New Year, new mitts! With the NHL season off to a great start, it is as good a time as any to check out the latest trends in hockey gloves.
Gear can make a big difference in your performance, and hockey gloves are no exception. The right pair will let you forget you are wearing gloves so that you can focus on the game, plus it can save you a pretty penny on replacements.
Our goal here is to show you the gloves that will give you the most protection, comfort, and grip. Because we want you to spend more time preparing for your next game instead of browsing the internet for hours in search of a good pair of mitts, we have listed the best of the best in our Top 10 Hockey Gloves.
1. Bauer Vapor 2X Pro Hockey Gloves - Best Ice Hockey Gloves for Adults
Bauer is one of the most renowned brands in the game. Makes sense considering they have been in the ice hockey business since 1927. Taking the #1 spot in our list, Bauer presents their Vapor 2X Pro Hockey Gloves; by far, the most balanced combination of durable, lightweight protection, comfort, and grip. It is like three pairs of gloves in a single set. Talk about value. But what, precisely, makes this pair so remarkable?
For starters, the Vapor 2X Pro Hockey Gloves are the most lightweight on the market right now. Only 265 grams. The padding is all Shock Lite foam, which means your hands are swaddled in professional-grade protection with Thermo Core lining. The great thing about this feature is that it keeps your hands warm. Most importantly, the inside of the glove stays relatively dry, which prevents that infamous hockey stank and extends the lifespan of your gloves
Two more highlights made this pair of gloves stand out: the extra layer of Hypersense lining around your fingers and the Connekt+Palm feature, both made to give you comfort and a tight grip.
The Bauer Vapor 2X Pro Hockey Gloves exceeded our expectations on an already reliable brand. Definitely worth the investment many times over.
- Easy to break-in
- Available in a variety of colors
- The outside of the glove might feel a bit cumbersome at first.
2. Bauer Vapor X2.9 Hockey Gloves - Most Comfortable Hockey Gloves for Adults
Next, we have the Bauer Vapor X2.9 Hockey Gloves for achieving the comfort trifecta: soft lining, warm interior, and moist-wicking materials. Hockey gloves are designed to be soft enough to wear comfortably throughout a whole game, and even then, it can be hard to ignore after a period or two. Enter Vapor X2.9. You get the protection you need, but you also get to stay dry and cozy through all three periods, a promise most gloves fail to deliver on.
The Tactile palm liner is the secret sauce that makes these mitts so darned soft. Add a layer of ThermoMax lining, and the result is a glove that is incredibly soft, warm, and dry. This triple-threat of a mitt also comes with a 3-piece index and a 2-piece flex-thumb. It sounds pretty standard until you try it.
Besides, the open cuff and the sublimated liner make all the difference from their previous models regarding mobility and flexibility. So, these gloves made to be comfortable, but are they made to last? We had the same question before putting the shell of PU reinforced cable mesh to the test. The answer: yes, they are.
Bauer Vapor X2.9 Hockey Gloves are uniquely designed to let you hold fast to the stick and enhance your handling while keeping you comfortable and dry. You get a pair of these gloves, and you may not need a spare after all.
- Stretch gusset
- It takes a little while to break-in.
3. Bauer Vapor 1X Lite Hockey Gloves - Best Youth Mitts (10U)
There is also something for our youth players in the 10U and 8U divisions: the Vapor 1X Lite Hockey Gloves. These mitts are the Cadillacs of hockey gloves for mites and squirts. Essentially what they did is they took the materials and design of elite hockey gloves for junior players and scaled it down to fit players 10 and under. Undoubtedly, an upgrade from the disposable gear you usually find for this age group.
Let us talk about specs, starting with the shell. These gloves are made of a combination of professional-grade nylon and cable mesh. You will also notice the backhand and the fingers are layered with dual-density foam reinforced with PE inserts. Another great feature is the 3-piece Flex-Lock, which allows for more mobility without compromising protection. And speaking of mobility, you just have to appreciate the molded cuff roll made to protect the wrists and allow easier stickhandling. Moreover, to ensure your kid has a tight grip on the stick, the palms on these gloves are made of non-slip Quattro.
- Elite gloves for kids
- 37.5 antimicrobial technology
- You might have to stretch it a little bit as your kid grows.
4. True XC9 Hockey Gloves - Most Protective Mitts with a Tapered Fit
And now, a treat for all of you players in the adult division who favor a tapered fit. This time, it comes from the True brand. They have been a respected brand in golf for more than 100 years, but they sure know how to make quality hockey gear, and their XC9 Hockey Gloves are the perfect example of that. Striking the ideal balance between protection and flexibility is quite challenging, even more so in a tapered fit. These gloves hit that balance perfectly. You no longer have to choose between mobility, protection, and a tight fit.
