Sabre fencers must have the FIE glove by October 1st
USA Fencing has announced on July 24th 2015 that 800N Saber gloves are mandatory for all USA Fencing sanctioned tournaments starting October 1st, 2015.
Since all sabre fencers now must have the new glove, and the season starts on August 1st, the time to order this glove is now. The first NAC (North American Cup) event is October 9-12, but expect vendors there to get sold out of the common sizes of sabre gloves quickly as the last minute shoppers arrive.
With the new requirement, we took a look around to find out what the choices are for new gloves that meet the USA Fencing requirement, which is basically for an FIE saber glove.
According to the FIE there are 10 approved manufacturers of the saber glove:
- Absolute Fencing
- AllStar (with and without sabre cuff)
- Leon Paul
- Negrini (with and without sabre cuff)
- PBT (with and without sabre cuff)
- Planete Escrime
- Prieur Sports
- Uhlmann (with and without sabre cuff)
Quick summary chart
This table shows the brands, prices, and the smallest and largest glove size found when looking at current availability.
|Brand||Name||Price||Small Size||Largest Size|
|Absolute (AF)||AF FIE 800N Sabre Glove|| $56.00 ||7||11|
|Leon Paul||ExoSkin 800 Newton Sabre Glove|| $63.00 ||6.5||10.5|
|FWF||Sabre glove electric "Safety Gel" 800N|| $69.00 ||8||11|
|PBT||PBT 800N FIE Washable Saber Glove|| $69.00 ||7||11|
|Uhlmann||Uhlmann FIE Sabre Glove|| $69.95 ||7.5||10.5|
|AllStar||ALLSTAR FIE ELECTRIC SABRE GLOVE|| $79.00 ||7||10.5|
|Negrini||Negrini FIE Electric Sabre|| $120.00 ||7.5||10.5|
|Planet Escrime||Gant 800N||$70.00 (est) ||6||11|
|Prieur||Gant 800N||$85.00 (est)||6.5||11|
|Carmimari||Could not find on web site||?||?||?|
Here’s a rundown of the different gloves: More reviews are being posted in the Armory section here.
AF FIE Sabre Glove ($56.00) – Available from AF, Fencing.Net store.
This glove is the least expensive of the FIE bunch, and at $56.00 matched up with the higher end non-FIE sabre gloves in price. Reports are that the glove can be a bit tight and AF recommends purchasing a half size larger than your normal glove size due to the stiffness of the more robust 800N fabric used in the palm and back of hand. (See the diagram in the rule for where the 800N material is required.)
AllStar is used by a great many of the top FIE fencers. (Having deals with their national federations helps!) AllStar has two models of FIE glove approved – one pictured above with their lame material and one without lame material that allows you to use your own overglove (manchette). If your lame cuffs go bad often, you may want to look into the “non-electric” version and bring your own overglove.
Uhlmann is a lot like AllStar, except for blue instead of red. The German maker also has versions of their glove approved with and without the attached lame cuff.
PBT FIE Sabre Glove ($69.00)
The Hungarian maker has versions of their 800N glove in both an electric saber model with lame cuff and a non-electric model that you can use an overlay with. Sold in the USA by Blue Gauntlet or available for order directly from PBT on their web shop. The photos make this glove look a little bulky, which seems to be the theme among the more protective gloves. PBT also has a version of the glove approved without electric cuff.
I’ve long liked FWF’s “gel” gloves for their fit and padding to protect glancing hits to the knuckles. The German maker is calling this glove the “Safety Gel” and it is made from elastic 800N fabric. In addition to being FIE compliant, the glove features gel protection for the top of hand, thumb and little finger gel-protected. You can order this glove from Alliance Fencing Gear.
Leon Paul’s entry to the FIE glove market features their lightweight (and extremely durable) lame material along with their high quality glove. Leon Paul has a glove without the electric cuff that is also made from 800N material and bears the FIE badge, but the note from the FIE only lists their electric version as being approved for FIE sabre competitions. More discussion and feedback on the Leon Paul gloves is active on the forum.
