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You have a solid chest protector and the perfect helmet that balances vision and protection, but what about your hands?
Proper lacrosse goalie hand positioning leaves them vulnerable and your thumb is often exposed to numerous hard shots over the course of a game. All it takes is one shot to break your finger, leaving you sidelined for a few weeks or a season.
To combat injury in the cage, you need a solid pair of lacrosse goalie gloves. In this guide, we break down the best lacrosse goalie gloves on the market to protect your fingers when between the pipes.
Best Lacrosse Goalie Gloves
To make life easier for you, we scoured the market to find the best options in protection and feel for goalie gloves. What follows is our list of some of the top candidates we came across.
Keep in mind that goalie-specific gloves are not usually available in youth sizes but you may consider the smallest available adult sizes for your young player.
1) Maverik Max Lacrosse Goalie Glove
The Maverik Max goalie gloves live up to the max in their name with no element spared when it comes to protection.
TorqueLoc2 design and Shark Gel inserts provide extra protection along the thumbs. Triple density foam and inserts along the back of the hand and thumb reinforce the usually vulnerable points for a goalie.
Built-in flexibility in the DuraStretch panels and a suede palm for a natural feel provide added mobility and stick control. The freedom of motion will not slow you down when making those quick movements to stop that hard shot to the top corner.
The main downside is the price point of this top-of-the-line goalie glove. Given that the glove is designed to provide as much protection as possible, it utilizes more material and is, therefore, more expensive than a lot of alternatives.
Also, even with all of the protection provided with the Maverik Max glove, a 90 mph shot to the tip of your thumb will still not be a good time. Even if it does not make you invincible, the Max gloves will provide you with peace of mind when it comes to your feeling of protection between the pipes.
2) STX Shield 500
Drip Level: 4.8/5
- Colors: White
- Dedicated thumb plate for extra support and protection
- Shorter cuff system for better wrist mobility
- GeoFlex technology at the back of the hand
- Clarino palm for superior feel and durabilit
The familiar STX name enters the fray with the Shield 500—a popular goalie glove in the collegiate game thanks to its souped-up thumb protection.
Dedicated plating along the thumbs adds to the side and back coverage while its fixed position allows for a better grip on the stick. Even with the added padding, the Shield 500 maintains a lightweight feel.
The shorter cuff system and GeoFlex tech at the back of the glove provide an extended, unobstructed range of motion that frees your hands for saves and clears. The Clarino palm gives you full feel and control over your stick.
The main knock on the Shield 500 comes with its durability. Notably, the moulded thumb piece at the backside of the glove is vulnerable to breaking. Some slippage in the thumb plates has also been noted for its discomfort.
The Shield 500 is a worthy goalie glove to consider from the trusted folks at STX.
3) Maverik M4 Goalie Glove
Another Maverik goalie glove has entered the chat, this time the M4. This goalie glove is a scaled-down version of the Max but still sports much of the same protection and ventilation of its more expensive relative.
The main deviation in the M4 is its customizable fit at the wrist. Maverik gives you the choice between more protection or mobility in its adjustable cuff, perfect for those goalies who prioritize one over the other.
As with the first two gloves, durability is still a question as hard contact has been noted to break the protective thumb piece. Additionally, there is a break-in period for the feel of this glove even as it adheres to a more traditional fit.
The M4 is a great glove to consider for anyone turned off by the price of the Max but who wants some of the same protection and fit customization options that Maverik offers.
4) Warrior Nemesis Pro Goalie Gloves
Warrior pops up like Old Faithful in the goalie conversation with the Nemesis Pro gloves.
The Nemesis hosts specifically built-in foam along the major contact points for the glove—D30 foam at your fingers and IMPAX foam along the knuckles—for added protection. The extra thin palm allows for the maximum feel of your stick whether going for a save or cradling.
The major con to the Nemesis is the limited thumb protection. The glove does sport a Lock-Thumb system but the coverage area and success of this element pales to some of Warrior’s competitors in the market.
Overall, the Nemesis is a fine addition to the game and worthy of consideration for those Warrior-centric goalies looking for new mits.
