Hockey is a fast-paced and exciting sport to participate in, but hand safety is obviously a huge factor to take into consideration. One nasty wrist injury is all it takes to ruin your day. On the other hand, you can buy the sturdiest, injury-proof gloves out there and they can potentially end up hampering your game performance due to how bulky they are. Having the best hand protection doesn’t really help much if they also impair your stickhandling, does it?
First things first, though. Let us take a look at the basics you need to know about hockey gloves, then right after that, we’ll skate on over to the product reviews. Once you’re done with the reviews, please peruse our extended buyer’s guide for a closer look on the nuances of hockey gloves that could inform your purchase further.
- Factors to Consider When Buying Hockey Gloves
- Top 6 Best Hockey Gloves for Adults 2021
- 1. Best Overall Hockey Glove: Bauer S18 NSX Senior Hockey Gloves
- 2. Best Premium Hockey Glove: STX Ice Hockey Stallion Senior Glove
- 3. Warrior QRL5 Gloves
- 4. STX Surgeon 300 Senior Ice Hockey Gloves
- 5. Best Budget Hockey Gloves: Franklin Sports Hockey Gloves
- 6. Best Casual Hockey Gloves: Mylec’s Men’s Hockey Gloves
- Top 3 Best Hockey Gloves for Youth 2021
- Guide to Buying the Best Hockey Gloves
- Final Considerations
Factors to Consider When Buying Hockey Gloves
Here are a couple of quick and easy points of consideration to make prior to purchasing a fantastic pair of hockey gloves. If you are in need of more information, however, be sure to check out our extended buyer’s guide at the end of our product reviews.
Above all, a good hockey glove needs to adequately protect your hands and wrists. The fingers, thumb, flex rolls, wrist rolls, and cuff should all be thick enough to withstand sticks and pucks, and durable enough to do that more than once.
In addition to properly protecting you, a good pair of hockey gloves shouldn’t impede your performance at all. They should be lightweight, brethable, and flexible where needed, so that you don’t give up your ability to pass and shoot skillfully in the name of safety.
It should go without saying that proper sizing matters when choosing a quality pair of hockey gloves. Without a decent fit, handling a hockey stick is going to be far more difficult than it should be. Always check the particular size guidelines of the brand you are interested in prior to purchase. Use theirs and only theirs for an accurate fit. Please reference our guide to sizing hockey gloves for a more in-depth approach on this matter.
Are you new to hockey? If so, you’re probably not going to want to purchase elite-level kinds of hockey gloves that cost a lot of money, especially if you find out the sport just really isn’t your cup of tea a few months down the line. Thankfully, there are entry-level specific hockey gloves that are light on the wallet while providing great value.
However, if you’re a more seasoned player and you are looking for a higher-quality glove that will withstand a beating, you’re obviously going to be interested in more higher-end models.
Hockey gloves very much adhere to the notion of “you get what you pay for” ultimately. Lower-end hockey gloves, while offering a decent level of protection, aren’t nearly going to be as performance-oriented or feature-laden as the higher-end models are going to be.
Take into consideration your safety needs along with your intent on staying with the sport over time. If you’re just a fly-by-night hobbyist and want to try out hockey for a short time, don’t worry about buying elite-level hockey gloves. However, if you’re passionate about the sport and expect to be participating in it for a long period of time, consider some higher-end options that will last longer and provide greater protection in the long run.
There’s a lot of hockey gloves on various markets, so we’ve put together this list of the best youth and adult hockey gloves available today.
Top 6 Best Hockey Gloves for Adults 2021
Sizes: 13 and 15
Colors: Black or red
If you’re new to the sport of hockey, you’re going to want to go with a trusted brand for one of your first hockey glove purchases. Bauer has you covered with these NXS Senior Hockey gloves!
These feature-laden gloves come equipped with dual-dense foam while being part of flexible finger inserts. This gives you the protection you need along with the proper flexibility necessary to grip on a hockey stick. Also, due to their dynamic flex cuff design, your wrist is going to have all of the mobility it needs to pull off excellent slap shots!
How does it deal with sweat and potential bacteria buildup, though? These NXS gloves have an embedded hydrophobic mesh that wicks away all sweat, keeping your hands dry and your gloves secure and smelling fresh all season long. The outer layer of the glove doubles on the dryness factor by being composed of polyester, making it light-feeling and breathable for your skin.
We had a really difficult time finding any downsides to the Bauer NSX Senior Hockey Gloves. They pretty much hit the mark for everything one would need as far as hockey glove hand protection is concerned. The only thing that maybe we could give it some demerits over is the price, but in some cases, you will pay extra for more premium glove options.
As it stands, this is an absolutely affordable product for the level of value and quality you get out of the package, and we can’t recommend it enough.
