Heart of the Hide Gloves from Rawlings encompass the largest category of gloves in the industry. To give it some perspective, Rawlings makes more Heart of the Hide models than any other glove company makes of their total models. For Rawlings, Heart of the Hide is not only their largest category, but makes up more than 50% of the gloves they produce.
They are the namesake of Rawlings, and in many respects, define the entire glove space. After understanding the scope, it becomes apparent that reviewing each Heart of the Hide Rawlings glove in a single article might be too much for our browsers’ caching systems to handle. Yet, we attempt in the following to help the reader get a grasp of a Heart of the Hide Glove Review.
Heart of the Hide Review
There are a number of legitimate sources to find information on Rawlings gloves. Rawlings’ glove department page is mostly helpful. We used it to get a good count on the number of Heart of the Hide gloves in existence, as well as information on some pricing.
On the whole, we think the Heart of the Hide gloves are some of the very best in the industry. They are produced for both baseball and softball and come in more options than we have yet to be able to count. The Rawlings site shows at least 180 options.
In terms of preference, it really is hard to go wrong with a top shelf Rawlings glove, and the HOH series fits right in that category. You could reasonably compare these to any brand model on the market.
Thermaform Wrist Wick
A unique feature to the Heart of the Hide Rawlings gloves is the use of a thermaform wrist wick found on the back of the wrist. This allows both a more durable entry way and a technology that keeps the hand and wrist cool during play. Other gloves in the line use a wool material which, although soft for some time, often turns into a sweaty mess.
Rawlings Heart of the Hide gloves are selected from the top 5% of all steer hide leather available. The Heart of the Hide leather is akin to prime beef, if you will, where the prime denotes the best quality on the market. Although such a claim could seem flippant and made by just about anyone, the stellar reputation of the Rawlings Heart of the Hide series of gloves is proof to the glove’s quality leather.
The leather is deer-tanned. Meaning, it is conditioned before use for very soft feel.
The laces are a Tennessee Tanning rawhide built for life long durability. Rawlings owns a tannery in Tennessee where the laces are specially made. Compared to other major brands, the laces feel thicker and more durable. No real study has been conducted revealing which lasts longer, but it is reasonable to assume they are at least as durable as any on the market. Rawlings does not cut corners on their laces.
Game Day Gloves
If you needed more evidence that the Heart of the Hide gloves stand as some of the very best in the industry, look no further than the MLB. More than 50% of MLB players use a Rawlings glove. A number of those exact patterns can be purchased in stock version by the general public. These are referred to as Game Day Gloves in the Heart of the Hide lineup.
One noticeable difference between the Heart of the Hide and other manufacturers’ glove is the more snug fit on the thumb. Rawlings adds a padded thumb sleeve to every Heart of the Hide glove they make. In terms of preference and a reason to prefer one model over another the thumb sleeve is a good place to start.
Heart of the Hide Reviews Model Versions
Depending on where you look, there are no less than eighty actively sold Rawlings Heart of the Hide gloves. Rawlings’ site, at the time of this writing, has 199 Heart of the Hide gloves. That encompasses both softball and baseball, and every thing in between.
Baseball is where the Heart of the Hide gloves make a living. They come in every length and positional size available. There is rarely a web pattern you cannot find in anything from an 11.25 inch 2nd baseman’s glove to a 13-inch outfield or 1st baseman’s glove. They also have no less than 6 catcher’s mitts.
Softball Heart of the Hide
Softball Rawlings Heart of the Hide gloves are also a serious player in the space. They come in every size and shape imaginable, and by our last count, Rawlings made no less than twenty fastpitch softball gloves.
With such a large grouping of gloves, it is often difficult to find the exact type you are looking for. Rawlings does add some features to certain Heart of the Hide gloves that are not found on others. Understanding these sub categories should help you narrow down your options in the HOH space to a more manageable decisions.
One way to better categorize the baseball glove line is by the use of a technology Rawlings calls Dual Core. Some gloves, denoted by the name Dual Core, use a different leather with a tighter fiber structure than other Heart of the Hide gloves. This leather is softer and easier to work in.
Also, Dual Core gloves use a different palm padding placement to create a position specific break-in on each glove. That is, a dual core glove uses padding on the inside where breaks in the gloves should form. This design feature allows for a faster and more durable break-in.
Although they come with a more premium work-in period and a softer leather, the gloves are not more expensive than traditional Heart of the Hide gloves without Dual Core. Unless there is a strong preference toward another glove, we generally recommend going the Dual Core route when possible.
Pro-Mesh is another category of Heart of the Hide gloves. Rawlings uses this synthetic on the back of some gloves to increase durability and to make the glove lighter and easier to work-in.
Most consider the Pro Mesh versions of the glove less impressive than the full leather Heart of the Hide glove. But for some it may be the right choice, especially those who prefer a lighter glove and an easier break-in, but still want the top shelf palm and webbing of a true Heart of the Hide glove.
Unique to some of the Heart of the Hide softball gloves is a pull strap system on the wrist. This allows custom slot opening sizes for the female softball player. In addition to the pull strap, Rawlings makes their fastpitch gloves with finger stall width more in tune with the female hand. Not all softball gloves in the Heart of the Hide come with the pull strap. If you are looking to narrow down the number of options in the fastpitch space then the existence of a pull strap is a good place to start.
Although strictly aesthetic, the Heart of the Hide uses a color sync category that gives gloves a custom look offered in stock prices. Notice, for example, the red and gold lettering of the wrist patch in the above catcher’s glove as well as the gold and red accents on the glove. This, previously only available in custom gloves with its accompanying pricing, is available in some patterns with stock pricing. It is another way to help narrow down the gigantic selection of Heart of the Hide gloves.
Heart of the Hide vs Pro Preferred
In terms of quality ingredients, the Pro Preferred gloves from Rawlings are a step above the Heart of the Hide. They use a softer kip leather on the face, as well as Pittard’s sheeps leather—the same top end batting gloves use—on the inside. In addition to those two changes in leather, they also use a 100% wool padding to aid in a long lasting pocket work-in.
Although opinions differ, most agree the Pro Preferred takes a bit longer to work-in, but may very well last longer. It is also what may justify the price difference of around $100 more for the Pro-Preferred Rawlings.
Heart of the Hide vs Gold Glove
The Rawlings Gold Glove line is a premium glove line built with first rate materials from around the world. Made from ultra soft deerskin, it is a hand sewn glove built for beauty, and really is the best glove Rawlings can possibly make. It uses an opti-core system which is a derivation of the Dual Core and each glove comes with a unique individual serial number signifying its creation date. In comparison to the Heart of the Hide gloves, they are quite a bit different. We picture the Heart of the Hide glove more of a glove for a steel worker’s son. The Gold Glove is made more for the steel company’s CEO’s son. It is more than twice as expensive than the Heart of the Hide.