Yassine Bounou - Morocco

Why It Matters What Type of Gloves You Wear As A Goalkeeper

Can goalkeepers just pick any pair of gloves from the store and use them in games and practice? Yes, there’s no doubt that a ton of amateurs are doing this. There are a ton of things that could happen if you choose the wrong. From the worst case scenario which is of course using gloves that make you more prone to an injury. To one of the more subtle issues which is not helping your technique develop properly. At times this issue that people think can be fixed with more or better training may come down to the type of gear that you’re wearing. As a goalkeeper you usually never want to blame the gloves. At times, it can turn out to be a bit of a healthy habit though.  

Even if you feel that the gloves are the right fit for you over time the grip on goalkeepers gloves is going to dip. The last thing that you want to have happen to you is to give up an important goal because you didn’t have enough grip to make a clean catch. Some goalkeepers have immaculate catching technique, and they rely a lot less on the grip they get from the gloves. Some of us do need a little extra help. Even though you should strive to rely on technique there’s no shame in getting a little extra help. That’s another one of the reasons why it matters what type of gloves you choose.  

There Is A Reason Why Gloves Come In Different Designs

In the olden days it would seem like people who were designing goalkeepers gloves had never seen a human hand before. The idea was essentially to create rectangular mitts for goalkeepers. I guess the sense was that you had a larger impact area that could help you deflect or catch more balls. That’s just not what we do today. If you haven’t given goalkeeper gloves a look in a while or ever just do a simple search on Amazon and look at the different designs that you’re going to find. The main reason why we have this now is because we understand that people have different shaped hands. The second thing is there are actually different things that people look for in goalkeeper gloves. 

It may seem pretty obvious that the main reason why goalkeepers use gloves is to protect ourselves from hard shots. Yet, there are goalkeepers out there who don’t mind wearing gloves that lack a bit of protection. Just as long as they are able to find better grip with their gloves or more mobility in the fingers. That can be traced back to ideas that older goalkeepers had. Maybe some of them thought that they were better with their bare hands than they were wearing those squared shaped gloves that I was talking about. Each goalkeeper glove cut has its pros and cons. Also, the way that your hands are shaped or how thick they are can make one glove cut better for you than the next.   

Sizes Can Vary Depending On The Glove Manufacturer

Another thing that you want to take into account when you’re buying goalkeeper gloves is the fact that not all manufacturers agree on sizes. Even some of those glove size charts that come in most of the glove casings may not be 100% accurate. If you’ve ever had to buy shoes that were another size than what you usually wear you’re going to be able to understand this concept. You could even find yourself in situations where certain glove models just aren’t going to be right for you. That can be a little hard for kids to admit. Especially if they are buying a particular glove model because it’s what their favorite goalkeeper wears. This goes back to what I was saying about glove cuts.   

It’s not just the size of the fingers that you have to worry about. There’s a chance that the glove cut is too tight in between your fingers. You could decide that you want to go with a pair that is a size above what you usually wear. That can be a solution, but it could lead to other problems. Another thing about size is how wide the finger area might be. You could in these cases look to downsize to not feel like your smaller fingers are floating around a larger glove. Again though in the worst case scenarios unfavorable glove cuts could end up with you not being able to buy a particular glove model. What I would say is to not be married to a particular brand or glove model. Especially if you haven’t even tried the gloves.  

Modern Gloves Are Not Always Better 

Let me explain this one before it gets out of hand. It’s not that I’m advocating for wearing old gloves. In fact, if anything I’m someone who dumps gloves when a lot of people would say they have a ton left in the tank. What I’m saying is glove models that have all of the modern “amenities” are not always going to be the best. This is a crusade that I’ve been on for a while now. It all started for me when modern gloves started to get really thin. When you’re a goalkeeper that has thinner hands that can be a real problem. What’s going to happen is that you’re going to feel the burn on every shot that you save.

