Thinking about buying a baseball glove? We present you the best baseball gloves, and a buying guide to help you choose the one for your needs.
Having worked as a journalist for various print news outlets in Australia, Michael isn’t afraid to dig deep and ask the tough questions. He was able to utilize those very skills after making the switch to product reviews, where he loves researching and testing every little aspect of each we product we test. He is an automotive enthusiast and can often be found tinkering in the garage and testing out the latest automotive technology.
Baseball has long been America’s pastime. Whether you’re playing a pick-up game or aiming to be the next Babe Ruth, you want to make sure you have the right equipment to get the most out of your game. The best baseball gloves are not all about looks. It’s about feel, quality, material, and technology.
Today, we showcase a range of the baseball gloves, and see which one scores a home run. We’ll dissect our selected gloves, and help you pick the right one for your budding baseball athlete!
We know you want to make the right purchase decision and get the baseball glove that will help bring the game to the next level. That’s why we spoke to 30 baseball players, three glove fitters, and two coaches to give you the nine top performing baseball gloves on the market.
While a glove seems pretty simple, there are a number of different parts that make up your baseball glove. To be sure you’re making an informed choice, let’s take a quick look at the makeup of gloves.
The pocket or web connects the fingers to the thumb and gives you control of the ball on impact. It’s usually leather that is woven together tightly and allows you to catch the ball by closing your hand on the ball. In fact, most fly balls are caught in the web or pocket.
The palm generally contains some extra padding underneath the outer layer, which gives you protection when making a catch. The heel is rather similar and provides protection just above your wrist.
The hinge allows you to open and close the glove easily. It generally sits in the very small break between padding in the fingers and the palm. The lacing gives the glove shape. It is usually made of leather and will break in around the same time as the glove itself.
Many gloves, particularly leather gloves require what’s called a break-in period. A glove fitter will tell you that not all leather gloves are the same. A glove of this type is generally very stiff, and hard to close. Once the glove has been used and practiced with a few times, it becomes ‘broken-in’ meaning it conforms to your hand and is easier to close.
Some gloves are made of oil-treated or synthetic leather, which doesn’t require a ‘break-in’ period.
However, these gloves don’t tend to last as long and don’t have the same feel and protection in many cases. These types are very popular with younger players, particularly where their growth will be faster than the decline of the glove’s quality.
The first time almost all experts will tell you is to choose a glove that fits. Don’t purchase one that is too big for your hand, as this could lower your ability to catch the ball. Ensure it feels right, it should be stiff when you initially purchase it, however, should still be flexible for control and quick response.
Finally, buy the right glove for your position. A pitcher can usually use any type of infield glove. The best ones to look at are ones with a closed webbing, allowing you to hide the ball. Remember, the goal is to deceive the batter.
A first baseman usually has a different glove type to most infield players. In many cases, it is larger and doesn’t have finger holes. This allows them to pick up or scoop up balls that end up in the dirt. The larger size also gives infielders a larger target to aim at. This is similar to a catcher, who needs a glove that has added protection to catch balls thrown at high speed.
The infielder generally will have a lighter glove, so you can move quickly while wearing it. Having said that, the baseman may have different gloves – shortstops generally have longer gloves to increase fielding range, as do third baseman. They also have an open web and deeper pockets allowing them to catch hard hit balls at close range.
Finally, an outfielder has longer gloves than any other players on the field. As an outfielder is often tracking and attempting to catch fly balls, the longer gloves give them greater range. They also have a deep pocket to prevent the ball from popping out after a catch.
Very much the home run of gloves from the Rawlings range, the Heart of the Hide provides a high quality, classic glove feel for more seasoned players. With a high range of glove types for all positions, sizes, and colors, there is a glove for everyone.
We really liked the strong support and padding, giving us greater protection in testing when catching with the catchers’ mitt or as an outfielder. They are a full-grain leather glove, meaning a longer break-in period, however, they were a great snug fit once completed.
In testing, we found the inside lining of the glove is lined with deer-tanned cowhide, which made the glove feel very comfortable to wear even during the break-in period. It also features a very strong leather pocket, meaning greater catching ability.
One of the highest rated gloves by professional MLB players, the Heart of the Hide series is not for the faint-hearted, but once broken in will make you feel like a pro.
Comfortable interior lining
Full grain leather
Snug fit and easy control
Professional standard glove
Takes longer to break in due to strong leather construction
This glove from our baseball friends in Japan is a great entry level glove option for juniors. Designed to help youth players learn to catch the ball in the pocket, this is a great glove for those who are coming in and learning from the beginning.
