Rawlings Pro Preferred gloves are the second tier of Rawlings’ top end glove line. Behind the lavish Gold Glove, the Pro Preferred are a step ahead of the Heart of the Hide gloves in a smoother leather design and a Pittard’s leather inner lining. More recently, more pro players prefer the Pro-Preferred over the Heart of the Hide, and as Rawlings is the most popular glove in the MLB, the Pro-Preferred is the most popular glove for professional players. In terms of a recommendation from us, we can think of no greater endorsement than to point out that most of the best use this glove.
Pro Preferred Reviews Article Contents
Pro Preferred Review Glove Sources
On this site, our general Rawlings glove reviews as well as our Heart of the Hide glove review pages provided a reminder or two. Although those may not focus on the Pro-Preferred exclusively, they offered some insight on closely related Rawlings gloves.
Off this site we relied heavily on Rawlings’ web site—in particular, their glove section on the Pro-Preferred line. We were also privy to their glove catalog. Additionally, we found some use for Closeoutbats’ section on the Rawlings gloves.
Rawlings Pro Preferred Glove Reviews Overview
Overall, there is very little negative to say about Rawlings Pro-Preferred gloves. They are, after all, the most popular MLB glove line from the most popular MLB glove brand. The only serious criticism comes in our wish for a lower price point. And yet, none of our Rawlings baseball or softball gear purchases have done anything but exceed expectations. For the record, compared to other top shelf gloves in the premium leather glove space, the Pro-Preferred is similarly priced.
As a general rule, Pro Preferred Rawlings gloves come with some consistent features across the broad line. Those unique features, the kip leather, wool padding, Pittard’s leather inner lining and thumb sleeve.
Kip leather is a nice way to say leather from baby cows. Like human skin, younger cows produce tighter, thinner skin with fewer imperfections. As the grain structure is tighter, you can expect a more firm glove that feels smoother and has a longer break-in. Kip leather is also meant to be more durable and more expensive.
Every Pro Preferred glove from Rawlings is kip leather.
Whereas Heart of the Hide leather gloves use a thermaform material to wick away sweat on the backhand, Pro Preferred gloves use 100% wool on the wrist strap and padding. Although some might prefer the wool feel, detractors complain that after much use and sweat, the inner wool becomes less impressive. As a general preference, it is something to note in every Pro-Preferred Rawlings glove.
Pittard’s Leather Lining
To posh up the Pro-Preferred leather gloves even more, each glove uses premium Pittard’s sheep leather on the inside of the glove hand. This is the exact same material used in top end batting gloves.
Although not unique to the Pro-Preferred line entity (it is also found on the Heart of the Hide Models), the Pro-Preferred gloves have additional thumb support in terms of a thumb sleeve. These sleeves are inside the thumb slot and give much needed support and comfort. It is a matter of preference for sure, but it is something we prefer on our gloves.
Rawlings Pro Preferred Glove Reviews Model Versions
On our last look, there were nearly twenty versions of the Pro-Preferred gloves offered directly on Rawlings’ website. Major vendors, like Closeoutbats, have at least fifteen different versions to sell. Within the glove line there are not a ton of categorical differentiating features, aside from the fact each glove is made for a position, obviously.
To give you a good feel for what is out there, at the time of this writing, Rawlings has 51 Pro-Preferred gloves for sale on their site. 30 are for infield, 5 for outfield, 8 for pitcher, 5 for catcher and 3 for first base.
Infield Pro Preferred Gloves
Infield gloves in the Rawlings line, like most robust infield glove lines, range from 11.25 up to 12-inches. They come in entirely closed web and the more popular I-web designs. Expect a full range of sizes and options in this most popular glove category.
On Rawlings’ site you can often find gloves made as one-offs. It is unclear if these gloves are mistakes from the custom process, or rather blems from some bulk team order. Regardless, you can often find these gloves on serious discounts from the normal pricing. Many of these gloves are Pro-Preferred. As long as you are comfortable with someone else’s name or someone else’s team logo, you might pick yourself up a pretty sweet deal.
Pro Preferred vs Heart of the Hide
Why is the Pro-Preferred glove $100 more than the Heart of the Hide? The Preferred glove uses more premium materials than the HOH. In particular, the use of kip leather on the outside and Pittard’s leather on the inside drive up costs. Whether this is what drives the entire $100 difference or not, the Pro Preferred is a more premium glove than the Heart of the Hide for more reasons than the price.
The other significant difference between the two is the sheer breadth of options in the Heart of the Hide lines. The Pro-Preferred has plenty of options, don’t get us wrong, but the Heart of the Hide line is more robust than any other manufacturer’s glove lines combined. No doubt the HOH will have the glove pattern you want in the size you need and the color design you’re excited about.
Whether it is worth a $100 difference is simply a personal decision. Many players opt for the very popular HOH gloves with their great namesake, durability and well know steer-hide feel. Others go for a bit more durability and a softer leather in the Pro-Preferred. The latter are also out $100.
Pro Preferred vs Gold Glove
Although next to each other on the scale of Rawlings premium fielding gloves, the Gold Glove from Rawlings and its soft deer hide leather and hand-stitched production still feels like a different class of glove from the Rawlings Pro-Preferred. It may also explain why the Gold Glove is almost twice the price. We prefer the Pro-Preferred in terms of practicality and sizing options, but if we were decorating a penthouse on the Upper East Side, the Gold Glove would be our pick.