How to Decide Which Pair of Goalkeeper Gloves to Buy: 4 Criteria to Keep in Mind
Finding the right pair of goalkeeper gloves can be difficult. There are a lot of companies selling equipment for goalkeepers carrying many different brands, models, and prices to choose from. This is why it's essential to have specific criteria for what you're looking for in your next purchase. This blog post discusses the four factors you should consider when buying goalkeeping gloves.
What are the four factors to keep in mind when buying goalie gloves?
#1 - Price
The first factor to consider when buying goalie gloves is the price. Goalkeeper gloves can range in price from $20 to $150 and beyond. Since there are so many different brands such as Reusch, West Coast Goalkeeping, Adidas, J4K, Advantage Goalkeeping (aka; AGK Pro), etc., available, it's essential that you find a pair that fits within your budget. However, don't let the low prices fool you. Just because a pair of gloves is less than $100 doesn't mean they're not of good quality. Multiple professional match-quality goalkeeper gloves can be found reasonably priced, especially if you look for closeout gloves. These are often glove models that are a year or two old and are now available at significant savings.
That being said, even if you can afford to spend $70 or more, you may not need to based on your level of play. For example, youth goalkeepers playing in recreational leagues will be excellent with gloves costing less than $45, such as the AGK Pro Trainer from Advantage Goalkeeping. However, for this article, we are focused on elite high school goalkeepers to professional goalkeepers.
#2 - Palm Cut
Choosing the correct cut of a goalkeeper glove is very important. The right cut helps determine the amount of room in the fingers and backhand, adding to the overall comfort and control of the goalkeeper glove. Goalkeepers with broad or slender hands will require different cuts. The basic goalie glove cuts are flat palm, roll finger, negative cut with potential hybrid variations.
The flat palm goalkeeper gloves have a more traditional look and feel. They are designed for goalkeepers with wider hands, as the palm area is usually broader and flatter. The roll finger goalie gloves are designed for goaltenders that have slender or smaller hands. This style of glove contours to the shape of your hand, which gives you a close feel to the ball. It allows you to close off the fingers more and provides a larger contact area with your hands for improved grip on shots.
Negative cut goalie gloves are also designed with slender or smaller palms in mind. Still, they have an inverted shape, which means instead of having seams around the outside of the glove going from the pinkie finger towards the thumb, it's flipped so that the seams are on the inside of your fingers. This helps close off space between your hand and ball when catching, which improves grip, especially when gloves get wet or moist with rain during play. Negative cut goalie gloves also typically have at least one velcro strap for added wrist support (although some players prefer two straps). As the name implies, this glove style is cut away in the palm close to your fingers. This helps close off space between your hand and ball during catching, improving grip, especially when gloves get wet or moist with rain during play.
The last variation of cuts is hybrid variations that combine both flat palm and negative cut styles into one pair of goalie gloves. This can be a good option for goalkeepers who are unsure which style they prefer or who want the best of both worlds.
#3 - Grip (latex)
The third factor you should consider when buying goalie gloves is grip quality. The primary material used to provide grip on a soccer ball is latex. Latex can come in a variety of different thicknesses and styles. The quality of latex is usually graded by its durability (how long it lasts), tackiness (grip stickiness), and firmness (soft vs. firm/hard). The more expensive goalkeeper gloves will have a better quality latex in most cases.
There are many different types of glove latex, but the four most common are Contact, Supreme, Mega Grip and Giga Grip. Additionally, keep in mind the latex's thickness. Many glove companies utilize a specific latex; however, the thickness varies. 4mm latex is ideal for top goalkeepers, while 6mm latex is sometimes too thick and provides too much cushion on the hands. As a general note, many low-cost gloves include 2mm latex; it's crucial to steer clear of these as they're not close to ideal. In terms of thickness, you want a glove that is neither too thick nor too thin for your hands - the perfect latex is four millimeters in thickness for best comfort and performance.
Super Soft: This is the most common latex in gloves and has a wide range of thicknesses. It's a decent latex that hasn't been treated with as many chemicals as others. Made from a harder material, it can stand up to wear and tear, even though it is referred to as 'super soft,' but isn't as sticky as other latex gloves.
Mega Grip: This is the most common latex for high-performance gloves. It's a bit harder than Giga grip and less so than SuperGrip. It's a decent latex that works well and is typically easier to come by, and is less expensive than Giga grip. As you saw earlier, it performs well with some dampening and gets chemical treatment.
Giga Grip: The unique, chemically improved treatment provides excellent grip due to a combination of natural softness and chemical enhancement. It should be kept slightly damp to perform correctly. It's a fantastic all-around latex; it was once considered a professional grade latex, but it isn't up to professional standards today with advancements in latex technology.
Contact and Supreme Latex: These latex types are the latex world's sports cars and are generally considered to be cousins. They're high-performance, high-quality, and generally pricey compared to other latex. They're excellent in wet and dry conditions, but they need to be washed more often because they get sticky with use, and dirt can accumulate faster. These two are premium latex and always come with plastic on the palms to protect them before use. If there isn't plastic on the palm, it is not Contact or Supreme. It's now available in various colors, albeit relatively uncommon and more expensive (and again, the palms must have a protective film on them.) It's excellent on turf and grass in both wet and dry conditions. Contact (as well as Supreme) latex is traditionally used only by premium brands in high-end gloves costing over $150. At Advantage Goalkeeping, we only use Contact latex except for our AGK Pro Trainer, which uses Super Soft.
#4 - Goalkeeper Glove Reviews
The fourth and final factor you should consider when buying goalie gloves is reviews. Checking online review websites can give you a good indication of how satisfied other goalkeepers have been with the particular pair of gloves you are looking to buy. Reading various reviews will help paint a more accurate picture of whether that specific pair of gloves is a good fit for you.
When looking at goalkeeper glove reviews, be sure to keep the following in mind:
How long have they been using the gloves?
Does the reviewer share their playing experience - youth, high school, college, semi-pro, or professional?
Are they satisfied with the grip?
Is the quality of latex durable?
How does the feel of the gloves compare to other gloves they have used?
Do they like the fit, and how adjustable are the straps?
Reading reviews can be a great way to get an idea of what you should expect from a particular pair of gloves. However, keep in mind that everyone's hands and playing styles are different. What works for one person might not work for you, so try not to be swayed by the latest Reusch goalkeeper glove review or Adidas Predator goalkeeper glove review. Allow it to inform your decision.
When looking for a good pair of goalkeeper gloves, it's essential to consider all four factors listed above. Price is typically the most critical factor, but don't also forget to evaluate the quality of latex and how satisfied other goalkeepers have been with the grip and feel of the gloves. By taking all of these factors into consideration, you should find a good pair of goalkeeper gloves that will allow you to perform well under pressure and give you the confidence to play your best.