How to Properly Care for Goalkeeper Gloves
Why Goalkeeper Glovers Are Important
The goalies has the most unique position on the pitch. Unlike the other positions, goalkeepers are allowed to use their hands and body to catch and deflect incoming shots, crosses, and passes that enter the penalty area. Due to the nature and physicality of the position, the goalkeeper is equipped with special gloves used to protect their hands, which also enhance their ability to catch and parry.
Care is needed to extend the life of goalkeeper gloves. Washing is vital to preserve the natural latex foam used on the palm and fingers of the gloves. Minor repairs are also needed to squeeze a little more life out of the gloves. Replacement gloves will be required after a while. Extending the life of the gloves by washing and repairing is worth the time by saving money and keeping the gloves ready for the next diving save.
How to Wash Goalkeeper Gloves
Goalkeeper gloves are made with latex and naturally degrade over time. Latex should not be washed with detergents or hand soaps. These are usually too harsh on natural latex material that is used on the palm, fingers, and thumb of the gloves. Special glove wash solutions are available in sporting goods stores and online. Glove wash is specifically designed to use on goalkeeper gloves to clean and preserve the natural latex within the glove. Gloves used for matches should be washed after each match, while training gloves should be washed after every two to three training sessions.
- Fill a sink or bucket with room temperature water.
- Dunk the gloves into the water and gently squeeze the water out. Repeat this several times before applying glove wash. Rinsing prior to washing helps free up dirt and dust stuck in the tiny pores of the latex.
- Apply a few drops to the palm and fingers of the glove. Glove wash doesn't lather as much as hand soap and detergents, so do not add more and more until a thick lather appears.
- Work the glove wash into the gloves. Add an extra drop or two as needed, because the glove wash is easily absorbed into the latex.
- Rinse the gloves in fresh water. The gloves should be noticeably cleaner already. Repeat steps 3 & 4 as needed. Remember, the gloves will never be clean and white like new gloves. Washing is more about removing the dirt and grit, and not about trying to make them appear brand new again.
- Let the gloves dry in an area with good air circulation. Do not let the gloves dry palm-against-palm. The latex may stick to the latex on the other glove, and peeling them apart can cause damage once dry. Good air circulation is key because it prevents mildew from growing in and on the gloves.
How to Repair Goalkeeper Gloves
The nature of the goalkeeper position causes quite a bit of abuse on goalkeeper gear, especially the keeper's gloves. Goalkeeper gloves feature soft latex foam palms and fingers. Latex foam is optimal for catching and parrying an incoming ball. However, latex foam isn't very durable and will wear and tear naturally. A small amount of shoe glue can repair tears in latex foam goalkeeper gloves, but this is only a temporary fix. Eventually the gloves will need to be replaced, but a few small repairs can squeeze a couple more matches out of the lifespan of the gloves.
- Apply a very small drop of shoe glue into a tear. A tiny drop is all that is needed, because latex foam is very absorbent and too much glue will harden areas around the tear and may cause more damage during future use.
- Spread the glue evenly along the tear. A slotted screwdriver is useful to spread and press the glue into the edges of the tear.
- Press and hold both sides of the tear together for a few minutes. Releasing both sides before the glue begins to cure will cause a weak repair. Using a heavy book or clothespins to hold the repaired area together will work as well.
- Let the glue cure for several hours, or overnight if possible. Some brands of shoe glue will cure in under an hour. Read the glue instructions to avoid using the gloves before the glue sets.
- Practice a little catching and throwing with the gloves on to check how well the repair holds. A tear on an area that flexes often, such as the knuckles and palm, may require more glue or replacement gloves.