Let’s Talk about Football Gloves
Whether you are new to football or a veteran, you may be undervaluing the appropriate gloves for your time on the field. For many years, sports of all levels have under-protected the hands, though they are so very important both on and off the field. A hand injury, broken finger or dislocated joint can sideline you as easily as a twisted knee. Not only that, but you do have a life outside of the football field for which you need fully-functional hands. You need your hands available for working a keyboard, operating the remote and conquering zombies. Consider making gloves a part of your usual football kit; you may be surprised at the positive difference it makes.
Best Lineman Gloves: Attributes
What makes a good lineman glove and what specific attributes you should consider are important points to understand before making the purchase. In addition to the considerations below, you may also need to include the variety of positions you play. Unless you are a professional or a member of one of the elite college teams, you may and probably do, play more than one position. In such cases, looking for a compromise product may be your best course of action.
- Hand and finger protection: Extensive padding on the fingers and hands is important; linemen expect to be physically involved in every play so you need strong protection for all of your fingers to prevent cuts and scrapes as well as more severe injuries. On the palm, finding gloves that cushion the base of the thumb and midpoint of the palm are ideal; these are the parts of your hand most likely to take the full impact of a push or fall.
- Wrist Support: Though often over-looked, the best gloves can provide wrist support as well as hand protection. Look for gloves that extend up the wrist and include a wrap around the wrist for support. For those of you who are wearing or prefer receiver’s gloves, note that they do not usually offer much wrist support and this factor is more important for a lineman. The best lineman gloves protect and support; you want to be productive on the field and prevent injuries that prohibit or limit your productive participation.
- Durability: You need gloves that last; flimsy, thin gloves won’t last a game let alone a season. However, do not judge from the feel and initial appearance of the gloves. With technological advances, there are gloves on the market that are flexible and hard-wearing. Read reviews and the specifications of the gloves to make an informed selection.
- Flexibility: This is the balance you need in this position. You need to both protect your hands from damage while enabling unrestricted use of your fingers. This is a tall order, but there are gloves out there that fit the bill. Many players select the hardest-wearing receiver glove they can find. Though not as well-padded, the grip and flexibility is beyond what you usually find in gloves specifically designed for a lineman, but some players are willing to make that compromise for improved grip and comfort.
- Product Support: You want to be able to return gloves that don’t last so purchasing from a company with a great customer service and product support reputation is a good idea.
- Budget: There are products out there for different budgets. The most expensive is not necessarily the best, but if you want gloves that last, you do have to spend a few dollars.
- Fingered or finger-less: This is more personal preference than anything else, but there is a fit element as well. If you can’t find gloves that are a good fit for your fingers, finger-less may be better. This is because they enable you to use your fingers more freely, whereas gloves with fingers too long interfere with grip ability. Additionally, players assigned to the lineman role are often large in every aspect of size including hands. There are gloves on the market manufactured for very large hands. However, these gloves sometimes compromise on flexibility. In some cases, even the largest gloves in a specific brand are not a great fit for you perhaps because they are too tight or the seams are uncomfortably placed or any of a dozen reasons. For these circumstances, liberating the fingertips may be the solution.
- Wear: If you want to protect your hands, wear your gloves all the time for both practice and games; you are just as likely to get injured in a practice as a game, so there is no logical reason to save your gloves for game days. This points to having multiple pairs of gloves. Many styles are now machine washable and dry-able – a wonderful innovation – but you may not be able to wash them between practice sessions. Many teams have AM and PM practices making doing laundry between meetings difficult.
What Companies Manufacture Lineman Gloves?
This product appears to have a growing audience, so few major participants in sports manufacturing are not in the lineman glove game. The top manufacturers may well be names familiar to you from your other sporting equipment purchases such as Under Armor, Nike and Champion, but there are lesser-known names as well such as Cutters, EvoShield and xProtex.
When shopping for the best football lineman gloves, don’t be quick to discount the less familiar names. Cutters, for example, has a line of very well-rated gloves and may be the leader on the cool-o-meter for their color and design variety. EvoShield is also a rising name in the business with excellent padding and grip lineman gloves. Fit and appropriateness are more important than name. Here’s a short overview of the companies that make lineman gloves with particular emphasis on the less well-known brands:
- Cutters was founded by a football player who was unable to find football lineman gloves to protect his broken fingers. This led him on a circuitous route that has included developing the custom Cutters C-Tack which provides the excellent grip for which the gloves are well known. Beyond being excellent gloves, Cutters designs gloves in all manner of color and design, making gloves for nearly all school and professional color combinations and offering to custom design gloves for individuals and teams. Though football is their foundational glove, they now make gloves for many sports and athletic endeavors.
- EvoShield another comparative new-comer to the sports equipment marketplace is EvoShield. Founded in 2007 in Athens, Georgia, EvoShield has its own patented product that has helped build the brand. They devised a gel that hardens when exposed to air. With this gel, customers can form the gel to the desired shape and when it hardens, it exactly fits them. Many EvoShield protective products such as caterer’s chest guards or rib guards are designed to be purchased and exposed to air while worn by the customer ensuring a custom fit. This applies to all their products containing the custom gel. Not only does the custom fit add to the comfort of the products, but the resultant protection has been tested to be among the best defense mechanisms to protect athletes from injury. The EvoShield football lineman gloves do not have the molding gel, but are still well-reviewed for their durability and protective qualities. The EvoShield equipment mostly sells in a variety of black and white designs, with more variety available in their baseball glove line.
- xProtex is another novice in sports equipment, though its founder has been in baseball for many years. Following up on the understanding that the hands are under-protected in most sports, xProtex developed their own patented Advanced Impact Composite specifically designed to reduce the impact of such assaults as being hit be a baseball, run into by an opponent or knocked to the ground. Though only in the market place for a few years, sProtex gloves are already widely-worn by professionals particularly in baseball and the football market is growing. Again, less fashion-forward than Cutters, EvoShield manufactures quality gloves that just may be able to keep you in the game and off the bench.
Try ’em On
When you try on the gloves, give them a good work out. Open and close your hand, twist your wrists and try to grab objects as you would need to in a game. If they are at all uncomfortable save newness, put them back; the minor irritations you notice when trying them on become increasingly annoying as time passes. Velcro that doesn’t stay tight in the store is not likely to improve.
Keep in mind that leather can stretch out over time though man-made products do not tend to stretch.
The Argument in Favor of Lineman Gloves
It is important to preserve your wrists and fingers as much as possible from injury. Fingers that have been broken are more likely to show early arthritis and your hands are just too important in life to take unnecessary chances with them. That said, we don’t expect you to sit still with your hands folded for your entire life, but rather to take sensible measures to ensure you do all you can to use your hands wisely.
Maybe you may have been playing for some time without gloves and think them an unnecessary addition to an already burdensome equipment requirement. We encourage you to understand that these recommendations are for your protection both as you play football and as you participate in every other aspect of your life. Even professional football players have lives off the gridiron and need to participate in family events, assist in educating their children and contribute to the rough and tumble of their households any of which can be negatively impacted by injury.
Any gloves can be your best football lineman gloves if they suite you and stand up to the work. Keeping the parameters in this article in mind should help you select gloves that work for you.