Professional athletes at the top of their game are amazing to watch. While their abilities can sometimes seem superhuman, you will often hear them give credit to their equipment. They will talk about how closely they work with their equipment providers to create the exact combination of specs and materials to meet their needs. Because this is common in many sports, you might wonder, do professional GK's wear custom goalkeeper gloves in training and matches.
We are going to let you in on a secret. Custom goalkeeper gloves are not as standard among professional goalies as you might think. Many pro keepers wear the same goalkeeper gloves available to every other professional, semi-pro, college, and amateur GK. While they might have some input into design features incorporated into the gloves you and I can buy, very few professional goalkeepers worldwide wear custom goalkeeper gloves. So now that you know the professionals aren't wearing custom goalkeeper gloves, what should YOU look for to make sure you are wearing the highest quality gloves possible?
Four things to keep in mind when buying goalie gloves for soccer:
The palm of the glove should be made from latex. This will provide good grip and durability. There are many different kinds of latex available on the market. At Advantage Goalkeeping, we only use the highest quality available - German Contact latex. Some of the other glove latex available are; Giga latex, Mega latex, Quartz latex, New Basic latex, and Super Soft latex. Of the latex types listed, only German Contact latex is genuinely considered a professional quality latex. Giga latex would be viewed as a step-down and very good, but not professional quality.
Many of the big-name brands on the market have created their names for the various late exes they use in their clubs. For this reason, it can be difficult to tell whether you're genuinely buying a professional quality latex or not. Unfortunately, the cost of the glove is an indicator. This is because latex can account for 40% of the gloves manufacturing costs. The other way to tell if you are getting a professional quality glove made with high-quality latex is by waiting for others to post reviews of major name brand gloves online.
Most professional quality gloves available will start at $70 from independent brands like Advantage Goalkeeping, EPIC GK, and Aviata Sports. The major brands' actual professional-level goalkeeper gloves typically start at $120.
One of the questions that come up often is, is there a difference in female goalkeepers' gloves versus what male goalkeepers wear? The simple truth is no. A few glove brands focus on designing gloves specifically for females, but the truth is that several glove cuts will suit a female goalkeeper perfectly.
What is a glove cut? Also known as a palm cut, Club Cuts refer to the style of the Palm, which can differ in how much latex is used and precisely how they shape the latex in and around the fingers of the glove. Different types of glove Cuts include; Roll Finger, Negative Cut, Flat Palm, and Hybrid.
The most popular palm cut among professional keepers is the Negative Cut. The Negative Cut offers a snug fit around the fingers and provides good contact with the ball. This style of palm cut will fit almost any goalkeeper's hand.
Advantage Goalkeeping, our most popular glove cut, is what we refer to as the Negative Hybrid cut. The negative hybrid cut, like the negative, has a snug but not restrictive fit. Because it is snug, this is the number one choice of the female Keepers who buy our professional quality gloves. The negative hybrid cut is also the most popular Palm cut when colleges, universities, high schools, and youth soccer clubs create custom goalkeeper gloves through Advantage Goalkeeping.
Wrist Straps Matter
Wrist Strap: There are many different types of wrist straps on gloves available in the market today. Some are fixed-length straps, while others are elastic and will wrap around the wrist to provide additional wrist support. The type of wrist strap you choose is a matter of personal preference.
Punch Zones Matter
Have you ever noticed on the backhand of goalkeeper gloves (this is the back of your hand from just below your knuckles to fingertips) that sometimes they are smooth, and other times you will notice a material that raises off of the glove? This is called the punch Zone. This is the part of the glove where the goalkeeper makes contact with the ball when making a fist and punching the ball to safety. Punch zones are another aspect of the glove that is a personal preference. Some goalkeepers prefer a smooth glove with latex over the punch zone, while others prefer a more substantial material that stands up off the glove a bit. Some can be relatively flat patterns made using silicone printing, while others are made utilizing a rubber pattern made from a mold. Again, punch zones are a personal preference. Some goalkeepers feel a thicker punch zone is restrictive of finger movement. Some goalkeepers prefer the 3D rubber punch zone because it gives them confidence when making contact with the ball. And yet some goalkeepers prefer the flat silicone printing on the punch zone because it has a rubbery feel which provides them both confidences in making contact with the ball yet has a very low restrictive feel when it comes to finger movement.
Ensure the glove has good ventilation to help keep your hands cool and dry during play when playing in warmer climates. You will also want to look for a glove that maintains a reasonable level of warmth when playing in colder climates. I want to share a little secret with you here; When the temperatures get below 35 degrees Fahrenheit, very few gloves will keep a goalkeeper's hands and fingers warm for more than 20 or 30 minutes. Some glove manufacturers attempt to create a warm-weather glove using a flannel lining, but this often adds cost and reduces feel when making contact and handling the ball.
Choose a pair of gloves made using high-quality materials to ensure solid construction. Poor construction is often the biggest complaint from goalkeepers. It's frustrating to spend $70, $80, $100 or more on a pair of goalkeeper gloves only to have the seams come apart within days to weeks. This happens with goalkeeper gloves because the materials being used are cheap. This includes the fabric being used as well as the stitching itself. Professional quality goalkeeper gloves such as those available from Advantage Goalkeeping are made using materials such as Neoprene, Breathprene, and Airprene. These are the preferred materials of professional goalkeepers because they are lightweight, flexible, and breathable. One of the surprising characteristics of these materials is that they can breathe well in warmer climates yet do a better job of keeping hands and fingers warm in colder temperatures compared to the commonly used mesh materials.
In summary, professional goalkeepers are not wearing custom goalkeeper gloves. They're wearing the same gloves that you have access to. Yes, it can be not very clear when attempting to separate a professional quality glove from one that is not. But as we discussed above, there are specific characteristics of gloves that you can look for to make sure that you are buying a professional quality goalkeeper glove.
And if you would be interested in creating a custom goalie glove for your soccer team or Club, click here and send us a note or give us a call. We would love to help you.
You might also want to read: Which Gloves do Premier League Goalkeepers Wear?
This guide has been designed to help you as a parent or a player understand how to improve your goalkeeper skills and abilities.
This guide was also written to help you gain improvement and knowledge alone. That is to say without having to rely on a coach to be there to train you or for you to have someone to feed you balls to catch or save.