So you found a pickleball court near you, and now you’re gearing up to take your pickleball game to the next level. But what about gloves? You may notice that more and more players are using pickleball gloves—so what’s the deal? Do they actually help?
A good pickleball glove will help you keep a solid grip on your paddle without sacrificing maneuverability. It will also give you some cushioned support, providing shock absorption to reduce paddle vibration and stress on your wrists and hands.
Just like a batting glove or golf glove, it’s a great piece of apparel to add to your pickleball gear at a low cost—or an awesome gift for the pickleball player in your life.
How to Choose Gloves for Pickleball
When searching for pickleball gloves, keep the following factors in mind. With just a little know-how, you can separate the truly well-made pickleball gloves from the imitators—and you’ll be surprised just how much of a difference it makes! Factor in your playstyle and personal preferences, and you’ll find the perfect glove in no time.
A pickleball glove is only helpful and comfortable if it fits well. For paddle sports, glove fit is even more important than in other sports, since glove bunching around the palm area can drastically affect your ability to hold the paddle comfortably. We’ve found that pickleball-specific designs that follow the curve of the palm and incorporate flex points where the hand bends provide the most comfortable, natural fit. When fit properly, a glove should feel like a second skin.
Be aware of pickleball gloves offered as “one size fits all.” For most players, these will either be too big or too small and adversely impact your playing experience. Follow the manufacturer’s sizing chart to ensure you order pickleball gloves of the proper size.
For most pickleball players, the glove’s palm material is going to play a large role in how much they enjoy their pickleball glove, as well as how it affects their gameplay. A few of the most common pickleball glove palm materials include:
- Cabretta leather. Cabretta leather is a type of premium sheepskin leather that’s prized for its perfect combination of softness and durability. Cabretta leather comes from sheep that grow hair rather than wool, and it’s tougher than other types of sheepskin, even while remaining highly comfortable. Cabretta is the king of athletic glove leathers, which is also why we used it for the Aerow Recon. In fact, the Aerow Recon’s cabretta leather palm features tiny perforations for extra flexibility and added breathability.
- Goatskin. Goatskin leather is a fine glove material, but it’s a step down from cabretta leather in terms of durability and softness.
- Tackified leather. Tackified leather is often found in riding gloves and gloves for football receivers, and it offers a “sticky” feel that can help improve paddle grip. Some players like the feeling of tackified leather, and some don’t. If you find yourself struggling to keep control of your paddle, you might benefit from giving it a shot. On the other hand, some players feel it decreases their ability to maneuver their paddle.
- Synthetic leather. Synthetic leather is found in cheaper gloves, and it doesn’t feel as natural or soft as authentic leather.
As we’ve covered, getting a snug, secure fit is important for getting the most out of your pickleball glove. Since a “one size fits all” design isn’t possible with gloves, how well you can adjust the glove matters. Velcro straps are the most common adjustment feature, and the most well-designed gloves feature a slightly slanted adjustment strap, which follows the natural alignment of the wrist.
Some gloves incorporate mesh areas into their design, or they may be dotted with tiny ventilation holes. Breathability keeps your hands from getting hot and sweaty, which not only detracts from your abilities, but is just plain unpleasant. Other materials you’ll see include Neoprene, Lycra, and Spandex. Of these, we find Spandex to be the superior material, since it’s the thinnest. These materials have less airflow vs. mesh, but they offer superior absorption and cushion.
Look for gloves that either wick away moisture or absorb it. If your hands feel slick, it’s harder to keep a secure grip on your paddle. If your gloves feel wet, they’ll be uncomfortable and heavy.
Always invest in quality. A piece of gear that falls apart and has to be replaced is worthless. Thankfully, when it comes to pickleball gloves, you can find quality options at an affordable price.
Don’t forget the visual appeal of your pickleball glove! As with any other piece of athletic apparel, you should like the look of your glove. Great pickleball gear should have both form and function, style and substance.
Introducing the Aerow Recon Glove
Keeping in mind the factors that make for a great pickleball glove, we’ve designed our own Aerow Recon Glove from the ground-up to be the most sophisticated pickleball glove out there.
It’s all in the details:
- The Aerow Recon Glove sports premium Cabretta leather palm and a mesh upper. It’s the ideal combination of softness, durability, and breathability.
- The Aerow Recon Glove is meticulously crafted to follow the natural shape of the palm and to flex the way the hand does when playing pickleball. At the same time, it also provides extra support exactly where it’s needed—on the grip and heel of the paddle. Better vibration control ultimately means better shot control.
- Exposed finger design increases control and feels more natural.
Our pickleball gloves are made to last. And for under $20, you can get the only pickleball glove you’ll ever need to own.
Choosing the Best Gloves for Pickleball: Don’t Settle for Second-Best
As pickleball’s popularity has skyrocketed, more and more athletic companies are introducing their own pickleball gloves on the market. Thankfully, now you know how to separate great pickleball gloves from the imitations.
Using a pickleball glove is a good way to instantly improve your game and increase your comfort, which in turn increases how much fun you have while playing. If you haven’t tried playing pickleball with a glove yet, give it a shot and let us know your thoughts! Do you use a glove? If so, how do you think it has affected your game?
About the Author:
Brandon Mackie is the co-founder of Pickleheads™, a platform that helps players find courts, organize sessions, and connect with local players. Once a competitive tennis player, Brandon can be found these days honing his dinks on pickleball courts near Phoenix, Arizona.