Product Review: Layout Ultimate Gloves

by | March 11, 2016, 12:57pm 10

This article appears in Skyd’s 2016 Winter Issue

Layout Ultimate is a recent up start from Toronto, Ontario with the purpose of providing high end ultimate gear to enhance your performance.  Their mission is to constantly strive to design innovative products to further up your game!  Their passion and enthusiasm for the sport seems on par with anyone that would be scouring the likes of Skyd Magazine and I commend them for that.

I first want to preface this review with some transparency.  I am not a huge glove enthusiast and only use them in a combination of adverse conditions (wind, cold, rain, humidity, etc).  I have not previously reviewed a product so I may lack the kind of polish an experienced reviewer would bring, but will do my best to be objective and honest.  Lastly, I did not get the opportunity to utilize their full effect due to being unable to use them in rain or snow.  

With that, I evaluated the gloves based upon a number of criteria that seemed pertinent to performance:

  1. Throwing Grip
  2. Catching Grip
  3. Durability
  4. On Field Performance

1) Throwing Grip (4.5/5)

As stated on the Layout Ultimate website, and frequently by their creators, their gloves are designed to provide constant grip under any and all conditions.  Testing them in a variety of conditions ranging from windy throwing in the park to competitive indoor goaltimate, I will attest to their ability to maintain disc security and grip throughout all conditions encountered.  They provide a tacky but comfortable palm which prevents any slippage or perturbation while in the hand.  When isolated, such as working on throws in the park, this translated to 5-10 yards of extra distance on hucks, and increased snap and power on shorter, quick throws.

The downside I found from this was that while focused, well executed throws had increased power and range, small deviations from the planned trajectory were accentuated.  In other words, a slightly mis-released disc took a worse flight pattern than anticipated.  I would recommend becoming acquainted with the feel and release for best use, but overall the gloves provided better throwing grip.

2) Catching grip (5/5)

I am not sure if others have ever encountered this phenomena, but I personally find that due to the lack of feel of the disc  or intimacy of the plastic as it touches my hand, I catch worse in gloves.  Specifically, when it is raining or humid, the material utilized to construct the glove can subsequently work against its objective on pancake catches or difficult, outreached one handed grabs.  Trying out a number of catches, one handed in front, pancake, one hand to the side, and trailing edge, all were effective without any chance of slipping or jostling out of your hand.  No matter what I tried, the disc managed to stick which was a nice change to the glove experience for me.  Overall, I was very pleased with the catching ease.

gloves (1)

3) Durability (4/5)

An important aspect that has come up with gloves is their ability to hold up against the wear and tear of playing.  Tears, rips, and fraying in the fabric seem to be a common occurrence for gloves as a result of bids and other physical plays.  Layout Ultimate combats this issue with a robust synthetic leather palm that is double stitched, around the palm and fingers, to a nylon/elastic back. The nylon/elastic material allowed for expansion, helping prevent the risk of tearing  or ripping the gloves due to friction. This was thoroughly tested over the course of indoor goaltimate through a number of bids throughout the game. While the gloves remained intact, with no tearing or rips, the palm did sustain some scuffing as a result of the hardwood floor. Overall, the design does seem to be robust and durable, but the gloves lost marks due to the scuffing. [It is unlikely the scuffing affected the glove performance and also unlikely people will use them enough on courts to destroy them, but I digress.]

4) On Field Performance (4/5)

This category is explicitly focused on the practicality and application of the gloves in real game scenarios. While throwing and catching were objectively analyzed in the more controlled environment of isolated throwing, this is a more subjective analysis of their use in game; this pertains to the user experience.  

With that, I found that the gloves’ catching held up against the gauntlet of scenarios that came my way. I was able to catch with comfort and ease on all throws, from the rudimentary chest pass to difficult and challenging bids on the hardwood. It was encouraging and confidence building to know if I could get a hand to it during the grueling battle of indoor goaltimate, I would be coming down with it.

