What goalkeeper equipment do you really need to buy? What equipment is optional?
Some goalkeeping equipment is essential — but there’s also a whole range of extras you may want to invest in. So I’ve divided the following goalkeeper equipment list into two sections:
- Essential goalkeeper equipment. The bare bones. Stick with these to save yourself money.
- Optional goalkeeper equipment. Invest if you’re looking to improve specific areas of your game.
This post should save you both time and money.
Essential Goalkeeper Equipment
1. Goalkeeper Gloves
Gloves are, by far, the most important item of goalkeeping equipment. Investing in decent goalkeeper gloves is a necessity.
So what should you look for in a pair of GK gloves?
- The right glove cut. Learn about the different stitching styles used to manufacture goalkeeping gloves.
- High quality latex. Find out what type of latex material makes for the best grip on the ball.
- Value for money. You need to be careful not to overspend. My goalkeeper glove buying guide provides money-saving tips.
For goalkeepers starting out, right up to the higher levels, I recommend the Rectrix 1.0 Goalkeeper Gloves. They provide maximum comfort, grip, flexibility — and value for money. They’re perfect for both amateurs and club goalkeepers looking to improve their game.
SPONSORSHIP: Rectrix are currently running a "buy 2 pairs, get a third FREE" sponsorship promotion on gloves purchased through Amazon. Terms & conditions apply. Full details are published on the Rectrix Sponsorships page.
Rectrix 1.0 Glove Specification
- Negative cut (stitched on the inside)
- Contact latex palms & Dumbo Foam backhand
- Quick-use Latex strap (Velcro)
- Includes additional slits for enhanced hand and finger flexibility
- Complimentary zip case
- Designed alongside academy keepers
- Superior quality & value to leading sports brands
- Comes in White or Black
Rectrix 1.0 gloves are produced from premium, long-lasting materials.
Buy the complete set for just £31.97 / $48.97 from Amazon.
Check out my detailed goalkeeper glove top 10 list for 2021.
Whatever gloves you decide to buy, bare in mind that there’s no substitute for good technique. Gloves will improve your grip — but won’t ‘supercharge’ your overall skill level!
2. Football Boots
There aren’t too many specialist goalkeeper football boots. The ones advertised online as ‘GK boots’ tend to just be generic football boots marketed to keepers, or worn by pros. So your choice of boots is entirely down to preference.
I personally prefer the quality, feel, and lifespan of Nike and Adidas boots over Puma and other brands I’ve worn. I always aim for boots which feel light when I try them on — because when you traipse through mud on a match day you could do without the additional weight.
The Importance of Studs
When it comes to football boots, it’s vitally important for keepers to wear the correct studs for the conditions they’re playing on.
We’ve all seen it when footballers (including pros) slip multiple times during a game. Just imagine the consequences of the goalkeeper continually losing their footing.
The main types of football boots are as follows:
- Firm ground (FG): by far the most popular type. Designed to give maximum grip and comfort on natural grass pitches in dry to slightly wet conditions (e.g. summer, frozen pitches in the winter).
- Soft ground (SG): designed for wet, rainy match-days. There are two main variations of this type — the traditional 6-stud configuration (e.g. Puma King), or the modern mixed sole (e.g. Nike Mercurial).
- Artificial ground (AG): designed for increasingly popular 3G and 4G artificial pitches. They’re a safer and more comfortable option than FG or Astro Turf.
- Astro Turf: designed for sand or water based surfaces (old style artificial pitches).
- Indoor: for hard-floor dry surfaces (e.g. sports halls). They include soles made up of a non-marking rubber. Typically used in small sided games — such as 5-a-side or futsal.
Depending on what conditions you train/play on, you’ll most likely need 1-2 types of boots. It’s best not to cut corners on your footwear; it’s dangerous to wear boots incompatible with the surface (e.g. using soft ground studs on an artificial pitch).
Check out the video I’ve featured on my Goalkeeper Mud Guide to fully appreciate the importance of using the right studs…
3. Padded Shorts or Trousers
Diving onto hard ground or artificial surfaces can cut, graze — even burn — your exposed skin. Goalkeeper trousers and shorts are designed to protect you from high-impact landings, in the toughest of playing conditions — from grass to astro turf, to 3/4g pitches.