Sizes: 11 to 15
Colors: Black or red
This is the real deal when it comes to professional-quality hockey gloves. First things first, one of the most unique things about this glove is its finger sections. They are unbelievably flexible, each one having the agency to move independently of one another. This is really rare to find in a hockey glove, as most finger portions are latched on to the back of the glove, making finger mobility something of an issue. This glove is marketed towards seniors—which, in the hockey world, means adults rather than octogenarians—but it’s great for players of all ages.
The external safety component here is also key. This glove comes with the patented STX HexPro foam technology, which allows for proper impact displacement through almost all areas of the glove, keeping your hands safe from any grievous injuries. As far as the palms go, the Super Fabric center is designed in such a way that these gloves won’t wear down anytime soon with repeated use.
To sum up, these hockey gloves are designed with NHL players in mind, and with all of the features included, it really shows.
This is a premium-level glove, so it’s not best for individuals who are likely to quit playing quickly. This glove is definitely made with hockey lifers in mind. Because of this, it runs more expensive than other options on the market.
Sizes: 12 and 14
Hockey is an intense sport, and such a sport needs protective gear that can meet the challenge of such rigors. Meet the QRL5 brand of gloves from Warrior’s lineup.
At first glance, these have an overwhelming similarity to lacrosse-style gloves, and we know how intense a game of lacrosse can be! The QRL5’s are composed of a solid foam padding mix built inside the glove. It’s going to be next to impossible for harm to come to one’s hands when wearing these gloves. These gloves also come with a contoured taper fit, keeping the glove snug on your hands while allowing for maximum mobility at the same time.
The internal liner is made up of a cooling mesh inlay that allows for air and sweat to disperse widely on the glove, reducing bacteria buildup in the process.
The Warrior QRL5 Hockey Gloves come in just two sizes, 12 and 14. This makes figuring out the best size for an individual a challenge.
Sizes: 13 and 15
Colors: Black, black and red, or navy and white
STX is a hockey brand that is known for its impeccable quality, and this glove option doesn’t deviate from its high standards. The STX Surgeon gloves are made in such a way that they mold well to the user’s hands. The design on the back of the hand is tapered along the cuff and has numerous knitted knuckle breaks to go along with it. All in all, this design allows you to move your hands around with relative ease despite the overly tapered design of the glove.
When it comes to the rigors that sweat and moisture do to a hockey glove, the STX Surgeon has you covered. These gloves come complete with a Dri-lex moisture liner that wicks moisture from the inner portion of the glove appropriately. This keeps hands relatively dry on game day.
When you merge all of the above properties along with STX’s own version of impact-foam that’s embedded within the glove’s design, you’ve got a solid hockey glove that is good for all experience levels.
The only real downside with this product is that, since it ultimately is of a tapered design, these gloves can run a little tight due to numerous factors. You may need to size up, but it’s possible that you just won’t be able to get a comfortable fit here if you prefer things on the loose end.
Colors: Black and white
These Franklin Sports gloves are designed with street hockey in mind, however, they can make for a great budget option for ice hockey play as well. It’s true that they are not designed with professional-level intensity in mind, they can still take a beating and offer a rudimentary level of protection for one’s hands. And, unlike our pick for the best casual hockey gloves, they are designed to be acceptable in organized games despite what their street-oriented features—they’re even licensed by the NHL.
It’s also worth mentioning that the gloves are made with comfort in mind, for the most part. Loose cuffs keep the gloves from feeling too restrictive. Additionally, the finger gusset portions are knitted and provide ample ventilation capabilities. This reduces the accumulation of odor caused by large amounts of sweat over time. These gloves, especially if you clean them on the regular, will always smell fresh!
Since these aren’t made with ice hockey in mind, there are going to be some major downsides to this product. For one, the cuffs on these gloves are loose. This is good for breathability, but for many players (especially those with smaller hands) it might cause a constant feeling of one’s gloves about to fall off at any time, which can obviously hinder focus and performance. This is made worse by the fact that they only come in one size, although the relatively unstructured construction of these gloves makes this less of a drawback than it would be with a bulkier glove. Also, the palm padding is made up of one relatively thin layer, so it’s not the best for optimal hand protection and overall grip strength.
Sizes: XS to XL
Colors: Black and white
These are rugged yet comfortable hockey gloves that come in a multitude of size options, making them one of the most versatile options for hockey gloves out there. Constructed of Lycra and other synthetic materials, these gloves are lightweight while still being absolutely resilient, keeping your hands agile and ready to go at all times, and improving your game’s performance, ultimately.
Aesthetically speaking, you can’t go wrong with these gloves either. They are composed of a sleek, modern-looking design that can handle the rigors of ice hockey just as much as a game of street hockey.
