The shortstop is among the most important positions in defense and having the right glove for your tasks is extremely important.
I remember when I was a youth baseball player, everyone wanted to be the shortstop. After all, you become the anchor of the infield. You are the rock of your team’s defense, and that is where all attacks start.
Now, as a kid, we obviously did with any gloves we could. The market was not as varied as today, and there were not so many options.
Choosing the best shortstop gloves was easy back then. There are plenty of choices these days, yet some stand out in the crowd.
From many points of view, shortstop gloves are similar to infield gloves. After all, positions are similar, only the shortstop is a bit more specialized.
I have trialed different shortstop gloves, as well as infield gloves, with a more general approach. I owned quite a few, but most importantly, I tried pretty much everything on the market. Here are my best recommendations if you play as a shortstop.
Wilson A2K – Best for Quality Build
The A2K expands over multiple positions and represents one of the most appreciated gloves in the industry. It obviously has a version for infield players as well, and I believe it represents one of the most versatile options for shortstops.
The glove comes in a variety of designs and options. The 11.75-inch size is probably the best for this position, and just like you might have guessed already, it comes in both left and right hand orientations. The glove has flat finger binding, suitable for players who like to keep a finger outside for better control.
Featuring web rolled dual welting, the A2K is not just good looking, but it also provides support. The glove will retain its shape over long periods of time while ensuring greater ball control. There is also a double palm design, which clears out wrinkles, wear and tear in the palm.
The glove is made of pro stock leather. It is one of the most qualitative types of leather at the moment. It offers good control, but it will also last for years if well looked after. Obviously, it requires breaking in, but the process is totally worth it.
- High-quality leather design
- Plenty of styles and designs
- Suitable for those who play with a finger outside
- Retains its shape over time
- Comfortable once broken in
- Breaking in could be tricky
Mizuno Pro Select – Best for Value for Money
I know what you are thinking… Mizuno may not be as popular as Wilson or Rawlings, but trust me, it definitely knows what quality means. This is the best glove for shortstops out there if you want value for money. It can easily compete against more expensive brands while keeping prices low.
Let me start with the beginning. First, you have premium steer hide leather. It is firm and will easily last for a season with no issues at all. It obviously requires breaking in, but it is totally doable. Just give it a bit of time, regardless of how tight and uncomfortable it feels at first.
Once done, you will love how comfortable it feels. In fact, it has hand-based patterns to feel like an extension of your arm. The pocket is under the web, so your glove will shape straight away, but it will also retain its shape in the long run.
The palm liner is not to be overlooked, either. While some brands forget about this aspect, Mizuno has brought in elite leather for the design. It feels incredibly good. Moreover, there is a thumb slot for extra comfort and a more secure fit. What else can you ask for?
- Excellent value for money
- Superior leather design
- Comfortable to wear
- Hand based patterns
- Secure fit
- Some people will find it to be too stiff, but breaking in is totally worth it
Rawlings Heart of the Hide – Best for Versatility
The Heart of the Hide is another classic and another favorite of mine. It is among the top gloves designed by Rawlings, and it comes in an 11.5-inch size. You can choose from a bunch of different colors, a few other sizes, and even right or left hand orientation.
So, what makes this glove so special? To me, it is its versatility that stands out. This glove works wonders for players of all ages and skills. It is excellent for high school players, beginners, or experienced players. In fact, you will spot it quite often in the MLB as well, so it is just as good for professionals.
Based on the 5% of steer hides, you know this glove screams quality. It is durable and will last for years, but it also provides unmatched strength. Even the laces are based on professional-grade leather, not to mention the padded thumb sleeve. It is not just strong but also comfortable to wear.
The glove only requires 60% breaking in, as the rest is done in the factory. To be honest, it still feels quite stiff, so it does require a bit of work. Once done, you will love the comfort. The cowhide palm lining and finger back linings contribute to an amazing experience.
- Versatile glove
- High-quality build
- Super comfortable
- Likely to last for years
- Available in more colors
- Still very stiff, despite requiring less breaking in
Wilson A2000 – Best for Comfort
You cannot really go wrong with Wilson, one of the most recognizable brands in baseball. The A2000 comes in more designs and sizes, suitable for more positions. The infield one is normally available in the 11.5-inch size. Of course, there are more colors to choose from and both hand orientations.
Based on pro stock leather, you can tell it requires breaking in, but that is just part of the game. The good news is the design is rugged and will last for ages. Plus, more importantly, it feels good on your hand. It also comes with a flat finger binding design, which is great if you prefer to keep a finger outside.
Other than that, it is worth noting the spin control technology. Basically, the moment you make contact with the ball, the technology reduces its spinning abilities. The friction is high, and the ball stops moving. This way, you have better control and handling.
