It is up for debate who wore the first pair of batting gloves. In some reports, it was the New York Giants’ slugger, Bobby Thomson, who is responsible for the sport’s famous ‘Shot Heard Round The World’ to clinch the National League Pennant in 1951.
Other baseball people remember that Boston Red Sox’s Ted Williams was the first, after he wore a golf glove during batting practice.
Williams was a hitting guru and constantly looked for an edge at the plate.
If Williams played today, he’d be reading batting glove reviews to find the best batting gloves available to him.
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 had played 27 holes of golf prior to gametime. When it became time to play in that afternoon’s baseball game and Harrelson found himself on the roster, he used his golf gloves during the game to protect his already-blistered hands. Regardless of who the first player was, nearly every hitter in Major League Baseball uses batting gloves today.
What Are Batting Gloves For?
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 batter’s hands from painful blisters and inside pitches. At the professional levels of play, many players coat the handles of their bats with pine tar; the batting gloves prevent players from having to touch this sticky concoction directly. While batting gloves are not required, only a handful of professional players abstain from using them. Thus, good batting gloves are considered an essential piece of a baseball player’s equipment.
What To Look For In The Best Batting Gloves
When choosing between the many different batting glove brands and styles, it is important to know what to look for. Top rated batting gloves are typically thinner, which helps prevent the hands from sweating and thereby weakening the overall grip. The other important aspect to look for is the actual stitching of the batting gloves. You may not realize it, but swinging a baseball creates a lot of friction on the hands. Poorly stitched gloves will tear and rip easily under this level of friction and abrasion. Other components to look for are where on the hands or wrists the gloves strap and secure and if they offer any protective shielding for the back of the hands.
What Batting Gloves Do The Pros Wear
The best batting gloves on the market are often determined by what the professionals wear. No one knows more about the craft of hitting than Major League Baseball players. Thus, many consumers look to them to decide what the coolest batting gloves are each season. According to WhatProsWear.com, there are eight primary companies that supply the Big Leagues with batting gloves: Nike, Franklin, Under Armour, Mizuno, Louisville Slugger, Jordan, Cutters and Marucci. From these eight batting glove manufacturers, the pros favor 18 different styles or models.
The top batting gloves among the pro players are:
Nike Diamond Elite Pro (used by David Wright)
Nike MVP Pro Elite (used by Mike Trout)
Under Armour VII (used by Bryce Harper, Buster Posey)
Franklin CFX Pro (used by Dustin Pedroia, Miguel Cabrera)
Franklin Pro Classic (used by Hanley Ramirez)
We’ll discuss some of the most current models for these best hitting gloves and others in our batting glove reviews to follow.
Top 10 Batting Gloves With Reviews
While the above, pro-inspired gloves are certainly some of the best on the market, they are also some of the most expensive batting gloves out there as well. Thus, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 batting gloves for 2018. In our list, we’ve made sure to include options for all different types of batters and various price ranges. Even if you are playing on a budget, we have options that will deliver the performance-enhancing features you are looking for, with the price that you can afford. After our top 10 batting glove reviews, we’ll pick some of the models that we feel are some of the best batting gloves for baseball players anywhere. For example, we’ll look at the best batting gloves to absorb shock, best batting batting gloves to prevent blisters and so on. Because we showcase a variety of products across different price ranges and levels of play, these best rated batting gloves are listed in no particular order.
Franklin CFX Pro Batting Gloves
If there was a batting glove that was the “face” of Major League Baseball, it would be the Franklin CFX Pro. In popularity, they are practically tied with the Nike MVP Pro Elite, but Franklin is still considered the “official batting glove of MLB,” and has been since the 1980’s. Part of the Franklin CFX Pro’s addition to this legacy is their many different style and color options.
Not only can you make your own custom version by choosing between a number of colors and styles, but Franklin releases their own custom gloves for different holidays and occasions (Father’s Day, the MLB All-Star Game, Memorial Day, etc.). The gloves are constructed from Pittards Digital sheepskin leather.This material grants the gloves incredible softness for the players hands and extreme grip to enhance control in the batter’s box. Their design promotes performance and all-weather play. For flexibility, the Franklin CFX Pro features a double layered flex bridge across the back of the knuckles, a floating thumb technology and Quad-Flex creasing technology. These features allow the gloves to flex in all of the right places for uninhibited range of motion and play. Lastly, the glove’s one-piece palm creates a consistent grip across the entire surface of the inside of the hands. Plus, it gives the batting glove a more seamless feel on the player’s hand(s), which helps add comfort and bat control.
