I have been using the Superior Fencing leather padded fencing gloves in drilling for a while now, and I find them to be very comfortable and good for the purpose.
This review: motivation and transparency
Superior Fencing gave me a pair of these gloves for reviewing in August 2018. I wore them for testing and review, and have kept them as part of my regular fencing gear.
(Edit: this “motivation” section was added on the 9th of March 2019, as part of an effort to improve the transparency of the various reviews on this website.)
These gloves are relatively inexpensive light leather gloves for drilling. They do not offer much protection against hard impacts, but that is clearly not their function: their job is clearly to give some light coverage to the hands against light grazes and to make it more comfortable to hold the sword or have your hand inside a complex hilt. For this task, they do very well.
Sizing, bulk, and mobility
I asked for medium gloves. When they arrived, they were initially quite stiff, and they felt smaller than I expected. However, the leather needs a little time and movement to “break in”, after which they will feel much more comfortable and more like the size you were expecting. Don’t give up on them too quickly!
They have very little bulk, and excellent mobility.
They look elegant and classical, with a stitched pattern of diamonds on the back of the hands. This is a very strong selling point if aesthetics matter to you.
On the palm of the hand, there is some additional material to improve your grip on the sword. This came as a bit of a surprise, but I have grown to appreciate it very quickly! The additional material is not so thick that it hampers your ability to hold the sword, but simply serves to improve your hold on the sword.
Price and availability
Superior Fencing sells the leather padded fencing gloves for $20 USD.
They are definitely not up to the job of protecting your hands during sparring with the longsword or with similar-hilted swords, and it would be foolish to expect them to do so. However, if you use them as a pair of light gloves for comfort during drilling or demonstrations, or for sparring with complex-hilted swords, then they will do their job perfectly.
I use these gloves regularly now when drilling or teaching.
Keith Farrell teaches HEMA professionally, often at international events (why not hire me to teach at your event?), and has an interest in coaching instructors to become better teachers. I teach regularly at Liverpool HEMA, and help behind the scenes with running HEMA in Glasgow at the Vanguard Centre.