Mizuno has been known for their high tech approach in most of their products across many sports, and we found their junior glove range is much the same. They have their patented PowerClose tech, allowing you to close the glove and catch the ball with ease.
This helps the ball rest square in the pocket when catching, and allows you to really grip the ball, a great learning tool for juniors. With full grain leather, it is a durable glove and mostly worn in at the factory.
We found that it felt comfortable and much easier to adapt and catch the ball in the pocket, even when we were trying to catch in our fingers, as many juniors may do at first.
It isn't as light as many of its competitors, however, that shouldn't deter you. Considered a great learning tool, the weight can help condition your youngster for when they transition into a full sized glove.
While great for teaching the game, the glove is still a great option for all players and very versatile. Its woven patterned pocket makes it great for pitchers, and outfielders can use the easy closing feature to make those big fly ball catches. A wonderful all-around glove.
PowerClose – easier to catch
Full grain leather
Weave pattern pocket
Versatile – can be used in many positions
When compared to other ‘training gloves’ they are slightly heavier
One for the budding Buster Posey’s and Yogi Berra’s out there, this glove from Rawlings is a leather catchers’ mitt. Much like all the main offerings from Rawlings, this mitt offers great quality, with a full grain leather shell, and leather laces.
When our team opened the box, we found it already mostly broken in at the factory, and very quick to finish the process. We liked the double bar web which helps keep the ball in the glove. The padding in the palm and index finger allow protection from those fast and hard pitches.
While technically a catchers’ mitt, it serves well for any young players playing on bases, with its added protection and durable external layers.
A great option for young players who need a strong glove to ensure protection to their hand.
Great protection for catchers
80% Factory break-in
Double bar web for extra catching support
Can be stiff for juniors with extra padding and full grain leather
Targeted at juniors 8-16 years, the Game Glove from Rawlings comes in a range of sizes, and a full range of glove types, from infielders, catchers’ mitt, and different pocket weaves.
With Rawlings gamer soft shell leather, it makes for very easy break-in for junior players and is game ready after only a few uses.
It is still very durable and has a very snug fit for greater control. The laces do wear down quicker than the overall glove, but overall for most juniors will last throughout a little league season.
The tapered wrist entry and thinner finger stalls are great for junior players, which give them greater control when playing with the Gamer Glove series.
A range of sizes
Tapered wrist entry for a snug fit
Softshell leather for easy break-in
Laces can wear down quicker than glove
Another popular catchers’ mitt, this option from Rawlings is a great option for adults and junior players alike, with a range of size options available.
The Player Preferred series is designed around your favorite MLB players' gloves, giving you the feel of a professional glove. Much like the other Rawlings products, they came with a full grain leather shell, giving shape retention when broken-in.
We found the laces to be strong and made of durable leather, giving you assurance when catching those fast pitches. The additional padding around the palm, and along the fingers and thumb are also a great feature to give you added protection.
We found the Rawlings Plater Preferred Catchers Mitt fits quite snug, which made it easier for us to command and move to make a catch.
Full grain leather
Durable leather laces
Extra padding along fingers, thumb, and palm
Easy break in
First base glove option is more a generic infielder glove and may not be the best for seasoned baseman
Next on the list is the Wilson Showtime Series First Base Mitt. The Showtime series is a line that mimics Wilson’s pro stock line of gloves.
Wilson’s double palm and rolled dual welting technology featured in this glove, give it better shape and long-lasting durability.
In testing, we noted the rolled dual welting (thin strips of pro leather) break in with the glove and help with additional protection. We liked the low-profile heel which helps open the palm and exposing the pocket, making it a more forgiving glove for young players making catches.
The glove features minimal break-in and is ready to use after a few pick-up games or practices. The full leather construction makes the glove easily conform to the hand meaning a snug, great fit.
Full grain leather
Dual palm construction
Rolled dual welting leather strips
Carries similar technology to pro gloves
Soft leather can wear quicker than some
The Wilson A360 is a popular glove amongst many youth players, with a very professional look but still great at early game development.
The glove comes in at a 10-inch utility size, making it a very versatile junior glove, allowing you to play anywhere on the field. The glove comes with full pigskin leather in the palm, and a cross-woven pocket making catching easy.
After only a few uses, we found them to be mostly broken in. This is largely due to the fact that the glove is mostly synthetic leather, but still provided great, soft feel for juniors.
Some customers found concerns with the laces, however, as the synthetic materials tend to break quicker than with full-grain leather gloves.
