The Ultimate Glove Knowledge Guide.
Baseball or softball gloves are by far one of the most important and historic piece of sports equipment used by athletes young and old. From professional multi-millionaires to youngsters in their first year of tee ball, baseball gloves are a tried and true key piece of the game. Many even say it’s one of the most important tools you’ll need to become a successful player.
But wait.. not all gloves are created equal, as there are types and sizes based on your position. The types of glove leather and your available budget also plays a big role and that’s where choosing the best baseball glove for you becomes a nightmare.
In this article we will guide you to a point of complete glove understanding.
PARTS OF A BASEBALL GLOVE
Before you can start the glove selection process it’s good to know some glove basics, or as we glove-scientist like to say glove anatomy. A baseball or softball fielding glove or mitt has multiple (7) important components that help you to catch a ball that you need to be aware of.
These six (6) components are described and illustrated below as:
- Web: The web is sometimes called “the glove’s pocket” as it is the place where we want to catch the ball every time. The purpose of the WEB is to connect the fingers to the thumb for control of the ball on impact. Many web styles usually feature a lace and knot combination that allows for the fielders to close their hand on the ball to stay safely in the glove.
- Palm: This is the second biggest area of your glove, but the most know (catch a ball here and you’ll soon know why). Each glove has some degree of padding beneath the leather in this area to offer impact protection.
- Heel: This is the lower portion of the glove on the palm side. The HEEL is much more padded that the palm and rightfully so because it determines the break-in of your glove besides the protection of the lower part of your hand.
- Lacing: The key component in keeping your glove together, which is why you should never catch with broken or misplaced lacing. The lace also helps to give your glove shape and strength. Glove laces should match the leather of your glove, do not use a synthetic lace with a leather glove and always use baseball/ softball glove laces.
- Hinge: Allows the glove to open and close easily. Most suppliers do not give you the option to choose this component as its usually part of the selected glove pattern. Meaning it’s usually built in.
- Wrist Adjustment: An often forgotten component of any glove or mitt and often the difference between a glove falling off or staying secure on your hand. Wrist adjustments options are few but very common in youth baseball, fastpitch and slow pitch softball style gloves. Wrist adjustments includes the common buckle system and then there are also D-ring and hook & loop fasteners.
The essential parts of any baseball / softball glove.
Baseball & softball gloves come in a variety of different materials, each for a specific level of play and each offering their own unique feel.
Here are s few of the most common leather types used for gloves.
- Synthetic leather, primarily sed for younger players or beginners. This leather type is easy to manipulate with no “break-in” period required. It’s lightweight and has a very low associated cost.
- As players get older and move up in level of play, a softer leather glove is needed. A glove with softened, oil-treated or game ready leather is often the go to, as it offers a next to no break-in and is a safer option for the speed of the game. Expect to pay a bit more for these type of gloves, usually between €50 – €120.
- Last but not least, Premium or Pro Series leather, as the name say’s it’s the highest quality option available. This glove type is better suited for the experienced players such as college, high level or professional players as it offers unparalleled craftsmanship, durability and comfort. These glove are usually in the range of about €150 and up, all depending on the brand.
Hot Hitters Glove and Mitts are offered in three different leather types:
- Cowhide, for all our Game Time Series Gloves & Mitts
- Steerhide, for all our Diamond King Series Gloves & Mitts & Hot Hands Training Gloves
- Kip, for all the Pro Premium Gloves & Mitts
BASEBALL GLOVE WEB TYPES
Materials are one thing, but the deciding factor is definitely the glove web. Web patterns come by the dozen and each brand has their list to choose from. Similarly to bats, there are the basic patterns that every brand will provide and there are some that are also truly unique to a brand. Below are a few common glove web types and their features.
INFIELD/ OUTFIELD/ PITCHERS
- Basket: This pattern is a pitchers GO TO, because the basket allows the pitcher to hide the ball from the batter. Basket webs are especially known to be easier for the player to close.
- Trapeze: This is the staple outfielders option. It’s maybe also one of the most unique web types as the laces form a locking pattern amongst themselves. The flexibility of the web and the interlocking laces gives the glove a deeper pocket which helps the outfielder secure the ball.
