While you might not think much about picking up a cheap, non-branded baseball glove with your pocket money as a casual player, competitive baseball is a whole other shebang.
In competitive baseball, your choice of gear matters. And going with an off-brand glove can easily get you benched for the entire season.
Don’t get me wrong – I am not saying that knockoff gloves are junk. They have their place, but when you pit one up against a high-end glove from the likes of Rawlings or Wilson, the imperfections become quite apparent. And in a sport where every bit of advantage counts, you want a reliable glove in your hand at all times.
So, what are the best brands out there? I’m sure most already know the answer – it’s either Rawlings or Wilson. But the truth is, there are a couple of other brands out there that are making a name for themselves on a consistent basis. Brands like Nokona, Mizuno, and many more are also great choices for competitive baseball.
But what makes them special, though? What’s the secret recipe that these brands use with the gloves that make them stand far above the rest? Well, for one thing, the gloves are made extremely durable. And on top of that, each brand tries to offer something unique with their gloves to make them stand out.
Here, I will talk about the major brands in the baseball glove industry and help you understand what makes them tick. So, let’s hop in.
Top 10 Best Baseball Glove Brands | Breakdown
Don’t let me keep you waiting – here are the best baseball glove brands that are currently ruling the industry.
With around 55 percent of MLB professionals brandishing a glove by the brand, Rawlings is undoubtedly the biggest name in the industry. Their massive popularity these days can be traced back to 1912 when they first came up with the Sure Catch baseball glove. It was a one-piece glove with sewn finger channels that offered a much better performance to the day’s competition.
In fact, Rawlings is the brand that first came up with a natural pocket baseball glove that is present in most gloves today. Apart from manufacturing many high-end custom gloves for the pros, the brand also produces many commercial gloves in all price ranges for their regular users.
Rawlings also contributes to the sport in other ways, such as offering the Gold Glove award to MLB fielders that show dominant performance each season.
· What Makes Rawlings Great
If I had to put it in one word, I would say versatility. Rawlings has a huge catalog of gloves that are designed to suit just about any player, whether infield or outfield. Besides, they are also quite flexible with their pricing and offer some fantastic entry-level gloves for youth players.
· My Pick: Rawlings HEART OF THE HIDE Baseball Glove
Rawlings has a lot of amazing gloves in their catalog. But if I had to go with only one, I would probably pick the Rawlings Heart of the Hide. It’s a phenomenal baseball glove with an exquisite build quality that truly lets you play to your maximum potential. And it also looks pretty amazing.
The glove is made of premium steer hide leather and features a deer-tanned cowhide palm lining. On top of that, the finger back linings are made of full-grain leather, while the laces feature pro-grade leather construction. The padded thumb sleeve further enhances the comfort of the glove.
This glove is available in multiple sizes and web options, making it suitable for just about any position on the diamond. The glove comes 40 percent broken in from the factory but gives you full control over the rest so that you can make it feel exactly how you want it to feel.
It’s a bit pricey, sure, but if you are going with Rawlings, this is the best that they have to offer.
While Rawlings holds the top spot for most professional players, Wilson isn’t that far off, with around 34 percent of MLB pros using their gloves each season. Initially dubbed Ashland Manufacturing, this Chicago-based company was not really known for its baseball gloves. Rather at the time, they specialized in making racket strings, violin strings, and surgical sutures.
However, around the year 1931, they changed their name to Wilson Sporting Goods and started focusing more on the lucrative field of manufacturing baseball gloves. Credit where credit is due, though – they owe a lot of their success to the glove guru Shigeaki Aso who served as their main craftsman.
Similar to Rawlings, Wilson, too, has a rather large catalog of top-performing gloves available in the market these days. The Wilson A2000 is still one of the most popular choices among veterans and amateur players alike when it comes to high-end baseball gloves.
· What Makes Wilson Great
The best thing about Wilson is that they don’t compromise one bit when it comes to the look of their glove. And let’s face it, we all love a glove that looks pretty. Then again, that doesn’t mean that the quality of their gloves is any less than what you get with Rawlings or any other brands.
· My Pick: WILSON A2000 Baseball Glove
The Wilson A2000 glove, in many ways, is the direct competitor to the Rawlings Heart of the Hide. They are pretty much identical in price, but that’s where the similarities end. While the quality of the leather is amazing in both gloves, the materials used to make them are different.
This glove, for instance, features a Pro Stock leather shell that many people prefer because of its unmatched feel and superior durability. The Wilson A2000 also comes with a ProLux leather liner to ensure that the glove feels soft and light against your skin.
