Football Glove Technology and How to Choose Based on Your Position
You’re in the final game of a long and grueling tournament with the championship on the line. Five seconds left on the clock, and you’re down by 4 points with 25 yards to the end zone. The play commences, and you make a dash for the end zone. Your quarterback releases a picture-perfect pass that’s landing in the perfect spot. You have the speed, the drive, and the hustle to get there. As you approach the end zone, the football descends towards your direction...you jump for it and bobble it in the air, incomplete pass! You lost the game, so close but yet so far. If only you had a bit more of a firm grasp on the football, your coach would be getting a water cooler full of ice dumped on him right now, and you would be the hero! Your gloves let you down, but you let your team down. Don’t make this a reality, know how to find the best football gloves for you, and say goodbye to all the ‘what if’ scenarios.
Not all football gloves are created equal. To elevate your game and play at your best, you want to make sure that you choose the best football gloves for your position. Are you not sure about choosing padded gloves or non-padded? Some gloves offer more protection, while others focus on enhancing the player’s grip. Each one has their own benefits, so it’s best to break down the differences and their respective advantages and how they would relate to your position on the field.
Make sure you order the right size also; all of the benefits of quality football gloves can be negated by wearing the wrong size. Make sure to look for pairs that include gussets inside the material, to prevent finger slippage. There are a plethora of different options for football gloves out there. How do you know which ones are the right pair for you? We understand it can be confusing, so let’s discuss the best gloves suited for each position:
Given the quarterback touches the ball on every play, it’s a natural place to start. The quarterback cannot afford to be wearing the wrong type of glove; the risk for a quarterback to fumble the ball is much higher, given he will come into contact with the ball every time. A well-placed QB sack can change the tide of an entire game. Another aspect to consider is how the gloves will affect a QB’s pass. You want to find a pair of gloves that will help with just the right amount of grip, but not enough to alter passes. To get the perfect fit, choosing custom football gloves might be the best option.
This position requires a lightweight glove that is breathable, perforated designs will work best. The gloves should provide some tack and padding, but nothing too excessive that would cause the quarterback to lose his feel for the ball. Bulky gloves are not a quarterback’s friend in this case. A conservative, minimalist design works well here.
Aside from the quarterback, receivers handle the ball quite a bit too. A receiver cannot afford to mishandle the ball, so a glove that provides a strong grip is the best option. Lightweight, breathable material, like the C-TACK performance grip, is the best way to go. The perforated material ensures that moisture and slippage won’t hinder the wearer. You want to avoid finger-slippage at all costs, so be sure to choose gloves with gussets sewn into the material. Receiver gloves should be lightweight and have a conservative design with a focus on supporting the receiver to catch the ball.
Grip is the main priority to focus on while looking for a solid pair of receiver gloves. Little or no padding is preferable in this instance, as the receiver wants a very minimalist design that will help them grasp the ball with the most success.
Linemen are the Marines of the football team; they are the frontline, they battle it out against the opposing linemen on every play. Their position is often underappreciated, given they’re not handling the ball as often. The lineman's’ only tool is their hands, and they are under the constant threat of jammed knuckles, broken fingers, and the possibility of being stomped on by the opposing lineman’s cleats...ouch!
Linemen shouldn’t skimp on protecting their most used asset, so finding the right gloves to support their role is crucial. Lineman gloves should be focused on supporting providing plenty of support and protection. A solid pair of lineman gloves will accomplish this by providing plenty of padding.
Generally speaking, a lineman’s gloves will be the bulkiest gloves on the football field, as thicker layers of padding are needed to protect the lineman’s hands from cuts or bruises. This protection is crucial, as a lineman who cannot use his hands serves no purpose out on the field. Both offensive and defensive linemen will want to use similar gloves.
A great pair of lineman gloves will offer plenty of tack to assist in gripping also. While it doesn’t happen often, a lineman will catch an occasional fumble so it's best to have gloves that support ball handling. Also, linemen want a strong grip just in case they have to hold the opposing linemen and stop a play in its tracks, a play of that nature can be penalized...but it only gets called if the referee sees it! Look for extra gripping material on the palms of a good lineman glove. Linemen will use their fingers less often, so it’s not crucial to find padding on the fingers.
Also at risk are the lineman’s wrists, which are prone to injury while playing the role. As two lineman charge into each other like rams often do while settling a territorial dispute, the likelihood of injury is very real. Hyperextension of the wrist can send a lineman to the sidelines instantly and can take weeks or even months to heal from. Linemen should look for gloves that include strong wrist supports, they should add stability to prevent any hyperextensions.
The Defensive Back
Defensive backs are the backbone of the defensive line. They support the defensive line and also put pressure on the receivers. The defensive back is a very demanding role that requires a high football IQ, plenty of speed, and an awesome grip. This role puts a lot of pressure on ball-carrying players. If the defensive back can force a turnover, they want to make sure they have ample grip on their defensive back gloves to hold on to the ball. Look for high-quality gripping material like C-TACK; its design will last throughout the football season. The tacky grip is permanent and restores itself (which is very easy to due mid-game by wiping with a damp cloth), even after being washed in the laundry.
Defensive backs get down and dirty often. They hit hard and fast, and they put their hands at risk. Thick padding comes in handy (no pun intended) given all the impact they will face. Look for padding to avoid cuts or bruises that can prevent a defensive back from putting in 100% on every play. Nearly 1.2 million Americans will suffer hand injuries while playing college football each year, about 30% of these injuries will be related to the hand. Don’t be another statistic, choose the right gloves.
A strong wrist strap is also vital for defensive backs when they’re pursuing a receiver. The aggressive defensive back will aim to interrupt every pass and put their wrists at risk, and a strong wrist strap will help to mitigate that risk.
The Running Back
A good running back can best be described as a freight train with a football. Players in this position are no stranger to contact. It takes a fast and strong player to find an opening and burst through the defensive line. The running back demands a lot from their gloves, as they are playing a role that is very susceptible to fumbling the ball and causing a devastating turnover.
Grip is a major priority in this role, so a good pair of running back gloves will have plenty of it. Padding on the back of the hand is very important to the running back too. Breaking through a defensive line will put the running back’s hands at risk for broken fingers and hands. You would never set foot on the gridiron without a solid helmet, so don’t play without the best pair of running back gloves either.
While we have outlined some of the attributes that each football player wants to look for when purchasing their gloves, you definitely have to find what works best for you. Not every football player is a ‘textbook’ role-player. If you need a glove that suits your own individual playing style, make sure to consider custom football gloves.
Some General Rules
If you haven’t seen your position covered on this page just yet, no need to worry. Some good general guidelines to consider when choosing the right pair of football gloves are to base the need for grip off of how much ball-handling you will be performing. The more you handle the ball, the more focus you will have to place on grip when you are searching for the right pair.
Players who are in the trenches more often and making more contact with the opposing team will want to select gloves with thicker padding, to protect their hands from injury.
Choose gloves that are built to last, the last thing you want to worry about is tearing your gloves mid-game. You have better things to focus on (like crushing the opposition). Choosing gloves constructed for all weather conditions is also a great idea also. Given football is played outside, the weather is always a factor...so be prepared.
Some games are decided by an inch, while others are decided by a mile. Don't let a close game slip out of your grasp, literally, by not choosing the right gloves. Don't head down that tunnel after a loss contemplating ‘what if’. Choose the right gloves, play hard, and play every game like if it were your last!