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Goalkeeper glove: The origin and development
I would like to start this blog with a “cliche”. You may hear it from your grandfather’s mouth or just as I hear it from your goalkeeper trainer. It’s about the familiar words “in my time”. That’s why in this article we’ll take you through the origins of the goalkeeper gloves.
Modern goalkeeper gloves offer extra grip and finger protection. For over a century goalkeepers have been using their hands to catch, block and parry natural or synthetic leather soccer balls. For the casual observer, wearing gloves seems logical. Surprisingly, however, wearing goalkeeper gloves is a relatively recent phenomenon.
First known patent: A British football manufacturer, William Sykes, received a patent on a pair of leather goalkeeper gloves in 1885, according to the website of Deutsches Patent. The glove design included a layer of India rubber to protect and cushion the goalkeeper’s hands. Sykes was clearly a progressive thinker, because it would take more than half a century before goalkeepers started wearing gloves regularly.
In the early 1900s, goalkeepers generally did not wear gloves. The original Laws of 1863 make no mention of gloves, so a goalkeeper would not have broken any rules if he wanted to keep his hands warm. Although it is possible that some goalkeepers wore wool gloves or gardening gloves, there is no registered evidence that they did. The Argentine Amadeo Carrizo (picture top left) was the first goalkeeper known to wear gloves. Carrizo played for the Argentine club side River Plate in the 1940s and 1950s.
Increased use: The use of goalkeeper gloves increased in the late sixties and early seventies, but many goalkeepers still only wore them in wet conditions. Due to the lack of specialized manufacturers of goalkeeper gloves, some of the best goalkeepers of that time still played in gardening gloves. Gordon Banks (picture above right), the legendary English national team goalkeeper, only started using goalkeeper gloves as an experiment in the World Cup in Mexico in 1970, according to the website of the British Glove Association.
The seventies marked a turning point in the history of goalkeeper gloves. As gloves became more popular, the demand for specialized goalkeeper gloves increased. Manufacturers such as Reusch, Uhlsport and … suddenly found their gloves popular with both amateur and professional goalkeepers. The gloves were simple, but offered the wearer more protection and grip, the two most important principles of modern goalkeeper glove design.
By the 1980s, goalkeeper gloves had become a fundamental part of football equipment. Manufacturers began to do more research into their designs, especially in the area of grip. They experimented with terry cloth, the coating of table tennis paddles and latex foam. Latex goalkeeper gloves soon became standard.
Goalkeeper glove technology has advanced enormously since the 1980s. Latex treatments have made gloves stickier and more durable, while various moulds have added a whole new vocabulary to the industry. Goalkeepers can now choose between flat-finger fit gloves, roll-finger gloves, close-fitting gloves with negative cuts and even a combination of these different fits.
As with the design of the soccer shoes, innovations within the goalkeeper gloves manufacturing industry have resulted in a wide range of different models and styles. Choosing goalkeeper gloves has therefore become much more complicated than buying a nice pair of gardening gloves. Today, goalkeeper gloves come in various colours and latex types. Therefore, choose carefully for a goalkeeper glove that meets your standards. Look at quality and not at the brand or color.
The history of latex over the years
Foam, rubber or latex are all synonyms for the most important part of the goalkeeper glove. The foam or latex is the first thing that comes into contact with the ball when a goalkeeper tries to catch a ball. So latex is a very important raw material for goalkeeper gloves.