Nike vs Adidas – Which Brand Makes The Best Goalkeeper Gloves

If I wanted to answer the question quickly and honestly, I may just go ahead and say neither brand currently makes the best goalkeeper gloves. Now, it’s also true that these brands probably sell a lot more gloves than some of the smaller brands on the market that are fully dedicated to goalkeeper gear. That’s why I want to talk about both Adidas and Nike because I know a lot of goalkeepers and parents of goalkeepers will at some point end up buying gloves from one of these brands. For the simple reason that these brands are the most readily available thanks to their global reach. If you find yourself having to make the decision between purchasing Nike goalkeeper gloves or Adidas gloves, which one should you pick? 

That’s a question that’s going to be a lot harder to answer. What’s interesting about comparing these two brands is that, at least when it comes to goalkeeping Adidas is still hanging on to tradition while Nike is all about modernity. It actually makes a ton of sense, Adidas has been making goalkeeper gear for years and years. Nike on the other hand is relatively new to the game. In true Nike fashion they are not afraid to push the envelope and develop innovative designs. This is where things get tricky though. What’s new and modern is not always going to be better. In my eyes both of these brands have found that out in the goalkeeping business. 

Why Nike’s Modern Approach Isn’t Always Best

Nike Goalkeeper Gloves

This is a topic that has come up a lot on the site, and with other goalkeepers that I talk to. I do get the sense that for example, the strapless gloves have evolved from the first generation. My first impression of the Nike strapless glove was completely underwhelming. Not for the look, it looked awesome and futuristic. The fact that you couldn’t strap yourself down and sure up your wrist area was the first main concern that I had. The newer versions of these strapless gloves come with a wrist area that’s super tight. It does loosen up over time though and that will undoubtedly affect the durability of the glove.

Another thing that concerns me to this day with modern cut gloves primarily from Nike, who to their credit are always looking to innovate, is that the glove isn’t thick enough to protect from hard shots. I had that experience with Reusch gloves as well. My sense with Nike is that like I said they are always trying to innovate and design wise they have some of the sickest fits on the market for sure. The problem is you can look real cool, but you’re wearing a glove that can’t truly complete its reason for being, which is to protect the goalkeeper’s hands. Where I think Nike can get credit is this idea that they walk so that others can run. Still, I always get the sense that some of their glove models show they don’t know a thing about goalkeeping in that building in Beaverton Oregon.     

Adidas Has A Lot More Experience In The Business

Youth Adidas Goalie Gloves - What to Buy or Stay Away From
Manuel Neuer (GER, 1, Torwart, goal keeper) vertreibt sich die Zeit bei den Unterbrechungen nach den deutschen Torerfolgen mit Ballübungen

I find it hard to criticize Nike when they seem to be at the forefront of every type of sports related gear and clothing. How they came up with their designs for the modern gloves is not a process I fully understand. What I do see is Adidas being a brand that just has more experience in the goalkeeping realm. What tends to happen is that Adidas won’t push the envelope as much with their product design. They have of course now produced quite a few modern options, but for example they kept the wrist strap as an option on some of their models. At least they gave their pro goalkeeper ambassadors the chance to keep a strap on their modern Adidas gloves.

To me there are certain things about the Adidas brand that show they have more experience when it comes to goalkeeper gear. For example, their pivot off of finger save gloves for the most part was very interesting. When the finger save gloves first came out you have to realize that this was a world with no finger protection on gloves. So we all gravitated towards the new technology until we realized we were losing a ton of mobility. The pros pivoted off finger save gloves and so the brand started to relegate that option. Now again they’ve shown perhaps a better way to produce modern cut gloves. While still retaining elements like the wrist strap that are actually important to goalkeepers.       

You’ll Mostly Want To Stay Away From The Cheap Practice Options

Both Nike and Adidas have “training” gloves that they sell. Whenever you see that there’s a training label in front of the name of the goalkeeper gloves that just means that those are the cheap versions of the gloves. Apart from one or two exceptions it doesn’t make too much sense to purchase these training options. In spite of this, I’d bet that these training options are some of the best selling goalkeeper products for either brand. There are a couple of reasons for that. If you’re out shopping for a product that you don’t know much about there’s a good chance that you’ll stick with the brand name product over an unknown brand. Also, a lot of these training gloves are usually easier to find in sporting good stores than the actual good goalkeeper gloves.    

