Finding the best baseball glove can get difficult. At the Bat Nerd, we have tested gloves in every size, every position, fastpitch softball gloves, slowpitch softball gloves, youth baseball gloves… All of them!
With all the choices out on the market today, finding the “best” one may be impossible. Some seem quite similar, and with some, it’s difficult to understand the different price tags. With most baseball gloves as you’ll come to see from our choices below, the devil, as they say, is in the details.
The features of a proper baseball glove, be it its size, the material, the glove’s build are the things that set certain bats apart from others and give it its uniqueness. These features are also key to help you make your decision based on your position and your budget.
When picking out the best baseball glove for you, make sure you pick the one that’s right for you. Your baseball glove may end up being your trusty companion for years to come. As we have experienced ourselves, baseball gloves only get better with use. Nothing’s better than a glove that’s weathered several games, sweat & dirt.
Choosing a baseball glove is a seemingly simple task until you find out that there’s a glove for every position.
The “best baseball glove” is something of a myth. There is no one size fits all because every glove offers something different. Test out a few gloves to see what works best. One way would be by borrowing a glove from a teammate or finding a retailer who’s flexible on returns in the event you don’t like what you pick.
In this review, we cover everything from the best gloves based on position, and then we cover the best baseball gloves of 2018. To finish off, we do an in-depth glove buying guide that covers everything you need to know as you begin the quest to find the right glove for you.
Regardless of whether you play just for fun or whether you’re dead set on going professional, our reviews have something for everyone.
BEST BASEBALL GLOVES BY POSITION
Unlike other gloves, a catcher’s glove does not have separately cut fingers. This is why this glove is referred to as a catcher’s mitt because it is designed to help catchers easily catch fastballs throughout the game without inflicting pain.
Because of this, catcher’s mitts are heavily padded and tend to be very stiff when new and often take a long time to break in. They also have a closed back for more support when catching the ball.
NOTE: Because they don’t have fingers, catcher’s mitts are measured differently. Instead of the usual way of measuring from the index finger to the base of the glove, they are measured as the circumference of the glove so as to measure the whole “catching area” of the mitt.
Softball catcher’s mitts differ from baseball catcher’s mitts in that they have deeper pockets owing to the larger ball.
Baseball: 29.5 to 34.5 inches
Softball: 29.5 to 35 inches.
FIRST BASEMEN’S GLOVES
First baseman gloves are like catcher’s mitts, with a few minor differences. They are longer, have less padding and are also larger to help players easily scoop throws out of the dirt.
Like a catcher’s mitt, the difference between this and gloves in other positions is that first baseman gloves don’t have fingers.
These gloves These gloves are 11.5 to 13 inches long.
These gloves focus more on comfort than anything else, thus they don’t have much in the way of padding. These gloves are made from lightweight materials that weigh much less than your standard glove.
Pitcher’s gloves are larger than other gloves to allow pitchers the comfort of easily moving their hands around the glove while gripping the ball. Additionally, pitchers use closed web gloves to hide their hand movements from the batter before a pitch.
Additionally, the comfort of a pitcher’s glove is paramount because pitchers will often catch the ball, and make stops when line drives are hit through the middle.
Size: 11-12.5 inches.
Infielder gloves are smaller and shorter than outfield gloves to allow for quick plays. Infield players (Shortstops and second basemen) need to get the ball out as fast as possible on double plays and for that, they use gloves that have a shallow, open pocket.
However, the third baseman may require a closed pocket and a bigger glove. This is because they are close to the line and often have to deal with faster, harder hits. Closed pockets will deal with these more effectively than an open web would.
Shortstop and Second baseman gloves usually have I & H-web patterns (similar to outfielders).
Third Baseman gloves use trapeze web patterns and both I and H-web gloves sometimes.
Baseball: 11.25 – 12 inches
Softball: 11.5 – 12.5
Outfield gloves (right-field, center-field, left-field) are larger and are made this way to help the players catch high fly balls, snow cones, make diving catches or scoop up grounders on-the-run.
Because of this, these gloves are designed to be longer and deeper than gloves in other positions on the field, and they offer more support in the fingers.
The most common pocket design for outfield gloves is either H-Web or a trapeze web.
These pocket designs are the best for keeping the ball in the glove for diving plays as mentioned above. Softball gloves used the closed web pattern because they need to be much deeper owing to the larger ball.
Baseball outfielders gloves typically range between 12.5”-13” inches. Popular web patterns used for outfield gloves are trapeze, modified trapeze, and dual post.
BASEBALL GLOVE BUYERS GUIDE
Baseball gloves have 4 major parts as shown in the illustration below.
