Youth gloves are for youth players and for high-schoolers. And for adults, you have adult gloves – that much is common knowledge. But what’s stopping you from picking up a youth glove and using it in your game if you have small hands? Technically, nothing.
And since youth gloves are traditionally cheaper, you might be saving a couple of bucks going with one if it fits your hand. It sounds perfect, right? Well, not really. Youth gloves and adult gloves differ in a lot more areas than simply the size. And if you actually know and understand the differences between a youth and an adult baseball glove, you would never use a youth glove, even if it fits perfectly.
So, what are the differences? What sets them apart? Well, for one thing – build quality. A youth glove is made cheaper than adult gloves which also means the quality of materials used to make it is cheaper. But there is a lot more to it than just that.
Here, I will talk about the things that make a youth and an adult baseball glove different and help you understand why it isn’t a good idea to go with a youth glove even if it fits.
Youth Vs Adult Baseball Gloves (Quick Comparison)
Here is a chart to give you an idea of the differences between the two gloves.
|Smaller (8-11 inches)
|Larger (10 inches and above)
|$$$$ Expensive (has cheap options as well)
Differences Between Youth And Adult Baseball Gloves
At first glance, you might think that there is no real difference between a youth and an adult baseball glove. It’s only the size that’s different between them. But as it turns out, there are, in fact, many aspects that vary between the two glove types. So let me take a moment to discuss some of the key differences between a youth and an adult baseball glove.
1. Glove Quality
One thing that makes an adult glove stand out above a youth glove is the build quality. No, I don’t mean that youth gloves are poorly made. But it is true that a lot more thought and effort go into manufacturing adult gloves compared to youth gloves.
The quality of the leather and the laces, along with the consistency of webbing and padding, is typically much better in an adult baseball glove. With youth gloves, since the manufacturers are trying to cut costs, you might often find some inconsistencies in the design and quality.
2. Glove Size
Another major difference between a youth and an adult baseball glove is the sizes that they are available in. Youth gloves, since they are designed to fit smaller hands of youth players, are available in much smaller sizes compared to adult gloves.
Even the biggest size available for a youth glove might not be enough for most adults. Then again, you can definitely find some smaller adult gloves that will fit the hands of a youth player without too much trouble. Let me present a glove sizing chart to give you a better idea of what I am talking about.
|Glove Size (Inches)
|Under 8 Years
|Under 8 Years
|Between 8 to 13 Years
|9 to 10
|Between 8 to 13 Years
|11 to 12
|High-School to Adult
|10.5 to 11.5
|High-School to Adult
|12 to 13
As you can see, the size difference between the two glove types is pretty huge. In most cases, that’s pretty much the only real difference between an adult and a youth baseball glove.
Now I might be wrong here, but in my experience, youth gloves typically feature a lot more padding than adult gloves. And it makes sense considering how the manufacturers would want to provide better impact protection for the youth players. For young players, impact protection is more important than lighter gloves.
However, adult players tend to prefer lighter gloves that let them move around quickly to catch balls easier. So, they usually don’t go with gloves with too much padding as it will also make the glove heavier. Take this with a grain of salt, though, as there certainly are some heavy adult baseball gloves with thick padding out there.
4. Break-in Time and Durability
Since the break-in time is so closely related to a glove’s durability, I decided to address them both in one section. Adult gloves tend to take a lot longer to break in compared to youth baseball gloves, and that is a fact. Then again, adult gloves do last a lot longer and also retain their shape for a longer time compared to adult gloves.
With youth gloves, the manufacturers try to make it in a way that the player can start using the glove as fast as possible. In addition, since youth gloves feature more affordable leather that adjusts easier, the gloves are a lot easier to break in. Of course, these gloves don’t retain their shape as long as adult gloves.
Another differentiating factor between an adult glove and a youth glove is the price they are sold at. Typically, youth gloves are a lot cheaper than adult gloves. The manufacturers try to cut costs as much as possible while maintaining the quality and performance of the youth gloves at a decent level.
However, with adult gloves, at least those that are used by professionals, the manufacturers don’t bother with such restrictions. The price is an afterthought in that case, and they try to use superior leather and design improvements to make the gloves as high-end as possible. That’s why high-end baseball gloves are so expensive.
With Everything Said and Done
For youth players, a youth baseball glove is a great choice. It offers the player a relatively affordable way to get into the game. And there are plenty of amazing youth gloves out there that last a couple of seasons without any issues.
But adult gloves are designed for serious players who want nothing but the best from their gloves. These gloves are designed to be tougher and sturdier than youth gloves.
I hope my thorough comparison between the two glove types could help you understand why you should stick to the glove that best fits your age group. Cheers!