Baseball is among the most popular games in the United States, and has been so for more than a century – with no signs of slowing down. That also means that more young people are slowly picking it up as their sport of choice, so it is important to know the best equipment you can get for them in order to encourage the growth of their passion.
The most basic place to start from would be gloves. These will come in various sizes and will cater to different positions, so selecting the best one will go a long way to shaping their experience of the game itself. If you are on the hunt for a good baseball glove, we have highlighted some of the best to go for in this article.
What it is made of
Glove size (in inches)
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Nokona Select Plus
Rawlings Boys glove
Franklin sports youth glove
11 to 14
10 oz. to 1 lb.
Wilson A900 glove series
Louisville Slugger Genesis series
Nylon and leather
Nokona Select Plus series glove
This is not as old as the other brands on the list, but its history is still extensive – even going back to the 1930s. The priority of the brand is promoting high quality products, much more than anything else, and the same goes for this glove. Even though their products might be expensive compared to others, they will still give you very good gloves that can handle intense levels of competition.
- Mainly comprised of Stampede and Buffalo leathers
- Has a game-ready feel
- Inch pattern of about 32 inches
- Two-piece closed web design
Do not be fooled by the designation of this glove – even though its S-2 rating makes it seem like it is more suited for mid-tier youth playing. They will still give you very high quality of service and performance, due to the pride the company has in its construction.
The main materials that constitute the glove are top grain cowhide and buffalo leather – so it is the best choice when it comes to durability. Its structure also makes it light enough for a developing player, but this comes at a cost – the price can be quite prohibitive.
The glove itself is handmade, and can even be customized if you want it to. The buffalo leather can make it quite stiff, but it comes pre-broken in to make sure your young player can use it immediately. Just keep in mind that it works best for teen players rather than very young children.
Rawlings Boys player series ball glove
If you have been on the baseball gloves scene for a long time, you will know that the quality of Rawlings gloves is never something to trifle with – their gloves are among the best you can get, regardless of the player you are buying them for, and this one is not an exception.
- Measures 9 inches, T-ball glove
- Shell is pliable and soft to help in easier closure and flexibility
- Game-ready, as it is broken in from the factory
- Comfort due to the soft inner lining
- Package includes a molded PU trainer ball
The design of this glove caters specifically to the requirements of the youngest baseball players, as it has a number of advantages that gloves for older players will not have.
One noticeable aspect is that the pockets are very deep, which helps the player to capture the ball correctly – a basic skill that they will need in the game. In order to make the experience easier for them, the glove will come completely broken in, and this will give them the chance to pick up the glove and go out to play.
The odd thing about it though is the weight of the glove, which is a bit too heavy in correlation to the size, so a very young player might not enjoy using it as much. The good thing is that the glove is inexpensive, and that is a major plus on your end (since you do not need to buy expensive gloves for a very young player).
Franklin Sports baseball glove for adults and youth
This is a basic glove that can handle the demands of the game decently, although you will struggle with it if you have very large or wide hands. However, it is quite affordable, which makes it a great glove for young people who are starting out in the game.
- Comprised primarily of synthetic leather, making it lightweight
- Contour fitting system and adjustable wrist strap
- Hand formed pocket
- Sizes and pattern variations: 10.5”, 12.5”, 14” and 10” (basket web), 11” (I-web design), 12” (trapeze web), 13” (modified trapeze web)
This glove is probably not the best option for professional league play due to the material that comprises it, and it is harder to break in – but it will basically deliver what you pay for. There is some good news though; the 13” and 14” gloves are great choices for outfield players, thanks to the modification of the trapeze design that gives it extra quality and depth.
When you look at the smaller designs, the 11” gloves are good for infielders because of the I-web design that is nifty enough to help during quick transition playing. However, be prepared because the material is not as breathable, the pocket is slightly stiffer than what you would want, and the palm padding is not much.
Wilson A900 Baseball glove series
Many people know Wilson gloves to be one of the top baseball gloves in terms of their quality, and the A900 series follows the same trend by giving you a game-ready product.
- Made entirely from full-grain cowhide leather
- Leather laces for secure hold during play
- Has a pro-laced H-web pattern
- 11.5 inches H-Web
- Pedroia fit
- Front side has double palm construction
The length of the glove is great for outfield players, and the webbing makes it quite comfortable to wear – in fact, it is great for the third base, unlike most of the gloves you will find. The design of the glove is optimal for left-handed players as well.
