A good pair of hockey gloves prevents your hands and wrists from getting battered and bruised from flying pucks, slashes, collisions, and falls. Plus, you might need them to throw to the ice when it’s time for a good, old-fashioned hockey fight. This guide to buying hockey gloves will walk you through the considerations of choosing your first pair or helping you find an upgrade or replacement.
What are hockey gloves made of?
Originally, hockey gloves were made of high-quality leather, which took months to break in and years before the leather broke down. Today’s hockey gloves are usually made with a combination of nylon, polyester, and synthetic leather, so while they break in easier and protect your hands well, the palms wear out faster. These faux leathers imitate the look and feel of suede—they’re soft, comfortable, pliable, and offer a great stick feel. The downside is they’re prone to wearing out faster than many players would prefer, even though many glove manufacturers strategically double the layers of material in the palm because this area takes the most abuse.
More advanced hockey gloves feature elite tech materials for maximum protection in a lightweight, flexible glove. The inclusion of Thermo Core or other microfiber liners helps to handle moisture and smell. For example, some Bauer hockey gloves feature Hyperlite high-density foam for heavy-duty protection in a lightweight construction, while some CCM hockey gloves feature high performance Zotefoam and premium Clarino synthetic leather palms.
Although there’s a significant difference in the durability of the palms between inexpensive and premium gloves, all hockey gloves have the same basic design:
- The Cuff Roll protects the area between your forearm and your wrist.
- The Cuff offers padded protection for your wrist.
- The Back Rolls cushion the top of your hand and provide protection for the back of your hand.
- The Finger Padding is thicker on top to provide essential protection to your hands, with a thinner underside to improve mobility and stick feel.
How do I choose hockey gloves?
There are a few major considerations when choosing which hockey gloves to buy: the price, the fit, and how well they match your individual game.
Gloves come in three general fit categories: traditional, anatomical, and tapered fit. The traditional four-roll glove is roomier for a wider range of motion without resistance on the fingers when you move your hand. The anatomical fit hugs the hands and fingers, designed to feel like an extension of the hand. Hockey gloves also come in a tapered design, similar to anatomical fit but with slightly more space inside the glove for a greater range of motion.
The ideal fit profile for a hockey glove depends on each player’s preference or playing style. If you want more room inside the glove, the traditional four-roll fit might work best for you. For players who like a responsive stick feel, anatomical fit may work best. Any player who needs the same responsive stick feel but with more freedom of movement around the wrist might look into tapered fit hockey gloves.
How much do hockey gloves cost?
The cost of hockey gloves ranges from $30 for a starter Youth pair to upward of $200 for elite-level Senior gloves. We offer gloves at all price points for any level of play, and we frequently offer sales and discounts.
What size hockey gloves should I get?
Measure from the tip of your longest finger to the beginning of your elbow pads. That number, in inches, is your glove size. When you try them on, the gloves should meet your elbow pads, and your fingers shouldn’t hit the ends. For more detailed fitting and sizing guidelines as well as sizing charts for major manufacturers such as Bauer and CCM, check out our related guide on How to Fit Hockey Gloves.
Which hockey gloves are best for my style of play?
Your position and style of play will influence your decision when choosing new hockey gloves. For example, a winger might look for a lower-profile, anatomical fit to maximize movement and agility, while a defenseman might look for the roomier, traditional fit that’s suited for physical play around the boards. Perhaps a center might need a responsive stick feel but with freedom around the wrist for maneuvering the puck.
The major hockey manufacturers have developed their product lines with these different needs in mind. Bauer, CCM, and other popular makers offer gloves in a range of profiles and sizes to cover the protection needs and preferences of all hockey players. For any player focused on speed and agility, the Bauer Vapor line or CCM’s Jetspeed hockey gloves are lighter and offer a snug fit for streamlined play. For defensive players or those who need protection and room in the glove, Bauer’s Supreme hockey gloves or CCM’s Tacks line offer more coverage for checks, blocks, and flying sticks and pucks.
How to buy kids’ hockey gloves
Parents may want to know how to buy the right size hockey gloves for their kid and how much the protective gear is going to cost. Our related guide on How to Fit Hockey Gloves will give you all the information you need about finding the correct size. In general, you can measure from the base of your child’s middle finger to the crease of the elbow, rounding up to the next inch. That measurement, in inches, is the glove size. Our guide to Kids’ Hockey Gear has additional detailed information to help you, as well.
You can expect to replace your child’s hockey gloves about once a season—maybe every other season—to keep up with their growth.
Correctly sized gloves meet with the elbow pad, leaving no part of the lower arm exposed. Hockey gloves should be sturdy enough to protect a player's hand and forearm, while allowing enough mobility to handle the stick well. A pair of youth hockey gloves usually costs from $30 to $60, but you can often find a pair on sale or clearance.
Make note: buy the hockey gloves that fit. Buying up a size so your child can “grow into them” means their gloves will slip, exposing them to injury or impeding their skating and shooting.
How long do hockey gloves last?
If you are an adult player, your hockey gloves might last five months or five years.
The main reason ice hockey gloves need replacing is palm wear. There are a variety of other reasons, too—the gloves might loosen over time, they might get rips and tears, or they might start to exude an unbearable level of hockey stink—but palm wear is the most common reason to replace your gloves.
Higher-quality gloves have better constructed, more durable palms, while entry-level gloves are made with lesser-grade materials that break down faster. Protecting your hockey glove palms with good hygiene and the right grip tape will extend the life of the palm. Some hockey gloves are made with replaceable palms. For example, TRUE Hockey offers the Z-Palm replacement for select glove models, featuring different constructions to suit different styles of play.
The life of your gloves depends a lot on how often you play. If you play six hours a week, your gloves are likely to wear out much more quickly than if you play six hours a month. For adult players who have been through a few pairs, the signs of wear will be obvious. Fortunately, gloves are still functional even with moderate wear in the backhand and palm. If the palm is brittle or full of holes, you can take steps like repalming your gloves to put off buying a new pair until the entire glove needs replacing in earnest.
Regularly cleaning and drying your hockey gloves can further extend the lifespan of your equipment and prevent the materials from breaking down too quickly. Remember: hockey gloves are air-dry only; never put your hockey gloves in the dryer. Spritz your gloves with gear cleaner and prop them open to air dry after every use.
Are you in the market for new hockey gloves? Shop our full selection of hockey gloves online, or if you're unsure which pair 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, too, be sure to check out our other hockey equipment buying & fitting guides so you can purchase with confidence.