If you’re relatively new to goalkeeping (as parent or player), the world of goalkeeping gloves might seem foreign or confusing.

You might be wondering:

  • What are the best gloves to buy?
  • Do I really need two pairs of gloves or can I get by with just one pair?
  • What are the differences are in glove cuts?
  • Should I buy gloves with finger spines?
  • How do I get rid of that funky smell in my kid’s gloves?

I have written quite a bit about how to choose the right goalkeeper glove in the past (on my personal blog), but I’m thinking it’s time to expand upon that advice, here, in my guide to all things goalkeeper gloves.

This is your ultimate guide to all things goalkeeper gloves.


Table of contents

  1. Best goalkeeper glove brands
    1. Most recognizable brands
    2. Highly recommended niche brands
    3. Other niche brands
  2. Glove anatomy
    1. Finger cuts
    2. Backhand
    3. Finger protection
    4. Wrist closures
  3. Glove buying
    1. Glove sizing
    2. Latex durability and grip
    3. Match vs. training gloves
    4. Do I need two pairs of gloves?
    5. Do I need finger protection?
    6. Do I need sticky spray or “Glove Glu”?
    7. Should I use glove balm?
  4. Taking care of your gloves
    1. General care and storing
    2. Cleaning your gloves
  5. Other tips
    1. How the pitch surface affects grip
    2. Getting rid of glove odor

Best goalkeeper glove brands

In the goalkeeping glove world, there are so many brands to choose from, many of which you may have never heard of before. Since goalkeeping is a specialized position, there are several niche brands that have popped up (often started by goalkeepers themselves) to focus on creating their own specialized equipment.

My advice below is primarily based on my own personal experience as well as reading testimonies and reviews online about some of the newer niche brands. I’ve worn several of these brands throughout my years as a goalkeeper and GK trainer.

Most recognizable brands

Let’s start with the brands you probably know well or have maybe seen on popular soccer equipment websites, like soccer.com.

  1. Adidas — obviously, Adidas is a huge name in soccer, and they make fantastic gloves that are worn by many professional players.
  2. Nike — another big name in soccer. Earlier on, Nike gloves were subpar in my opinion, but they have improved quite a bit in the last decade, and now many star players wear them.
  3. Puma — another big name, like Adidas. Puma has made high quality gloves for quite a while.
  4. Uhlsport — you may have seen these, but didn’t know if they were good. Well, they’re really great gloves! Uhlsport is one of the longest standing, top goalkeeping brands on the market, and they’re constantly improving their technology.
  5. Reusch — Much like Uhlsport, Reusch is one of those lesser-known brands outside the goalkeeping world, but remains popular among goalkeepers. Reusch has been around for a very long time, and makes great gloves.
  6. Elite Sport — one of the fastest growing goalkeeper-specific brands out of Europe, and one of my personal favorites (I currently own a pair).

In my opinion, you cannot go wrong with any of the above brands. And, I have personally played with gloves from each of these brands.

Highly recommended niche brands

Brands that many folks in the Soccer Parent Lifestyle community highly recommend.

  1. West Coast Goalkeeping — an American company that specializes in GK gear. From reading reviews and testimonies, they are consistently the most recommended pair by a land slide. These will be my next pair.
  2. Keepher — goalkeeping gloves designed specifically for the female hand.
  3. Epic GK — another pretty common recommendation.

Other niche brands

Recommended niche brands that have great reviews online.

  1. SP — (Soloporteros) a relatively new Spanish goalkeeping brand with high quality gloves that many professionals in Europe wear.
  2. One Glove — a GK equipment specialist company with quality gloves.
  3. Sells — another specialist in goalkeeping equipment. While they make great gloves, I’m not a fan of their style.
  4. T1TAN — another GK specialist company that I’ve seen recommended occasionally.

This, by no means, is an exhaustive list; there may be several others brands out there that I’m unaware of or brands I didn’t to mention. If you know of a brand that you recommend, please feel free to comment.


Glove anatomy

Understanding the basic anatomy of a goalkeeper’s glove will help you choose the right glove for you.

