It is up for debate who wore the first pair of batting gloves. In some reports, it was the Giants’ slugger Bobby Thomson, who is responsible for the sport’s most famous homerun – the shot heard round the world – to clinch the National League pennant in 1951.
Other baseball people remember that Boston’s Ted Williams wore a golf glove during batting practice.
Williams was a hitting guru and constantly looked for an edge at the plate; he’d certainly be looking at the best batting gloves available.
The first player to wear gloves during an actual game was Ken Harrelson. Allegedly, he wore the gloves because he was not expecting to play that day, so he played 27 holes of golf in the morning.
When game time came and he found himself on the roster, he used his golf gloves to protect his blistered hands.
Regardless of who the first player was, nearly every hitter in Major League Baseball uses batting gloves today.
Contemporary batting gloves are typically made from a combination of leather and synthetic materials and are designed to improve comfort and grip while swinging the bat.
They also help absorb the force of hitting the ball and protect the hands from painful blisters and inside pitches.
At the professional levels of play, many players coat the handles of the bat with pine tar; the batting gloves prevent players from having to touch this sticky concoction directly.
While they are not required, only a handful of professional players abstain from using them. Thus, batting gloves are considered an essential piece of equipment.
Top Batting Gloves You Should Consider Buying
|Franklin CFX Pro||Under Armour Yard||LS Series 5 Pro|
When choosing a brand or style of batting gloves, it is important to know what to look for. Top of the line gloves are typically thinner, which helps prevent the hands from sweating and thus weakening the overall grip.
The other important aspect to look for is the actual stitching. You may not realize it, but swinging a baseball bat creates a lot of friction on the hands. Poorly stitched gloves will tear and rip easily under this level of friction.
Other components to look for are where on the hands or wrists the gloves Velcro and do they offer any kind of shielding for the back of your hands.
Here are some of the top styles and brands of best baseball batting gloves.
- Under Armour
- Louisville Slugger
- Best Youth Batting Gloves
Nike and their swish logo are possibly the most recognizable brand when it comes to sport-inspired clothing and equipment.
Their trendsetting sportswear is designed specifically for athletes of all levels and their batting gloves are no exception.
Nike understands that different players look for different qualities in their batting gloves, so they have a variety of different styles that highlight these different desires.
Overall, they use a thin leather construction to offer a durable glove that allows the batter to feel the handle of the bat.
Due to the lightweight design, they do not cause the hands to sweat much and compromise the fit of the gloves.
Nike batting gloves fasten with Velcro at the lower part of the wrist, which provides a secure fit on the hand.
Nike offers a variety of styles and colors that allow the consumer to pick a look that fits their uniform or shows off their personal flair.
The most popular styles include the Vapor, MVP, Diamond and N1. Each style supports a different play style.
For example, the Vapor line is customized for maximum breathability and grip, while the N1 series has reinforced padding for superior protection.
Best Nike Batting Gloves
If popularity is any measure of the quality of the batting gloves, then Franklin takes the gold medal. It is the most popular brand among professional baseball athletes.
Their gloves have everything going for them – soft leather that is breathable and dries quickly when sweated into, a snug fight that tightens at the lower wrist and innovative stitching that delivers a comfortable feel while holding a bat.
While Franklin does not offer the numerous colors and styles that Nike and other brands do, Franklin batting gloves are much more affordable; even their premier gloves.
Franklin also makes a Cold Weather Batting Glove line that is specifically designed to perform well at the plate during cold weather.
They are the only sporting-goods company that manufacturers batting gloves that are made just for lower temperature ball games.
Thus, the Franklin Cold Weather Batting Glove is ideal for hitters who are playing in fall ball leagues or in colder regions.
Best Franklin Batting Gloves
In recent years, Under Armour (UA) has made huge strives to become a leader in sports equipment and clothing.
Their batting gloves come in a variety of styles and colors that allow any player to customize their look and stand out.
Compared to the competitors, Under Armour batting gloves tend to be a little bit thicker. While this helps protect the hand and increase the shock absorption, it does not offer the breathability and bat-feel as other gloves.
Some of the best qualities of these batting gloves are in their materials. While many glove manufacturers use sheep or calfskin leather, UA uses goatskin.
Goatskin is better resistant to abrasions and tears; it’s also easier to stretch. Thus, their batting gloves using this material have a tendency to have a form fit that may be tight at first, before it stretches to the contour of the hand.
Despite being a relatively new player on the market, Under Armour makes some of the top batting gloves out there. Their most popular batting gloves are the Cage and Under Armour Yard series.
Best Under Armour Batting Gloves
Their gloves tend to run a little thicker than most. However, despite being made with a little extra leather, the gloves remain breathable.
The soft leather is durable and dries well after becoming wet, which allows the Louisville batting gloves to return to their original shape and feel for a long-lasting, secure fit. Most of their gloves have at least six different styles and color schemes to satisfy any player’s stylistic needs.
Louisville Slugger makes gloves for different levels of play. So, whether you are at the top levels of your game or just starting out, they have gloves that fit your needs (and your hands).
Often, the highest levels of competition demand better materials, like Cabretta leather or high-quality composite materials, and protective features.
This is not to say that the more affordable offerings by Louisville Slugger are made with cheap materials and lack any design elements.
Simply put, you don’t need top end materials and features for your batting gloves, unless you are facing top pitching.
Best Louisville Slugger Batting Gloves
Similar to Nike, Adidas is known for selling sport-inspired clothing and equipment. They have batting gloves in youth and adult sizes.
