If you mention wrist guards on any snowboard forum you can guarantee some lively opinions. Personally I like to have wrist protection, so I was pleased to get to conduct this review of Dainese D-IMPACT snowboarding gloves with wrist guards built in.
Why I wear wrist guards snowboarding
I started wearing wrist guards during a season in Whistler. Before Christmas four people I knew had broken or fractured wrists. This not only screwed up their snowboarding, but lost jobs for two of them and in one case meant they headed back to the UK.
I thought ‘not me’ and invested in a pair of Dainese under glove wrist guards. It was a good job I did as a couple of weeks later I landed hard on my left hand mildly spraining my wrist. Without guards I expect it would have broken.
I continued to wear wrist guards over the 13 years since I’ve had a few more wrist sprains. Don’t get the wrong idea, I am not a bad faller, I know how to land to avoid wrist injuries. But once I started doing 180s and 360s I found myself falling awkwardly more often.
Since then I have seen more wrist breaks and fractures by people not wearing wrist guards. I have also seen one broken wrist by someone wearing protection, but the doctors said it was such a bad fall that without the guard the injury would have been a lot worse.
Why snowboarding gloves with wrist guards built in?
I had the same pair of under-glove wrist guards for years until I lost one on a night out in Cervinia. I also lost my snowboard that night so in comparison the wrist guard was a minor inconvenience!
I had always found it slightly annoying having something extra to carry and remember, plus something else to put on and take off. I had also found that with under-glove wrist guards my gloves didn’t last very long. This is because they create pressure points the gloves are not designed for.
As I needed new gloves and new wrist guards at the same time I decided to invest in something that combines the two. My hope was they will be less hassle and last longer.
I ended up buying some snowboard gloves with wrist guards built in on my next holiday in La Plagne. I found them in a ski shop that was more like a jumble sale with loads of discounted ‘no brand’ gear. The ‘no brand’ snowboarding gloves with wrist guards cost me under €40.
Being such a bargain I didn’t expect them to last very long. Amazingly they survived five seasons and were by far the best value gloves I have ever bought.
In the end they started falling apart and letting water in. Also despite being washed they utterly stank and my wife forced me to throw them out – I wasn’t even allowed to keep them for spares.
Search for snowboarding gloves with wrist guards
Although I liked my old snowboarding gloves with wrist guards built in they were for from perfect. They were very bulky and had to be worn over my coat sleeves. Sometimes the guards were uncomfortable and took some adjusting to make right.
Also the wrist guards on both front and back of my hand were solid plastic, this made holding onto drag lifts uncomfortable and difficult. It also made getting my hands in my pocket impossible, and carrying my snowboard slightly tricky.
So I did lots of research looking for snowboarding gloves with wrist guards. The aim was something less bulky that would fit under jacket sleeves. Of course I wanted the same level of protection, plus good warmth and waterproof qualities.
Dainese D-IMPACT 13 snowboarding gloves
My research lead to the Dainese D-IMPACT 13. They seemed like the only snowboarding gloves with wrist guards built in that are likely to fit under jacket sleeves.
They use D-DRY® to keep moisture out, and Primaloft One® (recently rebranded as Primaloft Gold) thermal padding to keep you warm. The palm and fingers are PU leather for durability, whilst the back of the hand has a stretch fabric for comfort. For longevity they are also reinforced in key areas.
All this comes with the patented anti-shock Hector™ wrist guard which is integrated on the outside of the glove. These wrist guards have support on the back of your hand rather than front or both sides, this is because they are designed for snowboarders rather than for skaters.
Review of Dainese D-IMPACT 13: Comfort
Before I put them the gloves seemed quite long. However, once wearing them I realised they are not much longer than my old gloves, but their thin profile makes them appear longer. This slim design is what means they can fit under jacket sleeves.
The moment I put them on I realised I’d made a great decision as they are very comfortable. With six sizes to choose from – based on palm circumference – you can be sure to get the right size. Mine felt snug without being tight, and the soft interior is lovely against the skin.
In comparison to by old snowboarding gloves with wrist guards built in, or wearing separate wrist protection under my gloves I could barely feel the the plastic protection. On the hand section they feel like wearing normal gloves.
The only noticeable difference is on the wrist area where they feel a little restrictive. This is because the protection goes further down my arm than previous wrist protection. Once snowboarding I never noticed it as there are much better things to be thinking of.
So far I have worn them for seven days snowboarding in a range of conditions. During very warm and sunny spring conditions in Les Arcs, they kept my hands dry from slush and allowed sweat to escape. When in a cold and windy white out on top of Kaunertal glacier they kept my hands nice and warm.
Of course comfort is not just about how they feel so no review of Dainese D-IMPACT 13 snowboarding gloves would be complete without talking about how easy they are to put on. There is nothing technically difficult, but it is not as simple as putting on gloves.
Doing up the two velcro straps on the gloves is not too much of a chore. But followed by pulling the coat sleeves over them – tricky wearing gloves – and tightening the jacket sleeve velcro it was a lot more time consuming then putting on normal gloves, and more than my old gloves. At first I found it frustrating but I soon got used to it.
Review of Dainese D-IMPACT 13: Protection
No review of Dainese D-IMPACT 13 snowboarding gloves with wrist guards built in would be complete without talking about the protection it provides. For a start the Hector wristguard is pretty different to others I have worn.
The main differences are that it’s only on the back of the hand, on the outside of the glove, and the protection is not solid plastic – it is semi-rigid polypropylene that has a little give. It also goes a little further down your arm.
In addition to the semi-rigid polypropylene plate, the Dainese D-IMPACT 13 have is a metal buckle which you slide to the junction between your wrist and hand. This gives extra support exactly where you need it should you fall on your hand.
The thinking behind this design is that snowboarders tend to get wrist injuries when landing on an extended arm that forces the the hand to bend backwards. Unlike skateboarders we don’t lacerated our hands on concrete, so front of the hand protection is not required.
By being semi-rigid the Hector wrist guard helps dissipate energy rather than sending it further up the arm as more rigid protection could. By being a little longer it gives extra protection but also works with your arm to further energy dispersal during a fall.
With seven days under my belt I have had plenty of falls. On the whole I don’t put my arms out to stop myself. But I did have a couple of falls when trying tricks during which I landed hard on my hand. In one of them I sprained my wrist.
It was early morning and the Les Arcs piste was rock hard. It was the first run and I hadn’t warmed up, but I stupidly decided to try a trick I am not very good at. I ollied about 50cm up onto a ledge at the edge of the piste to do a nose press while sliding along, intending to stylising 180 off like I had in spring slush the day before.
In the icy conditions I slid faster than I expected, and then hit an icy lump with my heel edge – which was leading – catapulting me off the ledge. At this point the ledge had risen to around a meter of the floor and I came down hard on my right hand on the icy piste.
Immediately there was a sharp pain in my wrist and I thought I had broken it. I also whacked my head – helmet earned its worth – and winded myself. I got straight up and gingerly moved my hand realising the wrist wasn’t broken as the wrist guard had stopped it bending too far.
I carried on snowboarding for the day without much more thought about my wrist. However, when I lifted my board bag into my mates car later I realised I had added another wrist sprain to my list.
To conclude this review of Dainese D-IMPACT 13 snowboarding gloves with wrist guard built in, I feel they saved me from a break or a fracture. So not only are the comfortable and keep the elements at bay, but they also discreetly do their job of protecting your wrists.
I hope you found this review of Dainese D-IMPACT snowboarding gloves with wrist guards built on useful, personally I really recommend them. The RRP is £95 and you can pick them up in many online stores, or direct from Dainese: www.dainese.com