Tons of color and design options to choose from, including making your own custom one
Flex-enhancing features let the glove move as naturally as the player’s hands
Pittards Digital sheepskin leather is both soft and tacky for comfort and grip
No longer the top model in Major League Baseball
Creating a custom Franklin CFX Pro can become costly
It’s hard to find any fault with the Franklin CFX Pro, which is precisely why so many of the top players in the game, like Dustin Pedroia, Edwin Encarnacion, Evan Longoria and many others, rely on these batting gloves.
Franklin Pro Classic Batting Gloves
Before the Franklin CFX Pro, there was just the Franklin Pro, now named the “Classic,” after its long heritage.Originally designed with the help of Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt, the Franklin Pro Classic has been used by the likes of some of the game’s greatest: Cal Ripken, Kirby Puckett and others. It is still a popular style today and used by players like Hanley Ramirez. Compared to the CFX Pro, the Classic has far fewer performance-enhancing features, but sometimes less is more.
These gloves feature Franklin’s Quad-Flex technology, to allow the gloves to move as the batter’s hands do. They are also constructed with the same Pittards Digital sheepskin leather that delivers a soft feel on the player’s hands and a sticky, tacky grip on his or her bat. While the Franklin Classic lacks some of the flex-enhancing features that the CFX has, like the floating thumb design and knuckle flex bridge, it still delivers a competitive level of flexibility. This is thanks in a large part to the hand back’s pro-grade spandex material. It is not only breathable and comfortable on the hand, but also flexible. However, this thinner material may provide less protection to the backs of your hands. Also lacking from the offerings of the Franklin Pro Classic is the many design choices and custom style options.
These batting gloves are much simpler and only offered in four colors: red, blue, black and white.
Time-proven design that pro players love
Quad-Flex technology and spandex material allow the gloves to flex and move naturally
Specialty sheepskin leather used to make these gloves is both soft and sticky
Few color and design options to choose from, this simple design may not be suited for every player
While the Franklin Pro Classic batting gloves may lack some features and design options of its CFX Pro counterpart, its simplistic design and look is exactly what people love about these leather batting gloves.
Nike MVP Pro Elite Batting Gloves
Battling the Franklin CFX Pro for a seat at the top of the batting glove throne is the Nike MVP Elite batting gloves. These gloves deliver on all of the qualities that batters look for in the best batting gloves. The Nike MVP Elite professional batting gloves are made from a similar sheepskin leather material as the Franklin batting gloves.
This allows these gloves to be immensely durable, while also providing the player with great grip for improved bat control during their swing. Aside from sheepskin leather, these batting gloves implement a mesh, stretch fabric across the back of the hands. This gives the hands the breathability that they need to not sweat inside the gloves and damage the hitter’s comfort. For a great fit and even more comfort, the Nike MVP Elite batting gloves features a wrist strap, which adjusts for the right level of fit and support that the player needs. However, what really draws players to the Nike MVP Elite is durability; they may even be the most durable batting gloves on the market. This is because Nike engineered the gloves to be even more structurally strong at key points. Common areas where other gloves might begin to rip and tear remain extra strong with these gloves, which means they are more resilient to damage.
Extremely durable and won’t tear where other gloves do
Becoming one of the most popular choices by MLB players
Breathable material helps wick sweat and keep the shape of the gloves for longer
Few color options
A little more expensive than other products
If you need a pair of batting gloves that are going to last all season long and longer, then there are few options better than the Nike MVP Elite. However, it does lack color and has a price point higher than many competing batting gloves.
Nike Swingman Batting Gloves
Inspired by the legendary swing of hall of famer Ken Griffey Jr; the Swingman batting gloves offer a more affordable alternative to the Nike MVP Pro Elite that still has a design and features used by some pros, like Andrew McCutchen. The Nike engineers that designed the Swingman batting gloves had two key objectives in mind: fit and breath-ability. Almost every feature of these top batting gloves is meant to serve these two purposes, from the perforated mesh hand back to the lightweight wrist strap.
Even the high-grade Cabretta leather on the palm of the gloves seems breathable, while also providing a great grip for improved bat control. Despite this focus on the Nike Swingman being both breathable and having a snug fit, it also has a number of features that improve the glove’s flexibility. Specifically, the glove features a thumb gusset and a hook-loop closure at the wrist. These allow the gloves to move as naturally as the hands do. It’s also worth mentioning that these gloves are available in both a youth and adult size, so players of all sizes and ages can use them. Similar to the Nike MVP Pro Elite, however, these gloves lack the wide range of color options that some of the competing brands offer.
