CrossGuard develops the ProGauntlet; a glove for practitioners of Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) that protects the hand form mechanical impact without compromising hand mobility, control, grip and comfort.
The ProGauntlet is a combination of a self structured system of interacting hard-shell segments, (the hard-shell) and a comfortable and tactile inner glove.
CrossGuard has focused most of its efforts on the development of the ProGauntlet hard-shell in order to optimise protection and mobility required for performing HEMA swordplay. Some of the requirements were difficult to achieve within the hard-shell such as: improved safety from thrusts, comfort, grip and ease of equiping or unequiping the gloves. As a solution the inner glove has been introduced that works together with the hard-shell to create a full system.
“Anneke is a designer who brings a mix of thoroughness and positive energy to the table. Designing a wearable for the human hand is a tough and complex puzzle and her work gave us a jump-start at a crucial moment in development”Youval Kuipers, Director of CrossGuard
Five weeks before the Dutch Lions Cup tournament at the 25th of August in Utrecht (a leading tournament within the HEMA community) CrossGuard reached out, to ask if it would be possible to develop an inner glove for the ProGauntlet to be worn by one of the leading HEMA fighters.
In 4 iterations we rapidly worked towards an inner glove that met the most important usability and safety requirements. Since the main focus has been on the hard shell; only basic guidelines and ideas were available for the inner glove. In every phase the prototype was intensively tested, marked with stitching for updates and even remodified by cutting to immediately see results.
The main focus of the first two weeks was to gather all different materials that are cut-resistant, comfortable and that can create grip between the sword and hard-shell. Furthermore the focus have been on creating a mockup glove as soon as possible to be able to fit the materials in position as well as get an idea on the interaction between inner glove and hard-shell.
The two following iterations mainly focused on getting the interface and connection between inner glove and hard-shell right. To have the inner glove perform as well as the hard-shell regarding movability and to define where we exactly need impact protection and cut resistance.
The last two weeks were focused on the development of a left and right version of the inner glove that was tournament ready and integrated with the hard-shell
The most challenging of the development of the inner gloves was the high level of complexity; 3 different fabrics, 12 different textile pieces, integrated foam and very precise sizing demands to ensure optimal movability, fit and placement within the hard-shell.
CrossGuard was very happy with the process as well as the improvements we were able to make with the Inner Glove in such a short time. The intensive process of weekly iterations, test sessions allowed us to work towards a demonstrator that could actually be used in the tournament.
During the tournament, the new and improved ProGauntlet was shown to the public and put to the test by both Arto Fama and Jane Johnston, two leading HEMA swordfighters. ” The prototype performed remarkably well; It allowed for amazing technique with seemingly effortless transitions between hand position as well as half-swording and grappling and a great measure of control.”
CrossGuard will continue to develop the ProGauntlet in the upcoming months to ensure the product is fully tested and works as envisioned before entering the market.
Photo’s by CrossGuard and Anneke van Abbema