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Buying Football Gloves? How Gloves Differ Per Position

March 11, 2019 7 min read

Are you looking to maximize your game? You train hard, eat right and take no prisoners on the field...but that's not enough! Your football gear has to be on point. When two players on the field are equally matched, the quality of their gear will make the difference. Come out on top by choosing ​the best football gloves. Each player on the field fills in a unique role which has certain focuses. Football players want to choose the right pair of football gloves for their position. Not all pairs of football gloves are created equally. ​Lineman gloves​ will differ from receiver gloves and receiver gloves will differ from defensive back gloves as an example.Having options is always great but we know that when you have too many options, things can get confusing! With many different choices of football gloves, researching all of the options and picking the best fit for you can seem pretty cumbersome. If you're in the market for a great pair of ​football gloves​ and you're not sure which kind to buy, you've come to the right place! We're going to break down the various positions in football and what they need to look for in a pair of football gloves.

The Quarterback

If you play quarterback, you cannot afford to choose the wrong pair of gloves. You are the main ball handler on your team. When you're on offense, you are touching the ball on every play. Your decisions and ability to hold on to the ball will affect the entire team.The right pair of football gloves for a quarterback is a lightweight option that allows for more grip and control on the ball. The thinner gloves also allow for more flexibility, which benefits the quarterback looking for gloves with a very natural feel. Bulkier gloves like lineman gloves will not do the trick here because of their thicker build and extra padding. The thicker gloves will provide more stability but when you're constantly handling and throwing a football, you don't want anything limiting your range of motion. Any obstacle to a quarterback's grip will alter their passing and can be detrimental to their game. A quarterback is only as good as his passing ability, so thicker gloves are a no-go here.While manufacturers do not offer gloves specifically designed for quarterbacks, there are some great options out there that meet the demands. ​Receiver gloves​ are a great option due to their lightweight build and breathable material. A very “tacky" grip like the C-TACK performance grip material is a great option here for more control on the pass. As a quarterback, you are always a target for tough tackles. You don't want to run the risk of fumbling the ball due to a lack of grip, so make sure to go for plenty of tack on your football gloves.Here's some food for thought: Brett Favre is highly regarded as one of the best quarterbacks in professional football. Did you know that ​Brett Favre also holds the top spot for most career fumbles​? If you have ever seen him play, you will notice that he didn't use gloves. Unless his goal was to be the leader in fumbles (which is highly unlikely), he could have benefitted from some quality football gloves. You also want to have some support and protection against tough tackles, so definitely be on the lookout for gloves which are built with support panels on the back of the hand.

Wide Receivers

Wide receivers are tasked with catching passes and, most of all, holding on to that ball! Receiver gloves are generally built with a more conservative design to minimize intrusiveness, but with plenty of tack. The extended tack should be built into the palm area, the fingers and around the thumb for maximum grip support.Receiver gloves are also built with flexibility in mind. Wide receivers' hands have to be at the right place at the right time to complete the pass. They cannot afford to choose bulkier gloves like those developed for linemen, due to the fact that their range of motion would be limited. While flexibility is always a concern for receiver gloves, you also want a nice balance of support. Look for gloves with panels on the back of the hand for support, and also for protection from impact. A receiver's hands are always under attack from the defense–whether it's a defensive back trying to swat the receiver's hands away before a pass or the defense swarming the receiver after a pass completion. Impact is inevitable out on the field, so choose gloves that support you.


Lineman gloves will be the bulkiest ones you can find. Their gloves are constructed with thick padding to protect from the constant barrage of attacks a lineman encounters on the field. Linemen are constantly going at each other. They have to endure impact on every play. A lineman's hands are greatly at risk for cuts, bruising and even broken bones.Lineman gloves are generally made with thicker and more durable materials. Tack isn't as important with linemen due to the fact that they are not ball handlers. You won't find tacky material on the palms and fingers of some ‚Äãquality lineman gloves‚Äã; look for thick padding in those areas instead.While receiver gloves often employ the use of smaller wrist wraps to encourage flexibility, you can find thicker or even double wrist straps on lineman gloves. These are crucial to prevent a lineman from hyperextending his wrist on impact during each play. The thicker straps add stability and limit the range of motion in the wrist to help resist opposing forces from the other team's line. You will find thick foam padding on the back of the hand to protect from impact, as these gloves are heavier overall and built with protection in mind. The greatest contrast between any two gloves offered will be between the receiver gloves and lineman gloves.