They also have the same attraction to different designs, colors and patterns that Nike has. This makes Adidas an ideal choice for players that enjoy standing out or having an extra level of style.
Most of their available batting gloves feature pre-curved fingers for a more natural fit that requires less time to break in.
With double synthetic leather on the palms, they achieve a superior grip on the bat. This is important at the plate because it allows the hitter to maintain full control of their swing.
The majority of their gloves are made with a flexible and breathable material that helps keep sweat out. Not only does this ensure that your hands remain dry inside the gloves, but it also helps keep the batting gloves themselves dry and sweat-free, which helps them maintain their integrity and fit.
The downside to Adidas’ batting gloves is they do not provide any extra protection to the fingertips or back of the hand, which leaves the hitter vulnerable to painful inside pitches, especially at higher levels of play.
Best Adidas Batting Gloves
While EvoShield is a lesser-known company compared to Nike, Adidas and other brands, they offer some innovative features that cannot be found in competitors.
Perhaps the most impressive part of EvoShield batting gloves’ design is their custom-molding hand shields. The thin gel mold starts out soft and inserts into a concealed pocket on the back of the gloves.
Within just thirty minutes of wearing the gloves, the soft gel begins to react and harden. When it is finished, it will be a protective shield customized to the exact shape and curvature of the user’s hand. No other batting glove offers such a unique shell for the back of the hand.
Apart from the custom molding, EvoShield also uses high-quality materials in the construction of its batting gloves.
The hand back is made from a carefully engineered PowerStretch fabric that expels moisture, while maintaining a snug fit that does not restrict movement.
The palm is high-grade leather made by Pittards and features EvoShield’s specially crafted grip pattern that gives players a masterful handle on the bat.
Their pro batting gloves feature different colors in a digital camouflage pattern, which gives them a modern look that stands out on the field.
EvoShield batting gloves’ main drawback is their high price range. In addition, one pair only includes a single shielding mold, meant for the the lead batting hand. Other molds have to be purchased separately.
Best EvoShield Batting Gloves
Best Youth Batting Gloves
Knowing the best youth batting gloves to choose for your son or daughter can be difficult because there are so many options out there.
The majority of the above options have youth models or, at the very least, run small enough to fit a younger hitter.
That said, often the more expensive, high end batting gloves are superfluous at the early levels of play.
Typically, the biggest components to the good batting gloves are their grip and protective qualities.
While grip is always important, young players don’t have the bat speed or power to compromise their grip during their swing.
Protection is also less important because pitchers in youth leagues don’t throw hard enough for their pitches to potentially cause damage to a hitter’s hands.
The best qualities to look for in youth batting gloves are their durability and fit. Kids grow fast, which means they are going to quickly outgrow any sporting equipment you buy them.
When it comes to their batting gloves, buying a little big is okay, just make sure they have a sturdy wrist strap that allows you to tighten and control the fit of the gloves.
Durability is important because you want to ensure the gloves last. The best batting gloves don’t begin fraying or tearing after heavy use. Often this comes down to the type of materials used, but the silent killer of batting gloves is actually sweat.
Without the ability to wick sweat away, not only do the hands get clammy, but all of that moisture is absorbed into the fibers of the gloves. Overtime, this will cause them to deteriorate and become brittle.
Thus, your best option, when shopping for a young player, is to find the batting gloves that are more affordable and use lower quality, but still semi-tacky and extra durable, materials.
Our pick for the best batting gloves for youth players has to be the Louisville Slugger BGS514-A Series 5.
With the Lycra stretch zones paired with the already stretchable qualities of the goatskin leather, these batting gloves have a lot of room to grow into it.
Additionally, they provide a good balance between price and quality; while you aren’t spending a ton of money, you are still getting a durable, long-lasting goatskin leather material.
The Adidas Trilogy batting gloves make a similar case and are a good runner up, if you can’t get your hands on the BGS514-A Series 5. These gloves are also a good mix between quality materials and a low price.
Whether it was due to hitting expert Ted Williams, the mythic Bobby Thomson or poor Ken Harrelson’s calloused golf hands, the batting glove has evolved from an inventive trick by hitters trying to get an edge to a fundamental component of any baseball player’s equipment.
Each brand and style of batting gloves offers its own advantages and disadvantages. As aforementioned, the type of batting glove really depends on the player’s preference and their level of play.
For example, at a youth or high school level, back of the hand protection is not as necessary at a semi or pro-level because the pitching is much slower. However, affordability might be more of a selling point in these leagues.
Other aspects, such as the type and thickness of the palms vary from player to player; some hitters prefer thin leather that allows them to feel the handle of the bat and others like padded leather for more shock absorption upon contact.
Whatever the preference is, the most universally crucial aspects of a good pair of batting gloves revolve around the quality of the materials and their breathability.
When making a purchasing decision, price is always a relevant matter. However, sometimes the cheaper batting gloves use less reliable materials and tend to rip more easily.
For example, Adidas’ cheapest batting gloves use synthetic leather on the palm, which is not as durable as the genuine leather featured in their mid-to-upper range of gloves.
While spending less money is always tempting, it may be wiser to shell out a little more for a glove that will stand the test of time. Breathability is equally important. If batting gloves cannot properly expel sweat from the hands, the grip is compromised.
In addition, moisture build-up in the fibers of the gloves will cause them to harden and lose flexibility. Not only does this create an uncomfortable fit on the hands, but it also increases the chance that they will tear.