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If you’re planning to go slalom skiing, you need to have the best ski pole guards to protect your hands. Slalom is an intensive type of skiing that involves going through gates that are sticking out of the ground. While the gates are flexible, they can still pack a wallop if you aren’t properly protected. Check out our ski pole guard reviews below.
In addition to hand guards, slalom skiing and ski racing requires some special gear that other skiers may not need such as ski shin guards or skiing impact shorts. If you’re new to slalom, it can be difficult to know which guards will be best for you. To help you with your decision, I’ve taken the time to do the research for you. Check out the top four best ski pole guards currently in stock.
In This Article
The Zipline Ski Pole Hand Guard with Universal Fit are the best ski pole guards because they are made by the company who provides gear to the US Ski Team.
The Zipline Ski Pole Hand Guard is designed for slalom racers by the official supplier of the U.S. ski team. The adjustable sizing almost ensures that these ski pole guards will fit your skis, and they come in a variety of colors so that you can personalize them to your style. That also makes it easier to differentiate your skis from all the other ones.
This set also comes with a Leki pole adapter kit, meaning that you can easily adjust these to Leki ski poles with the Tiger S grip, if you have them. The kit also comes with a spacer that you can install to ensure a tight fit, no matter what ski poles you’re using.
- Made by the official U.S. Ski Team pole provider
- Universal shaft can fit pole shifts between 14-18 mm
- Includes Leki pole adapter kit at no charge
- Can be complicated to install and don’t come with instructions
The Swix Adult Slalom Hand Guard for Adults are the best ski pole guards because they have a universal fit that allows them to be used on nearly any 16 mm poles, not just Swix poles.
Swix leads the world in innovative skiing gear, and their hand guards are no exception. These white full hand guards are designed for 16 mm adult poles, and their universal fit means that can be fitted with multiple different brands of ski poles. Swix ski pole guards are sturdy, well-made, and come with everything that you need to protect your knuckles on the slaloms.
While they will fit multiple 16 mm brands of ski poles, they are designed to fit Swix ski poles the best. Keep that in mind if you already own some! For other brands, these are a good high-quality option as long as they are completely secured.
- Leading ski gear supplier
- Great coverage and durability
- Includes screw set
- Don’t come in multiple colors
- May not fit non-Swix brands as well
The Swix Heavy Duty Full Hand Ski Pole Guard are the best ski pole guards because they’re an affordable choice that can be a good for kids and young adults who are just getting into slalom.
For younger skiers, Swix also offers a junior-sized full hand guard. Made of the same durable thermoplastics as the adult version, these are a great option for children and teenagers in both practice and competition. The full hand provides better protection for younger skiers still mastering slalom technique and can save a lot of bruises down the road.
The guards are made from heavy-duty thermoplastic that will stand up to slamming into slaloms, and they offer extra protection in the thumb area, which other models sometimes don’t protect as well. These guards are a great choice for any young person who wants to try their hand at slalom without getting hurt by the slalom poles.
- Developed with Swix World Cup athletes
- Full hand guard provides more protection
- Doesn’t fit adult poles
The LEKI Open Gate Ski Pole Guard with Mounting Kit are the best ski pole guards because they come from a company with a long history of creating high-quality ski equipment.
This sleek, distinct set of ski pole guards has a very European look and a distinct yellow color. These are designed for Leki TBS poles, but can be adjusted to other poles if you’re willing to put in the time to ensure a proper fit. While they are not totally universal, they are a wonderfully solid and stylish option for Leki fans. Leki can sometimes have a higher price than other brands, but the Czech company has a long reputation of quality ski equipment that makes the investment worthwhile.
- Includes mounting kit for Leki TBS poles
- Leki has a long reputation of quality
- May be difficult to install
Features to Consider for the Best Ski Pole Guard
Now that you’ve read thorugh the ski pole guard reviews, it’s time to talk about features. The job of a ski pole guard may seem simple—protect the hands of slalom skiers—but a task being simple doesn’t mane there can’t be a variety of options in your solution. There are more than just stylistic choices to consider when choosing the perfect ski pole guards, so we’ve outlined some traits to look out for to narrow down your search.
Ease of Assembly
Skill with skiing does not necessarily equal skill with assembly. The installation of some ski pole guards may be more intuitive than others. It may be better to go with a specifically easy-to-assemble option if hardware and assembly isn’t your strongest point. However, you can find instructional YouTube videos for many brands to learn how to install them if you’re having difficulty.