One of the downsides we found was that the velcro straps on the gloves were of poor quality, and would wear out over time with prolonged use. This might not be a huge issue if you’re the occasional hockey enthusiast who plays with friends, but if you’re trying to go pro, you’re possibly going to want a different kind of hockey glove.
Top 3 Best Hockey Gloves for Youth 2021
Sizes: 10 and 11
Colors: Black or red
This is the best buy for both casual as well as youth players who have a professional mindset for their futures down the line.
There’s a fantastic level of protection at play here for the finger, back of the hand as well as the palm areas. The external area of the glove is composed of a polyester design which ultimately keeps the gloves lightweight while offering some of the best protection money can buy. The segmented cuffs let you move your wrists with a full range of motion, and the protective thumb will keep you safe from bumps and bruises.
The palm portion, in particular, is extremely durable as there is an additional layer that is included here, which allows for more of long-term durability and usage since the palms are easily the most used part of the glove!
Another great portion of these gloves is the hydrophobic mesh on the inside. This keeps the glove from absorbing too much moisture from sweat and displaces it appropriately, keeping the gloves hygienic and helping to keep them lasting longer as far as durability goes.
We had a really difficult time finding any negatives to this fantastic pair of hockey youth hockey gloves. The only real thing that might be considered a downside here is the price point, however, when you take the overall safety and comfort provided here into consideration, the glove easily is worth the money.
Sizes: 8 or 9
When it comes to entry-level hand protection for your kid, these Bauer Prodigy Youth Hockey Gloves are a great choice for a beginner.
The best aspect of these youth hockey gloves is that they are extremely breathable in terms of their design. They are constructed in such a way that both the inner hand area as well as the outer displaces moisture over the surface area of the glove itself. This ensures that moisture won’t stick to the glove for very long, reducing the chances of bacteria from occurring due to their fast drying time.
Another great addition to these youth hockey gloves is their single-insert thumb design. This allows for a greater grip of a hockey stick, which can enhance your child’s game in the long run. When you merge that on top of the thick and protective single-piece palm layer, you’re going to get one of the best youth hockey gloves money can buy.
The most glaring downside to these youth hockey gloves is that they generally run a size smaller than the already limited advertised sizes, making them difficult to judge what the right sizing option would be for your child. Additionally, the palm sections are quite thick and can inhibit grip strength until the gloves are fully broken in.
Sizes: Small (9) and large (11)
Comfort is just as much of an important factor as safety is when it comes to purchasing a pair of good-quality hockey gloves. Mylec definitely has this particular ideal in mind with its Ultra Pro II model of hockey gloves.
These gloves come with a reinforced grip and single-layer palm inner design. These two things come together to enhance grip strength, making impromptu slap shots simple and easy to achieve. These aren’t your dad’s bulky hockey gloves!
You’re also going to be getting quality ventilation with these gloves as well, as there are multiple indented locations that properly vent air all throughout the glove. This reduces long-term sweating saturating the glove and allows it to dry out fast.
With that being said, these gloves run a size too small, generally. Unfortunately, with the limited sizing options, this can make getting a perfect fit fairly difficult.
Guide to Buying the Best Hockey Gloves
How to Pick the Best Size for Hockey Gloves
The standards for hockey glove sizes are as follows:
- Youth: 8-10″
- Junior: 11-12″
- Senior: 13-15″
When glove sizes are expressed as a number, that refers to the length in inches. When it comes to picking the correct size for hockey gloves, it can be a bit confusing. The best standard to use is measuring from the base point of your middle finger all the way up to the crease area in your elbow. To make things clearer, we suggest watching this video on sizing.
The best-fitting hockey gloves will be a comfortable medium, not too tight but not too loose. Make sure that the outline of the glove aligns well with the other portions of your hand, such as your wrist, knuckle sections, and so on. Personal preference plays a role here too, as many players prefer their gloves tigher or looser than others.
How Do You Break-in a New Pair of Hockey Gloves?
Hockey gloves have come a long, long way from their pure (non-synthetic) leather origins. Thankfully, this means modern-day models are far easier to break in due to the nature of the lighter materials they are normally made out of nowadays. Here are a few tips on how to do this.
See How They Fit
Slide on the gloves and give your hand a hard squeeze by balling your fists tightly, like you’re about to throw a punch. If you can accomplish this easily, that means your glove is probably going to be a piece of cake to break in.
Get a Grip on a Stick
The next step is to get a strong grip on something, preferably the hockey stick you’re going to be using on the regular. Just doing this from the comfort of your home will, over time, adapt the synthetic materials of the glove to your natural gripping state.
If All Else Fails
If your gloves are still a bit too stiff to use after doing the above over a period of time, consider submerging the gloves in some colder than room temperature water overnight then hang them to dry in order to soften up. If that doesn’t get them supple enough for your tastes, toss them in the oven on a low temperature for a couple of minutes, but don’t leave them in for too long! Between both of these methods, this is sure to soften up the material in the glove, making it primed and ready for play.
