BLACKFOOT — Shawn Schild is a man on a mission at his Blackfoot shop.
He has poured 20 years of experience and more than 1,000 hours into designing durable leather gloves with a firm comfortable grip.
He started with gloves for rodeo bareback riders. His gloves are currently worn by all the top bareback competitors at the National Finals Rodeo and are gaining prominence with bull riders.
Schild has expanded his unique patented Double Wedge design to work and welding models.
Marketed as Bear Knuckles gloves, the ergonomic design follows the natural curve of the fingers. This creates less resistance and reduces muscle fatigue. There is no bunching of the leather in the palm which insures a firm grip.
The wedge design and stitching also increase durability.
Customer feedback indicates the gloves last three to 10 times longer than other brands, Schild said.
Welding students at Idaho State University are sold on the them, with about 80 pairs purchased this semester.
Doug Sayer, of Premier Technology Inc., is so impressed with the gloves’ quality that he is working with Schild to develop a TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding model for the company.
Even the U.S. Senate has taken notice. Bear Knuckles was named Small Business of the Month for September by the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
From his small workshop at B Bar B Leather in Blackfoot — surrounded by stacks of leather and patterns — Schild continues to modify and improve his designs.
“I want them to be perfect,” he said.
His quest for perfection will make the Christmas shopping mission a bit easier for those seeking useful, durable gifts.
Bear Knuckles gloves can be purchased at Schild’s shop in Blackfoot, BISCO locations in Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Soda Springs and Boise or online.