Best Youth Baseball Gloves to Buy in 2020
Whether your kid is just starting with baseball or has played a couple of seasons already, the best youth baseball gloves are the ones that are versatile to be used in most positions, easy to break-in, and, most importantly, comfortable. But with so many options available in the market, its no easy decision to make.
To help you pick the right glove for your young one, we tested over 12 gloves grading them in terms of design, features, and pricing. After over 20 hours of combined research and testing, here are our top 5 picks.
Best High End
Rawlings R9 Youth Baseball Glove Series
Best Mid Range
Mizuno Prospect PowerClose Youth Baseball Glove Series
Rawlings Sure Catch Youth Baseball Series
Last Updated: 20th July, 2020
You grew up playing baseball. Now you’re trying to pass the love of the game to your kids or grandkids. Of course, to make that happen you need a high-quality glove for them to use. Nothing will turn them off to baseball faster than doing everything right and still not being able to make the play because of inferior equipment.
Or maybe they’ve already decided that they love the game and you just need to get them a mitt that allows them to keep making those gold glove plays. We know you want to buy a glove that performs exceptionally well and will last year after year.
That’s why we reviewed youth glove after youth glove, so whether you’re just introducing the game to your youngster or trying to get them to Williamsport for the Little League World Series, we got you covered. Below is the best of the best that will last year after year.
1. Rawlings R9 Youth Baseball Glove Series - Pro Pick
The Rawlings R9 Youth Baseball Glove Series is perfect for aspiring Little Leaguers. Typically, the sizing is ideal for 9 to 12-year old’s and comes in a variety of styles. No matter your youngster’s position on the field, the Rawlings R9 Youth Baseball Glove Series has you covered.
Made entirely from high-quality, durable leather, you know that the Rawlings R9 Series gloves are going to last year after year. Additionally, they are designed to handle any level of play. Whether your child is just starting out in fast-pitch or headed to the Little League World Series Rawlings R9 gloves is up to the challenge.
The gloves come with a reinforced palm pad to absorb some of the impact if your child or grandchild doesn’t catch the ball right in the webbing. Furthermore, the Rawlings R9 Youth Series gloves come with a padded thumb sleeve for even more protection.
Finally, the Rawlings R9 youth series comes with a smaller hand opening and lower finger stalls. This makes the glove specifically tailored for youths. This guarantees that your child or grandchild has a comfortable glove that allows them to make any play in the field.
The Rawlings R9 Youth series gloves vary in cost but come in at under 130 dollars. They come in both right-hand and left-hand throw, so you’re sure to find a glove that works for your child or grandchild.
2. Rawlings Select Pro Lite Baseball Glove Series - Best Overall (easy to break in)
If your child or grandchild is new to the game, they probably aren’t going to want to spend the necessary time to break in a glove. Nothing will turn them off to baseball faster than not being able to catch the ball because the leather is too stiff.
That’s why the Rawlings Select Pro Lite baseball glove series is perfect. It comes 90 percent broken in from the factory. While breaking in the last 10 percent, the glove molds to the kid’s hand. However, by starting 90 percent of the way broken in, it takes far less time to get the glove game ready.
The Rawlings Select Pro Lite Baseball Glove series is ideal for kids ranging from 9 to 12 years old and comes in two different sizes. Additionally, there is an infield and outfield variant that makes it an ideal fit for most position players.
Finally, there are 8 different styles modeled after a variety of MLB athletes from Manny Machado to Mike Trout. No matter who your child or grandchild looks up to, the Rawlings Select Pro Lite series has you covered.
Even though the gloves are designed to look like the same ones the pros use, they are specifically designed for youths. They come with a pro taper fit patter that offers a smaller hand opening for greater control by youth players. Moreover, they come with additional palm and index finger padding for added protection and comfort.
What’s even better is the price. Compared to the Rawlings R9 Youth series, the Rawlings Select Pro Lite series is a steal. It comes in at under 50 dollars a glove, which is almost a third of the price of the R9 series.
3. Mizuno Prospect PowerClose Youth Baseball Glove Series - Great Value
You want a glove that has it all. But you want to get a great deal too. That’s why the Mizuno Prospect PowerCloseTM Youth Series glove is your perfect fit. Priced at under 40 dollars, you’re getting a high-quality mitt without having to break the bank.
