In baseball, gloves are essential for all players. Out of the nine of them, however, a catcher’s hand gear is the most highly specific. Unlike gloves which have separate finger pockets, a catcher’s mitt is designed to keep the fingers tight together for the security and strength to catch a speeding ball.
A catcher’s mitt is bulky to give the pitcher an easier target while the extra padding provides protection and safety for the hand.
Without a proper catcher’s mitt, a young player could risk getting hurt or injured. This can significantly affect any chance of a potential career as a baseball player. So, parents should make sure to provide their children with only the best youth catchers mitt.
Unfortunately, many people do not realize how each feature of a mitt has a lot to do with its function and so fail to get the mitt that their child actually needs. But do not worry, in this article, I have listed down the key factors to look for plus a review of my favorite mitts to help things get along. Scroll down to learn more!
Factors to Consider in Choosing the Best Youth Catchers Mitt
Now that you know why a catchers mitt is essential, here are the features you should understand first to be able to select the perfect mitt for your youngster:
Size is probably the most critical factor to consider. Before anything else, you should know that catcher’s mitt measurements are not about the length but rather the circumference, hence the larger sizes.
When buying a youth catcher’s mitt, some recommend a size that will fit your kid pretty well but has an allowance for growth. We all know that kids are still growing, so this can stretch your money’s worth as well as the longevity of the mitt. You may also opt for models with adjustable laces and straps for a perfect and adjustable fit.
According to experts, a larger mitt also means a larger pocket, which increases the player’s chance to catch the ball even with less accuracy.
This is great for beginners younger catchers. Going a size smaller, on the other hand, improves a catcher’s visibility and agility.
I suggest that you still prioritize your child’s comfort when deciding whether to get a smaller or larger size. For general sizing recommendations, you may refer to this mitt sizing chart:
Under 7 yrs old
29.5” – 30”
8-10 yrs old
30” – 31”
11-13 yrs old
30” – 32.5”
14 yrs old and older
32” – 34.5”
To know how to properly measure a catcher’s mitt, check out this video:
Based on the factors listed above and various reviews from other users, I picked my top five favorite pedal exercisers. I included the advantages and disadvantages of each to help you choose the best one for you.
Next, the best youth catchers mitt, in my opinion, should be adequately padded especially on the palm area.
The pocket or palm padding of a mitt neutralizes the pressure and force of impact from a speeding ball to ensure the hand’s safety.
This will protect the inside of the hand since this area is where the impact of the ball will most likely go. Without proper padding, the constant hits can cause soreness or even long-term health consequences.
However, more padding and protection could mean a smaller pocket. So, if you want both extra shock absorption and a nice, full pocket, you can go up an inch larger.
The pocket is the portion of the mitt’s palm that is slightly indented. It is where the ball sits after being caught. You can either choose a shallow or deeper pocket. Shallow pockets are great for fielders who rely on swift hand movements to grab, transfer, and throw the ball. Deeper pockets are great for outfielders who often have to catch hard hit shots and fly balls.
The material used in a mitt determines its durability, ease of use, and level of comfort for the user. The good quality leather is your best bet if you want a mitt that can withstand wear and tear and last for a long time.
There are several types of leather to choose from that differ in cost and characteristics. Cheaper and softer leathers like pigskin or synthetic leather are best suited for younger players who tend to outgrow their mitts quickly and are not yet that committed to consistent play.
Professional and advanced catchers will need tougher and more durable leathers like full-grain leather or steerhide mitts. These will also give them that satisfying sound of the ball hitting the pocket.
Catcher’s mitts have webbings between the thumb and the forefinger. This webbing assists snagging and securely holding the ball as well as hiding pitch calls.
There are two kinds of webbing: open and closed. Closed webs are more common and offer additional catching support that fielders, pitchers, and catchers need.
An open web offers more visibility when catching pop-flys and faster ball transfer.
Dominant hand Mitts come in either left or right-hand throw. Basically, if the player throws with his right hand, the mitt is worn on the left hand and vice versa.
The back is the wrist closure at the back side of the mitt. A catcher’s mitts can either have a closed back or open back. The only difference is that an open back mitt has a space above the wrist adjustment, while a closed back does not.
Most players prefer a closed back because it adds better support and wrist protection. However, an open back allows for better mobility and flexibility.
7. Break-in period
In case you don’t know, baseball gloves need a certain break-in period before you can efficiently use them in catching balls. Otherwise, it will not be as effective and useful for your game.
The length of the break-in period depends mainly on the type of leather used in the mitt. Softer leathers like pigskin are easier and faster to break into, usually in just a few hours of play and so are ideal for immediate use. However, these are also less durable and tend to wear out easily.
More robust leathers such as steerhide may take up to a few months of use and practice before they can be entirely broken in. However, you can also buy some pre-broken in models that significantly cut down the breaking in period.
Best Youth Catcher Mitts Product Reviews
Now that you already know what to look for in a baseball catcher’s mitt, you will better understand why I chose the models listed below. I also included their features, advantages, and disadvantages to help you in your search:
Best Youth Catcher Mitts
1. Mizuno Prospect GXC105 Youth Catcher’s Mitt
The Mizuno Prospect GXC105 is specifically designed while thinking of young athletes and is very similar to its Fastpitch counterpart. The Prospect made its way among my top picks mainly because of its quality and lightness- all for such an affordable price!
Recommended for children ages 9-12 years old, the Prospect Catcher’s Mitt is ideal for young players positioned behind the plate. It is a 32.5-inch leather mitt. It is composed of two pieces with a close webbing.