An affordable alternative to the Nike MVP Pro Elite
One of the best gloves in terms of breathability and a comfortable fit
Certain flex features allow the glove to mirror the movements of the player’s hands
Some consumer reviews point to problems with durability
The gloves have little padding to protect the player’s hands
The Nike Swingman gloves offer a lot of the same features and characteristics as the MVP Pro Elite, but with a little less quality. This allows them to come at a more affordable price, compared to their counterpart.
Nike Vapor Elite Pro 3.0 Batting Gloves
While the Nike Swingman and MVP Pro Elite gloves don’t have many style or color options, Nike makes up for it with the new Vapor Elite 3.0 batting gloves. Not only are there a wider range of color choices, but they have a digital design that makes them really cool batting gloves, especially for players that want to look great at the plate.
These gloves are made from 52% sheepskin, 19% polyester, 15% neoprene and 14% nylon. The sheepskin is used in the palm of the batting gloves because it delivers the best grip. The other fabrics are used in the mesh backing to help the hands breathe inside the gloves. All of these materials are lightweight, which gives these batting gloves a great, ultra-light design. This means the batting gloves don’t weigh down the player’s hands and affect their swing. Additionally, they allow the player to really feel every contact, even through the sheepskin palm of the Nike Vapor batting gloves. For flexibility and better mobility of the hands, the Vapor 3.0 features rounded fingers gussets and an expanded gusset between the thumb and index finger. This is a critical connection point between hand and bat. These batting gloves with wrist support secure with a stretch band that is comfortable on the wrist and creates a snug fit.
Multiple color options and a cool looking design to standout at the plate
Super lightweight for unimpeded movement and fast hands
Blend of materials serves multiple purposes, including superior grip and excellent breathability
Lightweight design sacrifices some padding
High price point compared to competing models of batting gloves
The ultra-light materials and overall design of the Nike Vapor Elite Pro 3.0 batting gloves means a player can swing fast and naturally, without their batting gloves getting in the way. However, if you’re looking for protective batting gloves, this lightweight model may not be the best choice.
Under Armour Yard Batting Gloves
Traditionally, Under Armour attached a number to the Yard series, like the Yard VII’s, which are used by all-star Bryce Harper. For 2018, they’ve gotten rid of the numbers, but kept the great design and features that we are used to seeing from one of the best mens batting gloves available. These gloves are made from premium Pittards leather across the palm for a soft, yet tacky, grip.
Synthetic material is placed in key areas of the gloves; this helps bolster the overall durability and structural integrity of the batting gloves for fewer rips and tears. It also doesn’t add any unnecessary bulk to the gloves. The back of the gloves (non-palm side) are made from a textured, mesh material that we’ve seen from a lot of competing products. This is designed to pull and wick sweat away from the hands, so they can breathe inside the gloves. For a snug fit, the TPR closure and strap secures tightly at the player’s wrists. This helps prevents the fit of the gloves from shifting during the swing and having to be readjusted after every pitch. The primary drawback of the Under Armour Yard batting gloves is they are only available in white, which vastly limits the number of design options. That said, they do have an internal locker tag, which means a player can write their name and jersey number on the gloves.
High-quality pittards leather makes for sticky batting gloves
Synthetic material protects the gloves from tears and rips
TPR closure produces a super snug fit that doesn’t diminish after swings
Only available in one color, white
Mid-to-high price range
The new Under Armour Yard batting gloves have a lot of the same features that hitters like Bryce Harper enjoyed in the Under Armour Yard VII. This new model promises to continue to be high performing. Unfortunately, Under Armour has only released one color option so far.
Under Armour Clean-Up VI Batting Gloves
For a new, more affordable alternative to the Under Armour Yard is the Clean-Up VI. Available in both adult mens and youth models, these batting gloves have many similar features as the Yard. However, some of these features and materials are at a lower quality, which is a large reason why these gloves are less than half the price of many competing models.
