The Zulu Glove From Valken Tactical
22 Apr 2018
When I started playing airsoft many years ago, one of the first accessories that I invested on was a good pair of gloves. Gloves don’t only make a player look cool, they also do a very important thing, and that is protect your hands. They don’t only protect your hands from the physical environment like mud, dirt, thorns, splinters and so on or protect you from the harsh weather may it be snowing or boiling hot or soaking wet. For airsoft players, one of the most obvious benefit is that gloves protect you from the pain of getting shot on the fingers.
I have gone through a few pairs of gloves and although most of them are excellent when it comes to protection and comfort, a few have also been disappointing. Some gloves are so bad that they have caused injury just by wearing them. Most injuries are minor such and friction burns on the knuckles and blistering due to rough inside surface. The good ones not only provide great protection from the outside but also give you comfort and protection from the inside. As it is always the case when buying a product, unfortunately, you get for what you pay for. Sometimes, great products do not come cheap.
Fortunately, in recent times, companies like Valken Tactical have, by the looks of it, started to listen to what the players want and need and have started releasing good quality products with competitive prices.
During our visit to the Netherlands in November last year, we met with Janek from Valken Tactical who showed us some of the new and existing products that they have out in the market. One of the products that caught my attention is the Zulu Tactical Gloves. I am a sucker for good looking gloves especially ones that not only look the part but also do what they are meant to do.
The Zulu Tactical Gloves look pretty good. The first thing I noticed was the hardshell covering the knuckle part of the gloves, but instead of just having bare material on there, Valken have covered it with Kevlar which made it look even better. The joint area on the fingers excluding the thumb are made of a different material. They are made of a smooth and soft stretchy material that allows better and more comfortable movement of the fingers. The area of the glove that covers the back of the hand, apart from the knuckle hardshell, is made of breathable material that allows good, shall I say, ventilation during hot weather. If you hold the glove against the light, you will see how breathable the material is.
The hand area itself or the part that covers the inner aspect of the hand and fingers is made of what appears to be sweat absorbing material. It doesn’t seem to be a breathable as the other side but Valken have place tiny holes along the finger area. Now, I am not sure if they designed it to work this way but because of these tiny holes, I am able to control the screen on my iPhone and iPad I’m sure I can never do with my other gloves as I have tried that many times in the skirmish field. It is not easy to do and needs a bit more effort to do it but it is possible, so a bit of a bonus with these gloves.
The palm area is also designed to make sure you don’t accidentally drop what you are holding. Silicon grip pads or material are strategically placed on the upper part of the palm and the tip of the index finger. For added comfort and protection, the thumb area has a soft sweat absorbing pad stitched into it and a double stitched shock absorbing padding on the lower palm area.
The wrist part of the glove is made of the same material as the finger joints which makes this part very comfortable to the area which I think gets a lot of friction.
As I mentioned earlier, gloves don’t just need to look good and give protection from the outside. For me the most important thing is the inside part. On feeling the inside of the glove, the finish is very well made, the inside is very smooth, there are no rough area even on the bit where the stitching is and under the hardshell. I couldn’t feel and sharp edges or loose stitching inside. It is very obvious that they paid a lot of attention not only on the part that you can see but most important on the part that is hidden but is the one that is constantly in contact with the user.
I was able to try the gloves out in a game at the Unit 13 indoor CQB site in the Netherlands. The first thing that is very noticeable when wearing the gloves is how smooth and comfortable it feels. The articulated joints in the finger make it easy for the fingers to move. The silicone grips sort of give you the confidence that you won’t drop smaller things like an airsoft grenade or a magazine or even you phone. I had a GoPro camera strapped on the head during the game and I was able to manipulate the buttons even with the glove on and the silicone pad on the tip of the index finger helped me I locating the on and off button on my GoPro.
All in all, the Valken Tactical Zulu Gloves proved themselves well when it comes to providing protection and looks. For me they are also one of the most comfortable gloves that I have used. The only downside I can find with them is the sizing which I find in almost all the gloves that I have used so far. I am one of those who have medium size hands with long skinny fingers so a large size will always be too big for me and a medium size is just right but could use with a bit more length on the fingers.
The Zulu Tactical Gloves are perfect for all year use in any game scenarios may it be outdoors or indoors and most importantly they come at a very competitive price.
Many thanks to Janek and Valken Tactical Europe for providing us the gloves used in this review.