Considering the many different glove types within baseball (they’re not all made for the same purpose), making a new purchase can be mind-boggling. Perhaps the most important factor is to select a glove that feels right for you. If the glove is uncomfortable, it may affect your performance in the field. If you’re an amateur, then it’s highly likely that you will be changing positions routinely throughout the season – which again is bound to influence your choice of glove. Above all, don’t expect miracles. The glove itself will only enhance your performance so far.
Go for versatility and take care to choose the right glove for your position. Check for durability and quality leather (a 100% genuine leather glove should be a priority). When reviewing your options, you should expect to find non-leather or veneer material to make the occasional appearance. Avoid these and beware plastic gloves that look like leather. Non-leather brands are usually a bad choice for kids as they are more difficult to break in. There are exceptions, but this type of glove is typically resistant to glove oil.
Of course, you’ll be looking for a glove that fits your price range. You will need to make sure your glove has the right webbing, and other parts. We will delve deeper into these details later. But for now, let’s get on with the reviews.
The Best Baseball Gloves
There’s a great deal to praise about Rawlings Player Preferred Baseball Glove. Its leather is thick yet malleable with a pleasant smell, the glove is generously padded and the Velcro strap extremely comfortable. It’s 80 percent broken-in from the factory, so you will have it game ready is no time – just take care to use some glove oil or conditioner (even a generous coating of shaving cream will do the job) to help you get the rest of the way. Its hand protection qualities are impressive – you can safely expect there to be no sting, no matter how you catch the ball.
This all sounds fantastic. But surely this glove has some flaws?! Perhaps. A few customers have remarked on what they considered a minor flaw in the design; inside the thumb area there is a leather part that crosses just under the pad of the player’s thumb. It’s chunky and may cause some irritation. The vast majority of reviewers online never mentioned this feature, however. Some have cautioned that the Rawlings glove is not a specialist first base mitt. It’s probably more suited for infield, but there’s nothing wrong with using it for outfield play if necessary.
Zero Shock palm padding
Fast, simple break-in for a game-ready feel
Flex Loop Velcro strap for an easily adjustable fit
Basket-Web supports play in multiple positions
- Weight1.3 pounds
Franklin Sports Field Master is a decent basic glove for a pickup game. It probably isn’t suitable for league play and if you have very wide or large hands then it may not be a good fit for you. Put simply, it is a hard glove to break in and not supreme quality – but you get what you pay for. On the plus side, the size 13” is incredible for the outfield, thanks partly to the modified trapeze web design giving extra depth and durability. The largest size 14” is also excellent for the outfield with its basket web design allowing for a deeper, wider pocket to help secure fly balls.
Going back, the size 11” is a respectable glove for infielders due to a nifty I-web design that’s ideal for middle fielders desiring quick transition plays. Reviewers have complained that the material doesn’t breathe well, the palm padding is minimal and the pocket is a bit stiff. You won’t win the World Series with this, but it’s a good choice for beginners or small adults. We’d say that the larger sizes have a semi-professional feel, but the Field Master is really for playing backyard ball with your kids or for the occasional charity softball game.
Made of thick, premium synthetic leather for extra durability
Contour Fit System that provides customisable thumb adjustments
Hand-formed pocket allowing for easy scoop up or catch
Ultra-durable modified trapeze web design
- BrandFranklin Sports
- Weight8.7 pounds
Mizuno Youth Prospect gloves are useful gloves for the 7-10 age group. Parents say that the Mizuno’s Power Close alone is worth an extra $20-30 as their son is now able to concentrate on finding the ball in the air, rather than working hard just to close the mitt. All the conditioner and rubber bands in the world aren’t going to help a cheap glove. On the other hand, high end gloves are typically a poor investment for youngsters, as they will often outgrow them by the time the glove is broken in. Mizuno strikes a good balance between quality and pricing here.
The company claims its Youth Prospect glove is designed to “help younger players fall in love with the game” and to this end it has introduced some innovative features such as the acclaimed Parashock Palm Pad. This makes catching easy and fun, while also guiding younger players on how to catch the correct way – in the pocket. Previous customers have reported an immediately increased catch percentage, improved throwing accuracy (more throws were made in a session) and a desire to practice more frequently.
