Why do soccer players wear gloves? (fully explained)

Especially when it starts to get colder, you see quite a few soccer players walking on the pitch wearing gloves. In this blog, we explain why soccer players wear gloves during a soccer game. 

This is why soccer players wear gloves:
Soccer players wear gloves so their hands don't get cold during a game. The ends of the body such as the hands, feet, nose and ears are places where the body loses a lot of heat. If the body cools down too much, a soccer player cannot perform optimally. 

When you read on, we explain in detail why soccer players choose to wear gloves. In addition, there is more to this blog. For example, we explain what the rules say about wearing gloves, whether they should have grip, whether there are special gloves and whether there are alternatives.

Why do soccer players wear gloves?

There are several reasons why a soccer player wears gloves. You can read which ones these are below:

Against the cold
The main reason soccer players wear gloves is to protect the hands from the cold. By wearing gloves, they prevent the hands from getting cold. 

A soccer season lasts 1 year and is played in all seasons. So it is also played during the winter. During this season, it can get very cold both during the day and in the evening. Especially when the mercury drops to a freezing point. Wearing gloves can help keep the hands warm. 

To perform well
As you have already read in the intro, it is important for soccer players to keep the body at a good temperature in order to perform well. An optimal temperature is between 38.5 and 39 degrees. Through the hands, the body can lose a lot of heat. Wearing the gloves ensures that the body stays at the right temperature and soccer players can perform optimally. 

For better grip
A soccer player may wear gloves with grip on them. When the ball goes out over the sideline it may help to wear gloves with grip. This ensures that the ball lies better in the hands and can be thrown in better. You will find more information about this later in this blog.

For more comfort
Playing with cold hands is less comfortable than playing with warm hands. When a soccer player has warm hands he feels more comfortable and is able to perform better. 

For the sponsor
When a player wears gloves, they will always have the same brand as the brand of the shirt. When the shirt is from Nike the footballers will wear Nike gloves. When the shirt is from Adidas the soccer players will wear Adidas gloves. These are requirements set by the shirt sponsor. The club (and sometimes the player) gets a commission for wearing it. This is because it also works as advertising for the particular brand. 

Because they like the way it looks
Some players have a completely different reason why they wear gloves. They wear them because they like the way they look. For example, there are players who wear gloves when it is not even very cold and the gloves are not needed.  

Why do Latin American soccer players wear gloves?

Players from countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Ecuador are more likely to be seen on the field wearing gloves. This is because players from these countries are often more likely to be cold. They cannot tolerate the cold as well because they come from a warmer climate. 

Why do African soccer players wear gloves?

Players from Africa wear gloves for exactly the same reason as players from Latin America. In countries like South Africa, Morocco, Egypt and Cameroon it is a lot warmer the for example North America and Northern Europe. When they play in Europe, for example, and the mercury is around freezing (or below), this can feel much colder to them than, say, someone from the Netherlands, Belgium or Germany. 

By the way, this also works the other way around. Players from African and Latin American countries can often tolerate heat better than players from Northern Europe or North America. 

Are there any rules about wearing gloves in soccer?

The website of IFAB (the organization that sets the official soccer rules) does not list any specific rules about wearing gloves. So wearing gloves is allowed. 

However, the gloves should not be unsafe for the player wearing them, his fellow players and opposing players. Therefore, it is important that the gloves be tight around the player's hands. The band around the wrist should also be tight so that an opponent's fingers cannot get caught behind it. If this happens, the player in question can suffer (serious) injuries.  

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Does wearing gloves have benefits during a soccer match?

While you may initially think that there are no benefits to wearing gloves, there are. These are the benefits:

Player can perform better with gloves on
For a soccer player, it is important for the body to have the right temperature. An optimal temperature is between 38.5 and 39 degrees. At this temperature, the muscles work best. By wearing gloves, the body does not cool down too much. In fact, the body loses a lot of heat through the hands. 

When a player's body maintains the right temperature, he can perform optimally for longer. For example, he may be able to sprint harder and will not tire as quickly. 

The player can throw the ball better
When a player wears gloves with grip, he can hold the ball better when throwing in. This allows him to throw the ball further because the ball will not slip out of his hands. Being able to throw the ball further is an advantage because it leads to more playing opportunities. 

The player feels more comfortable
It is important for a player to feel comfortable during a game. He should not be concerned with peripheral issues such as cold hands. This feels annoying and can constantly be perceived as uncomfortable during the match. If this is the case, a player may not be able to focus optimally on the match. 

Are there any disadvantages to wearing gloves during a soccer game?

There are minor disadvantages to wearing gloves. For example, a player is just slightly more likely to make hands when wearing gloves. After all, the gloves are wrapped around the hands like a layer. In addition, the player carries dead weight with him. Although it is not much, a player must carry the weight with him for 90 minutes. Whether this makes a player more tired is the question however, we can say that carrying dead weight is never beneficial. 

Can there be grip on gloves?

Since there is nothing in the official rules about gloves, it is allowed to have grip on the gloves. 

Especially during a throw-in, this could be an advantage. This is because the player does not run the risk of the ball slipping out of his hands. With this in mind, the thrower can throw the ball harder. This allows him to throw the ball further into the field. This ensures that he has more passing opportunities. As a result, he is more likely to be able to pass the ball to a free player. 

Wearing gloves and wearing short sleeves

You've probably also seen players who play with short sleeves but still wear gloves. At first this looks contradictory since part of the arm is exposed to the cold and the hands are not. 

However, the fact is that the hands are much more likely to be affected by the cold. Since these are the ends of the body (just like the feet, nose and ears) they catch a lot more cold. They are therefore a lot more sensitive to this than the forearms. The forearms lose much less heat than the hands.

Are there special gloves for field players?

Major brands such as Nike, Adidas and Puma all have gloves manufactured for field players. These feature a special fabric that is not too thick but is breathable and keeps out the cold. Many also feature extra grip. This is to ensure that a player can throw the ball better. 

What is the alternative to wearing gloves during a soccer match?

The best alternative to wearing gloves is to wear a thermal shirt with thumb holes. This shirt can be worn under the soccer jersey and keeps a large part of the hands warm. The only thing that is not heated are the fingers. 

Wearing a thermal shirt is allowed. However, it must be the same color as the soccer shirt. 

More information about thermal shirts can be found here.


By now you know why soccer players choose to wear gloves. It is not only against the cold but so that they can continue to perform optimally. Whether wearing gloves actually affects the final result has never been measured or proved. 

Curious about more blogs on what a player can wear during a soccer game? Then read our blog What protection does a soccer player wear (a complete overview).

An overview with more information about safety and soccer can be found here.

January 22, 2023
Published: January 22, 2023