Before we begin, here are a few basic terms and concepts:

  • Latex — the primary material in the construction of quality gloves, especially the palms.
  • Finger cuts — style or method of how the glove material is stitched together, particularly in the fingers.
  • Gussets — the mesh lining inside the fingers of the glove, which are meant to improve glove fit. Not every glove cut has gussets.
  • Backhand — the material used and construction of the back of the glove.
  • Finger protection — an added feature in some gloves that provides additional protection in the form of plastic spines.
  • Wrist closures — the style and type of method of securing the glove around the wrists.

Finger cuts

As I mentioned, a glove’s finger cut is essentially how the glove material is stitched together. You may also see this called “glove cut”. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of cut, and choosing the right fit just comes down to preference—which one fits and feels best when you wear the gloves.

There are three main finger cut types:

  1. Flat palm cut, sometimes called “traditional” or “positive” cut
  2. Rolled finger cut
  3. Negative cut

There are also hybrid cuts that are combinations of these cuts. And, you may find brand-specific names for cuts, like “total flare,” which are really just riffs off of hybrids of the three main finger cuts and are incredibly specific to that particular brand.

Flat palm or traditional cut goalkeeper gloves from Elite Sport with a Captain America style on the backhand.
Flat palm or traditional cut goalkeeper gloves (Elite Sport Stars 2022 goalkeeper glove)

Flat palm, traditional or positive cut

The flat palm cut is the original glove cut. It is called “flat palm” because—you guessed it—the palm is flat.

This cut is so classic that it is also called “traditional” or “regular cut”. And, it is more than likely the type of glove you’ve seen before at youth soccer fields or in sports equipment stores. However, this doesn’t make it lesser quality or mean it’s not as good as the other glove cuts. It is still a highly popular and worthwhile glove cut, depending on your preference.

Features:

  • A looser fit, with a bit more room for wider fingers
  • Stitches on the outside of the latex
  • Palm is made from a single piece of latex
  • Finger gussets, sometimes with a more breathable material

A positive cut is a more modern spin on the flat palm, and features a lower profile with a negative stitched backhand (more on this below).

Rolled finger cut goalkeeper gloves from Elite Sport. They are white with a gold logo lettering.
Rolled finger cut goalkeeper gloves (Elite Sport Real 2022 goalkeeper gloves)

Rolled finger cut

The rolled finger cut gets its name from the fact that the latex material is rolled (or curves) around the sides of the fingers. This features provides a lot of surface area for gripping the ball, and for this reason it tends to be a very popular cut.

The rolled finger cut goes by other names, too, like “gun cut” or “surround cut”. These are just fancy names some brands like to throw around, because “marketing”.

Features:

  • A slightly more snug feeling than the flat palm cut
  • More foam and padding, making the glove feel bulkier
  • Stitches on the outside of the latex
  • Maximum latex surface area for a better grip
  • No finger gussets due to the rolled fingers
Negative cut goalkeeper glove (Reusch Arrow Gold X goalkeeper gloves)

Negative cut

The negative cut gets its name from the fact that the stitches are inside the glove, creating a tighter feel. Because of this, the negative cut is a popular choice for goalkeepers who like a tighter fit and a closer, more “true” feel to the ball.

There are some similarities to the positive cut (flat palm) since the surface is relatively flat due its single piece of latex on the palm and the gussets on the sides of the fingers.

You may also see them called “inverted cut” or “inseam cut” for obvious reasons.

Features:

  • A snug, tighter fit for a better feel of the ball
  • Stitches on the inside of the glove
  • Palm is made from a single piece of latex
  • Finger gussets, sometimes with a more breathable material
Hybrid cut goalkeeper gloves (Elite Sport Gladiator 2021 goalkeeping gloves)

Hybrid cuts

As I mentioned earlier, hybrid cuts are not a specific type of cut, but a combination of cuts. Buying a hybrid cut glove can provide you with a blend of features you prefer in a single glove.

For example:

  • You can get a snug feel and breathable gussets on the middle fingers (negative cut) with larger surface areas on the index finger, little finger, and thumb (rolled cut).
  • You may see gloves called a “negative roll”, which feature the rolled cut only on the finger tips, where you may need the added surface area.
  • You may also come across a glove that says it has a “wrapped thumb”, which is basically just a “rolled thumb”.

My personal favorite is a hybrid with a positive cut on the middle fingers and a rolled cut on the outside fingers and thumb.


