Why Wide Receivers Wear Gloves In Football

Written By: Chris Haddad
Updated: February 12, 2024

Almost every wide receiver in high school, college, and the NFL can be seen wearing gloves. Football players wear gloves for several reasons, all to help their game. Here are some of the reasons why football players wear gloves.

Football players wear gloves to help catch the ball more securely. The leather on the ball mixed with the tac on the glove allows for improved traction when receiving the ball.

This article will show you why all wide receivers should wear football gloves and the benefits of gloves.

Why Wide Receivers Wear Gloves

Wide receivers wear gloves to improve their traction when catching the football. Footballs are made of leather, which in the hot sun can get slick. Along with all of the water and sweat that contact the ball, the human hand will naturally slide off the football.

To counteract the slippery grip of the ball, football gloves were created to help ensure that the ball wouldn’t slip out of the human hand.

Always open wide receiver gloves

The wide receive glove is made of silicone or neoprene on the front of the gloves. This is the rubber-tacky substance that most companies use.

Wide receivers in football have two responsibilities: block the opposing player on a run play, and catch the ball on a pass play.

With the Air raid offense innovation, wide receivers are asked to catch the ball more than to block. Passes are being thrown 40-50 times a game, which means more opportunities to catch the football.

Gloves Help Secure The Football

Wide receivers wear gloves to ensure the ball doesn’t slip out of their hands and safely secure the catch. The human hand will tend to sweat and accumulate moisture as the football game continues.

The football will naturally be touched by other sweaty players who may also have water on their bodies. Combine a slick hand with water on a leather football. There is a good chance the ball will end up on the ground.

Securing the football at the wide receiver position is of the utmost importance. Fumbles and dropped passes can stall a drive and crush a player’s confidence.

Gloves can help secure the football in the hand when catching or running with the football.

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Gloves Help Keep Wide Receivers Hands Warm

Football is often played in the colder months, such as November and December. Cold months often bring snow, rain, and whipping winds. To protect the hands from cold weather, gloves can help.

Gloves act as another layer of skin when the cold weather approaches. Having gloves on will help prevent hands from the winds.

Players can also place hand warmers in their gloves to keep their hands warm on the sidelines. We do not recommend players have hand warmers inside their gloves during the game, as it can cause the ball to not fit properly in their hands due to the bulge.

Protecting Wide Receivers Hands With Gloves

Football is a contact sport where players’ fingers and hands often get scraped by the equipment. To protect against minor scrapes, players can wear gloves to avoid these injuries.

The gloves are not thick enough to prevent major cuts, but they will prevent minor turf burns and small cuts that would otherwise cut a barehand.

How Much Do Gloves Help Wide Receivers?

Gloves don’t help a football player catch better; they help secure the football. If a player doesn’t have good catching skills, gloves will help them.

If you’re looking to play wide receiver, we recommend catching 100 passes a day to maximize your catching ability. Learn how the football fits the hands and best position your hands when catching a football.

Supplementing tennis balls in place of footballs can also help concentrate on catching the football. We recommend doing all of these catching drills without gloves. This will help develop your natural ability to catch the football.

Once you feel comfortable catching a football without gloves, we recommend putting gloves on your hands.

Wide receivers should use football gloves to add to their ability to catch the football, not depend on them to catch the football. We say this because rain and snow often play a factor in football games.

As noted here, football gloves should not be used in rain and snow, as they will hurt your ability to catch the football. When football gloves get wet, they become slick and rip easier.

Football gloves are an excellent addition for players who are already comfortable catching the football. They will help aid the catch but not fix a player’s ability to catch the football.

Do Wide Receivers Have To Wear Gloves?

No. wide receivers do not have to wear gloves, but it’s recommended they do. Footballs naturally stick to the tacky surface of the glove and make it easier to catch.

Not wearing gloves can lead to balls slipping out of grasp due to the slickness of the ball.

While it’s not mandated that wide receivers wear gloves, it’s highly recommended. This is why almost all NFL receivers wear gloves.

Why Do Wide Receivers Not Strap Their Gloves?

Wide receivers will not strap their gloves by design or because it’s more comfortable that way. Some players like the loose feel on the back half of the glove. This means they will naturally unstrap the glove while the fingers and the palms are securely on the hand.

Another reason is because of the look. It looks cooler to have the straps undone instead of fastening them. We recommend you always tighten the strap, as another player could rip it.

When it’s unstrapped, there’s a good chance of it also being thrown off your hand.

While it may look cool, we recommend you fasten and tighten your glove as it’s an extension of your hand.

Keep Learning

Learn more about wide receivers by reading the articles below.

If you want to learn more about the wide receiver position, we recommend you check out our Wide Receiver University Course!

Learn To Stem & Stack At Wide Receiver

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How to Beat Press Coverage In Football

Why Do Wide Receivers Point At The Sideline?

What Does A Tight End Do In Football?

Football gloves worn by wide receivers are to help improve traction and catching ability. High school, college, and NFL players wear football gloves to help them secure the football once it hits their hands.

Gloves have a natural tacky substance that helps secure the leather football once it hits the hand.

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About the author 

Chris Haddad

Chris Haddad is the founder of vIQtory Sports & high school coach for over 12+ years. He has been featured as an authority on Hudl, Bleacher Report and countless other football-centric platforms. Chris continues to study and provide valuable content for those looking to learn more about the game of football.