But what truly sets it apart is the Comfort Sleeve design that conceals the wrist binding and enhances the fit and feel of the glove. As you can see, comfort is the key element of the glove. The glove is available in multiple sizes for both youth and adult players.
You can also choose from a couple of different web designs depending on your playing positions. If you are planning to go big in the game, you cannot go wrong with a Wilson A2000 having your back.
Another brand worth looking out for is All-Star. It’s a family-owned company that places a lot of focus on the quality and detail of its gloves. While the brands that I talked about above tend to drift more towards their infield or outfield glove, All-Star specializes in catcher’s mitt.
In fact, the brand pioneered many modern designs that you will find in most top catcher’s gears these days. They hold the patent for wraparound shins, wire masks, batter’s helmets, and triple knee designs on leg guards.
If you are a catcher, the flagship Pro Elite mitt they offer is a fantastic one to consider picking up for yourself. The defensive design of their gloves and impact protection quality is simply amazing.
· What Makes All-Star Great
All-Star as a brand is most popular among catchers, both amateur and professional. They have very few gloves to offer players, which means if you play as an infielder or an outfielder, other brands will give you more options. But as a catcher, their innovative design with their mitts makes them a superb brand to go with.
· My Pick: All-Star Pro Elite Professional Catching Baseball Mitt
The All-Star Pro Elite is an iconic catcher’s mitt that graces the hands of many professional players in the MLB scene. So it really shouldn’t come as a surprise when I picked this one as my recommendation from the brand. While this costs almost double the price of both the Rawlings and Wilsons gloves, it is worth the price for a catcher.
This glove features a sturdy Japanese Steerhide construction which can only mean one thing – it’ll survive a couple of seasons easily. And the padding in this glove is pretty thick, too, which is always a good sign in a catcher’s mitt. The impact damage from having to catch those fast knuckleballs will be almost non-existent.
Despite its thick and heavy construction, the glove is surprisingly quick to break in. Just a couple of days of playing catch should be enough to make it soft and comfortable. It also features an adjustable wrist closure to make sure you get it to fit perfectly in your hands.
The glove also forms a perfect pocket to grab the pitch easily. This is one glove that will help you climb to the top regardless of which skill level you are playing at.
Mizuno is one of the best Japanese baseball glove brands with a rich history of over 100 years in the industry. Established in 1906 by Rihachi Mizuno, Mizuno company specializes in producing high-quality baseball and softball gloves for youth players. Their gloves are easy to use and extremely comfortable.
The Prospect series gloves by the brand, for instance, are designed mainly for youth players with smaller hands. These gloves are made with soft yet durable leather and require practically no breaking in. That means you will be able to start playing with it the moment you get your hands on it.
Their adult gloves are no slouch either, offering amazing value for the price. Among their adult gloves, the Pro Select series stands far above the rest. These gloves are designed to last a couple of seasons easily if you take care of them regularly and store your gloves the right way.
· What Makes Mizuno Great
The most appealing thing about Mizuno gloves is that they come game-ready right out of the box. While they focus mostly on youth players, their adult gloves are decent too. On top of that, most of their gloves feel extremely comfortable even when you wear them for the first time.
· My pick: Mizuno MVP Prime Baseball Glove
With all the brands so far, I only recommended their flagship gloves. Now I understand how some might think of that as cheating, and the gloves are really not all that affordable. Well, let’s change that with the Mizuno MVP Prime baseball glove.
With an MSRP of around 120 to 150 dollars, this glove easily falls into the affordable category for any serious ballplayer. There are, of course, more expensive Mizuno gloves out there, but this one offers a nice balance of performance and price, in my opinion.
The Mizuno MVP Prime features a high-end Bio Soft leather exterior. For those that don’t know, this essentially means the leather has a prior coating of oil from the factory, making it extremely soft and comfortable right out of the box. The lacing in the glove is also designed to be extremely durable.
This glove has a truly premium look and feels to it despite its low cost. And since it requires little to no breaking in, you will be able to start using it comfortably as soon as you get your hands on it. So, if you are the impatient type, it’s a safe bet that this glove will make you quite happy.
Who makes the most expensive baseball gloves? If you thought of Rawlings or Wilson, you’re not wrong. But there’s another brand that managed to slip in between these two giants, and that’s none other than Nokona.
This is one of the few brands out there that can claim that a large portion of their gloves is still being crafted in the USA. While many other brands decided to ship off the labor work overseas, Nokona carries out most of the crafting and design works for their gloves in their headquarters in Texas.
