If you know your size, position and preferred webbing, you’re off to a great start finding the perfect baseball glove.
The next thing to consider is leather quality.
Leather quality can have a dramatic effect on the overall quality of the glove. It affects durability, softness, performance, break-in time and — most importantly — its price.
For this reason, different leather qualities can be better for different players. An inexpensive synthetic leather might be best for a youth player or a casual player who might not use a glove for longer than a season.
On the other hand, if a player is looking for a long-lasting glove and is willing to take the time to properly break it in, a higher quality glove might be a good choice.
Here’s an overview of the different types of baseball glove leather.
Mizuno’s MVP Prime Series (left) and Louisville’s Omaha Pro Series (right) are both pre-oiled, so the gloves are soft and game-ready, right out of the box.
Pros: These gloves are game-ready fresh out the box — and they’re more durable than synthetic gloves — which makes them a good choice for young or casual players.
Cons: Oil-treated gloves often do not have the durability needed for a competitive player, especially one who uses it for multiple seasons.
Rawlings’ Gold Glove Series (left) and Josh Hamilton’s Wilson A2000 Baseball Glove (right) are both made with non-oiled leather.
Pros: Because these gloves must be broken in, more seasoned players can break them in to their personal specifications. These gloves are also more durable.
Cons: Compared to synthetic gloves, these gloves often cost more. The break-in times might make them a poor choice for young players.
Premium/Pro Series leather
Rawlings’ Primo Series (left) is made with fine leather from select local tanneries, and Mizuno’s Pro Limited Edition Series (right) features Deguchi Kip Leather.
Pros: These gloves are the best of the best, chosen for their premium leather quality and used by the best players in the game. They must be extensively broken in, allowing players to shape and mold the glove for a custom fit. They can last for multiple seasons, and with proper care and occasional repairs, sometimes last indefinitely.
Cons: They can be costly. These gloves are typically very stiff out of the box, which might be a downside for players who do not prefer long break-in times.
Wilson’s Pro Soft Yak Series (left) and Exclusive Yak Series (right) Baseball Gloves are made with yak hide, offering a faster break-in and lighter materials than cowhide.
Glove manufacturers have recently released baseball gloves made with specialty leathers, such as kangaroo hide and yak. Pros: These gloves are often made for exceptional softness or lightweight feel.
Cons: It can sometimes come at the expense of durability.
Next up: Tomorrow we’ll cover some of the smaller things you might want on your glove.