goalkeeper standing ready to save the ball in a soccer game

In soccer, the goalkeeper has the most unique and specialized position on the field. In a sport where it’s forbidden to use your hands, goalies are the only ones with the green light to touch the ball with the body part no other player gets to use – mind you, as long as he’s within the penalty area.

For this reason, it won’t only be necessary for them to invest in the best cleats, goalies will also want to find the best goalkeeper gloves on the market. So, whether you’re looking for a pair for you or someone you love, stay tuned to learn everything you need to know about this important piece of gear.

Key Facts

  • Goalkeeper gloves are fundamental tools for the adequate performance and advancement of goalies and their skills.
  • The gloves will be key players in how well a goalie can handle the ball and prevent the other team from scoring.
  • In order for the gloves to fit properly and to feel good for the goalie, the material of the product and personal preferences must be taken into consideration.

Our Selection: The Best Goalkeeper Gloves on the U.S. Market

There is a wide range of goaltending gloves on the market, ranging from professional-grade to gloves for recreational kids teams. With all the different brands on the market, it’s hard to know which ones will perform the best and what are the features that you may actually need. Below we’ve created a short ranking of the best goalie gloves we’ve found on the market to help you find the perfect ones.

The Best Goalie Gloves for Maximum Grip

These goalie gloves by RGK are trusted and used by the pros. NPSL and WPSL pro keepers backing its claim of superb grip performance and control. These gloves use high-performance German Giga Grip pro-level latex designed to perform and last. The 190 thumb warp and pre-arched palm design improve grip and ball control. The removable End-Tek finger savers don’t bend backward, and the 3+3mm latex on the palm and backhand provide extra impact protection.

The Best Goalie Gloves for Preventing Injury

Amazon’s #1 Best Seller, goalkeeper gloves by Sportout are built for the toughest of saves. It incorporates a new and improved backbone finger saving system that helps prevent hyperextension of the fingers. The thick padded latex foam offers extra cushioning for those hard shots. These gloves have a double-designed wristband whose lining layer is made of elastic, and the outer strap is made of a stretch strap with a close-fitting velcro that provides added protection to the wrist.

The Best Goalie Gloves for Training

These BraceMaster gloves are designed for both youth and adult goalies, perfect for training or minor matches. They have an eye-catching appearance and great practicality. They include an anti-slip and wear-resistant 3mm German latex on top of 3mm foam for impact support and grip. It includes finger saves inside the top part of the glove to prevent hyperextension of the wrist and fingers. These are the perfect all-encompassing goalie gloves.

The Best Goalie Gloves for Kids at the Best Price

These gloves by Vizari give you the best bang for your buck, providing you with a top-quality junior glove for your young soccer player for less than $15. They feature a soft latex foam palm for comfort and pad support. They have a fully embossed EVA backhand that protects the wrist and fingers against powerful shots. They also include an elastic wrist closure that keeps the glove secure and snug on the hand.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Goalkeeper Gloves

Before buying some goalie gloves we must ask ourselves a series of questions to help us find exactly what we need and the product that fulfills those needs. For starters, we must first discover the types of grip and cut that best suits the intended use for the gloves. Once you find the best product, it will also be important to care for them properly in order to get the most out of them for the longest amount of time.

Los guantes protegen las manos de los guardametas

The use of goalkeeper gloves with reinforced rods on the back of the fingers has sparked some debate.
(Source: Richard Thomas: 11211834/ 123rf.com)

What are goalie gloves exactly?

Goalie gloves are specially built gloves used by goalkeepers while playing soccer. They provide maximum grip and protects against powerful shots that have the potential to damage the wrist and fingers. They are built with natural or synthetic latex on the palm, meant to provide extra padding as they catch the ball, and breathable material on the backhand to keep the hand cool and dry as they play.

Up until the middle of the 20th century, specially made goalie gloves were hardly used and were quite difficult to find. It wasn’t until the 70s that companies who manufacturing sports accessories and specially made sports materials, that designs for goalie gloves appeared. These days, it seems crazy for a goalie to play soccer barehanded.

How to choose goalkeeper gloves?

Without a doubt, a well-fitting glove and its ability to grip the ball is the most important factor in deciding which ones are best for you. The grip capacity of each glove and your needs will depend not only on your preferences but also on where you play, the level of soccer you play at, the weather conditions and more.

