You will agree that every advantage matters in the game of football. If you don’t know the benefit of a firm grip, you should ask Asante Samuel, who let the ball slip out of his fingers and cost his team a Super Bowl victory in 2008. To get better at catching, holding, and throwing in football, you need to know how to make football gloves sticky.
Whether you’re a lineman, quarterback, or receiver, this knowledge will help you play better, even in cold or rainy weather. Understand that it’s not all about technique and skills, although those also play a huge role. Having the right tools could be the edge you need to make fewer mistakes and win more games.
This post will reveal the best methods to make football gloves sticky irrespective of the on-field conditions. You’ll also get to keep using your gloves for longer without replacing them too early. Here’s a brief rundown of everything we’ll discuss:
- Why Do Football Gloves Lose Their Stickiness?
- 7 Ways to Make Football Gloves Sticky
- Is it “Legal” to Use Adhesives to Make Football Gloves Sticky?
- Best Materials for Sticky Football Gloves
- How to Clean Football Gloves Without Losing Stickiness
Let’s dive in, shall we?
Why Do Football Gloves Lose Their Stickiness
Most football gloves are built to give players optimal grip on the ball – after all, they were designed with the game in mind. Unfortunately, certain factors may cause the glove material to lose its stickiness.
Before you learn how to make your gloves sticky, you need to understand these factors. They will help you choose the best methods for you.
Football gloves tend to lose their stickiness for the following reasons:
1. Wear and Tear
Because football is a full-contact sport, things could get rough. In every game, you have to catch a hard ball thrown with force, hit the ground after a dive or tackle, and do lots of other activities that take a toll on your sports gear. This will cause the surface of the gloves to peel off over time.
The longer you’ve had a football glove, the greater the accumulated effects of wear and tear on it. However, their impact on glove stickiness takes the longest to manifest compared to other factors on our list.
2. Weather Conditions
Pro NFL players practice in harsh weather conditions, such as rain or snow, because there’s a high chance of facing such conditions during real games.
The problem here is that football gloves don’t fare well under intense weather conditions. Not only will they become more slippery when exposed to rain and snow, but they’ll also wear out faster.
3. Accumulation of Dirt
As we stated earlier, football gloves are designed with materials that act a bit like adhesives. However, gloves can become dirty, just like any other sports gear such as football helmet and cleats. The accumulation of dirt and grass will coat the surface material and cause it to lose stickiness.
If you have sweaty hands, moisture tends to form between the gloves and your hand. This accumulation will only get worse the more you play. Having this layer of sweat will negatively affect your grip. Plus, it’s unhealthy.
5. Bad Storage Practice
Where do you keep your football gloves between games? If it’s in any of the flowing places, you may be causing your gloves to lose their grip.
- Locker bottom
- Underneath a pile of clothes
Good ventilation is a key component of glove maintenance, so you should store them in places that are dry, cool, and spacious.
7 Ways to Make Football Gloves Sticky
There are several ways to achieve better glove stickiness and improve your grip in football games. Choose any of the seven methods below to get the fastest results.
1. Spit On the Gloves
This is perhaps the quickest method because it’s so direct. You can instantly make football gloves sticky by spitting in the palm area. Nasty? We know, but it works!
You simply need to spit and rub your gloves together to spread the moisture around. Many NFL players prefer this method because it’s highly repeatable in-game. Every time you feel your gloves losing their grip, feel free to spit on them.
If you need a quick fix for glove stickiness without leaving the action on the field, try some spit.
2. Dry Them Under the Sun
We’ve already mentioned how sweat plays a part in the loss of glove stickiness. One of the recommended ways to get rid of accumulated sweat after games is sun-drying.
You put the gloves under the afternoon sun for a few hours and remove them when they’re dry. It’s a simple but effective method.
You can hang them on a clothesline or hanger, but make sure the weather outdoors is dry and warm. You should see positive results quickly.
3. Rub Them with Wipes
What happens when your gloves are dirty right before a game, and you need to clean them immediately? Even if you have access to water, the gloves won’t dry off on time. Also, you can’t go ahead like that because of how dirt affects the stickiness of gloves.
Well, here come wipes to the rescue. Baby wipes are especially effective in such situations – so are Clorox wipes. We recommend you keep some of them in your locker or carry them in your sports bag.
Here’s how to use the wipes on your football gloves:
- Roll the wipe
- Rub between the palm area of both gloves
- Clean between and around the fingers
- Rub both gloves to remove excess moisture
4. Have Different Gloves for Games and Practice
If you find yourself constantly trying to make football gloves sticky again, then it may be time to reassess how you use them.
One way to keep glove deterioration in check is to limit its use. Simply put, the more you use them, the faster they wear off. So, we recommend you get a practice glove. There are lots of cheap gloves you can use during training.
If you can afford it, you may also buy football gloves with grip boost for games and use your old ones for practice sessions only. Some of these special gloves are lightweight and can maintain stickiness no matter the weather conditions.
5. Use Custom Football Towels During Games
Another quick way to remove excess moisture and improve glove stickiness is to use a towel. Not just any towel but one made specifically for footballers. They are highly absorbent, and some even come with mechanisms that allow them to attach to a player’s belt.
