best baseball gloves

The 8 Best Baseball Gloves for 2022: A Variety of Choices

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Every year the makers of baseball gloves add to their products new technology, materials, designs, and gizmos all in the name of helping players improve their game. At this time, we want to continue our series of reviewing various baseball products, this time focusing on new gloves. What are the best baseball gloves nowadays, anyway?

Let’s find out. Here, we provide you with the 8 best baseball gloves for 2022. We considered a variety of factors including comfort, durability, and price.

As a bonus, we even added a few Honorable Mentions at the end, plus a lot of insight into what to look for in purchasing a new baseball glove.

Instead of looking mostly at the most eye-catching or “wow” features, or even giving a lot of credence to the high-priced gloves, we wanted to offer suggestions for baseball gloves for a variety of ages and uses, whether it’s for the new 5-year-old tee-baller or 17-year-old high school player; or for an infielder, outfielder, or pitcher.

Just as no baseball players are exactly the same, neither are the gloves they use. They all start out fresh and clean right out of the factory, but they then quickly get molded around the hands of players through repetition doused with salty sweat and sunshine.

But you have to start somewhere, and we believe at least 1 of our 8 suggestions will do you well. That, and our insights into details to scope out, plus tips on breaking in baseball gloves, and you should be well-set for 2022 and beyond.

Summary

See the section immediately below the 8 reviews for some Honorable Mentions, in our view.

Who Needs a New Baseball Glove?

Any player, any age, could use a new baseball glove. It depends on whether the player is totally new to the game, has a glove that is old or quite worn out, wants to have more than a single glove, or just wants the newest model with the most modern advancements.

Baseball managers and coaches could use new gloves, too, to use in warmups and practices, and to impress the young players!

Even parents could use their own gloves, to play catch with their kids, of course. Ever seen “Field of Dreams”? . The act of having a catch between a father and son is a cherished American ritual.

What to Look for in Buying a Baseball Glove

Size

Know going into the purchase process that baseball gloves are sized for age levels, and/or for positions to be played most. Baseball gloves are measured from the bottom edge of the heel to the tip of the index finger, and are available mostly from 9 to 13 inches.

Most adult-use baseball gloves range from 11 to 12.5 inches. (Up to 13 inches or more for softball players.

When choosing for specific positions, outfielders’ gloves are longer (more inches) with a larger web (with holes to peek through to see a ball while blocking out the sun) and ample pocket; while infielders’ gloves are smaller and often with a solid web (can’t see through, or more importantly, avoids snagging fingers while transferring a baseball from glove to throwing hand).

Pitchers mostly use infielder’s gloves, or gloves with webs that batters cannot see through. Mitts for catchers and first basemen are totally different and are not considered for this review.

Web Style

The glove web is what’s between the thumb and index finger. Some will be solid leather (often for infielders and especially for pitchers so batters cannot see what the fingers are doing with the ball), or any variation of a net. Some webs are made of a lot of rawhide strips, which makes them softer and easier to use to catch balls. Some pockets are specifically designed with “deeper” or bigger pockets, supposedly to help improve ability to catch balls.

Inside

Interiors of baseball gloves differ. Some have special padding inside, or even sheepskin or fur to add comfort. In purchasing baseball gloves online, look for descriptions of the interior, as a lot of players like their hands to be comfortable. Baseball players spend a lot of time with one hand buried inside a glove.

Back

The back of a baseball glove is what you see when the glove is on your catching hand, and extended outward so the palm faces away from the body. Even these backsides can differ much.

A “closed back” means there are no holes above the wrist, covering everything almost entirely with leather. Open back means there’s a hole at the wrist, usually created by a strap at the very bottom.

Some players prefer closed backs for a tighter fit, or to hide what the hand is up to; while others prefer open backs to let air flow through and reduce perspiration.

Durability

Baseball gloves made of leather will last longer than those made partially or entirely from synthetic materials. Leather gloves, especially those made with high-grade leather, will have higher price tags. Synthetic gloves are often good for first-time players, to avoid a high cost when future use is not yet established. (e.g. why spend a lot of money when you don’t yet know if your little player will continue with the game).

For reference, top grade is full-grain leather. After that it’s top-grain leather, a thinner and more flexible type; followed by synthetic gloves which are lighter and more flexible but don’t often last very long.

Cost

The budget can be determined by the type of player and their experience. More experienced players should go for all-leather gloves, which come with higher price tags. The leather’s quality is important to withstand severe moisture, hot sun rays, salty sweat, and sticky dirt.