For example, there are gloves made especially to be able to perform under wet conditions and absorb water, and others built with extra padding to absorb the shock of powerful shots.
In the following table, we’ve laid out the three main types of soccer goalkeeper gloves based on characteristics of the glove’s palm.

Palm type Material Advantages Inconvenient
High range 80-90% natural latex Maximum grip Erodes easily
Medium range 50% latex and 50% synthetic Good dry grip Medium strength
Low range 100% synthetic High erosion resistance Poor grip when wet

Which type of cut is best in regards to goalkeeper gloves?

There is no one glove better than another when talking about the type of cut. It all depends on the characteristics that best suit the preferences and needs of each goalkeeper. There are three main types of cut that we will describe below. However, there are hybrid designs and other more specific subcategories that you can find on the market according to more specific inclinations and requirements of each goalie.

For instance, you can find a hybrid roll-flat glove, it will allow you to benefit from the roll finger characteristics along with the fingers and the flat design in the rest of the glove. You will find countless combinations to find exactly what you want, whether that be an extra grip or greater sensitivity, to name a few.

  • Flat: The palm is trimmed and sewn on the back. This is the most basic and common cut produced.
  • Rollfinger: Wraps the finger from the inside out, providing greater latex surface.
  • Negative: The finish is like that of the Flat designs, but with the seams inside, increasing the latex surface.
  • Hybrid: As mentioned prior, these designs offer combinations of the main styles of cut.

Why is the back of the goalkeeper gloves so important?

The back of the goalkeeper’s gloves is more important than you might think. Among other things, this area has just as much contact with the ball as the palm does, as keepers often clear the ball using fists. Materials such as silicone, rubber or neoprene are often used to create the back, this provides breathability and durability.

Protection rods are usually incorporated into the back of the fingers to provide reinforcement and safety to the fingers, preventing hyperextension and nasty breaks. Nonetheless, the wristband and fastening mechanism is arguably the most important piece, as this not only keeps the glove secured onto the hand but also protects the delicate structure of the wrist, which is very prone to injury.

El guardameta es la pieza más fundamental dentro de un equipo

You will have no trouble finding goalkeeper gloves made by the top sports brands, as well as generic and more affordable manufacturers.
(Source: Krissada Chuanyen: 21170234/ 123rf.com)

Should I buy goalie gloves with reinforced backs and internal protection features?

The use of goalie gloves with reinforcing rods in the back of the fingers causes some debate. Except in the cases of chronic injury or weak joints, these gloves don’t have very many positive reviews. While they prevent the fingers from bending backward, they often decrease the amount of mobility that goalkeepers have, leaving many feeling restricted.

Most experts recommend that they not be used amongst children and teenagers, as they need to strengthen their joints and tendons in the wrist and fingers so they are more resistant to injury as adults. Using them at an early age can inhibit the proper development of the hands, increasing their risk of injury in the future.

How to care for gloves to extend their useful life?

Goalie gloves are put under a lot of stress. They often deteriorate and break easily if one doesn’t take the correct measures in caring for them. In order to keep them in top condition for years, follow these tips:

  • Get at least two pairs. Wear lower quality gloves for training and save the best for competitive matches. Remember that higher-quality gloves tend to wear out much faster.
  • Don’t forget to take your gloves out of the sports bag when you return from training or playing, especially if they’re wet. Drying them out after sweating a lot or playing in the rain will keep them in better condition for longer. It will also help avoid the gloves developing a nasty smell.
  • Wash the gloves after each use to keep them clean and fresh. Do it by hand with lukewarm water, rubbing gently so as not to damage them.
  • Do not use a washing machine. The rough movement of a washing machine or tumble dryer can cause irreversible damage.
  • Dry and keep gloves in a well-ventilated place, never exposed to the sun, near radiators or other heat sources as not to damage the latex.

What are the most prestigious brands of goalie gloves on the U.S. market?

Among the best brands of goalkeeper gloves on the market is the Mexican Rinat. It has managed to position itself in top rankings, despite competing with giants in the industry of sports equipment such as Adidas (Germany) and Nike (USA). Another great firm, Puma, continues to offer very good products in this area of sports accessories.

Moreover, Spanish SP (Soloporteros) is another well-renowned brand, with third-party research backing it’s high-quality claims and endorsing its products. Other leading brands in the manufacture of goalkeeper gloves are Uhlsport, Reusch, Ho Soccer, Elite, Sells and KA Goalkeeping.