For a more visual explanation on how to best break in a pair of hockey gloves, check out this video from STX Hockey!
How Do You Clean Hockey Gloves Effectively?
Hockey gloves, like any other kind of sporting gear that gets used over a period of time, are going to get filthy over time. Not only that, but accumulated sweating can cause the gloves to smell terribly from the inside portions as well. Don’t be that person who reeks because they refuse to maintain their gear properly, and take these key cleaning points into consideration.
The Two D’s: Disinfectant and Deodorant
A commercially-available disinfectant/deodorant hybrid spray is going to be your best bet with knocking out accumulations of bacteria in your hockey gloves. Do this without fail after each game is over. Your teammates will thank you for the lack of horrible smells in the long run.
Hang Them Dry
Something else to do at the close of a game is to hang your gloves up to dry in a well-ventilated area. One of the best ways to ensure this is to insert a long item, such as a long stick, and allow the gloves to air out.
What this does is prevents bacteria from finding a safe haven to circulate around in the glove, which will cut down on that nasty unwashed glove smell we are so desperately trying to avoid.
The Washing Machine May Be an Option
Most modern-day gloves are made up of synthetic materials, which means a majority are going to be washing machine safe. Be absolutely sure before you do this, however, and check any instructions or labeling that comes packaged with your gloves.
Additional Components of Hockey Gloves
Hockey gloves come in three core types:
- Traditional: The loosest of all the fit choices. They are made primarily for optimal maneuverability. If you prefer a traditional fit, we recommend the Bauer NSX Senior Hockey Gloves.
- Tapered: When it comes to performance, this is the “median” option. They fit looser than anatomical gloves, but they are certainly much higher in protection output than a more traditional-fitting glove. If you prefer a tapered fit, we recommend the STX Ice Hockey Stallion Senior Glove.
- Anatomical: These are the most restrictive gloves out of the three types when it comes to mobility and overall looseness. However, despite taking a hit in the comfort factor, these gloves are some of the best when it comes to optimal hand protection. If you prefer an anatomical fit, we recommend the STX Surgeon 300 Senior Ice Hockey Gloves.
What you should end up choosing is ultimately a matter of personal preference. However, it should be noted that tapered hockey gloves are some of the most prolific glove types out there, and it might be a good place to start if you’re unfamiliar with the nuances between the three kinds.
Hockey gloves have yet another dimension to them that’s worth considering, which is whether or not you want a glove that has a long cuff or a short cuff attached to it.
Gloves with long cuffs like the Warrior QRL5 Gloves cover up quite a bit, including the entirety of the forearm as well as the wrist area. There ends up being no real opening in between your hockey gloves and your elbow pads when you go this route, and it offers the best protection out of any hockey glove choice you can purchase. Unfortunately, the downside of this option is you end up sacrificing mobility for maximum safety.
On the other hand, short cuff hockey gloves like the Franklin Sports Hockey Gloves cover fit all the way up to the wrist and go no further than that. This offers a lot more in terms of comfort and mobility when compared with the longer cuff variety, but it creates a bigger gap between your forearm and your elbows, which can potentially lead to a greater risk of bodily harm in certain circumstances.
The Palms of the Glove
Palm portions of hockey gloves are generally going to be made up of at least one layer of a thick, protective material. The purpose of the palm portion is for shock absorption and grip enhancement, which we can agree are both necessary properties to have an ample amount of during an intense hockey match. The quality of the palm component is really going to be dependent on the price of the glove itself. Higher-end models like the STX Ice Hockey Stallion Senior Glove are going to be king when it comes to this particular area.
A lot of hockey gloves are going to come complete with thumb locks. These internal mechanisms allow one to keep their thumbs in a straight, rigid position that keeps the thumb joint from being moved out of place either from falling on it or being hit in that specific location. Thumbs are important; there won’t be much of a hockey game to play if you can’t wield a stick properly! If mobility is the most important factor to you, you can’t beat the free-moving yet protective thumbs of the STX Surgeon 300 Senior Ice Hockey Gloves.
It should come as no surprise that wearing sturdy, appropriate types of equipment is going to be a crucial aspect of enjoying a high-impact sport such as hockey in a safe manner. A big part of the decision-making process is ultimately going to be based on your own personal preferences, your budget, and your overall level of expertise in the sport itself. Safety, however, must always be the key focal point with these sorts of products when making a purchase choice.
We hope this list of hockey gloves has not only informed you properly but also moved you in the right direction towards making an appropriate purchase. Once you’ve snagged a great pair of quality hockey gloves, you can play hard while on the ice without (too much) worry about your own personal safety!