I remember buying one of these first generation thin modern gloves. Without a doubt there was an upside to the design. You had a lot of free movement. This is something that perhaps me coming from the old rectangular models is really going to appreciate. In fact much more so than a younger goalkeeper whose only known modern models. The thing is I for example need a thicker glove to take the edge of some of these harder shots. If not, my hands hurt pretty bad after every session. What I’m trying to say is that there’s no shame in using a glove that’s more on the classic side. For female goalkeepers, younger goalkeepers, and guys like me, I’m always going to recommend gloves with a thicker palm.   

Expensive Gloves Are Not Always Best

Again this falls along the same lines as the last paragraph. I wanted to make the distinction though because a lot of people are disappointed when they pay over 100 dollars for a pair of gloves that just doesn’t fit them right. In the worst case scenario you’re paying that kind of cash for gloves that won’t last more than a couple of training sessions. The price tag on goalkeepers gloves can be a tricky thing to manage. That goes for us as buyers and companies who sell gloves. I’m always looking for a good pair of gloves in that 50 dollar range or less. The reason I do this is because these are the gloves that I’m going to be using for training sessions or games on very rough fields. 

If I am going to make the big investment and look into 150 dollar gloves they need to be hit. You can’t miss on gloves that are this expensive. That’s just a fact of life for me. Like I said there’s no shame in finding those good deals on decent gloves that have a below average cost. Remember that the gloves are also there to give you a sense of personal confidence in your game. I do know of goalkeepers who need their gloves to be expensive to feel that subconscious boost of confidence. In other cases though there are goalkeepers that rely on trusty cheap gloves and those make them feel comfortable even in important games. A low price tag should be a blessing not a red flag I guess is what I’m trying to say.    

Best Goalkeeper Gloves For Amateur Goalies

Where You Play Should Factor Into Your Buying Decision

Another topic that I’ve already hinted on, but I want to be more specific. If you’re going to be playing on rough fields I just wouldn’t recommend buying the softest gloves on the market with the most grip. The only way that makes sense is if you don’t care about potentially putting down 150 dollars on gloves every single month. There’s another thing that you have to take into account when buying gloves specifically if you’re going to be playing mostly on turf. Not only are the gloves going to go through more wear and tear. Rubbing them up against the black rubber pellets that fill the field is going to make them slick. Even if you don’t see the latex ripping apart you’re going to realize that you’re losing grip.  

When you play on these fields consistently you’re going to need to clean your gloves more often. What you want to do is remove that layer of rubber that’s been plastered all over the palm of your gloves. It’s almost like you’re taking a crayon and coloring over the gloves. They may not rip if you do this, but they’re going to have a layer of wax over them that’s going to kill your grip. If you play on a field that’s filled with dirt or sand you can have a similar problem. That dirt can penetrate the latex on the glove and make them slick. Usually regardless of the gloves that you buy you’ll have this problem. You’ll still probably want more heavy-duty gloves that can stand up to hard surfaces.  

Crooked Fingers

It’s A Trial & Error Process But You May Pay For Those Errors Dearly

Finding the right gloves for you as a process that you’re going to be constantly in throughout your career. You’d think you can come to a point where you’ve found the right glove for you and you can stay there. The problem is as the years go by the models change, and you’re forced to upgrade to the new version of a glove. Those new versions may not feature some of the things that made you like a particular glove in the first place. When that happens you find yourself back on this journey of trying to find the right gloves for you. If you’re in this long enough you’ll end up buying at least a couple pairs of gloves that you’re going to end up hating.

With this in mind, I’d like to say particularly to parents to not be too hard on their kids for picking the wrong gloves. You can pay dearly for mistakes because you can end up wearing gloves that will actually make injuries more likely for you. Especially if the gloves are too big or just don’t fit right. That’s why you have to find the gloves that fit you! Going out and getting a pair of gloves because they are what your favorite goalkeeper wears is the wrong idea. As a parent it could be a good teaching point where you’re challenging your kids to be their own idols! I love the process of picking goalkeeper gloves, and I wish all who read this good luck on your journey.