Before you embark on picking the best baseball glove, let’s define a few basic things you need to know:
Type of Throw
When choosing a glove, you’ll come across this often. This basically refers to the hand a player uses to throw the ball (not on the hand the glove is on), and depends on the player’s dominant hand (right-handed or left-handed)
- RHT – Means Right handed throw. The player wears their glove on their left hand and throws with their right.
- LHT – Stands for a Left-handed throw. The player wears their glove on their right hand and throws with their left.
How to Measure the Size of a Glove
To measure the size of a glove, look out for inscriptions on the thumb or pinky finger that state the size of the glove.
Glove sizes range from 8 inches to 15 inches with the exception of catcher’s gloves a.k.a catcher’s mitts which range between 29.5 and 34.5 inches.
However, if your glove has no inscriptions as described above, you can still quickly determine the size of your glove. Take a fabric tape measure and measure from the top of the index finger down to the center of the heel of the baseball glove.
What size glove is best by age and position?
Another important factor to consider is web type. Web types affect the weight, flexibility, visibility and more in your glove.
Picking a glove with the right webbing not only ensures you only get a glove that’s right for your position but one that also fits your preferences.
Baseball & softball gloves have a web that joins the thumb to the fingers. This helps to catch and hold on to the ball. These webs come in many styles that differ based on position and personal preference.
Webs fall into two major categories:
|Closed Web||Open Web|
- Closed Web – Used primarily by pitchers who need the additional catching support offered by closed web gloves. Outfielders and third basemen also prefer this kind of web.
- Open Web – Preferred by Infield and outfield players because they offer quicker ball transfers to the throwing hand. They also make it easier to see the ball when catching pop-flys.
|Trapeze Web||Modified Trapeze Web|
Trapeze webs are mostly by outfielders, this web type has a thin leather strap interlaced to the web’s outer sides.
The modified trapeze web is quite similar to the traditional trapeze web aside from the added leather atop the glove for additional stability. This is commonly used by pitchers and infielders.
|H Web||I Web|
H webs and I webs are the most common glove web designs used by infielders. The H and I webs are named so because their webs have leather strips that cross to form an H shape and I shape respectively.
Outfielder’s gloves use H/Dual Post webs. I webs are only used by infielders and help them retrieve the ball quicker. H webs offer flexibility and stability. They also allow infielders to see through their gloves for high and fly balls.
|Single post web||Double post web|
First base gloves sport single post webs. It has one vertical strip of leather crossing two horizontal strips of leather.
Pitcher’s gloves a double post web, as do some infield gloves. It is made of one horizontal strip of leather crossing two vertical strips of leather. Choosing between either single post or double post is often down to preference. Both options provide flexibility and visibility.
Pitcher’s gloves use basket web gloves to hide the view of the ball from the batter. Basket webs are made from many leather straps that intertwine. This kind of web offers flexibility due to its weave design & this makes it easy to close.
Pitchers also prefer a two-piece web. It helps them hide the ball from the batter. The two-piece web (aka solid web) is perfect for players who prefer heavier gloves because the additional material on the web adds more weight to the glove.
NOTE: For softball, the web patterns do not vary as much owing to the size of the ball.
The pocket is where the ball goes when it’s caught. The depth of a glove’s pocket is just one of the ways to tell which position a glove is for.
- Shallow Pockets – Are ideal for fast plays and getting the ball to the plate. Shallow pockets are great for players who need to catch the ball and quickly transfer it to their throwing hand.
- Deep Pockets – Are ideal for players who need to catch fly balls, line drives or batted balls that have been hit hard into the air. Outfield gloves have deep pockets
The back of the glove is the area of the glove that’s behind the wrist. Unlike other such as webbing and the pocket, the back of the glove isn’t dependent on position. It has more to do with personal preference.
There are two types of backs:
- Open Back Gloves – Allow for more flexibility for the hand and wrist. They have a space above the wrist adjustment and are the preferred choice for infielders who need the benefit offered by the additional mobility.
- Closed-back Gloves – These don’t have space at the back of the wrist. Some closed back gloves have a slot where the index finger can poke through to sit in the area it normally would. This provides additional support when catching fly balls.
Youth VS. Adult Gloves
Youth gloves are designed for younger players. No surprises there. They are cheaper, smaller and are suitable players around 10 to 12 years of age.
Kids older than 12 can then make the transition to adult gloves (but with a more tightened back.)
To tighten softball gloves, simply adjust the velcro strap at the back. Baseball gloves are somewhat harder in comparison and will require need re-lacing to make them tighter. Check out the video below on how to tighten a baseball glove.
Youth gloves are not made from as high-quality leather as that of adult bats. Because of the material they are made out of, they are flexible and easier to close & break in
As you’d expect, youth gloves are cheaper than adult gloves. Check out our list of the best youth baseball gloves.
In conclusion, the best baseball glove is one that’s right for your position, and more importantly, one that fits. With this in mind, you can now pick your ideal glove webbing,