Best Catcher's Gloves

Updated July 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

24 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
377 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best catcher’s gloves

Last Updated July 2020

In baseball and softball, the most important defensive position is catcher. (Sorry, right fielder!) The catcher is involved in every play, fielding pitches, controlling base runners, and positioning the other defensive players. The catcher also has to be willing to sacrifice their body, blocking pitches in the dirt to keep base runners from advancing. Ideally, the catcher catches each pitch cleanly using a catcher’s glove.

A catcher’s glove, also called a catcher’s mitt, looks a little different from the gloves worn by the other defensive players. Other players routinely field ground balls or fly balls, while the catcher’s primary job is catching pitches. The catcher’s mitt does not work well for fielding grounders. A very young baseball or softball player might play multiple positions in addition to catcher, so a catcher’s glove might not be the best choice.  But if a team member plays catcher the majority of the time, it’s definitely a good idea to invest in a catcher’s glove.

Not sure where to start? We’ve got the bases covered. Our buying guide has all the information you need, including some recommendations, to find your next catcher’s glove.

Catcher’s gloves are available in several colors. Some players like to match the glove color to the rest of the catcher’s gear.

Key considerations

Size

To find the right catcher’s glove, you want to start by matching the glove’s size to the player’s age. Catcher’s mitts use a different sizing system than that used by other types of baseball and softball gloves, so you can’t rely on the measurement you use to purchase, say, an outfield glove, to find the right catcher’s glove.

When checking the size of a catcher’s mitt, flatten the glove on a table and measure its circumference. (For other defensive position gloves, you measure the length from the wrist to the top of the webbing.)

It’s important to match the size of the catcher’s glove to the hand of the player. If the glove is too big, a hard-to-handle pitch could knock the glove off the player’s hand. A glove that’s too small may not have enough padding to protect the hand.

Here are some suggested age ranges and baseball catcher’s glove sizes:

  • Under 10 years old: 29.5 to 31 inches
  • 11 to 13 years old: 30 to 33 inches
  • 14 and older: 32 to 34.5 inches
     

Here are some suggested age ranges and softball catcher’s glove sizes:

  • Under 10 years old: 29.5 to 32 inches
  • 11 to 13 years old: 31 to 33.5 inches
  • 14 and older: 33 to 35 inches
DID YOU KNOW?

Catcher’s mitts didn’t have webbing until the 1940s.

Features

Components

Although most catcher’s gloves seem similar at first glance, there are subtle differences between models that may provide the type of performance you seek as a player. Here are the key features in the different parts of the catcher’s glove.

Webbing: The webbing is the top section of the catcher’s mitt between the forefinger and thumb. Thick laces attach this section to the rest of the glove to provide durability and toughness. The webbing has a little bit of give to it, which helps the ball stick in the glove more easily than when the ball hits the pocket.

The webbing in most catcher’s gloves is closed, meaning the pieces sewn into the glove are tight together with no spaces. Some catchers prefer open webbing, which allows them to see through the webbing a little bit.

Pocket: The pocket of the catcher’s glove is the middle of the glove. Some gloves have a bigger pocket than others. When you squeeze the glove, you want to be able to catch and hold the ball securely in the pocket.

Padding: There is thick padding around the outside of the catcher’s glove. The padding takes some of the sting out of fast, hard pitches. The shape of the padding funnels the ball toward the pocket and webbing.

Materials

Catcher’s mitts are used frequently during games and practice, so they need to be made of very durable materials. Some of the materials you may find in a catcher’s glove include the following:

Synthetic: This is a soft material that’s flexible and lightweight, but it won’t last as long as real leather.

Cowhide: This is a mid-grade type of leather that gives you a solid mix of durability and flexibility. It’s good for an intermediate-level youth player, but the glove is pretty heavy.

Steerhide: This is a tough leather that holds up to frequent use. It gives you great value, but it’s pretty heavy and hard to break in.

DID YOU KNOW?

The more padding in the catcher’s mitt, the smaller the pocket, so there are advantages and disadvantages to extra padding.

