The Spot

When Did Goalkeepers’ Gloves Get So Enormous?

Tim Howard
Tim Howard had a big game against Belgium. He also has big gloves.

Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Tim Howard came up huge for the United States on Tuesday, stopping 16 shots against Belgium. Though he knocked away strike after strike, Howard’s hands were well protected by a pair of gigantic gloves. Goalkeepers weren’t always so lucky. It wasn’t until the late 1940s that Argentinian Amadeo Carrizo became the first keeper to popularize protective mitts. It took much longer still for gloves to balloon to the size of today’s models. Below, our visual tour of goalkeepers’ hands at the World Cup.

Antal Szabo
A decade before gloves were on the scene, Hungarian goalkeeper Antal Szabo tries to stop a shot in the 1938 World Cup final. This could be painful.

Photo by AFP/Getty Images

Moacir Barbosa
In the 1950 World Cup final, Uruguayan forward Juan Alberto Schiaffino kicks the ball past Brazil’s Moacir Barbosa. The goalkeeper, known for not wearing gloves, was blamed by many Brazilians for the team’s 2–1 defeat.

Photo by AFP/Getty Images

Hans Tilkowski
West Germany’s goalkeeper Hans Tilkowski watches the ball bounce off the crossbar following a shot by English forward Geoff Hurst during the 1966 World Cup final. Tilkowski’s hands do not appear to be well covered.

Photo by STAFF/AFP/Getty Images

Allal Ben-Kassou
Moroccan goalkeeper Allal Ben-Kassou springs into action in a 1970 World Cup match.

Photo by AFP/Getty Images

Sepp Maier
According to the Telegraph, at the 1974 World Cup West Germany’s Sepp Maier became the first goalkeeper to wear “supersize” gloves. The German glove manufacturer Reusch developed the big mitts specifically for Maier.

Photo by AFP/Getty Images

Jack Reilly
In 1974, Australian goalkeeper Jack Reilly can’t stop a header from West Germany’s Gerd Müller. If only he had a pair of those big German gloves.

Photo by AFP/Getty Images

Ubaldo Fillol
At the 1978 World Cup, Argentinian goalkeeper Ubaldo Fillol’s gloves have a middling amount of heft.

Photo by AFP/Getty Images

Rene Higuita
Goalkeeper René Higuita of Colombia, seen here at the 1990 World Cup, wears thick gloves bearing his name.

Photo by David Cannon/Allsport/Getty Images

Claudio Taffarel
By the 1994 World Cup, thick gloves were an essential part of the goalkeeper’s tool kit, as seen in this photo of Brazil’s Cláudio Taffarel.

Photo by Shaun Botterill/Allsport/Getty Images

Aaron Lawrence
Jamaican goalkeeper Aaron Lawrence raises his well-cushioned hands in victory at the World Cup.

Photo by Gerard Cerles/AFP/Getty Images

Júlio César
At the 2010 World Cup, Brazil’s goalkeeper Júlio César admires his beautiful gloves.

Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Tim Howard
An upcoming product placement: U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard, sponsored by Hamburger Helper.

Photo illustration by Holly Allen. Photo by Patrik Stollarz/Getty Images.