Pros: Highly protective pair of gloves, should last a while
Cons: A little long and bulky for my tastes
If there is one thing that Ive been happy about with Reeboks acquisition of Maska, it is that their changes have been primarily cosmetic in the first years product line. Why take a good thing and ruin it? Unfortunately, Jofas 9800 gloves probably were one of the few things that they didnt change which could have benefited from an update. While Bauer, Easton and even Reeboks own CCM line put new gloves on the market, RBK left a rather stale morsel on the table when they put their logo on the 9800 and dubbed it the RBK 8K glove.
The RBK 8K is a very long glove. While it does offer significant hand protection, it isnt going to appeal to many players simply for the overall bulk of the design. The 8K is possibly the longest glove on the market. As such the need for slash guards with these gloves is going to be virtually eliminated for players with arms shorter than the average orangutan.
The 8K has two-piece fingers offering a fair blend of protection and flexibility. All of the finger and hand rolls do feature hard plastic inserts and Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) foam. EPP is a very light, highly shock absorbent material used more commonly in helmets. However, EPP is a good material that keeps the weight down and makes these gloves very protective. Side of the finger protection is adequate as well.
The plastic inserts in combination with EPP help to disperse impacts rather than allow a localized blowthis of course, is RBK/Jofas touted Joint Displacement Property.I know, JDP sounds like a way of saying youre going to have a dislocated finger after wearing these, but the truth is much the opposite. JDP moves the force of a blow away from more vulnerable areas distributing it to areas better equipped to take the shock.
Some players wont like the locking thumb. The 8K does have the older style locking thumb with a rather immovable piece of hard plastic resting behind the players thumb. While this helps prevent players from breaking their thumb as it doesnt allow them to hyperextend backward, it also slightly inhibits forward flexibility. The newer jointed thumb protection that the Vapor and Vector gloves offered makes this seem antiquated.
In all the RBK 8K is a very protective pair of gloves. This is a pro level model (although the gloves worn in the NHL are almost never the gloves that you find on the retailer shelf from any brand).
Sheepskin palms are an interesting feature of the 8K. They will prove to be durable although they are a little heavier than some of the newer synthetic palms such as Nash or Clarino are. There are a couple of issues with sheepskin palms thoughit does tend to get hard when it dries after it gets older and it doesnt have the silky feel on the stick that the new synthetics offer.
The stitching around the gussets and fingertips is good, but not great. It isnt quite on par with a top of the line pair of Eagle gloves. Nonetheless, they are pretty comfortable with no glaring issues of raw materials poking at players fingertips.
The glove is relatively light thanks to the EPP. Even though they are bulky, they at least dont feel heavy.
RBK touts one feature as the Air Exchange System. This is one row of vents through a mesh covered roll extending down from the index finger. While I dont expect these four holes are going to make them feel like an Air Conditioned hotel room in Las Vegas, they are more effort than most brands put into making their gloves a little less sweaty.
One thing that I dont like is the way the gloves close. They feel like the fingers are all pushed together at the tips. This could be a function of the shape of my hand and a poor fit with the glove. However, several players who I asked about it felt the same way. The fingers just dont seem to close at the proper angle.
RBK only offers the 8K in a couple of sizes. They essentially come in big and bigger with only 14-inch and 15-inch gloves available. While I generally wear a 15-inch pair of gloves, I found with the length of the Jofa gloves that a 14-inch was a better fit. The 15-inch gloves turned my hands into an uncontrollable bundle of summer sausages they felt so big. Sorry kids, you will have to eat your vegetables and hope to grow big and strong before these will fit you.
The 8K comes in only the hockey standards of black, red and navy. All of the gloves feature the RBK logo and graphics in white. If you want another color, youll have to break out the Sharpies and do it yourself.
Maybe next year RBK will put out a glove with an air pump in it or something wacky. For now, this is a solid glove for protection, but a rather dated one for features and construction.
The main thing is comfort in a glove like this. If you like the feel of it, there isnt any good reason not to buy it. For me the 8K is simply too bulky feeling. For some the thumb lock will be a deterrent. But I dont think that too many would argue that this glove is exceptionally protective.
? 2005 Scott Noble All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.
A few of my other reviews that you might find helpful:
Fitting and Selecting Hockey Protective Gear
CCM Vector Gloves
Bauer Vapor XX Gloves
Jofa 9040 Shin Pads
You might also enjoy my book, Hockey for Weekend Warriors. Click here to read the reviews.
Thanks to openroad for adding this item so I could review it.