A Guide For Fast Pitch And Slow Pitch Players In Selecting The Best Softball Gloves
People from the United States are just some of the most enthusiastic sports fans in the planet. One of the most popular sports here is softball. Softball resembles baseball in so many ways, but it is played on a smaller field and it uses a larger ball. One of the basic equipment in softball is a glove. Players go to great lengths to find the best softball gloves.
Softball is known for several other names such as indoor baseball, kitten ball, mush ball, and ladies’ baseball. The three types of softball are slow pitch softball, fast pitch softball, and modified softball. Each type uses different kinds of gloves that will help the player secure the safety of their hand from the ball’s impact.
Softball gloves are designed based on your position in the field and level of the game. It will be easy to find the top softball gloves by following these pointers.
How To Select A Softball Glove
Here are some of the factors you need to consider when choosing the top softball gloves. Below are the things you need to be familiar with before you put your money on a glove.
There are different types of materials for a softball glove. It may be made out of leather, treated leather, mesh, and synthetic materials. Most players prefer leather as the material of their gloves because of the comfort they provide and their durability.
Some players opt for gloves with treated leather as the material. This type of material is pre-treated with conditioning oils that will aid in speeding up the break in period of the glove. Mesh backed gloves are preferred for their light material. Most inexperienced players prefer gloves made out of synthetic materials as they are the lightest material and the most inexpensive option available today.
The size of the glove is usually etched in the glove’s thumb or pinky finger. The size of the gloves usually ranges from eight to fifteen inches. A catcher’s mitts can reach up to 35 inches in circumference. If your glove does not have a size, you can easily identify its size by using a tape measure.
Measure the glove starting at the top of the glove’s index finger, and straight down the bottom center of the glove. With each different type of glove, there are different types of pockets and webs. The choice of the best softball gloves depends on your position in the field.
A glove’s webbings may be identified as Basket web, I-web, Closed web, Two-Piece Closed web, Single Post web, Dual Post web, Trapeze Web, and Modified Trapeze Web. Infield players usually choose a glove that has looser webbing stitch. This allows them to have more control in quickly getting the ball out and it does not collect a lot of dirt during plays.
The back of the gloves can be identified as the glove’s wrist enclosure. Choosing a glove based on the back is basically based on personal preference and has nothing to do with the position you play. You can choose between an open and a closed back glove.
An open back glove allows greater mobility as it has a space in its material that lets the wrist move freely. It also aids in quickly turning the ball around and in hand mobility. Infield players usually choose an open back glove as it ensures quicker plays.
A closed back glove is more rigid but it may have a hole for the index finger so the finger can be positioned outside the glove. This glove is usually seen in the field as it gives the player more support when catching the ball especially with pop flys and deep power hits.
- Wrist Adjustment
Wrist adjustments allow players to snugly fit the gloves to their hands. This will allow them to easily put their gloves on and take them off without so much of an effort. Wrist adjustments can be a buckle system, Velcro, laced, or fastened with a D-ring.
Gloves made out of treated leather materials are supposedly easier to break in. however, there are several method to help break your gloves in and make them more comfortable to use.
Some players steam their gloves to help soften the leather and get it ready for the game. You first need to apply glove conditioner on your glove to help in opening the pores of the leather. Then steam it at around 150 degrees. Strike the glove with a mallet after steaming to help soften the leather.
You can also break in your gloves by pounding its pocket with a glove mallet. This will help in softening the leather and forming the pocket. You will need to put on your glove and then using your throwing hand, use the mallet to continuously strike your glove’s pocket. After doing this, you can take off your glove, lay it palm side down on a solid surface, and pound the back side of the glove.
By itself, oils and conditioners are not literally a break in method but they can be used to help soften the leather of your gloves. Use only oils and conditioners suggested by your glove manufacturer to help protect the material of your gloves. There are conditioners made specifically for the leather used in your gloves. Oils should be used sparingly. Over-applying is not recommended. Just apply a light coat of oil and rub it. Avoid using products that can dry out the materials of your glove.
However, the most effective way of breaking your gloves in is by actually using it. Get out and play catch with your friends using your new gloves. This is a true and tried tested way to get your gloves to soften and get the form of your hands. While it may be time consuming, you can greatly reduce the potential risk of damaging your gloves by using other break in methods.
Gloves By Position
There are different types of gloves based on the position you play in the field. Below are just some of the common types of gloves.
- Infield Gloves
Infield gloves are smaller gloves made for quick plays in the middle field. They have a shallower pocket and are shorter as compared with other types of gloves. Infield players will typically choose an open pocket glove that will allow them to quickly get the ball out. The webbing is usually a Post web, Dual Post web, an I-web, or a Modified Trapeze web.
