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The Goalkeeper Show: Best Finger Protection Technology and Why Goalies Should Use It
Before we can dive into the best finger protection glove options, it’s important to understand why finger protection should be used, especially in youth and developing goalkeepers. When goalkeepers are developing strength or technique, it is very important to consider using finger spines for the added protection. Youth or developing goalkeepers don’t have the hand strength or the proper technique yet, therefore mistakes in their game could lead to injury, especially when playing against stronger and more talented players. Finger protection gloves are the perfect option for new goalkeepers as they learn the game. They’re not only for younger goalkeepers, many older goalkeepers use finger protection as well. Goalkeepers often look for added protection when playing in an indoor setting because players are ripping shots from 5 to 10 yards away. Goalkeepers playing against advanced, strong players in a short-range setting need to set themselves up for success by avoiding finger injuries and hyperextensions.
The obvious positive in buying finger protection goalkeeper gloves is the added protection that increases injury prevention, however there are some things to keep in mind when buying finger protection gloves. In order to provide increased protection, flexibility has to give a little. The finger protection molds your hand into a preset position, which can feel different and uncomfortable to goalkeepers that are used to the fit and flexibility of non-finger protection gloves. With the lack of flexibility, goalkeepers may find that it is more difficult to catch the ball based on the preset position shaping the hand. Additionally, the lack of flexibility affects impact absorption. Finger protection stops your fingers from giving in to the ball when absorbing the shot. The spines in each finger prevent the backward movement that absorbs the impact. With this in mind, it is important to make sure developing goalkeepers are still focusing and concentrating on the catch and the technique behind it, rather than letting the ball hit off their hand. Finger protection is meant to protect your fingers, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of other aspects of your game, like giving up more rebounds. All these notes are great to keep in mind, but at the end of the day it all comes down to preference. Some goalkeepers like the security of having less flexibility, while others don’t like the rigid structure of some of the finger protection options. All finger protection gloves fit and feel differently so it is left to the goalkeeper to decide what style and brand they like the best.
Now to the good stuff. What are the top of the line finger protection goalkeeper gloves? The experts at Keeperstop have narrowed the best options down to the Uhlsport Bionik System and the Reusch Ortho-Tec System.
For goalkeepers that don’t wear finger spines very often, a more flexible and comfortable finger protection glove will be preferable. The Uhlsport Bionik system offers a variety of gloves that are less rigid and more flexible, while still providing protection. These features make this system perfect for goalkeepers who don’t normally wear finger protection because it feels like a part of your hand. Specifically, the Bionik+ Absolutgrip is a favorite of the goalkeeper glove experts at Keeperstop. The Bionik+ has finger spines in all of the fingers, including the thumb! The finger spines are set up in a 1-piece finger spine system with 4 spines across the backhand. This design disperses the energy of the shot across the backhand, reducing the chance of injury. Of course, this glove is much more flexible and forgiving than other finger protection options, so again it all depends on the preference of the goalkeeper.
Keeperstop experts also love the Reusch Ortho-Tec System. This system is offered in higher end gloves, allowing for the finger spines to be removed from the glove if necessary. These finger spines are much more rigid and structured than other glove options, like the Uhlsport system. Right out of the package the spines are very rigid, however they can be broken after a couple of sessions. Although the Reusch system is a more rigid option, the finger protection still shapes well, making it feel like a part of the goalkeeper’s hand. The latex on the backhand holds the finger protection in place so it doesn’t buckle up as you make a fist. Additionally, flex fabrics in different parts of the glove allow it to be flexible where it’s necessary. What sets the Reusch finger protection apart from other options is the dual density, 2-piece system. This allows the spines to act very similarly to the knuckles on your finger, ensuring a longer life than the less expensive 1-piece systems that provide some support, but often break.
Reusch and Uhlsport are without a doubt are the top two finger protection options, however the Reusch offers slightly more when looking at protection. The rigidity of the system just does a fantastic job of decreasing the risk of hyperextension, which is usually the main goal for young goalkeepers and their parents. But again, it all comes down to the personal preference of the goalkeeper!
This article was written as part of the Goalkeeper Show from our YouTube page. You can watch that full video below!