A quality pair of ultimate gloves at a low price.
January 19, 2017 by Michael Ball in Review with 1 comments
Disclosure: Ultiworld was compensated for writing this product review. All opinions are the reviewers’ own and are not subject to approval from the sponsor. Please support the brands that make Ultiworld possible and shop at Huck Nation.
I’ve heard a lot of different reasons for why ultimate players like to wear gloves while they play. Some people believe it boosts their throws, while others wear them because they feel like the gloves improve their catching ability. I’m an advocate for playing in gloves, but my reasoning can be summed up in one word: consistency. I play in gloves because I want to pick up the disc and know that every time I’ll have the same grip, regardless of how sweaty, dirty, or wet my hands are.
My journey to find an ultimate glove that provides me with the most consistency has taken me through most of the major brands. When I saw Huck Nation’s Reddit post announcing themselves to the ultimate community last year, I was intrigued and excited to give them a shot.
Over the last month, I got to test out the Huck Nation Beta 3 glove and, overall, I’m very impressed with the product and how it performs.
The Beta 3 is the most distinct looking glove I’ve seen on the market. The back of the glove looks similar to the Flyknit material used by Nike on their sneakers (and performs similarly, but we’ll come back to that). While there’s no denying the sleek look of an all black glove, I think the contrast of the grey against the black gives the Beta 3 a stylish look that distinguishes it from its competitors.
Fit and Feel: 5/5
The fit of the Beta 3 is my absolute favorite aspect of this glove. I break down the “fit” into two parts: the hand and the wrist. The hand of the Beta 3 is a real testament to the phrase “fits like a glove.” Huck Nation has a straightforward, one-measurement sizing chart that I found to be spot-on accurate. The glove hugs every part of my hand; there’s no extra material in the webbing at the base of my fingers and, by ordering the right size, I didn’t have any loose material near the end of my fingertips. The glove truly fits in a way that it feels as if it isn’t even there.
The wrist of the glove has a strap that is extremely effective. If you look at the Beta 1 model, there was no wrist strap; I assume Huck Nation received feedback1 saying that the glove needed a better mechanism at the wrist because both the Beta 2 and Beta 3 have the strap. I see a lot of ultimate players having to mess with the strap on their gloves between points or while they’re on the line; I wore my Beta 3s for the entirety of a 5-hour AUDL tryout and I think I only adjusted them twice. The strap is thicker than other gloves I’ve tried — about two finger-widths — and it’s extremely secure.
Throwing in the Beta 3 was a near-perfect experience for me. As I said in the introduction, the thing I value most in a pair of ultimate gloves is consistency. I want to feel confident that no matter what the conditions, I can pick up the disc and deliver the same level of throws. With very few exceptions, this is the experience I had with the Beta 3.
As I mentioned in the previous section, the fit of the Beta 3 means that there’s no extra material on the fingertips, giving you the same feeling as holding a disc barehanded. This is crucial for consistency when throwing a flick because I didn’t have to worry about material affecting how the disc came off my finger. The lack of excess material in the webbing of my fingers was important for consistency with my backhand because there I could feel exactly how the disc left my palm.
However, there were a couple of instances where the palm of the glove was too sticky. I would go to release a backhand and notice that the disc would leave my hand a bit later than intended. Now, I’m far from a perfect thrower, so I’m willing to concede that these instances could just as easily have been user error. However, it happened on short dump throws (like five yards or less) and as someone looking for consistency, I shouldn’t have to worry about the disc sticking to my hand on a throw that short. This only happened on a couple of instances, but it is something to be aware of and keeps this category from being a perfect 5.
Cold Weather Use: 2.5/5
There’s nothing about the Beta 3 that makes it particularly useful for playing in cold weather. There’s no kind of insulation built into the glove, and because there’s no extra padding in them and they fit so perfectly, they don’t even provide much in the way of an additional layer. They help a little bit with the sting of catching a hard pass in the cold, but that’s about it. I don’t slam the gloves too much in this category because I don’t think they’re designed with cold weather use in mind, so it’s not like they’re failing on one of their goals, but just don’t expect these to be enough to keep your hands warm in freezing, snowy conditions.
Warm Weather Use: 4.5/5
Remember that Flyknit-like material I referenced in the “Look” section of this review? That same material makes the Beta 3 outperform its competitors in this category. The back of the glove is very breathable, so despite a snug fit and secure strap, there’s still ventilation to keep your hands cool while wearing the gloves. The material on the palms and fingertips isn’t ventilated at all, but I didn’t find my hands feeling warm or sweaty (at least more sweaty than my hands typically get) thanks to that material on the back of the glove. I live in the South, so despite testing these in the winter, I still had the opportunity to wear them in 70-degree temperatures. Based on this experience, I imagine the Beta 3 would function well in summer conditions.
Well, nothing is perfect, and this is certainly the category the Beta 3 glove struggled with the most. In my third time playing in the gloves, I made a big bid2 attempting to get a layout D. As I walked off the field after the play, frustrated from missing the block, I looked down and saw rips on both gloves in the webbing between the fingers. In defense of the gloves, I landed and slid on my hands pretty hard, and we were playing on turf, which certainly didn’t help. However, there are many players out there who make bigger bids and play on turf much more often than I do, so I expect a glove company to account for these things when designing their products. Luckily the holes were in spots that didn’t hamper my ability to play in the gloves, but nonetheless I was disappointed when they tore.
From what I’ve seen, the $15 price tag for the Beta 3s makes them the least expensive ultimate gloves out there — and their previous iterations are even cheaper. It is clear that Huck Nation is aiming to be a value brand within the ever-more-crowded ultimate glove market, though you’re obviously paying a little more for a sport-specific product than you would for a pair of generic grippy work gloves you’d find at Walmart. Still, I appreciate not having to break the bank to feel like I’m supporting a company that is endemic to the ultimate community.
Overall, Huck Nation has a lot to be proud of with the Beta 3. They’ve designed a good-looking glove that fits and performs up to expectations. There is still some work to be done to make the glove more durable, but at $15 per pair, these gloves are priced at a great value. I would strongly recommend trying a pair yourself!
Use your email or Facebook account below to enter a giveaway contest for a chance to win 10 pairs of Huck Nation’s Beta 2 gloves for your team.
As a company, Huck Nation makes an effort to actively seek feedback from their customers to suggest improvements for each new iteration of their gloves; they have a feedback form built directly into their website to collect opinions from users. ↩
“Big” is being used generously here — I don’t have a great relationship with gravity. ↩