As a hobby pool player looking to up your game, you might find yourself asking if billiard gloves are necessary. Just as professionals and advanced players each have their own advice and opinions on cue sticks, they also have differing opinions on billiard gloves and other pool playing aids. Some swear by them, while others see them as an unnecessary interference with the feel of their shot. The World Billiards Association allows the use of billiard gloves in tournament play since they do not offer any more technical advantage than developing a particular grip.
Billiard gloves typically cover the thumb and first two fingers. The ring and pinky fingers remain uncovered. The Lycra Spandex material from which most billiard gloves are made fits the hand, thumb, index and middle fingers snuggly. The snug fit provides no bunching or shifting during play, provided the gloves are fitted correctly. The smooth texture of the spandex provides smooth strokes, just like the use of talc. Billiard gloves and talc both prevent the player’s cue stick from slipping or sticking to their hands due to sweat or oils from the skin.
Players with sensitive skin commonly use billiard gloves. Talc, the same material used in baby powder, is a common allergen. As such, people with allergies to talc need an alternative to the chalk towers provided at most tournaments and in most pool halls. Gloves provide the same smooth hand surface as talc without risk of skin irritation or allergic reaction.
In addition to players with sensitive skin, some players choose billiard gloves to avoid the mess associated with talc. The talc from chalk towers gets on everything. Not only does it get on your hands and arms, but also your clothing, shoes, face and the pool table. The use of powders and chalk towers, over time, can act as an abrasive on table felt. As such, some players prefer the less messy, less damaging idea of gloves rather than common talc solutions.
To answer the question are billiard gloves necessary, the answer is no unless you have allergies, sensitive skin or just prefer less mess.