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Bionic Tennis Glove Offers Better Control and Comfort: An Interview with Glove Creator Dr. Jim Kleinert

September 19, 2008 10:24 AM

By Emma Knight

Bionic, the leader in gloves for sports and gardening has recently introduced Bionic Tennis Gloves. Bionic offers a number of benefits for players including better racquet control and grip comfort. Its advanced technology comes from the knowledge and experience of designer Dr. Jim Kleinert, nationally renowned orthopedic surgeon and graduate of the University of Louisville and the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He has performed more than 10,000 operations on the human hand during his career and trained nearly 300 hand surgeons. Below Kleinert discusses the glove and the design that makes it unique.

Q: What are some of the qualities of the bionic glove that make it unique?
A: The glove has a number of anatomical features that really mirror your hand. Your hand is three dimensional in shape, in other words there are peaks and valleys. The peaks are located where your joints are, and the valleys where you have the interface with objects. What we do with our gloves is have a pad system in the valleys with cushions to allow comfort when gripping objects, and in the peaks are flexion zones to make the gloves more flexible. We’re trying to enhance the contact points, but at the same time make the gloves more flexible where the joints are.

Q: So why a tennis glove when they are not usually worn, what are some benefits?
A: Along with increasing grip and moisture control, the primary benefit is to help performance and the comfort of the hand. When wearing the glove you are mirror imaging the peaks and valleys of the hand. Tennis players have overall more surface contact with their racquet that should also promote more grip leading to more racquet head control. The inside of the glove is terry cloth material so it’s like having miniature towels there to help with moisture control. We also have flexion zones on the palm side, in the fingers and on the backside of the glove that allow for airflow and breath-ability.

Dr. Jim Kleinart of Bionic Glove

Q: So the glove won’t get too hot?
A: The back of the glove is a moisture wicking material and, with Lycra in the joints and fingers, it is very breathable. I can’t disagree that if you wear something extra you could potentially be warmer but the breath-ability of the glove coupled with the moisture management control should be quite helpful.

Q: Who should wear these gloves, are they designed for everybody?
A: We make gloves for both men and women in all different sizes. They’re being worn by tennis players younger than 20 through to those older than 80, at all different levels. If I said they were designed for everyone that would be a typical sales marketing pitch, but they’re designed to fit as many hands as we possibly can.

Q: How is this glove different from say golf, or gardening gloves?
A: Two top differences would be the leather and flexion points. In the gardening world you need thicker leather for protection and do not need the flexion zones. The tennis gloves have thinner leather for a better racquet feel and to be cooler. When you’re holding the racquet the flexion lets you close yourfingers and get a grip on the racquet for more control. The tennis gloves have flexion zones where all the joints are.

Q: How will wearing the gloves affect players with arthritis?
A: Historically, gloves are entirely a single layer because a double layer glove can be quite restrictive for gripping. The Bionic Glove is made as a single layer for enhanced flexibility around your joints with combination layers elsewhere in the glove to form to valleys in your hand. The combination layers make your grip of the racquet more comfortable as opposed to just a single layer. They also have an off-loading effect on the joints that aid in relieving pressure. The Arthritis Foundation tested and approved the gloves. They found that tennis players who had hand arthritis felt their hands were more comfortable wearing the glove, while a majority of them also felt to have more control of the racquet.

 

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