WHEN PURCHASING NEW GLOVES, there are many stylistic and functional options to consider. A good way to begin your venture of finding the perfect glove is to compare fabrics, design, materials, and functionality of a variety of gloves. Deciding which aspects are most important to the player will assist in choosing a pair of gloves that best fits the player’s specific needs.
- Exterior materials: The materials used in gloves provide the player with options in durability as well as comfort. The basic exterior of the glove can be constructed of leather or a variety of different nylon materials. Each offers unique qualities. Underlying the material choice are specific needs of the player: weight, maneuverability, comfort, and durability. Ice hockey conditions tend to lead to more wear and tear on the glove. Leather gloves typically provide the player with a higher level of durability. At the same time, leather gloves are heavier than most Nylon materials. Some gloves offer a hybrid of both materials, which could offer the player the best of both worlds.
- Palm materials: There are also multiple material options for the palm of the glove. Higher-end gloves feature higher-quality materials. A flexible material not only provides comfort but also enhances the player’s range of motion. Other palm materials offer a double overlay to increase durability of the gloves.
- Design: The design of the glove offers the player an infinite amount of possibilities in personal fit and performance.
- Narrow vs. wide fit: Gloves can feature a narrow or a wide fit. Narrow-fitting gloves decrease the negative space and provide the player with better overall glove control. A wide-fitting glove, on the other hand, can provide the player with more comfort and less constriction. Not all manufacturers offer all models of gloves in narrow and wide. However, this option can help the player find a comfortable glove.
- Cuff: The cuff of the glove can be angled for increased wrist mobility. Some gloves provide an adjustable cuff flap for a more customized fit. This can also enhance the overall fit of the glove and offer better wrist protection.
- Protection: High-end gloves offer options for improved protection. Plastic inserts can be used in the roll and fingers of the gloves as well as on top of the foam construction to optimize protection. Thumb locks are also utilized in many gloves. This mechanism helps prevent hyperextension of the thumb.
- Color: While appearance of gloves shouldn’t be the main feature a player looks for, it is definitely an important one for many players. Color and style options allow the player to match their team colors or show some personal flair. Most gloves will come in a vast assortment of color schemes. If you cannot find the perfect look, many manufacturers have custom glove programs, providing players the opportunity to create exactly what they want.
When selecting a glove, personal preference often comes into play. Some players prefer a looser fit, and others prefer a snug glove. Regardless, there are some safety considerations of the hand and forearm to be taken into account for sizing. To determine the correct size, measure from your fingertips to the end of your elbow pad (for example, if this distance measures 13.7″, a 14″ glove is the proper size glove). If your fingers touch the end of the glove, it is too small. The cuff of the glove should extend to the bottom of your elbow pads, leaving no part of your lower arm exposed. If you prefer a shorter cuff, you may consider wearing protective wrist guards in the uncovered area. Also, a player seeking more protection should look for plastic inserts for extra protection.