NFL players use these towels during matches to clean their gloves and keep them dry all game. If you’re worried about aesthetics, you can try to get one that matches your team’s jersey.
6. Use Sanitizers (Only If Legal)
Not many people know about this hack. However, it works like magic. The sanitizer will do two things: one is to remove dirt from the gloves quickly, and another is to form a thin layer of gel that temporarily improves the stickiness of the glove material.
That last part is where it gets tricky, as some football leagues may not allow such. If you use a substance that tends to adhere to the ball, then there might be a problem.
Be sure to review your league’s rules to see its stance on footballers using sanitizers on gloves. In fact, if a substance has any form of adhesive property, you need to be careful. More on that later on in this article.
7. Use Grip Spray
This is perhaps the most effective method. It’s also very direct and clean. Unlike certain adhesives, the grip spray doesn’t leave a sticky mess because it drives off very quickly.
It also doesn’t give footballers an unfair advantage but simply boosts their grip. Hence, grip sprays are legal in the NFL and all other levels of American football.
The effectiveness of your grip spray will depend on the product you choose. When picking one, ensure it meets the following criteria:
- Easy to apply
- Dries fast (below 20 seconds)
- Works well with sweaty hands
Is it “Legal” to Use Adhesives to Make Football Gloves Sticky?
Next, we’ll discuss the legality of using certain adhesive substances on your gloves before a game. An adhesive is any substance that sticks to surfaces or objects upon contact. This definition is the major reason most football leagues at both youth and pro levels don’t allow players to use adhesives.
So, no, it’s not legal to use adhesives to make football gloves sticky. Without this rule, footballers may end up using substances that stick to the ball, making it difficult for other players to handle it.
The NFL, for example, used to allow some adhesive products in the past. Stickum, a glue-like substance, was popular among receivers, linemen, and defensive backs of the 70s. Players like Raiders’ Lester Hayes were known to overdo it a bit. They’d not only use it on their gloves for sticky grip but all over their bodies too.
It got so ridiculous that in 1981, Stickums and other such adhesive substances were banned in the NFL. To this day, you can’t openly apply them before or during a game. Unfortunately, some players still do it illegally. Jerry Rice was one of the latest ex-football stars to admit to using Stickums illegally.
Other adhesives that may get players in trouble with their leagues are:
- Sticky food
After the ban, glove manufacturers doubled down on creating more “sticky” gloves. If you’re buying football gloves in this decade, you’ll need to know what materials enhance your grip. That leads us to the next section of this post.
Best Materials for Sticky Football Gloves
The part of the glove that most affects ball handling is the palm area. That is what provides stickiness. Also, your football gloves should be lightweight and flexible.
Whether you’re looking for lineman gloves or receiver gear, below are some of the most grippy material and glove technologies in the market.
- C-TACK: for a grip that’s strong no matter the weather conditions.
- GripTack palm material: provides great stickiness even in harsh weather
- GlueGrip material: for excellent grip that lasts even in wet conditions
- Silicone: for added grip and protection
- Magnigrip: allows you to secure the ball better
- REV-TACK recharge: offers stickiness that’s renewable with each wash
How to Clean Football Gloves Without Losing Stickiness
If you keep washing your gloves the wrong way, they could permanently lose their tackiness. Glove manufacturers usually give directions for cleaning their products, and you should follow them strictly.
However, if you don’t have that info, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you clean your gloves without losing grip.
Step 1: Pour cold or regular-temp water into a tub, bowl, or sink.
Step 2: Add a tablespoon of mild liquid detergent.
Step 3: Soak the gloves in the water for 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 4: Remove them from the water and scrub them carefully and gently using your hands.
Step 5: Empty the tub, bowl, or sink and rinse the insides.
Step 6: Refill it with a fresh stream of cold or regular-temp water.
Step 7: Rinse the gloves in the water until you can no longer feel the soapiness.
Step 8: Take the clean gloves outside and dry them.
For machine washing, it’s best to follow the directions of the manufacturer.
FAQ About Football Glove Stickiness
How can I make my football gloves more grippy?
You can make your gloves more grippy during games by cleaning the palm area with baby wipe or a custom football towel. If you want to increase grip before the game, you may also apply grip spray on the gloves. These methods will help you handle the ball better.
What can I put on my gloves to make them sticky?
You can put some spit on your gloves to make them sticky. Be sure to rub them together, so they dry faster. Other substances that help make football gloves sticky include grip spray and hand sanitizers.
How do NFL players keep their gloves sticky?
NFL football players spit on their gloves mid-game to make them stickier. They also apply grip spray when they get the chance. Also, these players can afford to own more than one pair of gloves, as they basically get new gloves for free. They use some for games and others for practice, so they don’t get worn out.
Does Football Glove Size Affect Grip?
Yes, the size of your gloves has a direct impact on your grip. They should fit snugly on your hands. Too loose, and your grip becomes much worse. Too tight, and your fingers become numb, causing you to lose your hand coordination.
You now know a variety of ways to make football gloves sticky. You can choose the best one for you and try it out. However, we recommend you try a combination of these methods for better results. Remember to keep it clean, fair, and legal.