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Why Do Soccer Players Wear Gloves? 4 Main Reasons

Why Do Soccer Players Wear Gloves? 4 Main Reasons

Are gloves more of an accessory or protective wear for soccer players? Modern soccer players are more in touch with their outlook in this digital age than ever before.

In top-flight competitions such as the English Premier League, whenever players step into the field, there are many 5K ultra-high definition cameras with 360-degree replays that put them in the spotlight.

With this real-time technology, it is seemingly impossible to miss out on the most subtle of details on the players.

In video game technology such as FIFA, we see gloves categorized as accessories when trying to make your desired player look stylish.

Old school fans may look at soccer players who wear gloves as ‘soft’ and ‘weak’. Defenders in particular are traditionally the more aggressive players when stopping offensive attacks and protecting the goal area. Strikers would try to gain a psychological edge over defenders if they wore gloves.

There is no scientific backing to show a player’s ‘softness’ when they wear gloves during matches.

In fact, Manchester United’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka is a good example. He has topped the tackling sheet in the Premier League for the last two seasons.

Wan-Bissaka is a proper defender known for making recovery runs. He has an overall tackle success rate of 64% and is well known for wearing gloves during matches.

In our daily lives, gloves, like socks, are used particularly in the cold season to protect our hands from the cold and stabilize our body temperature.

When watching soccer, you may have seen some players wear gloves with others not doing so in different weather conditions. Let’s look at why soccer players wear gloves.

Why do soccer players wear gloves?

1. For warmth

Soccer matches are played even when it is raining. It is only really bad weather that can force the match officials to pull the plug on an ongoing soccer match.

Many soccer matches have to take place in the rain

Even though matches take place inside the stadium, there is no roofing system to shield the players from the rain and extreme cold. It is widely expected that players would ‘soldier’ on in those conditions. What can protect their hands?

Gloves help outfield players maintain optimal body warmth on their hands that would have been exposed to the cold.

With gloves on, they are able to concentrate on soccer. Some of the notable players who frequently wear gloves are; Sergio Aguero, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial.

2. For enhanced performance

I remember growing up and playing soccer at the lower levels. It was not a must for our goalkeepers to wear gloves.

We would still go on with the game so long as the field positions were already allocated. One might think that those measures were acceptable in grassroot soccer. As it turns out, it is still not compulsory for modern goalkeepers to wear gloves.

The only rules that apply are on the size limit for glove manufacturers when it comes to logos. However, it will be difficult for goalkeepers to make one-handed saves without gloves given the way the game is played.

Gloves offer the goalkeepers additional grip for handling the ball. It is not surprising to see goalkeepers pour water or saliva on gloves during matches.

A lot of these types of gloves are made from polyurethane (PU) and latex material. These materials are suitable to help steady the ball and are imperative to give goalkeepers that firm feel on their hands so they can focus on making saves.

Gloves will support the goalkeeper a lot when playing ball

Outfield players especially the defensive full-backs prefer when the ball is dry. This helps them when making throw-ins as the ball is less slippery. Gloves help them have a firmer hold on the ball when throwing them.

No wonder you find these players trying to dry the ball with their jersey or a towel.

On the flip side, the danger of latex exposure is when a player has latex allergy which can lead to asthma and other breathing conditions.

Luckily, there are different brands of gloves nowadays so it is a matter of finding the right fit.

3. Injury mitigation

Picture this, running at full speed on grass when playing soccer. Then, you are tripped from behind or lose balance to the point where you have to support your fall using your hands.

In which case are you least likely to prevent grass burns? When you have worn gloves or when you have bare hands?

Similarly, soccer is a high contact sport with tackles and contesting the ball. Injuries are inevitable for soccer players but gloves can help reduce the impact of falls or being struck by the ball when defending free kicks so long as the hand is in a natural position.

Why Do Soccer Players Wear Gloves?

4. Fashion and style

Fashion and modern soccer players are intertwined. Some of the players earn a significant chunk of their revenue based on their branding initiatives.

It is not surprising anymore to see that even in warmer weather, some outfield players still wear gloves. Some fans may find this a bit bizarre.