Versatile for juniors
Woven pocket stitch
Only full grain leather in the palm, rest of glove is synthetic
Another option from Rawlings, the Select Pro Lite Youth Glove Series is a popular design for young players looking to emulate some of their favorite stars. The design is similar to gloves worn by two-time All-Star Kris Bryant, and three-time All-Star Manny Machado.
On first use we found the glove to be taper fit, featuring a smaller hand opening, and lower finger-stalls. They feature a professional style webbing, lightweight soft leather shell for durability, shape which made it easy for us to break-in.
We discovered the leather lacing is one of the more durable in the market, keeping a well-formed and shaped pocket. The extra padding in the palm and index finger are a great addition for shock resistance for those hard catches, and the back of the finger stalls are padded for extra comfort.
We felt the lightweight construction makes it an excellent choice for playing infield.
Soft leather allowing easy break-in
Taper fit for better control
Additional padding for comfort and protection
Modelled on gloves worn by some of the MLB’s stars
Soft leather can wear easier than other gloves
Taper fit mean wrist can be tight
The Rawlings Premium Pro Series is the glove to get for a few reasons. First, it’s a soft glove, with a full grain leather shell. Rawlings pride themselves on their ‘game-ready feel' and claim that 80% of the break-in is done at the factory. In our research, we found that statement to be true.
The glove also features technology they call ‘Solid Core’, and ‘Opti-Fit’, which is designed to improve the way the glove conforms to the hand, giving better grip, command, and feel. Bestazy thought the basket-weave webbing style made it ideal for budding pitchers. In our testing, it allowed for easier hiding of the ball, but overall is a great glove for any position, with soft padding around the heel and palm.
It is a great glove for junior players, with full-grain leather and quick break-in period. It's wider opening above the wrist makes controlling the glove very easy.
Easy break-in period
Soft padding in heel and palm
Full grain leather shell
Easy to command and use
May not be suitable for larger hand sizes
Depending on your ability, your glove type and best baseball glove may indeed be different. There is a range of different things to take into account before choosing your glove of choice.
Whether you are a junior just starting out, or a seasoned athlete looking to step up your game, there is a glove out there for you, just depending on your game.
Don’t just pick a glove on looks, however, some gloves may look amazing, but be terrible for your game. Remember, pick for your position and wear it in before playing full games. Don’t forget to take great care of your glove, store it carefully and protect it from the elements to give it the longest life.
Depending on your skill level and your age, choosing a glove can largely be down to personal preference. For youth players, a forgiving glove, with an easy break-in period can be the best choice. Bonus points if your glove is designed to improve your game like our top youth choice, the Mizuno GPP1100Y1 Youth Prospect Ball Glove.
If you’re a more veteran player, a stronger glove with more protection may be in order. A great glove can be the difference between an amazing catch or a trip to the hospital. Regardless of which one you choose from our selection of baseball gloves, make sure to properly break-in your glove before you play. Get a feel for it and practice with your glove to ensure both you and the glove are game ready.
Now, take one more quick glance at our favorite gloves, then get out there and start practicing!
The Rawlings Heart of the Hide Glove Series is our pick of the bunch, with a professional feel, comfortable internal lining, and safety padding. A stylish glove, designed to mimic the style of your favorite MLB players coupled with expert performance and quality. While it’ll take longer to break-in, you’ll feel the benefits of a professionally crafted glove.
For kids, you can’t go past the Mizuno Youth Prospect Glove, which gives your little ones a professional feel, along with continual improvement. By teaching juniors from an early age to catch the ball in the pocket, they’ll be fielding some highlight-reel catches in no time! Plus, you won’t have to spend a fortune on a glove they’re bound to outgrow!
Have another favorite glove? Let us know in the comments your weapon of choice, and let us know how many home runs you stopped with it.
Not always! A softball glove is bigger than a baseball glove in general terms, as a softball itself is slightly bigger! Some may find success using a baseball glove, however, you may find it incompatible and it may be better to purchase a softball specific glove.
As a general rule of thumb, no. Infielders and outfielders may (at the junior level) use the same gloves, however, a catchers' mitt and baseman gloves tend to differ quite a lot in design and shape. Using a catchers' mitt in the outfield may heavily restrict movement and ability to close to the glove, whereas an infielder glove being used by a catcher may actually cause injury.
The webbing or pocket is certainly not just for looks. While some prefer certain stitching, there are benefits to different styles. Some prefer a more open webbing, which allows for very easy glove closure, whereas a weave may be preferred by a pitcher as they can hide the ball in the glove as they line up to pitch.