The origins of Gilbert can be dated back to the early 19th Century, when William Gilbert (1799-1877) worked as boot and shoe maker to Rugby School. He worked from a small shop on the High Street, which was acquired by Grays and turned into a sport shop; he was already supplying balls to Rugby School before the game of Rugby had been invented!
By 1851 Gilbert’s balls, made from a four panel leather casing and a pigs bladder, had gained nationwide accolades at the Great Exhibitions in London. By this time, William had begun to pass the mantel onto his nephew James Gilbert. James’ initial role, as a young man with an unusually large lung capacity, was to inflate the recently removed pigs Bladder, a job which was almost as dangerous as it was disgusting! With infection rife, it was not unheard of for men to pass away from catching infections from the Bladders.
Fast forward 165 years, and many sanitary and worker protection legislation’s later, Gilbert are a world renowned brand in Rugby. Their product range caters to all budgets and abilities, with fantastic entry level products right up to the likes of Thierry Dusautoir endorsing the products. For those of you unfamiliar with Gilbert, we’ve reviewed four essential products to help to show you what they’re all about…
The Gilbert Xact Hoops Match Rugby Shirt is a middle of the range offering, packed full of specialist performance features for Rugby. Gilbert have been a leading brand at the forefront of innovative Rugby kit, with this Jersey being stereotypical of Gilbert’s practical uses of performance materials to benefit Rugby players of all abilities.
The jersey is made from Polyester Eyelet fabric, Polyester is a notoriously strong and durable fabric, but is typically not breathable. The Eyelet Stitch design produces stable holes in the fabric, which helps to counteract the issues with breath-ability by allowing air to flow through the material, close to the skin, keeping the wearer cool. This helps to create a jersey that is ideal for Rugby, tough and breathable.
The jersey also features a cotton twirl taping, which is used to reinforce the vulnerable opening at the neck of the jersey. This feature is repeated along all the seams to help maximise the durability and help it to stand up to the physicality of Rugby. Another feature designed to increase the strength of the products are bartacks, which are additional stitches incorporated into the design at strategic places that are subject to the most wear and tear. Finally, a stylish Mandarin stand up collar completes a Jersey that promises to make sure you stand out on the field.
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The Gilbert Evolution Headguard is a vital item used to mitigate risks of any severe injuries in Rugby, we see these used throughout all levels of Rugby, right up to national level.
The Headguards come in 3 vibrant colours, which easily fit in with the majority of team wear colour schemes. They offer an a unique front to back padding system, which fits around the natural contours of the head to provide a superb fit, allowing you to move aerodynamically. This tight fit, while being hugely beneficial for protection and remaining aerodynamic, may have caused problems hearing team mates. To resolve this issue, Gilbert have included hollowed out areas within the interior of the guard, which helps you to effectively communicate with team mates.
Another important aspect of the product is the strategically placed air vent sections built into the Headguard, which have been specially designed to maximise the flow of air to help you stay cool. The product also features an extended lace system, which provides the wearer with, not only a better fit, but offers them the maximum amount of adjust-ability due to allowing them to significantly loosen or tighten the guard, in order to suit personal preferences. The Guard also features a padding chin strap, for added comfort and protection.
Our Gilbert Headguards range from £13.59 to £23.19, with the Evolution being the most expensive in the range.
The Gilbert Xact 10 v2 Body Armour is a must have for anyone wanting to take their Rugby to the next level. It provides a essential combination of lightweight compression fabric and protective Triflex Pro technology. Compression fabric provides support for muscles by increasing blood flow circulation, getting more Oxygen to muscles which helps stop lactic acid forming in the muscles thereby increasing your ability to perform. This increase of Oxygen to the muscles also benefits you post-exercise by helping your body break down the lactic acid that has formed, reducing recovery time.
Triflex Pro technology is a system is a unique, adaptable protection system which uses a free floating interlinked triangular padding. This, in Lehmans terms, simply means that the padding molds to the contours of the wearers body, providing the most effective and comprehensive protection from impact. These pads are placed strategically around the most vulnerable to injure areas on the body; the shoulders, chest, back and sternum.
This product, packed with innovative technology, takes any Rugby player game to the next level. Previously worn by the likes of Thierry Dusautior, the v2 Body Armour offers a range of benefits both during and post exercise. Coming in dynamic black and fizz Green colour scheme, and available on Kitlocker.com with 25% off RRP, this product has all the specification to raise the game of any player, at any level.
The Gilbert Forwards Academy boot takes the conventional 8 stud Rugby boot design and fuses it with innovative modern technologies, creating a highly durable boot suitable for the challenges of the modern game.
The upper area of the boot is made from synthetic PU leather, a durable material which helps the boot stand up to the normal wear and tear expected in Rugby. This boot also uses leather supporting elements on the areas most susceptible to damage, which helps to increase the life cycle of the boot significantly.
The redesigned logo is more than just a aesthetic design feature, the logo actually provides a support cradle. This in turn provides the wearer with increased stability, designed to work in conjunction with the lace system to provide an adjustable fit to offer you the maximum stability where you need it most.
The inside of the boot has been designed to fit securely around the foot, meaning that you get the most out of the stability support system. The sole of the boot comes with Ion insert foam footbed, which provides comfort and support. The out sole has been designed to provide reinforcement to the heel, while the front 3 studs provides increased traction. The bioframe spine embedded along the out sole provides additional support in the key midfoot area of the boot.
Gilbert are a brand who can introduce an amateur to the game as easily as they can enhance the performance of professionals. They provide a range of products which can benefit players from grassroots to professional, with according price tags. They proudly support, not only Rugby’s major tournaments, but also multiple Rugby development schemes such as England Rugby and Get Into Rugby. This support of the sport is becoming a vital necessity in the progression of the game. With the many distractions and alternatives to sport that the 21st century offers, the importance of getting children to participate in sport is paramount, and Gilbert are an exemplary brand when it comes to this.
Shop the full range HERE