Backhand

The backhand describes the material used and the construction of the back of the glove. Some of these materials include latex foam for padding, knit materials for breathability, neoprene for a tighter more natural fit, or even finger protection spines.

The construction of the backhand mostly affects the goalkeeper’s comfort in addition to his or her ability to punch the ball. In some gloves, layers of silicon or embossed latex are added to aid in a goalkeeper’s control of punches. You’ve probably seen the wild Adidas Predator gloves with their prickly silicone “Zone Skin” as they call it.

When it comes to latex backhands, gloves with thinner latex padding are often less expensive and lower quality. Higher quality gloves tend to have thicker latex padding.

Comfort of a glove’s backhand is often related to the glove cut as well.

Segmented finger spines from a goalkeeper glove (source: One Glove)

Finger protection

Gloves with finger protection have plastic spines that run along the backs of the fingers in the backhand of the glove. These spines can either be sewn in permanently or are removable, depending on the glove.

The purpose of these spines is to restrict movement primarily in one direction (i.e. bend fingers forward, not backward) in order to limit the potential for hyperextension or broken fingers.

This technology was originally introduced by Adidas in the 1990s with their Fingersave gloves, which is why these types of gloves are often called “fingersaves”.

If you’re debating whether to purchase gloves with finger spines, please see my advice on buying fingersaves below (“Do I need finger protection?“).

Nike Jr. Match Goalkeeper Gloves have an elastic, half-wrap closure.

Wrist closures

A goalkeeping glove’s wrist closure is the style and method of securing the glove around your wrists. The styles of closure are pretty straightforward since they hinge on 2 main parts: the cuff and the strap.

  • Wrist cuffs — can be elastic or non-elastic
    • Elastic cuffs are pulled on like a snug sock.
    • Non-elastic cuffs have a slit in the side to allow them to be pulled on more easily and are often seen in less expensive youth gloves, since they tend to fit more loosely (which is great for kids, but often annoying to serious goalkeepers).
  • Wrist straps — can be half-wrap, full-wrap, double-wrap or strapless
    • Half-wrap straps typically only Velcro across the back of the wrist.
    • Full-wrap straps wrap once around the whole wrist.
    • Double-wrap straps usually wrap twice around, and are sometimes called “bandage wrap”.
    • Strapless gloves are relatively new, and as you might guess, have no strap and rely heavily on the elastic cuffs to keep them secure.

The most common type of closure in gloves today is the elastic wrist cuff with a Velcro strap (often full-wrap).

Choosing the right closure is simply a matter of personal preference. In some cases, goalkeepers may find that the double-wrapped elastic straps feel too tight and restrictive. While others, like me, prefer the snug fit.


Glove buying

Now that you know the basics of glove anatomy, let’s talk about buying gloves.

Choosing which gloves to buy ultimately comes down to two main considerations: budget and preference in glove features (or anatomy).

Budget aside, a goalkeeper’s pair of gloves is very much a personal choice.

  • What gloves fit the best for you hands and provide the most comfort?
  • What gloves look the coolest?
  • Which gloves provide your preferred grip?
  • What wrist closure feels right?

Glove sizing

While the best way to size goalkeeper gloves is to try them on, this isn’t always possible. Maybe you’re buying them online for the first time? Or your goalkeeper’s hands grew over the summer?

So where do you start?

Glove sizing guides

I would default, first, to the manufacturer’s recommended glove sizing chart. Like most things, one manufacturer’s sizing may differ from another.

Measuring the hand

If there’s no specific glove sizing guide, you can usually** determine the right size of glove by measuring your hand.

Using a soft tape measure (or sewing measuring tape):

  1. Measure the length of you hand, starting with the base of your palm (where it meets your wrist) up to the tip of your longest finger (typically your middle finger). Write this measurement down.
  2. Now measure the circumference of your palm, just below your knuckles and excluding your thumb. Write this measurement down.

Choose the largest of the two measurements, round up to the nearest inch, and add one (1). This number is usually** your glove size.

For instance, if the length of your hand measures 7.5″ and the circumference of your palm is 8.25″, then you would choose the 8.25″ (because it’s bigger), round up to 9″, and then add 1—giving you a glove size of 10.

