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Buying Guide to Selecting the Perfect Glove

“Baseball glove is not about how I look, but it’s about how I feel. And I like the way it kind of molds to my hand. That’s the glove I’m going to use until it falls off.”

-Brett Lawrie

Key Points

  • Learn about the history, brands, and different types gloves used in baseball
  • Comprehensive buying guide to ensure that you buy the right glove for your child

With a large variety of baseball gloves on the market, choosing the right glove seems like an impossible task, especially if you, the parent, have never played baseball.

The goal of this post is to explain everything you need to know about baseball gloves so that you can cut through the marketing hype and choose a glove that is right for your child and your wallet.

With the right glove on their hand, your child will have the confidence to have fun and perform to their fullest potential while protecting their hands.

Table of Contents


In order to make the right buying choice, you should know about the history of gloves, glove brands and how gloves are made.

Please pay particular attention to how gloves are made as it contains pertinent information that will help you identify youth vs. adult gloves.

Please make sure to click on the icons below for more detailed information.


Types of Gloves used in Baseball

There are four types of “gloves” used in baseball:

  • Batting Gloves
  • Training Gloves
  • Fielding Gloves
  • Mitts

Batting Gloves

Batting gloves are worn when a player is batting. There are many benefits to wearing battings gloves early, so I thought it deserved a separate post.

Please read my post, “How to Choose the Right Batting Gloves” to learn more.

Training Gloves

Training gloves are usually a smaller version of a regular infield glove or catcher’s mitt to develop hand eye coordination and reduce the ball-to-hand transfer time.

Training gloves will be covered in a different post.

Fielding Gloves

Although many players and parents use the term “baseball glove” to describe all baseball gloves, it is important to know the differences between a glove and a mitt.

Fielding gloves are used by all defensive players except first baseman and catcher. Fielding gloves have deep, five-finger pockets to provide maximum dexterity control so that defenders can field a batted baseball and make a play.


On the contrary, mitts are used by a first baseman and catcher, and comes with three-finger pockets for maximum stability to securely receive a thrown ball (most times) rather than fielding a thrown ball.

First base mitt has a continuous edge around finger pockets to reduce finger fatigue when repeatedly funneling thrown balls into to web. It also offers the deepest web pocket to ensure that the ball does not pop out when scooping it from dirt. Most competitive ball players start using the first base mitt when they turn 9 to 10 years old.

Catcher’s mitt comes with a larger and thicker padding to protect their hand from pitches. it’s pocket tends to be shallower than first base mitt to allow faster ball transfer.

Catcher’s mitts are quite different from all other gloves so I have a separate post titled, Complete Guide to Youth Baseball Catchers Equipment Gear to describe them in detail.

Different Types of Baseball Gloves by Different Positions

Most professional players begin spring season with a about four or five gloves, all custom made by glove makers.

Primary glove is know as the “gamer” which is used only in games. The backup glove is used during practice so that it is broken in and ready to be played in games if the gamer breaks down. The remaining gloves are usually rotated during practice.

Baseball glove designs differ by position so smaller and shallow pocket gloves tend to be preferred by middle infielders, larger and longer gloves preferred by outfielders, and extra-padded mitts used by first baseman and catcher.

Pitcher’s Gloves

Pitcher’s primary responsibility is to pitch so he has to try really hard not to tip off the batter. To hide the ball as much as possible, pitchers use gloves with closed webs like the

The size of a pitcher’s glove is comparable to a third baseman’s glove.

Catcher’s Mitt

Catcher’s mitts are large when compared to other gloves to provide good visual target for pitchers. Due to the frequency of catching baseballs that are thrown hard, a catcher’s mitt features heavy-duty extra padding to protect the catcher’s hand.

Before making a purchase, please refer to the Complete Guide to Youth Baseball Catchers Equipment Gear.

First Baseman’s Mitt

First baseman’s mitt is similar to a catcher’s mitt in that it does not have individual finger stalls to reduce finger fatigue.

Most first baseman use a glove with modified H-web design.

The glove is larger than any other infield gloves and the overall shape is more curved to dig out a badly thrown ball from the ground.

Middle Infielders (2nd and shortstop)

Both positions require quick reaction time and the ability to turn double plays so short stop and second baseman must be able to field a ball and transfer the ball quickly.

Second baseman’s glove is notably the smallest in size when compared to all other fielding gloves and commonly uses I-web design.

Shortstop’s is similar in design except that it is slightly longer (for enhanced reachability) and mostly uses H-web design.

Third Baseman

Most “hot corner” third baseman like Matt Chapman, David Wright, Adrian Beltre, and Nolan Arenado likes to wear H-web or I-web gloves like infielders.

Third baseman must be able to cover the foul line so the glove size is a bit longer than the gloves used by two mid infielders.


Outfielders typically use larger gloves that looks like a snow cone. The glove has longer shape with deeper pockets to prevent balls from popping out.

The most popular webbing are the Trapeze- and H-webs which are excellent for cushioning a ball with good visibility.

Measuring Fielding Gloves

You may also see a size label with the word “youth” on it. Youth gloves are generally defined as gloves worn by players under 10 years of age.

Bigger fielding gloves better than smaller gloves?
Lots of newbie parents think that buying a large glove will make it easier for their young player to catch the ball.
Based on my experience, I can tell you that buying a smaller glove will actually allow young players to better control their body and allow proper glove position to catch and secure the ball.
Regardless of the position, make sure that your child can squeeze and close the glove. If they cannot do this task, try on a smaller size or different manufacturer/model.

Youth gloves are primarily made with less rigid leather for a reduced break-in period (i.e. players can immediately start using their games).

Functionally speaking, youth fielding gloves have smaller and shallower finger pockets than adult fielding gloves in the same size.

