202 Gloves by Zhik

These formfitting sailing gloves set a new standard for grip. "Gear Up" from our October 23, 2007, /SW eNewsletter/

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Zhik

I've never been close enough to Spider-Man to see for myself, but I have reason to believe the arachnoid superhero wears Zhik's 202 gloves. The grip on these sailing gloves is so good, climbing up the side of a skyscraper seems well within reach.Zhik calls its grip material "foam nitrile coating," but I call it superhuman. I wore these gloves off and on during the summer sailing season and found that their infallible grip actually altered the way I performed tasks around the boat. When handling spinnaker sheets, for instance, I didn't have to wrap the lines around my hands. I could just let the sheets pass through my palms, confident that the line would stop as soon as I clenched my fists. When pulling myself up to the high side during a roll tack, I didn't need to find a handhold. I simply pasted my palm on the nearest surface and up I went. At times, the exactitude of the grip actually threw me off; if you've ever ice skated with a pair of newly sharpened blades, you'll know what I mean. The grip is not a bad thing, it just takes some getting used to. Besides their impressive grip, the 202s have a number of redeeming qualities. They're made of a thin, lightweight nylon, so you can wear them on hot days and stuff them into a pocket without discomfort. They're formfitting and flexible, which gives them excellent dexterity--you won't need to remove them to fiddle with shackles, knots, and the like. And at $12.50, they're inexpensive enough to lend to your buddy with a dubious history of returning borrowed items. The 202s can't do everything, however. For one thing, they're not insulated for frostbiting. And along with the advantages of lightweight construction come the disadvantages of flimsiness--the 202s don't protect your fingers the way bulky leather gloves do. Then again, they don't get soggy and smelly, either. www.zhik.com