To say that Rawlings has a considerable impact on the glove market is an understatement. Indeed, they have owned the market share since what feels like the dawn of time. Top shelf Rawlings gloves are often considered a life long investment meant to be passed down in your will. Below we give a high level overview of the 4 major glove lines in our Rawlings Glove Reviews. This is a subset of our softball and baseball glove reviews.
Rawlings produces hundreds of glove models across a number of series meant for any and every player in the world. Although it is debatable where the top shelf ends and the run of the mill gloves start, here we overview the four largest categories of gloves Rawlings manufactures: Gold Glove, Pro-Preferred, Heart of the Hide and the Gamer Series.
Rawlings Glove Review Sources
In putting this general overview on Rawlings Gloves together, we relied heavily on our series glove review pages. They include our Rawlings Gold Glove reviews, Pro-Preferred Glove reviews, Heart of the Hide reviews and Gamer series reviews.
Off this site we put a lot of clicks into Rawlings' glove site directly. We considered that the most up to date information on actively produced and sold Rawlings gloves. Although filled with mostly marketing blurbs copied and pasted throughout several sites, we found the use of images and product numbers very helpful.
In addition to Rawlings' site, we spent time on closeoutbats.com section for Rawlings gloves. There was enough information and videos on those pages to keep you busy for several days.
Where to Buy Rawlings Gloves?
With more model numbers and options that any glove brand on the market, and with as good of a distribution channel as anyone, Rawlings gloves can be found everywhere. The latest gloves in the top shelf space are priced out the same across the board. In those instances, places like Closeoutbats.com are a great place to look. Often, late model gloves can be found there too. We also like to look on places like Amazon for older models.
Gold Glove Reviews
Rawlings' Gold Glove is their premier leather mitt. It includes, among many other features, European kip leather for the outer shell and real deerskin for the inner lining. A single craftsman manufactures each Gold Glove from cut to finish, using a hand sewn pattern. Each glove is then stamped uniquely with a serial number and date of completion.
Rawlings' Gold Glove is the best glove they make in terms of quality product and tender loving care during production. It is the closest any non-pro individual can get to replicating the same type of attention to detail that a MLB player gets on his glove.
The gloves only come in baseball sizes and patterns.
The price reflects the additional effort a Rawlings Gold Glove requires. See our full on Rawlings Gold Glove Review for more details.
Pro-Preferred gloves from Rawlings are a measurable step down from the Gold Glove. However, they don't lack in quality construction and durability. Many consider them the best glove Rawlings makes and consider the Gold Glove as more of a luxury item than a real ball glove.
The Pro-Preferred use a tight grain structured leather for the outershell of each glove. This gives an ultra smooth feel that is immediately noticeable when compared to a heart of the hide glove. It is, in fact, the same outershell leather used by the Gold Gloves. Inside the glove, Rawlings uses a Pittard's leather lining for the palm. This is the same leather used in high end batting gloves.
Although it changes every year, there are at least twenty different pattern options offered in the Pro-Preferred series of Rawlings gloves. Expect one in just about every size and web design you could hope for across every position on the field.
The Pro-Preferred does not come in any softball or fastpitch sizes. From what Rawlings reported to us, it is the most preferred glove by MLB players.
Heart of the Hide Reviews
Heart of the Hide gloves make up the largest line offering Rawlings produces. These are the most popular gloves on the planet. As a mid level price on a quality glove, few can pass this up when compared to nearly any other option.
Rawlings produces the Heart of the Hide in every size, shape and color imaginable. That, of course, is an exaggeration, but compared to the twenty or so gloves made for the Pro-Preferred line, Rawlings produces well over seventy versions of the Heart of the Hide glove. And that number appears to keep increasing.
As a general rule, Heart of the Hide gloves use deertanned, conditioned steerhide leather to produce a durable glove meant to last several seasons. The laces are produced at a tannery owned and operated by Rawlings for the sole purpose of producing the best and most durable laces in the business.
The glove comes in baseball and softball versions as well as a host of unique custom and one-off options. We dare say there has yet to be a model specification we haven't been able to track down in a Heart of the Hide series glove from Rawlings.
The Gamer Series of gloves from Rawlings provides an entry level niche for a full leather glove and a Rawlings name. It offers some youth version gloves that use slimmer finger stalls and a more narrow wrist strap for a better fit on smaller hands. The glove line comes in the fastpitch space and offers every position available in baseball, too.
Although not the most durable and long lasting gloves Rawlings makes, they are known for their out of the wrapper game readiness. Rawlings claims to work-in the glove 80% of the way while leaving the finishing touches to the player. Our experience with the glove finds it is basically game ready out of the box.
The leather on the glove is a standard and mid-grade cowhide. Although you should expect more durability than a synthetic leather glove, the Gamer is still a far cry from the kip leather found on the Gold Glove or Pro-Preferred. That said, we think it a good fit for the younger ball player who is still growing and will not need it for long, or for the high school player needing a different glove for an alternate position they may occasionally play.