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Gloves certainly were made and worn in the early medieval period – they are mentioned in a list of goods made by a leather-worker in Ælfric’s ‘Colloquy’ in the late tenth century. However, there is no evidence that they were worn as protection in battle during our period. In the later twelfth century the sleeves of mail hauberks could be extended to include integral mittens.

Combat gloves are therefore a re-enactorism. They are mandatory for all combatants as basic safety gear – no gloves, no fighting!

All combatants must wear stiff leather-backed gloves that give protection to the hands and fingers. These must be safe for the wearer and their opponent. We expect to see around 6mm of padding. Having gloves backed with maille may reduce the amount of padding needed, but probably not by much – maille will not stop your fingers getting bruised.

Here you can see both leather and maille-backed combat gloves in action

We recommend buying strong leather or hide gardening/pruning gloves, which should be big enough to fit padding into the fingers. We recommend adding layers of leather or sheepskin to the back of the hand and fingers. Get a friend to tap you smartly on the hand with something solid – then think what it will feel like if you’re hit with the edge of a sword (concentrating the force in a couple of millimetres of hand…).

Combat gloves must not appear obviously modern – which basically means no bright colours or visibly dyed leather. Green pruning gloves are widely available and worth using – but please change their colour first! This is very easy to do – just rub boot polish into the leather and let it dry. You’ll get a nice dark brown glove. Don’t forget to darken the inside of the glove (at least the inch or so round the mouth).

Please note that warriors will be expected to bring their combat gloves with them to authenticity assessments. We want to check that the gloves are safe (most importantly) and that they are of acceptable appearance.

Acceptable combat gloves

The examples here are by no means the only acceptable style of gloves.

Armadillo gloves

This style is very well protecting, but at the cost of dexterity. Often chosen by pole arm users. The yellow gardening glove could do with a bit of dark shoe polish to be less yellow.

Fingered gloves

Depending on construction, these still have high protection, but with a design focusing on dexterity. This style is preferred by most sword fighters.

Logo.gif Official Society Rules on Gloves

  • The minimum requirement for gloves is that they provide impact protection to the hands and the full length of the fingers. The minimum recommended padding is 6mm of hard leather or equivalent.
  • It is the responsibility of the wearer to satisfy themselves that their gloves provide adequate protection, however any society armourer, training officer or Hersir may ban the use of a set of gloves if they cannot be convinced of their efficacy.

Logo.gif Official Society Authenticity Rules on Gloves

  • Gloves are safety equipment and not a canvas for decoration. They should be unobtrusive and plain in order not to draw attention. We do not want any highly decorated LARP type gear.
  • If modern gloves are used, they must be disguised to conform to SAR. In particular, any obviously modern colours should be toned down so that they are unobtrusive (for example using boot polish).
  • Gloves must be removed and hidden away when warriors are in the LHE, except when they are mustering for battle.
  • Gloves should not be worn during posed photography. People taking photos of troops lining up is one thing but having staged shots with them on can be avoided.

Unacceptable combat gloves

[add photos of inappropriate-looking combat gloves]