The liner is based on ProLux leather. The name makes it pretty obvious, this glove is super comfy. Then, there is a comfort sleeve for the finishing. Other features worth some attention include the DriLex wrist lining, thin heel pad, and rolled dual welting.
- Superior ball control and handling
- Incredibly comfortable
- More types of leather
- Perfect fit on the wrist
- Rugged durability
- Sizing might run a little low
Franklin Sports CTZ5000 – Best for Breaking In
A stylish appearance and a super durable cowhide design, this is what you can expect from Franklin Sports CTZ5000. You have great durability throughout the season with very little maintenance required.
Despite being made of authentic leather, the breaking in process is relatively simple. The glove feels soft once you put it on, so you can use it in a game within hours only. Just play catch for a bit, and it should be alright.
It feels soft on the hand, mostly because of the palm lining. Despite its soft profile, it will surprise you with its durability. Other than that, you have basket webbing, which makes the glove suitable for other baseball positions too.
In terms of colors, there are a few options. Then, stitching and the logo are taken through a chrome treatment for a more attractive design. The glove comes in both left and right handed orientations.
- Good looking design
- Soft construction
- Requires little to no breaking in
- Good looking
- Get a larger size if you have small hands
Choosing the Best Shortstop Gloves – Our Buying Guide
Browsing the best shortstop gloves is not everything. You need to find something suitable for your personal needs as well.
As you can see, the above-mentioned gloves are similar in characteristics, but they come with small details that make the difference.
When it comes to sizes, most shortstop gloves range in the 11.75-inch size standard, with slight differences here and there, depending on your hand size.
If not sure about the size, simply measure the distance between the beginning of the wrist and the tip of the middle finger. That should be the ideal position for you.
Check Out a Local Store
My best advice is to get to a local store and try out different gloves if you are not 100% sure about the feel and fit.
Obviously, you will find better options online, but a local store will let you try out all sorts of gloves and sizes. You need a bit of adjustability too, not to mention a nice pocket.
Find out what different materials feel like too.
However, there is one issue here. If you get a super stiff leather glove, you will not be able to tell how it feels because it needs breaking in.
Go For Padding
Yes, padding is essential for this position. You will deal with lots of speedy balls, so you need padding to ensure your hand is safe.
If you take my advice and try a local store first, you should get a glove that feels nearly impossible to squeeze when brand new. If you can squeeze it, chances are it will not last too long.
On the other hand, if the glove is too stiff and needs breaking in, you know it will match your hand perfectly at some point.
Talking about small signs, if you can see a glove that creases through the middle in a U or V, it will not last for too long.
Luckily, the above-mentioned models are built with quality in mind, so you are less likely to face such situations.
How About the Material?
There are more materials out there. Normally, you will have to choose between faux leather and real leather. However, real leather comes in a bunch of different standards too.
As you can tell from my recommendations, I recommend synthetic leather to newbies or kids. Someone who wants to make as most as possible from the game will require genuine leather.
Here are some standards in baseball:
- Full-grain leather is cowhide or steerhide. It is heavy and stiff, but it also requires more breaking in. However, it is excellent in performance, not to mention durability.
- Kip leather is softer and has a more luxurious approach, hence its popularity in expensive gloves. Breaking in takes less time.
- Premium steerhide also feels stiff and heavy. It makes the glove difficult to break in, but many professionals prefer this material for the final result.
- Classic leather is usually cowhide and performs fairly well, but it shows signs of wear and tear faster than other gloves.
As a shortstop, there is one last thing you need to pay attention to, the pocket. You need a pretty wide pocket because you have to transfer the ball throughout the game.
Get the wrong ball, and it will fold over the ball. You can still get the job done and engage runners, but it will take longer. And trust me, a second could make the difference at times.
Best Shortstop Gloves – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What kind of glove does a shortstop use?
Shortstops will usually rely on 11.5 to 11.75-inch gloves. However, you can also find larger mitts in this range, which are just as good.
Why do shortstops have small gloves?
Similar to the second base position, the shortstop will use a small glove. Shortstops must field the ball, but also get rid of it straight away. Therefore, they need excellent handling.
Why do they call it shortstop?
Located between the third baseman and second base, the shortstop name is given by the position. Players must stop the short side while also being a cutoff for fielders.
Deciding on the best shortstop gloves is a bit tricky. There are quite a few options, and while they seem similar, some of them are better rated than others.
If your budget is not an issue and you want the crème de la crème, I recommend Wilson A2K, common among professionals and excellent in multiple positions.
Looking for something more affordable? Mizuno Pro Select is similar to more expensive gloves, but without the price tag, so it makes an excellent choice if you shop on a budget.