While you’re shopping around for the best pair of goalkeeper gloves there’s no doubt you’ll hear a lot about “glove cuts”. So what are goalkeeper glove cuts? And what type should you choose?
In a nut shell, goalkeeper glove cuts describe the way the materials — the latex palms and backhand — have been stitched together. It’s as simple as that.
Your glove cut can impact your level of comfort, flexibility and “feeling” of the ball. However, your chosen cut is largely a matter of preference. The trick is to experiment until you find the brand/cut combination that feels right for you.
In this post I’ll explain the various types of goalkeeper glove cuts, and what they’re designed to do.
Glove Cut Features
- Flat Palm is a classic entry-level cut which emerged when goalkeeping gloves first hit the scene.
- Consists of one single piece of latex attached to the back of the glove, with stitched gussets in between the fingers and palm.
- Gussets are located on the outside, giving a loose feel around the hand (unlike Negative Cut gloves that are stitched on the inside).
- Usually do not come with a wrap-over thumb.
- The cheapest glove cut: typically commands a price tag in the region of £10-20.
Flat Palm gloves are easier to manufacture than the other, more modern, cuts featured in this post. Therefore they’re generally cheaper to buy and are best suited to those looking for “casual” goalkeeping gloves — for use in the playground, over the park, or as spares.
You’ll find Flat Palm gloves on the shelves at sports shops. If you decide to buy those ones, then be careful that you don’t overspend. Once you exceed the £20 price mark you’d be better off investing in more advanced — and better fitting — Roll Finger, Negative cut, or Hybrid cut gloves (read on to learn more).
While there are certainly some high-spec Flat Palm gloves on the market (usually with stylish squared-off fingers) fundamentally the design is simplistic. Flat Palm gloves are designed to maximise the surface area of the latex; not to stretch to the shape of your fingers, or to wrap around the contour of the ball. There’s better options.
Glove Cut Features
- Roll finger goalkeeper gloves are traditional and highly popular.
- Latex is rolled/curved around the fingers which provides comfort and good feeling within the gloves.
- The backhand is attached to the palm without the use of gussets. Hence the name “roll finger”.
- Looser fitting than Negative cut gloves (or hybrids with Negative cut features).
- A reputable, well-liked cut: typically commands a price tag of £20+.
Roll Finger goalkeeping gloves have stood the test of time and are still worn by many goalkeepers today. Most importantly, they’re comfortable and provide excellent grip. They’re a wise choice for keepers who prefer a loose fit.
I particularly like the way most Roll Finger gloves are slightly arced, meaning that the latex palms wrap around the curvature of the ball and absorb the blow of powerful shots.
However, I find that the additional space created by the Roll Finger cut makes them feel a little bit “flappy” compared to Negative cut gloves (depending on the brand/size you buy). Additionally, the no-gusset design makes for a slightly more awkward shape around the fingertips.
So while the design is superior to the Flat Palm cut, the Roll Finger is still only my backup choice.
Glove Cut Features
- Negative cut goalkeeper gloves are modern and elegantly designed. They’ve become increasingly popular in recent years.
- Similar to Flat Palm gloves in that they use a single piece of latex attached to the backhand via gussets.
- Unlike Flat Palm gloves as the stitching for the gussets is inside the glove and can’t be seen from the exterior.
- Provides a tighter, more “natural” fit than other glove types, giving maximum control of the ball.
- A premium cut: typically commands a price tag of £25+.
Negative cut gloves offer maximum performance and comfort — which is precisely why we incorporated it into the design of the Rectrix 1.0 GK Gloves. The overall grip is on-par with Roll Finger, but with some added benefits.
What I like most about the Negative cut is that it provides a fit that’s true to your hand & finger shapes, leaving very little excess (wasted) space inside the gloves. As a result your hands feel stronger, and more in control, than with Roll Finger or Flat Palm gloves.
In addition, the inside stitching has the effect of creating padding at the tips of your fingers — providing both protection and a smooth, firm surface to distribute the ball from. Whether you’re bowling the ball underarm, throwing it overarm, or tipping it over the bar, the Negative cut is versatile to any situation.
The only real downside to Negative gloves is that the inside stitching creates more tension in the latex, meaning this cut will wear slightly faster than Flat Cut or Roll Finger gloves.
Glove Cut Features
- The Negative Roll cut is a modern Hybrid glove style that combines Negative cut and Roll Finger features to enhance comfort, fit and feel.
- Narrow design aims to provide improved flexibility and feeling.
- Fingers are rolled the same as with a Roll Finger cut, while the inside of the palm is stitched like a Negative cut.
- Provides an even tighter fit than standard Negative cut gloves.
- A premium cut: typically commands a price tag of £25+
In some respects the Negative Roll is the most advanced goalkeeping glove cut. It “moulds” to your hand rather than creating the usual “mit” shape associated with all other goalkeeping glove cuts.
However, for all it’s benefits I would argue that the narrow/tight design with spacing between the fingers creates less surface area — and therefore less latex contact on the ball — than standard Negative or Roll Finger gloves. Is it really worth it?
Regular Negative cut gloves are still my preference. The phrase “If it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it” springs to mind.
Many glove brands now focus on hybrid combinations such as the Negative Roll (which I’ll get onto). If you’re up for trying out this unique-looking cut, you’ll need to buy from a specialist goalkeeping brand (e.g. Precision).
Glove Cut Features
- A “Hybrid” cut is simply a combination of different cuts. It does not refer to a specific glove type.
- Goalkeepers have the option of trying out different Hybrid cuts to determine one that suits their preference.
- Popular Hybrid cuts include Roll Finger-Negative or Flat Palm-Roll Finger combinations, seeking a “best of both worlds” glove (see GK Saver).
- Hundreds of different brand names are given to Hybrid cuts.
- A premium cut: typically commands a price of £30+ eue to additional manufacturing costs.
Hybrid options come at a higher price because they’re more difficult for goalkeeper brands to get right from a design & manufacturing perspective. But perhaps that extra investment is all worthwhile once you’ve truly found “the one”.
I’ve used Hybrid goalkeeping gloves in the past. My experience was entirely positive, and I enjoyed the fact that two of my favourite cuts (Negative and Roll Finger) had been merged into something unique and novel. But ultimately, did the Hybrid design really make an impact to my game?
Well… no more so than any other decent non-Hybrid cut I’d used, to be honest.
So remember that while your gloves can help you achieve more grip of the ball, no new cut variation will turn you into a better all-round goalkeeper. Once you start delving deep into Hybrids (and other expensive options), it’s diminishing returns from here on.
Before you take the plunge into a new brand, read their reviews. Also consider how long your gloves usually last, and what you can budget for throughout a season. Try different types until you find a glove cut & brand combination that strikes the right cost-to-performance balance for you.