet and prefer to train barefoot whenever possible. The only exception I’ll make is if I’m in a less than great area (potential broken glass, etc.) I’ll throw on some Fei Yues.

    Anonymous – In my experience if you’re looking to build up callouses handstand practice on concrete will go a long way, so will doing a lot of climbing on a rough surface like a brick or concrete wall.

  • Chris Buck

    The one time I like wearing gloves… When there are some sharper/pointier/riskier things where I don’t want to cut/rip my hands. And when I do jumps to small piping. At my high school the ceiling metal was small enough that it didn’t fill my hand and REALLY hurt when I swung between them and the gloves provided just enough padding to prevent ripping and just bruising. And let me figure out technique for improvement.

  • Grimsonite

    Drunken orgies? Oh naughty you! LOL

  • Anon

    What if im a chef, and i cant have cuts/calluses on my hands for hygene reasons

    Is that not a valid reason?

  • BrendonATH

  • Renata

    Totally true! I started training with gloves until I realized it wasn’t a good option! =) Thank goodness I changed my mind about gloves only a couple of weeks into training!

    Renata
    http://www.daydreamingwithren.blogspot.com

  • Enrique_elCholo

    parkour gloves are marketed to beginners who think that they can get better by using gloves. its a money making scam

  • SkyWolf

    I’m all for no gloves while training, but I saw this Jesse LaFlair video on why callouses aren’t necessarily a good thing. It made sense to me. Feedback? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tp83vNIWI6k

  • Brander

    Yeah i saw that laflair video and its right the calluses are okay but my skin tore like crazy and i could only do precions for awhile

  • http://becomingparkour.com/ Heather & Tim

    I think wearing gloves is required for practicing parkour outside in the winter. My fingers get too numb otherwise.

  • anonymous

    i dont want 2 lose mi soft hands:(

  • Accieas

    im not a big fan of gloves but i recently split my index and middle finger wide open, but I wanted to keep training so I got me a pair. In that case it’s okay, but as soon as that injury healed…BYE BYE GLOVES :)

  • Mark

    Well, the way I see it is this: Practice Parkour with gloves until you feel confident you can do it, then try it without gloves

  • Connor van reijn

    i say i want gloves there are reasons why not but i don’t want to have huge gashes on my hands the less injures the more i can train and enjoy it

  • Dustin J. Smith

    What if its cold outside.

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  • Asasin

    I am taining because ithink i am gana look godo doing parkour

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