Best Baseball Gloves For Kids & Youth in 2017
Baseball glove, bat, and ball form the trinity of essential equipment for playing the game. If one of these three pieces, along with a baseball cleat, is missing, then baseball as we know it today will not exist — and, in many ways, it will be unsafe to play, since baseball gloves are important safety equipment.
Keep in mind that baseball gloves are sports-specific. They are designed specifically for the purpose of catching balls either thrown by a teammate or hit by an opposing player's bat.
Their design also provides players with maximum coverage in catching balls, while still being snug, secure, and comfortable when worn. Their materials, usually natural or artificial leather, have also been chosen for their softness, suppleness, and flexibility so that these gloves can be worn for extended periods.
I suggest to parents and coaches that the gloves purchased should fit the player’s hand well, so break-ins before competitions are a must. I also recommend buying baseball gloves based on performance first and appearances, including brand prestige, second.
My Top 10 Baseball Gloves for Young Players
With that being said, here are my favorites for baseball gloves for kids and youth players.
- My Top 10 Baseball Gloves for Young Players
- 1. Mizuno GPP1150Y1 Youth Prospect
- 2. Wilson A360
- 3. Wilson WTA02RB16 MLB Team T-Ball Youth
- 4. Rawlings Select Pro Lite Player Edition Youth Glove Series
- 5. Rawlings Gamer XLE Glove Series
- 6. Franklin Sports Disney Frozen Air Tech Glove and Ball Set
- 7. Franklin Sports Air Tech
- 8. Wilson SoftFit A800 Cheyenne Penny
- 9. Wilson A360
- 10. Rawlings Renegade Series Youth Glove
- Basic Guidelines for Baseball Glove Selection
- Basic Tips for Breaking In Gloves
1. Mizuno GPP1150Y1 Youth Prospect
The Mizuno glove has several features that make it easier for 7- to 10-year-old kids to love the game. It fits well on small- to medium-sized hands, feels supple to the touch inside and out, and flexes well for more catches. It can also be easily slipped into the fingers and hands, secured with a power lock feature, and removed easily.
What's Great About It: This has a fairly soft leather material, which breaks in easily and quickly, so that you can be ready for gameday very soon after buying it.
2. Wilson A360
This Wilson glove is more suitable for the youngest baseball fan who wants his own glove, instead of borrowing from his siblings. The soft and supple pigskin leather on the palm gives a secure feel when catching balls, while the hook-a-loop strap secures it in place. The open back allows for more flexibility, too.
What's Great About It: I like that it has the beginner in mind from the simple yet secure strap to the open back, web pattern, and leather material. The sturdy leather is also a plus, since your child may be using it for a few years before he outgrows it — and his younger siblings may even be able to use it.
3. Wilson WTA02RB16 MLB Team T-Ball Youth
The San Francisco Giants logo on the glove immediately attracts attention, especially for a family of fans. This glove can be used for all positions, although it’s designed for a right-handed person. When worn, it has a lightweight feel, yet provides enough weight for a young player to know that it’s there waiting to be used.
What's Great About It: Parents like that it’s so easy to wear and remove, a convenient feature when kids become impatient about getting their game on. It also has a soft feel after the break-in period, although it will initially be quite stiff. Its construction quality is among the best, too, especially its fine stitching.
4. Rawlings Select Pro Lite Player Edition Youth Glove Series
Youth baseball players who want gloves with higher performance capacity than the little kids’ gloves will like this Rawlings Select Pro glove. The details in its construction are the secret behind its value as a transition glove, such as the all-leather lacing, the thick padding on the palm and index finger, and the cushioned lining on the fingerback. The overall styling also speaks of more grown-up sensibilities.
What's Great About It: The soft leather is as easy on the eyes as it is easy to wear, break in, and retain its shape, yet it is still more flexible than other gloves. This glove should last for several seasons, so you are sure to get good value for your money.
5. Rawlings Gamer XLE Glove Series
The bold and bright colors on this glove are suitable for players who want to express their colorful personality on the field. Aside from appearance, your young player will love the soft and supple full-grain leather that fits snugly on the hands, while the leather laces keep it in place. Over time, it can even become customized to the user’s unique hand shape, thanks partly to the break points in the lining.
What's Great About It: The company has already performed 80% of the break-in at its factory, so whoever uses it will find the glove essentially game-ready. In a couple of sessions or so, it should be 100% broken in, so to speak, which means its flexibility is assured.
6. Franklin Sports Disney Frozen Air Tech Glove and Ball Set
Kids as young as 3 years old can start playing baseball, and the Frozen-inspired ball and glove set is a great gift. The whimsical design will immediately attract the attention of toddlers, especially ones who have seen Frozen several times. The soft glove can be easily put on and taken off of small hands, as well as kept secure with the wrist enclosure when it’s in use.
What's Great About It: The glove can be used right out of the box. Your child can immediately start catching and throwing the foam ball and, thus, start developing his motor skills. Plus, the Frozen characters of Princesses Elsa and Anna are charming.
7. Franklin Sports Air Tech
This is also suitable for toddlers (3 years old and above) but it gives them a feel of being skilled ballplayers. The soft foam glove may not be the leather kind, but it’s just as effective in catching the foam ball. The adjustable Velcro closure at the wrist makes it convenient even for little hands to wear and remove.
