How Long Should Goalkeeper Gloves Last?

This is a question that a lot of parents want to know the answer to because it dictates how much you’re going to be spending on equipment. The same thing goes for keepers that have to buy their own gear of course. The real answer to the question, “How long should goalkeeper gloves last?”, can be reached only after considering a ton of variables. I saw some information online about this, and I really didn’t see clear guidelines that a person who is new to the game could follow. Hence, the importance of this article, at least in my eyes. I’m going to cover a couple of things that you may be asking yourself about the durability of you’re gloves. If you’re not asking yourself these questions, you probably do need to consider them moving forward. To help you figure out how long should goalkeeper gloves last. 

The first thing that I could say right off the bat is that the durability of your equipment is going to vary a lot depending on your age group, the number of times that you practice a week, the care that you give to your equipment, were you mostly play, and other factors that I’m going to try and cover. Of course, the idea is to help you try and get the most out of every pair of gloves that you buy. I know very well that they don’t come cheap, but you also have to move on from gloves that are not able to provide the type of performance that you’re looking for. 

What’s Your Age Group? 

The first thing that you should consider is your age group. The equipment that is worn by kids from 5 years old to about nine or ten will usually not be subject to the same type of wear and tear that you’ll see in older people even at the amateur level. If we are talking about a 7 or 8-year-old kid that plays in awesome-looking grass fields about twice a week there is a good chance that they are going to outgrow their gloves before they wear out. Especially if you’re training with a keeper coach or just with most regular kids in that age group. The speed of the ball is usually not going to get to the point where it could totally compromise your gloves. 

Another benefit that you’re going to have at least for glove durability in younger age groups is that you don’t have to glide your hand through the turf or grass to get to a love ball. You’re small and close to the ground enough to where gloves won’t take as much damage when diving to low balls. For older folks, you’re typically going to need to make a conscious effort to lower your entire body and particularly your hands to be able to get to those low balls. When you do that constantly in rough surfaces you’ll see that wear and tear on the glove almost immediately.

How Often Do You Train/Play?

If you’re training 3 days a week and playing on the weekends and you’re in the older age groups, there is a chance that you’ll find yourself changing gloves every couple of months. What you see a lot of keepers do is keep training gloves and then game gloves. This is a good way to get the most out of your gloves and save money while still making sure that you have a highly functional glove ready for when things matter most. If you’re just in your Sunday league and you don’t do much training you can extend the life span of your gloves considerably. They could very well last almost a year if you’re caring for them in a proper manner.        

Is it a good idea to keep worn-out gloves for training? If you need to maximize the lifespan of your gloves to save cash go for out. You can extend the lifespan of your gloves considerably. I’ve seen guys wear gloves for around 6 months of almost daily training. Granted, by the time that they eventually retire them, there is not much between the ball and their bare fingers. If you can buy gloves every two or three months without it hampering your finances, I would totally recommend that you do that. Gloves these days are meant to provide a grip that’s almost like glue when the glove is brand new. At some point when you’re wearing a worn down glove, you certainly won’t be getting the benefits that it’s meant to provide.    

How Long Should Goalkeeper Gloves Last?: Proper Glove Care

If you want to get the most out of your gloves take care of them properly. Guys are very accustomed to just throwing the gear that they use into their gym bag, and you know that the bag can stay there for days sometimes. That is something that is certainly not ideal for your gloves. You want to get home and take them out of the bag and allow them to dry out in the shade. Never have them dry out in the sun, at least not for an extended period. When you leave them out into the sun for a long time the latex on the palms and fingers is going to begin to harden and you’re going to lose all of the grip.    

Washing your gloves by hand is a must if you want them to last a long time. You can machine wash most gloves. That’ll give you a certain freshness, and you won’t have to worry about some of the dreadful odors that you probably know by now that gloves can emmit. The problem with machine washing is that you can get the glove caught in the machine and there goes the latex palm and your grip. Most glove manufacturers have some type of glove care product. You can pick and choose the one that you like. If you care for your gloves properly you can see them last north of 6 months. 

Better Technique Can Also Contribute To Longer Lasting Gloves  

Most of the wear and tear on gloves happens when you put your hands in the ground to get up after diving for a ball or virtually any play. As a keeper, there is a multitude of reasons why you may find yourself on the ground whether it be in training or during a game. There are a few ways that you’re going to be able to get back up without using the palm of you’re hand and tearing up your gloves.

