How To Keep Football Gloves Sticky?

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Modern football gloves aren’t just made to protect your hands – they also make you a better player by improving your grip on the ball. You would be absolutely insane not to take advantage of this added grip!

Unfortunately, football gloves lose their tackiness when they get dirty. Physical wear will considerably reduce grip as well.

But as long as your gloves are in good condition, you should be able to restore their stickiness with a few simple tricks!

Method #1 - Use Wipes

If you’ve forgotten to give your gloves a good clean before the game, then you could use wipes to restore their tackiness. With that, you should always have a box of wipes on you just in case.

Give a good clean to your gloves before the match – the effects of the treatment should last until the end of the game. But after the game, you should probably give your glove a good wash to reach hard-to-access areas. Don’t rely on wipes all the time.

DUDE Wipes - Flushable Wipes - 6 Pack, 288 Wipes - Unscented...

Method #2 - Spit On Your Gloves

The vast majority of players use the spit method to make football gloves sticky. If you’ve ever wondered why football players spit on their gloves, well, here is your answer – it helps with grip. Plus, the spit method requires no equipment and can be done out on the field.

Now, this isn’t the most hygienic way to go, but when you have victory at stake, I think you shouldn’t worry that much. You’re going to clean your gloves after the game anyway, right?

Here’s how the spit method works:

  1. Spit on both of your gloves.
  2. Rub the pads of your gloves against each other. This is to remove excess moisture from the gloves.
  3. Once you rub off moisture, you’ll get tacky gloves to catch passes with!

As an alternative, you may drop a little water on your gloves before or during a match. Then, wipe the excess fluid off the gloves, and you’re ready to go!

Method #3 - Use Specifically Designed Products

You may use products like the Lizard Skins Grip Boost or football glove sticky sprays to improve your grip but be warned – many leagues do not allow players to use adhesives or other sticky substances on their gloves. If you get caught, you may face severe problems in your league.

Read your league’s rulebook and try to find mentions of specific products or tacky substances. If you find nothing, then the league will probably be okay with you using an adhesive. But make sure to ask for clarification just in case.

Grip Boost Football Gloves Grip Gel 2oz. Bottle

Method #4 - Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizers may make football gloves sticky by removing accumulated dirt. Gel-based hand sanitizers can also leave a thin, sticky film on the gloves, but some leagues or colleges may not be okay with this. Be sure to check out your league’s rules.

Method #5 - Drying Your Gloves

If your gloves are wet, they aren’t going to grip the ball very well. In case you’ve got any moisture on the gloves, you may dry them off under the sun before the game.

Grippiest Football Gloves

If you’ve got worn or old football gloves, then you should start thinking about switching to a new pair. Besides, modern technology does wonder in terms of grip – more on that later – you definitely don’t want to miss out if you are serious about football.

Anyway, here are a few super-grippy football gloves that you should consider.

Under Armour F6 Football Gloves

Under Armour Men's F6 Football Gloves
  • Meets NFHS/NCAA/NOCSAE standards
  • HeatGear fabric keeps your hands cool, dry & light
  • Material wicks sweat & dries really fast
  • Custom fit closure system
  • Super-sticky Armour GrabTack palm for maximum...

At the heart of the Under Armour F6 football glove is the sticky Armour GrabTack palm. The adhesive material covers the entire palm and should thus provide excellent grip in any situation.

Aside from tackiness, F6 features the HeatGear moisture-wicking fabric to keep your hands dry and cool. These gloves can be machine-washed as well, so care should be effortless. F6 meets the standards of the NFHS, NCAA, and NOCSAE as well.

Cutters REV Pro Receiver Glove

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Cutters Rev Pro gloves feature the C-TACK material on the entire palm. This material is advertised to maintain tackiness in any weather.

Cutters made sure that maintenance is easy as well – you may restore the grip of Rev Pro gloves by just wiping them with a damp cloth. The gloves are machine-washable as well.

What’s also super-nice about these gloves is that they are very inexpensive, so they are great for those on a low budget.

adidas Adizero 9.0 Football Receiver Gloves

adidas Adizero 9.0 Adult Football Gloves, Large, White/Metalic...
  • READY TO PLAY: Always be ready for every game with...
  • UNBEATABLE GRIP: Our durable football gloves...
  • AEROREADY: Never fumble with sweaty palms again...
  • DESIGNED FOR COMFORT: Engineered with 9.0...
  • THE PERFECT FOOTBALL GLOVE: Our receiver football...

