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How to Choose a Baseball Glove - Your Glove Buying Guide

Welcome to our education course on how to choose a softball or baseball glove! We understand that not everyone thinks about gloves all day and even if you’ve spent a lifetime in the sport, it may have been a few decades since you last had to choose a baseball glove! That’s why we’re offering this resource to ballplayers and their parents. The process has been broken into four easy steps and we even include an overview at the end!

Your player’s next game winning catch starts right here! Let’s dive in…


Anatomy of a Glove

Let’s put first things first when going about purchasing a baseball glove. To begin, we need to ensure that we know all of the basic components. Look below to get a visual overview of 8 of the basic elements of a baseball glove or softball glove:

Baseball Glove Anatomy

Webbing - Probably the most recognizable feature of any glove, the web covers the spacebetween the thumb and pinky. Assisting the player in making more difficult catches. Some of the most common web types include I-webs, H-webs, and fully closed webs.

Pocket - The pocket is the most optimal spot to catch a ball. When the ball is caught here it typically stops spinning completely and the ball sticks in the glove.

Fingers - The fingers house the index, middle and ring fingers when the hand is in the glove. Within each finger, there will be a stall (often called a “finger stall”) into which the finger is placed while the glove is on a player’s hand.

Pinky - The pinky stall houses the pinky while the hand is in the glove. Oftentimes, a player will choose to wear their ring and pinky finger in this stall.

Thumb - Determining where your thumb will close while catching the ball (i.e. toward index finger or toward pinky finger) will impact the shape of your glove.

Hand Stall - This is where a player puts their hand while wearing the glove.

Heel - This area usually displays some padding to assist while fielding ground balls. As players get older, some may prefer thinner padding in this area.

Palm - This section of the glove covers the palm while it is in the glove. In many youth gloves, manufacturers will add extra padding under the catching surface in this area.

Sizing (or Measuring) A Glove’s Length

A common characteristic by which gloves are referred is their length. A glove’s length is the measurement from the bottom of the heel to the tip of the index finger. Be sure to note that this measurement is usually taken when the glove’s palm leather is laid flat on a table before the glove has been constructed. Look below for a visual guide:

Measuring Glove Length

 Choosing A Glove or Mitt

The distinction between gloves and mitts is fairly straightforward. A glove has finger stalls that can be seen from the outside of the glove. Meanwhile, a mitt’s finger stalls cannot be seen externally. Generally speaking, gloves are used at all positions except catcher and first base. At catcher and first base, you’ll most often find specially designed mitts.

Glove vs Mitt

Types of Glove By Sport

Baseball - A baseball glove is generally a little smaller in length when compared to softball gloves. This helps accommodate a baseball which is smaller in circumference when compared to a softball.

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Fastpitch - Fastpitch gloves, in most cases, will have smaller hand stalls when compared to baseball gloves. This helps the gloves fit more snugly onto a female hand. As mentioned above, these gloves generally have longer lengths than baseball gloves. A softball’s larger circumference allows it to be fielded with a lengthier glove and transferred to a throwing hand with less impediment when compared to a baseball.

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Slow Pitch - The same philosophy regarding the use of lengthier gloves applies to slow pitch gloves as it does to fastpitch. However, most slow pitch gloves will be built with hand stalls more conducive to adult male hands.

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Youth - These gloves are built for both baseball and fastpitch softball. At young ages, comfort of use takes place over function. Because of this, you’ll see many gloves characterized as “youth gloves” being made with short lengths and small hand stalls.

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Throwing Hand

Players that throw with their right hand will want to purchase a Right Hand Thrower which will be worn on their left hand. Meanwhile, players that throw with their left hand will want to purchase a Left Hand Thrower that will be worn on their right hand. Look below for a pictorial guide on the type of glove you’ll be looking for:

Right Hand Thrower vs Left Hand Thrower



We understand that most individuals on this page will be shopping for players younger than high school age. Because of that, we are breaking down this section with an emphasis towards youth players.

Glove Fit By Age

Glove fitting for youth players will be general for the most part. For example, a glove that fits one eight year old will fit most other eight year olds, but there could be some exceptions. 

Generally speaking, gloves marked as “youth” in their title are designed for players aged 4-12. These gloves will have more snug hand stalls and finger stalls when compared to gloves intended to be worn by adults. Watch our glove experts discuss sizing by age below:

Glove Fit By Length & Position

You can also come to the correct glove fitting by considering the length of glove needed and the position of the player. At the youngest levels of baseball, this method may not work as a player is most likely playing all positions on a baseball field. However, specialization at a certain position can start to begin once a player is closer to ten years old (or even before). Here are some words of wisdom to follow when shopping by size (length) and position:

Infield Gloves - An infield glove will be used by players at second base, third base and shortstop. For the youngest players, these gloves can be as short as 9 inches. However, once a player gets closer to their teenage years, they’ll be using a glove with a length from 11.25 inches to 12 inches.

Outfield Gloves - A player typically wants a longer glove in the outfield as they don’t need to worry as much about the precision of a quick transfer from glove to throwing hand (when compared to an infielder). In our chart that we show later on in this blog, we suggest sizes for young players that are playing outfield. But typically players don’t specialize in the outfield till their teenage years. A rule of thumb for teenage outfielders and older is to choose an outfield glove that is 12.5 inches to 13 inches in length.

