Do Professional Goalkeepers Wear Fingersave Gloves?

This is a topic that I briefly covered in another article. In this case, though, I did look into the matter more in-depth to be able to put forth a better answer. The quick answer to, “Do professional goalkeepers wear fingersave gloves” is surprisingly, yes. In the sense that there is probably at least one pro keeper out there that does wear these types of gloves. I went ahead and took a look at 4 of the top goalkeepers that Adidas sponsors. I think that is a fair representation of what professional goalkeepers are actually wearing. Guys like Manuel Neuer and David De Gea, who have been with the brand for years, can literally pick out exactly the type of glove that they would want to wear. So that’s a huge indicator of the gloves they prefer. 

With Neuer in specific, things get really interesting because he has been with the brand for so long that he’s shifted his liking in their gloves through the years. In that, he doesn’t wear the same model these days then when he started. Again it’s been such a long time that he started with the brand that really what would you expect. Another surprise that I had was with Keylor Navas. I wasn’t even sure if he was wearing the brand. Let’s get to it, though, to try and answer the question of, “Do professional goalkeepers wear fingersave gloves?”! 

Does Manuel Neuer Wear Fingersave Gloves?  

With Neuer I’m almost certain that he did at one point in his career. Back in old pictures with Schalke 04 you can see that he is clearly wearing the Adidas Response model. Interestingly enough, you can’t even find those on sale anymore. I’m not sure if the model came with a fingersave variety on them. From the pictures, though, you can see Neuer pointing at people and having his finger look perfectly straight. That’s usually a sing of something off. You need to have that extra support or really be putting in an effort to tense your hand and point at someone. 

As he moved on to Bayern Munich, he remained with Adidas, but he switched models. These days, he rocks the Predator Pro model. There is a Predator Pro glove that features fingersave technology. From the way that his hands are able to bend and how the glove isn’t necessarily always stiff when he’s holding it, I would bet that he is not using finger protection anymore. Neuer was a goalkeeper that liked the extra protection. Maybe he feels safe enough with the amount of finger protection that he gets in new models. That can be the case, because he went from a very thick Response glove to the modern Predators. These gloves do provide a reasonably padded finger area, but not really fingersave protection.   

David DeGea Fingersave Gloves 

De Gea has been wearing Adidas gloves since he moved from Madrid to Manchester. Like Neuer he’s been up and down the block wearing literally every type of glove that the brand could throw at him. Currently, he’s also wearing the Adidas Predator gloves. Those feature a Fingersave variety and a non-finger protection variety. From the pictures, it’s pretty clear that at least at some point De Gea mixed it up a bit and did wear fingersave gloves. Either that’s the case or he literally has LEGO man hands. The way that his hands sort of curve like a claw isn’t all that natural. He has trouble closing his fists in some of the many celebration pictures that he uploads. Which is what leads us to believe he does use finger protection.   

Oddly enough, wearing those gloves with finger protection could be one of the reasons why he’s had so many hand placement mistakes in his career. A lot of times with fingersave gloves, you can’t put your hands in a natural position. With your hands being so stiff, there’s a good chance that a hard hit shot will just bounce off of them. That may have been something that Neuer picked up on. That’s why you can clearly see that he wears the Predator glove variety without the extra protection. Whereas De Gea still battles with a stiff hand motion. In fact, if he’s not wearing Fingersave gloves, he must have some heavy hands.  

Keylor Navas Gloves  

Keylor Navas moved on from Adidas gloves recently. I still took a look at him because he had some great training montages with his Adidas gloves. You can clearly see that he does not wear Fingersave gloves. In fact, if you look closely, one of his fingers is sort of bent inward. You can see that clearly even when he’s wearing gloves. I highlight this because if you do have a finger injury, fingersave gloves can be a total torture device. The glove is essentially pushing your fingers inward all the time. If you have a broken finger that didn’t heal well, and it doesn’t bend naturally, it can hurt a lot if it’s forced to constantly bend a certain way.   

Usually, sponsorship deals are a money grab for players. I wouldn’t say that Keylor made the switch because he didn’t feel comfortable with Adidas gloves. From what I can see though, he didn’t explore all of the gloves that the brand had to offer. I would think that’s the more natural way to go about things. I’m goalkeeper glove confessed addict. Trying new gloves is always a fun  experience. When you are playing at such a high level, though, you really can’t take a lot of chances. I understand why Keylor would stick to the old Adidas X Pro model he used to wear.  

