How to Find the Perfect Baseball Glove

By Jill Gardiner , last updated November 20, 2011

Trying to find the perfect baseball glove is a bit more involved than you might expect. The perfect baseball glove should do more than just fit you comfortably; every aspect should be designed to improve your game. While many beginners may think any baseball glove will do just fine, the truth is that the size, webbing style, and other design features will differ based on the position you play. In addition to certain design features, materials are a factor. Not only should the glove feel good on your hand, you’ll also want it to be durable. Here are some tips for how to find the perfect baseball glove.

Size

When it comes to baseball gloves, size definitely matters. Younger players and beginners should stick to smaller gloves that offer them more control, somewhere around 11 inches or between 9 and 11 for kids younger than eight. More experienced players will also want to keep an eye on size as well. Outfielders should look for larger gloves, around 12 inches, with a deep pocket for better catching ability. Infielders, such as shortstop and second base, will prefer a smaller glove, between 10 ½ and 11 ¾ inches, with a shallower pocket for unimpeded access to the ball and quicker throws. Second basemen tend to have the smallest gloves, followed by shortstops, and then third basemen. For pitchers, size isn’t as important as some other design features, so it’s really a matter of what feels good to you.

Design Features

As with size, there are certain design features that will play a role in whether your baseball glove helps your game or hurts it. Two major design factors are the webbing, or the design of the straps that connect the thumb and forefinger, and the back. Backs can be either open or closed, meaning the area at the back of your hand is either exposed or covered. Outfielders tend to favor closed backs for more support when catching fly balls and infielders favor open backs for the added flexibility. There are several different web styles, and as with backs, some are more open and some more closed. Outfielders prefer closed here as well, while webbing that’s more on the open side won’t interfere as much with infielders’ ability to get the ball out quickly. Pitchers, on the other hand, should look for gloves with a fully closed web, which will conceal their grip from the batter and won’t give away the pitch. Many pitchers’ gloves also have material covering the index finger to further conceal the pitch. Catchers’ and first baseman mitts are similar to each other in that they both have extra padding to cushion hard pitches and throws and they don’t have individual fingers, thus the term “mitts.” First base mitts have a bit less padding, a shallower pocket, and are slightly longer than catchers’ mitts.

Materials

When it comes to what your baseball glove is made of, leather is the material of choice for most people. It is extremely durable; as long as you give it the proper care you can count on your glove being around for a while. Leather can be treated or untreated, with treated gloves requiring less breaking in and routine care. Some, however, feel that untreated gloves are more durable. Gloves made of synthetic materials wear out more quickly but are also lighter and less expensive, which may be a good choice for young children and beginners.

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