Learn everything you need to know about baseball gloves-- starting with the basics: the parts of the glove.
has not been sanded or buffed to remove imperfections from the surface of the hide. The grain remains, creating fiber strength and durability. The grain also has breathability, resulting in less moisture from prolonged contact.
is the most common type used in high-end leather products and the second-highest quality leather. It has had the "split" layer separated away, making it thinner and more pliable than full-grain.
is stronger, smoother, cleaner and more durable than all other leathers
is medium weight, but sometimes can fall on the heavy side. It performs well and breaks in fast but also wears faster than steer hide.
is somewhat stronger than cowhide. It tends to be stiff and heavier with long break-in periods.
is seen by some manufacturers as tougher and lighter than full grain steer hide but breaks in just as easily.
is one of the toughest leathers in the world. It is lightweight but has a tensile strength stronger than cowhide.
is a synthetic material used in some Wilson gloves. It is very durable and reduces the overall weight of a glove.
is a synthetic material used in several manufacturers' gloves. It is used to reduce weight.
There are several different types of glove webs out there, each with different pros and cons.
Which one's best for you? In the end, it comes down to personal preference. Certain webs are better for certain positions, but even then, you might prefer something else. Infielders sometimes shy away from closed web baseball gloves, but Derek Jeter, one of the best in the game, uses a closed web glove. Try a few styles, weigh what matters most to you and choose a glove based on that.
Single Patch Webs
are popular, especially with second basemen. These webs are a patch of leather attached to the body with Double-X lacing on each side. The single patch allows players to catch and throw without the risk of getting their fingers stuck in the webbing.
are common in the everywhere on the field, especially in the outfield. These webs have two bars of leather connected by a horizontal strip to increase stability and control. The thick leather bars provide a large catching while still remaining lightweight. The bars are also handy for blocking the sun or field lights while still keeping an eye on the ball.
are popular in the infield and looks similar to the H-Web, but it features a pair of leather X's connected to the bars. The benefit here is that its laces can be easily modified to change the depth of the pocket.
are not as common as other styles, but these webs can be found in the infield. Their deep, stable pockets makes them a good choice at any position.
are the most popular in the outfield and is often referred to as the six-finger glove. The laces allow the glove to close naturally around the ball.
Modified Trap-Eze Webs
which has a "sixth finger" like traditional Trap-Eze gloves, but usually isn't as beefy as standard Trap-Eze webs. The T-bar allows for more stability while it's lacing allows the web to expand.
Traditionally, a closed web to hide pitches
Generally looks like an infielders glove
Usually a mid-sized glove
Does not have individual fingerstalls inside the glove.
Heavily padded to reduce sting from pitches.
Measured in inches by circumference.
Closed web is used.
First Base Mitt
Resembles a mitten, as there are no visible individual fingerstalls.
Fingerstalls are hidden.
Longer glove to help 'scoop' throws from infielders.
Shallow pocket allows you to quickly retrieve the ball.
Measured in inches.
Closed or open webs are used.
Smaller, five-fingered glove with a shallow pocket for quick ball transfer.
Second Basemen use the smallest glove to help make quicker throws such as when turning double plays or when executing the relay from the outfield.
Shortstops use a mid-sized glove for fielding balls in the hole, but its still small enough to allow for quick ball transfer and control.
Third basemen need a larger sized glove to field hot shots down the line. Since balls generally get to them quicker, this also allows more time to find the ball in a larger glove.
Normally a larger glove with a deep pocket to retrieve balls hit in the air.
Longer length to allow reaching balls hit in the gap or over your head.
Also, a larger glove to help shield the sun on sunny days.
There's a lot to consider when buying a new baseball glove. Different gloves have different webbing. There's different pocket sizes, finger length and leathers.
With so many different styles out there, how do you find the best glove for your size, position and skillset?
First and foremost, you won't find many baseball gloves marked Small, Medium and Large. Instead, most gloves have a size stamped inside where the pocket is. Typical fielding sizes range from 9" – 13", and vary depending on your position.
That measurement is from the top of the index finger down to the heel of the glove. From there, sizes vary by position and your hand size.
These tables are a general guide for determining which glove size an athlete needs:
Baseball Fielding Glove Sizing Chart
9 to 13
High school or Adult
High School or Adult Baseball Glove By Size, Then Position
2nd Base, Shortstop
Shortstop, 3rd Base, or Pitcher
Fastpitch Fielding Glove Sizing Chart
9 to 13
High school or Adult
Slowpitch Glove Sizing Chart by Position
Glove Break In
Steps to break in your glove
Work it: Most gloves will be stiff upon purchase. Grab each side of the glove near
the heel or the lower part of the glove. Work back and forth by twisting. You can do this with the
finger and thumb areas as well. This will help ease the tension of the leather padding fibers.
Condition it: you can apply glove conditioner to your glove to help soften the
leather. This will also add an extra layer of protection. Glove conditioner can be purchased in the
Accessories section of this catalog.
Wrap it: close the glove by wrapping the fingers around a ball and secure the glove
by tying with a rubber band, shoelace, string or rope. Leave overnight or for several days. To help
in this process, you can also purchase a Mitkit from Baseball Express to help break-in and maintain
your glove. This is located in the Accessories section of this catalog.
Use it: play catch to get familiar and comfortable with your new glove. This will
also allow the glove to form-fit your hand.
Care for it: repeat these steps until you feel comfortable catching balls and
opening and closing the glove. Continue to apply conditioner over its lifetime to keep the leather
nice and soft.
Here's how Wilson's "glove guru" breaks in Brandon Phillips' glove:
Here are some Rawlings athletes explaining how they break in their gloves:
Check out these gloves that retail for less than $150: