Mizuno has mined feedback from MLB players to debut a new line of gloves, the Mizuno Pro and the Pro Select, which replaces the former Global Elite glove. The two glove lines--the Pro comes in North American kip leather and the Pro Select with North American Steer Hide leather--simplify the lines for Japanese-based Mizuno and creates gloves designed for and by players.
"As we shifted our thoughts to the varying pocket depths, we spoke to a number of different level players and asked about how they break in their glove," says Clint Sammons, baseball/softball brand manager for Mizuno USA. "We took these learnings and applied them to our development designs, building pre-set pocket depths that are designed with a player's position and preference in mind, and to enhance their ability to break in a pocket the way they want."
The feedback, specifically, showed Mizuno that every single player when asked for general feedback was quick to point out the depth they want from their pocket. This led Mizuno to create three different depths of pockets from the start. The 11.5-inch shallow pocket, available with a T-Web and Deep III Web, comes ready for players needing to get the ball in and out of the glove quickly. The 11.75-inch pocket was designed for shortstops and third basemen who need an increased catching area. This model comes available with T-Web, H-Web and Deep II Web. The 12.75-inch design, with Shock Web, H-Web and Tartan Web, was designed with an extra-deep pocket for outfielders and pitchers.
"A number of thoughts went into the design of the pattern and pockets, a large share of which was driven out of feedback from our MLB ambassadors," Sammons says. "Our research and development manager and craftsman in Japan found that no matter if we sent our players a more offset hand-based pattern or a center-pocket pattern glove, the vast majority of those players were setting their pocket up under the web. With that in mind, we shifted the pattern for each of these series to reflect that insight and to ensure we were building relevant patterns based off what our players tell us."
The two leather types also cater to player preference. The kip leather--a mainstay in the Mizuno Pro series because of the tight fibers that crate the "perfect look and feel for the glove," Sammons says--comes with firmness out of the box for durability. The Pro Select, using rich and durable steer hide leather, pairs with the soft steer palm liner, making it a popular choice for a high-level player, Sammons says. "The leather breaks in with a nice soft feel, but will hold its shape and is built to last through the rigors of a long season."
The new line is available online and in select retailers now and will have a larger release in October.
Tim Newcomb covers gear and business for Baseball America. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.