Goalkeepers, being the only players on the field who can use their hands, have to protect them with the top equipment available to them. Gloves need to be well padded to protect against hard shots, as well as being flexible enough to catch high crosses and distribute the ball to defenders.
Selecting a pair of goalie gloves can be a daunting task. There are a lot of different styles and manufacturers out there, each offering something different. We’re here to break down what those different things are, why you want them on your hands, and provide you with specific keeper glove recommendations.
True to Size?
Renegade GK Talon
Flat, Negative, or Roll
Adult and Youth
Adult and Youth
Adidas Performance Ace
Small Adult and Youth
Brine King Match 3X
Blok-It Goalie Gloves
The Renegade GK Talon Goalie Gloves with Fingersaves have a lot of different features and options that help them rise above the competition. These goalkeeper gloves are available in sizes ranging from 5-11 (youth to large adult). Buyers are able to choose between flat cut, roll cut, and negative cut.
The palm material is made of German Hyper Grip Latex. Renegade describes this as offering 20% greater impact absorption over lower density latex palms. It should also offer increased durability when faced with different weather conditions.
All Renegade gloves come with the Endo-Tek Pro Fingersaves installed. These fingersave inserts are removable, and are designed with maximum protection and safety without sacrificing flexibility.
Little details that you wouldn’t normally think of help make these gloves our top pick. Extra backhand padding to protect the knuckles when punching are a great touch.
The slit in the elastic bandage makes it easier to pull the gloves on over your palm. The nylon strap puller gives you a nice, solid place to grip so you don’t stretch out the elastic on the wristband.
The Renegade GK Talon Goalie Gloves with Pro-Tek Fingersaves & Hyper Grip Palms just barely edged out the Brine King Match 3X Goalie Gloves to take our top spot. The main differences that put this glove over the top are the slightly lower price, different cut options, and higher density foam in the palm. Overall, the balanced superior performance and durability combine to make this a fantastic choice for any goalkeeper.
Excellent features with 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Coming in as our value choice, Valorsports Professional Fingesave Goalkeeper Gloves offer advanced features and durability at a budget price. They are made in sizes ranging from 5-10, the black and white version having the smallest sizes available at the time this article was written.
The construction is listed as “Positive Cut.” This is a variant of the “Flat Cut,” and the two should fit and perform about the same.
If you’re looking for a solid pair of inexpensive gloves that do their job well, this pair is more than worth the money. These gloves boast thick and heavy duty foam and padding for the toughest of saves.
The anti-slip and wear-resistant latex palms give you extremely strong control and grip when handling the ball, even in wet conditions. As far as safety, the BACKBONE fingersave system helps prevent hyper-extended finger injuries that you can get from blocking hard shots, or even just landing on the ground in an awkward position.
The latex palms have already been mentioned, but it’s worth saying that the extra thickness in them add additional protection. The backhand is made from EVA foam, a solid choice for long-lasting durability that adds an additional piece of protection when punching a ball away.
These keeper gloves have what they call a “double-wrist safeguard.” This double-designed wristband has two segments - the first is elastic, and the second is a velcro bandage. This should provide a nice balance between flexibility and support in the wrist area, helping you to dial in the right amount of wrist support.
When you include the above features, proven durability, and the low price, these gloves are already worth it. When you add in that they are breathable, lightweight, sweat-reducing, and great for wet conditions, these are definitely the top keeper gloves when you’re shopping on a budget.
Super affordable value for a great quality glove.
Looking for a pair of gloves for a young goalkeeper? After going through the offerings available, we’ve decided that the adidas Performance ACE Fingersave Goalie Gloves should be at the top of your list. While these keeper gloves are the only gloves on the list that go down to a size 3, they include adult features in a smaller size.
In youth goalkeeper gloves, a feature like the fingersave protection system isn’t always available. Hard shots don’t start when you get older, they start at the beginning. Protecting children’s fingers should be a high priority and these gloves have excellent fingersave inserts to help with that. The extra protection will make young keepers more confident in their saves without worrying about whether their fingers will bend backwards.
