Soccer: Goalkeeper Glove Cuts
Eastbay Cleated Copywriter, T. Scharfenberg | Date Updated on: 03/29/2013
Get a rundown on the most popular glove cuts, as well as some variations, to help you pick your goalkeeper gloves based on fit and function.
Choosing the cut of your glove is a personal choice that is based on hand size, hand shape, weather, playing surface and even playing style. It's important that you find the best fit for you, considering all these factors. If not, you run the risk of fumbling a save or even wearing down your gloves quicker. There are three main cuts, as well as some common variations listed here.
1. Flat Palm
If you're playing in North America, flat palm gloves are a popular choice. Also known as box cut, this style is a traditional design with the palm created out of a single piece of latex. In order for the palm to have no seams, the gussets are attached to the palm on the outside of the backhand. Gussets are areas near the seams that allow for some ventilation and flexibility between seams, like between the thumb and forefinger for example. This style of glove places gussets between the palm and the backhand. It also has square-shaped fingers, giving it the room to utilize finger protection, so you'll see technology like finger spines most often in flat palm gloves.
The benefit of a seamless palm, as we mentioned before, is the extra space provided for finger protection. Finger spines are there to keep your fingers from being injured or hyper-extended. Because of that, it's a great choice for keepers who have had trouble with sprains or hyperextension in the fingers before. The fit will remain loose, especially around the fingers of a flat palm glove. This is a good thing because it gives your hands room to move inside the glove. However, this style also allows the glove fingers to twist when catching, which may affect your grip on the ball. If you prefer this cut but want a snugger fit, you can buy a half-size smaller than you normally would. This should help avoid the twisting a little too.
Flat Palm Glove Recommendation
A great flat palm style that incorporates finger protection is the Reusch Keon Quest Otho-Tec. It uses removable finger spines to prevent over extension and their Air Vent System™ in the mesh gussets for breathability.
2. Negative Cut
This is a style that is more popular in Europe, especially Germany. It's similar to a flat palm style where the palm is made with a single piece of latex. The difference here is in the seaming and gusset location. The stitching is done from the inside of the glove and the gussets are placed on the inside of the glove, as opposed to the outside of a flat palm glove. If you're having trouble identifying a negative cut versus a flat palm, an easy giveaway is that on a negative cut glove, the fingertips are rounded instead of square.
Because of the stitching style, negative cut is the snuggest of the fits we discuss here. It can be a good choice for players with slimmer hands and fingers compared to a more traditional cut. This tighter fit can help with more than just fit. This style gives more contact on the ball and is much less likely to twist when you grab the ball. The slim fit won't fit all finger types though, and you will sacrifice the finger protection that is possible with a flat palm.
Negative Cut Glove Recommendation
Since this style is all about avoiding twisting, the adidas ClimaCool Predator Pro Gloves are a good choice. They have engineered, textured cuts on the fingers and palm to add extra grip. They're also equipped with ClimaCool® heat and moisture management so your hands won't become as sweaty in the snugger cut. They also come in colors to match the Predator Cleats, giving you a complete look. Iker Casillas also plays in a negative cut glove, so he worked with adidas to create his own Predator Pro Glove. The special cut includes latex gussets that keep a full range of motion in a tight fit, with no seams getting in the way.
3. Rolled Finger/Gunn Cut
This cut has been becoming much more popular on the international scale over the last few years. The most unique part of this style is that there are no gussets, so the palm is attached directly to the backhand. This attachment style results in the palm latex rolling or wrapping around the fingers. The latex is wrapped around all the fingers, which can cause the fit to be slightly bulky.
The good thing about the rolled finger style is its control. Many players believe this style gives the best feel on the ball. This is likely due to the cut ensuring that the latex is always in contact with the ball.
Rolled Finger Glove Recommendation
The Nike Goalkeeper Gunn Cut Glove uses this style, but with an extended palm to really increase the control. Rolled foam on the fingers gives extra grip there as well. To combat the bulkiness sometimes seen here, this glove uses a pre-curved finger position.If you're an adidas player, try the Predator Rolled Finger Gloves. They have traditional finger designs for the perfect fit around your fingers.
Variations on the Three Main Styles
A Surround Cut variation can be used with any of the three main cuts. The style fluctuates between manufacturers, but in general, it's designed to use less stitching. In this variation latex is wrapped around the pinky finger, connecting it to the backhand. It then forms part or all of the backhand. It provides a more comfortable fit and is a good choice for keepers with wider hands since it's not as snug as a rolled finger or flat palm glove.
Rolled Index gloves are a combination of the flat palm and a rolled finger features. Like the rolled finger, the palm is made with two pieces of latex, but the index finger is rolled, while the other three fingers are a flat palm, box-shaped cut. There are also styles that roll the pinky finger along with the index finger. This gives a bit of a tighter fit to the traditional cut. It also provides a huge benefit in ensuring that the latex on the index finger is always in contact with the ball. This cut is best choice for players looking to gain control during throwing and catching. You can also find gloves with flat palm fingers combined with rolled thumbs, like Reusch's Keon Pro X1 LTD or their Toruk G2 gloves.
Generally used with a flat palm style, a Pre-Curved Palm variation is pre-shaped to fit the natural curvature of your hand. The benefit here is reduced bulk and less wrinkling of the materials when you make a fist. One of the better options in this category is the Nike T90 Total Confidence Glove. It's built with pre-curved Bio-Align Technology that places the hands in a ready-to-catch position, reducing stress on your fingers.
There are certainly many more, less-common variations on gloves in the market, but use the three main styles as a starting point. You can then branch off from there, depending on what type of player you are. If you've had finger injuries and want extra finger protection, go with a flat palm style. If you have smaller hands that allow a glove to twist during catching, a negative cut glove is best. Finally, if you are looking for ball control and some extra feel, start with a rolled finger model.