In terms of attention to detail and premium material, few gloves on the market really compare to Rawlings’ Gold Glove line. Produced in select quantities and numbered individually, a single craftsman takes these gloves from beginning to end. They are hand sewn and made from soft European kip leather as well as deer hide for a custom fit and ultra soft feel. It is a luxury leather interior for a noticeably comfortable fit. All in all, we would recommend the Gold Glove to anyone willing to afford its nearly unreasonable price tag. Also, you must be in the market for one of the sizes within a limited five glove selection.
Off this site we referenced a number of places. Chief among them was Rawlings’ Gold Glove section directly. Images and write ups on the Gold Gloves there were very helpful. We also spent some time with Rawlings’ glove directors discussing the unique nature of the Rawlings Gold Glove. Then we spent some time on Amazon’s product section perusing Gold Glove reviews to get a feel for where others thought the gloves were best used.
Rawlings Gold Glove Overview and Features
Rawlings’ Gold Glove is the feature glove of the entire Rawlings line up. It is also the most expensive. That price is driven by limited quantity, meticulous custom production and use of the finest materials found in the world.
European Kip and Deerhide Lining
Heart of the Hide gloves, another Rawlings glove line, is made of steerhide leather that is tanned to replicate that of deerhide. Deerhide, you may know, is remarkably soft and durable. Next time you pet a deer, pay attention. Gloves try and replicate this feature by deertanning steerhide. It is a more economical way to achieve faux deerhide.
Another way to get a deerhide feel on the inside of a glove is to actually use deerhide. This is what the Gold Glove from Rawlings uses for their glove lining. It is one unique and compelling feature of the glove that both drives the difference in price and premium quality.
The outside of the Gold Glove uses European kip leather. Kip leather is cow hide from young cows. Younger hides have tighter grain structures, tend to be more durable and feel softer. It is a considerable factor in the price tag of the Gold Gloves.
With the Gold Glove line from Rawlings, there are multiple layers of precurved padding between the palm and pocket. These layers can be shaped to fit the needs of the player. Most other gloves use breaks in the padding to encourage work-in along certain creases. Such an approach may be more economical, but it removes the custom feel and break-in a Gold Glove offers. Like the European deerhide, this Opti-Core feature is a price driver.
Although not unique to the Gold Glove line, the finger pad is still worth mentioning. Rawlings embeds, without laces, a pad for the index finger on the back of the gloves. These are sewn into the glove with a very thin profile, and many who notice the low profile pad end up loving it. It is a basic enough feature to wonder why every glove does not do such a thing. The reason, of course: Rawlings owns the patent on the idea.
Unique Serial Number
A single craftsman designs every Gold Glove from start to finish. When finished, each glove is specially marked with a unique serial number and time stamp. Ultimately, these Gold Gloves sold to the public are as good as any Pro version glove that Rawlings would make for the elite athletes it sponsors.
Rawlings Gold Glove Options
Rawlings only produces the Gold Glove model of gloves in select, albeit popular, sizes. Currently they offer the gloves in five specific models.
12.75 in Outfield Glove
The 12.75 inch outfield glove is the largest Gold Glove produced. It uses a traditional dual post web design and a reinforced top bar. Expect maximum reach for the elite outfielder who is not concerned about the weight of their glove.
11.75 in Infield Glove
As a more traditional 3rd baseman’s glove, the 11.75 inch Gold Glove uses a middle infielder’s pocket designed I-web. Expect a shallow pocket but an otherwise large infield glove made for the utility infielder.
12 in Infield/Pitcher Glove
A 12-inch glove with a full on pocket is what most pitchers want to use. This singe post, pro-laced web can serve the pitcher or 3rd baseman looking for as much size on an infield glove as Rawlings offers in the Gold Glove line.
Gold Glove 11.75 in Infield/Pitcher Glove
A dual web closed design on an 11.75 inch glove is just what most elite pitchers want. It is probable a few third basemen could get away with this glove, but it tends to the deeper pocket feel for hiding your change up.
Gold Glove 11.5 in Infield Glove
The quintessential middle infield glove runs 11.5 inches with a shallow I-web design. Rawlings’ Gold Glove offers this length, and while not privy to the numbers, we suspect it is their best selling Gold Glove.
Rawlings Gold Glove vs Pro-Preferred
Aside from the price difference, there are a few considerable differences between the Rawlings Pro-Preferred and Gold Glove. To name the most important ones, at least as we see it:
The Gold Glove uses a deerhide on the palm inner lining while the Pro-Preferred uses Pittard’s sheepskin
The Pro-Preferred are produced in quantity while the Gold Glove is produced, and serial numbered, by a single craftsman.
Pro-Preferred gloves come in a number of sizing options while the Gold Glove is offered in only a select few.
Gold Gloves use an Opti-Core shaping system with multiple shape-able padding layers built into the palm. The Preferred uses much more traditional shaping mechanisms that don’t allow for as much customization in the work-in.
Rawlings Gold Glove vs Heart of the Hide
There are several considerable differences, aside from the price, between the Heart of the Hide and the Gold Glove series from Rawlings. Most noticeable are the different types of leather. The Gold Glove uses a premium European kip leather while the HOH uses traditional steer-hide. Side by side these two leathers are noticeably different.
As well as the superior outer leather, the inside lining of the Gold Glove uses a deerhide leather rather than the less premium steerhide used in HOH. When you put the gloves on, the difference in softness and comfort is also immediately noticeable.
Gold Gloves take pride in being individually crafted and given a unique serial number and date stamp. Heart of the Hide gloves, while still top shelf productions, are meant for mass production at as much costs savings as is possible in a big time glove.
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