My cricket coach always used to say that he’d get wicket keepers call him up complaining that their hands are getting sore or that they are not comfortable over long periods of time out in the middle. It’s not even funny, how many times I have ordered gloves online to then find out that they do not fit my hands.
The best wicket keeping gloves are not necessarily the most expensive gloves on the market right now. What’s more important is that it fits your hands just the way you like it and that you feel safe with your hands behind the stumps. I have worn gloves that don’t cost as much as some of the top range options, but are far more comfortable and really fit me well.
Lets start with the construction
The gloves like the rest of the equipment in the game have gone through various stages of evolution. The changes have been significant enough for wicket keepers to acknowledge them and propose even more fruitful additions that have helped the gloves turn into essential necessities for the game of cricket.
Having established that, when looking for the most suitable pair of wicket keeping gloves, I always say it is important to try on a few gloves to see what kind suits your hand size and feels comfortable.
Out of the 22 players on the ground in a match, only a wicket keeper is allowed to wear gloves from the fielding side. As per the ground rules set by the ICC concerning the wicket keeping gloves, the index finger and the thumb may have a webbing in between for support; the other fingers cannot have a webbing in between along with the fact that the wicket keeper is always supposed to be behind the stumps.
I know a few people in local cricket who use their batting pads as wicket keeping pads but this isn’t possible with keeping gloves. Batting gloves are not allowed to have this webbing between the fingers.
As far as the material goes, leather is the choice for professionals and others alike. Standard leather has the capacity to offer durability and once you have done that, your focus should be on the webbing, which needs to form a cup shape so that the glove can hold the ball more easily.
The padding of the gloves should be soft and light, especially if you’re going to be out there for 50 overs or more. Comfort is the key; that is why it is essential that the gloves are comfortable and form a second skin instead of making you think you’ve added on extra weight to your hands.
Another way to find out which sort of gloves to purchase is by wearing different gloves and then making a fist to see if it causes a nice catching area at the center of your palm.
For top level sheep leather gloves as those made by Puma Rains and Kookaburra, it is important that these gloves have leather lined on the inside of the palm for maximum comfort. The webbing needs to be scalloped and tailored and the glove itself should be tight in the gauntlet so as to remain firm on the hands. The thumbs need to be comfortable so that they can sustain pressure and do not get injured.
The major reason why webbing is used is because it makes sure that the thumb and the forefinger does not separate too much since this causes pressure to be placed on the joint of the thumb and may cause a serious injury.
Adam Gilchrist is a famous name in the sport to have been one of the most dynamic wicket-keeper batsmen and as the story goes, his gloves were imperative in convincing him to become a wicket-keeper batsman where he did extremely well as a player and for the sport too. Gilchrist’s blossoming career is testament to this fact.
Right so enough background information, now let’s get into the reviews. So, I have spoken to our wicket keeping coach at my club and some local cricket suppliers to get some insights into various options on the market right now. Here’s what I’ve found out and my picks for this year
Best Wicket Keeping Gloves 2019
1. Kookaburra 1500
These are right at the very top end of Kookaburra’s range so they are what I would call premium gloves. Straight away, you’ll notice the more rounded short cuffs compared to the 1000L.
Looking into the colour scheme, you get the classic kahuna colour combinations of white and green. I particularly like the palms of the gloves which diagonal have these unusual stripes going across them which works quite well. It is normally unheard of to have such designs going across the palms.
Now, looking into the palms a little deeper, you then start to see that you get these flatter octopus style palms which really helps to give that fantastic feel and grip when the ball comes into your hands. It’s also really nicely padded throughout the gloves while being quite flexible which is a new introduction after suggestions from some of the pro wicket keepers like Josh Butler.
2. Gray Nicholls Legend
Straight off the bat, you’ll notice how light these gloves are coming in at only 470g which is incredible for wicket keeping gloves. Again, these are on the higher end of the Gray- Nicholls range and that is because of the technology and quality materials you get with it.
Gray Nicholls say that the material really helps the ball stick nicely into the gloves with quality vapour foam to protect your fingers from impact damage with the cricket ball.
You then see the classical t-shape webbing which is a catching zone between your thumb and index fingers.
The back of the gloves are also really well protected with the layer of XRD foam but the most interesting bit is the mesh which also runs along the thumb helping with breathability and keeping the gloves cool.
3. GM Original LE
Straight away when you put these on, you’ll notice on the back of the hand, the full one piece Aniline leather which is a nice tough material that’s very durable. There’s also full leather interior which is quite unusual and different for wicket keeping gloves. The interior is usually made of towelling or cotton which tends to wear down over consistent use.
Padded cuffs are also quite a good thing on these gloves especially when you don’t get it right in your hand, these are there to give you a bit of extra protection.
Looking now into the palm which is padded and consists of sheepskin all designed to help you catch the ball with ease.
