Choosing the Right Hockey Gloves

Hockey gloves are one of the most important pieces of equipment for any player. They not only provide vital protection for your hands but also significantly impact performance. This is why it’s essential that you take time for choosing the right hockey gloves. Read on to learn about all the different factors to consider and how to choose the right pair of mitts.

Size and Fit

Choosing the right hockey gloves
Best Hockey Gloves by Eve Summer is licensed with Creative Commons

Proper fit is essential for comfort and protection. Measure your hands to determine the correct glove size. To measure, use a tape measure to determine the distance from the base of your palm to the tip of your middle finger. Then, look at a manufacturer’s sizing chart to find the right size. Gloves should fit snugly without being too tight, allowing for mobility and flexibility while ensuring that your fingers are adequately protected. A good fit is when the tips of your fingers just barely touch the inside of the glove.

For adults, a good place to start your search is with a size 14 glove, then adjust from there based on comfort. Youth gloves usually range in size from 7 to 9, and junior gloves from 10 to 12, so start your searches within those ranges.

Protection Level

Hockey gloves come in various protection levels, ranging from minimal to maximum protection. Consider your playing style and position when choosing the level of protection you need. For example, forwards who handle the puck frequently may prefer gloves that prioritize mobility and stick feel, while defensemen who engage in physical play may want gloves with extra padding and protection. Also consider how much, or where, you intend to use the gloves. You’ll likely want more protection if you’re joining a league versus playing the occasional backyard game in the winter.

The protection amount comes from the foam inside the gloves and any plastic coating. Mid-range gloves offer dual- or triple- density foams, which are harder foams that provide better protection. For the best protection, look for gloves that not only have stiffer foam but also a hard plastic around the foam. This will better protect your hands against stick slashes and errant pucks.

Palm Materials

Hockey gloves are typically made of synthetic materials, leather, or a combination of both. Synthetic gloves are lighter and often more affordable, while leather gloves may offer better durability and grip. The most popular material is typically nash, a type of synthetic suede, which comes in a beige color and provides great all-around performance.

Other features you may come across include moisture wicking and extra layers for better durability. It really all comes down to how much you want to spend and what feels good when you try it on. Try on a few pairs and choose the material that aligns with your preferences and budget.

Cuff Style

Hockey gloves come with varying cuff styles, also known as the width of the glove. Some possible options include traditional four-roll cuffs, tapered cuffs, and anatomical cuffs. The cuff style can affect wrist mobility, comfort, and the amount of protection you get. As with other design elements, typically, the more mobility you have, the less protection. For example, gloves with longer cuffs will protect more of the forearm but have less mobility.

When exploring cuff options, if you see it listed as an Anatomical Fit, this typically means it’s more snug. A Classic Fit is the loosest, while a Tapered Fit falls somewhere in the middle. Try different styles to see which one feels the most comfortable and provides the mobility you need.

Thumb Design

Every pair of hockey gloves comes with an armored thumb, which prevents it from bending backwards. This is an essential feature, as without it, you could dislocate your thumb when your stick gets knocked out of your hands. However, even though there’s extra protection along the thumb, there are also different designs that offer levels of maneuverability.

Gloves can have different thumb designs, including traditional, segmented, and contoured. The thumb design can impact grip and flexibility. Typically, the more expensive the glove, the more mobility you’ll have with your thumb. Therefore, you’ll have to find your own balance between price and mobility.

Ventilation and Moisture Management

Look for gloves with good ventilation and moisture-wicking properties to keep your hands cool and dry during gameplay. Gloves that provide good ventilation are ones with less dense materials along the sides of the fingers, to promote airflow. Sweaty hands can affect your grip on the stick and overall comfort, making it a good idea to search for gloves that help your hands stay dry. However, no matter how much ventilation your gloves have, you’ll still want to properly clean them out whenever you can.

Budget

Finally, you’ll want to consider your budget. There are a ton of hockey glove options available in a range of prices. At the same time, you’re likely buying other hockey equipment along with the gloves, and the total cost can quickly get high. It’s a good idea to figure out your total budget first, then decide how much you want to allocate towards just the gloves.

In terms of performance, gloves have one of the bigger impacts among your gear, so older players may wish to allot a larger portion of their budget here. For parents, though, spending less on gloves and more on better protective pads may make sense to keep your kid safe.

How to Find Affordable Hockey Gloves

There are two primary ways to find affordable hockey gloves. The first is to visit the website of your preferred equipment manufacturer, like Bauer, Warrior, CCM, etc. Then, look for a section of their website marked Clearance. This is where you’ll find some of their products being sold for a significant discount. The options will likely be limited but you can typically find some good deals.

Your other option is to look for used hockey gloves. You can look for used gloves online, through sites like eBay. Some areas also have organizations that help people sell and buy hockey equipment. Look for some Facebook groups in your area or talk to other players/parents to see if they have any suggestions. However, before you buy any used gloves, make sure they’re still in good enough condition to provide you with adequate protection.

Choosing the Right Hockey Gloves for You

Remember that your hands are essential for playing hockey, so investing in a quality pair of gloves that provides the right balance of protection, comfort, and performance is essential. Try on different gloves and take your time to find the pair that suits your needs best.