What's Great About It: I like that it’s made of foam material, which gives its wearer cushioned comfort when catching balls. The easy-on, easy-off design also encourages kids to play the game more often.
8. Wilson SoftFit A800 Cheyenne Penny
The Wilson SoftFit lives up to its name — it actually has a soft, yet snug, fit over the hands, an essential quality that youth players with advancing skills love in their gloves. It also has a smaller opening coupled with a lower profile on the heel so that the glove stays where it should, even during high-pressure backyard games.
What's Great About It: This has a professional look and feel, despite the fact that it can only fit young kids (7 to 10 years old). The durable leather construction makes it a sturdy glove that can be used for practices, too.
9. Wilson A360
The reinforced Y-shaped web makes this a great glove for any position, while the Velcro closure strap makes it easy to adjust for a custom fit. This is a leather glove (i.e., pigskin leather) that’s as easy to break in as it is to wear on the field. I even like the ease of strapping in the glove with its hook-and-loop system.
What's Great About It: This has a stylish feel that complements its sturdy construction so your child can wear it for a few baseball seasons until his hand outgrows its size.
10. Rawlings Renegade Series Youth Glove
This has all-leather shells that are soft, supple, and smooth on the hands. The palm pads have a thick cushion for absorbing the impact of balls, while the fingerback linings are made of brushed nylon for optimum comfort.
What's Great About It: The full-grain tanned leather is so beautiful that you will initially not believe that this is a child’s baseball glove.
Basic Guidelines for Baseball Glove Selection
Before buying baseball gloves, you must first determine whether the player is right-handed or left-handed.
A right-handed thrower wears the glove on his left hand and throws with his right hand. A left-handed thrower throws with his left hand and catches the ball with his right hand. You need to look at whether the glove is suitable for a right-hander or left-hander before buying it.
While gloves for kids, especially beginners, can be generic in nature, youth players with more advanced skills need gloves with more specific features for their position on the field. You, the parent or coach, have to consider which position your young player will play so that the appropriate glove can be purchased.
The general rules for choosing gloves based on position include:
- Outfielders need deeper and bigger pockets, as well as trapeze or modified trapeze, with H-web design.
- Middle infielders want shallow gloves with a single-post, I-web, and two-piece closed design.
- Third basemen work best with deeper and stronger pockets in the gloves, which ideally should also have closed webs, modified trapeze, and a dual-post design.
- Pitchers like gloves with modified trapeze, basket, and either a one-piece or two-piece closed design.
The type of padding, wrist adjustment, and material will also have a bearing on the best baseball gloves for youth players, especially those with intermediate skills. In general, the more padding, the more protection against the impact of catching the ball. The material can be natural leather, synthetic leather, or mesh.
Of course, the best baseball gloves for kids and youth players should have a comfortable yet snug fit over the hands, a flexible nature that allows them to effectively catch the ball, and a supple feel from the material. This starts with properly measuring the hands so that the right size can be purchased.
A few tips in this regard:
- Look at the size of the glove, which can be seen etched on the leather either on the glove’s pinky finger or thumb.
- Measure a glove when it doesn’t have a size indicated by taking a fabric tape measure. Place one end at the top of the glove’s index finger, pull it down along its length until it reaches the center of the heel, and note the length.
- Use the measurement in determining the right size depending on the user’s age group and position.
For example, pitchers under 7 years old are best suited for 8-inch to 10.5-inch gloves, while those 14 years old and up will appreciate the 11.5-inch to 12-inch gloves.
I also want to emphasize that youth gloves are different from adult gloves, although many older teens can use the latter for their practice sessions. Youth gloves usually have narrower and smaller fingers and are made of materials that are easier to close with smaller hands.
More in Sports Gear: What are the Best Punching Bags Suitable for Kids?
Basic Tips for Breaking In Gloves
I have to say that many instances of parents complaining about the quality of the baseball gloves for kids are the result of an improper break-in (i.e., too stiff-feeling). Breaking in leather gloves means softening and molding them to the individual player’s preferred shape so that it opens and closes according to his hand. When this is done improperly, it can actually damage the glove beyond repair.
A few useful tips on the old-fashioned way of breaking in leather baseball gloves:
- Fill up a bucket with water at room temperature.
- Submerge the glove in the water for 5 minutes.
- After removing the glove from the water, place a baseball in its pocket and stretch the glove around the baseball.
- With the ball inside the pocket, tie up the glove as tightly as possible, which will help the leather form around the ball. This will also help in draining the water.
- Keep the glove tied up and let it dry in the attic or under the sun for two days. Avoid placing the glove on any hot surfaces, however.
- Remove the ties from the glove and dry it in the dryer for 20 minutes, if it’s still wet.
- Start working the glove so that it has the desired shape and feel on your hand.
Soon, your baseball glove will have that wear-and-tear feel that makes it so effective when in use on the field.
Indeed, the best baseball gloves for kids and youth players don’t look brand new because the goal here is to make them look and feel as if they have been used by the players for a few seasons. But there’s a thin line between a comfortable glove and a damaged glove, so be sure to take good care of it.
I hope that my list provided plenty of useful information for your next shopping trip for the best baseball glove for your future all-star!