On the other end, when equipped with the disc, the gloves provided sharp, powerful throws when focused.  However, I personally found, due to my style, that some of my short, quick, altered release throws didn’t come off as well as expected. I will attest that I use some unconventional throws more often than others, utilizing slightly different grips (split finger, power grip, hybrid, etc) for the same throw depending on distance, power, and weighting.  This coupled with my propensity to vary release points and specific throws quickly led to some flight paths not as envisioned.  An example was a high release flick fake, to scoober fake, to a quick, low release backhand air bounce which stuck in the glove more than anticipated and came off more Outside-In than expected.  While this personally was an issue at times (specifically because of the need to use a full arsenal of throws due to playing indoor goaltimate), I believe I am in the small minority who would be trying such frantic maneuvers.  In a typical ultimate game, these kind of movements are rarely, if at all, required.  Unless you are Josh Markette, Derek Alexander, or a handler of that type who quickly changes grip and release on any number of throws, I do not think this will be a concern. Overall, the gloves seem like they would provide benefit to the majority of the playing population.  The marks off are due to the issue given above, and sometimes there are tradeoffs; more grip can translate to less nuance on release.  

In conclusion, Layout Ultimate designed a robust and durable glove that provides increased power and grip.  They do take time and experience to fully get acquainted, but the benefits are there. If you are looking for a glove that will stand up against whatever you throw at it while providing increased grip, this may be what you are looking for. Just be aware, it may take some time to get used to their feel.

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  • Mike Lommler

    I also use Layout gloves strictly for bad conditions (rain, snow, cold, sweaty hands) and Brett’s review matches my experience almost perfectly. As far as comparing these to other gloves: greatly prefer them to wide receiver gloves or Friction gloves. I haven’t tried Mint gloves, but they obviously aren’t meant for me anyway since they are not supposed to be used in wet conditions, which is most of the reason I ever wear gloves. In any case, Layout gloves are the best I’ve ever used.

  • Matt Overstreet

    I’ve had my Layout Gloves since December and loved them for many of the reasons stated above. The tackiness was great for throwing, catching, and stopping the rotation of the disc on handblocks and Ds.

    One thing most new product reviews don’t have is a long term test. I can say that after wearing the Layout Gloves exclusively for 3 months, 2 to 3 times a week on the notoriously terrible fields in Nevada – the material is starting to rub off on the fingertips and the glove has stretched in a way that now leaves extra material which affects my throws. I don’t have much confidence that they will last another month (if I was still wearing them) and I’ve stopped wearing them as the stretching is affecting my throws too much. With that said, I will be ordering another pair today, one size down in hopes that these ones will stretch to the perfect size for my hands.

    If I have to spend $20 two or three times a year on gloves, I still think it’s a solid investment and will continue to be a Layout customer.

  • Dennis

    I always wonder about fit. My long middle finger means friction gloves – which have very little stretch – have to be too big for my hand to fit my finger, while mint – whose leather does have some give – fits much better when I get a size that fits the rest of my hand. It terms of suppleness/give, how would you rate these?

    • LayoutUltimate

      Hey Dennis. Thanks for the comment. The width is more forgiving vs the length. Our gloves fit larger hand sizes. Shoot us a email, support @ layoutultimate.com and I can provide more info. – Jake

  • Mohammed Waseem

    Hey Brett. Great review. Sorry to veer off topic, but the line “utilizing slightly different grips (split finger, power grip, hybrid, etc) for the same throw depending on distance, power, and weighting” caught my eye. I don’t do that, never thought of using it to my advantage either. Have you explained this in detail before, in an article/video? If not, could you please elaborate on it? Thanks!

