How to Fit A Goalie Catch Glove
Hockey goalie catch gloves, also called catchers or trappers, need to be loose enough to allow your hand to move inside, but tight enough to stay on when you snap a high-speed projectile out of the air. An ideal fit in the glove should strike a balance between comfort and protection. Every goalie follows a few simple guidelines to achieve the proper fit, and then relies on personal preference when choosing the other variables in the glove.
The first and most important step in fitting a hockey goalie glove is knowing whether you catch with your right or left hand. Most goalies catch with their left hand and block with the right arm. A left-hand catcher is called “regular” fit. But if you catch with your right and block with your left, you need a “full right” fitted glove for that hand.
WHAT SIZE CATCH GLOVE DO I NEED?
Your hockey goalie catch glove roughly corresponds to your age. To determine the appropriate size category, find your age in the ranges listed on the chart below. Please note that the recommendations are based on the average size of a person at a given age—you or your child may need to go up or down a size category if you are small or big for your age. For example, a child who is 11 but the size of an average 15-year-old kid should choose a senior size catcher instead of a junior.
CATCH GLOVE SIZING CHART
|4 3⁄4 - 5 5⁄8 in.
|5 5⁄8 - 6 1⁄4 in.
|6 1⁄4 - 7 in.
|7 - 8 3⁄8 in.
|3 - 6
|7 - 12
|12 - 14
HOW SHOULD A HOCKEY GOALIE CATCH GLOVE FIT?
Once you determine the appropriate size, make sure the adjustable inside features fit properly. The inside of your catch glove includes the inner cuff, the inner glove, the thumb loop, and the finger stalls. Finger stall fit is of utmost importance. The goalie’s fingers should extend almost to the end of the finger stall with no more than ½” to ¼” of space between the tip of the finger and the glove. If there is any more space than that, you’ll lose the leverage you need to close the glove.
Fasten the inner cuff around your wrist to the desired tightness. Some goalies want the inner cuff looser for more flexibility, and others prefer it tight for a stiffer hold. Either way, for a proper fit, the inner cuff needs to be tight enough so you can’t shake your catcher loose.
Similarly, the inner glove, which encloses your hand, adjusts to give you the desired amount of play between your fingers and the palm of the glove. If you want more air cushioning, wear it looser. The tighter the inner glove, the less air cushion you’ll have between the fingers and the palm.
Finally, test your thumb in the loop located at the opening of the thumb stall. You’ll know it fits properly if your thumb slides comfortably through the loop and yields enough leverage with the fingers to close the glove.
Pro Hockey Tip: New hockey catch gloves are often stiff, so there’s a certain amount of resistance you’ll feel when closing a brand new glove. But if closing the glove is a struggle, or you really can’t close it all the way, that’s a sign your catch glove doesn’t fit.
Also examine the outside of your hockey goalie catch glove: The cuff and heel of the palm will line up with the heel of your hand if the fit is correct. Your arm pads should move freely and fit comfortably in the cuff of the glove.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF HOCKEY GOALIE CATCH GLOVES?
Catch gloves come in a few different types: regular vs. full right; 60-, 75-, or 90-degree break angle; and single- or double-T pocket. As we mentioned in the beginning, goalies make choices about the fit of their gloves based on several key personal preferences around these types.
- Goalies who catch with their left hands choose “regular” gloves. Goalies who catch right-handed select “full right.”
- A glove’s “break” is the part that folds closed, and its angle corresponds to preferred hand positioning. A 90-degree break angle means you catch the puck as though you’re making a “thumbs-up” sign, with the fingers squeezing back towards the wrist. A 60-degree break works similarly to a baseball glove, with the thumb and fingers positioned more upright to pinch around the puck. A 75-degree break angle catch glove works for goalies who prefer something in between.
- Catch glove pockets come in either a single-T or double-T structure, so there’s either one or two supports running the length of the pocket. Some goalies prefer the efficiency of the single-T design because as soon as the puck strikes the support, the goalie knows the puck’s in hand. Others like the double-T design because there is slightly more slack in the pocket, which can help stop rotation faster and potentially keep the puck from bouncing out.
These variables are crucial for buying your first glove, or for understanding why you’re not getting the performance you want out of your existing glove. For example, once you know you are a “full right, 60-degree, double-T,” then you can look at performance features, materials, style, and brands. For more detailed information on the parts of a catch glove and other important buying considerations, consult our How to Buy a Hockey Goalie Catch Glove guide.
HOW DO I BREAK IN MY HOCKEY GOALIE CATCH GLOVE?
Apply heat and moisture to break in a stiff new catch glove. While these conditions occur normally as you train and play, you can speed up the break-in process to get your catcher game-ready faster. Here are the best ways we’ve found to break in catch gloves:
BAKING THE GLOVE IN-STORE
If you purchase a catch glove in a Pure Hockey store, our staff can put it in one of our skate baking ovens to start the break-in process. After the glove is in the oven for 8–10 minutes, the heat softens the leathers and foams in the palm of the glove. While it’s warm, open and close the glove repeatedly.
BAKING THE GLOVE AT HOME
If you would like to use a similar method at home and have your own skate bake oven, we recommend the following:
- Bake your catch gloves in a skate oven only, as it circulates the heated air evenly over the glove.
- Heat the glove in an accurately controlled skate bake oven at a temperature of 145 to 160 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Caution—the glove will be hot! If necessary, allow the glove to cool slightly before putting it on your hand.
- The inside of the glove can be misted with water to help soften the interior, speed up the break-in process, and keep the materials cool to the touch.
- Once it cools just enough to wear, put on the glove and tighten the wrist strap, thumb, and finger loops.
- Flex the glove repeatedly to form it to the desired shape.
THE HAIR DRYER METHOD OF BREAKING IN GLOVES
If you do not have a skate bake oven, the hair dryer method is the safest, and it works much the same as baking. Apply medium heat to the break area of the glove at both the glove face and the glove interior. Make sure to maintain an even, medium heat, and keep the hair dryer moving. Be careful not to apply direct heat to one area of the glove for prolonged periods, as concentrated heat may damage your gear. Patience and constant motion work best. Once the glove is warm inside and out, put your hand inside and flex repeatedly.
Are you in the market for a new hockey goalie catch glove? Shop our full selection of hockey goalie catch gloves online, or if you’re still unsure which one might be right for you, visit a Pure Hockey store near you for a full assessment from our staff.
If you’re shopping for other gear, check out our other hockey goalie equipment buying & fitting guides and purchase with confidence.