It is also great for people on a budget, and is quite durable thanks to the double palm construction ensures that it remains durable and absorbs plenty of shock; it will be very comfortable to wear for many games in future.
The glove is also quite flexible due to the low profile heel, and it also makes it perfect for infielders because it can help them adjust faster to bad hop situations. For a player with smaller hands, it still remains comfortable because of its Pedroia fit, shorter finger stalls, and a smaller hand opening.
Louisville Slugger 2019 Genesis gloves
If you have a young one that wants to pick up the game and you are on the hunt for a good pair of gloves, this is a great choice for you. What makes it even better though is the availability it has for both right and left handed players, so you will not struggle too much finding it suitable for gameplay.
- Infield glove measuring 10.5 inches
- Leather web/palm, in combination with a ballistic nylon shell
- Design taking on a weave web appearance
- Available in white, black and grey
The design lends itself well to pitcher players, although it can be versatile enough to work for players in any position. There are five sizes available – 12 inches, 11.5 inches, 11 inches, 10.5 inches, and 10 inches. This might sound very big, but it is actually suitable for players with smaller hands because of the wrist opening, which also incorporates short finger stalls.
To increase the custom fitting ability, the glove also includes a Velcro wrist strap. In addition, the combination of Ballistic nylon shell and leather web/palm adds durability to the glove, regardless of the frequency of use. You will be happy to find out that the gloves also come in three colors – grey, black, and white, so you can go for what works for you.
The break in time is almost zero, thanks to the combination of all the materials, and the lightweight and soft materials make it great for infield players, particularly pitchers.
What to look for in youth baseball gloves
Baseball mitts have come a long way since they started, and now have different varieties depending on the player’s position – with the main difference being the length of the glove. For instance, outfield gloves do not have much emphasis on padding like infield gloves, but they are longer in order to catch balls. The catcher’s mitt, on the other hand, has different web designs and a lot of padding, but is more compact.
This will not apply to youth players though, unless they are playing very fast-paced games (and this is rare). That is also why every youth player seems to have the same glove or gloves that look very similar, regardless of the position they have.
The best aspect of youth gloves is that they are generally more affordable, because they are smaller and do not require to put the same performance level as the professional-level gloves. There are certain other aspects to look at though, and these are:
Value for money
This will involve looking at the materials that make up the glove, as they will affect its performance and the time it can hold up to the usage. Even though youth baseball gloves will not necessarily have a ‘best material’, it is still good to consider it.
There are several materials you might find mentioned, and they are:
- Synthetic – the lowest grade of material, and can either be synthetic fibers or flexible plastic. Unfortunately, they are not durable, although they are lightweight.
- Pigskin – this is the lowest grade of leather. It tends to lose shape over time, especially after heavy use in fast pitch situations, so it is better for a young player to develop hand strength.
- Cowhide – the most common form of leather, and suitable for young players who have gone through their first growth spurt. It is also durable as long as it is maintained well.
- Steer hide – this is very durable (lasting a minimum of five years), but is also very stiff and requires a long break-in time. It is not necessary for a child unless they are a teen player or participating in competitive leagues.
- Buffalo leather – this has the durability and stiffness of steer hides, but is also lighter. The only disadvantage is the price.
When it comes to buying a baseball glove for a young player, the most important aspect to keep in mind is the glove size.
What you might not know is that the so-called ‘proper’ size will apply when you are looking at the age of the child – both younger and older kids will play better when they are using properly sized gloves. In the case of a young child, they do not have a high skill level, so their equipment needs to be as simple as possible and emphasize their grasp of the correct gaming skills.
In addition, there needs to be replacement of these gloves when the child is in their early growth stages, at least until they can master the basics of the game. Once they achieve this, you can get them a slightly larger glove to develop their hand strength and save you money.
These mean that the price does not have to be expensive, as you are going to replace these gloves after a while as the young player grows and develops their hand strength and speed.
There are plenty of options you can select from when looking for the best youth baseball gloves, and the advantage is that they do not need to conform to the requirements of professional-level gloves. However, it is good to know the features to look for, and this will help you make the best choice that your young player will enjoy using as they learn the game.