What's in a name?
Apparently, a lot. According to WhatProsWear.com research, a majority of pro players use Rawlings or Wilson gloves on the field. Brand awareness, historical presence, and craftsmanship all play a part in what glove manufacturers pro players to Little Leaguers use. Based on customer and player feedback, JustBallGloves.com reviews the eight (8) best baseball glove brands right now.
These baseball glove companies aren't listed in any order.
When Chicago-based manufacturer Ashland Manufacturing started making gloves in 1913, they were company was known for meat. By the time they changed their name to Wilson Sporting Goods in 1931, baseball gloves were the more savory dish to serve. Now, players from Clayton Kershaw to Jose Altuve sport Wilson's popular models. Glove Guru Shigeaki Aso is the company's Master Craftsman, and with some of the gloves on the market, Wilson will continue to be one of the best baseball glove brands in the foreseeable future.
The "Sure Catch" glove put St. Louis-based Rawlings on the map. In 1912, this one-piece glove with sewn-in finger channels didn't look the part, but it was better than the alternatives. Years later, a former Cardinals pitcher (Bill Doak) revolutionized the game by pitching Rawlings on a multi-thong web laced feature into the finger and thumb. This, essentially, created the first natural pocket. Now, Rawlings gloves present the Gold Glove awards and are one of the most used glove brands by professional players.
American-made. Not many companies can still claim a 100% manufacturing is done in the United States. But, since 1934, Nokona gloves have been expertly crafted in Nocona, Texas. Made with top-grain American hides provided by American ranchers, this patriotic brand utilizes leathers that are tanned in the USA to their specifications. All the gloves are carefully cut, stamp, stitch, lace, and embroider by hand. Baseball legend Nolan Ryan has said, "My first glove was a Nokona. The high quality of these gloves is what today's top players need, and they're the gloves I've chosen for my grandkids."
Albert Pujols. David Ortiz. Andrew McCutchen. Buster Posey. Francisco Lindor. All of these MLB players invest their money and time to advise Marucci -- based in Baton Rouge -- on how to craft their gloves. Since the company's inception by two former Big Leaguers and their athletic trainer, Marucci has handcrafted bats and gloves for some of the game's best players. The results have shown.
Since 1996, Under Armour has been a market disruptor. Founded by former University of Maryland football player Kevin Plank, Under Armour perfected performance apparel and then moved to gloves. For 2018, they expanded to fielding gloves for baseball and the reviews have been raving. Pro, Deception, and Framer series catchers mitts were their initial foray into gloves, but the high quality leather construction that allows for quicker break-in has helped make the fielding gloves just as valued.
Family owned and focused on quality and detail, All-Star gloves are known more for their catchers mitts. The company holds the patents for wraparound shins, triple knees on leg guards, lightweight wire masks, and adjustable batter's helmets. Their gloves use Japanese Maruhashi leather, which guarantees season-after-season performance with outstanding structure and pop, without worry of a long, extensive break-in period. The Pro Guard Padding (PGP) provides exceptional protection on defense against batted balls.
There's a reason Chicago Cubs Javier Baez digs SSK. Since Kyozo Sasaki transformed his humble Japan storefront, SSK has been a home to cutting edge technology for gloves. The company's Skokunin tradition combined with professional grade steer hide leather results in game-ready gloves.
Started in Japan in 1906 by Rihachi Mizuno, the US headquarters are in Norcross, Georgia. The company has always prided itself on providing high-quality equipment for players of all ages. This shows with their fit and feel approval applied to all baseball gloves, which are built with some of the most comfortable, highest performing, and top quality ball gloves in the game.
Produced out of Hays, Kansas, Shoeless Joe crafts modern day ball gloves that have a "Golden Era" look to them. All Shoeless Joe gloves are handmade with 100% tobacco tanned steer hide that allows all styles to be easily broken in and be game ready (in a very short period). These gloves are manufactured with the most up-to-date technology for construction and design, and they maintain their shape and structure for longer than most baseball gloves.
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