When it comes to protection, the True XC9 is designed to absorb the impact of incoming stick checks with a 24mm layer of PPE foam reinforced with 1mm PE inserts. It is interesting how all the big brands in hockey gear have just realized the importance of flexing your thumbs. For instance, True came up with their Trueflexx+ feature as a way to keep your thumbs from bending in the wrong direction while also allowing you to move them more freely. We did mention how these gloves come with a tapered fit, so to make them more flexible, True added a segmented cuff with four stretch points.
If you are looking for a tapered fit that is also comfortable and flexible, you cannot go wrong with True XC9 Hockey Gloves.
- Tight but comfortable
- Stays fresh
- Plenty of protection
- The ZPalm feature with the zippers feels a bit cumbersome at first.
5. Bauer Nexus 2N Hockey Gloves - Best Traditional Fit
This list would not be complete without a traditional fit, and there is no better option than the Nexus 2N Hockey Gloves. Why? Because it applies all the modern features from more recent models to an old-school build.
By definition, 4-rolls are supposed to feel loose when compared to tapered or contoured gloves. The Nexus 2N hockey gloves do precisely that, but they also let you adjust the cuffs should you want something a little tighter around the wrist. Like all the gloves in the Nexus Line, the backhand and the fingers are padded with dual-density foam and braced with PE inserts. The real novelty here comes as a 3-piece Flex-lock feature to add mobility and protection to the thumb. Also new this time around: 37.5 antimicrobial lining, which is both comfortable and fresh. To top it all off, the palms on these mitts are a combination of Ax Suede’s Quattro and Nash gussets, so they stretch as needed, but they will not slip.
Incredible gloves. Outstanding grip and comfort all wrapped up in a classic fit—definitely, a keeper.
- Adjustable wrists
- More flexible than your classic 4-roll
- A bit uncomfortable to wash.
6. Warrior Covert QR Edge - Most Grip on a Hockey Glove for Adults
Warrior made a splash when it stepped into the ice hockey scene back in 2012. Granted, Warrior is still relatively new to the game, yet, the quality of its products earned it a spot amongst the most revered brands. Just take their Warrior Covert QR Edge hockey gloves, for example. Outstanding protection, mobility, and comfort, but most notably, nothing will escape the grip of these gloves.
The secret behind the iron grip on these gloves? For starters, the team at Warrior developed a non-slip material they call SmartPalm+, which they laced with Gatorskin rubber. You are holding the stick with gloves made of bike tires. Besides improving the palm, they also engineered a glove made of a tightly-woven mesh of cable knit and nylon, which makes it durable and breathable.
Regarding protection, these gloves get all tens across the board due to the medium-density and dual-density foam braced with AxyFlex plating strategically around the fingers and cuffs. All part of their Exo protect system. We cannot wrap it up without mentioning how fresh, comfortable, and odorless they are, thanks to the WarTech FNC liner.
In short, the Covert QR Edge hockey gloves are good at pretty much everything, but they excel on grip. The only way that stick leaves your hands is if you let go of it.
- Tight grip
- Incredibly sturdy
- Excellent protection
- Breathable and odorless
- Replacing the palms may be a bit difficult.
7. Bauer Vapor X900 Lite - Best Gloves for Youth Hockey (14U)
Alright, it’s only fair we include something for our beloved Bantam (14-year-old players) too, and the obvious choice here is the Vapor X900 Lite hockey gloves. What sets this pair of gloves from the rest is the build and quality of the materials. These gloves are designed for seasoned elite players, but they are sized down to fit teenagers ages 13-14. That is as high quality as it gets.
The shell on these gloves is a mesh of pro nylon and cable padded with dual-density foam and poly inserts all over the backhand in 4 skewed sections, like a diagonal 4-roll if you will. Of course, flexibility is an essential part of the equation; therefore, all the fingers are segmented into two joints, except for the index finger, which has 3. The Vapor X900 Lite features thumbs padded in two segments to add extra mobility without exposing your thumbs. As is the case with all the gloves in the Vapor line, the X900 Lite pair also have palms of Quattro non-slip material lined with antimicrobial Thermo Max.
If we had to summarize this pair of gloves in a few words, it would be sturdy, fresh, and comfortable gloves with a firm grip. Hard to beat for sure.
- Sturdy mesh
- Breathable materials
- Comfortable and warm
- Excellent non-slip palms
- Only size available: 13’’
8. CCM JETSPEED FT1- Most Protective Gloves for Elite Players
CCM started as bicycle manufacturers, but after the bike market collapsed back in the early 1900s, they decided to make the best of things and turn their leftover parts into skates. Now they are a staple of ice hockey with a whole line of products, including outstanding protective gear like their JETSPEED FT1 hockey gloves. Planning a professional career in hockey? Get you acquainted with the one pair of gloves you will keep going back to.
