Best Outfield Gloves

Updated November 2019
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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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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 
How we decided

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

20 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
162 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 outfield gloves

Last Updated November 2019

Baseball and softball players require quite a bit of specialized equipment. Offensive players can use different weights and lengths of bats matching their ability level. Defensive players have this same ability to customize their gear. Depending on the defensive position being played, a baseball or softball player may need a specific design and size of glove.

Outfield gloves are designed to help these players make the defensive plays they frequently encounter. An outfielder must catch fly balls primarily, whereas an infielder receives more ground balls than popups. The primary benefit of an outfield glove is a large pocket that helps squeeze fly balls tightly to secure them. But an outfield glove also often has a specialized webbing that helps with making a variety of plays.

The main variations in outfield gloves are in their webbing size and style, as well as the size of the glove itself. There are many factors and styles to consider, but finding the right outfield glove can help you be a supportive teammate who makes great plays in crucial moments.

While leather gloves have a break-in period, they are generally more flexible than synthetic gloves and will become more comfortable over time.

Key considerations

Size

With outfield gloves, size is a significant consideration. When an outfielder is running at top speed to chase down a fly ball, a large glove provides a margin of error for making the catch. A ball that might glance off the edge of a smaller glove could instead roll into the pocket with a large outfield glove.

Younger players should use a reduced sized glove since they won’t have the hand strength to squeeze a larger, heavier glove, securing the ball on a catch. But once a player moves into high school, he or she should use an adult-style glove.

Outfield gloves typically range in overall size from 10 to 12.5 inches for younger players and 12 to 15 inches for high school and older players.

Padding

Outfield gloves usually do not have a lot of padding. The idea is to catch the ball in the larger-than-average pocket, which reduces the need for padding. A glove with less padding weighs less, which is useful for an outfielder chasing a fly ball.

EXPERT TIP

If you’ll be playing both infield and outfield, seek out a hybrid glove size that’s on the lower end of the range for an outfielder and on the larger end of the range for an infielder.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

The most important feature of an outfield glove is the pocket and the webbing. The pocket is the area of the glove that fits between the index finger and the thumb.

Pockets

The fingers, palm, and heel an outfield glove are relatively similar to an infielder glove design. It’s the pocket where the biggest design difference occurs.

Pocket sizes vary for a pitcher, infield, or outfield glove, but you can expect a pocket in any glove to be 4 to 7 inches in length and 2.5 to 4 inches in width (with the exception of catchers’ mitt). Outfield gloves have the biggest pockets among baseball and softball gloves.

The pocket is held between the thumb and index finder with laces, which means the pocket will have some give as a ball strikes it to help players keep the ball secured inside the pocket after a catch. If the pocket were rigid, the ball might strike it and pop back out, causing a drop.

Materials

You can pick between leather and synthetic materials in gloves. Leather has a greater level of durability than synthetic. However, leather weighs more, which may be difficult for young players to handle. Leather also costs quite a bit more than synthetic.

Webbing

The webbing inside the pocket varies just as much as pockets do. Here are the most common types of webbing used in outfield’ gloves:

  • H webs: H webs have wide strips criss-crossing the pocket, creating what almost looks like the letter H when viewed from the back. H webs have open squares between the strips. An outfielder can use these open spaces to track a fly ball while using the rest of the glove to block the sun.

  • I webs: I webs use wider strips than the H web glove. When viewed from the back, these webs look like the capital letter I. The spaces between the strips are bigger as well. As with H webs, I webs let outfielders track the ball while blocking the sun.

  • Trapeze webbing: This style of web consists of one wide strip in the pocket that runs in the same direction as the fingers. Some styles have a wide strip at the top of the pocket as well. On both sides of this strip, criss-crossed laces will provide stability to the pocket.
     

A softball player may choose a closed-webbing outfield glove, as it better secures the large size of the softball compared to the other webbings listed here.

