Hockey gloves provide vital protection for a player's hands, wrists, and forearms, but this protection should not come at the cost of mobility and dexterity. Stick handling, shooting,
and dangling all start with the hands, and simply maintaining grip on the stick in rough situations is important. You never want a piece of equipment to keep you from performing at your best the way the wrong pair, or ill-fitting gloves can. Choosing
the right pair of hockey gloves requires you to consider how much protection and mobility you need.
Hockey gloves have come a long way since the days of long, leather gloves that were both heavy and stiff. Every pair on the market provides some level of protection for basic hockey situations, but more expensive models include features such as
lighter weight materials and padding, hard plastic inserts for increased impact resistance, better articulation in the fingers and wrist, and special inner liners for moisture management and comfort. Hockey glove sizing is a relic of those old
gloves, so you'll need to know how to get the right fit. Many styles and models are available, and personal preference is an important factor when you're considering several options.
Hockey Gloves Construction
The main part of a hockey glove protects the hand and fingers, and it's attached to a wrist cuff that runs up the arm. Leather has been replaced by synthetic materials such as nylon, which are lighter and more durable. The back and sides of the
glove contain the most padding—often EVA foam, or a combination of different-density foams—since those are the places most likely to feel the impact of a stick or the puck. The palm of the glove is made from softer synthetic material,
usually nash or layered proprietary materials, for increased feel and connection to the player's stick. Since the palm is usually the first part of the glove to wear out, durability is important. Hockey glove repalming can extend the life of a
favorite pair of gloves, should the palm wear out. The thumb of the glove is stiffer than the other fingers, and its mobility is restricted to prevent thumb dislocations. Inside the glove, a liner provides comfort, absorbs moisture, and may also
help prevent odors.
Five Things To Consider When Buying Hockey Gloves
Senior hockey gloves range in price from about $50 to over $200. While the basic gloves at the low end of this range are fine for casual players who mostly skate during stick-and-puck sessions or play pickup hockey with friends on a local pond, more serious hockey players will want and need better protection and more features. The basic glove isn't really designed
to withstand heavy impacts, hard slashes, and the like. As you go upward in price, glove materials get lighter, the protective foam is better and more strategically distributed, and the design of the glove affords a wider range of motion and more
precise dexterity. For instance, the top-of-the-line Warrior Covert QR Edge Hockey Gloves feature the Exo Protect system for superior top-of-hand safety; AxyFlex construction for ultimate mobility; SmartPalm+ with Gatorskin overlays for soft,
secure stick feel; and WarTech FNC liner for soft feel and dry comfort. But you don't need to break the bank on pro-level features, as there are very good, safe, high-performing options at much lower prices.
Anyone who has seen the gruesome footage of Marc Methot's damaged finger after a slash by Sidney Crosby back in March of 2017 knows how important protection in a glove can be. Gloves with the best protection feature HD and PE foams, as well as hard
inserts covering those parts of the hand most vulnerable. Perhaps as important is where the padding is placed, and elite players will want extra protection on the sides of the hand. In more expensive models, the padding is both lighter and more
compact, making for a less bulky glove.
3. Fit and Sizing
Hockey gloves come in three basic shapes (often called “fits”): traditional, tapered, and anatomical. The traditional shape is evident in the boxy, rectangular gloves you see in old pictures. They usually have a four-roll back and feature
a looser fit inside. Some players still prefer this wider range of motion inside the glove. A tapered fit means that the glove is a little more snug around the hand and fingers but widens at the back of the hand and the cuff. Anatomical-fit gloves
really feel like an extension of the hand, with very little range of motion inside the glove. It's up to a player to decide which glove fit best suits his or her playing style and comfort level.
Whichever fit style you choose, you also have to find the right size, but hockey glove sizing can be a little confusing. Hockey gloves are sized in inches, but the measurement is not of the gloves themselves. To determine what size you need, measure
from the base of your middle finger to the inside of your elbow. Most adults wear size 13, 14, or 15 gloves. Youth hockey glove sizes usually range from 7 to 9 inches, and junior sizes from 10 to 12 inches. You want the gloves to be comfortable,
not too tight, and to offer good control.
More important, the right size gloves ensure there are no gaps in protection between your gloves and your elbow pads. Proper glove fit is vital to protecting the whole arm and hand. If you leave too much of the forearm exposed, you are vulnerable
to injury from slashing sticks and flying pucks.
Consult our hockey glove fitting guidelines to learn more about hockey glove sizing and how to fit hockey gloves.
4. Style of Play
A player who expects a lot of hard contact and puts him- or herself in the way of sticks and flying pucks may think more about the protective capabilities of a pair of hockey gloves, while a player focused on dangles and dekes may prize feel and
mobility. The best hockey gloves for stick handling offer a soft palm and articulation in the fingers, allowing for easier and finer manipulation of the stick.
Finally, as is often true when you're choosing other types of hockey gear, personal style plays a part. When comparing similar models that meet your safety and performance requirements,
you may like the way a particular glove or brand fits or looks on the ice. The wide variety of choices gives you that luxury and allows you to express yourself while still getting what you need to ensure your best performances come game time.
Choosing the right hockey gloves requires a player to think about questions of safety, fit, and style, and luckily there is a wide array of models to choose from. One way to extend the life of a pair of gloves is to repair them where they wear out.
Hockey glove repair is much less expensive than buying a new pair—hockey glove repalming is a common service at hockey shops—and allows you to continue to use a pair of gloves you love and that have molded to your hands.