Little League season is here, and thousands of kids are about to take the field for the first time. Some will show immediate promise and hit a home run in their debut at-bat. Others will impress with a long strike to first from third, just in time to get the runner. A few will wander around right field in search of bees.
But no matter which future hall-of-famer/casual fan is yours, one thing remains the same: They can’t hit the diamond unless they’re wearing a glove. And while picking out a mitt for 5-year-old may seem easy (just buy what’s in the store, no?), the proper one can make all the difference when it comes to scooping up a grounder or snagging a fly ball. Many T-ball or youth gloves are often designed to open and close more easily than a standard baseball glove, some companies even going so far as to use patented technology to accomplish the goal. They almost all come 100-percent broken-in ⏤ so kids can play from day one rather than spend a week oiling/staring at a belt-wrapped glove on the shelf ⏤ and most use a soft leather or material to protect little hands. Finally, gloves for kids under 10-years-old are generally sized between 9- and 11.5-inches although some even come with adjustable wrist cuffs to ensure the perfect fit.
As for which glove is right for which kid, it really depends on the child’s hand. To help narrow down the choices, though, we turned to Amazon ⏤ identifying the most highly reviewed t-ball and youth base/softball gloves and catchers mitts on the site. Our criteria were simple: A glove had to score a solid four or five stars, nothing less, and it had to have more than 75 (often many, many more) reviewers ⏤ no 5-star seats with only eight comments allowed. In the end, these were the five most recommended.
Rawlings Players Youth Glove Series
The most reviewed youth baseball glove on the site, the Rawlings Players Youth scores almost five stars from 400 customers. It’s a 9-inch t-ball mitt for first-timers with brightly colored red, pink, or blue accents and super soft lining. Better still, it comes 100 percent broken-in and ready for a game of catch.
What One Reviewer Said: “Great quality and rugged baseball glove for our son. He loves it, it fits well, and it’s pliable enough that you don’t really have to even break it in. He’s used it one whole season so far and will likely outgrow before he wears it out.”
Wilson A200 Youth MLB 10″ Tee Ball Glove
The fun thing about the Wilson A200 is that it comes in the official colors of all 30 MLB teams, and with the team’s logo emblazoned on the pocket. It’s a 10-inch mitt made of EVA (so note, not leather), has an H-pattern webbing, and is designed for kids just hitting the field for the first time.
What One Reviewer Said: “Best glove for a t-baller, hands down. It’s flexible and helps them learn to close down on the ball with ease. Our son is a natural player, but this glove really helped him excel! We are buying these gloves for the team now.”
Franklin Sports RTP Teeball Performance Gloves & Ball Combo
Not far behind the Rawlings in terms of the number of reviews (a solid 4.5-stars from 255 commenters), Franklin Sports RTP gloves come ready to catch (no glove oil required) and feature an adjustable wrist closure to ensure the glove fits small hands comfortably. They also come in a bunch of colors ⏤ including pink/gray, bright red, and orange/camo ⏤ and include a soft foam ball.
What One Reviewer Said: “Perfect for a first baseball set! Mitt is soft and pliable, so little hands can open and close it after a little use. The ball is soft-ish, but not a whiffle-type ball, and it is t-ball sized. Highly recommend!”
Mizuno Prospect GXC105 Youth Catcher’s Mitt
With almost five-stars on 160 reviews, the Mizuno Prospect stands apart from the other youth catcher’s mitts. It uses a “V Flex Notch” and Power Close technology to help younger players drop fewer pitches and a “ParaShock” palm pad to save young hands from the pain of catching two-seam heaters all game. It also comes broken-in.
What One Reviewer Said: “Once again, Mizuno has not disappointed. I have been using Mizuno gloves for years and have stuck with them for my children. This catcher’s mitt is a perfect size for my 9-year-old son. The size and weight are perfect. Tons of padding and it broke in very quickly after a little glove conditioning lotion and one round of hard-throwing. The very reasonable price only adds to the positives. If you have a young catcher who has graduated from using a normal glove but isn’t ready for a full-size mitt, this is the one to get.”
Easton ZFX 1101 Z-Flex
This 11-inch glove for older kids boasts a 40-percent bigger web than comparable mitts, ultra-soft leather, and patented Z-Flex tech that uses elastic palm strips to “give players more leverage when closing the glove.” It gets a solid 4-stars on 83 reviews.
What One Reviewer Said: “Lightweight and super easy to use right out of the box. The most impressive thing about this glove is that it has a NICE pocket that holds the ball extremely well. While excellent for beginners, I also coach and would recommend this glove for all little leaguers up to about the third year of kid pitch (12- to 13-years old).”