In training, you should be getting the habit of getting up from a dive by pushing off the ground with the backside of your shoulder and elbow area and then kicking your inside foot in to lift yourself up. This is going to be a great abs work out and it’s also going to help you perfect your diving technique. If you’re not diving correctly you won’t be able to get up like this for sure. Perfecting this option could take a lot of practice. Particularly if you want to apply this method in a game. 

The second thing that you can do is get into the habit of making a closed fist to push off the ground and be able to get back up. Instead of going with what is essentially the natural option of placing your open hand on the ground for support. Being able to do this requires a bit more arm strength, therefore it can be a good workout as well.

Try this option at your own risk though. I am the type of keeper whose gloves do take a big pounding, especially in my later years because I’m not in the best shape I’ve ever been in. That’s exactly the problem if you make a closed fist and you can’t get up there is a chance that you can injure yourself trying to carry your own body weight. In those cases just saving up to buy new gloves can be a better option.   

Where You Play Also Plays A Huge Role 

The reality is that if you are always playing on the softest grass fields that you can imagine, there is a better chance that your gloves can last north of 6 months. If you’re playing in turf or dirt fields all of the time, within two months you’ll start seeing all of the typical signs of wear and tear. There two main problems with turf fields that you need to be aware of. The first thing is that sometimes the turf is so rough that it will just rip right through the latex on the glove. You can have brand new gloves and make one save and see signs of that wear and tear, and it feels awful, but sometimes it is what it is. What are you going to do, let the ball go in? The second issue is getting that rubber embedded in the gloves. 

With dirt fields or even very sandy grass you’ll have this same problem. That sand or dirt can get in the glove and make it you lose a lot of the grip that you once had. This can happen without you noticing a lot of the common signs of wear and tear. You’ll feel this issue immediately though when you touch the ball. You’ll feel that lack of grip as the balls seem to slide off your hands. The best way to combat this is to wash your gloves right after you get home. You want to make sure that you’re removing all of the dust particles that make your gloves smoother.

Signs Of Wear & Tear On Gloves 

This is something that I’ve alluded to a bunch in this article and I just want to make sure we are on the same page as far as what these signs really are. The obvious signs are ripped latex. Over time you’ll start seeing holes in the latex or just that the area is not as smooth and feels fuzzy. As I mentioned before this is an easy sign to spot. You’ll see this usually in the tips of the fingers and the middle of the palm. That’s just because those are the areas of the glove that are going to be more in contact with both the ball and the ground.           

The other main sign that you’re going to see is a loss of grip. This one is certainly interesting because it’s more a feel issue. Of course, the lack of grip can come ripped up latex that you can see. At the same time though, you can have issues like the ones I referenced before. Where what happens is that dirt particles or even rubber particles from turf are embedded into the glove. When this happens you end up losing a lot of that grip. Again, this sign is more of a feel issue. That’s why you’ll find different answers to how long should goalkeeper gloves last!  

How Long Should Goalkeeper Gloves Last Really?

If you’re training and playing with the same pair of gloves you’ll probably need to switch them out every 3 to 4 months. That means you’ll go through about three or four pairs a year. In youth soccer could you see a player going a full season with one pair? Yes, I could totally see that, I did that in youth soccer for years. Then again, I would have to take into account that the materials used to make gloves back in those days were not as soft as what we have now. Maybe going with 6 months per pair in youth soccer could be a good idea. 

I know that you can find stories about pro goalkeepers who keep the same gloves for years. Usually, what they’ll do is use them only in games. You can certainly do that if you love the fit and the grip that you get with a particular pair of gloves by all means try and get the most out of them. I don’t want to say that it’s a comfort issue as well, and also you have to take into account how safe you feel wearing a particular pair.  

Sometimes you’ll have a pair of gloves that look like they could still have some miles left on them from the outside. When you wear them though, you just don’t feel like the grip that you once had is there. That could be attributed to what I referenced earlier the dirt particles that are embedded in the glove. Whatever the case may be though, if you don’t feel that you get the grip that you like with a pair of gloves, and you can buy another pair go on ahead. If you’re a bit cash strapped it’s even more important for you to take the necessary steps to help the gloves last longer. That’s why I threw out a couple of tips and tricks for that. 

How Long Should Goalkeeper Gloves Last?: Final Note 

I wanted to make a special mention for parents who have kids in youth soccer. If you can, it’s a good idea to send your kid out on the field with decent gloves. I’ve seen parents that want their kids to wear a pair of gloves until they outgrow them or they completely break apart. I am not saying this to try and shame people who may not have the financial stability to spend 50 dollars on gloves every couple of months. I know that’s really hard! If you can though, do send your kids out there with decent gloves. This is going to give them more confidence in their game because good gloves do help.