If each subsection here was a category that I’m scoring these two brands with, both would lose in this section. The cheaper “training gloves” that both brands sell tend to provide very little value. You can find better options within the same price range just from different brands. Especially if the gloves are for kids. One of the things I don’t like about these training gloves for kids is that they don’t have the features of a modern glove. It’s important in my book for kids to get used to what it feels like to wear actual goalkeeper gloves. 

Once you turn 12, 13 years old and you’ve been playing for a while it’s going to be easier for you to pick a glove that fits what you look or don’t like. If you’ve always been using these training gloves it’s going to be harder to get a sense for how a professional goalkeeper glove should feel like in your hands.   

What’s Currently The Best Adidas Glove?

The Adidas predator pro goalkeeper gloves are currently the top of the line option for the brand. If you come to this article within two or three years the answer may still be the same, but the gloves I’ll be describing might be completely different. One of the things you want to be on the lookout for is again the exact model that you’re buying. There are Predator Pro gloves in the Fingersave option, there’s the hybrid model, and an amateur option that’s the cheapest. On a personal level I feel the hybrid model is the one that I would go with. Just because I enjoy the thicker palms that it offers. That’s a testament to what I was talking about with the brands evolving.  

With a thicker palm you’re able to feel less of a burn when you’re putting your hands in to save hard shots. When Nike came out with their modern models that fit like a sock puppet everyone followed behind. The result was gloves that sure, gave you a ton of mobility, but didn’t provide enough protection. In my eyes the Predator Pro hybrid current model solves that problem with the thicker palms. I wouldn’t go with the finger save model which is the most expensive unless I was someone who is used to gloves with finger protection. There’s currently about a 20 dollar difference between the hybrid model and the fingersave one. I’m not sure that extra finger protection is worth those 20 dollars.    

Nike’s Best Option On The Market

Nike has more expensive and essentially higher end models than the ones I’m going to talk about their top options for me. There’s a simple reason behind it. I just don’t think their top options match up favorably against Adidas in this particular case. I wouldn’t pick them over the Reusch, or Uhlsport options either. The Nike Vapor Grip 3 and the Phantom Shadow models are Nike’s take on more traditional style goalkeeper gloves. They’re priced right in that 100 dollar range where I feel that they do compete well with not only the Adidas options, but some of the other gloves from different brands. These two models that I mentioned are very simple traditional gloves with thicker palms that are going to help you mitigate the impact of the shot. They have a simple strap in the wrist area.

When it comes to the grip for these gloves I feel that it can be on par again with most of the options within the price range. In a way I’d be buying these gloves over other models because of the Nike mystique there’s no question about it. Like I said, the brand recognition is obviously something that allows both of these brands to sell products. Even when they aren’t the best option on the market if you break it down to the benefits that you get from each option. One of the things that I will say about Nike gloves is that since they’re really neatly designed they truly bring a good touch to your goalkeeper outfit. It may seem like nothing, but if you feel good and look good you usually play well. So there’s that, that Nike has going for them.    

Who Makes Better All-Around Goalkeeper Gloves?

Just out of these two I think there’s more quality in Adidas gloves. There are actually more options that I would look into as potential buys. For example, I’m a big fan of the Tiro gloves that are priced under the 100 dollar threshold. At the end of the day though if you find a glove that fits your needs the brand isn’t necessarily the most important element that you’d have to take into account. That in my eyes is one of the biggest takeaways from this article. If there’s another thing that I think is important is making sure you’re careful when buying the cheap options that both of these brands offer.    

The line between a good value glove from these brands and complete garbage is really thin. Oddly enough the Nike gloves within that 100 dollar range may be better placed within the price scale for value than some of the top options from Adidas. For example, I’d have a really tough time dishing out the 150 dollars for the Predator Pro Fingersave. I get the sense that these gloves are for the Adidas loyalist that just loves how these gloves fit. That’s perfectly fine, but the niche is kind of small. You could potentially find more value in other brands. That is another point that could be interesting to remember from my rant today!