The Different Types of Goalkeeper Gloves

Hey Keepers,

A recent comment from our friend George gave us the idea for this post – what are the different types of goalkeeper gloves and what are the benefits of each?  There are 3 main features of goalkeeper gloves that have an immediate influence on the fit and performance.  They are whether or not the glove has finger protection, the type of latex used, and the type of fit/cut.  There are 3 main types of cuts for goalie gloves – flat palm, gunn cut, and negative cut.  Hard ground and wet weather are the 2 special types of latex on the gloves’ palm, however, most goalkeeper gloves are not made for one specific weather condition, but made for all weather conditions. I’ll go through each of the different types of gloves with an example of a pair of keeper gloves you can buy below:

Goalkeeper Glove Features that Influence Fit

Goalkeeper Gloves with Finger Protection

adidas FS Fingersave Replique Goalkeeper Gloves

adidas FS Fingersave Replique Goalkeeper Gloves - $75 from Soccer.com

It’s quite a challenge to find a brand of goalkeeper gloves that does not make at least one pair of gloves with finger protection.  adidas was the first goalkeeper glove to create such a feature, their fingersave technology may have been a savior for youth goalkeepers and their parents, but was actually worn by professional goalkeepers as well.  The spines in goalkeepers now are very flexible when making a fist, but very sturdy when trying to bend the finger backwards.  You can find goalkeeper gloves with finger protection in a variety of different styles, price points, and types of fit.  Many goalkeeper brands make goalie gloves with removable finger protection in addition to their different styles.

Flat Palm (or traditional) Goalkeeper Gloves

Storelli XRB-1 FP goalkeeper gloves with finger protection

Storelli XRB-1 FP Goalkeeper Gloves for $140 from Soccer.com

Flat Palm, also known as traditional cut goalkeeper gloves are the goalkeeper gloves you might be most familiar with.  These usually are the type of cut you see for practice gloves that are sold for $20 at your local Sports Authority.  By no means are traditional cut goalie gloves only designed for training, they’re also sold for over $120 as match play gloves.  Flat palm goalie gloves are stitched on the outside of the glove (inside would be negative cut) and create a box like shape around the fingers.  These gloves also tend to have gussets for breathability along the sides of each finger.  Finger protective spines are usually placed in flat palm keeper gloves because of the extra space created in the box like finger shapes as pictured in the pair of Nike goalie gloves above.

Gunn Cut (or rolled finger) Goalkeeper Gloves

Nike GK Gunn Cut Goalkeeper Gloves

Nike GK Gunn Cut Goalkeeper Gloves - $90 from Soccer.com

Gunn Cut goalkeeper gloves are also called rolled finger goalkeeper gloves.  These gloves are exactly what they sound like – the finger is rolled giving each finger more surface area than a flat palm or negative cut goalkeeper glove creating a rounded shape.  Rolled finger goalkeeper gloves are said to be more popular in Europe than the United States – there isn’t much of a performance difference between gunn cut goalkeeper gloves and the traditional flat palm, it’s more of a preference with fit.  There are no gussets on rolled finger goalie gloves, the latex on the palm is attached directly to the backhand.  I believe there is more of a selection of traditional cut goalkeeper gloves than rolled finger gloves, especially at the top level of goalkeeper gloves.

Traditional Cut and Gunn Cut Goalkeeper Glove Hybrids

reusch Keon Deluxe G1 Ortho-Tec Goalkeeper Gloves with Finger Protection

reusch Keon Deluxe G1 Ortho-Tec Goalkeeper Gloves - $160 from Soccer.com

There are goalkeeper gloves that are a cross between traditional cut and gunn cut – they usually only have a rolled thumb and possibly a rolled index finger, but gussets and a box cut around the other fingers.  Out of all of your fingers, the thumb and index finger are most important when catching a ball – this is why these fingers are rolled.  The others aren’t rolled in order to maintain flexibility and breathability.  Many soccer shops will either categorize these types of gloves as either flat palm or gunn cut, don’t be surprised to find a couple pairs of these types of gloves next time you’re shopping for a new pair of goalkeeper gloves.

Negative Cut Goalkeeper Gloves

Lanzera Gambeta Goalkeeper Glove - Negative Cut

Lanzera Gambeta Goalkeeper Glove - $80 from Soccer.com

Negative cut goalkeeper gloves are not that popular in the United States as in Europe and it’s actually marketed more towards women with thinner fingers.  A group of goalkeepers that I train were talking about how they like their gloves to fit and only one out of the seven said he liked his gloves to fit tight around his fingers.  The other goalkeepers all felt their gloves gave them more area to catch the ball where the other goalkeeper said he felt he had a better touch and control of the ball.  The main difference between negative cut goalkeeper gloves and traditional flat palm goalkeeper gloves is the type of stitching which in negative cut goalkeeper gloves is inside the fingers rather than outside.  Notice how the fingers don’t look as boxy as a flat palm goalie glove – this will provide more of a tighter fit (not like a batting glove), providing more control with the ball.

Goalkeeper Glove Features For Specific Weather Conditions

Wet Weather Grip Goalkeeper Gloves

Sells Total Contact Aqua Goalkeeper Glove for Wet Weather and Rain

Sells Total Contact Aqua Goalkeeper Glove - $110 from Soccer.com

Wet weather goalkeeper gloves are fairly new (as in a few years), they are made for wet weather conditions like rain or snow.  Although not advised, they can be worn in dry weather conditions but you must completely soak your gloves in water first.  I’ve personally never bought or used wet weather goalkeeper gloves in my career partly because I was fortunate enough to not play in many rainstorms, but also the technology was very new then.  When playing in wet weather goalkeepers have to play more careful and get their full body behind the ball and box out crosses when they probably could have caught it easily because rain easily impacts a goalkeeper gloves performance.  The glove does not absorb as well (because it’s full of water) and the ball can slip out of the goalkeeper’s hands.  This is were wet weather goalkeeper gloves come in – they’re able to still absorb the impact of the ball from a powerful shot and they help keep the ball from slipping out of your hands. Sells is the first goalkeeper glove company that comes to my mind when I think of wet weather goalkeeper gloves.

Hard Ground Goalkeeper Gloves

uhlsport Ergonomic Hardground SF RP Goalkeeper Gloves

uhlsport Ergonomic Hardground SF/RP Goalkeeper Gloves - $90 from Soccer.com

Hard ground goalkeeper gloves are a great choice for field conditions that are tough on gloves such as indoor surfaces, artificial turf and grass fields, and outdoor fields that are poor with more dirt than grass and look more like a baseball infield.  I’ve found that not only is the latex tougher, but the backhand is more durable as well.  They tend to only be flat palm styles sometimes with grooves etched into the latex.  The one popular complaint about hard ground goalkeeper gloves is that the grip and absorption aren’t as good as all weather goalkeeper gloves – I’ve actually tested out a pair of uhlsport Ergonomic Hardground gloves and the grip was above average.  The focus is more on durability making hard ground goalkeeper gloves an excellent investment for a pair of training gloves.

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