However, gloves are viewed as fashionable by some players and would rock them at every opportunity they get. Maybe they want to stand out just like others with fancy hairstyles, hand or head accessories. It all boils down to personal preferences.

Other questions

1. Why do soccer players wear black gloves?

Black is an acceptable color when it comes to kitting rules for gloves. Soccer teams can have up to three or four kits that they can select to use during matches.

The general rule of thumb is to match accessories and related gear to the color of the kit being donned on the day of the match. The home team has dominion over which kit to don then the away team will select the one that won’t clash in terms of color with the hosts.

“The two teams must wear colors that distinguish them from each other and the match officials. A single color which is the same color as the main color of the shirt sleeve; or a pattern/colors which exactly replicate(s) the shirt sleeve,” – States the Football Association (The Football Association is the governing soccer body in England) player equipment rules.

Take a closer look at the long sleeve protection undershirts worn by soccer players. They normally match the color of the jersey. Soccer clubs normally have gloves that they customize to match the jersey worn on match day.

In the absence of this, players are allowed to wear black gloves as it would not ideally cause a clash with the opposition jersey and it is not considered dangerous wear.

2. What type of gloves do soccer players wear?

Typically, soccer players usually wear gloves for two main different occasions in their career. The type of occasion would inform the type of glove to be worn. They wear gloves for training and on match days.

Matchday gloves that are worn by outfield players are made majorly from synthetic material. Those donned by goalkeepers are more well-padded latex gloves.

The latex helps with hand grip when holding on to the ball especially in rainy conditions. An example of gloves for outfield players is the Adidas performance field player fleece glove.

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  • Negative cut for tight and snug fit
  • Vented cuff with hook-and-loop closure for easy entry

Last update on 2023-11-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

When it comes to training gloves, they are lightweight and breathable in nature for all soccer players. These gloves have reduced latex additions and generally last longer than the matchday gloves.

Do you need gloves to play soccer?

The short answer to this question is no and lack of it won’t be synonymous with reduced performance levels. It is not a requirement even for goalkeepers to have gloves on when playing soccer.

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According to the Football Association, the following is compulsory equipment for soccer players: a shirt with sleeves, shorts, socks, shin guards and footwear.

Gloves are acceptable to wear and not deemed to risk the safety of the user and other soccer players.

Wearing gloves has its set of benefits particularly when it comes to keeping warm in cold weather. With that being said, it is not a must that a soccer player wear gloves but it sure is an advantage.

Can a goalkeeper play without gloves?

Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the world soccer governing body does not stop goalkeepers from playing if they are without gloves. However, the body provides guidelines on the usage of gloves by goalkeepers.

“Goalkeepers may wear gloves of any color. The goalkeeper gloves shall be an equipment item separate from the shirt. The goalkeepers of the same team may wear different goalkeeper gloves produced by the same or different manufacturers.” – FIFA’s guidelines state.

Can a goalkeeper play without gloves? it's possible! but will be difficult

As aspiring goalkeepers grow in the sport, it is good to familiarise themselves early enough with the kind of equipment they will inevitably use at later stages such as gloves.


The use of gloves for player protection and performance cannot be ignored. Creative technologies will continue being used over time to help improve glove designs for soccer players.

Eyes are all over now on the players than ever before where fans are able to spot what their favorite players line up to play in.

Just in real life, outfield soccer players have majorly worn gloves at different points of the season especially when trying to prevent the cold weather from affecting how they perform.

Also equally important to note is there are instances where gloves reduce the severity of sustaining an injury during matches.

Goalkeepers on the other hand also need gloves to help with reaching peak performance when on the field of play. Soccer governing bodies recognize that gloves are part of soccer equipment.

Goalkeepers in particular have specialized gloves that help minimize finger injuries during dives and parrying the ball away. Gloves enable better ball handling for them as compared to the use of bare hands.

Even though gloves are not mandatory when playing soccer, they do come in handy in certain weather conditions such as cold seasons. It is at the discretion of outfield soccer players to determine what works for them in terms of when to wear gloves.