I highly recommend investing in some padded trousers and/or shorts. Personally I’d play matches in shorts, as rain and mud adds weight to your clothing and hinders movement. Save the trousers for training.
Adidas Men’s Tierro Goalkeeping Trousers are my favourite.
At around £17-24 with free delivery they’re great value.
Club branded goalkeeping shorts can be a bit flimsy.
But for less than £25 with free delivery, Uhlsport provide a good quality, padded pair.
4. Padded Jersey
The majority of professional goalkeepers wear a long-sleeved padded jersey to offer protection to their arms, elbows, and sometimes shoulders. If it’s brightly coloured, it also makes it easier for your team mates to see when you’re coming (e.g. to claim a high ball).
When playing on dry or hard surfaces, you have to feel confident that when you hit the ground you’ll be protected by your clothing. Otherwise, instinctively, you may try to protect your body before making the save.
If your team doesn’t provide a jersey with adequate protection — invest in one yourself.
Unfortunately many padded GK tops are hideous. This one from Puma is smart, though.
Less than £30 on Amazon.
5. Water Bottle
A sports water bottle has made my list of essential goalkeeper equipment for a few reasons:
- On a bone-dry hot day you may need some moistness on your glove palms to improve the grip of the latex. I prefer to have my gloves very slightly damp to touch.
- In murky conditions you may need to rise off some thick excess mud from your gloves or boots.
- You might get thirsty during a game!
I must admit, I’ve played in some awful conditions. Keeping a sports water bottle by the post was a good habit to get into.
Sports water bottles are surprisingly expensive (and prone to leaking!).
Here’s one that’s good quality for less than £7.
6. Glove Towel
Glove towels help keepers maintain grip on their gloves throughout the game. It makes it onto my list of essential goalkeeping equipment because there’s really no good reason not to have one. In fact, any soft lint-free towel will suffice — there’s nothing particularly unique about a glove towel.
The idea is that in extremely wet, muddy conditions you can wipe your gloves clean whenever you have a spare moment. I recommend hanging it in the side netting for quick access.
While you don’t need a specialist branded towel, you can pick up one on Amazon as part of the GloveGlu cleaning set for around £35.
An alternative product for goalkeepers in the USA. Around $20 on Amazon.
7. Socks & Shin Pads
Football socks are a necessary item of goalkeeper equipment; regular sports socks won’t protect your feet from blisters.
It’s also crucial, and mandatory, that you wear shin pads. They’re especially important for goalkeepers who dive at the feet of attackers (and therefore get kicked and studded on a regular basis).
Most popular brands of socks and shin pads will do fine. I prefer to use shin pads with built-in ankle protectors. With so many crunching 1v1’s, keepers benefit from having that extra layer.
I’ve worn Nike Charge shin pads for three years.
They’re usually around £15 from Amazon.
Adidas provide football socks for all sizes.
You can pick most popular colours up for less than £10.
8. Waterproof Jacket
The final piece of ‘essential’ goalkeeper equipment to make my list is a waterproof training jacket. Wearing one ensures that you’ll (at least) start games feeling a warm and fresh — rather than slippery, wet, and heavy.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on a goalkeeper training jacket. You can pick up one for £15+ at specialist online stores.
I recommend the Nike Academy18 Rain Jacket for keeping warm and dry before games.
Prices start at just £18 on Amazon.
Optional Goalkeeper Equipment
1. Agility Ladder
Use agility ladders for footwork and fitness training in the garden, over the park — even indoors if you have enough space. It’s practically an essential item of goalkeeper equipment.
Your GK coach will almost certainly provide agility ladders in training. They’re a great low investment for any goalkeeper.
Agility ladder + 4 stakes (which keep it secured to the ground), 10 cones, and carry bag.
The full set is around £15 from Amazon.
To setup simple drills yourself, purchase a set of cones (or the above agility ladder set, which includes cones).
