Find Your Team Store
1-888-335-4625 Se Habla Espanol

Goalkeeper Soccer Gloves - The Essential Buying Guide

A good pair of goalkeeper gloves is of the utmost importance to any goalie. They can make the difference between an unbelievable save and that same ball just slipping past the tips of your fingers and into the goal. In this guide you will learn about the basic parts of a soccer glove, the types of gloves available, how to find the right fit, and how to care for your gloves.

Goalie Glove Sizing – How to Measure Your Hands for Goalie Gloves

  1. Measure both of your palms. Measure just below the knuckles. Do not include your thumb. If one hand is larger, use that measurement.
  2. Round up to the nearest inch.
  3. Add 1 to the number. This is your glove size.
  4. Get specific. Look at the gloves’ attributes to see the specific sizing of the product you’re considering (more on glove styles below). If a glove runs a "half size small" then move up to the next size.
Remember: Goalkeeping gloves should be worn large, as much as 1.5" over the length of your fingers.

The Basics Parts of a Soccer Glove

The Palm: This is the portion of the glove that has most contact with the ball. The palm of the glove is designed to help players have the best possible grip when coming into contact with the ball. It may be textured or smooth, it may be designed for practice or for matches. Regardless, all palms are designed with a certain amount of designed “stickiness” to help players get the best grip on the ball. Match gloves tend to have more “stick” to them but wear out much quicker and are less durable for practices.

The Fingers: Goalie gloves have two basic choices for finger support, spines and no spines. These spines are also referred to as finger protection. This is somewhat misleading, as all goalie gloves offer a certain amount of finger protection. Regardless, the gloves with finger protection have plastic spines in them that provide extra support to keep your fingers from hyperextending when catching a particularly hard kicked ball. These spines are either permanent or removable. This is listed on the item’s description page. Finger spines are recommended for younger goalies. For older players, finger spines are often a matter of preference. Some players who are prone to injury also prefer the added protection of finger spines.

The Backhand: Elements of the backhand of the goalie glove to keep in mind are the breathability, cushioning, and protection. The backhand of the glove often incorporates some sort of ventilation system, such as mesh or air vents to allow a players’ hands to breathe. There is also a layer of cushioning to allow a player the ability to punch a ball. Finally, many gloves offer latex or silicone elements to give added protection when punching a ball.

Closure: This is the portion of the glove that meets with the wrist or forearm of the player. Commonly, the closure is made with Velcro. Wrist straps generally either wrap halfway around the wrist, one full time around the wrist, or even twice around the wrist. Some prefer a more secure double wrap, while others find it tight and restrictive. There are other closure systems available, such as the Nike Mercurial Touch gloves that offer a stretch elastic closure with no Velcro strap.

Types or Cuts of Goalkeeper Gloves

You will notice, just by looking at a page of goalkeeper gloves that they fall into three basic types and then a fourth hybrid type of glove. These are often called cuts and they are the negative, rolled, flat, and hybrid cuts. Here are the basic elements of each cut, and what difference it makes to a player.

Negative Cut: This cut is created by attaching a single piece of latex from the palm to the backhand. The stitching is located on the inside or negative side of the glove, which is how this cut gets it name. This way of sewing the pieces together makes for the tightest fitting glove, often preferred by those with smaller hands or those desiring a tight fit.

Rolled Cut: This cut is created by rolling the sides of the fingers and the palm around to the back portion of the glove. These gloves give a tighter fit than the flat cut, but looser than the negative cut. They have a rolled appearance, and many goalies prefer the seamless grip this cut offers.

Flat Cut: The palm and the backhand of this glove are attached by stitching on the outside of the glove. These gloves have a flat appearance. This is a much looser cut, and the most traditional type of goalie glove. These gloves are often the favorites of those who have larger hands, and those who dislike a tighter fitting glove.

Hybrid: There are, of course, all sorts of hybrids of these main types of gloves. And, there will continue to be all manner of hybrids available from every brand of glove maker, because little tweaks and innovations are always fun and creative.

Match Gloves V. Practice Gloves

Match gloves are simply that, gloves for playing in a soccer game. One might be tempted to think, “If they’re “better” than why not use them all of the time?” The short answer is that match gloves are high-end and have the best grip. However, what they have in the finer points of grip, they necessarily give up in durability, making them a poor choice for regular use. If you use your match gloves for everyday practice, you’re going to wind up wearing them out rather quickly.

Training gloves, on the other hand are far more durable. They have a dense palm that can stand up to daily use. Typically, training gloves are also made from different, more durable synthetic materials. So, your best option is to have a training set for practice and a match set for games.

Caring for Your Keeper Gloves

  1. Be Gentle with Them. This is the first and most basic rule. Don’t do anything to scratch them or wear them out, especially the palms. Try to avoid using them for anything other than catching the ball.
  2. Wash Them After Use. Do not use soap or cleaners, just rinse them off in warm water. Do not scrub or use hot water to dry them. Just let them air dry.
  3. Avoid Extremes. Don’t leave them in a very cold or overly hot place.