** However, this isn’t a perfect science, which is why trying on gloves is the preferred method. This magic formula begins to break down at the extremes (i.e. smallest youth hands and largest adult hands). When in doubt, go to a local sports store, try on some gloves to get a rough sizing, and then order the gloves you want online.

Things to consider

  1. Finger tip length
    • There should be about a half inch (or length of a finger nail) of room left in the finger tips.
  2. Width
    • If the gloves are too wide, they will slide, shift or bunch in the palm. This will ultimately affect your ability to catch properly.
    • If the gloves are too narrow they will be uncomfortable or too tight to flex your hand properly.

You may be tempted to buy larger gloves so that your child’s fingers have room to grow. Don’t. I would advise against buying gloves that are longer than a half inch. Larger gloves are often wider, which can cause problems, like described above.

Abrasions on the latex palm of a goalkeeper glove

Latex durability and grip

The quality of latex directly determines the quality of the grip. And, this is by far the most important factor in choosing the right glove for you.

More expensive gloves generally have higher quality grip due to higher quality latex. The better grip comes from the latex-injected foam in the palm of the glove, which provides both padding as well as a stickiness that aids in its grip. As goalkeeper gloves are used, their latex palms begin to wear away. This is normal. This also means there is typically a tradeoff between a glove’s grip and its durability. The better, more supple the grip, the lower its durability, and vice versa.

Grip rules of thumb (play on words intended):

  • Softer latex = better grip
  • Harder latex = better durability
  • Thicker latex = better padding
  • Thinner latex = better ball control, since your hands get a more “real” feel

The latex palm surface can be smooth, dimpled or textured. Smooth latex surfaces are better for matches, and provide the best grip, in my opinion. Textured or dimpled surfaces are more durable, and better for training.

Buy gloves as your child out grows them or they deteriorate/break down. This will most likely mean a new pair every 6 months to a year, depending on how many times they’re used and how fast your kid’s hands grow.

Match vs. training gloves

Match and training gloves follow the same general rules of thumb for grip.

  • Match gloves are typically more expensive and have better grip, due to high quality latex. This means that they are more susceptible to abrasions.
  • Training gloves are typically less expensive and have better durability, and often have a lower rated grip. The added durability comes from a dense, more synthetic palm.

This brings me to the next topic…

Do I need two pairs of gloves?

It’s common for experienced goalkeepers or parents of experienced goalkeepers to insist that every goalkeeper needs to have two pairs of goalkeeper gloves.

You may hear that you need:

  • A pair of match gloves for games and
  • A pair of training gloves for practices

If you’ve ever been told this, understand that this comes from a good place, and is mostly true for goalkeepers competing at the higher levels. There’s value in this. But, is it necessary for you? Do you really need to buy two pairs of gloves, especially when they’re so expensive?

Three things to consider when facing this choice:

  1. What is your budget?
  2. What level?
  3. What age?

Your budget

I listed this first, because above all things, you don’t need to break the bank to outfit you or your goalkeeper. Not very person or family can afford to buy new gloves every season, let alone two pairs of gloves every season. While training gloves aren’t often expensive at all, it is another pair of gloves to buy.

So buy gloves that are affordable for you, while keeping in mind that good quality latex gloves cost more, but have better grip and padding (while often sacrificing durability too). Going cheap is usually a bad idea for match gloves—you get what you pay for.

If you’re looking for affordable gloves, West Coast Goalkeeping has some fantastic gloves in the $60–$80 range.

Keeper level

If your goalkeeper has (or you have):

  • 1 practice per week (e.g. Recreation) — you definitely do not need two pairs of gloves.
  • 2 practices per week — you probably don’t need two pairs of gloves.
  • 3 practices per week — you most likely will need two pairs of gloves.
  • 4 practices per week — you definitely need two pairs of gloves.

The need for two pairs of goalkeeping gloves is often based on usage. Glove usage will naturally deteriorate high quality, match gloves. Latex just breaks down. It’s supposed to.

If you’re buying two pairs, it’s common to choose one nice pair of match gloves and a pair of training gloves. The training gloves are meant to take the abuse during practice, so you can save the nice match gloves for games (keeping them from getting worn out quickly).

