Men’s lacrosse is a combative, fast-paced game, and your hands are in the middle of all of that action. They’ll take hits, especially your thumbs, so they need to be protected.
When choosing your lacrosse gloves, protection should be your top priority.
Aside from just covering your digits, gloves can also keep your hands warm on cold days and, with the right added features, also improve your grip on the stick.
Lacrosse gloves are required in men’s and boys’ leagues, so it’s important to know what to look for when choosing your mandatory lacrosse gear.
Deciding on a pair of gloves may be challenging because many of them seem to be similar. With such closely related models, how do you find gloves that best match your style of play?
Most gloves have the same basic construction and similar features, but there are a few options to consider if you look a little deeper.
Just about every model will come with thick padding along the fingers and the back of the hand.
However, palms should be unpadded, to give you better feel and control of your stick. Most models also include a wrist guard that help protect your wrists without hindering mobility.
Lacrosse goalies need a little extra protection, which comes with gloves specially designed for the position. Keep an eye out for extended wrist guards and thumbs reinforced with hard plates or thicker padding. The back of the hand will also have increased padding or hard plates on goalie gloves.
Generally speaking, the thicker the padding, the better protection the gloves offer. But, some modern technologies flip this on its head. There are, for instance, layered, dual-density foam technologies that harden under pressure, increasing protection at pivotal moments without sacrificing flexibility when it counts. There are also lightweight padding options that include built-in ventilation, creating a glove with maximum breathability without sacrificing protection. Other gloves make use of extra padding to reinforce target areas, like in the tip of the thumb and back of the hand. These advanced technologies can make a big difference in your game, so keep an eye open for them.
One tricky challenge in purchasing lacrosse gloves is choosing between flexibility and protection. Consider, for instance, the reinforced thumb of a goalie glove — absolutely vital protection, but it will make your thumb less flexible.
That’s not a bad tradeoff for a goalie, but being able to move your hands and fingers is an important part of stick handling. That’s why all modern models of lacrosse gloves have segmented padding that breaks at your joints to help improve mobility.
Generally speaking, more segments means more flexibility. Before you buy a pair, however, try them on and see if you can move your fingers. The glove should fit tight and it may be a bit difficult at first to freely move your fingers. As they break in at the open points between the padding though, they’ll become easier to flex.
Without proper ventilation, your gloves could be soaked in sweat by the end of a game or practice. This can cause added wear and tear, added weight, and an unpleasant odor.
Good ventilation can help your gloves last longer and stink less. They’ll also help keep your hands cool and dry during the game, so you can handle your stick better, even during intense, heated moments.
Some models have targeted ventilation in the sides of the fingers, which is meant to keep your fingers dry and cool. Others ventilate through mesh in the palm, which can offer a better feel of the stick as well as a drier palm. The most common area of ventilation is probably the back of the hand, where mesh can comprise the greatest surface area.
Most gloves have a suede palm, which provides a solid grip, even in wet conditions. But, some include added features to enhance it. For example, a textured palm paired with a wrapped stick can help reduce slipping and give you more control over the stick. In addition, other models feature rubberized non-slip inserts along the palm, which is a low-weight way to increase grip and padding.
Sizing for men’s and boys’ gloves are usually classified as small, medium or large, and what each of these means can vary by manufacturer. Generally though, large will be a 13-inch glove, medium a 12-inch model, and small a 10-inch model.
The fingers of your glove should fit snug, so that the padding and segments stay in the proper position on your hand. Keep in mind that the glove will likely loosen as you wear it in. If you’re a young player, choose a pair with a little bit of growing room, but don’t leave more than one inch loose at the top of the fingers.
When you’re searching for the right gloves, consider these features and your personal needs. That way, you can hit the lacrosse field with gloves suited for you.