The Soft Grip Pro latex padding used on the palm is just a little less thick than you would find on an adult version, but is just the right amount of protection for youth keepers. If the latex were too thick, younger fingers wouldn’t be able to contract around the ball as easily. This particular latex offers excellent grip in different conditions and should be quite durable when taken care of.
For punching power and protection, the backhand of these youth gloves has an excellent amount of padding, with additional appliques on impact areas for both durability and lessening impact of hard punches. In addition, the flexible velcro wrist wrap will keep small wrists safe and secure.
Another thing going for these keeper gloves is that they tie with the largest color selection of any of the gloves on this list. Sometimes all it takes is the right color to make sure your kid is happy with their new gear.
Great fingersave protection, excellent palm padding, a solid wrist wrap, and great color choices make this an easy pick for the best youth goalkeeper glove.
The top glove option for youth.
We have a few pairs of keeper gloves that come in toward the top of our review list but don’t quite make it to #1. Brine King Match 3X Goalie Gloves are an excellent choice if some of the features you’re looking for aren’t included in our top pick, you’re looking for a specific color combination, or you need a different size that isn’t available.
The first thing that pops out at me is the thumb construction of these gloves. On most gloves, the latex stops at the palm, but the latex here wraps around the back of the thumb. This offers some extra protection as well as additional grip if the ball is caught at an awkward angle.
The palm on these goalkeeper gloves is made up of 3mm German Latex foam, and the backhand also sports portions of 2mm foam as well. This particular foam is extremely sticky when new, to maintain the stickiness be sure to wash these gloves on a regular basis.
I’d also recommend testing the gloves with both damp and dry palms before playing - damp latex can add an additional layer of tackiness to help you hold onto the ball.
Sometimes a save isn’t made with your hands placed perfectly, which is why I appreciate the extra padding on the wrist band. The backhand also has a wealth of padding to protect your knuckles when punching and landing from an extreme dive.
As with the rest of the gloves reviewed here, these also have fingersave inserts; this model has an improved BACKBONE version which should provide for excellent protection.
Thick construction with sticky materials for enhanced ball control.
I haven’t used these gloves myself, but based on the price and number of positive reviews they’re definitely worth a look. The product page for the Blok-IT Goalkeeper Gloves does not provide a lot of specific information, but from looking around at multiple websites and reading the reviews we can get a good idea of the quality of these gloves.
From the pictures you can tell that they are more padded on the backhand than many of the other gloves on this list. I’ve blocked more than a few shots with the back of my hand so that’ll be a good feature for a lot of keepers. The wristband also looks sturdy enough and claims a “quick-release” feature that should be a nice touch.
Through additional research we’ve found that the palm is made up of 3mm latex padding. This should provide ample palm protection when parrying blistering shots, and will give you enough stickiness to hold onto the ball.
Reviews state that this glove does have fingersave inserts even though it’s not listed in the description. Additionally, reviews mention that these keeper gloves run a little small, so keep that in mind.
Based on reviews, we can conclude that Blok-IT has made a good all-around glove for beginning goalkeepers and players who are looking for a well-padded glove for training, and I’d suggest giving them a shot.
Heavy duty hand protection for injury reduction
There is one last line of defense in soccer, and that’s the goalkeeper. While the midfielders and defense will do everything they can to keep the opposing attackers from getting a shot on goal, it’s inevitably going to happen, and a lot of times the shots are going to be a lot harder (up to 80mph at the international level!) than the human hand should handle on its own.
That, in itself, should be enough reason to put a little bit of padding onto the goalkeeper’s hand.
Once you add in additional factors of the ball spinning, rain, mud, and over-excitable strikers, the usefulness of goalie gloves becomes pretty obvious.
Protection should be the number one factor for a beginning goaltender. Fear of a hand injury can stop a keeper career much faster than anything else, and a serious injury on a growing hand can cause a lot of problems down the road.
Because gloves can be bulky, the stickyness of goalkeeper’s gloves is very important. Having a large foam glove on can make the hands not feel as nimble as they normally do. The addition of latex grip can mean the difference between a caught save and a dropped ball that rolls in for a goal.