Defensive Backs

Defensive backs place pressure on receivers and running backs. They cover ball-handling players, so they are going to want to aim for tacky gloves. Most defensive back gloves are built for grip-enhancement, leveraging the use of materials like C-TACK performance grip material. If a defensive back wants to make an impact out on the field, they have to be able to rely on their gloves not to give out on them. Choose gloves with tack that lasts–materials like the C-TACK include patented RevTack Recharge technology. A simple wipe with a damp cloth will clean the dirt off the gloves and restore the grip. Defensive backs are always in a position to catch an interception or pick up a live ball that has just been fumbled, so grip is a major priority in the design.Their role is a physical one also, as the offensive team will single the defensive back out to prevent him from taking a receiver out of play. Padding is essential for the defensive back also. While they do not want to choose bulky gloves, they want to choose football gloves built with enough padding to prevent broken bones, cuts or scrapes on their hands.A good defensive back will stop the offense from gaining ground and advancing to the end zone. A great defensive back will catch interceptions, mow down the defense and score. Which would you rather be? Don't allow poor-quality football gloves to get in your way.

Running Backs

As a ball handler, you can expect ‚Äãa pair of running back gloves‚Äã to be a bit more on the conservative side, too. Running backs have to endure bone-crushing tackles and plenty of defensive pressure as they traverse the football field, so fumbles are always a concern. Your gloves should have plenty of tacky grip material built into the palm area, the fingers and around the thumb. The last thing you want to do is let your team down by fumbling the ball and allowing the opposing team to score off your slip, so go for the best material.These gloves will differ from a lineman's gloves pretty significantly, as you will find a lot of padding on the palm of a pair of lineman gloves. A good pair of running back gloves will include perforated material to limit moisture and heat, and plenty of support on the back of the hand. Don't end up like the Washington Redskin's running back Leshun Daniels, who ‚Äãbroke his hand while picking up the football in practice just a few months ago.‚Äã Wear gloves with supportive panels for that extra layer of security.


If you're not a quarterback, lineman or any of the positions mentioned previously but you want to take advantage of the benefits of a good pair of football gloves, then try all-purpose gloves. The football field is a combat zone, so you want to gear up and protect yourself. If you play a defensive position that involves a lot of contact and minimal or no ball handling, try going for the lineman gloves. Nearly 1.2 million Americans will suffer hand injuries while playing football each year, ‚Äãabout 30% of these injuries will be related to the hand‚Äã. Don't become a part of this statistic; go for the padded gloves. The thicker padding on the lineman gloves can help protect you from hand injuries that can put you on the sidelines faster than your coach will after a bad play.Non-ball-handling players don't need to worry about the football gloves with grip-enhancing material, as they won't provide much benefit. Enhanced stability from gloves with double wrist straps and heavy padding will provide the most bang for your buck (if you don't handle the football). Be sure to protect the fingers also. Padding around the fingers helps to insulate them from impact and also to limit range of motion. According to Healthline, ‚Äãbroken fingers are pretty common in football and can take up to a year to heal. ‚ÄãFor the ball handlers, use a more conservative design that focuses on grip enhancement. Long-lasting grip materials are a great way to help fight the occurrence of fumbles or interceptions. The tacky material should be focused on the areas like the palm, the fingers and around the thumb for maximum ball control. The ball-handling players should also look for gloves with finger-locking gussets to prevent any slippage of the gloves. Lighter, thinner materials will work well to add some protection and grip enhancement while allowing the player to maintain his feel for the ball.Choose the right gloves, train hard and play harder. Our fullest potential is only known in retrospect, so get out there and show them what you're made of!

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