How Should Goalkeeper Gloves Fit

How should goalkeeper gloves fit? Finding the right fit for goalkeeper gloves can be harder than most people expect. To this day more than 20 years after I put on my first pair of goalkeeper gloves I struggle to find a consistent fit. There are a couple of reasons for that. I would say that half is my fault and half is just the fact that glove manufacturers keep evolving and sometimes you have no choice, but to try and find what fits from the new styles. If you look at gloves from 10 years back you’ll probably see that the finger cut is different. The strap is tight on some but soft on others. 

The reality is that glove design is going to continue to change. If you think that these changes are for better or for worse that’s a debate for another day. What we want to discuss here is how gloves should fit. Also, what you want to look for in new models, if they are going to be a glove that is going to fit your style of play. Whether or not a glove fits tight is one of those aspects that is always going to be present no matter how the design of the glove changes. 

Right off the bat, what I can say is that there are benefits and of course drawbacks from wearing gloves that are too tight. Also, are we just talking about them being tight on the wrist area, or do you also want them to have a tight fit all around? Like with shoes you are usually going to have to find a way to make do with standard sizes. Glove sizes are determined by finger length, from there you have to find a cut that adjusts to your hand thickness and other factors that are most likely not all that present in the actual sizing chart.    

What Are The Benefits Of Having A Tight Glove? 

The main benefit that you are going to have with a tight glove is that you’re usually going to feel that your wrist is less at risk. The idea is that it’s going to be harder for your wrist to twist or bend from a hard shot. Plus, the glove is more likely to stay in position shot after shot. When you have a looser glove then you may find yourself having to adjust it more often. Sometimes that loose fit does take a toll on your wrist.

I had this happen recently and it wasn’t even a hard shot. It was a reflex reaction where I went for a ball that hit off a defender and almost went in-between my legs. In putting my hand in an awkward spot with looser gloves, I twisted my wrist and I felt the pain for weeks. By the way, of course, I made the save, otherwise I wouldn’t be telling the story! 

I would say that for kids it’s important to have a glove that fits reasonably tight around the wrist. There are mostly two ways that you can make sure that a glove fits tight. There are gloves that have the long strap with velcro and you can adjust how tight you want it to fit. In recent years we’ve seen a lot of gloves that rely more on having the glove mold to your wrist and not rely so much on the strap. The gloves with the harder wrist area are usually those that seem incredibly difficult to put on. These types of gloves will typically feature a smaller strap. I think that you have more control with the larger strap than you do relying on the glove to adjust to you.        

How Tight Is Too Tight? 

Again this is something that is going to be a trial and error process. I still have to find ways to adjust to new gloves even when I’ve had the same model before. You’re usually looking to wrap them tightly, but you can get to a point where it’s too tight and you feel your wrist itching and you have a ton of marks on your hands when you remove the glove. Having a glove that leaves a mark is not the worst thing in the world. I think it does depend on the type of mark and if frankly wearing them is tolerable.   

This is something that you really have to be careful with. I’ve seen parents that in trying to help get their kid’s glove strapped it will pull way too hard and make it very uncomfortable. Sometimes you start feeling the real discomfort when you’re getting the right blood flow to your hands. That could happen right in the middle of a game and get your head thinking about other things instead of being in the game. Make sure that you wrap the glove tight, but not too tight would be the best thing I would say.  

Use Loose Gloves & Hand Wraps 

Another option that we see a lot of pros do these days is wrap their hands with sports tape and use loose gloves. This is actually a very good option because you are able to create the amount of pressure that you feel is exactly right for your wrist. In using looser gloves you’re able to avoid some of the fit issues that I talked about before. Where you have to get used to or break-in as they say new gloves. The problem that I see with this option is that it’s usually better suited for keepers at a higher level. If you are in the pros you can come in early and get tapped by a trainer or any member of the staff. This is mostly not a viable option for a kid’s daily training routine.       

I did this for a while when I started wearing a glove model that had wrist wraps that were extremely loose. I was actually forced to do it because just wearing those gloves with my bare hands did put my wrists and risk if you will. It’s interesting that you get a chance to mold your perfect fit. If you are not a full-time pro you just don’t have the time to be doing this in most cases. Also, you need to learn how to wrap your own hands and that can be a process as well. Sometimes I would put the wraps on too tight and then you would remove them and risk playing with the loose glove or stay like that and at times even lose some feeling in your hands if the wraps are too tight. For me, it’s too complicated an option for most amateur players.   

