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Baseball equipment sales are driven quite a bit by the power of long-established brands: Wilson, Rawlings, Mizuno, Easton, Nike, etc. Of all that gear, perhaps no single piece of baseball equipment is connected more to the brand name than the baseball glove.
Previously, we provided detailed suggestions about the best baseball gloves available on the market. Consider this part of our Best Baseball Gloves Series, Vol. 2, Issue 3: The Brand Edition. “A look at the best and different brands of baseball gloves for 2023 and beyond.”
(Just kidding, we don’t have volumes and issues in our series of articles, but you get the point. This is part of our ongoing fascination with, and research of, baseball gloves).
List of Baseball Glove Brands We Recommend
|10. Under Armour
|6. All Star
|12. Shoeless Joe
The brand of baseball glove refers to the manufacturer, or the maker. It’s the logo or name embroidered or stamped big on baseball gloves, for everyone to notice.
The term “brand” refers to the entire package of a company: its products, goals, approaches, quality, logo, name recognition, history, philanthropy, prestige, and more.
Sometimes baseball gloves are created through specified divisions of companies, much like automotive manufacturers might split off a line of cars from a production, like Chevrolet from General Motors.
Large baseball equipment manufacturers often develop their own niche or specialty in the glove department. While a brand may constantly tout its high-quality leather, another might focus on making lightweight leather models, or tout the ease of breaking in their gloves.
Some baseball glove makers are a lot better at making catchers’ gloves than at creating leather for position players. Some make gloves made of materials that are exceptional for outfield play; others, designs that favor infielders.
Still, other baseball glove makers are so small they make each piece of leather by hand.
Sometimes baseball glove makers hit a home run, so to speak, and a single model can become iconic, or develop a following that lasts for multiple versions over many years. (See Wilson A2000 below).
Why does this matter for those looking into buying a baseball glove? Because the total package of the brand can tell you much about what you might get with a particular glove model ~ even well beyond a simple listing of features.
You can learn about durability, or leather quality, and a lot more by researching the top brands making baseball gloves today.
Let’s dig into this topic, by dividing the most popular current brands of baseball gloves into 3 categories: Cream of the Crop (top-level); Holding Their Own (2nd level); and Up-and-Coming (self-explanatory).
Our Summary: Best Brands for Baseball Gloves for 2023 and Beyond
Cream of the Crop
These are the very top brands of baseball glove production today. This is determined by sales volumes, longevity, and, basically, reputation. For reference, just over half of MLB starting players use Rawlings gloves; then, another 3rd of them use Wilson models. That doesn’t leave much room for anyone else. Mizuno ranges around 4%, followed closely now by Easton. Then all the remaining players use glovers from a fairly large pool of brands. Essentially there is a Top 3, and the rest. Some could argue there’s only a Big 2.
Rawlings remains dominant in terms of the percentage of MLB starting players who use the company’s leather, well over half of them (59% last time we looked). In recent years, the brand became the “Official Glove of Major League Baseball,” which seemingly solidifies its place among the best glove brands out there. This company has been producing high-quality baseball gear seemingly forever (officially the company began in 1887 in St. Louis). Baseballs used in Major League Baseball games are all made by Rawlings, and for years many MLB big leaguers have favored Rawlings glove models.
Big Seller: Rawlings Pro Preferred Baseball Glove
While considerably behind Rawlings in use overall by MLB starters, Wilson can claim the uber-popular A2000, and all of the spin-offs of the model, like A2K, and A700 Youth Baseball Glove. Many major leaguers don the A2000, such as Houston Astros star infielder Jose Altuve, and now models like the A1000are becoming quite popular for fastpitch softball play. There is a superior Wilson model for pretty much every position and type of player ~ and a lot of them begin with the letter “A.”
Big Seller: Wilson A2000 Baseball Glove Series
This Japanese maker of baseball gloves and cleats (primarily) hit the U.S. market big-time in the 1980s, but while some models have had exceptional sales, the brand’s glove models haven’t quite lived up to the initial hype. Known for doing extensive research and development in the design of its baseball gear, especially with gloves, and with a solid reputation for using the highest-quality leather, Mizuno leathers continue to be seen on the hands of many MLB players.
Big Seller: Mizuno Pro Baseball Glove Series
Holding Their Own
To reach this level of brand quality for baseball gloves, companies must have: produced baseball gloves for many years; maybe struck gold with a particular model popular with players; or, dominated a particular market segment like beginner gloves, or mitts for catchers.
This brand known for years for quality softball equipment has in recent years increased its presence in the professional baseball market. In fact, in recent years Easton gloves have nearly caught up with Mizuno in the penetration of the market for MLB starting players. After a lull over several years, this brand restored itself competitively in the majors, with stars like Alex Bregman, Jose Ramirez, Adalbreto Mondesi, Kevin Pillar, Ramon Laureano, and Ketel Marte using Easton fielding glove models.