Catcher’s Mitts - Catcher mitts are designed a little differently than regular gloves. Instead of measuring the length of the glove from the heel to the top of the index finger, a catcher’s mitt will be measured by circumference. An obvious difference will be the lack of visible finger stalls from the outside of the mitt. As well, the thumb and pinky provide extra padding to improve a catcher’s ability to receive pitches safely and effectively.

First Base Mitts - Similar to a catcher’s mitt, a first base mitt will have no finger stalls that can be seen externally. However, these mitts will still be measured by length running from the heel to the top of the mitt’s “index finger” (this differs from a catcher’s mitt which is measured by circumference). First base mitts will usually have lengths similar to outfield gloves and they also have a curved edge around the fingers which helps for scooping errantly thrown balls out of the dirt.

Glove Length Chart By Age

If you want a cheat sheet to find the correct glove length to buy based on the age of your player, please reference the sheet below. Remember, if you're shopping for a player younger than 12 years old, it is often best to look for a glove marked as “youth” in its title to find the glove with a hand stall and finger stalls that are most optimal for your player!

AGE Under 8 8 - 10 11 - 13 Over 13
CATCHER 29.5 - 30" 30 - 31" 30 - 32.5" 32 - 34.5"
FIRST BASE 11.5" 11.5 - 12" 11.5 - 12" 12 - 13"
SECOND BASE / SHORTSTOP 8 - 10.5" 10.5 - 11.25" 11 - 11.5" 11.25 - 11.5"
THIRD BASE 8 - 10.5" 10.5 - 11.5" 11 - 11.75" 11.5 - 12"
PITCHER 8 - 10.5" 10.5 - 11.5" 11.5 - 12" 11.5 - 12"
OUTFIELD 9 - 10.5" 10 - 12" 11.75 - 12.75" 12 - 13"



Web styles often look like their names state, for example, the I-web is shaped like a capitalized "I". Another example would be the closed web that can simply be any type of webbing that is completely solid and unable to be seen through. Check out a short list of the most popular web types below:

Popular Glove Web Types

I-Web Glove

Shop All I-Webs



H-Web Glove

Shop All H-Webs



Modified T-Web Glove

Shop All Modified T-Webs



Fully Closed Web Glove

Shop All Fully Closed Webs

A Final Word On Glove Webs

The web is probably the most noticeable component of a glove from a visual perspective. And its presence does provide some functional benefit, but there are other factors we would consider before the selection of a web. The choice of fitting (i.e. size of handstall, length for their position, etc..) should be considered ahead of deciding on a glove web. However, if you want the most insight on the ethos behind selecting a glove web, please read our blog post on the different glove webs that exist

Ultimately, what we’re trying to convey is that a glove selection should not be made solely off of the web it features.


4) Glove Pricing

We understand that everyone wants to find "the best bang for their buck" at the end of the day. Because of this, we've provided a couple of notes here at the end to give you a basic understanding of the type of glove you can expect to receive when you pay within a certain price range:

Gloves Under $200

There is no clearly defined price difference between a high quality glove versus a glove of less quality. For simplicity’s sake though, we’ve put in a price amount of $200 to decipher between two levels of gloves. Gloves (or mitts) under $200 are ones that are typically going to be made with leather materials that are lower in cost. As well, when these gloves were built, “ease of use” was definitely on the builders’ minds. Therefore, these gloves typically will have short break-in periods. If you’re shopping for a player characterized as “young” or “recreational”, this is probably the range in which to shop.

Shop Gloves Under $200

Gloves Over $200

When a glove is priced above the $200 range, you can count on it being made from leather considered to be high quality. The two most common types of high quality leather are steerhide and kip. Steerhide is made from an adult male cow while kip is made from a younger cow. Eric Walbridge (the Glove Cowboy) of Marucci explains that steerhide is usually a little thicker while the kip leather is usually a little lighter in weight compared to the steerhide. These gloves usually require more effort regarding a break-in process. If you’re shopping for an advanced player (i.e. competitive teenaged player or above), this is the range in which you’ll want to shop!

Shop Gloves Over $200

Thoughts On Amount To Pay For A Glove

When buying for a player aged 4-12, there are many options below $200 and many of those will be excellent for a player in that age range. However, as your player gets older, there is a little more to think about when buying a glove, especially when you consider the possibility of having to purchase a bat as well. Watch our experts discuss this topic below:

Glove Buying Overview

Sometimes we just need a brief overview to understand a decision-making process a little easier. If you’ve asked the question: how to choose a glove, and this is where you’ve found yourself, then use the graphic below to help summarize the process of choosing a glove for your player! And as always, if you need EXPERT HELP then click the link to chat with our team of trained glove experts now!

Process Of Choosing The Perfect Baseball Glove


Other Glove Resource Guides

Glove Care Products

Breaking In A Glove

Selecting a Glove

Glove Sizing

Custom Gloves

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at 1-866-321-4568. And remember, when you order from JustGloves, you'll always receive free, fast shipping. That's JustGloves, from click to catch!

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