Best Baseball Gloves

Do you play baseball? If so, you probably know the overwhelming struggle that many feel when it comes time to select a new glove. You aren’t the first to be faced with such a quandary (finding the best baseball gloves) and you certainly won’t be the last.

Doug Allison was one of the first players to ever use a baseball glove all the way back in the year 1870. He was a catcher for the Cincinnati Red Stockings and was advised to use a glove by his doctor following a serious hand injury.  It was a way for him to let his hand “rest,” according to his physician so that it could heal properly.

It comes as little surprise that the baseball glove soon caught on not only as a healing tool, but a preventative tool as well and forever changed the way America’s favorite pastime is played.

About Baseball Gloves

Because baseball players are often trained to throw balls at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour, catching one can be rough on the bare hand. Many early-American baseball players learned this the hard way. Broken bones and wrists were not uncommon.

Other injuries included blisters and skin lesions from the sheer force of the ball “burning” the hand upon impact. Spectators in the early days placed as many bets on injuries as they did the game, itself.

Once the invention of the baseball glove came along, injuries dropped dramatically and they have been a must-have for players ever since.

When the industry exploded, so did the styles and designs of the baseball gloves. Now, buying the best baseball gloves have turned into a chore for many players and it can be hard for beginning sports-stars to know what, exactly, they are looking for.

Factors when buying the best baseball gloves

There are many factors to consider when purchasing the best baseball glove. The factors are:

  • Overall Size
  • Material
  • Web
  • Palm Padding
  • Hinge
  • Wrist Adjustments
  • Length
  • Price

Factor #1: Overall Size

The overall size of an adult baseball glove should be between 12.75-13”. You want your glove to be wide enough to reach and pull in a fastball, but not so wide that you lose control. Most players find that the 13” mark is a great middle ground.

A glove should not be so small that it hurts the hand, but should also not slip or lose its place. You also want to make sure when you purchase a glove that there are ways to adjust the size as no glove will fit any two people the exact same way.

Factor #2: Material

Gloves now come in a variety of materials including synthetic fabrics and various forms of leather. You want to be sure you are purchasing a glove made from a quality material that will hold up to the wear and tear associated with the sport. However, you also want to be sure that the material is not so stiff that you lose control of the glove.

Many players look for leather gloves and take their time “breaking them in” to be a proper pliability for game play. Some players sleep with them under the mattress or even wear them full time for weeks before they actually begin using them for sport.

Factor #3: Web Style

The webbed part of the glove between the thumb and pointer finger is called the “web” or “pocket.” Deep pockets are best for playing the game because this is now the part of the hand that players often choose to use to catch the ball and the design of the webbing is equally as important.

Some gloves have a solid web or pocket. This is not the best option, according to most players, for the simple reason that most players use their gloves to shield the sun from their eyes. A solid pocket can’t be seen through, so many prefer an “open web.”

There are a variety of open web options available from different types of mesh and netting to simple or complex lacing. Simple lace is ill-advised because it wears out easily. Look for a professional-quality lacing or mesh option, instead.

Factor #4: Palm Padding

The padding in the palm of the glove is very important. Most baseball injuries happen to the palm or wrist. Having proper padding in the wrist can work wonders in injury prevention.

You just want to be cautious that the palm padding isn’t too thick. Very thick padding in the palm can actually make it difficult to detect if you have caught the ball. In a sport that needs great hand-eye coordination, you want to be make sure you can feel every part of your hand all of the time.

Factor #5: Hinge

The hinge is a reference to how easy it is to fold the thumb into the palm to close your hand upon catch. Because most balls are caught in the web, it should be easy to close the hand quickly over the ball to prevent it from rolling our bouncing out of the catch.

A stiff glove will prevent your hinge from working as effectively as it should and can cost you team valuable points in game play.

Factor #6: Wrist Adjustment

You don’t want your glove to be too tight or too loose. It should be easy to adjust your glove at any point during gameplay. As your hands and wrists sweat, the glove will be more apt to slide. If your glove is too tight or you hand begins to swell, you may find that your fingers begin to go to sleep. You’ll need to be able to quickly and effortlessly adjust your wrist straps throughout the game as your needs change.

Factor #7: Length

The fingers of your glove should be longer than your real fingers. The longer the better as long as they don’t begin to feel too awkward to handle. Because players often have to reach over their heads to catch the ball, the more height they can get from their glove’s reach, the better chance they’ll have of making the catch. The necessity of the finger length becomes evident when watching professional baseball players, who often resort to such tactics as climbing the outfield fence to make the perfect catch.

Factor #8: Price

As always, price is an important factor to consider. It is necessary to buy a quality product, but you also want to make sure you aren’t breaking the bank. With lots of brand names and design options, there is an affordable glove out there for everyone. You just have to know how to compare and reason.

