The gridiron is host to the brightest lights, the hardest hits and most eye-popping feats of athleticism. From youth football through the professional ranks, athletes use their strength and coordination to provide ESPN-worthy highlights. Each year, the game gets faster with advances in equipment technology. Players can jump higher, run faster, tackle harder and grip stronger. Without the right equipment (like the best football helmet), none of this would be possible.
Among the most important tools for skill positions is the football glove. The football glove has progressed from merely a hand warmer to an absolute necessity in maintaining a competitive advantage in ball handling and protection. After all, the glove is the connection between the player and the football. Your chances of pulling off a one-handed catch, game-breaking interception, or have the confidence to jam a bigger opponent are significantly increased by wearing the best football glove for the job.
The best football gloves of 2017 go to the Cutters REV Pro for a reason. They are solidly built, extremely grippy and come in a wide variety of colors. They are highly recommended as the best glove for youth football through high school and professional. Their overall fit was like that of a second-skin, giving amazing ball control with well-placed paneling for added protection. With both padding and the C-TACK performance grip, their multi-use application is unparalleled. Read our full review or continue on for in-depth analysis on best football gloves by position.
Table of Contents
- Who Needs Football Gloves?
- How We Picked
- How We Tested
- Our Picks
- Best Wide Receiver Football Gloves (including Defensive Back and Quarterback)
- Best Lineman Football Gloves
- Best Running Back Football Gloves (including Linebacker and Tight End)
- Best Youth Football Gloves (Best Budget Football Gloves)
Who Needs Football Gloves?
Sooner or later, most football players start to wear gloves, and there are three good reasons to get new ones.
- Grip – A firm grip on the ball is crucial to catching a pass, accepting a handoff or maintaining contact. Sweaty hands lead to dropped balls, then to lost games, broken seasons, depression binge-eating… Before you know it you’re knee-deep in The Notebook and bottles of discount wine. Regardless of position, this is an absolute must.
- Hand Protection – Strong passes from the QB can lead to cuts or scrapes on the palm of the hand. Additionally, fingers can get caught up in face masks, stomped by cleats or twisted in jerseys. Trust us. The last time we broke our ring finger we typed like a T-Rex for three months and lost the season. Gloves protect against injury.
- Weather Protection – Gloves keep your hands warm and dry. Rain causes you to lose grip. Cold makes your hands numb and less responsive. Heat makes your palms sweaty. Playing in comfort means your game relies on skill and not the elements.
How We Picked
Ideal football gloves should be sturdy enough to withstand bullet passes and dives into the turf, but be flexible enough to play cat’s cradle. Football players vary in size from Hulk to The Flash, and so do their hands. Gloves should allow you to withstand contact with a helmet and have the ability to feel the difference between a football and man-balls in the midst of a dogpile. They should have secure wrist closures to keep them tight on the hand. They should have enough grip material to extend from the palm, around the fingers and up the thumb, and the grip should last at least through one season. There shouldn’t be any stiff, rubbing seams or spots so tight that blisters form. You should be able to toss them in the washing machine without worry of degradation.
Through our research we eliminated any gloves that did not come in varied sizes as we recognize the many different body/hand sizes in the game. Further, we did not include cotton gloves as they are inferior in grip, protection and weatherproofing. You might as well tie a sock around your hand… We only included gloves approved through the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). We also did not include any obvious knockoffs or other minor variations (like a different color), gloves with obvious flaws, or gloves with little or no journalistic feedback on durability. (We evaluate stitching, but we don’t clench/unclench our fist 1,000 times to prove a point… We leave that to the masses.)
How We Tested
Beyond feel and appearance (where most reviews stop), we prepared the most comprehensive football glove tests on a simple 1-5 scale using following categories:
– Snugness, wrist security and potential for interior abrasion.
– Coverage of grip material. Grip stickiness for ball control.
– Extent and location of padding. Material type.
– “Give” of the glove.
– Comprehensive Editorial and user-based review research.
Note: Aesthetics were minimally rated as this tends to be personal preference.
Best Wide Receiver Football Gloves
What makes the best glove for a wide receiver? STICKINESS! Your most important job in football is to snag that ball like it’s jelly donut in a field of fat kids. With that said, grip tackiness is self-evident as the single most important factor in our top football gloves for a receiver.
Remember Hot Hands from the Little Giants who couldn’t catch to save his life?
Yeah… all he needed was a bit of grip.
Overall – 4.5
#1 – Cutters REV Pro Receiver Gloves
Verdict: These are the best football gloves for a wide receiver – hands down. Highly durable with a barely-legal stickiness in the grip. If you want to consistently bring in one-handed passes like the pros, we highly recommend the Cutters Gloves REV Pro Receiver Gloves. This football glove comes highly rated for the most consistent, strongest and durable grip. It’s worn by the pros with confidence.
Sticks like: Glitter.
Overall – 4.17
#2 – Cutters 40X C-TACK Revolution Football Gloves
Verdict: The Cutters 40X C-TACK Revolution Football Gloves are one of our all-time favorites. The grip is INSANE (yes, it’s the same material as the REV Pros) and will immediately improve your reception rate. Alternatively, the football gloves would be great for a hard hitting defensive back or even ball hawking linebacker because of the incorporated padding.
