Baseball Glove Brand Guide

The baseball glove industry is full of confusing jargon and marketing terms. Every company makes bold claims to try persuade you to buy their gloves. And who can blame them? They’re businesses, that’s what they’re supposed to do.

I’m here to help you sort through all that. I have compiled an analysis of all the major glove brands used in the US.

Each brand analysis will contain the following:

  • 3-4 of the most popular models from each brand

  • major features from each model copied straight from their website (unbiased)

  • a brief breakdown of how the models relate to each other and other models in the glove industry (some bias)

  • points of contention will be italicized

  • buzzwords that are not real terms in the leather industry will be bold and red

Disclaimers:

* I do not currently have any affiliation with any of these brands

* These gloves are not in a specific order and the images are just gloves that I think look cool, chosen to represent the given model

* I am not arguing one glove over another. All of these companies make gloves that are good enough quality for pros to use and each one will appeal to different players for different reasons

* Prices and info are subject to change over time (this article is written in February 2024) Prices are normal retail price on the brand’s website

* I will not be including gloves with mainly synthetic materials like the REV1X, gloves with Superskin, or mesh

* CHEAPER GLOVES ARE NOT A BAD THING – Not every player needs a high-quality glove. Lower quality gloves can often provide better performance for younger players because they’re easier to use. That being said, to drop the price of a glove, the company has to cut corners in the quality department to do so. Again, not a bad thing, but something to keep in mind.

Rawlings Baseball | Glovehound
Rawlings Pro Preferred | Glovehound

Rawlings Pro Preferred

$379.95

Back: Conventional
Leather: Full-Grain Kip Leather
Shell: Kip Leather
Lining: Pittards Sheep Skin
Padding: 100% Wool Blend
Player Break-In: 70
Wrist: Wool Wrist Liner
Lace: Pro Grade Leather Laces

Rawlings Heart of the Hide | Glovehound

Rawlings Heart of the Hide

$299.95

Back: Conventional
Leather: Top Grade U.S. Steer Hide
Shell: Steer Hide Leather
Lining: Deer-Tanned Cowhide
Padding: Moldable
Player Break-In: 60
Wrist: Thermoformed Wrist Liner

Rawlings R9 | Glovehound

Rawlings R9

$129.95

Back: Conventional
Leather: N/A
Shell: Soft, Durable All-Leather
Lining: Padded Fingerback Liners
Padding: Reinforced palm pad
Player Break-In: 20
Wrist: N/A

Break Down:

Arguably the biggest name in baseball gloves, Rawlings has a reputation for longevity and quality.

– The main difference in these models is the leather/shell and the lining. I am assuming that the leather and shell are the same material and that the reason that both are listed is in the case that a glove has a mesh back or something like that. The thing that jumps out at me is that the R9 says “Durable All-Leather” which does not indicate the type of leather.

– The linings are also all different. I prefer a steerhide or kip liner, simply for longevity. That being said, there is nothing wrong with sheepskin (Pittards is a reputable leather brand name) or cowhide. Those will be softer and easier to break in. “Padded Fingerback Liners” are very comfortable, but not the greatest quality in terms of long-term use.

– Break-In percentage is entirely subjective

– Interesting that only Pro Preferred mentions laces

!IMPORTANT! – Look out for R2G Heart of the Hides. They use the same leather, but the internals a the same as an R9. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but you are trading durability for ease of use.

All in all, Rawlings is pretty tough to beat. There is a reason they are the most popular brand for gloves in the MLB (according to What Pros Wear’s 2023 report)

Wilson A2K | Glovehound

Wilson A2K

$399.95

Pro Stock® Select Leather Pro Stock® Select leather hides are triple-sorted, a fine inspection process reviewing the leather at least three times to identify the top 5% for ideal qualities of softness, stretch and durability.

Double Palm Construction – Expert craftsmen insert an extra layer of thin leather between the palm shell and liner, extending along the palm and fingers to enhance pocket stability, form the glove during the break-in process and maintain its shape through frequent use.

Rolled Dual Welting – Dual Welting in Wilson gloves goes beyond a mere cosmetic effect, as it’s integrated into the liner of each infield, outfield and pitcher’s model, offering better support and helping your glove hold its shape better over time.

– Made Entirely in Japan

Wilson A2000 | Glovehound

Wilson A2000

$299.95

Pro Stock® Leather Pro Stock® Leather is preferred for its rugged durability and unmatched feel

Flat Finger Binding – Flat Finger Binding gives players who prefer to play with a finger outside the glove greater comfort and control in the field. By reducing the amount of space between your finger and the back of the glove, you’ll experience less pain when making plays

Rolled Dual Welting – Dual Welting in Wilson gloves goes beyond a mere cosmetic effect, as it’s integrated into the liner of each infield, outfield and pitcher’s model, offering better support and helping your glove hold its shape better over time.

Comfort Pro FitFeaturing our ProLux™ Leather, the liner of the redesigned A2000 has a richer, softer feel against your hand. The all-new Comfort Sleeve is the finishing touch, concealing the binding in the wrist for more comfort than ever before.

Wilson A1000 | Glovehound

Wilson 1000

$199.95

Full Grain Leather – Game ready from day one, Full Grain Leather offers a soft feel that forms to the player’s hand without a meticulous break-in process. Leather in every A1000® ball glove is formed with the outermost layer of the hide to display its natural grain and texture.

