Choosing The Best Racquetball Gloves for You
You don’t need to be a master of racquetball – but if you get a taste for the sport, the easiest step you can take to improve your game is to pick up some gloves.
Racquetball gloves serve a few practical purposes: they help keep your hands dry and cool, help maintain your grip on your racket, and help protect your hands from incidental contact during the course of play. That last one is especially important if your playstyle involves a lot of diving.
To find the best racquetball gloves for you, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions.
How Well Do You Know Your Hands?
The first question you have to ask yourself is, “how much do my hands sweat?” Specifically, how much do they sweat when you work out? If your hands sweat a lot when you’re active, picking a glove that is specifically built to wick away moisture would be in your best interest. If you don’t get sweaty hands, then moisture absorption shouldn’t be a priority for you when buying racquetball gloves.
How do you grip your racquet? Do you hold it as tightly as possible? Is your grip a bit too loose? The right glove can help you adjust your grip to improve your game. The thing to be aware of is how you shift from your forehand to a backhand grip.
If you hold your racquet extremely tight, you probably don’t need a super-tacky grip on top of everything. But if you hold your racquet loosely, that tacky-gripped glove might be perfect for you.
If you’re looking to change your grip, gloves can help, too—you can use a glove that allows you to change your grip without having to worry about constantly dropping your racquet.
Lastly, do you dive? When you play, are you the type of person that will go to the floor or run into the wall to keep a rally going? If so, finding a glove with padding will help protect your hands from the scrapes and bruises that can come from that style of play.
Since racquetball has been around for a long time, designers have taken into account the most vulnerable parts of a player’s hands and built amazing gloves accordingly.
Made of the Right Stuff
As you begin to shop around for gloves, you’ll notice there are a lot of materials to keep track of. Different materials suit different players. For example, a glove with a mesh back would be great for someone whose hands sweat a lot when playing—but they may not last too long if that same player dives a lot during their matches. So pay attention to the factors listed above and to your budget when making your choice.
Most experts agree that gloves with sheepskin leather palms are the best that money can buy, but for that reason, they are the most expensive. Goatskin leather offers many of the same benefits but will lose its softness and elasticity sooner than sheepskin. Synthetic leather breathes well, but can’t match the durability of natural materials.
When it comes to backing, there aren’t such clear distinctions. The materials making the palm of the glove tend to have more to do with price. With your gloves’ backing, you’ll want to look at how it can help or hinder your play. A mesh back will help breathability while a neoprene back offers more padding and durability. There are also gloves that offer spandex and/or lycra.
Glove backings can incorporate only one of these materials or a combination of two or more.
There are two types of padding that you’ll find in the best racquetball gloves. Foam padding offers the most protection but can increase the weight of the gloves. That isn’t meant to imply that foam padding adds dozens of pounds to your gloves, but after a long match, you may find your arms are a little more tired than normal.
If foam padding isn’t for you, airplane padding is a good alternative. It protects almost as well as foam but doesn’t weigh as much.
Gloves that Fit
All that information can feel overwhelming, but the thing to remember is that gloves are designed to make playing easier. Here are a few examples of great gloves so you can get a feel for how all the information we’ve gone over applies to a real product.
Remember to give your gloves time to adjust to your hands. Just like a good pair of shoes or a reliable baseball glove, you need to give the leather (animal-based or synthetic) time to break-in. So order your gloves slightly smaller than your hands. The gloves will stretch and conform to your grip.
Once you have the right glove for you, you’ll be amazed at how the little improvements to your game add up over time. From the protection given to your knuckles to the more reliable grip on your racquet, to the comfort of a drier, less sweaty hand, a good glove can make you love racquetball even more than you already do.
Now get your gloves and get on the court!