This, of course, plays a big role in their pricing, but frankly, you can’t really doubt the quality of their craftsmanship. Since its start in 1934, Nokona has come up with many amazing gloves that feature excellent build quality and superb aesthetics. So if you have the budget for it, Nokona baseball gloves will not disappoint you.
· What makes Nokona Great?
Quality craftsmanship and excellent design are the two key pillars of the brand. The best part about Nokona is that they don’t make any bad baseball gloves. But then again, the price they ask for their gloves wouldn’t really be fair if they did. So if you plan on buying a Nokona glove, you can be sure that it’s a great glove.
· My Pick: Nokona S-200I Handcrafted Alpha Baseball Glove
When you consider the price, you would think that Nokona produces only a handful of gloves. But as it turns out, they have one of the most extensive collections of gloves, each featuring a new and unique design than the one before. So I would first suggest going through all the options they have to see which one you like.
If you wanted my recommendation, though, I would go with the Nokona S-200I Alpha baseball glove. While all of their gloves are pretty expensive, this one, I feel, finds a nice balance between the cost and the level of performance it offers for the player.
The glove is made with Full Grain American Kip, and SuperSoft Steer hide leather. What that means is you get top-notch durability, responsiveness, and protection right out of the box. And the glove requires no break-in at all, meaning it will be game ready the moment you get your hands on it.
This glove is designed to withstand just about any abuse you throw at it without compromising your performance. It’s available in multiple sizes and web designs, allowing you to fine-tune your experience with it. Be warned, though; the glove costs around 400 dollars. So, if you are on a tight budget, it might be well out of your reach.
Let’s be honest – not every parent wants to spend hundreds of bucks for their kid’s first baseball glove. That’s when Franklin Sports comes to the rescue. While they are not exactly known for producing high-end gloves that the pros use, for people who need an affordable starter glove, this is an amazing brand.
It’s a family-owned company that was founded back in 1946 by two brothers, Irving H. Franklin, and Sydney Franklin. Apart from baseball, the brand also manufactures gear for other sports, such as Basketball, Lacrosse, Volleyball, and even Football.
When it comes to baseball gears, Franklin batting tees and pitching machines are some of the finest out there. The brand also pioneered the modern design of the batting glove that most players use today. Of course, the baseball gloves aren’t necessarily the best, but it’s not half-bad if you want something affordable.
· What Makes Franklin Great:
Truth be told, what makes Franklin great is their pricing. Even though they have a lot of expensive gear, they always make sure they make something equally good for people on a tight budget. That’s why so many youth players start out their journey with a Franklin baseball glove.
· My Pick: Franklin Sports Baseball and Softball Glove – Field Master
The Field Master by Franklin is, without a doubt, one of the most popular starter gloves out there. It’s extremely affordable, and the build quality for the price is pretty decent. And to further sweeten the deal, the glove is available in multiple colors, and each of them looks pretty darn amazing.
Keep in mind, though; the glove is not made from genuine leather. Instead, the manufacturers opted to go with synthetic leather to keep the cost of the glove as low as possible. Don’t sweat it, though, the leather is still quite decent, and if you take care of the glove, it will last you quite a few seasons easily.
One major upside to the glove is that it comes broken in from the factory. While more serious players might see that as a disadvantage, for casual players or those who are just starting out, this is a godsend. And you’ll also love the responsiveness that comes with its hand-formed pocket.
The glove also features an adjustable wrist strap to make sure you get the perfect fit. It’s available in multiple sizes, and you can also go with the mitt if you play as the designated catcher in the team. Overall, as a starter glove, the performance of this glove is hard to beat.
Marucci is another name that you will often see in many professional gloves that MLB players use. And it’s not surprising when you consider that the brand was founded by two former MLB pros and their trainers. Their expertise in the sport led to the creation of some of the finest gloves in the market these days.
Based in Baton Rouge, Marucci is a relatively new brand that started its journey only in 2004. But within a short time, they managed to make a massive name for themselves both in the big leagues and the small ones because of their unyielding dedication to producing the finest baseball gear and accessories.
Apart from baseball gloves, the brand also specializes in producing high-quality baseball bats and batting gloves. You can also find some glove care accessories from them, along with a couple of great helmets. Though the brand is still in its early years compared to the other names on this list, it would be unfair to overlook it.
· What makes Marucci Great
The quality of leather in Marucci gloves is always amazing. And since most of their gloves come game ready when you lay your hands on them, you can start using them as early as possible. Overall, Marucci gloves offer amazing value for their price.
