The Best Offensive Lineman Gloves
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Most football players at the NFL and even college level wear gloves. The offensive linemen who do not wear gloves protect their hands with thick and elaborate taping of their hands and wrists to prevent injuries. Lineman gloves are move varied than skill position gloves because of the padding that is included in the glove. Often choosing the best glove comes down to the ability to functionally protect and pad the hand, while at the same time not hinder performance with bulky equipment. Ultimately your specific position needs will dictate which glove you feel is best.
The most apparent trait to some lineman gloves is that a portion of the gloves do not cover the top half of the fingers. These gloves can be difficult to find because there often is not a large market for them. In fact, only a few companies continue to produce the half-fingered gloves. The benefit of these gloves is that you get a natural feel and grip from your hands, as opposed to full fingered gloves, whose grip can be deceptive. Centers often favor half-fingered gloves because they have to handle the football on every play. The downside to half-fingered gloves is that they do not offer the same protection to the fingers.
Offensive linemen need padding on their gloves. This feature separates lineman gloves from other players' gloves. Each company has its own padding options. Some favor a great deal of firm padding, which provides greater protection for the hands, but also makes the gloves more bulky. The heavy padding on the palm is ideal for guards and tackles, but makes it difficult for a center to grip a football. Most companies provide little to no padding on the palm, and light padding on the back of the hand, with some form of layered padding covering the knuckles. While this maintains mobility, it also subjects the hand to more potential injuries.
Most gloves offer nothing in the way of wrist support. Offensive lineman gloves often contain some form of wrist support. One company uses a longer wrist strap that wraps around the wrist an extra time for greater support before fastening. Some companies use two separate straps. One type of glove has built-in bracing to prevent finger injuries. Another uses a short but wide wrist strap that when fastened tightly can support the entire wrist with a wide support. The support provided comes at the cost of greater bulk to the gloves. Once again you must decide whether you need the greater wrist support or if light weight and mobility is more important.
Since you will be wearing the gloves during your games, they must be comfortable. Any distraction to your play must be avoided. Almost all gloves are made of leather and a mesh material that prevents overheating. Some gloves offer a wider opening to make it easier to put on and take off. Full-fingered gloves have a thicker outer material on the fingertips to add protection to the tips of the fingers, but this design stops air flow away from the hand, creating a potential hot spot.
- Darrin Klimek/Digital Vision/Getty Images