    • Brett

      Hey Mohammed,
      I have not talked about it much via the internet, but have discussed it in person with teammates/friends/frisbee folk. This idea comes from my prior sports experience as a semi-pro tennis player. Tennis players can have a wide range of grips to generate different shots. From an eastern grip to a western grip, and everything in between:
      https://www.google.com/search?q=tennis+grip+western+vs+eastern+grip&espv=2&biw=1664&bih=878&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=0ahUKEwiHs_W3wsrLAhVisYMKHWOBCcoQsAQIHw#imgrc=J7q3FHAzmSx4sM%3A

      The idea is that when you are battling baseline to baseline with hard hitting ground strokes, you want to hit it as hard as possible to put your opposition on defense, while having enough top spin to keep the ball in the court. Closing the racket face (more western), generates more topspin but usually cuts down power. When you decide to go for a winner, you might want to flatten your shot out which would cut down on top spin, but generate more pace. Obviously the room for error shrinks, but leads to a more aggressive shot (more eastern grip). When you come to the net to volley, you will switch to a continental grip to maximize the racket face area. Other factors will come into play such as position on the court, where your opponent is positioned and so forth. The closer to the net, the higher the clearance, so you would need more top spin. In general, tennis players don’t use one grip the entire match, not even the entire point, but will shift their grip for each tailored shot.

      Utilizing this idea, why would a power grip be more advantageous for a short touch throw over a split finger? Much like the tennis analogy, I find small changes and alterations in grip provide distinct advantages in different situations. For examples, split finger grip (index finger sticking out perpendicular to the rim; e.g. index finger extended directly to the center of the disc) provides more stability and control over the release, but creates less power. Given an inside break throw, based upon size of window, position of defender, awareness of offensive cutter, and a few other factors, I will alter where my index finger sits on the disc from a power grip (index finger on the rim with middle finger, pressing hard to create more snap) if the window is tight, defender close, and the disc needs to arrive quickly, to a split finger grip if the defender is loose, window larger, or maybe a face mark where more touch will be advantageous to the cutter.

      Another example is when throwing a high release flick. Given human physiology, I have a few levers/cantilevers to control release angle/pitch, these being my wrist, my elbow, my shoulder, and my hips, primarily (could argue more, but simplicity is easier to understand and the reader can extrapolate). For example, if I hold the disc with a power grip forehand, I can keep my hips parallel to the ground, my arm parallel to the ground, and wrist parallel to the ground, and upon release, the disc should theoretically be released flat (everything is parallel to the ground). Now, holding all components the same, but bending my elbow up 90 degrees, if I release the disc (it now being straight up and down), it will be thrown as a blade.
      (replace dumbell with disc)
      https://www.google.com/search?q=elbow+90+degrees&espv=2&biw=1664&bih=878&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjzqcve0crLAhVktYMKHUfECJEQ_AUIBigB#tbm=isch&q=arm+elbow+bent+90+degrees&imgrc=OahpnoU4sVNlXM%3A

      Now, assuming I want to release the disc as theoretically high as possible, my shoulder will move my arm perpendicular to the ground (replace dumbell with disc):
      https://www.google.com/search?q=picture+of+person+with+arm+straight+up&espv=2&biw=1664&bih=878&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjh1MOKycrLAhVEuIMKHdo2DzIQsAQIHg#tbm=isch&q=arm+straight+up&imgrc=eg96lzdDKLQebM%3A

      Holding everything constant, again the disc will be released as a blade. So I must make adjustments to get a flat throw off. I can’t utilize my elbow as bending that alters my throw from a flick to a hammer (bending my elbow moves my release more and more over my head). Altering my hips will only cause it to be less high release, which is against our stated purpose. So the only cantilever I can use is my wrist and subsequently, grip. If I bend my wrist away from my body 90 degrees, the disc will be parallel to the ground, however, my wrist will not be able to maintain that position throughout my throw due to my throwing mechanics. My wrist naturally will roll up on the snap due to angle and physiology (combination of flexion/extension, radial deviation, and pronation/supination). So again, I will change my grip. To manage a flat release, I will switch to a power grip which allows the disc face to point away from my body and creates a negative pitch (if the disc being parallel to the ground is 0 degrees, then allowing the face of the disc angle away from my body would be -x degrees). Along with this, I will also move my thumb from off the top of the disc to the side of the rim (this will further allow more negative pitch).