We reviewed a number of baseball gloves under a variety of factors including leather quality, features, user reviews, affordability, and popularity in general. Here are the best baseball gloves we found for 2022 and years to immediately follow. (This list excludes catcher’s mitts and first-base gloves, both of which need separate reviews as they cannot be compared with regular fielders’ gloves like those below).

Our Choices: Best Baseball Gloves for 2022

1. Best Baseball Glove for 2022 Overall ~ Rawlings R9 Baseball Glove

Analysis

Because it would be too easy to just place the most-expensive baseball gloves at the very top of our list, we considered affordability heavily, along with the manufacturer and model. Under those inspection parameters, we really like the Rawlings R9 Baseball Glove, and it sits atop our list for 2022 baseball play.

This mid-priced selection has superb user reviews, and a lot of them, which indicates popularity and solid sales. It’s light at 1.2 lbs., yet made entirely of quality leather sure to last more than a season. Plenty of padding for comfort makes the R9 very attractive for younger baseball players.

Specifications

  • Weight: 1.2 lbs.
  • Material: Leather
  • Age: Best for ages 8 to 14
  • Special Feature: Modified Trap-Eze web for improved catching ability

What We Like:

  • The modified Trap-Eze web is a graduation from the easy catch model reviewed below for younger players; and the palm pad reduces severity of impacts
  • Soft, durable leather that comes 80% broken in from the factory
  • Pads for comfort on the thumb loop, fingerback liners, and palm pad
  • The R9 just looks cool with its pro-style patterns, in all black with the classic Rawlings script lettering

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2. Best Baseball Glove for Researched Design ~ Wilson A2000 Baseball Glove

Analysis

If the lowest price possible is not a top priority, then you cannot go wrong with the Wilson A2000 Baseball Glove ~ or for that matter any number of A2000 variations (e.g. A2K, A500 for youth, etc.). The A2000 has been an iconic and very popular baseball glove model almost from the moment it was introduced.

The A2000 is preferred by many Major League Baseball players, and is especially popular for high-level competitive fastpitch softball. The reasons are many: very high-quality leather that is pliable yet durable; double-lacing where most needed; and well-designed pockets. Note: Some variations are distinguished by numbers after the “A2000” in the model name, as in the A2000 1787, which is designed for infield play.

Specifications

  • Weight: 1.46 lbs.
  • Material: Pro Stock Leather
  • Special Features: Thin heel pad for easier break-in and ease of closing

What We Like:

  • Very well-established and -trusted model and brand
  • About the highest leather quality you will find
  • Double lacing at the base of the web ~ where laces often break due to repeated contact with spinning balls
  • 1-year limited warranty

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3. Best Baseball Glove for Performance ~ Mizuno Classic Pro Baseball Glove Series

Analysis

With its Throwback Leather and modest pricing, we ranked the Mizuno Classic Pro Baseball Glove as the best Japanese baseball glove in a previous review. As with the top models it competes with, the reasons are numerous.

As with Wilson’s A2000, the Mizuno Classic Pro is the result of decades’ worth of feedback from users. There are more expensive Mizuno offerings (See below for 1), but we like the Classic Pro for what the company calls Throwback Leather, which is rugged yet still looks pretty cool. Comfort, durability, and performance, it’s all there with this fine Mizuno offering.

Specifications

  • Weight: 1.5 lbs.
  • Material: Leather
  • Special Feature: Roll welting for stability through the fingers and a cleaner overall appearance

What We Like:

  • Very high-quality leather, pre-oiled for faster break-in
  • Super-soft palm liners for comfort
  • Neat I-style web with X lacing to absorb impacts
  • Affordable for all the features

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4. Best Baseball Glove for Learning ~ Rawlings Sure Catch

Analysis

Now that we got the heavy hitters up top, let’s offer something for parents of new players who need to learn to catch well, and now. Hello, Rawlings Sure Catch. We can’t say enough about this fine model, with its heel cut-out design that makes it easy right away to close, and the neatest pocket design you will find for new players.

The all-leather shell is super soft, yet durable in the typical Rawlings way. It’s considered a utility glove, acceptable for use at any position except catcher. Padded finger linings, a very light weight, and shape-retention design make for an exceptional youth baseball glove.