· My Pick: MARUCCI Acadia M-Type Baseball Glove
For a relatively new brand, the number of gloves that Marucci has in its catalog is pretty impressive. For those who want a professional-level glove, the Marucci Cypress is a great pickup. However, if you want a less expensive option that gives you a good bang for your buck, then the only choice that makes sense is the Marucci Acadia.
Now, this is one of the best baseball gloves for youth , so as an adult, you might be better off with something like the Marucci Precision. But if you are playing in high-school or little-league baseball, then the Acadia is a solid pickup.
It boasts a Full-grain Cowhide leather shell along with a leather palm lining with some added cushioning for amazing protection and durability. The wrist and finger lining is made with smooth microfiber fabric that gives the glove a lightweight yet responsive feel to it.
The lacing and the general embellishment in the glove also look superb. While the size options with the glove are a bit limited, for youth players, finding the right fit shouldn’t prove too difficult.
Akadema is a relative newcomer to the baseball industry, but they have already started making big waves among professional and casual players alike. Akadema company was founded only in 1991 by two brothers, Joe and Lawrence Gilligan, who both share a common passion for the sport.
Innovation is the name of the game for the brand, and you can see a lot of new and out-of-the-box design additions in their gloves. Among them is the Reptilian which is an almost fingerless infielder’s glove that boosts quick and smooth ball transfer and implantation of “Stress Wedge” technology in their catcher’s mitts.
They also regularly take pointers from veteran players when designing their gloves. Baseball legends like Ozzie Smith and Carl Yastrzemski have already lent their wisdom and expertise to Akadema, which led to them manufacturing some revolutionary gloves for adult and youth players.
· What Makes Akadema Great
Well, frankly, Akadema is not as popular as some of the other names on this list. But then again, the brand is still pretty new. And given their rising popularity, it’s a safe bet that they will soon be one of the most formidable names in the industry, thanks to the level of innovation they bring to their products.
· My Pick: Akadema Precision Series
The good thing about Akadema gloves is that you get a lot of options. But if you want a glove that you can use competitively without any worries and you don’t want it to cost too much, then the Akadema Precision series seems like the perfect choice.
Construction-wise, you will hardly find anything worth complaining about with this glove. It boasts an amazing Precision Kip leather construction that not only makes the glove super sturdy but also makes it lighter and tighter-grained than gloves made of steerhide leather.
Another good thing about this material choice is that breaking in your new glove takes little to no time. Playing a bit of catch for a while makes the glove soft and comfy in your hands. So, you will be able to start using the glove competitively without having to go through a long and arduous break-in process.
The glove is available in multiple sizes and a variety of web options. So, pick out the one that best suits your playing position and preference. Frankly, it’s hard to believe that you can find a Kip leather baseball glove at this price.
I’ll be honest If I wanted a really high-end, expensive baseball glove, I wouldn’t really go with an Easton glove. It wouldn’t even be a part of the discussion. But if I wanted an affordable glove that serves me well and lasts a respectable number of seasons, then Easton would definitely be my go-to brand.
Now, does that make Easton a bad brand? – Not at all. On the contrary, the Easton ghost is one of my favorite baseball bats of all time. But when it comes to gloves, their quality isn’t necessarily the best out there.
The gloves are still a lot better than a no-name, knock-off brand, though, so don’t count them out just yet. For youth players, at the very least, the Easton Paragon Youth Baseball Glove is an amazing choice. It’s affordable, works well, and is also quite lightweight.
· What Makes Easton Great
The most appealing part of the Easton baseball gloves is their price. It’s affordable, and for the price, the quality that they deliver is not bad at all. Still, if you can afford to push your budget higher, going with another brand might be the smarter decision.
· My Pick: EASTON PROFESSIONAL HYBRID Baseball Glove Series
If you are a fan of Jen Schroeder or Morgan Stuart, you’ll be happy to know that Easton offers their signature gloves at a pretty reasonable price. Those gloves are made according to their exact specifications, so you should expect some amazing performance from the gloves.
However, not everyone wants a Pro-level signature glove. And if you are like me, you would prefer to go with a glove that you can call your own. Well, in that case, I would recommend the Easton Professional Hybrid series of baseball gloves.
The glove features a chrome-tanned Horween steer hide palm and a Japanese steer hide shell. It also comes with steer hide leather lining. Needless to say, the combination of materials makes the glove extremely durable while keeping it lightweight and easy to manage for most players.