These batting gloves are made from goatskin leather, which is soft (not as much as sheepskin, though) and helps deliver the necessary durability that this equipment needs. Similar to the Yard, the Clean-Up VI has synthetic overlays to help reinforce the gloves structure. It’s worth mentioning that these overlays don’t negatively impact the flex of the gloves. For moisture wicking, this pair of cheap batting gloves has perforations on the palm-side of the fingers. This helps wick sweat and keep the hands cool when the gloves are on. Additionally, the Under Armour Clean Up VI features HeatGear technology on the back of the hands. This feature helps wick sweat and is designed to dry fast and remain flexible, even when wet. Because of this fast-drying and wet-stretching technology, these gloves perform well in the cold as well. Cold weather batting gloves have to combat the cold and added moisture in the air. That’s no match for this HeatGear technology. Similar to the Yard batting gloves, the Clean Up VI has an internal locker tag label that can be personally customized with a player’s name, jersey number and more. The gloves have limited color options right now, but this may change as the 2018 season begins.
Superior moisture wicking and great cold weather play
Goatskin leather is soft and made even more durable thanks to the synthetic overlays
Great price for either youth or adult models
Some materials might not have the quality that professional players look for
Limited color/design options because it is a new product
When it comes to cheap baseball batting gloves, the Under Armour Clean-Up VI may just clean up the competition. While they don’t have the top-of-the-line materials, these batting gloves deliver on the performance-enhancing features and characteristics that players expect.
Louisville Slugger Series 7 Batting Gloves
Louisville Slugger might be best known for their bats, but that doesn’t stop them from making a good batting glove as well. The Series 7 is their premier offering and, better yet, it has a very competitive price and is available in both a youth and adult model. Thus, these batting gloves are useable and affordable by all players. The Series 7 is built with digitized sheepskin leather, similar to the Franklin CFX Pro gloves. As mentioned before, this material is incredibly soft, which delivers exceptional feel on the batter’s hands.
It’s also very tacky and that makes all the difference, in terms of swing control and grip. The back of each glove is made from Louisville Slugger’s 4-way comfort-stretch diamond mesh material. This, along with the neoprene wrist strap, helps wick sweat away and keep the hands dry inside the glove. It also stretches and flexes to match the motions of the player’s hands. In turn, this allows the Series 7 to maintain a snug fit that doesn’t need to be readjusted each swing. For players that like a little color and flair with their baseball equipment, the Louisville Slugger Series 7 batting gloves come in a wide range of colors and even different shades of the same color, like navy and royal blue. Thus, there’s a color to match almost any uniform or personal color preference.
Super soft and tacky sheepskin leather palm delivers on comfort, swing control and grip
Plenty of color options to choose from to match any uniform or favorite color
Affordable price, especially considering the features and quality materials
Some consumer reviews point to durability issues
The Louisville Slugger Series 7 batting gloves have a lot of color options, high-quality materials and plenty of performance-enhancing features and all for an affordable price. The drawback to these cheap baseball batting gloves is their durability.
Adidas Adizero 2.0 Batting Gloves
For the best batting gloves that Adidas has to offer, you have to look no further than the Adizero 2.0. These batting gloves offer everything a premier pair of batting gloves needs: performance, durability, comfort, style and grip. In terms of grip and comfort, the AdiZero 2.0 batting gloves use the high-quality Pittards leather that Franklin and Under Armour Yard gloves are known for. Again, this material is tacky, soft and comfortable. The sticky palm of these gloves helps grip and control the bat during the swing. For an even stronger grip on the bat, the fingertips of the gloves are textured. The AdiZero 2.0 batting gloves are very lightweight, which means your hands (and bat speed) won’t be hampered by cumbersome materials.
This ultra-light design is helped by the Elite back of hand construction. This is made from a very breathable and extra light material. The purpose of this material is to draw sweat and moisture away from the hands of the player. This helps the gloves maintain their integrity because this moisture isn’t trapped inside the gloves. The Adizero 2.0 batting gloves have three color options: red, white and blue. A fourth option is a trendy, multi-color pattern that puts words of encouragement (such as ‘confident,’ ‘dress louder.’ and ‘elusive’) literally at your fingertips. There’s also some graphics that can be printed on a white model of the Adizero 2.0 gloves, such as a bulldog, eagle, panther, pirate and more. There may even be a graphic that fits your team’s mascot.
Textured Pittards leather palm and fingertips help the player grip and control the bat
Tons of design options, including detailed graphics of different mascot-inspired animals and characters
Lightweight design doesn’t impede the player’s swing or bat speed
Mid-range price may be too high for some players that have a tight budget
Lacks some protective features that some padded batting gloves have
The Adidas Adizero 2.0 batting gloves are lightweight, wick moisture for long-lasting integrity and have tons of color options, including cool graphics to match team mascots. The biggest drawback is that there isn’t many protective features for the hands.
