Glove tested: Bionic Performance Grip (men’s) Retail price: $30 Material(s): Cabretta leather, lycra Colors: White with black and blue Hand: Left, right Sizes: S, M, ML, L, XL, XXL, XXXL
Available in cadet* fit: Yes (left hand only) Weather: All
About this glove: No, it’s not the $6 million glove. But like TV’s “Bionic Man,” the Bionic Performance Grip golf glove is a technological marvel built to be better, stronger and faster.
Well, better and stronger, anyway.
The Bionic story, in a nutshell, goes like this: The glove was designed by an orthopedic hand specialist to emulate and aid a golfer’s natural flexing movements. There’s special padding (termed “anatomical relief pads”) at the insides of each knuckle to even out the fingers’ surface as they contact the club, allowing the wearer to grip more lightly. A lighter grip equals less tension in the arms, fewer blisters and calluses, less hand and wrist fatigue at round’s end.
In total, 26 parts of the Bionic Performance Grip glove are outfitted with flexible lycra, with 15 terry cloth “mini towels” on the inside and five elastic strips placed strategically around the glove. The fingers are pre-curved to match the hand’s natural tendencies.
We were eager to test the Bionic Performance Grip glove, which is certainly unique to the golf market. Would it conform seamlessly to the hand and perform like a second skin, or would it make the hand feel like an unwieldy piece of machinery? Here’s our take.
Appearance: Traditional it ain’t. Then again, it’s not marketed as such. The Bionic Performance Grip wears its therapeutic features on its fingers. And its backhand, thumb and palm. We find the copious stitching on the glove’s inside a little off-putting, but nobody sees that side anyway. Honestly, it’s a pretty cool looking glove.
Comfort: All the lycra certainly helps the Bionic glove’s fit. It’s highly flexible at all joints, and breathes well, too. It’s hard not to notice the extra thickness in the leather, though, when compared with other top cabretta models. Again, that thickness is part of Bionic’s hand-cushioning design, so we didn’t subtract points for it. Besides, it’s still plenty soft.
Feel: Here’s where things get interesting. On the one hand (pardon the pun), the Bionic glove’s thicker leather would seem to reduce feel. On the other, the interior padding is designed to put more of the finger surface in contact with the club.
We found the same thing others have remarked on: It takes some getting used to, but the glove seems to lock the handle into the hand. Better yet, you get the sensation of stability with the lightest of grip pressure. For golfers with problem hands, from skin ailments to arthritis, that’s a huge bonus.
Tackiness: Ample. And because Bionic gloves are machine washable, they should hold their tack for a long time if given a reasonable amount of TLC.
Durability: Spend this much dough on a golf glove and you’ve got every right to expect it to last. Bionic’s Performance Grip certainly does. The thicker leather can stand up to some pretty harsh treatment on the course and driving range, while the non-leather segments are durable as well. Every golfer is different, but reports of Bionic gloves lasting three or more times longer than standard gloves seem on the mark.
Bottom line: Some players will take one look at a Bionic glove and rule it out. Others, especially those with painful hand issues, should give this one a chance. What it lacks in delicacy, it makes up for – and then some – with unique comforting features and durability. We wouldn’t pay 6 million bucks for it, but $30 isn’t unreasonable.
*Cadet gloves have shorter fingers than regular gloves of the same size; e.g., a cadet medium glove has the same palm fit with shorter fingers than a standard medium.