Patented PowerClose for easier catching
Power lock closure for optimum fit and performance
Design helps youth players to catch in the pocket
Full grain pigskin leather has impressive durability
- Weight3.31 pounds
Wilson A900 Baseball Glove is a top glove for weekend warriors or for coaching Little League. The leather is thick, but quite heavy and stiff. Some customers have complained that the material feels rubbery and isn’t firm enough to be shaped well and retain its shape, while others consider the quality to be a big step up from the A500 series. The glove is almost playable out of the box. It gives great feedback, has a nice deep pocket, and the double break (if you choose to go there) makes it feel that much more comfortable.
Previous customers have positive things to say about the Pedroia Fit on this glove. One reviewer said his son – a serious player who has games or practices seven days a week, all year round and prefers the 900 series over the 2000 – has an outfield and first base glove that are still holding up well after six months of constant use. Pocket stability is definitely enhanced by the double palm construction (a thin, strategically cut piece of leather is positioned between the palm liner and the outer shell).
Pedroia fit, made to function perfectly for players with smaller hands
Brown with white
Double palm construction on front side
Full leather construction, low profile heel
- Weight 1 pound
Lightweight, flexible and easy to break in, the Pro Flex Hybrid Series has some decent features. The hand padding is a delight, and there is an extra strap across the web that should help to make it last longer. It’s a hybrid in terms of the material used – only leather on the palm area, with the rest made of PU-laminated PVC. The wide wrist strap is Velcro, so you can adjust to fit. However, the glove is relatively small and probably more one for the teenagers or players with smaller hands.
Franklin claims the gloves are specially treated to go from the store shelf to the playing field with no break-in required, but reviewers have suggested on the contrary that some break-in work is necessary – albeit fairly straightforward to carry out. In other words, it won’t take you weeks! While that’s reassuring to know, some customers have expressed doubt that the material will last for long. Ultimately, the comfort of this glove (the inside is soft premium cowhide) makes it seem high end, but at a mid-tier price.
Superior cowhide palm with PU-Laminated PVC hybrid shell
Wrist-strap can be adjusted for versatile fit
Specially treated so that no break-in is required
Designed for baseball, softball and t-ball play
- BrandFranklin Sports
- Weight15.2 ounces
With the A1000 baseball glove, Wilson says it aims to captures the feel of an A2000 – but with game-ready materials. This line sports the Pro Stock patterns you see in ballparks all over North America, in a soft yet sturdy finish. The A1000 features hand-designed patterns that are continuously improved by the Wilson Baseball team and apparently optimised for faster break-in (in reality this takes a few days of play to achieve) so that players can make a rapid impact. The full grain leather shell, leather lining and rawhide laces gives the glove an unusual blend of strength and softness.
We’d say the A100 is perfect for high schoolers and specifically the 12-15 year old age range (for recreational play or Little League, despite not technically being a youth glove). One enthusiast said that after mink-oiling and re-securing the quality laces, his son felt no stings in the palm and no longer dropped easy popups. Reviewers agree that the A100 represents a step up from the pigskin A500 and A800. This is a very well-constructed outfielder or second-third baseman mitt that should last two or three seasons of hard use.
Tru Pro Stock Feel
Sturdy and Soft
- Weight 1.4 pounds
An amazing infielder’s glove, the full-grain kip leather is excellent although a little stiff out of the box. Wilson says the Rawlings Pro Preferred Series is pre-oiled to reduce player break-in times, giving a ratio of 30% factory and 70% player – but some owners claim that they are still breaking it in after six months of play. Reviewers have even suggested using a wooden mallet to pound it until it softens up (search for Rawlings or Wilson on YouTube and you’ll find the most appropriate way to do this!). In any case, it looks super sharp with its modified trapeze pocket.
Many baseball fans still swear by top of the line Mizuno and Wilson gloves (in terms of providing a superior feel, fit and finish to Rawlings). On the other hand, the Pro Preferred Series benefits greatly from the Tennessee Tanning leather laces, as they give added durability and reinforcement so that the glove is able to withstand season after season. Another beautiful touch is the soft, moisture-wicking Pittards sheepskin lining. For $250 on Amazon (up to $400 in-store) it’s perfectly capable of holding its own against similarly-priced Mizuno or Wilson gloves. Don’t forget to also check our guide to the best kickboxing gloves.
Addison Russell game day model, made with quality full-grain kip leather
100% wool padding aids in pocket formation and maintaining shape
Sheepskin palm lining wicks away moisture
Padded thumb sleeve for added comfort
- Weight2.09 pounds
Wilson A700 Baseball Glove Series is made from soft, supple and robust full grain cowhide leather. This visually striking I-web model has a luxurious feel but lacks the unnecessary bulk or heft of other gloves. What’s more, it’s a dynamic enough glove to cover all positions on the baseball diamond. A strong selling point is that there should be no need to dedicate hours to rubbing oil and massaging the mitt to break it in, as it’s designed to be taken from packaging to the field fast (so you can launch into some grounders, pop-flies and tough hops as soon as you’ve unwrapped it).