Sticks like: White on rice.
Overall – 4.0
#3 – Nike Men’s Vapor Jet 4.0 Football Gloves
Verdict: For skill positions, the Vapor Jet 4.0 Football Gloves give all the tools to make eye-catching grabs. Ultra light-weight and breathable, the ball feel is excellent. It’s hard to go wrong with the quality of Nike products.
Sticks Like: Bubble Yum on the bottom of your Chuck Taylors.
Overall – 4.0
#4 – Under Armour Men’s Nitro Football Gloves
Verdict: If you want top-notch performance, and don’t mind paying a few bucks more to get that edge, we highly recommend the Under Armour Men’s Nitro Football Gloves. They are by far the most flexible gloves we have worn, which speaks volumes in a product that has so much competition. Would buy again.
Sticks like: Hot wax on a chest hair.
Best Lineman Football Gloves
If you’re looking for the best football gloves for an offensive lineman (or any other mammoth-sized human for that matter), you need to consider your role. Lineman incessantly smash into each other every play, and what’s in between each of the multiple-hundred pound bodies? Hands.
Since there’s so much touching going on among the big boys, we recommend you USE PROTECTION. You don’t know what your touching, who’s going to touch you, or where they’re hands have been. You also don’t want the aforementioned T-Rex hands…
Overall – 4.33
#1 – Cutters The Reinforcer Football Gloves
Verdict: The best football gloves for lineman are the Reinforcers. Lineman notoriously suffer the most hand contact in football. Our pick for the best lineman football gloves was based on tank-like protection and performance. Although pricey, these mitts will last and last… and last.
Punching a wall feels like: Well, it hurts, but you’ll definitely survive.
Overall – 4.0
#2 – Adidas TechFit Lineman Football Gloves
Verdict: As a lineman football glove, the Adidas TechFit Lineman Football Gloves will outperform lesser brands. The secret to the winning formula is the versatility offered by the slight sacrifice in superior padding. This allows for increased flexibility, which is recommended for the Defensive Line, Center, Tight Ends and even Fullback in a pinch. For increased hand agility and ball feel, these are the best football gloves for linemen.
Punching a wall feels like: Something you’ll regret. But at least you’ll feel like the Terminator with these gloves on.
Best Running Back Football Gloves
Running backs are very much a hybrid in the football glove world. On the one hand, the best gloves for a running back provides superior protection from stingers caused by a rogue helmet during a block or truck. On the other, more versatile backs need to catch the ball like a possession receiver. From either a hand-off, a toss play, or quick slant, the running back football gloves should have padding on both the front and back.
Overall – 4.33
#1 – Nike Men’s Superbad 4 Football Gloves
Verdict: These are the best padded receiver gloves on the market, bar none. Highly recommended football gloves for running backs, possession receivers, or defensive backs. Durability is a non-factor and they’ll last you the whole season and then some.
Will make perform like: This Earl Campbell stiff arm.
Overall – 4.17
#2 – Cutters 40X C-TACK Revolution Football Gloves
Verdict: The Cutters 40X C-TACK Revolution Football Gloves are one of our all-time favorites. The grip is INSANE and will immediately improve your reception rate. Alternatively, the football gloves would be great for a hard hitting defensive back or even ball hawking linebacker.
Will make you perform like: This Greg Jones stiff arm.
Best Youth Football Gloves
If you’re still growing up in the sport, the best football gloves for Pop Warner (or any non-adult level for that matter) will differ. This is because:
- The game is played differently (more running, less catching)
- Your hands are still growing!
It doesn’t make sense to invest in high-end gloves if you’re going to end up beating them up through trial and error. Therefore, we recommend a pair of the best budget football gloves. They won’t break the piggy bank AND you won’t be upset if the grip wears off.
Overall – 3.33
#1 – EliteTek RG-14 Football Gloves
Verdict: Why are these the best youth football gloves? Because they’re budget-friendly for all those natural turf dives and the fit is ideal for smaller hands. Tack on big-brand level grip and you’ve got a glove that will net TD’s all day.
Added bonus: Did we mention the next-level GRIP?
Overall – 3.17
#2 – Grip Boost Stealth Football Gloves Pro Elite
Verdict: As pairs of inexpensive football gloves go, the Grip Boost Stealth Football Glove Pro Elite are a fine choice as a set of replacement football gloves. Our research indicates that durability may be an issue, however, these gloves will get you through in a pinch. We particularly like the well-ventilated construction, which allows both the top and bottom of the hand to breathe.
Added bonus: All white is a pretty fly look.
Overall – 3.0
#3 – Battle Ultra-Stick Receiver Football Gloves
Verdict: These are among the stickiest gloves on the market. If you need a good set of replacement football gloves, consider the budget-friendly Battle Ultra-Stick Receiver Gloves the best choice as they will keep you at the top of your game. Long-term durability is not guaranteed, but for youth football they’ll keep you competitive in a pickle.
Added bonus: Youth gloves specifically designed for 5-11 year old football players. Whoa…
We hope this guide has been useful to you, or at the very least, entertaining. We sure had a blast making it.
Remember, the best football glove doesn’t make the player, but it sure makes you look damn cool. Heck, just the confidence they inspire alone might up your game.