Rawlings Heart of the Hide vs. Pro Preferred

When it comes to Rawlings baseball gloves, the name speaks for itself. Rawlings has been making baseball gloves for almost as long as baseball has been around – and they’ve been damn good at it! As one of the most popular glove brands in the games, they have various lines of gloves, and most pertain to different levels of player: Gold Glove, R9, and the all-new line that they introduced fairly recently – the REV1X. But what I left out is the two of their top-selling and when I think about it, probably their most used amongst elite players and glove enthusiasts: Heart of the Hide and the Pro Preferred.

Now when you look at both types of gloves, most non-glove enthusiasts may have a hard time telling the difference between the two until you see the emblem in the palm of the glove. Well, that and the price tag associated with each. When it comes to price, most times the Heart of the Hide runs about $100-120 cheaper than a Pro Preferred, but why is that? And when it comes to spending $299+ on a ball glove, you may want to know what separates the two, as well as what glove is right for YOU or your athlete. Let’s dive into to each and see if we can help you with your decision!


Heart of the Hide:

The Heart of the Hide line is actually one of Rawlings’ oldest lines of gloves dating back all the way to 1958 when it was first introduced. When you look at both a HOH and a PP, there isn’t a whole lot of difference from the outside looking in. To see and feel the real differences, we need to look at the internals.

The 2 biggest components that make up a HOH is its signature US Steerhide Leather and their Deer Tanned Cowhide Palm Liner. The steerhide leather is what the shell (outer part of the glove) is made out of. When compared to its counterpart, cowhide, it is less stretchy, which is why some gloves are extremely stiff before breaking them in.

The palm liner made of cowhide is a bit thicker and softer to the touch and that is what give you more padding in the inner palm of the glove, strategically placed in the palm to help you close the glove without really straining.


Pro Preferred:

When it comes to Pro Preferred gloves, they may not have the same heritage and history like the Heart of the Hide, but it doesn’t take away from the quality of the glove. In fact, depending on the player, some prefer the feel of a Pro Preferred over the Heart of the Hide. The 2 main differences between the 2 are the fact that it uses Kip leather and the palm is made with Pittard’s Sheepskin.

The kip leather when compared to Steerhide is a little lighter and thinner, though ahs a little more shiny, “premium” look to it. The Pittard’s sheepskin can be a little thinner, but stiffer, and has a more moisture wicking material that gives a whole different feel, though when it comes to design, there aren’t a whole lot of differences.


Key Differences:

As we have outlined, the two main differences in these two lines are the leather on the shell and palm of the gloves. Kip is a little stiffer and premium, while steerhide is more common in mid-range gloves, but is still firm and provides padding for your hand.

The next biggest difference is something that I didn’t outline in the specific sections, but Pro Preferred gloves do not come in youth sizing, not are meant for players younger than 15-16 years old due to the premium quality of the glove. This can be attributed to the stiffness and break-in time needed when getting the glove ready for gameplay.

The last key difference, and probably the one you’ve been really looking for, is the price. Heart of the hides, depending on model and edition can start around $300, while Pro Preferred gloves tend to be on the more expensive side, with most starting at $380.

When it comes down to it, my opinion is this - get the glove you feel most comfortable with. When it comes to choosing a glove, even if outside the Rawlings line, get the glove that you feel most comfortable with and the one you feel will help you make plays in the game. Put them on your hand, feel the weight, etc. I hope this helps you when choosing your next piece! Good luck!