5) Maverik Rome Goalie Gloves
Drip Level: 4.4/5
- Colors: Black, Grey, White
- Key Features:
- Cuff-less design for maximum wrist mobility
- Hyper-extension prevention thumb design
- Poron XRD foam for a soft feel that hardens on impact
- Pro Palm with Ax Suede for maximum feel
ANOTHER Maverik glove?! Yup. Maverik has made themselves into one of the top outfits when it comes to goalie gloves and the Rome is another option worth your consideration.
The Rome is built on the same protective principles as the M4 line but was designed specifically to meet the needs of elite level goalies. In addition to the usual thumb protection, the Rome reinforces the back of the hand with Poron XRD foam that is comfortable to wear but hardens on impact.
Maverik also focused specifically on mobility with the Rome. Its cuffless design maximizes the range of wrist roll and mobility while the pro palm suede provides a full feel of your stick. This glove was made for the goalie who prides himself on quick, pinpoint clearance passes.
To the downside: the price tag. This is usually the most expensive glove on this list (depending on if you buy it on a sale day or not), but it is also the most complete so you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck.
The Rome is a great glove to consider for those goalies playing in the most elite levels of lacrosse. The quality and protection of this glove makes it one of the best options available if you can swallow the high price tag.
6) Brine King Elite Goalie Gloves
Drip Level: 4.4/5
- Colors: White
- Key Features:
- Updated Lock Thumb for high impact absorption
- Arch-Tech for improved flexibility and venting
- Aeroshield foam inserts for impact absorption
- Ax Suede Fit palm for ultimate fit and feel
The Brine King Elite has many things a goalie wants out of a glove: superior thumb support with a snug fit that does not obstruct your range of motion.
The King Elite was specifically designed to fit tighter than most gloves to give the most natural feel of hand to shaft. This tight fit allows for maximum protection as well with inserts placed around the major impact zones, including the tip of the thumb, to protect against wayward shots.
The main knock comes with the Velcro cuff not working properly for some customers. This can reduce the security on your wrist/hand. Velcro can also be tough when it’s sticking to your jersey, taken from personal experience; in a position that requires use of every split second, this can be detrimental to response time.
Still, the tight fit makes this glove more adaptable to a younger goalie, and can be a glove they grow with as the protection it provides suits even the highest levels of lacrosse.
Cheap Lacrosse Goalie Gloves
If checking out the above gloves hasn’t indicated it already, goalie gloves are not cheap. They are notoriously looked at as a premium item and tend to be one of the highest cost products you may need to purchase to take the field.
But, as with all things lacrosse, there are cheaper options available. The caveat is that you may have to concede some of the extra protection and mobility that more expensive gloves provide.
Here are a couple of affordable goalie gloves worth considering.
STX Shield Goalie Glove
The STX Shield is a great glove to consider for a young player looking to make the leap into goal. It packs a lot of the design specs of the more expensive STX products but with a trimmed down price tag when it comes to the material. This is definitely a worthy starter glove for any young goaltender and clocks in at nearly half the price of its more expensive relatives.
Warrior Nemesis 19 Goalie Glove
Drip Level: 4/5
The Warrior Nemesis is another youth-oriented goalie glove that sports many of the same features as the more expensive Pro version. This maintains much of the same thumb and back of hand protection but with half the price tag as the Pro. The price cut comes from the simplification of certain design aspects in terms of both style and protection. Unfortunately, this means certain coverage areas that were problematic with the Pro will be further exposed with this glove. Still this is another great starter glove for a young goalie.
Lacrosse Goalie Glove Buying Guide
Beyond identifying some specific products, we like to provide you with the tools to find quality gear on your own should you choose a glove outside of this list.
Here are some elements to consider when looking for lacrosse goalie gloves.
It goes without saying that if you’re looking for gloves, this should be number one on your list of things to consider.
Protection is not just key to avoiding injury but giving a goalie the peace of mind that they are protected. That assuredness goes a long way in keeping a player’s focus on the field and not the dreaded “what ifs.”
There are some key areas to pay attention to when it comes to goalie glove protection, number one being the thumb. Most gloves on the market now have some form of molded plastic or similarly stiff but malleable material to reinforce the thumb’s position on the stick. This is extremely important to preventing hyper-extension injuries when it comes to saving that laser beam wind-up shot from the top of the box.