To begin with, how protective are these gloves? Well, the fingers and the backhand are cushioned with Zetafoam, an incredibly lightweight, shock-absorbent type of foam, which they braced with D30, a special substance that hardens upon impact. The same stuff they use for padding in military helmets. Then there’s the built-in PE inserts just for good measure. For more mobility and comfort to this tapered fortress of a glove, the JETSPEED FT1 includes Flexcuffs and Flexthumbs, which will help you stick handle better. That brings us to the palms made of Clarino Microfiber and lined with antimicrobial polygiene to keep them fresh and odorless.
CCM’s JETSPEED FT1 hockey gloves are as sturdy as they come. It’s one of those rare exceptions designed to deliver protection for the advertised lifespan.
- Ergonomic design
- Incredibly durable
- Quality materials
- Antimicrobial liner
- They sell out way too quickly.
9. Bauer Supreme S29 - Best Gloves for Recreational Hockey
It’s refreshing to find recreational equipment with the same professional-grade quality and finish of elite gear because those are so hard to find. There are a few great options out there regarding gloves, but our go-to is Bauer’s Supreme S29. Durable, affordable, and most importantly, excellent protection for your hands. Here are the deets:
The shell on these gloves is very lightweight, and it’s made of a durable mesh of pro-nylon. The padding is made of dual-density foam, while the inside is a nice combo of Hyper Sense for comfort and Thermo Max for a warm, dry feeling. A key feature that separates these gloves from your typical mitts for practice is the palm of Quattro non-slip material; great for stickhandling. As might be expected of Bauer, the Supreme S29 comes with the Flex-Thumb feature to increase mobility and prevent injuries.
Look, recreational hockey can be very tough on your gloves, so if you’re not skating for the Stanley Cup, why put your best mitts on the line? That’s where these bad boys come in. They protect your hands without tearing a hole in your wallet, and you get to keep your elite mitts in pristine conditions until the season starts.
- Great anatomical fit
- Good grip
- Available in a variety of colors
- Takes a little while to break-in
10. Warrior Alpha DX - Most Ergonomic Design in a pair of Hockey Glove
This pair was a bit of a last-minute inclusion. An interesting hybrid that packs the best of anatomic and classic gloves in a versatile design for those who favor a snug fit, flexibility, and volume.
The backhand of these hockey gloves is the textbook definition of a 4-roll. Very traditional, only, in this case, they’re molded to cover the shape of your hand like a tapered glove. These mitts are padded with a combination of vinyl nitrile and HD IXPE foam reinforced with PE inserts; all of it held together with Lycra gussets for more flexibility. They also included their signature AXI-Flex thumb for mobility without risk of hyperextension, in addition to a neat Flex-cuff feature and Pro Palm+ for better stickhandling. That’s the exterior. The inside of the gloves is made of Wartech FNC and Polygiene’s Strike liner to ensure your hands stay warm but not wet.
Whether you like 4-rolls or the snug fit of a contoured glove, you’re bound to love these mitts. Again, these gloves were a lucky find that combines the best old-school gloves and more contemporary designs. One that Warrior will hopefully continue to develop.
- Outstanding ergonomic fit
- Excellent protection
- Flexible and breathable
- Might feel a bit too tight at first.
Our Buying Guide
Shopping for hockey gloves is a pretty straight-forward process. Once you know your size, it’s just a matter of trying different fits until you find the one that gives you the most protection, comfort, and a good grip on the stick. There’s a little more to it, and we explain it all down to the last spec in our easy-to-follow buying guide to hockey gloves. But, first, let’s go over the lingo, so you know what to look for in a pair of hockey gloves.
Parts of the hockey glove
That’s the padded section sticking out from the cuff. It’s supposed to shield your forearms.
Cuff or Wrist Roll
Protective padding around the wrist.
Hockey gloves have a segmented layer of padding on the upper side to protect your fingers, but the palm is covered with thinner layers of leather, so you don’t lose your grip on the stick.
Another shield of padding, but this one is for the back of your hands.
It’s not just about knowing what each part of the glove is called as much as it is about knowing what part of your hand they’re supposed to protect. Knowing how much of your hand and forearm should be covered will give you a reference when sizing your hands and trying gloves.
Alright, let’s talk about size and fitting.
Start with your size
Sizing charts are very accurate, and all you have to do is match your weight, height, or age with the corresponding size listed. These charts are super handy if you’re in a rush, but you will eventually need something more precise if you’re planning to make a career in hockey.
