The Truth About Soccer Goalie Gloves
So, we know that the goalkeeper is the only player on the soccer field that is able to use his hands to play the ball. This unique capability of the goalkeeper means that special equipment is necessary in order for him to handle the ball with confidence.
After all, catching a fast moving ball with your bare hands is easier said than done!
Types of Gloves
Soccer goalkeeper gloves are broken down into a few categories which differ from each other in their purpose and construction. The most notable categories are weatherproof (or wet weather) gloves, finger gloves, training gloves and match gloves.
Weatherproof gloves are primarily used in wet conditions. These gloves are made of waterproof materials such as rubber, and provide extra grip once they get wet. In dry conditions however, their use should be avoided as the grip is compromised and they can be hot and uncomfortable.
Finger Protection Gloves
Not so much a type of glove as they are a feature on gloves, finger protection gloves are constructed in such a way that prevents your fingers from bending back and therefore being injured during play.
Some purists are against this feature as they argue it prevents the keeper from developing good technique when catching the ball and uses the gloves as a crutch.
As a result, many goalie coaches reccomend avoiding the use of these gloves until fundamental catching skills are mastered. In my opinion however, any technology that prevents injury is a good one.
Because of how quickly goalie gloves can wear, many keepers will keep separate gloves for their practice sessions. In fact, gloves dedicated to training exist.
Usually thinner than match gloves and less expensive, training gloves are a good alternative for the keeper that doesn’t want to prematurely wear out his match day gloves.
Alternatively, old match gloves can be retired into use as training gloves when they are no longer suitable to be used in game situations.
The most common type of soccer goalie glove seen, match gloves vary wildly in prices. Most commonly made of latex, match gloves come in a variety of cuts which basically means that the gloves differ in how their constructed.
For the average keeper, this information is mostly irrelevant. Keep it simple and find gloves that have features that suit your needs and most importantly, are comfortable
Sizing Your Gloves
Soccer goalie gloves come in sizes 4 to 12.
Regardless of the type of soccer goalie glove you decide on, selecting the correct size is absolutely essential.
The first thing to keep in mind is that the gloves should be slightly bigger than your hand. Generally speaking, ¼ inch to ½ inch is an ideal gap. I repeat, your fingers should not touch the edges of the gloves!
Fasten the wrist strip and rotate the hand around. Can you move it comfortably? Do you have a full range of motion? The correct size glove will feel just right, neither too big that you can’t grip the ball, nor too small where the glove feels uncomfortable.
Durability and Maintenance
The fact of the matter is goalie gloves do get worn out and need to be replaced.
Generally speaking, the softer the material, the faster the glove will need replacing. Soft latex gloves, while providing superior grip, will wear out much faster. On the other hand, a glove made of rubber can last quite a bit longer, but may not provide the same feel for the ball.
It’s therefore extremely important to clean your gloves after every use to maximize their lifespan.
Whatever you do, do not throw them in the washing machine or dryer! This will not clean the gloves very well. (Not to mention you’ll likely destroy the gloves.)
Instead, wipe the gloves down with a damp cloth, cleaning any debris off. Then air the gloves out, in a well ventilated area.
Return to Soccer Gear from Soccer Goalie Gloves