How to Choose the Best Goalkeeper Gloves for College SoccerMaking the transition from high school to college soccer can be difficult. The competition is tougher and the stakes are higher. One way to ensure you have a successful college career is by playing with the best goalkeeper gloves possible. Many goalkeepers make the mistake of buying the most expensive gloves without considering what makes a good pair of gloves for college GKs. In this blog post, we will discuss professional standards and specifications that you should look for when buying goalkeeper gloves for college soccer.
Why Brand Doesn't MatterWhen it comes to goalkeeper gloves, there is a lot of debate over what the best brand is. Some goalkeepers believe that only certain brands make quality gloves while others think that any reputable brand will do. The truth is that when it comes to college soccer and finding the highest quality glove possible, the brand doesn't matter as much as some may think. What matters most is whether or not the GK glove meets professional standards and specifications.
Have you ever heard the term 'take down'? This is when a major brand lowers the quality of materials and construction in order to lower the price thus making it more attractive to the wider population who believe any goalkeeper glove, for example from a particular brand will be a good glove for them. As a college goalkeeper, you cannot afford to buy gloves that don't meet professional standards. This is why it is important to do your research to understand what makes a quality GK glove.
Why Grip Quality is the Most Important Factor
We find with most goalkeepers that the grip is often the most misunderstood component or specification of a goalkeeper glove. Let's touch on some definitions first. The grip also known as latex or palm material is the most important factor when deciding on the best college goalkeeper glove to purchase. So it is important to understand the differences. Latex is available in different levels of quality and thickness. To make this very simple to understand, you want to purchase a glove that has the highest quality latex available and is in 4mm thickness.
The highest quality commercially available latex is called German Contact. Another high-quality latex is called Supreme, which is essentially the cousin of German Contact. There are other latex grips available such as Giga, Mega, Quartz, Super Soft, New Basic, to name a few. It is important to note that at one time Giga latex was what's considered professional-quality but many manufacturers of gloves today no longer consider Giga as a professional latex.
When it comes to major brands such as Adidas, Reusch, or Nike, often have their own proprietary latex making it difficult to know where exactly a particular model of latex falls in the hierarchy of quality. This is where consumers are often forced to make a decision on quality based on price. Unfortunately, the safest assumption with these brands is that you will have to spend more to get a better quality grip. However, companies like Advantage Goalkeeping, West Coast Goalkeeping, Renegade GK, and Aviata Sports utilize commercially-available latex for their grip and we'll all disclose exactly which grip we are using in each model.
At the time of this writing, companies like us, Advantage Goalkeeping, and West Coast Goalkeeping only use the highest quality latex available which is also considered professional-quality latex. Companies like Aviata Sports and Renegade GK will use a variety of latex when manufacturing their gloves in order to offset higher costs associated with marketing and design features which add no value to the quality of the goalkeeper glove. Just remember, the release of new designs is simply to attract a broader base of consumers, and to keep them coming back.
Palm Cut is the Second Most Important FactorThe second most important factor when deciding on which pair of gloves to buy for college goalkeepers is the palm cut also known as glove cut. There are multiple types of glove cuts available and it's important to understand the benefits of each one to make sure that you are buying the glove cut that is best for you. Here we'll cover a few of the more common glove cuts available.
Roll Finger Cut - The roll finger cut is very popular and seen as a traditional style in Europe however, in the United States, this glove makes up less than 15% of glove sales. This is mostly because the amount of latex required to produce this glove is more than others, therefore, increasing the cost to produce. For this reason, many brands will avoid or limit the amount they produce.
The term "roll finger" comes from the fact that the fingers and palm of the glove do not use gussets. The grip is connected directly to the backhand. As a consequence, the latex is rolled/curved around the fingers, giving excellent latex contact with the ball. This cut is not snug or tight.
Negative Cut - Over the last few years, negative cut goalkeeper gloves (and hybrids that utilize this design) have grown increasingly common throughout Europe and are gaining traction quickly in the United States goalkeeping community. They're similar to flat cuts in that they employ a single piece of latex linked to the backhand by gussets, with the exception that the stitching/gussets are located inside the glove. Gloves with this sort of cut often have a snug but not restrictive fit.
Flat Cut - The flat cut is a classic and still popular style with youth and lower-cost gloves. It was one of the first cuts to emerge once the goalkeeper glove industry began to flourish. You'll notice that the stitched gussets on a flat palm cut are positioned on the outside vs the inside of cuts with negative, giving it a looser feel. The cut consists of just one single piece of latex making it very easy to work with thus lowering the cost to the manufacturer. This cut can be found in hybrid cuts when it is combined with the roll finger cut.
Hybrid Cut - The most common hybrid cut is a mixture of roll finger and negative cuts. It is designed to offer goalkeepers the benefits of both cuts—a snug fit like negative with latex contact around the fingers like in a roll finger cut. This type of cut is gaining popularity as goalkeepers in the United States become more open to trying a variety of goalkeeper glove cuts.
Understanding Goalkeeper Glove Backhand MaterialsWhat is the backhand of a goalkeeper glove? The backhand is the part of the glove that covers from the fingertips down to the wrist. It is often the main material the goalkeeper glove latex attaches. It's important for goalkeepers to know what materials are used in a goalkeeper gloves' backhand because it will impact both comfort and durability. Important note: Glove companies who produce goalkeeper gloves meeting professional standards and specifications will always use high-quality backhand materials and stitching.
Some of the more common backhand materials are neoprene, breathprene, airprene, micro mesh, and super mesh.
Breathprene - Breathprene is a material that is used in the backhand of more and more goalkeeper gloves. This material is more common in Europe but gaining traction in the United States as independent gloves companies who focus on quality are incorporating breathprene often. It is a lightweight and comfortable fabric that helps to keep your hands cool and dry by allowing air to circulate.
Airprene - Airprene is another fabric that is used in the backhand of some goalkeeper gloves. It is a synthetic rubber that is designed to provide cushioning, support, and ventilation. Similar to breathprene, it is becoming increasingly popular in the United States with companies like Advantage Goalkeeping and EPIC Goalkeeping.
Micro Mesh & Super Mesh - Both micro mesh and super mesh are very fine and lightweight materials that are used in the backhand of many goalkeeper gloves on the market today. It allows air to circulate which helps keep your hands cool and dry.
Choosing the best college goalkeeper gloves is a process that requires careful consideration. It’s important to know what materials are used in a glove and how those materials will impact comfort, durability, and performance on the field. We hope this article has helped you narrow down your decision for selecting goalkeeper gloves with confidence knowing they meet professional standards and specifications as well as are affordable for any college soccer program budget!
Let us know if you have any questions about goalkeeper gloves and the Advantage Goalkeeping college discount program.
Mentioned in this article
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.