However, I have heard of some goalkeepers buying two pairs of similar match gloves (usually differently colored so they can tell them apart easily), because they like to have the same “match feel” engrained during training.

Keeper age

If your goalkeeper is young and still growing quickly (under 12), you more than likely don’t need two pairs of gloves. Or, really, why would you want to buy 2 pairs of gloves simultaneously for hands that keep growing rapidly?

In my opinion, training gloves are better for younger, beginner goalkeepers due to their affordability (i.e. finger growth), level of play (i.e. weaker shots), need for durability, and the need to develop finger strength.

Do I need finger protection?

The topic of whether a goalkeeper should or should not be using gloves with finger spines (or “Fingersave Gloves”) may be up for some debate depending on your preference, your age, your worry for injury (as a parent of a goalkeeper or keeper yourself), or whether you’re an expert training goalkeepers (there are lots of opinions here).

So, I feel that it’s best to give you some general pros and cons in addition to my advice and my own personal experience (and opinion) as a goalkeeper and goalkeeping coach. Then, you can make your own decision based on this info.

Pros

  • Restricts movement backward, with the hope to limit finger injuries.
  • Added protection from backhand injuries, like getting stepped on (though rare).
  • Added confidence when catching the ball (which can be valuable).

Cons

  • Can restrict movement forwards, making it hard to develop a proper fist to punch the ball away.
  • Limits a player’s ability to develop a feel for catching the ball properly, and often leads to poor technique.
  • Finger strength will not improve naturally during play or training due to restrictions in movement.
  • Not 100% guarantee that your fingers won’t get injured.

Advice

  • Young goalkeepers under the age of 12 do not need finger protection. The shots they face just are not hard enough to worry about hyperextension.
  • Having spines limits a young goalkeeper’s ability to develop finger strength and proper, safe catching habits—which is the most important thing for them to develop as goalkeepers. Lazy catching techniques will cause injuries!
  • Strength and proper form helps prevent injuries in every sport.
  • If you’re coming off of a finger injury, it’s probably best to have the extra support of spines (or taped fingers).

My experience

I’ve been a goalkeeper since I was nine years old, and for many of those years I had crappy gloves. It was the 90s! I never had a real, quality pair of gloves until I was in high school, and even those pairs didn’t have finger protection.

I’ve also had my fair share of sports injuries (maybe too many), but I never once broke my finger playing goalkeeper. Nor did I wear Fingersaves when they first came out.

That was until I was in my twenties.

I was coaching a U16 boys team at the time. During a fun shooting drill in practice, I was playing keeper and dove to save a rather typical shot. It was hard, but nothing out of the ordinary for U16 boys. I had saved shots like this before. My form was fine, and my fingers with straight. But, somehow the ball just grabbed the tip of my middle finger wrong, and snapped it back. Just a random, freak accident.

I wear gloves with finger protection now. But, I’ve developed the proper techniques and strength. And, after that finger injury shook my confidence some to this day, I’m ok with the restrictive movement.

With that, you do you. Go with what you’re comfortable with, but always put working on proper catching technique and strength first before relying on some plastic spines to prevent injury.

Do I need sticky spray or “Glove Glu”?

Is Glove Glu really necessary? This may be another one of those hot debates, and my opinion may not be super popular these days. But, I’m going to give it to you straight: no.

Good, quality gloves do not need sticky spray.

Here’s why:

  • High quality latex is already designed to be naturally sticky when it’s damp.
  • Taking good care of your gloves will keep them all the sticky they will ever need to be.
  • If you develop the proper catching technique and finger strength, you won’t need “glue”.
  • I’ve also witnessed sticky spray breakdown high quality latex more quickly. I don’t trust the stuff.

The only reason to buy the stuff is if you have crappy gloves and have bad technique. Period. We’ve got to get past these commercialized quick fixes, like sticky spray.

To keep your gloves naturally sticky:

  1. Take good care of them (e.g. do not spit on them)
  2. Remember the pitch surface to grip rule (see below)

Never spit on your gloves

Why? Read about why you should never spit on your gloves.

Never use Vaseline®

I’m not even sure why this would be a thing, but apparently it is. Evidently, someone heard that pro goalkeepers do this, so they tried it out.

This is a bad idea. Never add Vaseline (or petroleum jelly) to your gloves.

