Guide to Baseball Glove Types and Styles

Baseball gloves and baseball go hand in hand—literally. All baseball players, regardless of age, size, or skill level must have a glove in order to play. Yet, while deciding to get a glove is easy, the choice of which glove to buy can be overwhelming. There are seemingly endless glove brands, leather types, web patterns, and position-specific options available to prospective buyers. But understanding what these options are will make the glove-buying process informative, exciting, and might even provide an on-field edge to those who do their research. Luckily, we’ve done the research for you, and compiled the most important information into this guide so you can find your perfect glove with ease, stress-free as can be.


The first factor a baseball player should consider when buying a glove is which position they play. In youth baseball, this decision is simple: if you’re a catcher, buy a catcher’s glove. If you’re not a catcher, buy an all-position glove (commonly called an Infield glove). As a player progresses in skill-level, three position-specific gloves become options: First Base gloves, Outfield gloves, and Pitchers’ gloves. If you know that you’ll be playing one of these positions for most of your playing time, it might be worth your while to buy one of these position-specific gloves. They’re each uniquely designed to make playing the positions they’re named after a little bit easier. But if you play more than one position, it’s probably best to buy an all-position, Infield glove—especially at the youth level.

(Also: if you’re glove-shopping online, make sure to buy the correct glove for your throwing hand! The last thing any righty wants is a left-handed glove, and vice versa.) 


Leather Types

The next factor a glove-shopper should consider is the type of leather they want. The current glove market offers three different options: synthetic leather, leather, and premium leather. All three offer something different that might suit your needs. 

Synthetic Leather:

Synthetic leather gloves consist of man-made materials (such as microfiber or carbon) blended with traditional leather. This glove type is a great option for youth players because it’s made of a softer, lighter material, which will make it easier for young players to use while they develop baseball’s basic skills. They’re also easy to break in, which is useful if a new glove is needed last-minute.

It’s worth mentioning that synthetic gloves cost less than completely leather ones, as well. So if your little one is prone to losing track of their leather, then a synthetic glove might make sense.

In recent years, synthetic gloves have also become popular with amateur and professional players. Companies like Rawlings and Wilson have developed synthetic gloves that are catered to baseball’s highest skill-levels, which have a more modern, unique look than traditional leather. So if that suits your on-field style, synthetic leather might be your best bet.


Rawlings’ New 2023 Synthetic Francisco Lindor Model Glove (photo pulled from SidelineSwap website)]


Traditional leather gloves are classic, timeless, and a step-up from synthetic in terms of quality. While they’re a bit more expensive than synthetic, the added durability they provide will cancel out a steeper price-tag (while still being much more cost-effective than premium leather). Also, these gloves are made from a softer type of leather, making them easy to close and break in. 

In my opinion, nothing looks better on a baseball player’s hand than a good old fashioned, traditional leather glove. They’ve been preferred for over one hundred years, and, as the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Premium Leather: 

The third leather option is premium (aka Pro-Series, or Pro-Preferred) leather. These gorgeous—and expensive—gloves are designed for dedicated baseball players, so if you’d prefer to buy premium then make sure you’re committed. And if you are, then don’t let the premium glove’s price-tag scare you away.

These gloves are made from full-grain, high-quality hide, which makes for enhanced durability, increased comfort, and a beautiful look. Yet, it’s important to know that new, premium leather gloves will arrive stiff, and could take months to break in. So if your season starts tomorrow, perhaps consider something softer.

 As Rawlings’ ‘Pro-Preferred’ glove models suggest, premium leather gloves are what the pros wear—and they know what they’re doing. If you’re serious about a future in baseball, I’d highly recommend investing in a premium leather glove. You’ll get your money’s worth.


Web Patterns

 The last thing you should consider when buying a glove is which web pattern you’d prefer. While some web patterns offer an in-game benefit, the majority of them exist to make gloves look different and exciting. Deciding on a web pattern was always my favorite part about the glove-buying process, and certainly shouldn’t be overlooked.


The basket pattern is a favorite for pitchers, because opposing hitters and coaches can’t see inside it to know what pitch they’re throwing. So if you’re a pitcher who doesn’t want to be spied on, this option might be for you.





The trapeze web pattern is most common in outfielder gloves—but some infielders prefer a trapeze pattern, too. This web is recognizable by its leather strap that runs down the web’s middle, with cross-stitch lacing on each side. This web pattern can easily be confused with the modified trapeze (modified trap) pattern—a personal favorite of mine—which only differs from trapeze in that it includes a leather strap at the web’s top for increased stability. Trapeze and modified trap gloves are a versatile and good-looking web option for any position.





The I-Web pattern is named so because the leather posts that make this web are in the shape of a capital ‘I’. This pattern is a favorite for infielders, because the open web allows dirt to sift through the glove while fielding ground balls. But it’s commonly seen with outfield gloves, as well.




The H-Web pattern is named so because—you guessed it—its leather posts appear in an ‘H’ shape. This pattern’s posts offer the same dirt-sifting benefit that the I-Web’s does, but are a bit smaller. This pattern is a favorite for all position players, but most third-basemen that I played with preferred this pattern. Perhaps you will, too.




Similar to the basket web, the two-piece pattern is commonly preferred by pitchers because it lets them hide the ball in their hand (and, in my opinion, looks cooler than the basket pattern). I used a two-piece pattern web throughout my baseball career, and never regretted it—despite it being the heaviest web pattern. 




There are other web patterns as well, but these six (including modified trap) styles are the most common, regardless of which position you play. And while some patterns have minor in-game benefits, most teammates I played with picked their web pattern mostly on looks.



 While selecting a glove might seem overwhelming, the most important thing to keep in mind is that trust and comfort should come first. Regardless of your skill-level, budget, or position, you need to trust that your glove will, you know, catch the ball. And you don’t want to feel uncomfortable while you’re out there, either. So once you address those two aspects, try not to overstress about the rest. And now that you know what to look for, I bet you’ll find the glove-buying process enjoyable; that is, unless you buy a glove for the wrong hand.