Some ski pole guards are universal, meaning that they may fit multiple brands. While some are indeed capable of fitting multiple brands of ski poles, in general they fit better with matching brands. For the most part, it’s a better idea to get the same brand ski pole guard as ski pole unless you have a particular reason not to. Universal ski pole guards are a great option if they’re going to be on multiple different sets of race skis. it may be better to match your ski pole guard to your ski pole brand to ensure a proper fit.
It is important to note that adjustable sizing is different than universal ski pole guards. Adjustable sizing refers to the ability to fit on multiple sizes of ski poles, not just multiple brands or styles of ski poles. For example, you could have an adjustable ski pole guard that fits ski poles between 14-16 mm or 16-18 mm. This means you could use the same ski pole guards on multiple sets of skis, or adjust them from juniors to adults skis with kids as they grow. If you go with this option, you still need to know the size of your ski pole before buying an adjustable guard so you can make sure it is within the correct size range.
Full versus Half
Ski pole guards come in full or half guard versions. Half guards are narrower, but still cover all the fingers, and full guards provide more full hand protection. Full guards can be good for larger hands for a little more protection, but it ultimately comes down to personal preference. When hitting the gates correctly, a half guard provides adequate protection for the hand. Incorrectly, you may get some painful feedback from the gate. If you’re looking to improve your technique, half guards can be good for immediate feedback on whether you are correctly positioned, but be prepared for some bruises!
Adult versus Junior
Not all ski pole guards will fit every ski pole. Adults may have different ski pole sizes based on the size of their hands, and kids race poles are generally shorter with narrower shafts. Often, race pole for kids will be 16 mm across at the shaft, and racing poles for adults will be 18 mm at the shaft. However, ski poles differ, so check the sizing before ordering your new ski pole guards.
Colors and Customization
While getting the ideal fit for your ski pole is the most important factor, you can’t completely discount style when considering different ski pole guards. Some brands have very limited color options, while others come in a whole rainbow of choices. There are also different styles that can contribute to an overall aesthetic while skiing, if that is important to you. There’s nothing wrong with adding a little flair to your gear by having your hand guards match your ski bindings and ski bag. Plus, more colorful gear is easier to distinguish from others’ if your equipment gets mixed up or lost. Think of it as the skiing equivalent of having a lime green suitcase at the baggage claim.
Benefits of Using Ski Pole Guards
While flexible, slaloms are known for beating up skiers who pass through them, especially on their hands and knuckles. Having a pair of ski pole guards installed on your ski poles is the best way to protect your hands because they completely protect your hands from the slaloms. With the guards properly placed on the poles, the slaloms will only come into contact with the guards, not your hands. You can strap your ski boots in and be confident that you’re going to be safe on your ride.
Do You Need Ski Pole Guards?
While you are allowed to do what you like on your own time and property, protective gear is often mandatory for slalom racing due to how much abuse those gates can put on your body. This includes ski pole guards to protect your hands as well as ski shin guards, chin guards, and ski helmets to protect the most vulnerable points. This protective gear should be used in all slalom training and competition, but isn’t necessary in other forms of skiing that don’t (intentionally) involve hitting stationary objects.
Precautions of Using Ski Pole Guards
The biggest precaution you need to consider regarding ski pole guards is how they are installed. Installation can be tricky if you’ve never done it before. when installing guards onto your ski poles, you need to make sure of a couple things. First, some pairs have a distinct right and left guard, and you need to make sure they are on the proper poles if you want to get the most out of them.
Second, the angle you install the guards at matters a lot. The ski pole guard is supposed to be the wall that stands between your hands and the slalom, so they need to be positioned in a way that they can do their job. If the angle is off, you could get hurt.
Finally, you need to follow the installation instructions to the letter. If they aren’t installed correctly, they could potentially come off while you’re skiing or even break. If you need help installing your guards, look up a video tutorial so you can easily see what you need to do instead of relying on paper instructions.
Of all these great hand guards, the best ski pole hand guards are definitely the Zipline Ski Pole Hand Guard with Universal Fit. These hand guards managed to pull ahead of the pack with both their quality and versatility. The ability to accommodate pole shafts from 14-18 mm means that they can fit Junior and Adult ski poles, and the wide range of colors available allows a level of customization often ignored in ski pole guards. Zipline creates a wide variety of ski equipment, and is the official supplier for the U.S. ski team.
I hope these ski pole guard reviews have been helpful!