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The Brian's Darling Spec Glove


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The Darling Spec 


Every now and again, there's a custom option that gets a mythical like status. The Koho 585 line (not the Goalie Monkey one) which consisted of 590 gear with the 580 graphic, the modified V1 "Kipper Spec" glove, Turco double break P2s, and Supreme C&A with beef up kit all come to mind. Lately, the Brian's Darling Spec falls into that category. I recently posted about the glove when outlining “the top 5 pieces of goalie gear I’ve never see up close”. I personally question whether or not that many people actually know what it fully is, but it's highly coveted and a lot of people ask for it. 


Before we dive into the specs, let’s review a little history of this glove. In 2013, Darling Spec was created as a 1 off for Scott Darling. The main requests were more of a baseball mitt style closure and a shape that sealed well against his pants. This glove was not designed around retail sales or being mass produced. From the most basic point of view, the Darling Spec is a modified SZ glove to the personal specs Scott Darling requested. 


In my opinion, the most unique feature of this glove is the finger tips. Brian’s basically cut the round finger tips off a SZ glove to give it a more squared off look. The break of the SZ was also tweaked to make it more a “Baseball glove” style closure. This means that you will use your whole hand when closing the glove. You essentially bring your index finger toward your thumb to make the closure motion. This would contrast the GNetik line which uses a closure that is more dependent on the fingers.


An aspect of Darling’s personal glove that is NOT widely known about or always ordered in the Darling Spec is the wrist strap. Scott has a leather leg pad strap at the wrist instead of the stock nylon strap and buckle. As @jmw0097recently noted in his CCM EF3 glove review with the leather strap, it gives the glove a very secure fit and tightness consistency throughout the skate.


So with the highly anticipated and social media dominating Optik coming out, why does the Darling Spec matter? There’s been a lot of confusion on social media when people are seeing pics of the NHL and NCAA player’s gloves. Everyone thinks that people are ordering Darling Spec gloves instead of the stock Optik glove. That’s not the case.


The Optik glove is completely new from the ground up. It was clearly inspired by the Darling Spec, but the Optik is it's own glove. It has the unique finger tip shape, squared off look, and baseball glove style closure. But as I said moments ago, every piece on the Optik is new and there are differences. . . 


What's my opinion on the biggest difference? It's the T itself. This glove features a single T which flares the glove more open compared to the Anchor T. The entire Optik glove is designed to maximize the size, within the NHL rules, and appear larger. The glove was also designed to meet the demand of Brian’s retail sales numbers and not as a 1 off.

Finally, Scott Darling himself is using the new Optik. He has ditched the leather strap and opted for the new BOA strapping system. From what I have heard, the BOA connects your hand to the glove in a completely new fashion and eliminates all the excessive length of Nylon straps. I would imagine this should mark the end of the Darling Spec itself. For anyone still thinking they need a Darling spec, they need to look to future and order an Optik.






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6 hours ago, mik said:

TGN, do you think that there is easy way how to replace BOA strapping system if it gets broken?

I don't. I would imagine Brian's would offer some sort of replacement Warranty. BOA has been in business for 15 years, so this is not new technology by any means. It's new to hockey technology and I believe it's very reliable. 

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4 hours ago, TheGoalNet said:

I don't. I would imagine Brian's would offer some sort of replacement Warranty. BOA has been in business for 15 years, so this is not new technology by any means. It's new to hockey technology and I believe it's very reliable. 

I wondered about that also, but realistically speaking the fastener inside the glove is under FAR less strain than stuff that have successfully been using this BOA system for a long time. Shoes, in particular. I don't think I'd have any worries about durability. 

I'd love to get my hands on one of these. My first set was Brian's, and my current set is Passau that I pretty much asked for a Brian's clone. I love the baseball style closure on my Passau 60 degree glove so I think the Optik would be perfect. 

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