Specifications

  • Weight:  0.68 lbs.
  • Material: Leather
  • Ages: 4 to 10
  • Special Feature: Rawlings’ Sure-Catch technology

What We Like:

  • Well-designed pocket that actually helps build confidence for young players
  • Very light weight, perfect for young players with growing arm strength
  • Customized fit with padded Velcro wrist strap, and a tapered fit specifically for young players
  • Acceptable pricing for the performance

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5. Best Baseball Glove for a Pro Feel ~ Mizuno Pro Baseball Glove Series

Analysis

Not purposely trying to load our list with Mizuno models, but we would be remiss to ignore the Mizuno Pro Baseball Glove Series, because anyone who has used one knows how great they look, feel, and perform.

This manufacturer has made gloves for over a century, and one might assume that all the industry knowledge it gained was funneled into this model. With the Pro series, Mizuno took information from working with MLB players over the years, and delivered what pros most like into models available for everyone. The big feature here is the use of Kipskin leather, a very soft and lighter cowhide, which allows for faster hands and better performance.

Specifications

  • Weight: 1.6 lbs.
  • Material: Blend of leathers
  • Ages: Teen-age and adult
  • Special Feature: High-quality Kipskin leather

What We Like:

  • Design elements taken from preferences of MLB players that Mizuno has worked with
  • U.S. Kipskin leather for light weight and a premium feel
  • Placement of the pocket lower, beneath the webbing, to allow for natural play to shape the pocket

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6. Best Baseball Glove to Stand Out ~ Shoeless I-Web Joe Junior Baseball Glove

Analysis

Even longtime baseball enthusiasts may not be aware of the brand. That peculiarity won’t last long, with models like the Shoeless Joe I-Web Joe Junior Baseball Glove. Just the look of the leather alone is different than most everything you will see on the field.

That these are hand-crafted from all leather gives them a unique feel, and then there’s the classic-looking, special “antique tobacco” leather. Add to that the old-school I-web style and open backside, this model gives a vintage appearance to go along with superb performance.

Specifications

  • Weight: 0.75 lbs.
  • Material: Leather
  • Ages: Teen-age and adult
  • Special Feature: XRD foam for “extreme impact protection”

What We Like:

  • The simple and classic look of the special, aged, soft antique tobacco leather, with the old-fashioned classic open back
  • Individually hand-cut and -sewn (without, as the manufacturer says, “synthetic stuff”)
  • Super light weight

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7. Best Baseball Glove for Balance ~ Easton FUTURE ELITE Youth Baseball Glove Series

Analysis

The Easton Future Elite Youth Baseball Glove Series is a fine baseball glove sample from a manufacturer known more for bats and softball gear. While balance is a concept usually linked with bats, Easton expertly applies similar qualities to this glove model.

The result is an excellent baseball glove that delivers what Easton does consistently with its sports gear: provides plenty of comfort. With what Easton calls it the Ideal Fit System, the Elite has a classic pro-style open back that’s easily adjustable at any time. Finger gussets are extended and pinkie loops re-positioned to allow another finger into the outer stall; and the palm and wrist strap are lined effectively with soft material.

Specifications

  • Weight: 0.95 lbs.
  • Material: Leather
  • Ages: Teen-age and adult
  • Special Feature: Ideal Fit System

What We Like:

  • Select Cowhide palm and web leather, genuine rawhide laces
  • Finger stalls and pinkie loops are designed for added comfort and performance
  • Less than a pound of weight

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8. Best Baseball Glove for Little Beginners ~ Franklin Sports Field Master Baseball Glove

Analysis

Thousands ~ heck, maybe even millions ~ of ballplayers have started with a Franklin glove. Starting baseball careers fresh with a lightweight, affordable glove is exactly what Franklin provides with its Field Master Baseball Glove series.

That this model ranks No. 1 in baseball accessories on Amazon.com speaks volumes for its performance, and word-of-mouth confidence. Note: You have a choice of web styles with the Field Master, whether it’s the classic I-web, trapeze web, or basket web. It’s also available in various colors and color schemes.

Specifications

  • Weight: 0.81 lbs.
  • Material: Polyvinyl chloride shell and exterior, with leather interior lining
  • Ages: Teen-age and adult
  • Special Feature: Very lightweight vinyl material that makes it extremely easy to break in

What We Like:

  • Low price
  • 90-day limited warranty
  • Perfect glove for the youngest of players

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Honorable Mentions

  • SSK has neat new gloves with many models crafted carefully for specific infield or outfield play. For young players to get a sample from this Japanese brand, see the SSK JB9 Prospect Pro Series Youth Baseball Glove.
  • For very young brand new players, the Rawlings Players Glove Series is just a step below the Franklin models and ultra-affordable. (We still highly recommend the Rawlings Sure Catch for players transitioning from tee ball to coach or regular pitch; at the very least for 2nd-year players).
  • Specifically for tee-ball and not as large as the Field Master model we reviewed above, the simply named Franklin Sports Teeball Glove might look familiar to many parents.

