Most GKs know that gloves are the most important piece of equipment for a GK. Most GK parents know that GK gloves are the most expensive piece of equipment for their GK! Fact is, gloves--particularly top-level gloves--are E-X-P-E-N-S-I-V-E. We know this, and we get it.
The foam palm on the gloves is a key area of technology. The palm is where the GK contacts the ball most often. In order to assist the GK in catching, palm foams can be extremely soft and thereby perishable. The softer the foam, the better the grip; but also, the softer the foam, the more expensive the glove usually is, and the life-expectancy of the glove is reduced.
A pair of GK gloves should last the GK about 6-8 weeks figuring on daily use. IF the GK takes care of his/her gloves, i.e., washes and maintains the gloves, the gloves may last up to about 10 weeks. This is dependent on total times used (how many times per week the GK trains and plays), playing surface for training and games (artificial turf "eats" up gloves quicker), how well the GK adheres to proper technique of GKing in both training and games (not using the hands to break the fall of a dive, a minimum of pushing off the ground with the hands, keeping the hands on the ball and not on the ground). All of these factor in to how long gloves should last, and how long the gloves provide a good grip on the ball.
HOWEVER.....the key to extending the life of perishable GK gloves is.........wait for it........Taking. Care. Of. Your. Gloves.
By taking care of your gloves, I mean washing them after each and every GKing event--training and games--and not simply throwing them in your bag until the next event. Too often young GKs just throw their gloves in their bag, or worse, the back of the family car, and pay no attention to the gloves until the next time they play or train. This will "kill" your gloves.
You see, the latex foam on the palm is somewhat porous--which enables good grip on the ball--and those pores need to be cleaned of dirt and sweat, and rubber pellets (turf play), and grass, etc. Also, if you leave your gloves in the back of the family SUV, the heat that builds up in the car will destroy the foam on your gloves by drying it out WITH the dirt/dust still embedded in the foam.
Simply taking the effort to wash your gloves after each use will greatly extend the life of your gloves as well as maintain the grip of the foam. Washing gloves is simple....put them on your hands, and add a small dab of soap, and simply wash your hands just like you would before dinner. Or you can take your gloves into the shower with you after training or games and wear them while you soap up. (Be sure to thoroughly rinse all of the soap out of the gloves after washing). Or, you can put them in the washing machine on Delicate or Gentle Cycle in warm water with a dab of detergent and let the washing machine do the work. After you have washed your gloves, air dry them in a cool shaded place (remember, heat and direct light will ruin the foam). "But EV", you say, "My gloves will still be wet when I use them next time!" And my answer will be, "Yes, they may be damp, but you should be dousing the foam palm with water to enhance the grip before you play or train anyway, so it's OK if you're gloves are a bit damp while you're GKing."
Now, if you're a serious GK, you will want to have a couple of pairs of gloves. 1 pair for training (they don't need to be too expensive), and the other pair for games (they can be your top-level gloves). After your "game gloves" wear out and you replace them with a new pair of game gloves, use your "old" gloves as your training gloves. But remember......always keep BOTH pairs as clean as possible in order to squeeze the most useful life out of them! Gloves are perishable. Gloves are expensive. But you can help extend their life with some good old fashioned daily maintenance!
If you go to our website www.reuschusa.com , you can find information on all of the different palm foams as well as recommendations for which glove is best for varying training and playing conditions. Also, you will find Glove Wash that can help extend the life of your gloves, enhance the grip, and save you and your parents some money!
Remember the old GK adage...."Take care of your gloves and your gloves will take care of you."
May the ground beneath your dive be soft. May your goalposts be 3 feet wide. May the other team shoot everything right at you!
All the Best--EV