Accessories

Helmet: Protect the catcher’s head, face, and throat with a plastic helmet and metal face mask. The high-performance Mizuno G4 Youth Samurai Catcher's Helmet is a top pick. It’s pricey, but it’s well-padded and ventilated and comes in seven colors.

Chest protector: Protect the catcher’s chest, front of the shoulders, and abdomen with memory foam and thick fabric, which you’ll find in the Easton Gametime Chest Protector. Adjustable straps and waist clips ensure a good fit. It comes in four colors, too.

Shin guards: Protect the catcher’s knees, shins, and top of the feet with hard plastic and padding. The Mizuno Samurai Shin Guards have a moisture-wicking lining and superior knee protection.

Knee savers: These padded foam wedges fit between the back of the calf and thigh, reducing the stress on the knee joint. These durable Easton Knee Savers offer superior support and comfort.

DID YOU KNOW?

Some youth players don’t use a catcher’s mitt in beginner-level leagues because pitches at that level aren’t very fast.

Catcher’s glove prices

Inexpensive: Young players and adults who don’t play regularly can expect to pay $25 to $50. These mitts are smaller than average and may not last a long time.

Mid-range: These catcher’s gloves cost $50 to $125. They work nicely for youth players who play a few times a week and need a glove with an intermediate level of performance.

Expensive: The most expensive catcher’s mitts cost between $125 and $400. These gloves are made for advanced youth players and adult players. If you play several times a week, this is the type of catcher’s mitt you want to purchase.

Tips

  • Give the pitcher an aiming point. Talk to the pitcher before the inning about where they would like the target, which is the position of the catcher’s glove. Some pitchers want the center of the glove’s pocket in the target position. Others may aim at the catcher’s chest, not caring about the position of the catcher’s glove.
  • Point the knuckles up when preparing to catch a pitch. To prepare for the pitch, hold the glove with the thumb horizontal and closest to the ground. The knuckles should point toward the sky.
  • Try to catch the ball in the pocket. If there are runners on base, the catcher should try to avoid catching the ball in the webbing, because they need to grab the ball quickly and prepare to throw to a base. If the ball sticks in the webbing, it reduces the catcher’s ability to grab the ball as quickly as possible.
  • Learn how to block a bounced pitch. Quickly turn the glove over. The top edge of the webbing should be toward the ground because the catcher is just trying to block the ball and knock it forward rather than catch it cleanly. It’s helpful if you can catch the ball cleanly, but blocking it is more important. When blocking, position the catcher’s mitt like you’d hold an infielder’s glove when fielding a ground ball.
Because catchers don’t field ground balls like other defensive positions, the mitt doesn’t need a lot of webbing.

FAQ

Q. Are baseball and fast-pitch softball catcher’s gloves the same?
A.
Not quite. Because softball uses a bigger ball than baseball, the softball catcher’s mitt has a larger pocket than the baseball catcher’s mitt. This makes it easier for the softball catcher to squeeze the bigger softball.
 

Q. Does a catcher’s mitt need to be broken in?
A.
Yes. Just like any softball or baseball glove, the catcher’s glove requires some break-in time. However, because the catcher’s mitt is thicker than the typical baseball glove, the break-in period is longer. Some catcher’s gloves arrive partially broken in.
 

Q. Why do some people call it a catcher’s mitt and some call it a catcher’s glove?
A.
Technically, a glove has separate fingers. The catcher’s glove does not have clearly defined fingers, so some people refer to it as a mitt. (Even though you don’t see defined fingers on the front of the catcher’s mitt, your fingers fit in individual pockets inside the glove.) Also, “mitt” is a slang name for baseball glove, and some people prefer the term.
 

Q. Why do catcher’s gloves have extra padding around the outside?
A.
The extra padding protects the hand — the catcher may field 100 or more pitches in a game! Additionally, the padding deadens the ball when it strikes the glove, which can happen when blocking a pitch in the dirt. Deadening the ball helps keep it from bouncing too far away from the catcher.

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