This mitt features an open back, which makes for a more traditional look. The opening at the back of the hand ensures your gloved fingers remain dry and enables agility during the game, even on muggy summer evenings. With its appealing blonde colouring, this glove is an aesthetic and athletic standout. It is bound to draw compliments from teammates and onlookers alike. The real leather laces ensure that this well-engineered mitt will hold up under tough conditions, and last deep into the baseball season and beyond. It keeps its shape very well.
Real leather laces
Provides game-ready feel
- Weight1.4 pounds
Baseball Glove Buying Guide & FAQ
How We Chose Our Selection of Baseball Gloves
Brand – What’s in a name? A great deal, apparently! It’s fashionable to claim otherwise and while it’s true that quality or manufacturing processes can change over time, there’s no escaping the fact that a majority of pro players prefer Rawlings or Wilson gloves on the field. Pro players and Little Leaguers alike tend to return again and again to the names they trust and respect. Brand awareness, historical relevance, and craftsmanship all play a role here. Today’s top players like Jose Altuve and Clayton Kershaw have a preference for Wilson’s popular models. It’s difficult to argue with that pedigree.
Similarly, Rawlings dominate the Gold Glove awards and are one of the most used brands by professionals. According to a recent MLB inventory check, Rawlings was the favourite glove in every single position! Granted, that’s according to a sample rather than the entire league – meaning the total numbers may be slightly different (but not by a huge margin). Elsewhere, Nokona gloves are painstakingly cut, stamped, stitched, laced and embroidered by hand. Gloves from marketing powerhouse Nike (used mainly by pitchers and outfielders) are known to provide a decent shield.
There are quite a few newcomers that are worth a mention, too. Under Armour, for example, is a notable market disruptor. Established by ex-University of Maryland footballer Kevin Plank, Under Armour started out with performance apparel and then later switched to gloves. In 2018 the company branched out into fielding gloves for baseball and the reviews were ecstatic. Pro, Framer, and Deception series catchers mitts are their early foray into gloves, but the exceptional quality leather construction (enabling faster break-in) has earned high acclaim for the fielding gloves too.
Reviews – The options are bewildering, so it can be difficult to figure out which glove is the right choice for you. In baseball, of all sports, a ‘one size fits all’ solution is conspicuous by its absence! Even top quality gloves from the most esteemed manufacturer can have some niggles that are not immediately apparent, which is why it’s so useful to refer to customer reviews. Just because material quality and playability are impressive doesn’t mean the glove will last. You really need to go directly to the coalface and find reviews from experienced players to build a fuller picture.
Balance is important and so we have scoured a number of sites, from Amazon to Reddit to specialist retailers, to peruse customers’ thoughts. Reviews are a good place to find useful inside information, tips and long-time expertise on material care, the best way to break-in specific types of glove, and more. Of course, there are a number of reputable physical outlets where you can purchase baseball gloves – but online glove buying is nothing to be scared of. We recommend looking closely at closeoutbats.com and justballgloves.com, in addition to eBay and Amazon.
Most customers end up physically visiting a ‘brick and mortar’ store because they want to touch and feel the glove, which on the face of it makes a lot of sense. However, there are increasingly fewer physical outlets that stock the fullest possible range from every top manufacturer. That’s another reason why it makes sense to go online to gauge the views of accomplished players and reviewers. Thankfully, there are thousands of reviews online, so that helps to negate the problem of false positives or potentially fake reviews left by paid contributors.
Price – Gloves vary in price massively (from around $25 to $400) depending on brand and material. Unless you’re a major baseball player, there’s no point in stumping up pro-level prices. You may find the occasional bargain on an auction site such as Craigslist, eBay or Facebook Ads (see it as a glove that somebody else has already broken in for you). When it comes to brand new items, remember that some retailers offer a price-matching service. Be sure to shop around. If you can, find a company with a forgiving returns policy just in case things don’t work out and you need to exchange.
Quite a few baseball aficionados insist that there is no value in paying over $200 for a glove, as improved comfort and fit will only enhance your match day performance to a point. Choose one on the lower end if you are a new and solely recreational player. If you’re headed to the pros, then step up to the plate and buy the best glove you can afford. At the more extreme end, you could always opt for a beautifully-stitched $14,000 “top grade” calfskin glove from French luxury brand Hermès (that’s in excess of the total cost of a couple of season tickets for the New York Yankees!).
