What Makes a Glove “Premium”?
The simple answer is price. It’s not wholly uncommon for a single Premium or Tour quality glove to reach and even exceed the $30 mark. For our purposes we define the premium category as nearly anything with a retail price of $18 or above.
The single biggest factor contributing to the higher price is the material. All of the gloves we tested are constructed primarily from Cabretta leather. Cabretta comes from a sheep that grows hair unlike those wooly things running around your average barnyard. Cabretta is an exceptionally soft leather that provides outstanding feel. It’s also, apparently, not cheap.
Premium gloves are often thinner and less durable than their less expensive counterparts. It may seem counterintuitive to spend more for a less durable product, but that’s the tradeoff for the softer, thinner material common to premium gloves. You’re paying for feel not durability.
If it helps, keep in mind that premium gloves are designed for tour players. We’re talking about guys who change gloves several times over the course of around, and no matter how many they blow through, never spend a dime doing it. Somebody needs to support their habits. That’s where you come in.
Does a having a thinner, softer glove matter to you? Most golfers select a glove based on fit, feel, and almost certainly price.
For those willing to spend comparatively premium dollars for a premium glove, how do know which premium glove is the best to wrap around your sweaty palms (did you know sweat is one of the quickest ways to deteriorate your gloves?)
We took 18 of the top contenders in the premium glove market and put them head to head and let the numbers fall where they may.
Gloves were all reviewed based on Fit, Comfort, Feel, and Grip. Testers with glove sizes ranging from M to XL rated for each category. Additionally each tester chose his 5 favorites. Results were averaged and placed into a sliding scale for visual representation, and a final letter grade for overall score was assigned for each glove. Price and durability were not factored in the rankings.
What we discovered during our testing is that fit is the #1 factor in determining individual preference. It has a domino effect on comfort, feel and even perceived breathability. We challenge you to compare – look higher up the list than your current gamer. Try a couple on. Pick the one you think best fits your hand and game it for a round (or 4) and tell us what you think.
The best glove for your hand should fit like a second skin, and we’re not talking old man baggy skin, we’re talking smooth wrinkle free baby skin. I don’t actually have a baby, so I’m not positive baby’s skin is wrinkle free, but you get the point.
Premium Glove Comparison
MyGolfSpy’s Most Wanted Golf Glove of 2014
While we shied away from doing “+” and “-” grading in this lineup, one glove was rated so highly across our full compliment of testers that we felt its dominance warranted an A+. The FootJoy Pure Touch Limited is our Most Wanted Premium Golf Glove.
While our top 6 gloves stand out, there wasn’t a slouch in this lineup. 12 gloves total earned our A rating. The premium glove market really is that tightly contended, and quality abounds.
With fit being the single most important factor, we’d advise that you should fit yourself for a glove as carefully as you would a new set of irons. A glove should fit like a second skin, there should be no wrinkles from a glove fitting too big. If it does, your grip will suffer and the glove will wear faster. Each of our top finishers is cut a bit differently, which is why our number one piece of advice is try on the glove that you think best fits your needs. If it fits…well…like a glove (not an OJ glove), you’re in business. If not, move down this list until you find the one that offers a truly sublime fit.
The 2014 Most Wanted Golf Gloves
Hands down the most wanted glove amongst our testers. The Pure Touch Limited is flawless. Feel, grip, comfort, it’s all there. If you’re not afraid of dropping $30 on a glove, we stand behind your decision (and would you pick us up a few while you’re at it?). Sure, you can pay less, but you could also do a lot worse.
Asher is not a brand many have associated with a premium glove in the past. The premium market wasn’t a focus for Asher previously, but we can tell you they’ve jumped full canonball into the market, and made the kind of splash our testers couldn’t ignore..
In surprising style, Ping’s own Sport Glove beat out its Tour Glove. (go figure, Ping’s own Bubba Watson wears this glove – heck, he even won the Master’s this year wearing this glove) If a Master’s win doesn’t make you believer, I’m not sure what will.
One note – this glove runs up to a size too small. Definitely try before you buy to ensure the best fit.
This PUMA Glove features more Lycra than nearly any other glove in our lineup. That makes for a comfortable, and extremely breathable glove. It also makes gripping your club near effortless. Even our most senior tester said he LOVED this glove for it’s loud looks. Mind you, he’s playing an orange driver, so he might be biased where color is concerned.
TayloreMade has a sleeper hit with their Tour Preferred model. If you like you gloves to give a little more room, or you run slightly large for your size, this might be the best pick of the bunch for you.
Typically our runners up would be limited to 4, but the StaSof glove from FootJoy stood out enough to warrant extending the runner-up category. When asked to pick their top 5 gloves, the Stasof was a top 3 model for several testers, but outside of the top 5 for others. If you see this glove in your local shop, give it a try and tell us if it makes your top 5.
The Rest of the List
If you’ve ever wondered why someone would spend $30 on a golf glove, the next time you have a chance to try on the FootJoy Pure Touch Limited. Actually, don’t do it unless you’re ready to make it a habit. It’s that good.
The premium lineup is so hotly contended that we wouldn’t question any choice from the A-tier. Let your own fit and feel preference guide you through our list.
If you love premium gloves, let us know. If you think $35 is insanity, we’d love to hear that too, but be sure to let us know what price point you’re comfortable with and what glove you currently wear.
We know many of you will ask about durability. We’re in the process of implementing industry standardized testing for textiles to help us provide that information. The best advice for now, don’t grip so tight. You’ll improve your swing, and your gloves will last significantly longer.
Finally, if you sweat a lot, buy 3 of your favorite glove and rotate them during your round. This will ensure that your sweat doesn’t start breaking down the materials as quickly as wearing just one for the entire round.