The Mizuno Prospect PowerCloseTM Youth baseball glove series comes in sizes ranging from 9” to 11.5”. This means that it doesn’t matter if you’re shopping for a 5-year-old or a 12-year-old they’ll have a size that fits.
The Mizuno Prospect PowerCloseTM glove comes in 8 different colors and styles, so they’re sure to have one that you or your child loves. Furthermore, they come in both left- and right-hand throw.
Built from full-grain pigskin leather, the Mizuno Prospect PowerCloseTM glove is built to last. Additionally, they have a butter-soft palm liner that not only makes them durable but comfortable as well. Finally, the Mizuno Prospect PowerClose Youth Series glove comes with a parashock palm pad for even more protection.
Designed as a utility glove, it doesn’t matter if you’re an infielder or an outfielder, it’s a perfect fit for both. This is especially useful if you don’t know what position your child or grandchild is going to play, or if it changes from game to game.
It’s a great glove for any rec league. However, it is not recommended for travel players, so if you’re looking for a glove to be used at that level of play, we recommend upgrading to the Mizuno Prospect ParaflexTM Youth baseball glove series.
4. Mizuno Prospect Paraflex Youth Baseball Glove Series - Feature rich (with additional palm protection)
You want your glove to have all the best technology available. The Mizuno Prospect ParaflexTM Youth Series is for you. Manufactured with Mizuno’s patented ParaflexTM technology it provides more palm protection for added protection. But what makes it so unique is that it not only provides extra protection, it increases glove flexibility as well. This makes it even easier to catch the baseball, even though it’s equipped with extra padding.
Not only does the glove come with ParaflexTM, it also comes with the patented PowerCloseTM technology. This technology makes it even easier to catch the ball. Between ParaflexTM and PowerCloseTM Mizuno Prospect gloves are ideal for both new players just learning the game and travel players that want to make every play.
It's considered more as a utility glove. This means that they can be used in both infield and outfield positions. If you don't know what position your child or grandchild is going to play, or if it changes from game to game, this glove is a perfect fit.
The gloves come in two different sizes and are ideal for most 9 to 12-year-olds. Made entirely from leather, you know you're getting a glove that will hold up season after season.
Priced at under 55 dollars, Mizuno Prospect ParaflexTM Youth Series gloves are a bargain. They come in two different styles and colors and are suitable for both rec league and travel play. Additionally, they come in both right- and left-hand throw so you know they'll have a glove that works for your child or grandchild. No matter what level of competition your youngster is facing, the Mizuno Prospect ParaflexTM Youth Series glove will hold up.
5. Rawlings Sure Catch Youth Baseball Series - Budget Pick
If you want a high-quality mitt but don’t want to spend a ton of money, the Rawlings Sure Catch Youth Baseball Series glove is the way to go. At under 35 dollars, it’s the cheapest glove on this list but isn’t built like a cheap glove.
Built with Sure Catch technology, it makes it easier than ever for new players to catch the ball. Furthermore, it comes 90 percent of the way broken in from the factory. The last 10 percent will allow the glove to mold to your child or grandchild’s hand without spending as much time trying to break in the glove.
Made with a leather shell and padded finger linings, the Rawlings Sure Catch glove is both durable and comfortable for young players. It’s designed as a utility glove that can be used in both the infield and the outfield.
If your child or grandchild is going to be playing multiple positions, or if you don’t know what position they are going to be playing, this glove is a good fit.
The Rawlings Sure Catch baseball glove comes in 5 different sizes. No matter your child or grandchild’s age, from 5 to 12, they’ll have the size you need. Finally, the Rawlings Sure Catch Youth Baseball Series comes in both left- and right-hand throw, so they’re sure to have a glove that works for your kid.
Factors to consider while choosing a youth baseball glove
When you’re buying a glove for your child, you want to get it right. The number of choices and decisions you need to make can feel overwhelming. That’s why we’re here. We’ll let you know what questions you need to answer and how to answer them. In the end, all you’ll need to do is buy the glove.
