Top Two Preferred Catcher's Mitts in 2023
If you're reading this, then you're likely in search of a new catcher's mitt or considering adding one to your toolkit. I would argue that your mitt (maybe aside from a durable cup) is your most important piece of equipment. While your glove isn't going to define your abilities, a solid mitt is an investment worth making. That said, I have used many different mitts over the course of my career from all of the top brands. In my mind the All-Star Pro-Elite Catcher's Mitt is one of the best around. Renowned as the most iconic mitt in professional baseball, the Pro-Elite is crafted with exclusive, premium-grade Japanese steerhide leather. Here are a few of the things that I prefer about this glove related to All-Star's listed details as well as my experiences:
Premium-Grade Japanese Steerhide Leather: The All-Star Pro-Elite Catcher's Mitt is meticulously crafted with top-tier Japanese steerhide leather, known for its exceptional quality and durability. This premium-grade material ensures the mitt's longevity, allowing catchers to rely on it season after season. The high-quality leather also offers a superior feel on the hand, enhancing the catcher's comfort and control during gameplay. While Japanese kip leather is generally regarded as higher quality, steerhide is a better, more durable choice for catcher's due to the abuse that our gloves receive.
Fast Break-In and Extended Life: One of the standout features of the All-Star Pro-Elite Catcher's Mitt is its fast break-in time. Catchers often face the challenge of breaking in a new mitt to achieve the perfect pocket, but with the Pro-Elite, the break-in process is expedited, saving valuable time and effort. Despite its quick break-in, this mitt maintains its structural integrity, providing an extended lifespan to withstand the rigors of high-level play. I usually keep 2-3 gloves on hand and rotate their use. These gloves really do not take long to break in and keep a great shape when well cared for.
Exceptional Pocket Formation and Pop: The All-Star Pro-Elite Catcher's Mitt excels at forming a great pocket that catchers and pitchers both appreciate. The carefully designed shape and construction of the mitt create an optimal pocket size, allowing catchers to secure incoming pitches with confidence. The mitt's responsiveness and loud pop when catching pitches not only give catchers a satisfying feeling, but they also provide pitchers with the assurance that their throws are being received cleanly. This mitt is LOUD.
Adjustable Wrist Closure: To ensure a secure and customized fit, the All-Star Pro-Elite Catcher's Mitt features an adjustable wrist closure. This innovative closure system allows catchers to tailor the fit of the mitt to their specific preferences, providing maximum comfort and stability during gameplay. The adjustable closure ensures that the mitt stays securely in place, preventing unnecessary movement that could affect catching performance. Personally, I prefer an adjustable back so that when I start to sweat or when the leather stretches a bit I can maintain a secure fit around my wrist.
For reference, I have personally used the same mitt (33.5" solid black) in game for two seasons and love the way the pocket maintains, how well the leather has held up, and the comfort/confidence while using it during games. I also own and use the 34" and 35" models. If you are in search of a quality mitt that will last, the All-Star Pro-Elite series is a great choice.
However, it is not the only choice! Aside from All-Star, I would recommend Nokona. Another quality glove company with a great shape and feel. Here is a snapshot of my preferred mitt from Nokona:
"Become the star of the game with this Nokona American Kip catcher's mitt. This long-lasting baseball glove is crafted using tanned American steerhide similar to kip leather and offers superior lightness. You can also count on the stability of this glove, as its tightly closed webbing helps cushion the hardest pitches that come your way. This Nokona baseball mitt uses premium quality leather to capture the characteristics of Japanese and European kip gloves. This weighs it in at a light 680 grams, giving you the perfect feeling of control over your game. A wide 33.5" circumference on these gloves provides you with plenty of surface area for easy catching and a visible target for your pitching teammates."
My personal favorite color way is the A-3350-Blonde. While I don't use this mitt currently, I love the feel and look of it on the field based on experience with it in the past. Ultimately, your glove is going to come down to preference, feel, budget, and size/shape/weight. That said, All-Star and Nokona have my vote. If you've read this far, I appreciate your time! I am not being compensated in any way to post this article and simply wanted to speak on what I use and prefer as a professional catcher. There are plenty of great mitts out there. Get the most out of yours!