Purchase Criteria

Because there are so many varieties of gloves on the market with slightly distinct features, we need to research all the different options available and find the ones that will best suit our needs. Below are the main characteristics that can vary across the different models of gloves. Make sure to evaluate each aspect of the product you intend to purchase before making a final decision.

  • Grip
  • Cut
  • Size
  • Water Resistance
  • Elite Level

Grip

This is arguably the most important feature when looking for the right goalie gloves. In order for them to function to the capacity we want, they need to have the proper gripping capabilities that we need. The higher the percentage of latex in the material of the palm, the better the gloves will be able to hold onto the ball. Those that perform at a professional and highly competitive level will want maximum grip gloves with high levels of latex.

It’s important to remember that those that have the highest amounts of latex and the best performance in regards to grip, usually degrade and erode the quickest. Because of this, many professionals have various sets of gloves, using more resistant and lower quality gloves during training. It is also good to have weather-appropriate gear, wearing particularly when playing in the rain.

Cut

The most important aspect to consider when looking at cut is simply that it fits the shape of your hand in the most comfortable way for you as you play. If you’re looking for more flexibility and sensitivity, you can opt for the negative goalkeeper glove type, or go with the roll finger for extra protection. If you don’t have a preference, going with the classic flat design will be more than sufficient.

Hybrid models often combine the advantages of two types of main cuts for those with more specific preferences and taste. At the end of the day, you should find the perfect glove in one of or a combination of the main types of gloves. Keep in mind that how the hemming feels inside the glove, thinner materials or a tighter fit will all be specifications that will vary according to personal preference.

Size

To properly measure the hand, spread the palm and with a tape measure, measure the circumference of the hand just below the knuckles, omitting the thumb. Repeat on the other side and take the measurement of the larger hand (if this applies). The following table correlates the circumference in centimeters to the proper glove size (approximate):

Size Centimeters
4 15 cm
5 16 cm
6 17,5 cm
7 19 cm
8 22 cm
9 24 cm
10 27 cm
11 28,5 cm

Water resistance

Those who frequently play in wet conditions, or tend to sweat excessively will more than likely want to purchase water-resistant goalie gloves. These gloves are not often the preferred choice for everyone since they are of higher quality and often more expensive. This is due to the natural latex padding that is extra porous, absorbing and dissipating water much faster than a normal glove.

The main allure is that they work to enhance grip even under wet and slippery conditions, increasing the odds of success. We should note that they still work well when dry, nonetheless, you should keep in mind that because of their high latex content and the conditions they are made for, they tend to break down faster, just like other top-of-the-line gloves.

Elite level

Elite soccer players and the highest paid goalkeepers throughout professional soccer leagues usually use gloves of the highest quality, since they provide top-level performance. However, just because a professional athlete wears a brand on game day, it may not always be the case that they actually prefer the brand.

Keep in mind that powerful sports companies often pay out various elite athletes to use their gear through means of sponsorship. Below are some of the top goalkeepers across the globe who are endorsed by big brands:

Brand Goalkeeper
Adidas Iker Casillas, Keylor Navas, David De Gea, Ter Stegen and Manuel Neuer
Nike Thibaut Courtois, Jan Oblak, Román Bürki and Ederson Moraes
Puma Gianluigi Buffon, Bruno Varela and David Soria
Uhlsport Andriy Pyatov, Danijel Subasic and Sergei Pesyakov

Summary

Although goalie gloves haven’t always been around, there have been incredible advancements in the quality and overall performance in the last 4 decades. This piece of gear is known for enhancing the capabilities and longevity of goalkeepers. It is no wonder these products have become just as important as the actual soccer ball and soccer cleats. It is important to keep in mind that they are made from fragile materials, and they should be cared for properly in order to ensure a longer lifespan.

With all this information, it is easy to understand why goalkeeper gloves don’t last very long, especially if they are of very high quality. Regardless, these specially made gloves allow goalies to grip the ball easily, all while protecting their wrists from high impact shots. Making sure you find the gloves of the proper size, cut and material are key in finding the gloves that will allow you to perform at your highest potential as a goalkeeper.

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(Featured image source: Charnsit Ramyarupa: 89825319/123rf.com)

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