You just need to measure the length of your arm from the base of your palm to the tip of your middle finger. Multiply that number times two, and you’ll get an exact estimate of your size. You could also measure from the inside of your elbow to the tip of your middle finger.
For instance, a youth player in the Peewee Division (12 and under) with hands about 5 inches long will need a 10” glove.
Just to give you an idea, recommended size for Youth players are 8-10”, junior sizes go from 11 to 12”, and Senior are usually 13 to 15 inches
Get the right fit
Hockey gloves are commonly found in two types of fit. You’ve got traditional and anatomical.
A traditional four-roll fit is loose and spacious inside the glove. Players with big hands will favor this type of fit and those who like a little more flexibility.
Then there’s the anatomical fit. These are tighter and can often feel a little bit stiff. You wouldn’t be able to spread your fingers too much, but you would get a good grip.
You can also find tapered and contoured gloves. The tapered fit has the flexibility of a traditional four-roll and the snug feel of an anatomical fit. It’s a tighter design that doesn’t restrict your movement. Similarly, contoured gloves are also ergonomically designed, only they’re made to feel a bit more natural. In other words, it’s tighter than the traditional fit but softer than the tapered fit.
The most important thing is that they’re not too big or too small for you. Sure, a tighter fit will make you feel more in control. However, it can also leave your forearms and fingers vulnerable, not to mention younger players will outgrow them in no time.
Here’s a little tip that will make your search a whole lot easier. You should have a gap of about ¼ inches between the tip of your fingers and the end of the glove. That will ensure you have plenty of room to wiggle without compromising your handling or your grip.
The go-to option back in the days was leather… because there wasn’t another option. In the early 1900s, some players would even use bamboo to reinforce their cuffs. Luckily, technology has come a long way. Even though leather is still in demand, we’ve seen the industry rely on various synthetic materials like carbon fiber weave, nylon, and even Kevlar.
Synthetic materials are durable, lightweight, and they don’t absorb as much water, a feature that everyone around you will appreciate. Any player with a nose will tell you those wet gloves get real funky after a season or two. Hands down, the most popular material of the synthetic type is nylon because of the benefits aforementioned and because they’re super easy to break-in with little effort and time. Aside from that, any synthetic material will work the same for the most part.
Either way, gloves will have palms of synthetic leather or genuine leather? On that note, always keep an eye out for synthetic leather as it is much more durable, and the grip is outstanding. Palms of genuine leather tend to harden over time.
Other things to keep in mind
Your knuckles should be aligned with the gloves’ finger breaks. The back of your wrist should also be aligned with the wrist break of the glove.
Frequently Asked Questions
What gloves do NHL players wear?
A few seasons ago, CCM’s CL Pro and CL 500 were very popular; in fact, CCM is one of the favorites, but NHL pros will wear any pair of gloves by Warrior, Bauer, or True.
How many pairs of gloves do NHL players use?
At least three. That’s one set of gloves per period. Nylon might not soak up as much water as other materials do, but it still gets wet, which is why professional hockey players have a few spares. Take Washington Capitals Aleksandr Ovechkin, for example. He is known to use two pairs of gloves per period. Then again, these are professional players. For the rest of us mortals, one pair of gloves or two will suffice until we make it to the NHL.
How long do hockey gloves last?
Ideally, five years for adults. How long they last will depend mainly on how the palm holds up. Needless to say, tears and rips are a pretty good sign that it’s time for a new set or a palm replacement. Younger players tend to outgrow their mitts almost every season, so they have to replace their gloves more often.
Do hockey gloves stretch out?
Sure, they do. First, you have to break them in, but they should be good to go after skating a few laps and taking them to practice. If they’re still a bit too tight, try skating with your gloves wet for a little while.
As long as you can fit your hand inside with little to no effort, stretching them out a bit more shouldn’t be hard at all. Now, if you have to cram your hand in there, it will be troublesome. You should also know that the one part that should not stretch is the palm.
How to Make the Right Selection
It all comes down to size and fitting. The most important takeaway here is remembering to measure your hand as accurately as possible before heading out to the store. Don’t forget to leave about ½-¼ inches between the tip of the middle finger and the end of the glove to ensure there’s enough wiggle room for your hand. Also, see that your knuckles are aligned with the joints in the fingers of the glove. Do the same with the wrists and the cuffs.
You tick those boxes, and the rest is a matter of preference. Ultimately, the right selection is the glove that offers you the most protection, comfort, and grip.
Now we want to hear from you. Have you tried any of our picks? What are your thoughts on this list? Let us know in the comments section.