Once proper technique is learned, flexibility becomes incredibly important. At the highest levels, goalkeepers generally do not use fingersave inserts because that slight loss of flexibility might be a key factor in the final score. That being said, unless you’ve spent half your life training as a goalie every single day and have the world’s top ranked medical staff at your beck and call, we’d recommend the fingersaves.
Keeper gloves, while made a little differently between companies and models, still have the same basic parts: The palm, backhand, wrist closure, and fingers.
Arguably the most important part of the glove, the palm needs to provide both protection and grip for the keeper. Latex is the general material used for the palm, but companies also experiment with hybrid materials for additional durability or grip. Thickness can vary anywhere between 2mm-5mm, with 3mm-4mm being the standard for everyday use.
New palm technologies have been coming out in top-tier gloves recently, introducing things like textured or dimpled palms.
Until the cost of gloves that include these features comes down a bit, most players will stick with the smooth latex gloves that have proven over time to be cost effective, durable, and grippy.
Stitched to the palm of the glove, either directly or with a gusset in between the two, is the backhand. Just like you would think, it’s the part of the glove that covers the back of your hand. Padding on this area of the glove is predominantly meant to protect the knuckles and other areas on the back of the hand when punching balls out of the air, but can also help in sticky situations like getting your hand stepped on.
A backhand can be full foam, cloth, or a combination of both. Advanced models also can have multiple layers of foam or plastic appliques, providing additional knuckle padding and durability.
To keep the glove on the hand there needs to be something that will tighten around the wrist, this is where the wrist closure comes in. Without some sort of fastener, the glove would fly off the hand, and probably the ball as well. Velcro is generally the material used to attach the band to the wrist.
Goalkeeper glove manufacturers have added padding and structure onto the closure to provide additional shot protection, as well as stability for the wrist so it doesn’t get sprained.
Some gloves use a stiff material for their wrist closures, while others use a stretchy “bandage” wrap. The bandage wrap will normally provide a tighter wrap but less stability than a stiff material.
The way the fingers of keeper gloves are sewn (also known as the “cut”) will help determine how the glove fits and how much latex contact the ball will have with the glove. Keep reading below for more information on different keeper glove cuts available.
Different glove cuts and technologies are available for goalkeepers who feel they need more control, more surface area, a tighter or looser fit, or more protection.
Also known as the “flat palm cut,” this method of construction is the oldest and most traditional. You’ll recognize it by the stitches on the outside of the palm and fingers, the extra material outside of the stiching, and the flat palm. The extra material creates a wider outline to help deflect shots. These gloves provide the most interior room without going up a size.
In flat cut gloves, a gusset holds the palm and the backhand together. This material is usually some sort of mesh, so it will also add more ventilation to keep your fingers cool and aid in drying gloves out after a long game.
Youth goalkeepers who are still growing, keepers with wide palms, or players who want additional material to make their palm profile slightly larger.
The “roll finger cut” is another way to sew gloves together with the stitches on the outside of the fingers, similar to the flat cut. The difference between the two is that the palm and the backhand of the roll finger glove are sewn directly into each other instead of a gusset holding them together, creating a “roll” of latex that curves around the fingers. This type of design provides the most latex contact.
Losing gussets between the fingers can sometimes limit ventilation, so look for roll finger models that have breathable backhands.
Roll finger gloves provide a good balance for goalkeepers who like a flat cut, but prefer a more snug fit and the additional ball control that rolled latex provides.
One of the most popular styles of gloves with professional goalkeepers, the “negative cut” has stitching on the inside (as opposed to the outside) of the glove. The palm and backhand are connected by a gusset. This construction provides a snug fit, giving the goalkeeper a natural feel on the ball, without excess material getting in the way or twisting around the fingers.
Advanced goalkeepers, players who prefer the natural feel of the negative cut, or keepers with smaller fingers who require a tighter fit than traditional gloves.
A hybrid cut will combine elements of different cuts as an attempt to give a goalkeeper the best of both worlds. Generally a hybrid cut will have roll fingers for the main “ball catching” fingers, and either flat or negative cut for the rest.
Very advanced goalkeepers who have specific preferences on how they like individual fingers to feel within the glove.