EvoShield Speed Stripe Batting Gloves
EvoShield is a relatively new company, compared to giants like Franklin, Nike and Adidas. As such, it has taken EvoShield a few tries to get the design of their batting gloves down. Some of their early models had durability and performance issues. It’s still early to tell, but based on current reviews, it seems that these issues are resolved with the new EvoShield Speed Stripe batting gloves. What helps the EvoShield batting gloves standout among the competition is their protective, custom-molding hand shield.
This gel-to-shell technology inserts into the back of the gloves and then hardens into a protective shield that fits the natural curvature of your hand. Traditional gloves use foam and synthetic materials to make shock absorbing batting gloves. The EvoShield Speed Stripe, on the other hand, uses this protective mold to disperse the energy, which makes them the best batting gloves to reduce sting on the back of the hands. Aside from the protective mold shielding, these batting gloves have a number of other features that help the batter perform at the plate. With Pittards leather on the palm, the gloves help grip and control the bat during all points of the player’s swing. And, for a snug fit, the wrist strap is twice secured with the sleek, low-profile pull tab. This helps reduce the number of times you need to adjust the gloves or wrist strap during a game. The EvoShield Speed Stripe batting gloves are available in 13 different color options. There are adult and youth variations to these batting gloves, so any player can experience the power of having some of the best padded batting gloves out there.
Molded shielding is ultra protective, especially to the back of the hands
High-quality leather palm helps the batter grip it and rip it
Wrist strap is double secured with a pull tab, which means fewer adjustments needed
One pair of gloves only comes with one protective gel molding (meant for the lead batting hand), which could be an issue for switch hitters
Uncertain if the newer EvoShield gloves have the durability that players look for, especially since the older models did not
The EvoShield’s protective molding is a feature unlike anything else in the batting glove industry. If you’re fearful of your hands being hit by inside pitches, look no further than these 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 youth 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 kids 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. Good 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 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.
Best 2018 Batting Gloves
With our 2018 selection of 10 best batting gloves reviews done, it is now time to look at some of the best gloves for different types of player preference.
Best Affordable Pair Of Batting Gloves
This is a close race between the Louisville Slugger Series 7 and the Under Armour Clean-Up VI batting gloves. While the Under Armour offering is technically cheaper than the Series 7, it also uses lower quality materials. However, and despite its better materials, the Series 7 has some durability issues, which could point to a structural flaw. Thus, the best affordable pair of batting gloves is the Under Armour Clean-Up VI.
Best Batting Gloves To Prevent Blisters
Blisters can occur from batting gloves for a number of reasons. nIf they don’t wick sweat and moisture correctly, the gloves can bunch up and cause blisters. Additionally, too-thin gloves can also cause blisters from simply not protecting the hands from the handle of the bat. The Nike Vapor Elite 3.0 batting gloves have a lightweight design, but the soft leather and superior sweat wicking technology makes these gloves a winner for this category.
Best Batting Gloves To Reduce Sting
Reducing bat sting with batting gloves is all about padding, especially in the palm region. For the best sting reduction, look for batting gloves that use high-end materials on the palm, like the digitized Pittards leather used in the Under Armour Yard, Franklin CFX Pro and other models to make our list.
Most Protective Batting Gloves
For simple protection of the hands, no glove can really compare with the EvoShield Speed Stripe batting gloves and their gel-to-shell technology. Even though the pair of gloves only comes with one gel mold for the batter’s lead hand, it still helps the player shake off an inside pitch on the hands or any other impact dealt to the back of hand.
Best Overall Batting Gloves
If we had to pick a best out of these top 10 batting gloves, we’d have to side with the MLB sluggers and go with the Franklin CFX Pro batting gloves. While they may have some steep competition these days, especially from the Nike MVP Pro Elite gloves, they are still number one in our opinion. They have all the great features that one would expect from a high end batting glove and a ton of different style and color options to choose from.
Heading into 2018 means a new season of baseball is going to be here before you know it. Whether you’ve grown out of your old gloves, they’ve started to tear or you simply want a new change, you are sure to find a model that suits your needs and budget in this list of batting glove reviews. It will be interesting to see if Franklin remains the top batting glove manufacturer or if Nike and their products will nudge Franklin off their throne.