Not every fall from a Onewheel or electric skateboard is catastrophic. In fact, sometimes they’re just goofy and awkward, leaving you feeling like a fool and checking to see if anyone saw. However, anything more than a stumble or run will end up with your hands touching the ground. Take a moment and think about what it means for your hands to brace your fall when coming off of a board at any kind of speed. If you’re riding on pavement, that means that an abrasive surface is about to connect with your skin at a small point of contact, and it’s going to hurt you.
While this may be a very dark point to make, it’s an important one. The pattern of my riding experience is this: When I fall without an actual protective item on my hands, I get a very painful injury that could have been entirely avoided. The falls I’ve had while wearing a skate glove have left me with practically no injury at all on my hands or fingers. The importance of wearing protective gear can’t be overstated.
E-Skate Original, Pro, Pro Fingerless. What are the differences?
While there are several options when it comes to wrist and hand protection, I was originally drawn to the Flatland3D Eskate gloves by a long-standing hero of mine, Andrew “slydog” Stroh. He’s one of the fastest Onewheel riders in the United States, and his style and ease of riding the Onewheel are awe-inspiring. The white and grey colored gloves that he wears in his videos are iconic, and it drew my attention to the glove and the company. It’s because of YouTube creators like Stroh and Press Reset that I think the original ESkate gloves became so connected to the community. They were one of the first products that took an ESkate remote into consideration when forming the protection of the hand, and the widespread accommodating of the needs of ESkate riders positioned Flatland3D perfectly to become a staple of the ESkate accessories industry.
The original ESkate glove was minimalist in design, and this is likely what made it so popular. It didn’t get in the way of a watch, it left the fingers open for phone and smartwatch use, as well as remote dexterity, and it looked nice. It is one of those products that makes you want to wear it, which is important for safety gear.
If you took all three pairs of the Flatland3D ESkate gloves and laid them next to one another, you would notice that the originals are the most minimal. The full-finger Pro gloves are the most protective. The fingerless Pro gloves sit right in the middle and provide the same wrist protection and support as the Pros, with the finger freedom and look of the original model. What the Pro gloves offer that makes them unique is the wrist coverage, and the presence of a top wrist splint to prevent hyperextension in the event of a fall wherein you brace yourself with your palms.
With regard to protection, there are two things to realize when it comes to any protective gear, but especially the Pro ESkate gloves. Firstly, there will always be a trade-off between comfort and convenience, and protection. You usually cannot have more of one without sacrificing the other. The original ESkate glove offered decent protection, with a great amount of comfort and convenience. The Pro gloves offer more protection at the cost of some convenience. Now, that isn’t to say that you’re necessarily sacrificing comfort, but it is to say that you notice that you’re wearing a glove. Personally, that is absolutely fine, and I quite like the way the gloves fit and feel. They retain the most important protective feature, and that is the SPS (scaphoid protection system) pads on the palm. These are plastic pads that do two things: absorb the impact of the fall when bracing with your hands, and help you slide forward a bit to disperse the momentum of your body. The dispersion of momentum helps to keep your wrists and arms from taking most of the impact, and instead transfers it into a sliding motion that moves you forward.
The SPS pads work. They may not exactly work how I thought they would, but they work. My experience has been that the pads simply absorb and protect the palm of my hands from the most immediate and severe damage during a fall or bail that I am likely to incur. When riding a Onewheel, a nosedive or bail usually results in me attempting to run out the momentum and avoid falling entirely. Sometimes this is successful, many times it’s not. However what this leads to is not an immediate slamming to the ground, but rather an awkward flailing tumble that brings my hands to ultimately keep my face from colliding with the pavement. It’s actually kind of ironic that the hand that ends up seeing the most impact is my rear hand. I ride goofy-footed, so that is my left hand. Moreover, I’m left-handed. This means that the left hand is both the most likely to get injured, and the hand I need most to remain unharmed. And when my hands ultimately reach the ground, it seems that without fail the area of the palm with the most abrasion is the area covered by the SPS pads.
Thank you Flatland3D, as without your gloves, there likely wouldn’t be much left of my most important hand after the last few falls I’ve had.