Use cones to practice footwork, fitness and to create match-like deflections. Take a look at my post How Can Goalkeepers Improve Their Reflexes? to see how cones are used in training.
A set of 50 football cones, complete with a carrying mask, is around £15 from Amazon.
An alternative product for goalkeepers in the USA. Around $30 on Amazon.
3. Knee Pads
If you’re keen to wear shorts (recommended for real games), then you leave your knees exposed to hard ground.
Luckily there’s some light-weight & unobtrusive knee pads designed for all sports. You might decide to wear them in training, or if your knees are particularly sensitive and require some extra protection.
Elastic Junior knee protectors can be purchased for around £13-15 on Amazon.
Alternatively, Bodyprox makes another (bulkier) product for around the same price.
4. Finger Tape
Many goalkeepers use finger tape to give them a little extra strength and protection.
I’ve never personally felt the need for it — but then again I played with fingersave gloves for long spells. Finger tape offers an equivalent level of protection without loss of hand flexibility.
The following sports tape is made of elastic latex, is self-adhesive, and doesn’t stick to hair or skin.
£10-15 from Amazon (Europe)
An alternative product for goalkeepers in the USA:
This one’s for the older guys.
Do you feel the need to bulk up a little? Are you lacking the strength needed as a keeper?
I recall the shock of going from U18 into men’s football. The game was far more physical. I went from being one of the most physically developed, robust players on the pitch to taking heavy knocks in almost every fixture. I had the height and physique — but lacked the natural strength that comes with age. Protein intake, accompanied by the right gym workouts, certainly would’ve helped.
TheProteinWorks is one of Europe’s fastest growing Sports Nutrition Brands.
All fitness requirements are catered for by their extensive, innovative product range.
Also eligible in Non-UK Countries:
MyProtein provides a range of over 2,500 premium quality supplements.
Everything is produced in-house, guaranteeing the highest possible quality.
6. Wrist, Ankle, & Elbow Supports
Supports are used to assist with recovery from moderate ligament and tendon injuries.
If you’re fresh back from an injury then joint supports will provide a bit of additional stability, and help make you feel more confident in training and/or games.
Around £10 from Amazon.
7. Baseball Cap
Every keeper has experienced the sunlight shining in their eyes. And it’s a nightmare to play with.
Outfield players can afford to misjudge the high ball when they’re blinded by the sun. But when a Keeper experiences the same issue, the consequences are fatal. You can’t afford to let the weather conditions get the better of your performance.
Despite a baseball cap looking slightly unorthodox out on the football pitch, it can be a life-saver.
Uhlsport offer a baseball cap with an easy-to-use velcro strap.
Less than £15 from Amazon.
Another alternative (available in the US) are the breathable sports caps sold by Adidas. Prices vary.
8. Glove Wash
Glove Wash is another item that came close to making my list of essential goalkeeper equipment.
Without glove wash, your goalkeeper gloves will dry out, offer less grip and become more prone to tearing. Specialist glove wash fluids are designed to maintain the performance of your gloves and improve their lifespan.
GloveGlu’s glove care system works wonders. It restores the grip of goalkeeper gloves with ease.
Less than £25 from Amazon.
Also check out my Goalkeeper Glove Care Guide for more information on prolonging the life of your gloves.
9. Rebound Net
Rebound nets are used as a training aid for volleys, first touches, headers and — most importantly — goalkeeping saves.
You can add a challenging and unpredictable element to your training drills, as demonstrated in my Goalkeeper Reactions & Reflexes post. A great piece of equipment, if you have the space.
The RapidFire rebounder provides excellent bounce, and is made of a sturdy yet manoeuvrable fold-away frame. Prices start from £114.
10. Training Goals
If you want to train at home in the garden or over a local park, then you might be interested in purchasing your own goal.
There are many excellent training goals on the market to suit all requirements and budgets. For the majority of Keepers, a mid-sized goal would offer the optimal balance of size, portability and value for money.
I recommend the Samba range of mid-size goals which start at just £94.
Also see: Review of the Best Training Goalposts.
I’ll continue to add to this list of goalkeeper equipment as new items hit the market.