The GripTack treatment delivers excellent grip in the Adizero 9.0 gloves on the entire palm.

The grip aside, I like Adizero 9.0 gloves for their breathability. The upper of these gloves is covered with a mesh-like material with numerous vents. Adizero 9.0’s interior lining is moisture-wicking to keep you dry too.

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Why Does The Stickiness Of Football Gloves Wear Off?

Gloves become less sticky because of the dirt and grime that accumulates on their surface with use. If your gloves get really dirty, the adhesive material on the palm will not perform its job since it won’t even come in contact with the ball.

Aside from that, as you use your gloves, their palm material will inevitably start coming off. Once this does start happening, you’ll have to get new gloves.

What Materials Make Football Gloves Sticky?

Modern gloves feature a silicon polymer palm area to provide the wearer with increased grip. 20% stickier than the human hand, sticky gloves have revolutionized football, allowing players to make catches like never before.

Interestingly, silicone in football gloves is both solid and liquid. It’s liquid-like at microscopic lengths but solid at a macroscopic scale. At the microscopic level, the silicone surface is viscous like honey, which dramatically increases its tackiness and grip.

The New York Times references experiments conducted by Anette Hosoi, an associate dean of engineering at M.I.T. and co-director of the M.I.T. Sports Lab. She and her students investigated the tackiness of Under Armour UA F6 gloves – I’ve had a look at these earlier.

This particular glove has a 20% better grip force than a bare human hand. And more interestingly, the F6 gloves have a soft and deformable silicone palm capable of adhering to the tiniest variations on the ball’s surface, as if melting into them.

How Do You Clean Football Gloves Without Losing Grip?

To clean your football gloves without harming their tackiness, you should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning. Football glove brands may use proprietary materials in their gloves, so general advice on cleaning may not work for your particular gloves.

Nonetheless, if you have no idea what to do, here are some tips for proper cleaning.

First up, we have hand washing. Unless the glove manufacturer clearly states that the gloves are machine-washable, you should only do hand washing. Here’s how:

  1. Fill a sink or tub with water and add one tablespoon of mild liquid detergent designed to treat synthetics. The water should be cold or lukewarm.
  2. Put the gloves in the water and let them soak for 2 minutes.
  3. Once the gloves are thoroughly soaked, take them out and scrub them with your hands. Be gentle not to damage anything.
  4. Rinse the gloves under clean water. Make sure to remove the soap from the gloves completely.
  5. Air-dry the gloves. Don’t use a dryer since this may harm them.

As for machine washing, follow these steps:

  1. Wipe the gloves to remove loose dirt or debris.
  2. Flip your gloves inside out to preserve the adhesive material on the palm.
  3. Put the gloves in a pillowcase to provide added protection to them.
  4. Put the pillowcase in your washing machine and set the device to its “delicate” or “gentle” setting. The water should be cold so that you don’t irreversibly damage the gloves.
  5. Add detergent designed to treat synthetics.
  6. Once the wash cycle is complete, air-dry your gloves.

League-Banned Methods To Make Football Gloves Sticky

Equipment rules will vary between leagues, colleges, and schools, so you should check with your coach to figure out what’s allowed and what’s not.

As far as the NFL is concerned, adhesive or slippery substances aren’t allowed on the player’s body, equipment, or uniform, as per Rule 5, Section 4, Article 4, Item 8 of the NFL rulebook. But players are allowed to wear gloves with a tackified surface, as long as the tacky substance doesn’t adhere to the ball or cause handling issues.

The methods I outlined earlier (except for #3) weren’t forbidden as of this post’s writing, so you should be able to use them safely. But make sure to check your league’s rules anyway.


In the end, while it’s essential to keep your football gloves sticky, you should make sure that you aren’t breaking any rules. If in doubt, ask for clarification from your coach and/or read your league’s or college’s rulebook.

And as the last piece of advice, regularly wipe your gloves down and take proper care of them. This will allow you to prolong your gloves’ life and avoid looking for a new pair every couple of games.
That’s it, now you know all about how to make football gloves sticky again.

Brad Smith
Brad Smith
Brad Smith has been coaching high school Football for 6 years in Florida. He and his wife have 3 beautiful children who he hopes will become the first Jaguars to win a Superbowl. Other than Football, Brad loves American litterature, parenting, gardening, and home remodeling.