- Modified Trap or T-web: A more universal glove web that can be seen by players of all defensive positions. This web pattern is basically the Trapeze web with a leather brace at the top for added stability.
- H-Web: The name speaks for itself, it’s the pattern the web has when the leather posts are finally joined together. Like the Mod-T web, this is a favorite by both infielders and outfielders. Something about the open design that attracts attention. The open web design remains sturdy as it’s fastened in key strength points.
- I-Web: Like the H-Web, the I-Web gets it name from it’s shape, a capital “I”. If ever there was a web that can be found in abundance, it would be the I-web. This is the highlight web of infielders and offers a shallow & quick transfer, perfect for turning double plays.
- Single Post or Cross web: Think of this as and extended I-web, as it features a single post from top to bottom and left to right, both in the middle. The Single Post is flexible and a great web for any position on the infield. Laced Cross or Laced Single Post is the newer version of this web that offers a patter of crosses on the vertical lace.
- Two-Piece: Similar to the basket web but in two parts, a top and a bottom. A web pattern that is usually found on the mound but many infielders also enjoy using it for the depth of the pocket.
- Single Post: In this version the web really gets its name, as the single post is a lot more visible. Just like single post webs for fielder’s gloves, this web style is what is commonly found on most gloves. It’s simple and flexible.
- H-Web: This web style has been modifies the classic infield H-Web pattern. In the first baseman’s version a leather strip has been added on the top to help strengthen the web and glove but also to give the first baseman that extra lil bit when catching the ball “snow cone” like at the very tip of the web.
- Two Piece or Dual Bar: Dual-bar webs features two horizontal leather bars stitched together. This web pattern is found on many asian brand gloves, its two piece system allows for a very strong pocket and glove in general.
- Half Moon: The Half Moon web pattern is similar to that of the two-piece web style found in fielder’s gloves. It features two leather pieces laced together, that allows the glove to be very flexible but still hold its shape.
- One-Piece: The most common when it comes to Cather’s mitts. The web pattern has one large piece of leather that is held together by a sophisticated lacing pattern that add strength to the glove and keep the pocket shallow.
Hot Hitter Baseball & Softball Glove Web List
Selecting and buying your glove are based on many different factors such as your budget, age, position and available options. It also depends on YOUR personal preferences, because after all you are the one that will be wearing it. So when choosing your glove, make it a part of you by also being aware of how the glove fits.
- Fit: Choose a glove that fits snugly. If need be, adjust the tightness of the wrist strap so the glove fits snugly on your hand. Never buy a glove that is too big for you because this could later become a safety issue.
- Feel: Be sure to properly break-in your glove with our glove break-in guide. Your glove should be stiff enough to give strength yet flexible enough to provide a quick response when needed.
- Style: After all the hours and hard work of researching the specifics of your glove, be sure to get something that has the looks you want. Be yourself with a glove that shows your colors, fit and feel for YOU.
LAST MINUTES FYI’S
So the article covered the basic glove need to know information, here are some additional tips before making your final decision.
- Buy a glove that corresponds to your position on the field with a web to match.
- Catcher’s buy a catcher’s mitt, these gloves are specially made to protect your hand from pitches, do not replace a catcher’s mitt with a regular fielding glove. Be sure to check out our glove knowledge guide here.
- Pitchers buy a glove with a web that conceal your pitches and big enough to not show batters the ball.
- In- & Outfielders, your focus should be size glove as per your position. Infielders, the standard 11.5inch glove size is always a good option, look for a strong but flexible web and a glove with a shallow pocket. Remember, to also focus on your pocket when breaking in your glove.
- Outfielders, choose a web that you are comfortable with – something that will secure the ball in your glove. There is no standard glove size for outfield gloves, but unlike the infielder’s glove – focus on making a deeper pocket when breaking in your glove.
- First basemen use a long, wide mitt to extend your range on the field. Your glove should be long in the fingers with a deep pocket like that of the outfielder’s glove to better secure balls received.
You can now make an informed decision to buy a baseball/softball glove that best fits you and your needs.
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