      Normal forehand grip on top:
      https://www.google.com/search?q=frisbee+forehand+grip&espv=2&biw=1664&bih=878&tbm=isch&imgil=CdswcAJNAk04qM%253A%253BvCqnmndFgHLthM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.ultimaterob.com%25252F2009%25252F10%25252F20%25252Fthrowing-forehand%25252F&source=iu&pf=m&fir=CdswcAJNAk04qM%253A%252CvCqnmndFgHLthM%252C_&usg=__JiKVgbNjThpmFGHS4ecAilL87Cs%3D&ved=0ahUKEwjOjufwysrLAhWknIMKHU6pBWYQyjcILA&ei=VCPsVs6UJaS5jgTO0pawBg#imgrc=CdswcAJNAk04qM%3A

      I would take the thumb, which is on top and pointing towards the center of the disc, and move it as close to the rim as possible. This will counter the effects of flexion/extension, radial deviation, and pronation/supination that will occur due to the current position of the disc leading to a flat throw.

      There are plenty of other examples, including with the backhand. Some people reference that I throw a more ‘air-bounce’ backhand, but I can throw with no bounce to extreme bounce just by altering the position of my thumb on the top of the disc. If my receiver is shallow and plants to cut deep while my mark is loose, I might throw a deep backhand with some touch/air-bounce/weight so that the receiver has plenty of time to run onto it (moving thumb away from rim towards middle of disc, on top). If I wait so he gets farther down the field such that I can rip a hard backhand, my mark might have time to get tight and prohibit this throw. So throwing earlier with touch is better. If my receiver is halfway down the field already, I need to expedite the flight so will need to rip it as previously described (move thumb closer to the rim on top).

      My point with regards to the gloves was that these nuances were harder to feel and execute due to the sticky nature of the grip. For most people, this is highly advantageous, but given I will use a number of frenetic movements, I found the gloves made some of these habits more challenging and requiring more time to get acquainted.

      I apologize that I couldn’t take better pictures (google is what I have at my disposal currently) and delve into this with more detail, but I am at work and wanted to respond. I hope this provides at least a solid starting point to explaining what I meant. If you want to know more, feel free to post and I will keep responding. If others are interested, maybe I can throw a article together with video/pics.

      Have a great day, God Bless,
      Brett

      • Mohammed Waseem

        First off, thanks for taking time and explaining this in detail. I wasn’t aware of the use of the split finger grip to increase accuracy and stability of a throw. It’s not common to see experienced players use that because it’s often considered a ‘newbie grip’, well at least here in India. Will try and use it more often!

        I have three more things to ask:
        1) You mentioned that the high release flick requires a power grip, but theoretically, since they’re often short-distance throws into space (unless you’re someone like Brice Dixon unleashing a high release flick huck), wouldn’t a split finger grip be more effective?
        2) For flicks, how do you position the ring and little fingers? Do you tuck them in, or use them for support (like this – http://goo.gl/8UWPu0) or adjust according to specific throws?
        3) What’s the hybrid grip?

      • Mohammed Waseem

        First off, thanks for taking time and explaining this in detail. I wasn’t aware of the use of the split finger grip to increase accuracy and stability of a throw. It’s not common to see experienced players use that because it’s often considered a ‘newbie grip’, well at least here in India. Will try and use it more often!

        I have three more things to ask:
        1) You mentioned that the high release flick requires a power grip, but theoretically, since they’re often short-distance throws into space (unless you’re someone like Brice Dixon unleashing a high release flick huck), wouldn’t a split finger grip be more effective?
        2) For flicks, how do you position the ring and little fingers? Do you tuck them in, or use them for support or alternate according to specific throws?
        3) What’s the hybrid grip?

  • Travis Burnett

    Great article! Would you mind if we reposted this over at our new recreational sports website http://www.playrsclub.com? Ultimate will be one of our primary sports hubs we focus on and would of course link back and give full credit to the original article and author. Let me know, thanks!

  • Andrew Oh

    This is a great review. I wish Layout all the best, and I’m sure they’ll continue to propel ultimate players forward!