Rolled Dual Welting – Dual Welting in Wilson gloves goes beyond a mere cosmetic effect, as it’s integrated into the liner of each infield, outfield and pitcher’s model, offering better support and helping your glove hold its shape better over time.

Made In Wilson Pro Stock® Factory – Handcrafted in the same Wilson factory that produces the Pro Stock® A2000® ball gloves, the newest A1000® ball gloves are formed with close attention to detail.

Break Down:

Wilson is one of the most popular brands in the game. Infields everywhere are peppered with 1786’s and DP15’s. Wilson has been at the forefront of baseball innovation for quite some time and for good reason. That being said, one of the biggest companies in the industry is hiding behind a giant mask:

– “Pro Stock® Leather”. Is this bad? Not necessarily. Pro Stock® Leather has a reputation for quality. What this does though is allow them to dodge a true definition and avoid accountability. Wilson does not specify what leather Pro Stock® Leather actually is – ie. steerhide, kip, cowhide. I assume it’s steerhide. If it was kip, they would say so because that term has clout in the glove world, and it’s certainly not cowhide because there would be a noticeable quality difference.

– The fact that the A1000 is made in the Pro Stock® factory means nothing. They also describe the leather that they use vaguely as “Full Grain Leather”. The pebbly texture and soft feel lead me to believe that it is Cowhide.

– ProLux™ is another alarming buzzword. Again, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is a trademarked word that lacks an accountable definition. Usually, words indicating comfort like “lux” indicate something softer, and usually less durable, than traditional leather.

Regardless, Wilson makes good gloves and they are a great option. There’s a reason they are so popular. The A2K and A2000 are used by thousands of players from little league to the pros.

Mizuno Baseball | Glovehound
Mizuno Pro | Glovehound

Mizuno Pro

$400

US Kip Leather: Tighter fibers creating more durability and a premium, soft feel for top of the line performance you can trust.

Shell Leather Palm Liner: Same premium leather on the outer shell of the glove as the palm liner, giving you a durable and consistent feel.

Comfortable, hand based patterns: Sets your pocket under the web and helps to shape your glove like a pro.

Player Pocket Designs: Pockets tailored specifically to the player’s needs and how they prefer to break-in their glove. Recommendations: Shallow: Middle Infielders. Regular: All. Deep: Shortstops and 3B.

Mizuno Pro Select | Glovehound

Mizuno Pro Select

$265

US Steerhide Leather: Premium US Steerhide is firm and built to hold up to the rigors of a full season.

Steersoft Elite Palm Liner: Elite Leather palm liner provides exceptional feel.

Comfortable, hand based patterns: Sets your pocket under the web and helps to shape your glove like a pro.

Player Pocket Designs: Pockets tailored specifically to the player’s needs and how they prefer to break-in their glove. Recommendations: Shallow: Middle Infielders. Regular: All. Deep: Shortstops and 3B.

Thumb slot: Provides additional comfort and a solid, secure fit.

Mizuno Prime Elite | Glovehound

Mizuno Prime Elite

$190

The new Mizuno Prime Elite series is crafted with soft, smooth, mahogany-colored leather that is durable with a pro-level feel.

UltraSoft Pro Palm Liner: Palm liner with excellent feeling and a soft finish.

Professional Patterns: Glove patterns created for the best players in the world.

Roll Welting: Provides a cleaner look and stability through the fingers.

Rugged Silicon Patch

Finger Core Technology: New finger stall shape to help improve flexibility and control when making a tough play.

Mizuno MVP | Glovehound

Mizuno MVP Prime

$120

Bio Soft Leather: Professional style smooth leather that has the perfect balance of oil and softness for exceptional feel and firm control that serious players demand.

Center Pocket Designed Patterns: Pattern design that naturally centers the pocket under the index finger for the most versatile break-in possible.

Professional Level Lace: Same durable lace that’s offered in our professional-level gloves.
Outlined, embroidered logo: For a rich, premium look.

PlusGrip Thumb: Ultra comfortable padded thumb slot.

Break Down:

Mizuno only got 4 models because the names are pretty similar and can be confusing.

In my opinion, Mizuno is an underrated glove brand, especially here in the US. They have a solid line-up from top to bottom. However, they tend to throw around made-up terms quite frequently.

– “Steersoft Elite”, “UltraSoft Pro”, “Finger Core”, “Bio Soft”, and “PlusGrip” are all fake-o terms that don’t mean anything; that doesn’t mean that they’re bad or wrong, just that there’s no real fact-checking for these “technologies”.

– One of the main differences between these models is the leather that is used.  The kip in the “PRO” is your best quality and the second best is the steerhide. I find it interesting that the “Prime Elite” doesn’t specify. “Bio Soft Leather” is a load of bologna. That being said, I own an MVP Prime and it is surprisingly a pretty decent glove, especially for the price.

– When they say things like “hand based patterns”, “player pocket designs”, and “center pocket design” that has nothing to do with the actual materials in the glove. It’s cool and speaks to the glove’s function and potential performance, but it doesn’t impact the leather itself or the glove’s durability as a whole.

– “Rugged Silicon Patch” – Watch out for any time the label or logo is highlighted as a main feature. It’s almost always purely aesthetic.

Mizuno is a great example of the fact that using silly marketing terms doesn’t mean the gloves are bad. Even though it seems like I’ve been hard on the “Prime Elite”, I would still choose it over the “MVP Prime, given the choice. A significant price difference is often a good indicator of a difference in quality. However, that is not always the case, so make sure you do your research.