Big Seller: Easton Pro Selection Baseball Glove
Nokona is a baseball glove maker that is almost a cult glove brand ~ except that this company’s gloves are so very well made that more and more pro players seem to be gravitating toward their models. Nokona is an example of the “made by hand” brands we mentioned above.
Big Seller: Nokona W-1200C Handcrafted Baseball Glove
6. All Star
This is a brand that pretty much is set up as a specialty brand for catcher’s mitts. During any given recent season, fans could have seen All Star mitts on star catchers like Roberto Perez, Martin Maldonado, and Gary Sanchez, among others.
Big Seller: All Star CM3000 Pro Elite Baseball Glove
Substantially more well known for its sneakers, and other sports gear, Nike has produced some superb glove models over the years, like the synthetic Nike Vapor 360 glove worn by outfielder George Springer of the Toronto Blue Jays. Before his retirement after the 2019 season, star infielder Ian Kinsler donned Nike leather. One can only assume this globally powerful sporting goods manufacturer will continue to offer great quality gloves for baseball and softball play.
Big Seller: Nike Youth Alpha Edge Baseball Glove
When SSK introduced its first gloves to the market in the 1980s, it was the dimpled pocket that caught attention. The dimples were designed to help stop the extreme spin on flying baseballs, therefore making them easier to grip and catch. The Japanese company has pressed ahead with technology in its gloves, and star big leaguers like Fernando Tatis, Bo Bichette, and Javier Baez use them.
Big Seller: SSK Z9 Maestro Baseball Infield Glove
This brand is well established for the wood bats that many MLB players use in the batter’s box. For its gloves, future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols used a Marucci model, and over the years 3rd baseman Josh Donaldson has also.
Big Seller: Marucci Oxbow M Baseball Glove
10. Under Armour
Trey Mancini of the Houston Astros wore an Under Armour glove when he played in the outfield. This manufacturer of excellent athletic clothing and shoes is penetrated the MLB market in some areas, notably with cleats and batting gloves, but its fielding gloves are high quality, too.
Big Seller: Under Armour Genuine Pro 2.0 Infield Glove
Quite frankly, thousands of parents new to baseball turn to Franklin for their little one’s very first glove. These models are super affordable so the investment is not too heavy if the little player chooses not to continue in the sport, and the company’s models are easy to work with. Note that some Franklin baseball glove models are, indeed, popular with adults!
Big Seller: Franklin Sports Baseball and Softball Glove
12. Shoeless Joe
This brand, relatively new to the market makes a product like no other: gloves made purposely with old-looking, beaten up leather for the most classic of looks. That their models are also fine relative to performance helps. While no major leaguers to date have given these models a try, one day maybe soon we’ll see pro players on TV with what look like 1950s gloves.
Big Seller: Shoeless Joe I-Web Baseball Glove
This up-and-coming baseball glove brand is just penetrating the pro ranks, with 3rd baseman Yandy Diaz of the Tampa Bay Rays giving it a try during a recent season. The company’s marketing approach is the same high quality of gloves for professionals, at lower prices.
This sporting equipment company was founded in recent years by a former minor league umpire with a focus on protection. Current MLB catcher Yasmani Grandal is among the proponents of gear from the company, using both its catcher’s mitt and gear. Force3 in 2021 became recognized as an “Official Catcher’s Mask Partner of MLB Players, Inc.”
The original A.G. Spalding & Brothers produced the first Major League baseballs starting in 1876. The next year, the company introduced the first baseball glove in the world. In modern times the company has focused on making balls for other sports, namely basketball, but its baseball glove models can still be found.
Snoop around for classic old baseball gloves and you might just run across models from these brands:
- Ken Wel
- Draper and Maynard
Question: Do MLB players pay for their gloves?
Answer: No. Neither do most minor league players. At the major league level, glove manufacturers are happy to provide gloves to the top-level players, with hopes that the practice will convince recreational players to purchase the leather worn by their favorite player. It’s not quite the gift that you think, though, as MLB players go through maybe 2 to 6 gloves per season. Some players have used the same glove for a decade.
Q.: Do some big brands focus more on batting gloves than fielding gloves?
A.: Yes, definitely Under Armour has a lot more batting glove models, as does Nike. In fact, the market for very high-quality gloves for baseball and golf is quite competitive.
Q.: Why do some brands that were big into baseball gloves in the past, like Spalding or MacGregor?
A.: They either failed to produce models that adapted and changed with the game, or they began focusing on another sport ~ or both. MacGregor today focuses entirely on golf, while Spalding shifted focus to balls, including for soccer, football, and volleyball. (Note: in the list of old-time brands above, in the mid-20th century Goldsmith and MacGregor merged, and went with the more known brand name, MacGregor).