How Should Goalkeeper Gloves Fit: What Should The Fit Be Like On The Fingers? 

I have the intention of making a more in-depth on how goalkeeper gloves should fit. By the time you read there is a good chance that’ll be available on the site as well. Here though, I didn’t want to close this article out without talking about this. I firmly believe that the fit on the fingers is usually a little looser than you would typically want to have on the wrist area. There are a couple of reasons for this. First of all, you’re typically going to want to extend your reach as much as possible. Getting a little “extra meat” with a wider glove should give you a wider impact area to essentially get to balls that you wouldn’t be able to reach with your bare hands.  

You want to feel secure when you’re wearing gloves, hence the importance of a tighter wrist area. What you don’t want is to feel like your hands are chained up. When you’re wearing tight gloves that can certainly happen for you. You are typically looking for a finger cut in the gloves that fits the width of your fingers as well as the length. I’ll give you an example, I happen to have very slim fingers, therefore I’m not going to wear gloves that are extremely wide. You lose a lot of control over the ball especially when you’re trying to throw or roll it out to a teammate.

I wouldn’t use a slim cut either though because I am reducing the impact zone. I want to be able to make a save even if the ball hits a little bit outside of the area that my regular finger covers. You don’t want the glove to be too wide because then it’s going to be easier to have a ball bend your finger and break it.    

Kids Don’t Grow Into Goalkeeper Gloves 

This is something that many parents don’t know and if you’re going to a store and they tell you that your kid is going to grow into the glove and therefore you should get a pair that’s one size too large, don’t listen to them. Here is the deal: it’s not that your kid won’t ever outgrow their glove. The thing is if you buy one that is way too large you’re going to be putting them at risk all of that time that it takes for them to “grow into it”. You’ll be facing some of the same issues that I was talking about. If the fingers on the glove are too large or wide for you it’s going to be easier for you to bend your finger on a hard shot. 

Goalkeeper gloves are not meant to last for years! I know that you may have looked at some of the prices out there and this information may not be what you want to hear. It’s the truth though if you use the gloves a lot the palm is going to tear up rather quickly. Especially if you play on turf or other harder surfaces. Therefore, it’s no use to expect your kid to grow into anything. You’ll probably see equipment last a little bit longer in the early stages of their development. By the time that they hit like 11 or 12 years old, they could be going through 4 pairs of gloves a year or more.

How Should Goalkeeper Gloves Fit: The Idea Is To Have Gloves That Are Tight Enough

By this point, I think the main question behind this article has been answered. I just want to make sure that I spell it out for you. You want to make sure that you have gloves that are tight enough. You are not looking for too tight, but they have to be reasonably tight. Now, to get to that point where you can feel safe, but comfortable with a glove there are a lot of things that you can do. Some people do feel much safer tapping up their wrist. Again, I don’t think that’s something that most people are going to take the time to do, the right way, every single day for training. That’s where the problem hits. 

There are multiple glove options out there that I feel could be a perfect fit for many different people. If you continue playing the position long enough you’re going to find that you have to keep searching for the perfect fit all the time. Glove manufacturers tweak their designs every year. Sometimes those tweaks will alter the comfort level that you have achieved with earlier models and there is really not much you can do but try to find a new model that you can adjust to. You’ll be back asking, how should goalkeeper gloves fit? 

I would say that the best thing you can do is have clear parameters set for yourself. These will allow you to adjust to different gloves. What I mean by that is, you need to know how tight you want the glove to be. You also have to be clear on what type of finger cut you like the best. If you have those two things down plus the actual size of your glove, of course, you’ll be able to make your glove search much easier.

At the same time don’t be afraid to scrap gloves that you don’t feel comfortable with. I know that feels awful! A lot of times I would have to save up to buy a new pair only to find that they ultimately didn’t get the job done for me. If you’re looking to have gear that helps you compete to the best of your ability you may have to scrap a couple of pairs that still had some training sessions left in them!