If have around $80 to spend, stick with any of the more recognizable names and the glove should be of an acceptable enough quality. Don’t pick a Rawlings over a Wilson just because of the brand – each glove fits and feels differently, so identifying one that’s comfortable is more important than the image of the manufacturer. Some fans swear by Mizuno for longevity and many warn against using expensive oil on the leather (which is typically used to prevent cracking), thereby over-softening it and causing it to prematurely break down.
Their thinking is that your glove won’t be used in the rain and unless you’re in the MLB, you’re unlikely to be grappling with a 162 game season. Anyway, the moral here is that you should ask retailers for their insights on leather treatment and aftercare. If you find a model that will last for years, it could save you a great deal in the long run.
Features To Look For In Baseball Gloves
We’ve already mentioned that the best glove for you depends on which position you play. But in a more general sense, there are four major important parts to any baseball glove: the webbing (filling the area between your thumb and fingers, it can be structured tightly or left open according to personal preference or position), fingers (to support your four fingers and thumb), heel (located below the palm directly above the point where your hand meets your wrist) and palm (a “pocket” in the centre of your glove is used to catch and secure the ball).
When buying a glove, there are a few basic terms that have to be defined. First of all, ‘type of throw’ refers to which hand a player uses to throw the ball (not which hand the glove is on), depending on if the player is a righty or a lefty. ‘RHT’ means right-hand thrower (that the player throws with his or her right hand and wears the glove on the left) and ‘LHT’ means left hand thrower (that the player throws with his or her left hand and wears the glove on the right). Weirdly enough, gloves can be hand-assembled from up to 25 individual pieces.
The pocket size that’s best for you will depend on your position. Amateurs should opt for a multipurpose glove; a small pocket size will enable faster releases, while a larger one will make for reliable catching. An outfielder’s typically has a bigger pocket than that of a middle infielder, as the main prerogative of outfielders is to be properly equipped to catch fly balls as easily as possible. Middle infielders (shortstops and second baseman) mostly prefer a shallower pocket, as this enables them to get the ball out of the glove rapidly – especially important on double plays.
Another option to consider is treated leather, which is preconditioned with oils for a faster break in period. A few players favor mesh backed gloves over something lighter. For younger players making a rare departure from leather can make sense, as synthetic gloves are among the lightest and most affordable on the market. Be sure to carry out due diligence here, though. As mentioned earlier, these brands are more difficult if not impossible to break in. Ask the retailer for more information on the material, its qualities and how to look after it. This is typically a budget choice only.
Usefully, Velcro and D-ring designs can help you adjust the fit of your glove more precisely and comfortably. The amount of padding you have on your glove is yet another factor that depends largely on the position you play. Catchers need more padding to protect their hands from pitchers’ throws. Players in some other positions, including at first and third base, may also find that they require extra padding. In recent times there has been increased interest in wrist padding for the corner infield positions.
Several different types of webbing are found in gloves for baseball players. The type of webbing most frequently seen on an infielder’s glove is characterized by loose stitching, which is intended to give more control in moving the ball out quickly – while also helping to avoid picking up large clumps of dirt. Outfielders usually opt for gloves with open webs to allow for improved visibility. There are eight widely-recognized varieties of webbings to choose from: closed/basket web, H-web, I-web, trapeze web, modified trapeze web and two-piece closed web.
Regardless of your preference for open or closed webbing, it always makes sense to look for a glove that has fairly solid webbing that is securely attached to the rest of the glove. That type of construction should ensure that the glove is durable. Usually, pitchers go with closed (including two-piece closed) or basket webbing, as this enables them to hide the ball more fully from the hitter. Third basemen (as well as outfielders) tend to favor H-web, as it helps to provide them extra support. It is usually the middle infielders who prefer the open I-web design for faster retrieval.
I-web has great utility for middle infielders in that it allows debris to drop out in the process of fielding or throwing a ball, while also protecting from the sun for fly balls. As for the trapeze web design, it’s almost exclusively used by outfielders. This type of glove features a deep pocket for maximum catching range and also gives welcome relief by blocking the sun. The modified trapeze web is for multi-tasking – it can be used to great effect by pitchers, outfielders and infielders. It is distinguished from the original trapeze design by a leather strip on top for extra stability.