A recent innovation in goalkeeper gloves is the “fingersave” insert. A semi-hard, but hinged, insert is placed on backhand of the glove behind the fingers. This protects the fingers from bending backward, while also allowing the fingers to close when catching or punching the ball.
Another benefit of fingersave technology is that when making a save with the end of your fingers, the ball is more likely to deflect away from your glove instead of going straight through your fingers.
The protection provided from fingersave technology is fantastic for helping prevent injuries, but they do make your fingers slightly less flexible. Youth fingersave inserts are normally more flexible than adult to allow for younger fingers to contract more easily. If you’re not sure if you prefer fingersave or not, look for a pair of goalkeeper gloves with removable inserts so you can test them with or without the inserts.
The number one most important part of a keeper’s kit is his (or her) gloves. They need to be treated that way if you want them to last. The best thing you can do for your new gloves is to wash them, or at least wipe them down, after every game and practice. This will help the palms last longer by removing dirt from the porous latex. Glove wash is available, but you can also use mild dishwashing soap.
Washing instructions: Drop a small amount of soap in a clean tub or sink and fill with lukewarm water. Soak the gloves for a few minutes, then squeeze them over and over to let the soap permeate the latex and fabric. Be sure to rinse with fresh water while squeezing in the same manner. If you don’t have time for a full wash, wipe down with a rag and clean water.
After washing, hang your gloves up to dry with the wristbands wrapped over a hanger or shower rod.
It’s a good idea to remember that the palm of the gloves may show some wear, but that doesn’t mean you should throw them away. The padding on the palms is the same material all the way through, so even if they have some wear they should continue to have the same grip and hold.
Keeper gloves are meant to be worn a little on the large side. The fingers of the gloves should extend anywhere from ¼” - 1” past the tips of your fingers to give you a little larger hand size, and also to keep the backhand from limiting the flex of your fingers. My personal preference is about ½”, but for a growing child you may want to go up to a full inch to allow for growth.
If you’re not able to try on your first pair because you’re shopping online, determine your glove size by measuring the circumference around your palm and comparing that to the manufacturer’s size chart.
Sizes can range from size 4 to size 12, with 4-7 being youth sizes, and 8-12 for adults. You can rarely find sizes outside this range, but they do exist. A good rule of thumb is to take your palm measurement, round up to the next whole inch, and add 1.
Example: If you measure 7.5” around your palm, round up to 8”. Add 1, and your glove size is 9.
The first recorded instance of a soccer goalkeeper wearing a pair of gloves was a picture of Scottish keeper Archie Pinnell in the mid 1890’s. Considering that soccer wasn’t an official sport until 1863, it conceivably took about 30 years for someone to realize, “hey, my hands hurt.”
Keepers tried different gloves and protection over the next century, but mostly in cold or wet weather. Some tried bandages. Most commonly worn were standard leather or cotton gloves made for everyday use. Soccer manufacturers only started making goalkeeper specific gloves in the late 1960’s, and even then models were closer to common gardening gloves than the technical handpieces we have today.
In 1973 Gebhard Reusch developed the first goalie glove with a latex palm. Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sepp Maier used them with the winning Germany squad in the 1974 World Cup. Other manufacturers took notice, the most notable also being German companies, Uhlsport and Adidas. At the beginning they only made custom gloves for their sponsored players, but once they became more popular they made their way to the UK and the Premier League, and eventually the world.
In the mid-1980’s, with better designs and technology, virtually all top-tier goalkeepers played with a pair of goalkeeper gloves. The last English goalkeeper in the Premier League to go without a pair of gloves was in 1986 - and his team lost 3-0.
The last big technological development for keeper gloves came in the 1990’s with the introduction of the “fingersave” inserts. The first inserts were a stiff plastic that hampered forward flexibility, but with refinements since then we have a product that protects from hyperextension without much loss of gripping power.
Goalkeeper gloves have to be considered one of the most important parts of a keeper’s kit, if not the entire team’s. Protecting from injury, creating a greater surface area to deflect the ball, helping the goalie grip a ball in wet conditions, these are all incredibly important parts of winning a soccer game.
Knowing the different features in a pair of goalie gloves will help you when shopping - even if you don’t agree with our recommendations, I hope the information we’ve provided will help you pick the perfect pair.