Why? I won’t bore you with too much of the science, but the gist is that when the petroleum jelly meets the latex, it will feel sticky almost instantly. This may seem like a good thing, but it’s not. It’s sticky because there is a chemical reaction happening that is slowly changing the structure of the glove. Meaning, it is no longer latex!

It may work great for one game. But, you will have to throw your gloves in the trash afterwards because they’ll have become harder, slicker and drier than before—and there’s no going back.

Just because pros have the money to trash a pair of gloves every game doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

Should I use glove balm?

While I’ve never used glove balm, I hear good things. The balm protects the pores in the latex from absorbing harmful minerals, like sweat and dirt, that can degrade the latex more quickly.

If your gloves begin to feel oily after using glove balm, it’s because need to wash them.


Taking care of your gloves

After spending a lot of money on good goalkeeper gloves, the last thing you’d want is for them to not last a whole season (or longer). Taking good care of your gloves can help ensure they do last as long as possible and maintain their grip.

It’s important, however, to note that latex is a soft material and will naturally deteriorate and show wear through use. In fact, by its very nature, latex will “sacrifice” small bits of its surface during more abrasive or high impact saves. Natural wear and tear will happen, but by taking good care of your gloves, you can limit the affect of other factors that will degrade your gloves more quickly.

General care and storing

Caring for your gloves is easy. Here are some general tips:

1. Avoid excess or unneeded abrasion

Do not rub the latex palms with your fingers, against themselves, with a towel or any other rough surfaces. Abrasiveness will destroy the latex.

Do not use your palms to push yourself off the ground (like a push up). This will get them dirty as well. Use your knuckles/fist instead.

2. Wash your gloves regularly

Clean or wash your gloves regularly to remove dirt. Dirt will not only affect your grip, but it will destroy latex since it is abrasive. Learn how to wash your glove properly.

3. Store your gloves in a cool, room temp environment

Always store your gloves in a separate glove bag, in a cool or room temperature environment.

Never leave your gloves in your hot car or in direct sunlight. And, never leave them loose in your soccer bag where other things can damage the palms. The heat will dry out the latex palms, and the sun will degrade your gloves.

Do not store your gloves with the palms together. They could stick together, and tear some of the latex when you pull them apart.

4. Never use heat to dry your gloves

Do not use a hair dryer or clothes dryer to dry your gloves. Added heat will dry out the latex in the palms, destroy them or possibly even melt them.

If your gloves are wet, let them air dry naturally, or light pat them dry with a towel when playing in the rain—never rub the palms. Letting them air dry after each use will also help them from smelling so bad.

5. Never spit on your gloves

Besides being gross, saliva contains uric acid, mucus, electrolytes and bacteria which is a potent mix designed to break down materials. Plus, the electrolytes (salts) will dry out the gloves, and the bacteria will make them smell even nastier.

If you’re trying to moisten your gloves to make them naturally sticky, use clean drinking water only, and follow the pitch surface to grip rule to help your gloves maintain that stickiness in different weather conditions.

Don’t use sticky spray or “Glove Glu” either as it will degrade higher quality latex.

Extremely dirty blue and yellow Uhlsport brand goalkeeper gloves
Extremely dirty Uhlsport brand goalkeeper gloves

Cleaning your gloves

Regularly cleaning your gloves has the added benefits:

  1. Your gloves will last longer, since dirt will degrade the latex palms.
  2. Your gloves won’t smell nearly as bad.
  3. You’ll have better grip, since the latex will be clean
  4. You won’t have to buy gloves as often, since you’re taking care of them.

I’ve heard some wild stories about folks who have to buy new gloves every couple of months or complain about how badly they smell. The main factor in these situations is almost always the fact that they don’t wash their gloves regularly.

How often is regularly?

It’s best to wash them after each use, but you should wash them at least once a week. If you play several times per week, you should really wash them after each use—especially if they’re your only pair of gloves.

