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Let’s face it, most baseball gloves are made from full-grain leather, and it’s what you’ll find in the hands of most professional baseball players. According to experts, high-quality leather is a type of material that ages very well, is durable, and it takes years and years before it falls apart.
However, just because a glove is made from leather does not mean it’s durable, and the same can be said about any synthetically-made product that is immediately deemed as flimsy.
Certain synthetic gloves have a solid construction and are more affordable than leather gloves of the same quality. In fact, with the increasing technological advancement and rise in awareness, we’re seeing more vegan-friendly products being introduced every year.
In light of that, here is a list of baseball gloves that are neatly constructed and also take animal suffering out of this fascinating sport called baseball.
4 Best Vegan Baseball Gloves
Franklin Sports Field Master Baseball Glove
The Field Master series is an extensive line of high-quality synthetic leather baseball gloves launched by Franklin Sports.
What’s unique about this glove is the amazing price for the quality it offers. While this isn’t a high-competition glove, I believe it’s attractive for the amateur baseball (or softball) player who wants a quality glove without breaking the bank.
Quite frankly, among the existing alternatives, this is the best one.
The Field Master might feel tight at first, but it breaks-in quite well.
What’s also stupendous about this glove is that it’s available in different variations to fit different roles. You have a 10 to 10.5-inch basket web design that makes it a good all-rounder; an 11-inch open-ended glove for speedy middle fielders looking for fast transitions; a 12-inch trapeze web design that is ideal for both infielders and pitchers, and even a 13-inch & 14-inch (and deep) basket that can be used to make outfield plays.
In my opinion, the outfield designs should have an open webbing design to better track the balls traveling through the air, but I believe that is overshadowed by the core qualities of the glove (comfort, adjustability, and durability) combined with the price.
Franklin RTP Performance Baseball Glove
If the Field Master glove can be used in a more competitive scenario, this one is ideal for the passionate baseball fan that wants to practice his catching and throwing skill.
Again, a very valuable glove for such an affordable price.
One of the first things you will notice is the open-web design and a wrist closure for adjustability and comfort.
However, below the veil, you have an RTP construction that allows for a seamless transition from the box to the playing field.
This RTP glove is lightweight and comfortable and is available in a unique color scheme that fits both boys and girls. If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly glove, then this may be the best beginner-friendly alternative in the market that is also vegan-friendly.
To honor the beginner-friendly theme, it also comes with a soft PU foam ball to get you or your kid started with some catching and throwing.
DERTHWER Baseball Gloves
The Derthwer baseball glove was among the few vegan-friendly alternatives I’ve found, and one that I had to dive deep in order to find.
The glove is made from PU leather, is lightweight, soft and is available in right and left-hand variations.
Also, it’s only available in a single size (11.5 inches), so it may prevent people with larger hands from having a comfortable fit.
This being said, this glove has a deep custom pocket, it has a high-density cushion palm and index finger pads that provide comfort and protection, especially if you’re on the receiving end.
In addition, the synthetic construction adds ultra-flexibility to the glove, making it easy to open and close the glove, even for kids. Now, unfortunately, the glove is only available in one color, but it is yet another possibility if you want to avoid leather gloves.
In addition, the glove seems to go be shipped from China, which makes me have my doubts about the durable factor of the gloves.
Rawlings Player Series Youth Baseball Gloves
The Rawlings Player Series is an all-synthetic glove with an arched basket-web shape, a type of design that is strong and durable which keeps the glove in shape even after long periods of play.
The Flex Lock design provides an easy close, while the adjustable velcro strap ensures the glove fits perfectly, also allowing some flexibility. Since this glove is designed for kids between 3 and 9, it’s a relatively lightweight glove with a unique scheme color for both boys and girls.
It’s constructed with a soft, pliable shell for an easy close and soft inner linings for comfort, which is certainly important if you want to teach your kid some baseball! Also, it comes with a close-web design that provides kids with more catching support, and that is certainly a good confidence-building weapon to deal with the fear of catching.
