10 Factors to Think About When Choosing the Perfect Goalie Gloves
Sep 21, 2023
Have you ever bought a pair of “top-notch” goalie gloves that actually turned out to be duds?
Instead of feeling grippy, the palms were slicked like butter. The flimsy construction lets your fingers snap back painfully. Heck, even the fabric began tearing and chipping way too soon.
You read reviews, you wiggled your fingers in them, but they failed when it mattered most. You were obviously ticked.
Imagine the opposite though—finding goalie gloves that not only feel good, but help you swat the ball like a pro and get those roaring cheers from the bleachers. It’s possible to find gloves like these without hassle, but only if you know what to look for.
This article will discuss some factors you should consider when looking for goalie gloves. Read on to learn what they are.
1. Flexibility of the Glove
Overly-rigid goalie gloves are a “no-go”. If your fingers feel stiffer than wooden sticks, then good luck trying to secure a high aerial shot or scoop a low ball. To pull these maneuvers off, you should be able to curl your fingers with minimal restriction.
The right amount of flexibility keeps your hands and fingers mobile enough so that you can wrap them around and tighten your grasp of the ball.
If you’re in a store, test a glove’s flexibility by having someone lob the ball to you while wearing it. If you can catch the ball without your fingers feeling stiff, then it passes the flexibility test.
When it comes to the fit of a glove, there’s one main rule—not too tight, not too loose. Snug is better, because it won’t feel loose and it won’t squeeze your hand, both of which would distract you.
There’s also comfort, which can mean a number of things. Comfortable goalie gloves prevent your hands from getting excessively sweaty, itchy, or irritated in any other way.
Testing this one is a matter of putting it on. If your hand feels unbothered in it, then it's safe to say it’s comfortable. Of course, comfort isn’t the end-all, be-all, because comfort doesn’t equal performance.
3. Grip/Palm surface
Speaking about goalie glove performance, grip and palm surface is at the center of it (literally). Look at the greats like Neuer, Becker, Courtois—all of their glove choices emphasize grip, and so should yours. Aside from superior technique, a grippy glove surface helps a 90 mile-an hour ball land plush in your palm without bouncing out.
That should apply to all conditions.
That means the palm can maintain ball contact in wet weather—no slipping and sliding. That also means the tackiness of the palm -the slightly sticky feeling of its surface - should stay that way for as long as possible.
To test grip, have someone lob the ball to you while you have the gloves on. If you can catch and hold it without it feeling slippery, then the gloves likely have good grip.
4. Goalie Glove Materials
All the factors above and the ones to come are influenced by goalie glove materials. In other words, the higher the material quality of the gloves are, the better your gloves will perform and feel altogether.
For example, for good grip, opt for German Latex. It’s the king of materials when it comes to providing superior tackiness. Polyurethane, a common form of plastic, gives goalie gloves strength and rigidity, but also flexes upon contact so it’s not too stiff. That’s crucial to give your fingers freedom to move, but not bend back too much. You’ve also got materials such as mesh, which allows air to flow through the gloves so your hands don’t get too hot and sweaty. These three are staple materials, and your gloves should have them.
So pay attention to the materials in your goalie gloves. Look at the product descriptions to see that they use these materials. They can make or break your performance on the pitch.
5. Goalie Glove Cut
Most likely a familiar term to you, goalie glove cut refers to how a manufacturer built the glove and stitched its materials together. It’s not just a design thing though—the cut influences how the gloves fits and feels on your hand, which indirectly affects performance.
The four main goalie glove cuts are roll cut, negative cut, flat palm cut and hybrid cut. The last one is where things get interesting, because manufacturers can literally combine elements of all cuts together. You can take the snug and compact fit of a negative cut, and combine it with the bulky, larger surface of a roll cut (which provides more ball control).
Now goalie glove cuts are a whole discussion on its own, and that’s why we have a guide that explains them further.
But here at Storelli, we often combine cuts to give you the best of all worlds. That way you don’t have to choose between comfort, flexibility, ball control and so forth.
6. Security of the Gloves
Goalie glove security refers to how well they stay strapped to your hands, and it goes without saying you want them to be VERY secure.
That’s where closure comes in. Closure is actually a design feature that usually incorporates a hook and loop, puller, puller tab, and bandage strap. They all help to keep the gloves secure on your hands, and most modern options have them.
Where they differ is in terms of how adjustable they are and where they’re located. All of our goalie gloves contain closure features that allow you to adjust the snugness/looseness with ease.
7. Goalie Glove Breathability
Imagine this for a second the ref just blew the whistle to start the second half of the match. Your hands are sweaty and you can’t think of anything else but wanting to take them off. Instead of scanning ball movement and communicating with your defensive line, you’re distracted by your soaking palms. So when a striker pops in view, you have to scramble to get ready to intercept. Not what you want!
So that’s why you want need soccer gloves that are lightweight and breathable. Mesh gloves typically fit the bill, allowing air to flow in and out so they don’t get too sweaty. The material is also lightweight, preventing the trapping of heat which would leave your hand feeling cooked, then wet.
8. Hand protection
This might be a somewhat controversial point, but we’ll suggest it for a select few—choose goalie gloves that offer hand protection. And when we say hand protection, yes, we mean “fingersaves”. They’re pieces of plastic inserted into the glove’s fingers, and stabilize your own fingers so they don’t bend back too far when you save the ball.
Coaches and players alike denounce them as restricting hand movement, and reduce your feel for the ball. And that’s somewhat true. But fingersaves can protect very young goalies with more delicate bones from hand injuries. They can also help prevent re-injury of a hands that’s still healing.
But here’s the thing—you can get gloves with removable finger spines, which is the case with our goalkeeper gloves. If your focus is preventing an injury, pop the spines in. If you want more ball control and movement, just pop them out. It’s a win-win.
9. Durability & Construction
Understandably, longevity is the hardest factor to consider. You can’t tell how long a pair of gloves will last just by looking at them. However, you can look at their construction to get an idea.
For example, goalie gloves with a reinforced backhand can withstand more impact, whether it be from punching the ball or landing on the ground after a save. Gloves without it will wear out faster when subjected to these movements. And there’s also the palms. High-grade latex, such as German Latex, keep the palms grippy but also prevent them from wearing out too fast.
10. Goalie Glove Design
Ok, so goalie glove design is a self-explanatory concept, and a subjective category on this list. Providing the gloves meet all other criteria, there is no right or wrong look, except the one that appeals to you (or not). With that said, look at things like color schemes and combinations, stitch patterns, and so forth. Get a pair of gloves that makes you say “Nice”, and you’ll like it for as long as it lasts.
Get the Best Gloves on Your First Shot
With all of this in mind, you’re probably thinking how the heck can I test all of this if I’m buying them online? If you’re gonna buy Storelli gloves, here’s a few tips.
First off, measure your hand size using our guides. The biggest issue with buying gloves online is getting the wrong size, but taking some measurements can prevent that. Next, keep in mind that our gloves usually offer hybrids of various cuts, removable finger spines, and other features all in one. That means you don’t really have to choose between, let's say, “performance gloves” or “comfort gloves”—it’s more about the look and feel if anything.
We also carry our gloves in select locations, so you can try them on in person as well.
Ultimately, if you follow this advice, you won’t be stuck with a bad pair at all.
Looking for goalkeeper gloves that meet all of the above criteria? Browse our selection of goalie gloves to get the best in performance, safety, comfort, durability and more!