The back of the hand and knuckles are also major points to keep in mind. No one wants to take a ball off the glove, but they especially don’t want this if their glove lacks the added padding to their knuckles.
When it comes to being in goal, it’s not so much a question of if you get hit in the thumb or back of the hand but when. Even all the protection in the world may not prevent a broken digit as users of even the most expensive gloves on our list have pointed out. But, good it can help cut down on the frequency and possibility of such an injury.
2) Comfort & Flexibility
Here comes number two in what to consider—freedom of movement especially when it comes to the hands and wrists is an invaluable quality of a good goalie glove.
Some of the products on our list feature flexible protective padding that only hardens in response to contact giving your hand a bit more mobility and comfort. A snug fit also helps with promoting security during contact and as you move for a save or cock back for a clearing pass.
When it comes to the wrist, companies have been experimenting with adjustable cuffs and even “cuff-less” models. These provide a wider range of motion which is great for those goalies that like to be the ones touching off a fast break or helping out in a set clearance.
As with all protective gear, you want to find a glove that fits your natural movements with as little obstruction as possible but still meets your needs when it comes to protection.
Goalie gloves are a major investment so you want something that will last for multiple seasons and withstand a barrage of contact should need be.
Certain glove models have definitely thrown out the extra frills that can pop up on gloves, things like exterior moldings and snag points that can wear down or break with only a shot or two. It is worth looking into the durability of any extra thumb protection provided by a particular glove you are considering because some products seem built to guard against major contact only once.
A lot of the gloves we covered in our list are newer models so we are not quite aware of how these will stack up three or four seasons down the line. So, it is worth considering the durability and trustworthiness inherent to the usual output of the company you are purchasing a glove from. When in doubt, stick to the top lacrosse brands like STX, Maverik, and Warrior.
Do not overlook the breathability of goalie gloves when finding the best option for you. The last thing any goalie wants is to have their hands soaked in sweat as they try to control their stick on a clearance. It does not feel great and it does not play great either.
Back of hand ventilation is an element you should be looking for in a glove. Any form of tech that will keep the air flowing and recycled around your palms is a huge bonus.
Another major element is the moisture-wicking material. You want something that is breathable and keeps your hands as dry as can be for the most part, especially if you’re playing into the dog days of summer.
In addition to the material around your hand, look to the feel of the palm as well. The gloves above throw out some different types of palms, some sounding a lot more breathable than others. This may not be something you can wrap your brain around until you physically have the glove but is worth keeping in mind if you have the opportunity to try products on.
5) Customer Reviews
Customer reviews are the Holy Grail of our research and worth major consideration before you splurge on goalie gloves.
Do your due diligence and seek out every website and resource you can for some first-hand input on how any of the above four elements are for a given product. Other users can provide actual feedback to the fluffy sounding designs and paddings laid out in a glove’s product listing.
Additionally, reviews can be helpful in finding out any quirks to a glove’s fit or the buying process. Such feedback can be helpful in avoiding the pitfalls that may have ensnared other customers.
And don’t forget to leave your own review for whatever gloves you choose. It’s always good practice to pay it forward.
Find something that fits your budget…this is easier said than done when it comes to goalie gloves but still worthy of consideration.
Always keep in mind that if you’re cutting costs now, you’re likely giving up something in the future, whether it be the durability or extra protection of a more expensive glove. Pinpoint where exactly a product is saving you money and consider the implications of that cost-cutting to your safety and wallet in the long run.
A lot of gloves go on sale in the offseason if you are trying to save a few bucks. Alternatively, you can look for older models of elite gloves to save.
Lacrosse Goalie Glove Size Chart
If you are unsure which size goalie glove to buy, the following table may be able to help you out. This general information comes from Lax.com. I suggest you read the manufacturer’s site to see if their size suggestions differ.
You can also print out a glove sizing page that you can place your hand on to see your ideal size here.
Other Lacrosse Goalie Buying Guides
If you found this guide helpful, you may be interested in some of our other goalie gear guides. Here is what we’ve published so far:
- Best Lacrosse Goalie Gear
- Best Lacrosse Goalie Heads
- Best Lacrosse Goalie Shafts
- Best Lacrosse Goalie Chest Protectors
- Lacrosse Goalie Helmets & Throat Protectors
Photo credit: Flickr