How can I make my gloves last longer?

Hi all! Haley Kopmeyer here. For part 2 of my blog installments, I’m going to try and help to answer some of those questions about palm preservation so that your gloves last longer and therefore, you save more money from having to buy pair after pair after pair.

You can read my first installment about finger saves here.

Expectations

First and foremost, we want to set the expectation that gloves are not cleats. I know that sounds obvious, but they will naturally wear faster than shoes because gloves are made of latex and latex is a soft, porous material. Latex absorbs what it touches and surrounds- water, dirt, sand, turf, dust, sweat- EVEN SMELLS. No matter what brand of gloves you buy, this holds true. 

Average number of gloves a GK goes through per year:

Pro: 25-35 pairs

College: 5-8 Pairs

Elite Keeper: 3-6 pairs

Rec keeper 1-2 pairs 

ITEMS TO NOTE

  • Pros train many hours almost every single day. They also have the luxury of affording more pairs.
  • GLOVES CAN LAST LONGER IF CARED FOR PROPERLY

With this knowledge, "How can I or my child be at the lower end of those numbers so I’m not buying gloves all the time?"

Buying Considerations

Make sure you buy a glove that matches your needs and output! 

  • Don’t peel your gloves til you are ready to use them! Once latex is exposed to oxygen, a slow drying process naturally occurs. This is for all latex, all brands!
  • All latex begins as white- white latex is most durable
  • Color additives slightly soften the latex (although it does make it more sticky)
  • The darker the palms, the more additives, and more prone to wear- it isn’t a massive difference but it can add up over time!
  • Training is harder on gloves than games- 1 training is about 3 games from a use standpoint! 

PRO TIP: As you buy new gloves, have them become your game gloves. Wear them in and then drop them down to your training pair.

Glove Care

When I was growing up, I was extremely guilty of finishing a game or training, throwing my gloves in my bag and leaving my bag in my hot or cold garage (depending on time of year) until the next time I left for a training or game. Anyone else do this or see their child do this? Besides the fact that this is not hygienic (and plays a large part in giving gloves that foul odor they’ve become accustomed with), this is terrible for palm preservation! 

  • Wash your gloves: Every 4 uses or so, use a glove specific wash to clean your gloves. Let the gloves air dry- no heat!
    PRO TIP: Pick one day a week to be “glove wash day”- ex. Thursday after training ahead of weekend games
  • Store your gloves: Between trainings/games, store your gloves in a specialized compartment or glove bag- where it isn’t exposed to extreme weather/temperatures OR smells. If your gloves are soaking wet, let them air dry and then store them! Wet, sweaty gloves thrown in a bag promote bacteria growth and stench.
  • Dampen (not soak) your gloves before and while playing. A little bit of water activates the latex. Keep a bottle by your goal (use spit as a last ditch scenario). 
  • DO NOT, under any circumstances, pour hand sanitizer or other drying agents on your palms. This is pretty much a death sentence for gloves!

Technique

We know this is a tough one to hear- but simple changes to technique and style of play can have an immense impact on the life of your latex. We recently posted a video of US National Beach Team keeper, Christi Yount, using a fist to push back up from a dive instead of pushing her palms into the sand. Same holds true for a field- dirt, turf, grass can be just as abrasive. It gets both absorbed into the latex and can tear it. Simple changes to technique will go A LONG WAY!

 

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