As a goalkeeper, your gloves are one of the most important tools of your trade. Without a durable pair of goalkeeper gloves, you may end up making mistakes once the grip starts to wear and you don’t have as good of a hold on the football.
To prolong the life of your goalkeeper gloves, it is important that you take care of them properly. This will both ensure that you are not lowering the probability of making saves, but it also will save you money in the long run because your gloves will last you a long time when they are looked after.
This article looks at ways in which you can protect and prolong the grip on your goalkeeper gloves, providing you with actionable tips and advice.
Preparing your new set of gloves
If you have just bought a new pair of goalkeeper gloves, then it is a good idea to prep them for what lies ahead. These gloves may have been sitting in packaging for some time, so you will want to bring a bit of life back into them to prepare the grip for catching and blocking footballs.
You should use a bit of warm water to gently wash the grip. There is no need for any soap as these gloves should be sparkling clean when you take them out of the packet. Then let them dry in a natural way, avoiding direct exposure to a prominent light or heat source.
Make sure to clean your gloves after every session or game
Perhaps the most important tip to keep a good grip on your goalkeeper gloves is to ensure that you clean them after every training session and game. This will take some time, but it will be worth it. You will probably be tired after a training session or a game, but you should try to get your gloves cleaned before you sit down to relax for the rest of the day.
No matter what type of weather conditions you are playing in, there will likely be some dirt that has accumulated on your goalkeeper gloves during a session. This could be muck when the days are wet or sand when you are playing on a dry day.
Whatever the case may be, you should give the gloves a wash regardless of the conditions. You should lightly wash them, under a tap to get any surface dirt off the grip of the gloves. You can use specialized cleaning gel for goalkeeper gloves too if the dirt is a bit stubborn. Just make sure that you do not scrub the grip too vigorously or you will be causing damage to the grip.
Some people like to put one of the gloves on their hand while washing it, using their spare hand to do the cleaning. This all comes down to personal preference. It is also a good idea to run some water on the inside of the gloves. This dislodges any dirt or sweat that has built up internally.
By giving the gloves a good wash initially, you will be able to get a deeper clean than just using a cloth to clean the gloves.
Make sure to properly dry your gloves
After you have washed your goalkeeper gloves, the job is not yet complete. It is vital that you properly dry them properly to ensure that there are no further issues. Avoid drying them directly next to a heat source such as a radiator or putting them in a dryer.
This strong heat can cause damage to the foam on the gloves, which is to be avoided. If you try to leave them on the ground somewhere to dry, this will also not be very effective. The gloves will likely still be wet when it comes time to wear them at your next session or game.
Therefore, the best approach to take when drying your goalkeeper gloves is to hang them up somewhere. You may have a clothesline or a clothes horse, whichever is the most accessible option for you. This promotes proper airflow through the entirety of the glove. Some people like to roll up some old newspaper and put it inside of the goalkeeper gloves to help with the drying too.
Don’t overly dry your gloves
While it is important to remove most of the excess water from your goalkeeper gloves after washing them, you also don’t want to over do it. It is good to have a bit of moistness in your gloves when playing. This is why you often see the best goalkeepers spraying a bit of water on their gloves or spitting on them during the course of a game.
The latex in the grip will be at its grippiest when you moisten the palm. This is the case because some moisture maximizes the friction that takes place between a ball and the gloves. If you dry out your goalkeeper gloves too much, the grip can become flaky and start to deteriorate, which is to be avoided.
A good idea is to make the surface of your goalkeeper gloves a bit damp a couple of hours before using them. All it takes is a dash of warm water for just a few seconds to do the trick.
You can then wrap the gloves in something like a towel that will not completely dry out the gloves before game time. When you start the game or training session, you want the grip to have a moist feeling but not so much that there is excess water that drips from the gloves.
The storage of your gloves
If you have appropriately dried your gloves following your previous session or game, you should then store your gloves appropriately until the next time that you need to use them. You want to keep them in an environment that is cool and somewhat moist.
If you put them into storage and they are wet, mold and bacteria can develop on the gloves. As well as causing the grip to deteriorate, it will usually generate a bad odor that most goalkeepers will have smelt as some stage during their playing career. If the environment is overly dry, the grip can become somewhat brittle and start to crumble once you start using them once more. Something like a ventilated bag would be ideal, as it allows the gloves to breathe without being overly dry.
Try to store them without the palms of the two gloves facing one another. If you failed to do so, there is a likelihood that the two palms will stick to one another and when you take them apart, the grip might tear or get damaged.
Avoiding damage on the pitch
There are a few subtle ways that you can protect the grip of your gloves during the course of training or games. You will find yourself diving and being on the ground a lot. When you make contact with the ground using the palms of your gloves, this can damage the grip.
A good habit to get into is avoiding using your palms when it is not necessary to do so. Instead, you can try to lift yourself up by using your fists, so that the grip of the gloves is maintained. Naturally, there will be some circumstances when this is not a viable option, but when possible, it can really be a good idea.
Making sure that your gloves fit you
One mistake that is overlooked by many goalkeepers is buying gloves that do not fit properly. It is important to take the time to ensure that you are using properly fitting gloves. Not only will this help to improve your performance on the pitch, it will also help with the durability of the gloves.
If you are playing with goalkeeper gloves that are too tight, this can cause the seams and even the grip to rip and burst. If the gloves are too big for your hands, then the grip will end up wearing at a faster rate. Therefore, make sure that you properly measure your hands and find a pair that fits these measurements perfectly.
Having a second pair of gloves
If it is possible, a lot of goalkeepers like to have a couple of pairs of gloves. They like to use one pair for training and one pair for matches. The majority of the damage to the grip that occurs on the pitch is likely to come during training sessions.
It is in these sessions that you will often be diving more during drills and you will likely train more than you play games. Therefore, a lot of goalkeepers use their older pair of gloves for training sessions and keep their newer pair with a more intact grip for games.
As you can see, there are a lot of different things you can do in order to protect the grip on your goalkeeper gloves. Of course, there is always going to be some wear and tear over time, so don't get too worried about this. However, by following these tips, you can prolong the life of your goalkeeper gloves even further.
This will save you money in the long run as you will not be buying new pairs of gloves as frequently as you otherwise may have been.