At best, I’ve used grips sparingly in the past—mostly leather ones though I’ve dabbled a bit with non-leather. So, a few weeks ago when Victory Grips’ new Stealth X grips arrived, there was a bit of a learning curve.
Let’s start at the beginning. When I first put the grips on I was certain they had sent me the wrong size. If you’re use to grips that fit tight like a second skin, you’ll probably feel the same way. The ring holes were about an inch from the top of my fingers. Apparently though, that’s exactly how they’re supposed to be! It’s at this moment that I got schooled on how grips for functional fitness should be worn. You can read the entire article by former gymnast and Victory Grips founder Victory Pellegrino HERE. In short, grips “should have enough length, or slack, to create a fold of material between the bar and your fingers. They SHOULD NOT fit tight like a second skin. This fold will act like a sort of biomimicry doing the function of your calluses making the movement much more comfortable while helping prevent rips.”
Though most of the talk on these grips revolve around their thickness and their material (which we’ll discuss shortly), the ability to create this fold has definitely become a huge plus for me. If your current grips fit tight like a second skin, you have to try the Stealth X—especially if you tend to rip just underneath your fingers at the calluses.
The Material & Thickness
I’ve been a fan of leather in the past – mostly because of how well they tend to grip the bar. The Stealth X grips actually feel a lot like leather once you break them in. In my opinion, you have to break them in a bit before you get their full benefits. Once I did, the grips were soft and provided a great grip on the bar. They have somewhat of a spongy feel. Two clear distinctions from the leather grips I’ve worn in the past are that they absorb sweat much better and they are much more durable – according to Victory Grips, you can also hand wash or machine wash these (on delicate) and they’re good as new (I’ve yet to actually do this though as they’ve held up pretty well so far).
The Stealth X grips are the thickest grips that Victory Grips makes. According to their website, the grips are 2.5mm thick. Here’s the kicker though, they compress down to 1.7mm. Trust me, that’ll mean much more when you put them to use. Basically, they provide the protection of thicker grips while still allowing you to ‘feel the bar’. If you’re like me, then the ability to still ‘feel the bar’ is a must!
The Stealth X Grips comes in three variants : 3-finger, 4-finger, and the Freedom Grips which are fingerless. I tested both the Freedom Grips and the 3-finger grips. Personally, I was a bigger fan of the 3-finger grips because of the fold – the Freedom Grips do not have a fold I get the appeal of the Freedom Grips though. They’re the easiest grips to transition to a barbell movement, for example.
Victory Grips’ Stealth X grips are available at victorygrip.com. $45