Gear Test 2017: Best Pads & Gloves

Gear Test 2017: Best Pads & Gloves

The top batting pads and gloves from AOC’s independent survey of the best cricket equipment of 2017.

For the best BATS of 2017, head here.

GM ORIGINAL LE

PADS RRP £120
GLOVES RRP £90

> HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
> PROTECTION AWARD

Gunn & Moore Original pads

A very decent bet, these, especially if you’re someone who likes to get in and stay in. The best thing these leg guards offer is breathability, which in turn means you should get a longer lifespan out of them. There’s something to be said for sweat-stained pads, in a way, but you’d rather they stayed pristine. The look is classic GM: classy, clean and inoffensive and while they’re not cheap, you wouldn’t skimp on a bulletproof vest. When it’s your shins on the line you should probably be prepared to fork out a bit.

The gloves are equally stylish but there are slight question marks about the bend in the bottom-hand thumb. It doesn’t always feel like the movement neatly follows your thumb, but that’s a minor quibble. The protection is comprehensive, the look is beautiful – almost 1970s in its simplicity – and there’s something to be said for the grip, as well. Your gloves will be snug on that handle even if you’ve just tonned up in Galle.

ADIDAS XT ELITE

PADS RRP £120
GLOVES RRP £70

> STYLE AWARD

adidas XT Elite pads

The offerings of adidas continue to impress, and when you add genuinely good kit to a decades-long reputation for sporting coolness it’s a pretty impressive package. This year they’ve introduced Jonny Bairstow to their roster which is good work – it’s always nice to add one of the world’s best batsmen to your stable. These XT Elite pads and gloves have had a redesign since last year but while the style has changed the performance hasn’t differed.

Fans of colour may be disappointed that the blue and orange of 2016 has been replaced by a more sober silver and black offering but then again that might be just what you’re after. Both the pads and gloves are impressive, with protection not compromised in the search for a lightweight and sleek product. There are some lovely little features on the pads (adjustable knee locator, V straps and sculpted wings) which really make them feel nice and snug, and prevent you from feeling weighed down when you’re running. Jonny B is bound to use this kit to good effect this summer, why not join him?

SF SUMMIT PLAYERS

PADS RRP £80
GLOVES RRP £44

> HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
> TOP VALUE

SF Summit players pads

With softs that proved very popular with our pros, SF are enjoying something of a renaissance. They’ve signed up some big names to use their stuff (England’s white-ball skipper Eoin Morgan, no less) and they’ve teamed that with some tidy softs offerings. You’ll also get the benefit of saving a few notes if you plump for them and with a nuclear apocalypse seemingly a very real possibility you’ll want that cash for bartering for food.

Even though you’re saving money you’re still getting top-quality protection that’s both lightweight and flexible. You’re perhaps a tad more aware of the pads than some of the other options we’ve picked out but the gloves are real winners, with the fit and the finger movement in a class of its own. For just £44, you can’t say fairer than that.

NEWBERY QUANTUM

PADS RRP £98
GLOVES RRP £76

COMFORT AWARD

Newbery Quantum pads

Oh, Newbery. You’ve only gone and done it again. The Kudos took the top gong in our 2016 bat test and the Quantum range is as good as we’ve seen among this year’s softs, marrying classical design and cutting edge technology. Extra lightweight and made from traditional cane, the pads are super comfy and the simple black-and-white livery oozes class and style. These beauties make running between the wickets feel as easy as a stroll in the park.

Evidently a lot of love and care has gone into the design of the gloves too, with reinforced padding at the heel of the palm ensuring the bat handle fits snugly in your hands. Slightly cheaper than some of the competitors, you won’t go too far wrong with these gloves.

HELL4LEATHER FIFTY50

PADS RRP £98
GLOVES RRP £76

> STYLE AWARD
> INNOVATION AWARD

Hell4Leather Fifty50 oads

Hell 4 Leather’s custom batting pads strutted away with our ‘Style’ award last year and the Fifty50 set is similarly slick. Weighing in at 800g, the pads are pleasingly light and super supple without sacrificing anything in the way of protection. The inner-cushioning design is brash and bold, befitting H4L’s no-holds-barred ethos, but the classical front-on view make them a suitable match for batsmen of all types and ages.

The gloves are chunky, reassuringly so, with enforced protection on every finger; while the airflow mesh ventilation system will help to keep your palms cool. The colours are similarly funky, with different shades of blue on each glove, but where these really impress is in their flexibility: every movement feels easy and natural.

Full info on the AOC Gear Test and the top 20 bats of 2017 here.

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