Planete Escrime (45.00 Euros – or about $70 w/shipping)
This glove is pretty much the same glove as the Planete Escrime glove. According to user bobb121 on the forums, “Planete Escrime & Prieur Sports use the same glove just a different tag. I have also discussed these gloves with people in France and they don’t really care for those gloves or the uhlmann/allstar.(bobb121)” With shipping this glove comes out to be $80.00. If it’s really the same as the Planete Escrime, then go with the lesser known brand and save $10.00 to get another mask cord.
Negrini has gone with a full body 800N design. The Negrini Unibody 800 newton FIE Approved Sabre Glove with the lame material attached comes in at a pricey $120.00 from SwordMasters. For the extra money you get a glove with several features (and patents) including 800N material even in the cuff, and a design that minimizes seams.
A unique feature to the Negrini glove is their special safety pleat which provides extra protection against a blade coming into the body cord hole. The body cord is inserted through a gap in the sleeve which is then tightened and fixed by the velcro. (You can see the hole for the bodywire in the picture above.)
Carmimari – ??
Looking on Carmimari’s site, I could not find a listing for an 800N or FIE glove and nobody on the forums has mentioned purchasing or using one.
Which glove should you get?
All of these gloves meet the upgraded FIE requirements for safety, so this comes down to fit and comfort. These gloves are a bit more bulky than the non-FIE counterparts, so if you have a favorite brand of glove, then they’re most likely using simlar patterns for this glove. Based on feedback posted on the forums, plan to get a glove 1/2 size larger than what you normally get.
Why do we need this rule?
Why is US Fencing making the move to go with the FIE standard for fencing gloves when the rest of the uniform doesn’t need to meet any numerical requirement but only needs to be “sufficiently robust”?
Almost every competitive sabre fencer knows someone who has had a hand injury in sabre.
Olympian Jaime Marti had his saber hand run-through with a saber from his opponent.
The blade went through the top of his glove (making that hole seen above), through his hand and then came out the other side tearing apart the inside of the glove.
This is just another example of several glove accidents that I’ve personally seen. Last year, my saber went through the glove of my teammate Jeff Spear at practice and punctured his finger. He actually has lost feeling in one of his fingers.
These incidents were back in 2011. The FIE had tried to improve safety by covering the bodycord holes with tape or removing them, but that did not get to the problem with intact blades puncturing gloves. The new FIE requirement should help improve fencers’ safety.
A combination of a stiffer blade (the S-2000 requirement), and shortened lock out time on the scoring machine led to tactics that favored fast counter-attacks with the point to the extended target (the hand). That naturally led to more points hitting the hand, and the smaller surface area of the sabre blade point (when compared to foil or epee points) added up to more hand injuries.
Text of the Sabre Glove Rule which will be enforced:
Here is the text of the announcement:
(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – In conjunction with the updated amendments to the Federation Internationale d’Escrime Rules, the USA Fencing Board of Directors has voted to mandate that all saber athletes must use a glove that meets the protection requirements listed below in all USA Fencing sanctioned tournaments beginning on Oct. 1, 2015.
1. The material of the fencing glove must have a level of protection of 800N on the areas shown in the diagram below, the seams a minimum strength of 200N and cuff a level of protection of 350N. The conductive material which can be removable or fixed must cover all of the gauntlet of the glove down to below the external cubital styloid (small prominent bone of the wrist), both when the fencer is in the ‘on-guard’ position and when the sword arm is straight. Inside the glove there must be fixed the FIE quality label, granted after the homologation procedure, with the year of manufacture and stating 800N.
THIS DIAGRAM IS FOR GUIDANCE PURPOSES ONLY. IN CASE OF ANY DOUBT THE WORDING OF THE APPROPRIATE TEXT TAKES PRECEDENCE
2. The conductive material must be turned over into the inside of the gauntlet to a depth of at least 5 cm.
3. In order to guarantee a good contact with the sleeve of the conductive jacket, it is necessary to use an elastic band, a popper button or any system which will guarantee conductivity and which has been approved by the SEMI Committee. When a conductive overlay is worn, the overlay must contain a device which fixes the position of the overlay on the arm so that its position on the arm cannot be changed during the bout.
4. The conductive tissue (lamé) must satisfy the specified control conditions (cf m.28.5).