The Best Football Gloves for a Center
What to Look For
Grip is the most important attribute of lineman gloves for a center for various reasons:
- The center is the first player to handle the football
- The entire team depends on him to control the ball properly
- A center must block and strike opposing players with his hands
With that in mind, it is important for a center to have gloves that offer protection, flexibility, durability and outstanding grip. Centers should not use full-fingered gloves because they diminish grip. Half-finger football gloves enhance the center's ability to grip the ball. While many brands have half-finger football gloves, the following brands are some of the most popular in the field:
Large, gaudy gloves offer the best protection but are unnecessary for the center position. The bigger and bulkier the gloves, the more the negatives begin to outweigh the benefits of wearing them. Some downsides of bulky gloves include:
- Easily become waterlogged and heavy with sweat and rain, taking away the hand speed that is vital when blocking nose guards and defensive tackles
- Decrease flexibility in the fingers, making it difficult to get a hold of and block opposing defensive linemen
- Late in the season, the gloves often become stiff and more troublesome than beneficial
The cheapest gloves have less padding, which enhances flexibility, but their grip, durability and protection are inadequate.
Where to Buy
Most sporting goods stores have football gloves in stock. Dick's Sporting Goods, Sports Authority and online retailers are your best choices. They all offer half-finger lineman gloves at the same base prices.
Half-finger lineman gloves range in price from $20-$60 as of 2022. Brand names, new padding technology and heavy materials increase the base price. Reebok and Nike design half-finger lineman gloves with lightweight materials that provide sufficient protection with increased grip and dexterity. These models ranged from $30 to $40. Neumann and Cutters gloves feature thicker materials to increase durability and tend to be more expensive.
Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for linemen gloves:
- The cheapest lineman gloves are light and flexible, but have insufficient padding and protection
- The most expensive gloves are the most protective and durable on the market, but are heavy and inflexible
The Nike D-Tack and Reebok's Smash designs are light in weight and provide adequate protection and grip. The Cutters Reinforcer and Neumann Performer are more expensive, but are more protective and durable. You will not have to replace Cutters or Neumann gloves as often.
Using tape with your gloves increases their durability and effectiveness.
- Taping your thumbs and wrists adds support and protection to your hands when you strike, block and hold the opposition
- Taping under and over your gloves are both beneficial for your hands
- Taping over your gloves also lends some protection to the gloves
Ask your athletic trainer for some tape. It can also be found at sporting goods stores and some pharmacies for $1.50 per 5 yards.
Insider Care Tips
As a center, your primary tools are your hands. Gloves are your hands' first defense against injury. They protect you from serious cuts, bruises and fingernail damage. It is important to take care of your gloves, keeping these things in mind:
- Wash them only after games to avoid wearing out the material
- Never dry your gloves in the dryer; the heat will dry out the leather too quickly
- Hang up your gloves and let them air-dry
- Rubbing hand lotion into stiff gloves is the best way to loosen them up
Based in Washington, D.C., Jacob Burney has been writing professionally since 2005. He has written articles for "Broncos GameDay" magazine and the 2007 "South Pacific Games." He has also written several approved grant proposals. He is a former Peace Corps volunteer and holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Bucknell University with minors in philosophy and religion.