It seems that Japanese-made athletic gear took the sporting world by storm, with golfers switching to Mizuno Irons clubs to volleyball players donning Mizuno sneakers. In baseball, the Japanese trend has also grown, with more players preferring to wear Mizuno spikes instead of the usual Nike, Adidas, and Puma cleats. The wave continued with baseball gloves, with the advanced features that are typically Japanese.
Mizuno and SSK are probably the most familiar Japanese sporting brands that have penetrated the Western market. Mizuno and SSK are among the most dominant. Both brands offer complete baseball glove lines, so choosing your favorite model comes down to individual preference, comfort, the position played, and perhaps what you can afford.
For example, outfielders tend to go for bigger and longer gloves to stretch their hands out and catch balls more easily, or use it wide open to shield their faces from the sun. On the other hand, infielders prefer smaller gloves with closed webs because they believe they’re the best in transferring balls to prepare for quick and fast throws to outpace fast-base runners. Pitchers also tend to use infielder’s gloves, although they may be somewhat longer, modified, or even customized. Catchers and first basemen usually wear mitts with shapes and padding designed to withstand the rigors of their particular position in the field.
Here are some of the Japanese baseball glove manufacturers, including lesser-known Japanese baseball glove makers:
Mizuno is the most dominant Japanese brand when it comes to baseball gear. It began in 1906 selling Western sundries (including baseballs); now, Mizuno is a global company that manufactures and sells various sports gear. However, it is mainly known for its baseball equipment, especially its quality baseball gloves. These gloves are the core of what Mizuno is and have made it a trusted baseball equipment brand in Japan and worldwide for over a century.
Mizuno combines quality leather and raw materials with the latest technology when creating a specific product, such as a baseball glove.
In addition to standard mitts, Mizuno has also embraced fully customizable options that allow customers to create their own designs online.
Among the most popular Mizuno baseball gloves line are the Mizuno Pro Baseball Glove Series, Mizuno Pro Select Baseball Glove Series, Mizuno Classic Pro Soft Baseball Glove Series, Mizuno Prime Elite Baseball Glove Series, and Mizuno Franchise Baseball Glove Series.
Mizuno produces a wide variety of professional-level baseball gloves made with premium leather for all specific positions – infield, outfield, catcher, etc., along with standard professional gloves. While most of Mizuno’s gloves carry steep price tags, there are also some more affordable options. Prices range between $200 and $400 for a glove.
If you’re looking for a reasonably priced Mizuno glove, go for their Classic Pro Soft series – prices of its gloves start at $200. It can be used by beginners and professionals alike.
The Pro Select Glove is also one of Mizuno’s top products. This collection offers baseball gloves made with US steerhide, which provides both durability and comfort to the wearer. However, this series comes at a higher price tag averaging around $265.
SSK is also a respected Japanese baseball equipment company with a significant presence in the international market. Founded in 1946 by Kyozo Sasaki, SSK has produced a large selection of quality products, designed with innovation in mind, while providing top-rated service to its customers.
Some say that SSK’s gloves are even more expensive than Mizuno’s, ranging from $100 to $300 or higher.
SSK offers various signature gloves, but its “Black Line” remains its most famous and premium line. This line features gloves designed with the company’s innovative FusionFit Technology and made of Moisturized Premium Steerhide Leather. Their gloves are durable and long-lasting while also staying supple enough to fit snugly in your hand and give your thumb some added support.
The “White Line” gloves are cheaper but still offering great design and performance.
SSK offers a six-year manufacturer’s warranty on all of its baseball gloves, a solid proof that it stands behind its commitment to quality.
Zett is another Japanese corporation that manufactures baseball and softball gear. It has been around since the 1950s.
About Zett’s baseball gloves, they’ve genuinely made a part of the company’s history and legacy. Until recently, Zett’s gloves were somewhat of a well-kept secret, especially among American baseball players. These gloves are actually manufactured in Taiwan together with other baseball equipment. Zett can be seen worn by pro ballplayers in Japan and are prevalent in the Eastern hemisphere.
Like Mizuno’s and SSK’s gloves, Zett’s gloves are made from premium US steerhide. Designed for professional use in mind, these gloves are durable but also light and comfortable, enabling the player to catch better or throw quicker. Zett also designs position-specific baseball gloves, which are available in a handful (pardon the pun) of colors.
Zett’s gloves range between $180 and $300 or higher. Zett doesn’t have its own website as of this writing, but you can score their gloves from major online stores like Amazon and eBay.
Worldpegasus is a Japanese corporation founded in 1965. It manufactures and sells baseball gear.
Worldpegasus’s gloves are created with the players in mind. The company sticks to its concept that every glove binds with its players and is different from one another, even though it may be made from the same model.
Some of the company’s gloves are products of its collaboration with baseball players, such as Japanese baseball star Kuwata Masumi. The “Field Master” series is a collection of gloves made for hardball or softball for leisure or beginner players. The “Grand Devil” series is a collection of gloves for those transitioning into high school and made for hardball and softball. Another collection, the “Grand Pegasus,” caters to players at the collegiate or professional level. These top-quality gloves will set you back between $250 to $500.
Founded in 1980, Xanax Baseball has a long and illustrious history of professional Japanese baseball players using their gear on national television in Japan.
The company’s gloves are made from steer leather and black leather. Xanax makes these gloves with a particular emphasis on tradition and attention to detail, resulting in lightweight and durable gloves that are designed to improve the player’s performance.
Xanax offers both beginner and professional gloves. It also offers multicolored gloves, with some combinations featuring green and red and others having blue and orange. In addition, Xanax offers the standard brown and black colors. Prices go from $200 to $500. While their gloves are pretty hard to find on the other side of the planet, you may score them on Amazon or eBay.
Check out the other top baseball glove manufacturers.