Top 3 Baseball Glove Reviews

Below, we will review three of the top-rated gloves on the market today. To keep the comparison fair, all three gloves are designed for outfield play, which is the most common position played in the game, anyway. Remember that, depending on your individual preferred position, there may always be a better option out there for you.

  • Louisville Slugger 13” FG Pro Flare Base Outfielders Glove
  • Mizuno MVP Series GMVP/1275R2 12.75” Outfield Glove
  • Wilson 6-4-3 KP92 Outfield Glove

Let’s take a look.

Louisville Slugger 13” FG Pro Flare Base Outfielder Glove

Feature #1: Flare Design Hinge

The flare designed hinge is engineered to close super-fast! The design is a thin-laced web which gives lots of leeway to the pocket of the glove, enabling the thumb to quickly roll the ball to the palm and close over it. Unfortunately, as we already know, thin-lacing in a glove can also have its cons including fast wear-and tear and unreliability. The idea for the flare hinge is great, but the design is lacking.

Feature #2: Oil-Infused Leather

Oil-infused leather makes the leather soft and durable. This means that the leather breaks in faster due to the pliability allowed by the oil infusion, but without cracking or wearing through the leather to create weak spots as quickly as other leather types. Because the leather is less likely to crack, it has an overall longer lifespan, which is great news for baseball enthusiasts who put a lot of wear into their equipment.

Feature #3: 1-Year Limited Warranty

The one-year limited warranty covers any defects in the glove that are found to be part of manufacturer negligence. This means that, for a whole year, if you are unsatisfied with the way your glove holds up or performs, you may be able to get your money back or a replacement on the glove at no additional cost. This is a great feature for anyone that is initially sceptical of making the purchase.

Real Users Feedback

A striking revelation on Amazon is that there were not really any negative reviews about this glove to be found. All the reviews were four or five stars and from generally satisfied customers.

Many of the reviews rained praises about how easily the glove breaks in. Some even said they played ball with the glove as soon as the next day after purchase.

While the price of the glove can seem a little high, nearly all the reviews stated that the cost was well worth the quality of the glove in their opinion.

Pros of the Louisville Slugger Glove

  • Comfortable to Wear
  • Supportive of the Whole Hand
  • Breaks In Well

Cons of the Louisville Slugger Glove

  • Laced-Web
  • Higher Price

Mizuno MVP Series GMVP1275B2 12.75” Outfielder Glove

Feature #1: Bio Throwback Leather

Bio throwback leather is a soft, pebbled type of leather that is especially manufactured for durability and pliability. Many players like it for its “vintage” look and feel, and as you can imagine it is especially rewarding in the world of baseball gloves. The pliability makes for a faster hinge and quicker break-in and the durability helps the glove remain usable throughout a longer lifespan.

Feature #2: UltraSoft Palm Liner

The soft palm-liner leaves the hand capable of feeling the ball, but softens the force of the catch. This is a great feature for anyone who is accustomed to catching fast balls, but is especially helpful for beginning players who are only learning to trust their own instincts in the game.

Feature #3: Professional-Level Lacing

While lacing is generally a poor idea, professional-quality relieves many of the worries associated with the perceived design flaw. Many professional baseball players do use laced-web gloves, but the intricate details of the lacing can make all the difference when it comes to reliability and durability.

Real Users Feedback

Reviews for the Mizuno glove were a little more mixed than those we saw for the Louisville Slugger. Reviews ranged from three to five stars with a lot of positive reviews, but there were some negative thrown into the mix, as well. The biggest complaint was in the way the glove fit.

Some reviewers complained that the glove felt like it was slipping throughout their gameplay. They said there was too much room in some parts of the glove and that the glove was too tight in other places. The wrist adjustments were difficult to use and the palm padding was too hot, causing the hands to sweat more profusely than with other gloves.

With the few complaints aside, though, most reviews were generally positive praises for how well the glove broke in.

Pros of the Mizuno Glove

  • Nice Palm Padding
  • Breaks in Easy

Cons of the Mizuno Glove

  • Too Tight in Places
  • Tends to Slip

Wilson 6-4-3 KP92 Outfield Glove

Feature #1: Double Play Leather

The term “double play” pertains to the manufacturing process of the leather. The process makes the leather more pliable without sacrificing strength or feel.

Feature #2: Open T-Web Pro-Lacing

T-web lacing is one of the strongest types of lacing available- and to get professional quality T-lacing is better yet. Again, lacing is not ideal, but who can argue with professional quality?

Feature #3: Double Palm Construction

Double palm construction adds more strength and padding to the palm of the glove, which helps prevent injuries but still allows the hand to feel when the ball makes contact with the hand.