Outfield glove prices

Outfield’ gloves have a wide range of prices. The least expensive models range from about $20 to $40. These are usually youth-size gloves consisting of a synthetic material.

Mid-range gloves have a cost of $40 to $100. These gloves usually have a size that’s appropriate for youth or adult players. Some leather gloves will fall in this price range.

The most expensive outfield gloves run from $100 to $300. These may have extra features, such as a specialized pocket design or six finger holes. They are almost always made of leather. Some of these gloves will have extra laces or stitching to ensure longevity.

DID YOU KNOW?

Gloves that are labeled right-handed throwers fit on the left hand, so the outfielder can throw with the right hand (and vice versa for gloves called left-handed throwers).

DID YOU KNOW?

The back of the outfield glove often has a hook-and-loop strap that allows the player to adjust the tightness of the fit.

Tips

When shopping for an outfield glove, you’ll want to select the proper size for the age of the player. The size of the glove (in inches) may be printed on the thumb or pinky finger of the glove. If not, measure from the tip of the index finger to the middle of the heel of the glove.

For baseball players who play outfield, the proper sizes are as follows.

  • Up to age 10: Less than 11.5 inches.

  • Ages 11 to 13: 11 to 12.5 inches.

  • Ages 14 and up: 12 to 14 inches.
     

For fast pitch softball outfielders, the proper sizes are as follows:

  • Up to age 10: Less than 11.75 inches (or less than 11.5 inches for those using an 11-inch softball instead of a 12-inch softball).

  • Ages 11 to 13: 11.5 to 12.5 inches.

  • Ages 14 and up: 12 to 15 inches.
     

For slow pitch softball outfielders, a glove measuring 12 to 15 inches is appropriate.

As a final point, any gloves of over 13.5 inches for baseball or softball are rarely offered for sale. Only outfielders with extremely large hands should use 14- or 15-inch gloves.

Other products we considered

We expect the majority of baseball and softball players will find a great outfield glove in our recommendations. However, if you want a different design or some different features, we did consider a few other gloves. The Easton Black Pearl Glove has a 12.5-inch measurement with a huge pocket and features an eye-catching design in all-black. For a glove aimed at outfield ages 14 and under, the Rawlings Prodigy Youth Glove is a perfect size. It measures 12 inches, and it will work nicely for a couple of seasons as kids’ hands grow. Fast-pitch softball players who want a big, 12.5-inch glove to play outfield may like the Rawlings Liberty Advanced Softball Glove. It has an all-white design for a unique appearance. For those who play both infield and outfield, the Six Finger Shoeless Joe Glove is a versatile pick. It has six finger holes, so you can adjust your grip to match the position you’re playing.

An outfield glove is bigger than an infielder glove in part to help outfielders successfully complete diving catches.

FAQ

Q. Why does an outfielder need a specific type and size of glove versus another position?

A. An infielder often needs to pull the ball out of the glove after a ground ball and execute a fast throw to a base. An outfielder catches fly balls regularly. This means he or she doesn’t need to make fast throws after the catch very often, so a larger pocket works well. Grabbing the ball out of a big pocket can take a split second longer than with a reduced pocket size.

Q. Are there restrictions on the color of the glove for an outfielder?

A. No. There are no baseball rules regarding the color of the glove for defensive players, while pitchers’ gloves do have color restrictions. Some players may want gloves that match their uniforms. Others just want a traditional brown glove.

Q. How many years can I use the same outfield glove?

A. For adults who play a couple of times in the week during the summer, a glove may last several years. For those who play and practice multiple times a week, a glove may only last one or two seasons. Kids who are still growing may outgrow a glove every one or two seasons.

Q. Will I have to break in my outfield glove?

A. Yes. All baseball and softball gloves will need a break-in period. It can take a day or two of practice to soften the glove, making it ready for game day. Play catch with the glove for a couple of days to further break it in.

The team that worked on this review
  • Kyle
    Kyle
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer

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