Soccer goalie gloves are an essential piece of goalkeeper gear. Each component of the glove helps protect a goalie’s hand in different ways and different variations help goalies play in specific playing conditions. Before you take the field this season, learn what to look for when purchasing a pair of goalkeeper gloves and how to properly measure your hands to find the right size.
The makeup of goalkeeper gloves is comprised of four different parts, which all have specific functions.
Backhand: The backhand is significantly padded to help shield the hand when punching the ball. The quality is usually dependent on the price. Less expensive gloves tend to have just one layer of foam padding, while higher-end models are cushioned with latex.
Fingers: The fingers are a goalie’s best defense mechanism, as they allow for grasping and holding onto the ball. Finger protection gloves contain spines on the inside of the fingers, to aid in finger support. The material tightens when force is applied, helping prevent hyperextension and breaking of digits when catching hard-kicked soccer balls. The fit depends on a goalie’s preference; some like the control that stiffer gloves provide, while others choose a looser fit to allow more finger movability. For the best finger protection, look for gloves that have bendable, plastic supports as opposed to simply being padded. This helps prevent strains and other injuries.
Palm: The palm also aids in catching and securing the ball. Palm types come in two textures: smooth and dimpled. Smooth palms are best suited for match play; they have a clinging agent that helps a player grab the ball, but it tends to wear off with more use, so they’re best to use only in games to prolong their life. Conversely, dimpled palms are best for practice; they have a gripping agent, and while it isn’t as strong as match gloves’ adherent, it is much more durable, hence its suitability for practice.
Closure: The closure is the part that secures the glove to your hand and comes in three types: hook and loop, v-notch and bandage. Hook and loop closures are made of elastic and have an adaptable strap that can be tightened or loosened. V-notch closures allow ventilation (hence the “v”), which keep your hands cool and dry. Bandage closures wrap securely around your wrist, just as a regular bandage would, and provide superior wrist support.
Match: Match goalie gloves are designed for competitive soccer players in high school or adult leagues. They are made with quality latex to guard fingers and have maximum gripping technology. Because of these high standards, match gloves require a lot of care, and don’t last as long as other types of goalie gloves.
Training: Training gloves are meant for beginner players and practicing needs for elite players. They have less grip, but are made to be more durable than match gloves.
Weather: Weather gloves are made to be worn occasionally, as they are created to protect the hands from extreme water and wind conditions. They have specially made latex palms that actually get stickier when wet, which is crucial when playing in the rain.
The cut or the fit of the glove is the manner in which the palm material is made.
Flat: This is the most traditional cut of gloves. The palm is made with one piece of flat foam material. The fit is looser on the hand, which gives it more room to move.
Rolled/Gunn: The sides of the palm are “rolled” around and stitched at the back of the fingers. This gives the gloves a tighter fit.
Negative: This cut has the fingers sewn from the inside, providing the snuggest fit of all gloves. Negative cuts are often recommended to female or male goalies who have thinner hands.
Hybrid: Hybrid cuts are a combination of two of the above.
HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT SIZE
Now that you know the attributes to look for when choosing a pair of goalie gloves, it’s time to find the size that is best for you.
- Use a tape measure to find the circumference of the widest part of your hand in inches, and don’t include your fingers in the measurement. For most, this should be below where your pinky ends, and above your thumb.
- Round this number up to the closest whole inch.
- Add 1 inch to the rounded number, and you’ll have your soccer goalie glove size.
- For example, if you measure 6.75 you will round up to 7. Add 1″ to determine that your glove size is an 8.