worn out reebok gloves

Goalkeeper Gloves Grip – What You Should Be Looking For

Every goalkeeper knows that they could use a little more grip for their gloves. At the end of the day when you can stick your hand out and the ball just says there it feels amazing. That’s why a lot of the goalkeeper glove manufacturers in recent years have spent a ton of effort in making goalkeepers gloves stickier. Actually, that’s pretty much what the up and coming brands are doing. You’ll see a ton of videos on IG mostly with gloves that just stick to whatever you put them on. It’s like having suction cups, stick em, or whatever you want to compare it to. Does sticky equal good goalkeeper gloves grip?  

There’s actually a debate over this that I feel needs to be explored. Are you really going to make more saves with sticker gloves? How long do these gloves actually stay sticky? That’s a tricky question to answer because materials that gloves are made from have changed quite a bit over the years. Potentially we’ll get to a point where the palm can remain sticky. In the meantime here are a couple of tips to keep your gloves sticky in another article I wrote. I do want to explore this though, what is  real goalkeeper gloves grip? How do you know that you’re wearing gloves with a good grip? It’s probably not just about things staying sticky

What Is Good Goalkeeper Gloves Grip?

The ball needs to stick to the glove right? That’s all it is? I’m not going to sit here and say that there are no tangible benefits to having sticky gloves. I’ll elaborate on that point later though. For me what you should be looking for are gloves that mold to your hands well. Does that mean they should fit or tight or loose? That answer is probably more geared towards the type of catching technique that you use and the feel that you have for the ball with a pair of gloves. The fact that this comes down to individual feel reveals for me the reason why grading goalkeepers gloves grip or gloves in general is so hard. You may feel overly comfortable with a pair of gloves that are garbage for me. 

There are a ton of elements to consider here. Style of play comes into the picture. Generally though you do want sticky gloves and I would say that you want gloves that allow you to get your hands in the right position to make catches. So gloves that are too stiff can be a problem. For me, I feel that gloves that are able to take some power off the shot are key. I don’t have thick hands that can handle hard shots on their own. I sometimes need a little help so I like thicker gloves. Good goalkeeper gloves grip may just be a combination of these different elements that I mentioned.     

Does It Really Help To Have Sticky Gloves?

As I mentioned in the beginning of the last paragraph there’s no denying the fact that it does help out to have sticky gloves. That’s why virtually all of the gloves that you can find on the market today are going to be super sticky when you take them out of their original casing. My argument against stickiness or relying on stickiness is that it typically doesn’t last. I’ve explored ways to prolong the sticky effect with different substances and keeping your gloves clean. If you use the gloves on a daily basis though sooner rather than later the gloves won’t be as sticky as they were when you first took them out of the casing.   

The fact that you can’t rely on gloves to be sticky all the time, is the main reason why I would argue that you need to find comfortable gloves that fit your hand shape, and your style of play. So that you don’t have to rely on gloves being sticky. Even the stickiest gloves out there are going to have trouble holding on to the ball when the ball is wet. In fact, in some cases that stickiness can be harmful when we have to deal with a ball that’s wet. Coaches now love to play on wet grass since they see the pros are doing it. Find comfort and you may find better grip that way then chasing around sticky gloves. If you can find something that checks both boxes that’s perfect! 

Why Certain Gloves Potentially Cost More 

This is one of those questions that you’re bound to ask yourself as a goalkeeper at some point. As a goalkeeper parent you probably ask yourself this question a lot before your kid even realizes it. What’s the real issue, are you getting a competitive advantage with more expensive gloves? The real answer is actually yes, and no. I’ve explored all sorts of different gloves throughout my career. The conclusion that I’ve come to is that goalkeeper gloves are such a personal item that you can’t say more expensive gloves are always better. When it comes to what makes them cost more there are a couple of factors. Number one is the brand name. Before we even talk about quality we have to be honest with ourselves. Brand name gloves typically cost more. 

The problem with that, is that having a Nike swoosh or the Adidas stripes on your gloves is not going to get you more saves per se. The same thing goes for Reusch, and Uhlsport gloves. Which by the way can both be pretty expensive. The second thing though that does elevate the price tag is the fabric that certain gloves are made from. The fabric that different gloves are made of can certainly influence the grip levels that you ultimately see on gloves. What’s the best type of fabric particularly for palms? Everyone used latex grips until even a couple of years back. Now, we have enhanced latex, and other materials.   