The internal design comes with a Power Close technology and the V Flex Notch composed of strategically placed hinges which allow the user to close the mitt easily and quickly. This feature is especially useful for players with small hands or low skill levels.
The Para-shock palm absorbs impact, offers excellent protection, and provides flexibility.
Not only that, but this lightweight mitt also has an extra palm pad and a soft liner for optimum comfort. At its low price point, the Mizuno Prospect is definitely hard to beat.
- High quality for an affordable price
- Easy to use and close
- Comes almost completely broken-in already
- Has a deep pocket
- Comfortable and lightweight
- The internal padding is not the thickest you can find
- Runs a bit tight and small
2. Akadema AGC98 Prodigy Series Glove
Although it comes from a relatively unknown brand, the Akadema Prodigy Series will surprise you with features that can compete and even beat models from other famous brands.
This baseball mitt has a deep pocket and a spiral lock webbing to help the player catch and securely hold the ball. The double-sided padding also improves catch accuracy by enlarging the pitcher’s target.
The unique “praying mantis” technology located between the thumb and index finger allows for quickly grasping the ball and taking control over it. It also functions to protect the hand from pain and injury from catching fast-flying balls.
Thanks to an open back grasp clasp system around the wrist, the glove is very easy to put on and fits snugly to the hand.
The back is made with a high-quality ultra light Akadema leather, a steerhide pocket, and lacing done with rawhide materials. This model is also available in both left and right-hand throw orientations.
- Reliable and safe
- Multiple features provide excellent shock absorption qualities
- Easy to wear and use
- Lightweight and durable
- Allows for a quick glove to hand transition
- Deep pocket
- Appropriate for both adults and younger players
- You do not know what to expect since the brand is not well-known
- Leather material is not that high-quality and may not last long
3. Wilson A360 Baseball Glove
If you are looking for a catcher’s mitt from a trusted brand that will not break the bank, the Wilson A360 is an excellent choice. It is set apart from similar models within the same price range due to its soft pure pigskin composition and sleek design.
The Wilson A360 has a modern-meets-classic look with its black body with yellow lettering. You are assured of its quality and credibility thanks to the MLB logo located at the side where the pinky finger would be.
It has an opening that exposes the index finger, a feature that is said to give the user more flexibility when catching a ball as well as a tighter grip and some ventilation. The open back also adds breathability.
Moreover, the Velcro strap on the wrist with the brand stitched on it. Although the indicated size is 31.5”, this strap also allows the user to adjust the tightness of the glove for maximum security and comfort.
Another thing that I love about this catcher’s mitt is the comfort it offers and its durability. Right from the get-go, I knew that it would hold up very well for many baseball seasons.
The Wilson A360 is offered at a reasonable price and is available in both left-hand and right-hand throw versions.
- Comfortable to wear
- Made of pure pigskin
- Breathable and well-ventilated
- Open back
- Index finger hole for a better catch
- Promotes Major League players through the MLB logo
- Takes longer to break into
- Somehow weak netting
- Needs more padding
4. Rawlings Renegade Glove Series
Rawlings is one of the most leading companies that produces baseball equipment and from it comes the Renegade Series catcher’s mitt. Made from the best full grain leather material, this model is hard to beat in terms of quality and durability.
Furthermore, the premium material used in this mitt has been pre-treated with the Rawlings oil-tan and comes already 90% broken in.
This one-piece mitt has a closed web design and a nice deep pocket for catching, controlling, and scooping the ball with ease. High-density cushion pads on the palms and finger sections of the mitt also add shock absorption and protection from the ball’s impact.
With a size range of 31.5” to 32.5”, this glove can be worn by both young and young adult players. Smaller children can also use it thanks to the adjustable straps. It is also suitable for both left-handed and right-handed players.
- Easy to wear and break into
- Comes in a range of sizes
- 90% factory break-in
- Soft and very comfortable to wear especially after a complete break-in
- High-quality premium leather material for durability
- Additional padding on the palms and fingers
- Reasonably priced for the quality it offers
- A bit more expensive than similar models and other catcher’s mitts in this list
- Weak web strings
- Can be a little too tight
5. Rawlings Player Preferred 12.5 Catcher’s Mitt
Another outstanding catcher’s mitt model from Rawlings, the Player Preferred 12.5 kind of says it all in its name. This loved baseball mitt is best for softball and recreational baseball.
Although 12.5” slowpitch mitt is technically made for adults, it is nicely sized and full of features that younger catchers can benefit from.
Made with high-quality full-grain oiled leather shells with all-leather laces, you are assured of strength and durability from the Player Preferred 12.5. You also do not need to worry much about the break-in period since it arrives 80% broken in from the factory.
Thanks to the Zero Shock palm padding, the player’s hand is protected from impact while catching. The conventional back has a flex loop Velcro strap for easy wear and an adjustable fit.
The basket web also offers versatility and makes it suitable for any playing position.
- High-quality leather material with a soft feel
- Requires little to no break in period
- Comfortable to wear
- Sufficient padding
- Flexible, versatile, and durable
- Zero shock palm padding for protection
- The laces and adjustment strap may loosen up mid-game
- Flimsy laces and strings
- A little stiff at first
Out of all those listed here, you would probably agree that the best youth catcher’s mitt is the Rawlings Renegade Series. Although it is made with high-quality leather that usually takes the longest to break into, you do not need to worry about it because it comes already 90% broken in!
Additionally, it has extra paddings on the fingers and palms for comfort, is available in a range of sizes, and comes from a trusted brand but is sold at a reasonable price!
For more buying guides for your needs, please check out this link.