The first question you need to answer is what size glove you need. Below is a typical sizing chart for children based off their age:
- 5-6-year-old – 10 to 10½ inches
- 7-8-year-old – 10½ to 11 inches
- 9-12-year-old – 11 to 11½ inches
Keep in mind age is not always the determining factor when it comes to getting the right sized glove. Some kids’ hands are larger or smaller than others. However, the sizing chart above will work for most children in that age range.
You should never buy a glove that is larger than what your child needs. We understand that your child or grandchild will grow into it. The problem is that using a glove that is too large will make it extremely difficult for them to catch the ball. This is going to frustrate your child and might cause them to dislike the game.
You also don’t want to keep your child in a glove that is too small for them. Using a glove that’s too small isn’t just uncomfortable, it can be painful. Having a glove that’s too small means having your fingers fill up too much of the space. This increases the chance of having the ball smack off your fingers, which not only hurts but could lead to an injury.
Another important factor to consider when buying a glove for your child or grandchild is what position they are going to be playing. If they are going to be moving from position to position, or you don’t know what position they are going to be playing, either of our Mizuno products or our Rawlings Sure Catch glove are ideal fits. Designed as utility gloves, they are capable of being used in either the infield or the outfield and still be highly effective.
But if your child is going to be playing a dedicated position (outside of first base or catcher), either the Rawlings R9 Series or Rawlings Select Pro series are ideal fits. They offer gloves specifically designed for middle infielders, outfielders, and third basemen. If your child is going to be playing first base or behind the plate as the catcher, only the Rawlings R9 Series offers mitts specifically designed for youth players fielding these positions.
A youth first baseman can get by with an infielder’s glove at lower levels of play, but if they are playing on a travel team, they are going to want a dedicated first basemen’s glove. Catchers need dedicated catchers’ mitt. The added padding is essential for players catching fastball after fastball all game long.
<Break in period>
Another question you need to ask yourself when buying a glove for your child or grandchild is, how long do you want it to take to break in the glove? Adult gloves typically come 50 percent broken in from the factory. The reason is simple, breaking in the final 50 percent yourself allows the glove to mold to your hand perfectly. This way, you get maximum performance when you’re using the glove in a game.
Some youth gloves, like our Pro Pick, the Rawlings R9 Youth Series, come this way. Other youth gloves, like our Best Overall and Budget pick, come 90 percent of the way broken in. The advantage is that when you get the glove, it’s almost game ready. This can save your child a lot of frustration of trying to break in the glove for an extended period.
This is an especially important factor to consider if your child or grandchild is new to the game. The final 10 percent of break-in allows your child or grandchild to mold the glove to their hands, but it’s not as effective as when the glove only comes 50 percent broken in. In the end, the performance difference is marginal. If your kid or grandkid is playing in a travel league, they might care about this difference, though.
Either way, your kid or grandkid will need to break in their glove after getting it. The easiest and most effective way to do this is to use it.
Whatever you do, don’t bake your glove in the oven or put it in the microwave. It’s a common misconception that this is how you break in baseball gloves quickly. If you do this, you’ll dry out your laces, and they’ll end up breaking on you far sooner than they should.
The best way to break in your glove is to play catch with it. Leave enough time between you getting the glove and when you’ll need to use it in a game to break it in. If you’re out using it every day, a week should be long enough to break it in.
We recommend an application of Rawlings Gold Glove Butter after one of your catch sessions, and then once a year after that for glove maintenance. The Glove Butter will keep the leather in your glove pristine year after year.
Finally, between your sessions of catch, you can put a baseball in the glove and tie it shut or put it between a mattress and the box spring. If you are tying it shut a few rubber bands should do the trick, there’s no reason to spend a bunch of money on a contraption that holds the glove shut for you.
Just go out and use your glove, that’s what you bought it for anyways, right? Just make sure you have time between your game and when you buy the glove. By far, the best way to break in your glove is just to use it, that way, the glove will conform exactly to your hand and be a perfect fit.
We know how you’re feeling. You want to give your kid or grandkid the best chance to be successful in the field. You want them to trot out on the field and have a blast. And you want their glove to last year after year. But you also don’t want to overpay for a glove that they don’t need.
That’s why we took the time to review glove after glove. We want you to get the perfect glove for your kid or grandkid. All you need to be worried about in the stands is how loud you can cheer for your child, not if your child or grandchild’s equipment is going to hold up.