Ultimately what you’re going to want to do is find the materials that you feel comfortable with. For example, I like gloves that give me more finger mobility. At the same time I want a thicker palm that can reduce the impact of shots. What I’m saying I guess is that you may want to look for a type of glove that you like. Then find a model that fits those types of needs with palm materials that give you decent grip levels. That would be my best advice. Comfort is potentially equally as important as pure grip.          

What Causes Goalkeeper Gloves Grip To Wear Off?

Just wear and tear that comes from using the gloves. When you’re buying goalkeeper gloves you have to take into account the durability levels that a glove is going to have. Typically if you have a glove that has a very soft latex palm that you see rips easily then you pretty much know that you’re not going to get a lot of training sessions or games on that pair. There are ways to maximize the usage that you can get out of your gloves. The two main ways are through your diving technique. What you want to do is close your fists when you’re trying to get up off the ground. There’s a little more to it, but that’s the basics for sure. 

The other thing that you can do is make sure that you clean your gloves after use, and allow them to dry in the shade. I have a couple of articles on this part of glove durability that I’m going to link to here. When you’re buying gloves you may want to look for the middle ground. Finding gloves that give you decent grip levels to begin with. While at the same time are essentially tough enough to be able to last for a while longer. That being said, we may need to have a talk about how long goalkeeper gloves should last.               

How Long Should Goalkeeper Gloves Last?

There’s actually a full article on this topic on this site. I’m going to link to that as well. The reason why I want to talk about this topic here is because I do believe that managing expectations properly is a great way to then make correct evaluations on gear. From my experience gloves are going to last about 3 to 4 months at a decent capacity level. What I mean by that is that the grip is going to be ok for 3 to 4 months. There are stories about goalkeepers going with one pair through a full season. Yes, that’s possible if you only use those gloves for games.

As I’ve just mentioned there are different things that can be done as far as glove care goes to try and extend the lifetime of your gloves. That’s not a bad idea. Particularly if you’re going to relegate a particular pair just for training. It’s a good way to make the most out of your money. There does come a point though where you’re essentially shooting yourself in the foot by going out there with older worn out gloves. You can talk about how great they fit or how they are your lucky gloves all you want. The fact is, when you go out there with gloves that don’t provide an optimal grip level you’re only hurting yourself.  

Grip & Fit Should Go Hand & Hand 

What’s more important is the goalkeeper gloves grip or the fit? Well, they are going to go hand in hand for sure. If the gloves fit comfortably, but don’t have these grip on the palm then you’re going to be typically dropping more balls and giving out more second chances that you’d like. Although there’s an argument to be made that you can compensate for the lack of grip on the gloves with better technique. That’s certainly a true statement in my opinion. If you just have grip, but the glove doesn’t fit right, what you’re doing is elevating your risk of injury. It’s like when young kids wear bigger gloves. Even if the ball sticks to the glove your hand or fingers can end up bending backward in a motion that tends to hurt quite a bit.   

Obviously the ideal situation is to find the perfect balance. Gloves that fit comfortably and that provide a great grip level. What happens if you can’t find that perfect balance? Which way should you compensate? As I mentioned before, proper technique can help you overcome some of those grip deficiencies in gloves. That’s why you see from time to time a pro keeper playing with really worn out gloves. They are or at least think they are skillful enough to overcome the lack of grip. It’s great for your confidence, and all of that. I would say though that the game is hard enough. Particularly, if you’re trying to move up the ranks. Don’t be shooting yourself in the foot over dumb ideas. 

Goalkeeper Gloves Grip Conclusion 

It has to be said that you probably don’t want to obsess about having sticky gloves. Any respectable goalkeeper and, or goalkeeper coach is going to tell you that you want to rely on your technique and not the glove. I would say that I would rather have gloves that I’m comfortable with rather than ones that are just sticky. That may just be a personal opinion. I’ve said many times that I don’t love very thin gloves because they don’t reduce the impact of the shot. When you don’t have strong hands that adds up. Your wrists are going to start to hurt after a while. Therefore, in this debate about goalkeeper gloves grip I feel comfort may be more important than the grip that you get from the palm. 

The thing with relying too much on pure goalkeeper gloves grip from the palm of the glove is that it’s naturally going to wear out. You need to know that and just accept the fact that you have to buy new gloves maybe every 3 months. The other thing that you can do is find comfortable gloves with decent grip and spend your time improving your catching technique. That way you won’t be as reliant on the grip from the palm of the glove. This advice is coming from someone who typically spends way too much on gloves to make sure they remain sticky!