If you’re looking for a glove that is affordable and high-quality, as well as specifically meant for kids below the age of 10, then this is certainly the one.
How to Choose a Vegan Baseball Glove
In this section, we are going to cover some of the features and qualities you should take into account before going forward with your buying decision.
Naturally, the first thing to consider is the actual material used to build the glove.
As a vegan, this is somewhat disappointing, because most of the gloves (both low and high-end) are built with different grades of leather because the leather quality has a dramatic effect on the mitt’s durability, softness, performance, feel, and break-in time.
In fact, it’s truly difficult to find gloves made from synthetic leather, which is why there are only six options in this article because those are literally the only legitimate vegan baseball gloves I found.
Naturally, synthetic materials such as PU and PVC aren’t healthy for the environment, but unfortunately, there aren’t any gloves made from truly sustainable fabrics.
Having bigger gloves does not necessarily mean it’s better.
In fact, if you’re into baseball, you’ll notice that depending on the player’s position on the field, he’ll have a smaller or bigger glove. Infielders have to sweep the field and make quick transfers from glove to hand in order to get the ball to the right player.
A smaller glove usually has a shallow pocket, and that results in a quick transfer which is ultimately what infielders need to be more effective. However, when you’re stuck in a base, or you’re a baseman, having a bigger baseball glove is certainly more useful.
Webbing: Closed vs Open
Basically, the webbing connects the thumb of the glove to the rest of the finger slots. This is the part of the glove that creates a “basket” to more easily trap the ball.
To put simply, gloves fall into two categories:
Closed webs: They use a tight woven pattern that doesn’t have any gaps in the webbing, which is what allows pitchers to hide their grip and surprise the batter.
Open webs: As you can see from the image, open web gloves have gaps in-between the webbing which is useful for outfield players that want to track floating balls and even ground balls without picking up dirt at the same time.
This said, having open webs sacrifices the player’s ability to properly block out the sun.
This essentially the part resting on the back of your hand. And akin to the webbing, this also has two different options: an open or closed design. But unlike the webbing, this one is more of a personal choice, and it’s not really position-related.
However, the main difference between both is:
- Having an open back glove allows for more flexibility, which is useful for infielders
- And a closed back glove provides you with wrist stability and you might see it mostly being used by basemen and outfielders for quick relieves.
However, an open back does provide more airflow, which is a nice benefit because your hands tend to get really sweaty in warm weather.
Generally, you get what you paid for. If you buy something that is extremely cheap, you get a product that doesn’t have long-term durability.
However, it’s still possible to find good baseball gloves at under $80. Vegan baseball gloves generally don’t go over $50 because it’s cheaper to use synthetic materials than high-grade leather, which is used by a lot of high-end brands such as Wilson, Mizuno, Rawlings and so on.
Best Types of Gloves For Each Position
To put it very plainly, there are about five positions in a baseball game: the pitcher, catcher, first baseman, infielder, and outfielder.
While you can have a glove specifically designed for your position, it’s easier to distinguish the main gloves that exist today based on existing positions.
Pitcher’s glove: Generally, pitchers opt for an 11 to 11.75-inch sized glove with a closed web design that allows them to hide their grips before throwing the ball.
Catcher’s glove: Athletes playing this position wear robust gloves capable of catching pitches that travel at 70 + mph. The mitts are usually fingerless and have heavy padding.
First baseman’s glove: The first basemen tend to wear 13 inches long gloves because it allows them to extend their reach and capture wild throws.
Infielder’s glove: They’re smaller in size and feature a more shallow pocket in order to quickly deliver the ball and beat the base runner dashing to safety. Infielder’s gloves have an open back, and they’re usually between 10.5 to 11.75 inches in size.
Outfielder’s glove: They’re deep basket-like gloves designed to reach over the fence and capture a possible home run. Some outfielders use open web gloves because it allows them to track the ball flying through the air. They’re generally between 12 to 12.75 inches in size.