Ball Glove Buying Guide

Ball Glove Buying Guide

One of the many questions asked by parents is what kind and size of baseball glove should I buy for my child. No matter what level of baseball you play, (from pee-wee to high school) selecting and buying a baseball glove is a personal decision. New glove technology has delivered baseball gloves that not only enhance performance but also are tailored to an individual player's strengths. It is essential that you select a baseball glove that fits your child’s hand size, skill level, but generally speaking smaller is better as the glove is easier to move and the ball is easier to get out of the pocket. What size glove do you need? 

Youth Glove Size and Age
9 - 10"                        6 year old
9.5 -10.5"                 7-8 year old
10.75 -11.25"        9-11 year old
11.25 -11.75"        12-13 year old

Adult Glove Size and Position
11 - 11.5"                  2nd Base
11.25 - 11.75"        Shortstop
11.5 - 12"                  Pitcher/3rd Base
12.25 - 12.75"        1st Base
12.5 - 12.75"           Outfield
32.5 - 35"                  Catcher

Determining Your Glove Type

Baseball gloves are designed to help you field specific positions. A key element in determining the size glove or mitt you buy is the position you play in the field. Position and age are two critical factors to consider when purchasing your next glove: 

Outfield Glove - Usually sized at 12.5 to 12.75 inches for adults, about 11 inches for children. A deeper pocket to handle balls hit high in the air. Longer length to give as much reach as possible. If you plan to play several positions, find a glove that provides the most control for a variety of outfield positions. 

Middle Infield Glove - A five-fingered glove with a shallow pocket. A youth size is between 9 - 11 inches. Adults 11 to 11.75 inch is the typical baseball size. Second basemen prefer a smaller glove to help make those quick throws while still having control. Shortstops typically use something in the middle for grounders and quick throws. Third basemen generally prefer a larger glove. 

First Base Mitt - Similar to a catcher’s mitt, but has less padding. It is longer to help the first baseman field throws from infielders. A shallow pocket allows the first baseman to quickly retrieve the ball from the mitt. 

Third Base Glove - A third baseman's defensive responsibilities include many. First of all, for any ground ball that is hit to him, his job is to throw the runner out at first base. If there is a runner on first on a ground ball it is essential that you have the correct size glove to ensure proper fielding. Read more on 

Catcher’s Mitt - A fingerless mitt (it does not have individual fingers). Has heavy padding to reduce the sting from the pitcher's throw. Reinforced to withstand the heavy use throughout a game. Read more on 

Additional Glove Fitting Tips

Today's gloves have different features that help you maximize your game. Below are key fitting tips to get the most out of your glove. 

Pocket - The size of the pocket depends on your position. Shallow pockets help middle infielders quickly grab the ball and throw. Deeper pockets help outfielders shag down fly balls. 

Webbing - Different styles of webbing are available to either help you better field your position or to fit your preference. A closed web is preferred for pitchers who want to hide the ball from the batter. Outfielders and third basemen prefer the extra support from a closed web.  An open web helps middle infielders get the ball out of their gloves quicker to make throws.

Padding - The amount of padding in the pocket depends on the position played. The catcher's mitt has more padding to handle hard throws from a pitcher. Glove makers have been adding more padding for other positions as well to help players handle the sting of hard-hit balls. There also may be padding in the wrist area to make the glove more comfortable.
Materials - Gloves come in a variety of materials, with the difference being in the feel and durability: 
  • Leather offers the best comfort, control and feel. The better the leather, the better the glove.
  • Treated Leather - Leather is treated and softened with chemicals for faster break-in and increased durability. Treated leather also reduces the care needed for the glove and helps the glove keep its shape.
  • Synthetic Materials - A lighter, less-durable material. Less expensive, generally found in youth gloves. Won't withstand the wear and tear of playing ball nearly as well as leather.