Fortress Boxing Obsidian Pro Series Fastwraps Review
Fortress Boxing are a brand based out of Birmingham, UK, who have hit the market hard with a range of fastwraps – their alternative to handwraps. The brand have had some wide support so far with some big professional names backing them.
About the Fastwraps
In this review we’re taking a look at something pretty new to the industry, so we’re a little limited in terms of comparisons. Fortress fastwraps aim to find a middle ground between the quality of professional level gauze wrapping and the ease of typical hand wraps.
The Fortress Fastwraps may look like just a fancy version of the inner gloves we’ve seen from brands like RDX or Everlast, but there really is no comparison. These Fastwraps are genuinely different from any other product.
The Obsidian Pro are currently their basic offering. At a slightly higher price point you can get hold of a pair of PROelite Super Slim (Pe|SS) Fastwraps, or if you’re after something a bit more unique you can get a custom-made pair instead.
You can buy these wraps in either Small/Medium or Large. With the Small/Medium option said to be best for palm widths around 8cm – 9.4cm and the Large option best for palm widths around 9.5cm – 11cm.
Visually the Obsidian Pro Fastwraps look great. They aren’t available in any of the fancier colours you can get at a slightly higher price point, but even so they still look great. Fortress haven’t felt the need to paste their branding all over the Fastwraps, instead letting the appearance of the glove speak for itself. The mesh panels look great (as well as having a functional purpose), and the overall form-fitting shape looks far more impressive than cheap inner gloves.
While you may not get a huge choice in colours, these also come with a short ‘Compression Strap’, which is essentially a regular hand-wrap which you use to go round and secure the fit of the fast wrap. You can choose out of 8 Compression Strap colours at the moment, giving you some flexibility in terms of how you want these to look.
The Fastwaps themselves seem fairly well made. The materials all seem high quality, with a great texture inside and out. They feel a little crisp at first, and the knuckle padding on my pair felt pretty stiff and dry, but after washing, bending and using them they’ve eased up a bit so they sit comfortably on the knuckles.
One of the big differences between these and the more expensive models are that these are secured with an elasticated cord with a large plastic toggle on the end to secure them with. The plastic toggle seems a little oversized in my opinion, however it seems to do the job well, and helps you pull and secure the elastic easily without help. Ultimately once your gloves are on you don’t notice it at all, and as long as the strap is tucked into your gloves properly then this shouldn’t be a problem even for sparring. I’ve personally found it easiest to loop the spare elastic over your hand once secured, and then it’s easy to cover it up with a quick wrap.
I can’t really fault the Fastwraps in terms of construction – there aren’t any inconsistencies or manufacturing faults. On the Compression Straps however, I’ve noticed the elasticated thumb loops are different lengths. One hand is perfectly sized, similar to most hand wraps, while the other strap is much shorter, meaning it’s a bit of a squeeze on the thumb. This hasn’t been an issue for me as I’ve actually preferred to use a pair of full-length hand wraps instead of the shorter Fortress ones included.
The main issue which needs mentioning with the Fortress Fastwraps however is that the Knuckle padding is pretty thick, which means it’s pretty hard to fit them in your gloves. You’re going to have to do a bit of work before you can wear these comfortably.
To give you an example of how noticeable this is, out of the roughly 20 gloves in my personal collection which I tried on, only one glove could actually fit around my hand comfortably, which to my surprise was the Bad Boy Legacy 2.0 Boxing Gloves. The guys over at Fortress Boxing are well aware of this, and even have a video on Preparing your Boxing Gloves which go over how to stretch out the inside of your gloves and make them fit better without damaging the gloves.
This works well enough, but the problem I have is that stretching the gloves out is going to permanently affect your boxing gloves. This means that once you stretch your gloves out you can’t just go back to wearing normal hand wraps again – they’ll just feel too big. Because of this I feel like it puts you in a tough spot if you plan on mixing between Fastwraps and normal hand wraps. You either have a choice of committing to using Fortress Fastwraps every time, or having one or two pairs of gloves specifically set aside for use with the Fastwraps.
Despite being ‘fast’ wraps, these still take a little while to get on. These are fast compared to a professional wrap job, however they still take a moment to put on.
When you slide your hand in you need to make sure your fingers go through the gaps between each knuckle strap (which I sometimes find can be a little fiddly). I find this is the best point to make sure your knuckles are sitting on the padding properly, and then you can pull the straps across and secure them on to the soft velcro section on the back of the hand. Once your knuckle is in place you can focus on the wrist, lining up the pad which sits on the inside of the wrist, and then getting the elastic cord pulled tight. If you’re wearing the Compression Straps or hand wraps on top, then you also have the added time of doing that.
Something which is important to note with these is that while the two Fastwraps look very similar, there are actually specific left and write ones. This isn’t labelled anywhere like I would have expected, however you can just about tell by looking at the way the knuckle padding is angled – you want the larger ends by your lead knuckles and the smaller ends by your pinky knuckles. Why this isn’t labelled for convenience is a mystery to me, and I’ve found it can be a little difficult to work out which hand is which when you’re trying to get ready for a session quickly. Needless to say putting these on the wrong hands can be pretty uncomfortable sometimes.
I’ve also noticed that sometimes the elastic cord can rub just against the base of my thumb when pulling the elastic cord too tightly
It seems like there are a lot of negatives when starting out with the Fortress Fastwraps, however once they’re properly broken in and your glove fits properly, I can understand why people love them so much. The protection on the knuckles is superb, and redirects the contact on to your knuckles rather than your fingers (in a similar way to the Radius Wraps we’ve tested previously). The wrist support is helped by the pad on the inner wrist as well as the secure fit around the hand, while the back of the hand is protected by the splints you can feel inside the Fastwraps.
As mentioned previously these are built mostly with mesh panels, which means these have great breathability. Even when worn under the Compression Straps, they seem to soak up less sweat than standard cotton handwraps do, which aids comfort over longer sessions.
The Obsidian Pro Fastwraps come in at £65, which is comparatively pretty good considering the next level up are the Pro Elite Super Slim Fastwraps at £110 or the Custom made pair at £130.
Do the Obsidian Pro Fastwraps justify the £65 price tag? I would say yes. But whether or not I would recommend these is a different question, which depends entirely on how serious you are about your training.
If you train casually, maybe for an hour session several times a week, then these are probably going to be more trouble to get started with than they’re worth. This is also the case if you aren’t able to set aside a specific pair of gloves to stretch out to fit them. If you’re someone who just trains casually, then you also have to bear in mind that for the same price you could also be buying an entirely new pair of gloves instead. There are definite benefits to the Fastwraps, but you would have to weigh up your options.
So who would I recommend these for? The Fortress wraps are clearly targeted at professional fighters, but I think if you train often enough, perhaps for several hours each time, and don’t mind setting aside some specific pairs of gloves for use with the fast wraps, then these would be a great investment. The level of support and protection these give you is superb.
+ Great support
+ Great visual appearance
+ Comfortable fit when on properly
– Requires you to stretch your gloves to fit comfortably
– Sometimes difficult to identify the left and right Fastwraps
– A little dry and stiff at first
This graphic is to illustrate the areas this product excels in, and is not intended for direct comparison to other reviews.