Real Users Feedback

There were only four reviews on Amazon and all were five-star reviews with generic praises of “Very Nice” or similar quality. With so little to work off on Amazon, a potential buyer must research to make their own best estimate about the quality of a product.

Double palm linings are notorious for creating a stiff hinge. This is the greatest complaint found among reviewers who have tried other gloves with double-palm designs. At the same time, double-play leather does have a tendency to be too thin and wear through fast, which is a potential problem for anyone who purchases this glove in particular.

Additionally, the overall 12.5” design of the glove falls just short of what would be considered an ideal adult size.

Pros of the Wilson Glove

  • Pro-Laced
  • Affordable Pricing

Cons of the Wilson Glove

  • Stiff Hinges associated with Double Palm designs
  • Too Small Overall
  • Thin Leather a Possibility

Comparison between All 3 Gloves

So, which of these three gloves would be the best purchase option? Let’s review.

Factor #1: Overall Size

Both the Louisville Slugger and the Mizuno gloves are manufactured within the ideal size range for baseball gloves with the Louisville Slugger measuring 13” and the Mizuno at 12.75.”

The Wilson glove fell slightly short (pun possibly intended) at only 12.5.” While this isn’t a huge difference, and may not even be noticeable at all for many players, it must be considered when determining the overall quality of the Wilson glove when matched up against its competition in the Louisville Slugger and Mizuno designs.

Factor #2: Material

The Louisville Slugger design boasts oiled leather, which is a great option based on its pliability and durability. However, oiled leather requires a lot more maintenance than some of the other materials featured on our list. If oiled leather isn’t regularly oiled throughout its life, it does tend to crack which takes its toll on the overall life of the glove.

The Mizuno model wins this category for featuring Bio-throwback leather. This leather is manufactured to be pliable and durable with minimum maintenance required. Any time a glove can be broken in on the first day of ownership, it’s worth writing about and praising.

The Wilson glove uses Double-Play leather, which isn’t a terrible material, but has too many manufacturing flaws associated to be considered the best of our three options.

Factor #3: Web Style

The Louisville Slugger comes in last here. It features open-webbed lacing that is typically not a great idea in the world of baseball gloves.

While our other glove styles also feature an open-web laced design, they use professional quality lacing which makes all the difference.

The winner, though, is the Wilson for not only implementing a professional-quality lace, but also the reliability of the T-design.

Factor #4: Palm Padding

The most obviously comfortable design for the palm padding goes to the Louisville Slugger model thanks to a few reviews heralding the overall comfort of the glove’s design and the good “feel” of the glove itself.

The Mizuno model featured an UltraSoft palm liner that seemed to be as equally a nuisance as it was a help, causing sweaty palms and a glove that slipped around the hand.

While there weren’t any outright negative reviews about the Wilson model, the double-palm construction of the glove is known for creating a stiff palm that can take away some of the “feel” of the catch.

Factor #5: Hinge

The Louisville Slugger features a fast-close flare web design, making for a super pliable hinge, whine the Mizuno slipped around on the hand too much for too many and the Wilson just lacked any information at all that might stand up against the fear of a stiff hinge associated with the double palm design.

Factor #6: Wrist Adjustment

Again, a lack of information on Wilson’s behalf has played against it in this comparison. While the Wrist Adjustment may work perfectly well, there was no information provided to make a determination one way or another.

The Mizuno glove had some reviews saying it was too tight in the wrist and fingers, which leads one to wonder how easily adjustable the wrist straps must (or must not) be.

The Louisville Slugger glove seems to fit very comfortably overall and adjust in all the right places.

Factor #7: Length

Both the Mizuno and Louisville Slugger gloves fall within proper length boundaries, but the overall too-small design of the Wilson leaves poor support available for long finger reach.

Factor #8: Price

The Louisville Slugger model was by far the most expensive with a $199.95 price tag. In second place was the Wilson model at $94.90. The Mizuno glove was the cheapest at $83.89.

Final Verdict

Despite apparent shortcomings in the laced-style open-web design of the pocket, the Louisville Slugger hits a home run with its overall design quality and affordability.

Although priced at over twice as much as the other two gloves, the Louisville Slugger features a one-year limited warranty, which means they stand behind their manufacturing process and the quality of their product. When a manufacturer believes in their product enough to put a warranty in place, it is usually a great indication that the product will stand the test of time, even after the warranty expires.

Compound this with overall comfort, richly oiled leather, a flare-hinge design, and great overall size and you have yourself a winning design that any baseball fanatic or enthusiast will enjoy.

There is a reason that Louisville Slugger has remained a trusted brand name in baseball merchandise manufacturing for over 125 years. Winning designs and a shared enthusiasm for the game makes for a brand name that you can trust, and the 13” FG Pro Flare Base Outfielder Glove is one more reason to trust in their expertise.

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