Comfort and Size
Coming back around to the issue of comfort, the Pro ESkate gloves are indeed quite comfortable. It has been said (and I agree) that if you normally find yourself with a certain size of gloves, the looseness of the fingers would lead you to needing a glove one size smaller. Let me explain.
I wear a size medium in the original ESkate gloves. They fit perfectly. The Pro model in medium do fit, and fit fine. However, the fingers themselves tend to have a bit of extra material around them and may give you a baggy feeling passed your first knuckle. Personally, I didn’t find this an issue, but it wasn’t the snuggest feeling glove. Personally, and this is a matter of preference, I like a snug fit on the glove. When riding, the less baggy my items are, the better. And so, after contacting Steve at Flatland3D, he was able to send me a size small glove, and they fit perfectly. The palm area was a bit snug, however that loosened up after a few rides, and the fingers remained perfectly snug. An ideal fit.
Do note, that as per the Flatland3D website, if you find that a glove is the wrong fit, you can exchange them. That’s why whenever I order a new pair from Flatland3D, I’ll try the glove on first before removing the packaging card and string. That way, if the fit is not good, I can send them back and not cause any undue hassle to a very nice and accommodating vendor.
Build Quality (What’s up with the known stitching errors?)
It’s been said on the Internet that when it comes to a new product, what matters most is how the vendor reacts to issues that arise. Customer Service and Quality Control go hand in hand, and when problems come up, the response is key.
This is why Flatland3D will always have a customer in me. The early shipments of the Pro gloves had some stitching issues, as well as issues with the finger pads that were meant to use on a smartphone screen. While initially I did not come across these problems in the stitching, eventually the stitches on my original pair did fail in a couple of spots. This wasn’t too much of an issue for me, as I had repaired some stitches on my original ESkate gloves before. The originals are no longer being produced, and so I take care of them as best I can. On the Pro model, stitching them was fairly simple. However, that’s not the point here. The point is that as soon as I had contacted Flatland3D about the issues, he sent me a replacement pair. Also, seeing that this was an issue for more than one person, he made adjustments to the manufacture of the glove and subsequent shipments had stronger stitching and a slightly different design to high-stress areas.
When a new product comes out, it can be struck with issues that would cripple the entire release. However, the way that Flatland3D iterates a product, and improves the design using feedback from the community, is what makes them a worthwhile vendor to pay attention to. Every time that I’ve seen someone complain about an ESkate glove, I ask them if they’ve emailed the vendor. When the answer is no, I insist that they do. Every single time, what follows is a positive result with a replaced product that has an improved design. By the time a manufacturing defect is found out, it’s likely that they’ve addressed it and the replacement is going to be even better.
So yes, the initial releases had some issues. One needs to understand that as ESkate and Onewheel riders, we’re some of the harshest field testers around. We often find things that a beta tester might not.
What has been consistent however, is that every issue I’ve found in a Flatland3D glove has been immediately resolved to my satisfaction. And I think that is worth a lot.
Wrapping it up with price
How much is it worth? Well, at least the cost of the gloves themselves. And they aren’t cheap. However, the ESkate industry is still relatively small and fairly niche. ESkate products might seem widespread, however how many ESkate and Onewheel specific protective items can you really think of? At least as compared to those for regular skating? Catering to ESkate is a bit tricky, since you have to accommodate a number of types of remotes and riding styles. The ESkate gloves try to accommodate a remote for the board, while still protecting your wrist and palm.
Onewheel riders have a wider range of choices since we don’t hold a remote. However, I find myself still holding items like a Thermos (I have a coffee problem), a grocery bag, or my phone. The gloves have always made that possible in a way that regular wrist guards don’t.
When you combine that with the level of support and warranty that you get from Flatland3D, it’s a modest price for a comfortable piece of protective gear. Keep in mind that you’re not just paying for a protective glove. You’re paying for a specifically catered product, the comfort it provides, and the after-sales support that comes with a boutique brand.
Are they worth it?
Worth it? Absolutely. You’ll never see me wearing any other skate glove or hand protection. And I fall way more than I’m willing to admit.
You can check them out on Flatland3d’s Website.