Although not a required piece of equipment, wearing a batting glove will help improve your performance in the batter’s box by giving you a better grip on the bat and preventing you from clenching it too tightly.
Gloves keep your hands free of perspiration for a controlled swing which is going to equal accuracy and power when you hit the ball.
A good glove will also protect your hand from getting blisters and absorb that dreaded vibration up your arm that you might experience if you miss the hitting on the sweet spot, as well as guard your hands as you slide onto base. Depending upon the thickness of your batting glove, it can also do double duty when you wear it under your fielder’s glove to counteract pocket sting.
Anatomy of a Batting Glove
Batting gloves are designed from leather or synthetic fabrics, and can be made either entirely from one material or from a combination of both. Your decision on the material for your glove is based mainly on personal taste, however a glove with a leather palm has better performance features, while the synthetic gloves offer durability and non-stretch fit qualities. Some things to consider are:
- A leather palm will provide a phenomenal feel, allowing you to maintain a controlled grip through the swing.
- Synthetic gloves are usually less expensive and are durable, but you will sacrifice the feel.
- Leather batting gloves begin a little stiff and require a break them period. A little bit of glove conditioner can help, but avoid overdoing it or you’ll end up decreasing the overall life of the glove.
- Check the palm of the glove: a palm with thinner leather will give you better grip and feel, whereas a glove with a thick leather palm will give you more protection.
- Gloves that have an articulated thumb design allow the thumb to move freely, allowing for unimpeded grip on the bat.
- Pre-curved fingers, which are recognizable because they will hold their shape even when the glove is not being worn, are designed so there is no bunching of excess material when you grip the bat through the finger joints and over the knuckles. Franklin CFX Pro Amped gloves have pre-curved finger design.
- Some styles of gloves offer additional padding on the outer edge of the palm for protection on wild pitches.
Moisture is the Enemy
A batting glove keeps the sweat on your hands from interfering with your grip and swing on both wood and metal bats. While leather has a natural grip and feel, synthetics are great for being light weight and using fabrics like mesh for ventilation.
With that in mind, a synthetic glove with a leather palm, like the Mizuno VIN Pro Senior glove, is what most major league ballplayers go with. Mixed fabric gloves are usually more expensive, which means the right pair of gloves will be the perfect balance of grip, breathability, and keeping within your budget.
Sizing Your Glove
The batting glove is normally worn on the hand that holds the bottom of the bat, but many players prefer to wear gloves on both hands, so some manufactures offer pairs of gloves, like the Under Armour Yard VII. Finding the right-sized glove is going to take a little experimentation, but you can get a starting point by measuring from the base of your palm to the tip of the middle finger on your dominant hand. If you bat right-handed, you would measure your right hand. Alternatively, if you bat left-handed, you would measure your left. Compare this measurement to the chart below, keeping in mind that sizes may differ between manufacturers. As well, full leather gloves need to have a snug fit, as there will be a slight stretch to them after use.