Making sure your child has a baseball glove that is perfectly suited for them can sometimes be challenging. The size, type, brand and many other things all need to be considered. It also goes without saying that the better the glove and equipment, the more your son or daughter will enjoy playing America’s pastime. But what exactly makes a glove the best youth baseball glove?
Hopefully that question will be answered here, including how to measure for the right size and the differences between each baseball glove.
Check out the table below for a quick overview or read on for more information on choosing a baseball glove:
Choosing a Baseball Glove
Youth baseball gloves are designed with hand-eye coordination in mind, as well as the physical skills of your child. So when finding a glove that your child can use to show off these skills, it’s important to make sure their glove fits perfectly, provides comfort and plenty of protection.
Of course, it’s not just the comfort, size and protection that is important. You will want to choose a glove that is for the position you are playing in. We’ll go into more detail about the best youth baseball glove for different positions below. But first we’ll go over some steps to help you with choosing a baseball glove.
Durability is an important factor when choosing a baseball glove, so ensuring it is 100% genuine leather is something to look out for. Leather gloves are much easier to break in than gloves that are made from fabric and synthetic materials. So the more the glove is used, the more comfortable it will feel. Every glove listed here has been thoroughly researched to ensure they are made from 100% genuine leather. This has been done to make the buying process as easy as possible for you.
Buying the right size of glove is also important. If you buy a glove that is too big, it will most likely have a negative impact on your child’s performance. So how do you measure your child’s hand for a baseball glove? It’s quite easy really! Using a flexible measuring tape, measure from the tip of the index finger to the wrist, while their hand is extended out in a “stop” gesture. Also make sure their fingers are fully extended and pointing vertically. The measurement you get should be in inches.
It’s always a good idea to try on the glove to make sure it fits. There should be a space of two inches between the end of the glove and the tip of the index finger.
To get a better idea of the different glove sizes for different age groups, check out the table below:
Types of Baseball Gloves
The position you are playing determines the type of glove you will need. By position, the types of glove are:
- Pitchers glove
- Catchers mitt
- First Basemen’s glove
- Infielders glove
- Outfielders glove
Pitchers usually use a closed web glove. This makes it easier to hide the ball and the grip from the batter. The size of the glove and the depth of the pocket can vary and the comfort of the glove usually depends on the player.
The catcher’s mitt is designed to protect when catching balls that are thrown at high speeds, so therefore they must be padded and larger than other gloves. These gloves are also fingerless, which is why they are called mitts and not gloves. Catcher’s mitts are measured by circumference. Youth mitts usually range from 31” or less. Like the pitcher’s glove, it also has a closed web.
First Basemen’s Glove
The first basemen’s glove is larger than infield gloves and is also fingerless. The length of the glove helps the player give a better reach for catching balls. They also have an open web and shallow pocket so the ball can quickly be retrieved. First basemen gloves for a youth usually range between 9” and 10”.
Infielder’s gloves are usually smaller, lighter and the pocket’s are shallower. After they’ve been broken in, they become even more shallow. The small size of these gloves helps the infielder to move the baseball to their throwing hand much faster. Infielder’s gloves also have large gaps in the webbing which allows dirt to pass through easier.
Outfielder’s gloves are the longest glove out of the other types used in baseball. The outfielder must be able to catch fly balls, so this long glove increases their range. Outfielder gloves also have a deep pocket which helps to avoid fly balls from falling out of the glove.
How To Break in a Baseball Glove
If you ask any baseball player which method they use to break in their glove, the chances are that every player will say something different. There are a variety of ways to break in a glove, which include some people baking it in the oven. While this may be a faster method, it is not recommended as it can cause a lot of damage to your glove. The aim of breaking in a baseball glove is to soften the leather and improve the shape of the pocket.
Popular Methods For Breaking in a Baseball Glove
There are many ways to soften the leather, including the use of oils or lotions. Vaseline, saddle soap, glove manufacturer’s oil and tanners glove oil can all help with this.
Many players prefer to break in their glove the old-fashioned way, which is by simply playing a game of catch with friends. This is by far the safest option and reduces the risk of any damage to your glove. There’s also the option of a hot glove treatment, which is where you put a special foam on the glove and bake it in the oven for a few minutes. This is a popular method with some players. However, there are players who say this puts your glove at risk of damage and is not recommended.
As a side note, using extra oil or soap to help soften it quicker will likely cause the leather to deteriorate faster. So, use as little as possible when breaking in your glove and it should last much longer.
The following video will give you more information on breaking in a baseball glove.
Top 7 Best Youth Baseball Glove
In no particular order, we’ll begin the list with the Rawlings Players Youth Series.
If your little one is just starting out and you’re looking for the perfect first glove, this may just be the one you’re looking for. The style of this 11 inch glove is bright and looks good, while also providing plenty of comfort and protection. The soft and pliable shell, combined with the flexible Basket-Web provides easier closing and control.
The adjustable Velcro strap and neo-flex back allows for a custom fit, with the soft inner lining providing additional comfort. This glove is broken-in at the factory, so it can be used on the field straight away.
This glove is designed to encourage younger players to enjoy the game more and to make it more appealing. This has many features, including a Parashock Palm Pad and PowerClose technology, which is exclusive to Mizuno. The addition of these two things help to guide new, young players into correctly catching in the pocket, while also making catching fun and easy.
Additional features include Heel Flex technology and V-Flex, which helps to make catching easier by increasing flexibility and closure. The PowerLock feature gives a quick and secure fit.
Styled after a glove used by Manny Machado, this 11.5″ all-leather glove features a Youth Pro Taper Fit pattern, which provides a smaller hand opening and offers greater control. This glove is perfect for second and third shortstops and basemen due to the Pro V web and the all-leather lacing, which maintains a well formed pocket.
The soft-leather shell is very durable, which helps it keep it’s shape. Additional features include cushioned fingerback lining, as well as index finger and palm padding.
Another game ready glove, which is 90% factory broken-in.
If you’re looking for a light and comfortable glove for a first time young player, this could be the glove you need. The glove is softer, which makes squeezing the glove closed easier. It also features a mesh shell construction.
This glove is available for both left and right handed throwers and comes in great colors. It also comes with a baseball, so you can get practicing as soon as you get it.
This very functional and lightweight glove is perfect for younger tee ball players. It features Shok-Sorb palm padding, which helps to protect the palm and minimize the sting when catching the ball. An additional great feature is the Infinite Web construction, which helps the glove expand to twice it’s depth.
The Easton Z-Flex is made from hog hide pigskin leather, which makes it durable, very flexible and lightweight. The glove features a Z-Flex palm, which allows for easier closing, and a lock down adjustable wrist strap. The combination of the features this lightweight glove offers makes ideal for young players.
The Louisville Slugger Dynasty Series features full grain cowhide leather palm and web, and the dye-through lacing provides durability. This glove is extremely comfortable because of the extra soft palm lining. The Dynasty Series of baseball glove is great value for youth players and softball players.
As you can see, there are many gloves to choose from and choosing the right one can sometimes be difficult. Hopefully you have been guided in the right direction and you now know what you are looking for. All of these gloves have features that will make sure your child will love the game for a very long time. You never know… Your little one could be the next pro player!