How to clean goalkeeping gloves

  1. Fill a sink or bucket with clean, lukewarm water (not hot).
  2. Place your gloves in the water, and lightly squeeze them to absorb as much water as possible. Then, let them soak for about a minute.
  3. If you have Glove Wash (optional), pump out some foam in a line from the base of the palm to the base of the knuckles. Then, gently massage the palms with your fingers to work the Glove Wash throughout the palm surface and fingers.
  4. If you do not have Glove Wash, gently massage the palms with your fingers to try to work out some of the dirt. Never use other soaps or detergents.
  5. Place your gloves back in the water and let them soak for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove the gloves from the water, and firmly squeeze them to remove the dirty water. Do not wring out or twist the gloves, since it can tear the materials.
  7. Replace the water in the sink or bucket with fresh, lukewarm water.
  8. Place your gloves in the fresh water, and lightly squeeze them inside the water to flush out any remaining Glove Wash or dirt.
  9. Remove the gloves from the water, and firmly squeeze them. Do not wring out or twist the glove.
  10. Hang them to dry with a clothes pin or their straps. I used to hang them on the cabinet knobs above my washer and dryer with a towel below them to catch all the drippage. Do not use a heat to dry your gloves (e.g. hair dryer or clothes dryer).

Do not rub your glove palms with your fingers or against themselves, and never use a scrubber. Abrasiveness will destroy the latex.

Do not wash them in the washing machine. Even in a pillow case, like some people recommend. Wash them by hand, always.

Never use soaps or detergents, except for Glove Wash.


A female goalkeeper in red leaps to tip the ball over the crossbar in the rain
A goalkeeper leaps to tip the ball over the crossbar in the rain (photo by Rhett Lewis)

Other tips

How the pitch surface affects grip

The conditions of the pitch surface (or weather) can greatly affect the “stickiness” of your gloves. So, one of the best rules of thumb to go by is…

Your gloves should be the opposite of the pitch.

  • Wet pitch surfaces require dry latex.
    • Gently pat your gloves dry on a towel hung in the side netting to keep it from getting muddy. Do not rub them dry!
  • Dry pitch surfaces require moist latex.

If you do follow this rule, you will have all the stickiness you need.

Tweet by SoccerGrlProbs: When you get stuck next to your keeper's glove hand in the huddle
One of my favorite tweets by @SoccerGrlProbs

Getting rid of glove odor

With all that sweat and dirt, gloves will naturally begin to smell—maybe even badly. This is especially true if your keeper is a teenager.

So, how do you get rid of the stench or keep them stink-free?

  1. Wash your gloves regularly. This is the best way to keep your gloves stench-free and performing at their best for a long time.
  2. Let them air dry naturally after each use before storing them away in your bag.
  3. If washing them regularly isn’t quite doing the trick, you can try sanitizing them with a 40/60 water and rubbing alcohol mixture.

Sanitizing your gloves

If you really need to get the stink out, and washing them regularly isn’t quite doing the trick, you can sanitize them. Here’s how:

  1. Fill a spray bottle or small bucket with 40/60 solution of lukewarm water (not hot) and Isopropyl alcohol (a.k.a. rubbing alcohol).
  2. Spray or soak your gloves in the solution for 30 seconds only! The alcohol should immediately kill all the wretched bacteria in your gloves. Do not leave them longer than 30 seconds, because alcohol is not really that good for latex.
  3. Immediately soak your gloves in fresh, clean lukewarm water and squeeze them out. Don’t not wring or twist them.
  4. Then, wash them like normal.

I wouldn’t do this regularly either. Save it for when you really need to.

Some people say they spray their gloves with this solution after each use, and just leave it on. Do not do this! It may be fine for other gear, but the latex in goalkeeper gloves will break down if exposed to alcohol long term.

Buying or making odor inserts

Some people like to buy odor inserts, like Meister Glove Deodorizer—which are meant for boxing gloves, but can be used in goalie gloves or soccer cleats even.

If you make your own glove deodorizers, here are some things to consider:

  • Never use baking soda. While it may remove the smell, it will get inside the latex pores and dry out the latex too—damaging your gloves.
  • If you use charcoal, do not use charcoal powder or any size small enough to get inside the latex. Charcoal is abrasive and will damage your gloves.

Questions or comments

If you have any questions, comments or other tips, please feel free to ask or share them with me!


Mark Caron
Mark Caron

Mark is soccer-obsessed dad, USSF D licensed youth soccer coach and goalkeeper trainer. Follow Mark at Decoding Soccer on Medium.com