The rawhide laces used in the glove are professional grade and enhance the durability and sturdiness of the pocket. Of course, it comes with position-specific web options, so you won’t have anything to worry about in that aspect. The only real downside of the glove is that you don’t get a lot of size options with it.
Let’s be honest – we all know of Nike as the premium brand for sports shoes and soccer boots. But did you know that they also manufacture a couple of baseball gloves? Well, I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t know that – this came as a shock to me too.
As it turns out, their gloves aren’t half bad. They are not exceptional either, but as a casual player, the gloves can serve pretty well. Among their models, the Nike Diamond Elite Pro stands out. This glove is catered towards competitive players who want a high-end Kip leather glove for their games.
There’s also the Nike Vapor 360 glove that’s catered more toward entry-level players. But I wouldn’t suggest getting it unless you absolutely want a cheap Nike glove for your collection.
· What Makes Nike Great
Honestly, Nike isn’t really a great baseball glove brand. But since the brand is so massive, it deserves mention here, at the very least. I was pretty excited when I first found a Nike glove, but apart from the Diamond Elite Pro, they don’t really have any decent options for you to choose from.
· My Pick: None
As I said, I was pretty disappointed with the quality of the gloves that Nike produced. Now, I could suggest getting the Diamond Elite Pro, but frankly, you could really do better for the price. When there are options by Rawlings and Wilson at this price range, it makes no sense to tell you to go with a Nike baseball glove.
While I have covered most of the major names in the baseball glove industry, there are still a couple of brands worth knowing about. These brands might not be as popular as the ones I’ve discussed, but they offer a couple of gloves that you might want to buy.
So, I’ll take a moment to give you a quick rundown of some honorary mentions. I won’t go into too much detail about them though. If you want more information about these brands and their gears, consider going through BaseballHover.
· Shoeless Joe
Shoeless Joe is another relative newcomer to the baseball glove industry. But it’s already making huge waves with its massive catalog. While it started out as a company that focused on glove repair, replacement, and reconditioning, it branched out and is now a big part of the glove market.
Their flagship model, the Pro Select baseball glove series, costs only around 200 to 250 dollars which is a pretty small price to pay for the quality that it offers. They also have a Golden Era series which essentially gives you a vintage-style glove at an affordable price.
· Louisville Slugger
Louisville Slugger is a brand well-known for their high-quality, affordable baseball bats and pitching machines. In fact, I have been a huge fan of the Louisville Slugger black flame pitching machine since my rookie years in the sport. But as it turns out, their gloves aren’t bad either.
At the very least, if you are planning on getting a starter glove for your kids, this is a great brand to go with. The Louisville Slugger Omaha baseball glove, for instance, costs under 100 dollars and offers a decent level of performance, making it a solid entry-level glove for your youth player.
· Under Armour
Similar to All-Star, Under Armour also excels in making high-quality catcher gear and mitts. But unlike the former brand, they also manufacture a couple of infielder and outfielder gloves on the side. Even a couple of pros use Under Armour gloves on occasion.
A notable example would be Trey Mancini from the Houston Astros, who uses an Under Armour outfield glove for his game. Apart from fielding gloves, the brand also manufactures batting gloves and cleats along with athletic clothing for the sport.
SSK has been another major player in the industry dominating the glove market since the 1980s. The only reason I didn’t put it on my list is that very few people use these gloves apart from MLB professionals. And to be honest, it’s a real shame since the quality of their gloves is superb.
SSK was the first brand to introduce the dimpled pocket design to stop extreme spin on flyballs making it easier to catch them. Star players such as Javier Baez, Bo Bichette, and many others regularly use SSK gloves in their games. If you want an SSK glove, I would recommend giving the Z9 Maestro Baseball Infield Glove a try.
The Bottom Line
The debate on which baseball glove brand is the best has been going on for decades. And it seems that people can never land on one answer that everyone agrees with. Well, to me, at least, that doesn’t come as a surprise.
I believe that each brand has something new and unique to offer with the design of its gloves. So instead of fighting over which glove is the best, I try to give each brand a fair shot and go with the glove that feels right in my hands regardless of the brand name.
And I would suggest you do the same. If there’s a glove that catches your eye, just try it out. Don’t look at the name, or at least don’t get obsessed over it. As long as the brand is relatively well-known, it shouldn’t be too bad. And if it is, then you will have learned a valuable lesson on which brand to avoid.
I hope my article on the best baseball glove brand gave you a lot to think about when you are planning to pick out a new glove for your games. Good luck!