If you wear a size nine shoe, you won’t buy something much larger or smaller, so why purchase a baseball glove that doesn’t fit your hand? With the wrong-sized shoes, you can trip, fall, and injure yourself. With a wrong-sized baseball glove, you can eat a 120-mph baseball in the face or elsewhere on your body. Neither makes sense, so why do it?
In this article, we discuss the importance of choosing a best baseball glove for you and your hand. Doing so ensures that your glove will protect you and grab any baseball that comes your way. But how do you know what size to select? Are you going to go to 20 different stores and try on every glove? You can, but you don’t have to.
Below, we’ll explain how to measure your hand, so you know what kind of glove to shop for. Comfort and usefulness are the main things to look at. Remember, the position you play is just as important as the size of your hand when choosing a glove.
- It is important to choose a baseball glove that fits your hand in order to protect you and grab any baseball that comes your way.
- To find the right size, you need to measure the length of your index finger and the circumference of your hand. You can also use a sizing chart based on age and position.
- The key is to find something snug but not so tight that it causes discomfort in the hand, wrist, or fingers.
- For youth players, it is recommended not to overspend when buying gloves since they will likely grow out of them quickly.
Measuring for a baseball glove
Choosing the right-sized baseball glove is different from choosing a sweatshirt that comes in sizes ranging from small to extra-large. Shopping for a proper baseball glove requires the shopper to know the measurements of their hand, so they know which gloves to focus on. Many sporting goods stores can do this for you but be prepared in case they cannot. You can bring a ruler or tape measure with you or do it at home and write it down.
Another factor that influences purchasing a glove is age. After many years of research and customer feedback, glove manufacturers now know the average range of glove sizes based on age. Each person’s hands are different, but by using the sizing chart below, you will know what range of baseball gloves you should be shopping for based on age and position.
While we do not endorse one brand of glove over another, our friends at Rawlings have a helpful sizing chart that we have shared below. If you prefer a different brand, that is great too. Other manufacturers follow this same sizing chart.
When you see the term “glove size” on the chart above, that is the measurement from the tip of the index finger on the glove to the bottom. To find gloves in these sizes, manufacturers stamp the size of the glove either on the pinky finger or thumb, so you know exactly what size glove you are getting.
Tips for measuring your hand for a baseball glove
So how does one measure a hand for the right glove? You should know two numbers. First, measure the length of your index finger. The length of baseball gloves is based on the distance from the top of the index finger on the glove to the bottom heel of the glove that sits above the wrist. Next, you need to measure the circumference of your hand. This is done by wrapping a tape measure around your hand. See the illustration below:
Once you know these numbers, you need to select the type of glove based on the position you play (or want to play). Remember that leather can be conditioned to expand or contract slightly if your hand is different. When you place the new glove on your hand, your fingertips should touch the top of the finger inserts when your hand is fully extended and the glove is open.
If your fingers feel like they cannot fully extend, then the glove is too small. If your fingers cannot reach the top of the finger inserts and the fit is loose, then the glove is too big. If the glove is too tight around the circumference of the hand, then that is another indicator that the glove is too small. If it is a snug fit, warm water and conditioning will allow the leather to conform and adjust to the shape of your hand.
Choosing the right-sized baseball glove
When trying on gloves, the key is to find something snug but not so tight that it causes discomfort in the hand, wrist, or fingers. It cannot be too loose either because loose gloves fall off hands, and gloveless hands cannot field a baseball (unless you are Kevin Mitchell). We bring his name up because it is the most remarkable catch without a glove in baseball history, and you need to see it:
As we’ve mentioned in past articles, the position you play requires different-sized gloves. There is no rule stating that infielders cannot use gloves designed for the outfield, but the performance difference is noticeable.
Consider what happens when you don’t have a glove that fits properly. You are compromising your safety and your ability to cleanly field a baseball. Watch what happens below when the glove is too loose on the hand (also, notice how many of these plays involve pitchers!). Outside of hiding pitch grips, no one really talks about the fit of a pitcher’s glove, but you can see below how important it is:
Considerations for youth players
For youth players, selecting a glove is a little trickier because the body is still growing. The importance of a well-fitting glove is just as prevalent in Little League as it is in the pros. Kids can be hit with line drives just like adults can, so a fitted glove is essential to kids’ safety. However, most parents will not spend hundreds of dollars per year on new gloves as their child grows.
The key to buying properly fitted gloves for young players is to find something economical or used because the chances are that the glove will only be used for 2-3 years until the hands grow out of the glove. The benefits of today’s technology allow young kids to have synthetic gloves that can conform to many different hand sizes without being too big or uncomfortable.
It is recommended not to overspend when buying gloves for young players unless baseball will be a part of the child’s future for a long time. If that is the case, kids around 12–14 years old can shop for high-end leather gloves that can last for a long time.
Finding the perfect baseball glove is a difficult endeavor unless you have the money to build a custom glove. But, with the right techniques, you can make just about any glove a perfect glove for you. Remember, everyone is different, which means everyone’s hands are different.
To make sure you have the right equipment, you need to know the dimensions of your hand and what features are important to you when playing. To learn more about the differences between gloves and the demands of today’s top players like Mookie Betts, Bryce Harper, and Mike Trout, watch the video below, and you’ll see firsthand why baseball glove selection is half science and half feeling:
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