Before diving into sizing specifics, please be aware that some manufacturers may use the following designations in conjunction with the actual size:

  • Youth – 12 year-old and younger players
  • Intermediate – 13 to 16 year old players
  • Adult – 17+ year old players [a]

[a] Some manufacturers make specialized gloves for players with smaller than average hands (i.e. Wilson’s Pedroia Fit model). In addition to having shorter and narrower finger pockets (or stalls) and smaller openings, heels come with thinner pads to make the closing and break-in of the glove much faster.

Baseball fielding gloves (for all baseball positions) are made in several size categories based on age and position:

  • Kids 7 and younger should look at 9 to 11 inch youth fielding gloves
  • Kids 8 to 12 years old should try on 11″ to 12.00″ inch youth fielding gloves
  • By the time kids hit 13 years of age, they start using intermediate or adult gloves

Fielding Glove Size – Pitcher’s Glove

Pitcher’s gloves are sized fairly close to an infield glove.

The primary difference is that most pitcher’s gloves will feature a closed-web ball pocket to conceal pitcher’s baseball grip when throwing a pitch.

  • T-ball = use a regular fielding glove between 9.00″ – 10.50″
  • Youth = 10.75″ – 12.50″ gloves
  • Adult = 11.50″ – 12.50″ gloves

In addition, a pitcher’s glove tends to have less padding to make the glove lighter to reduce fatigue.

Why are pitcher’s gloves lighter than other gloves?
A pitcher’s primary responsibility is to pitch and he does not need heavy padding to field an infrequent batted baseball. Besides, having a heavy glove while repeatedly throwing would make it more difficult for a pitcher to stay consistent.

Fielding Glove Size – First Baseman’s Mitt

First baseman’s primary responsibility is to catch all thrown (good, bad and the ugly) baseballs.

Unlike the other infielders, a first baseman’s glove is referred to as “mitt”.

First baseman and catcher’s mitts do not have individual finger pockets (hence the name “mitts”). Rather, they come with two or three finger pockets (including a thumb pocket) because their primary responsibility is to hold on to a thrown baseball.

First base mitt sizes will range anywhere from 11.50 inches all the way up to 13 inches.

  • T-ball = use a regular fielding glove between 9.00″ – 10.50″
  • Youth = 10.75″ – 12.50″ gloves
  • Adult = 11.50″ – 13.00″ gloves

Fielding Glove Size – Second Baseman

Second baseman, along with a shortstop, are the two middle infielders responsible for handling the most number of batted balls.

A second baseman tends to choose a smaller glove to achieve the balance between the glove length and shallow ball pocket to allow quick transfers.

  • T-ball = use a regular fielding glove between 9.00″ – 10.50″
  • Youth = 10.75″ – 11.75″ gloves
  • Adult = 11.25″ – 12.25″ gloves

Fielding Glove Size – Shortstop

Unlike the second baseman, shortstops field the majority of grounders so the ball pocket needs to be bit deeper to securely field a ball.

  • T-ball = use a regular fielding glove between 9.00″ – 10.50″
  • Youth = 10.75″ – 11.75″ gloves
  • Adult = 11.25″ – 12.25″ gloves

Fielding Glove Size – Third Baseman

Third base is commonly referred to as the “hot corner” because a third baseman is positioned closest to a batter.

This position requires a quick reaction time to grab line drives or hard grounders at fast speeds so the ball pocket is even deeper than that of a shortstop.

  • T-ball = use a regular fielding glove between 9.00″ – 10.50″
  • Youth = 10.75″ – 11.75″ gloves
  • Adult = 11.25″ – 12.25″ gloves

Fielding Glove Size – Outfielders

Outfield gloves are usually larger with deeper pockets because outfielder’s primary responsibility it to catch.

Larger and longer gloves allow players to have an extra reach when chasing down baseballs.

The same glove can be used when playing left, center or right field positions.

  • T-ball = use a regular fielding glove between 9.00″ – 10.50″
  • Youth = 10.75″ – 12.50″ gloves
  • Adult = 12.50″ – 12.75″ gloves

Utility Gloves

Utility gloves are used by players who play multiple infield and outfield positions (very common in youth baseball).

Because of this, utility gloves tends to be on the larger size for an infield glove along with a closed-web design for those players who also fill in as pitchers.

  • T-ball = use a regular fielding glove between 9.00″ – 10.50″
  • Youth = 11.00″ – 12.00″ gloves
  • Adult = 12.75″ – 12.50″ gloves
Tricks of the trade from a coach
Infielders and outfielders can choose to place their fingers into a)each pockets or b) combine the ring and pinky fingers into the pinky pocket.
Placing each fingers into their individual finger pockets make the ball pocket flat. A flat ball pocket allows faster glove movement to stop the ball but the ball tends to pop out more often.
When you combine the ring and pinky into the pinky finger pocket, the overall finger configuration allows you to create a natural wrapping motion when a ball is received. Outfielders love this setup because they can hold on to the ball better when hitting the ground or colliding with a wall.

Catcher’s Mitt

Please refer to my post, “Complete Guide to Youth Baseball Catcher’s Equipment Gear” for more information on catcher’s mitt sizing.

A glove is a must-have accessory for every baseball and softball player.

In 2023, there are numerous options, from different sizes to diverse styles and designs, to cater to the varying needs of players at different levels and positions.

We hope that by reading these articles, you will become better informed and make the right purchase decision for your child.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do professional baseball players obtain their gloves?
    • Unlike us mere mortals, MLB players do not pay for their gloves. Most receive sponsorship money to endorse a particular brand and receive customized gloves. Mizuno takes it step further and fly in a “glove master” and drive him to a stadium via Mizuno motor home and make a player’s custom glove in the truck while practice is taking place!