4. Newberry SPS
These top-end wicket keeping gloves are something pretty special yet very simplistic in my opinion. Beginning with the plain octopus palm which has this really nice soft feel to it, really good for catching the cricket ball.
Taking a look inside the gloves, you notice that the lining is all leather which is quite common in top-end wicket keeping gloves. Not only does this mould to your hands a bit better for comfort but it is also far more durable than something like cotton.
Ventilation is also something that is quite important and here Newberry have added holes down the back of the gloves to increase breathability.
Although there are no distinctive technologies in place, Newbery have produced something very simple that has everything that you need from a top of the range pair of wicket keeping gloves.
5. New Balance TC1260
For those who like to stray away from a simple, one colour design, New Balance have you covered thanks to their New Balance TC 1260 wicket keeper gloves.
The first thing which is noticeable about these wicket keeper gloves is the colour. The base colour remains white but there is more than a hint of red thanks to the shiny red finger tips, the New Balance logo and the red stripe across the top of the glove.
The New Balance TC 1260 wicket keeper gloves are made using premium quality leather and this extends from the tip of the glove to the cuff. The interior of the glove is made from sheep leather and makes for a very comfortable fit.
What really impressed me with these is how cool they felt after a good session with them in the nets. The mesh inserts help the ventilation in the gloves ensuring your hands stay nice and cool.
There is an Octopus rubber grip sheet on the palm and this helps when attempting to catch the ball. The grip will not do all the work for you but will aid in keeping the ball inside the glove once the catch is made.
The New Balance TC 1260 wicket keeper gloves are durable and have been made to last. They are not the cheapest option available but if you want to take your wicket keeping to the next level, they are a very good choice.
6. Adidas Libro 1.0
These are not Adidas’s most premium set of gloves however, the quality of these is still exceptional. If you are looking for comfort without having to pay some of the premium prices, then you have to try these out.
With their dual-grade leather construction, they are so flexible and bend with your fingers, allowing for great mobility and fit.
As per the other gloves, they have great ventilation and provide breathable comfort which is key if you are behind the stumps on a hot day.
Good thing with Adidas with their cricket equipment, they have a reputation for providing quality with their products and this is no different. They are a dark horse in the market and come in at such a good price.
7. Puma Evo SE
These are on the top end of Puma’s wicket keeping range and the choice of some of the best keepers out there in the game.
The hard wearing premium full-leather back which is durable while also very protective.
Looking into the palms of the gloves, they are very well padded with along with Hextech superior rubber grip to make it easier when taking in the cricket ball.
Then as per the other gloves, you get t-webbing support between the thumb and index finger to help you take off centre catches a little easier.
The biggest difference to its lower end products is the wrist cuff protection which here has high density foam which has this hardness to it on the outside while remaining soft on the inside.
Overall, in terms of comfort, these have to be up there with the best ones on the market as there’s not many that feel better on your hands.
8. Salix Players
The Salix Players wicket keeper gloves are available in white and the colour and design combine to make a very attractive set of gloves.
The Salix logo is featured in black on the top of the glove and there is also an emblem with the same logo to the bottom left of the glove. The emblem is in a position which does not have any impact when using the Salix Players wicket keeper gloves, despite being raised off the surface level of the glove.
Made using sheepskin, the quality of the Salix Players wicket keeper gloves is very high and they have a luxurious feel, both on the outside and inside of the gloves. The perforated leather back provides ventilation to the wicket keeper’s hands and being a summer sport, this is a major requirement.
The palms of the Salix Players wicket keeper gloves are made from Octopus dimpled neoprene. This gives the glove plenty of grip but at the same time allows the user to flex the glove into position to make those all-important catches. Once in the glove, it will take something extraordinary for the ball to escape.
The Salix Players wicket keeper gloves are available for an attractive price and even if you are new to the game, they make a great purchase.
9. Gray Nicolls Velocity XP1 500
Gray-Nicolls gets another mention on the list and these are pretty good overall gloves. You will probably know that I love their gloves especially their batting gloves. They are just so reliable and so comfy to wear.
The Velocity XP1’s has all the best features and it’s made of super premium material. It has a block finger design with lots of blocks. It is super flexible and just absolutely feels amazing on the hand. All the blocks are high-density foam and are all covered in fiber sheeting. There are V splits through the end of the fingers which allow plenty of protection even when that very tip is bent because not much of the glove opens up.
On the velocity 1500 glove, there is a gel design pad across the very top then underneath that are fiber sheeting and that’s before you get into your main high density foam pad. Once you make it through that there is also a really thin layer of foam there. So before you get to your extra soft film, there are four layers of protection on those very fingertips and that’s pretty impressive.
The Gray Nicolls Velocity XP1 500 glove has a premium Pittard leather palm with a really nice texture on it and a wear patch. Unfortunately, it is expensive, but that is what you get in these top-end gloves.