Does Marc Andre Ter Stegen Wear Fingersave Gloves  

Looking at pictures and videos of the Barcelona Goalkeeper to be able to answer this question, I realized something. He has a very particular way of making certain saves. That could be the key to some of the circus-like saves he’s able to make. What he does is, he bends his two middle fingers when he’s trying to make a deflection save. I have the theory that he’s doing this to try and influence the ball trajectory if he has to make a deflection. For example, I saw a picture of him doing this to have the ball go over the bar. He also made that type of save in a regular side dive play. He’s always looking directly at the ball when he does this. This isn’t a technique that I’m familiar with, but I’m pretty sure that what he’s doing is 100% deliberate.

Having said this, I’m also sure that Marc Andre Ter Stegen does not wear fingersave gloves. It would be extremely difficult to apply that technique that I was just referencing with these types of gloves. Since, they literally make it hard for you to move your fingers inward. Let alone just move your two middle fingers like Spider-Man, as you can see Ter Stegen doing. Would I recommend that type of technique? I think that it’s something that you have to train really well. In the process of doing so you’re going to get hurt more often not I bet. Because hard shots on bent fingers tend to get you hurt. It’s one of those things that’s hard to recommend. Even if someone that plays at such a high level is able to make it work. 

Are There Real Benefits To Wearing These Types of Gloves?   

Definitely, the main idea behind this whole glove concept is to be able to offer added protection. Certainly, Fingersave gloves have evolved through the years drastically. In some of the earlier versions, they had literally a metal rod in them. It was really uncomfortable as a kid with soft hands to try and get back some of that mobility in your fingers. However, dealing with hard shots was certainly a main concern at the time because you didn’t have the arm strength naturally to get that done. Basically what I’m saying is that gloves with finger protection in general can be an ally, particularly for younger goalkeepers. As kids start to move up the ranks, you kind of see the model being less and less common. 

Other than protection and maybe providing a way to deal with tougher shots, there’s no real benefit to the glove. This may be a little bit of a biased opinion on my part. There are goalkeepers that, for example, love to have their fingers naturally in a curved position. That makes your hands get into a catching motion much easier. As I’ve said on other articles in the site, it’s really a fit situation. What works for me may not work for you because of age, playing level, and even how your body is built. From other De Gea pictures, I could tell he has very skinny hands. Maybe that’s what leads him to want to look for extra protection. That could be a better question though, than do professional goalkeepers wear fingersave gloves.      

Do Professional Goalkeepers Wear Fingersave Gloves Conclusion 

The progression that we saw from someone like Manuel Neuer really tells the story of these gloves. Most pros maybe at some point wore them. The thing was at the time, Adidas was betting heavily on the Fingersave models, and they wanted to roll them out there with their top players. That’s why back in the day we did see Neuer, Cech, and others try out the extra finger protection. As the brand progressed and started moving a bit away from those types of gloves, the pros started being able to migrate to other gloves. This “migration” is something that many of the top Adidas-sponsored players took advantage of.    

For the most part, if you ask any pro goalkeeper out there, they are going to tell you that the gloves with finger protection limit your finger mobility. A lot of times, that can affect your catching motion and your deflections. You could have an advantage when you’re trying to punch the ball out. Even in those cases, though, you still have to hit the ball in the sweet spot of the knuckle to be able to clear it out properly. As you get older, and you’re able to add more strength to your arms, you’re going to feel less of a need to get that extra help with the harder shots. That’s why we see goalkeepers like Navas gravitate towards the lighter X Pro glove! Do professional goalkeepers wear Fingersave gloves? Most likely, most don’t. That leads directly to my next point.    

Could The Fingersave Model Ultimately Disappear? 

I’m not sure if gloves with finger protection, in general, would disappear. I’ve seen them really thrive in the juniors market, and for good reason. The only path that I see for them to really disappear would be if Adidas just stopped using that brand name. In reality though, as I referenced many times, today’s gloves are a long ways away from the original fingersave models. They are less rigid than the early models. That has to do with the fact that the materials used in making the gloves have certainly changed over the years. From a literal metal rod to more flexible synthetic materials that do increase the level of mobility that the glove provides.  With all that said, I don’t think that we’ll ever see a day when gloves with finger protection become the only option or cease to exist. 

As I mentioned, there’s a market for both types of gloves. If you look closely, most pros don’t love fingersave gloves because they are confident in their own catching abilities and hand placement. The debate today basically sits at I’d rather feel like I’m free to move like I need to move rather than get that extra protection. At least in the pro ranks. Does this mean that fingersave gloves are bad? Not necessarily, at the end of the day, it depends on what you like to wear. Like all things in fashion, there are looks that are going to go well with you, others not so much. As is often the case in goalkeeping, to know what you like and what fits, you may have to go through a trial and error process!