Pickleball gloves have been around for a long time, but they’ve recently gotten some controversy. Many players use gloves for a variety of reasons. In the summer, they can improve your grip on your paddle.
In the winter months, they help keep your hands warm. They can also help prevent minor injuries and irritation that can occur when playing pickleball. So, what’s the controversy?
In some cases, it’s feared that wearing a glove might give you an extra edge. Can you wear gloves for pickleball? Sometimes.
Why You May Want to Wear Gloves When Playing Pickleball?
Let’s take a look at the reasons you may want to wear a glove when playing pickleball.
The first, and most obvious reason, to wear a pickleball glove is that it can improve your grip on the paddle. This is particularly true in summer, when sweaty palms can affect your performance. No matter the season, sweaty palms can affect your game.
One solution for this is to add a tackier grip or overgrip to your paddle. However, these can wear out pretty quickly. This means you’ll need to replace them pretty frequently, usually every 1-2 months, to maintain a tacky grip.
Many players find that a glove offers the perfect amount of grip, without having to replace their overgrip as often.
Another reason for gloves is that they help absorb the vibration of the paddle when it hits the ball. This may not be very noticeable, but think about how many times you hit the ball in a game. These vibrations can add up over time, so minimizing them can make a difference.
The cushioning in the glove reduces the vibration, which will also reduce hand fatigue as the game goes on.
Reducing Cuts and Other Minor Injuries
Playing pickleball can also be tough on your skin. If you play often, or are new to pickleball, this is a common issue. You may notice irritated areas, or even cuts from repeated use of the paddle.
A glove acts as an extra layer of skin, preventing your skin from taking the brunt of the friction. This certainly provides more comfort, which might also improve your game.
Gloves Keep Your Hands Warm and Flexible
The temperature outside, and the temperature of your hands, is also a factor. Have you ever noticed that players of many sports are very committed to wearing long sleeve shirts when it’s cold out? This is because warm muscles is essential for the best performance.
This is particularly important for your hands when playing pickleball. If your fingers get cold, they become stiff. This detracts from your game.
Should You Wear a Glove on One or Both Hands?
Generally, most players wear a glove on their paddle hand only. The only exception to this is if it’s very cold out. Then, the glove is worn as a means to keep your hand warm and comfortable.
Rarely, a player may wear a glove due to a small injury on their non-paddle hand. However, band-aids are usually chosen in this situation.
Why the Controversy?
Now we know the reasons why many players choose to wear gloves. What’s the controversy? The rulebook for 2022 states that “no foreign substances, material, apparatus, or additional body parts can be applied to the hand or aid the hand that releases the pickleball.”
When performing volley serves. This includes band-aids and gloves. Mark Peifer has stated that if the rule isn’t abided by, the serve could be banned.
A Youtube video made by Shea Underwood may be fueling the controversy. He provides tips on improving the one handed spin serve. The controversy arose because he recommended using a band-aid to help impart spin on the ball.
It’s important to note that this only applies to the hand imparting spin on the ball. Like other rules, this rule will be strictly enforced during tournaments. However, casual players have some leeway.
In the spirit of pickleball, it’s safe to say that wearing a glove with the intention of getting better spin would be unethical. However, casual players are left to decide how closely they want to follow the rule.
Choosing a Pickleball Glove
If you want to wear a pickleball glove, or a pair of pickleball gloves, depending on your playing situation, you’ll need to know what to look for.
One of the most important considerations when choosing a pickleball glove is the material it’s made from. The two basic types of material are leather and synthetic materials. Most will feature a breathable material on top.
Sheepskin is considered the best material, but it’s also the most expensive. Goatskin performs well, but will lose some softness over time. It’s also less durable, but less expensive as well.
Synthetic materials provide a good grip, with decent softness and flexibility. You can also choose a glove with a tackified grip. This obviously provides the best grip, but it makes it difficult to switch between the forehand and backhand.
Padding and Thickness
You’ll also need to consider the padding and thickness of the glove. Extra padding on the thumb and index fingers can help prevent blisters. This can be useful.
However, most players prefer a fairly thin glove overall.
A wrist strap is also helpful. This provides a little extra protection for your hand, and keeps the glove fitting correctly. Some also have an absorbent strap, so it can prevent sweat from making its way down your arm.
Nearly all pickleball gloves are designed to provide breathability. Some perform better at this than others, so choose carefully. Generally, even gloves with great breathability will also keep your hands warm in cool weather.
Do You Need Fingerless Gloves?
This comes down to personal preference. Fingerless gloves do offer greater breathability, and they may provide more flexibility as well. The downside is that they provide less protection.
If you have a problem with blisters, fingerless gloves aren’t the best choice. If you fall during a game, you are at risk of finger abrasions, which may be prevented with regular gloves. The weather is also an important consideration.
You may prefer fingerless gloves during the summer, and regular gloves during the cooler months.
The most important consideration when choosing a glove is fit. Most gloves are sold in a variety of sizes to provide the right fit. However, a few, like Selkirk Boost, are made from Lycra.
This particular glove is one size fits most. This one is designed for women. It should fit most hands, but use caution if your hands are larger or smaller than average.
Pickleball vs Raquetball vs Golf Gloves
There are a few brands that are currently making pickleball gloves. However, your options will be limited. However, you aren’t confined to only pickleball gloves.
Most racquetball players wear gloves. This means there are many offerings for racquetball gloves. These will also work well for pickleball.
Golf gloves are popular as well. Gloves aren’t as common in golf as they are racquetball, but there are plenty of golf gloves on the market as well. Are gloves designed for pickleball better?
This isn’t clear. They may offer a small advantage. However, it’s more important to find a glove that you are comfortable with and works well for you than one designed expressly for pickleball.
All three types of gloves can be sold in pairs, or individually. Purchasing an individual glove may save you some money, if you only want to wear it on your paddle hand. If you are purchasing a single golf glove, you’ll need to be sure it’s for the correct hand.
If you are right handed, you’ll wear the glove on your left hand, and vice versa. So, a right-handed golf glove is for the left hand, while a right-handed racquetball or pickleball glove will go on your right hand.
Can You Wear Gloves for Pickleball? (FAQs)
How can I prevent sweaty hands when playing pickleball?
In addition to using a glove, you have a few options. Antiperspirant hand lotion will stop sweat. Just apply it before your game.
You can also use rosin powder to keep your hands dry.
How long do pickleball gloves last?
This will vary based on the glove material, and how often you play. You can expect a glove to last between 3-6 weeks generally.
Can you wash pickleball gloves?
Yes. After you play a few matches, you may notice your glove doesn’t smell fresh. It may also begin to feel stiff. This is because it’s soaking up your sweat.
To wash the glove, use mild detergent or dish soap, and hand wash. Lay flat to dry.