It’s inevitable that your goalkeeper gloves are eventually going to get dirty, torn and completely worn out. You can however make your GK gloves last a lot longer by following some simple cleaning & preparation tips.
In this glove care guide I cover everything you need to know about prolonging the lifespan, and maximising performance of, your goalkeeper gloves.
1. Pick the Right Latex for Your Requirements
It’s important to choose gloves that are designed for the conditions you’re playing in.
If you only play occasionally or non-competitively, you could opt for cheap entry-level latex — such as Super Soft. However, be warned that cheaper latex will not withstand friction (particularly from artificial surfaces), coupled with adverse weather conditions, as well as more expensive types.
For Keepers regularly playing on grass and/or artificial pitches, it’s more economical to purchase gloves that can withstand abrasion and friction for a much longer period of use. I recommend Giga or Contact latex as it performs well on all surface types, and won’t let you down when its wet/muddy.
2. Give New Gloves an Initial Rinse
When your new gloves arrive they’ll come with a protective plastic film over the palms of the latex (provided they’re good quality). This prevents them from picking up dust and dirt at the factory, and during transport. You need to peel this off carefully and then give the palms an initial rinse with clean cold water to fully “activate” the latex and ensure that no debris is stuck to the palms.
3. Learn to Dive Correctly
The way you dive has a huge impact on glove degradation.
If you constantly dive for the ball with your hands grazing the ground then your technique is going to accelerate the wear and tear of your gloves… which is expensive!
As you dive down to the ground, one hand should go behind the ball and one on top of it. Your gloves should barely (if at all) come into contact with the ground as you make the save. It’s your body that absorbs the friction — hence why goalkeeper jerseys, shorts and trousers come with padding.
4. Stand Up Using Your Fist, Not Palms
During games you have to do whatever it takes to prevent goals. Unfortunately, that sometimes means scuffing the palms of your gloves on the ground.
Goalkeeper gloves are only really designed to withstand the impact and friction of footballs striking them — not the pressure of your body weight on abrasive playing surfaces. So during training sessions and warmups, try to preserve your gloves by getting out of the habit of pushing up off the ground with your palms to stand up. Instead, clench your hand into a fist and push up using only the backhand, where the materials tend to be tougher and much less prone to splitting.
Better yet, why not practice standing up without using your hands at all?
5. Dampen Gloves Before & During Games
For maximum grip it’s vital that your latex palms are constantly clean and damp during use. This also prolongs the life of your gloves.
Body heat as well as outside temperature and humidity can dry your gloves out. And when dry latex is stretched during use, it can crack and tear.
I recommend keeping a water bottle by your goal post so that during quiet spells within a game (e.g. when a player is down injured), you can rinse dirt from your palms. This reduces abrasion and keeps your glove palms soft and moist to ensure that movement does not degrade the latex.
6. Rinse Gloves in Warm Water After Every Use
Get into the habit of rinsing your gloves off after training and games. It’s best to do this while the gloves are still damp (a) because it reduces the build up of the pungent “glove smell”, and (b) because mud becomes like cement when it dries. The last thing you want is for your gloves to become hard and brittle.
I recommend using a warm running tap into the sink or bath tub. Rinse the gloves inside and out, gently massaging mud, dirt, sand (or even rubber if you play on artificial surfaces) away. Do not use a brush or cleaning detergents (e.g. washing power), as the latex is far too sensitive for that. Only specialist cleaning agents are suitable.
Afterwards, wring out the gloves gently without excessive twisting. If washed thoroughly, the water will not be murky or brown. This last step saves a lot of time on the drying.
7. Always Let Your Gloves Dry Naturally
Resist the temptation of using a radiator, tumble dryer, airing cupboard or direct sunlight to dry your wet gloves. It will completely dry out the latex and ruin the grip of your gloves!
You need to allow your gloves to dry naturally in room temperature, or outside in mild conditions. If you need to speed up the drying process, I recommend stuffing absorbent cloths or paper towels inside the gloves and removing them half way through the drying process. Apart from that, you’ll need to be patient.
8. Rotate Two (Or More) Pairs Of Gloves
Owning one pair of gloves is risky. For starters you may not be able to dry them in time for your next training session or fixture. And secondly if they tear, or the latex starts to lose its gripping properties, you’ll have no lifeline.
It’s wise to own two or more pairs of GK gloves. That way you can rotate them, or reserve one particular pair as your “matchday gloves”. I recommend purchasing a slightly cheaper variation of your favourite gloves for training in, and then preserve a higher spec pair for match days only.
9. Store Your Gloves Correctly
You should only store your gloves away in your glove/sports bag once they’re fully dry. Otherwise there’s a risk of them starting to smell damp, or growing mould.
In addition, always keep your glove palms facing in opposite directions from one another in storage. This ensures that the palms cannot become stuck together, which can lead to a loss of grip when pulled apart. But if your gloves are ever stuck together, wet them to loosen it.
10. Use Specialist Products To Remove Stains & Odors
Water can only do so much for your goalkeeper gloves. After continued use your gloves will inevitably look tired from dirt, stains and discolouring. To top it off, the build up of the horrid “glove smell” will kick up a stench, to say the least!
But rather than throwing your expensive gloves away, you can salvage them for many more months by investing in specialist care products. I recommend the Glove Glu range. Here’s the specific products I like:
The Glove Care system includes:
- Wash & Prepare: Removes dirt from the latex areas of goalkeeping gloves, effortlessly lifting dirt particles away and improving grip. Prepares GK gloves for enhanced play and a longer lifespan.
- GloveFresh: Keeps your gloves smelling fresh and odour free. The antibacterial formula is guaranteed to remove all odours caused by bacteria growing in your goalkeeping gloves.
- GloveGlu: Enhances the grip of any goalkeeping gloves with a unique formula. Can be applied before or during the game and is equally effective in wet or dry conditions. Suitable for any type of latex goalkeeping gloves.
The GloveGlu Mega Grip spray:
- Enhances the grip and performance of any goalkeeping glove.
- Revives old gloves and improves the grip of new ones
- Remains effective in both wet and dry conditions
- Provides 25% more strength than the regular product, offering maximum grip revival.
If you follow each of the 10 steps you’ll prolong the life of your goalkeeper gloves and save yourself (or your parents) a lot of money in the longrun.