Do’s and Don’ts of Breaking in Baseball Gloves

Do

  • Use a conditioning oil, whether specific glove oil or leather oil, or “glove conditioner” or even “glove butter”
  • Submerge a new glove entirely in water, briefly, then wrap it with twine or bungee cords with a regulation ball inside. This is a true insider’s tip on breaking in baseball gloves, which most parents would scoff at for fear of damaging the glove. Trust us, this method works ~ just don’t leave the glove underwater. Just dip it.
  • Wrap a regulation ball inside and leave the glove under your mattress for a day or two. This is a classic break-in method.
  • Just use it a lot in practice. If possible, keep a couple of gloves, the old one for continued play, while sneaking in the new one at practices to break it in when it doesn’t matter if balls pop out.
  • Stomp on gloves on the ground.
  • Bend them inside-out.
  • Pound the pocket with clubs, whether specially made, or something you find that simulates a ball.

Do Not

  • Bake new gloves in an oven. We’re not talking about baking them thoroughly like a steak, but just a little to really heat them up and mold around a ball wound tightly inside. While this may very well break in the glove faster, experience tells us that this method will hurt the leather and reduce the lifespan of the glove.
  • Rely on catching very fast throws or hits right in the pocket a lot. While balls landing in baseball gloves do indeed soften the leather and loosen joints and laces, it’s not consistent, and it’s time consuming. If you want to go this route, consider paying for rounds at a batting cage and catching machine-thrown balls.

Final Words on the Best Baseball Gloves for 2022

Many, many baseball players remember their very first baseball glove. Whether it lasted just a single tee-ball season, or through a few early-career seasons, new baseball players learn really fast how much they depend on a good, comfortable glove.

Through the years top baseball glove manufacturers like Wilson, Rawlings, and Mizuno have applied new technologies, techniques, and materials to make baseball gloves as flexible yet long-lasting as ever.

When you begin the process of looking for a new baseball glove, go into it knowing the details of the potential use. Will it be mostly for practices? Game play? Simple tee-ball action? Serious competitive baseball?

And also its use on the field: baseball gloves for infielders and outfielders are not the same, for a number of reasons. The main one is that outfielders mostly need to catch long fly balls, while infielders have to quickly transfer balls from the glove pocket to the throwing hand. They are way different actions.

In summary, getting a new baseball glove is exciting for any player, and we hope the information above has been helpful and insightful. Play ball!

Reader Questions

Question: What if a lace breaks on a baseball glove?

Answer: Relacing baseball gloves is actually easier than you might expect, with the right tools. A typical glove-relacing tool looks like a square No. 9, with the drop-down tail a thin solid wire with a hole on the end to hold the end of the rawhide strip, usually included in packages sold at most sporting goods outlets. Basically the new lace is pushed through holes remaining after you pull out the old broken rawhide.

Q.: Why do so many models mention padding, or extra padding?

A.: Baseballs are hard and those coming at you at high velocities can sting the palm upon impact, especially if caught directly on the leather and not in the web. More advanced players know how to catch any throw or hit pain-free. But younger players can benefit from padding.

Q.: If baseball gloves are made of leather and get wet often due to sweat or even rain, how does the leather not dry out and crack?

A.: Mostly because very high-quality leather is used, so it takes quite a few soak-and-dries, without maintenance, before a glove begins to fail. This is where glove oil is important: not only for brand new gloves to soften them up and break them in; but also for re-applications periodically to protect the leather and lengthen its life span.

Q.: Is leather really that much better than a synthetic material for baseball gloves?

A.: Most certainly. Synthetic shells and webs are prone to cracking, and once that starts there is no remedy since the cracks cannot be stalled with oiling. The main benefits of synthetic gloves are the light weight and flexibility compared with new leather so they are fast to break in. You won’t find any players from high school to the MLB using synthetic baseball gloves.

See Also
7 Best Baseball Gloves for 8 Year Olds
Nokona Glove Conditioner Review: Read This First!
How to Break in a Synthetic Baseball Glove
Where Are Wilson Baseball Gloves Made?