A closed pocket is only preferred if the player is in the third base as he usually gets harder hits in this position. A closed pocket can help the player handle hard hits as compared with an open one. An infield glove has a standard size of 11.25 to 12 inches for baseball and 11.5 to 12.5 inches for softball. There are limited choices based on the web for a softball glove because it is used to catch a larger ball.
- Outfield Gloves
Outfield gloves are larger gloves that are made specifically to catch fly balls and for diving catches. The gloves are longer and have deeper pockets with added support for the fingers. They can have closed web pockets to account for the large size of the ball. The standard size of an outfield glove is 9 to 15 inches.
- First Base Gloves
First base gloves are long and do not have much padding. It is designed to have the ability to handle fastballs and is flexible enough to scoop throws out the dirt. First base gloves are strong and they support the fingers by not allowing your fingers to flop back just as how a regular glove would.
They are designed to have open webs to make the pocket deeper but lighter as opposed with a closed pocket design. This glove is typically worn by players ten years and older. It will be difficult to close this glove if worn by younger players. The standard size for first base gloves is 11.5 to 13 inches.
- Catcher’s Mitts
A catcher’s mitt can be referred to as a catcher’s glove. This glove does not have cuts that will separate each finger, thus the name. It has deep pockets and thin walls to help accommodate the big ball. It is designed to catch fastballs so it is very stiff and may take some time to break in. The reason for the stiffness is that it is supposed to support the hand from wearing down quickly from catching fastballs and from the pain of catching the ball.
For this reason, most catchers purchase replacement mitt months before their current mitt will wear out so they can have enough time to break in their new glove. Catcher’s mitts have closed pockets as they can take a lot of abuse without easily breaking down. It is also measured differently as compared with other types of gloves. The measurement is taken by measuring the glove’s circumference so you can determine the mitt’s catching area. The standard size of a catcher’s mitt is 29.5 to 35 inches.
The Best Softball Gloves for Fast pitch
This glove is made with pre-oiled Java leather. It features SureFit Foam for added cushion and a more snug fit. The ParaShock palm technology is exclusive for the Mizuno brand and it can absorb the impact of the ball and can withstand repeated use.
Being one of the best fastpitch softball glove today, this glove provides maximum comfort and outstanding protection. Its Power Lock design closure allows you to easily slip in and secure your gloves. While the glove is designed for a woman’s hand, it can also fit the small hand of a male adult. It is made with soft quality leather so it is ready to use and requires little time to break in.
It is made with pre-oiled Java leather for long lasting use. It features technologies dedicated for Mizuno gloves such as the SureFit Foam, the ParaShock Palm technology, and the PowerLock system. This glove is specifically designed to match the biomechanical needs of a fast pitch player.
It is designed for a woman’s hand and has narrow finger stalls and tighter wrist opening. It can also fit younger softball players and small-hand adult males. You can try to fit in physical stores before buying online to ensure that it has the right fit. It has a soft leather design that is easy to break in.
This glove is designed for female softball players. It is made with deer tanned, cowhide leather. It is soft and durable and is made structurally sound. It features a VRS palm pad that absorbs shock and protects the hand from the ball’s impact. Its palm lining also highlights an oiled hog hide and a soft finger lining made out of sponge tricot for maximum comfort.
Its adjustable lock system features a Lock Down Velcro wrist strap that will give you a secure and custom fit. It can be used both by an adult female and younger players. It is easy to break in because of its soft leather material.
This glove is lightweight but has a firm structure. It is easy to break in as compared with other traditional cowhide gloves. It is made with kangaroo leather so it is durable. Sandstone adds body and form needed by the glove to keep a solid pocket and snug fit.
It is a closed web and closed back glove designed for female players. It can also fit younger players and adult male players with smaller hands. It has a small compartment for the hands and has a smaller wrist opening. If you are adult male, it may be best to fit the gloves first in the stores before buying online.
The Best Softball Gloves for Slowpitch
This glove is constructed with an all leather shell. It has an oversized pattern for slow pitch and can be custom fitted using its adjustable back. It can be used by both male and female players.
Its oversized pattern allows it to maintain its shape and lets the player adjust the pocket of the glove based on their preference. While it may take a longer amount of time to break into it, the wait is all worth it because it is a great slow pitch glove. Its adjustable back gives it its versatile design as you can custom fit it to your reference.
This glove is just one of the most versatile and best slowpitch softball gloves you can find in the market today. Its closed weave web and 14 inches length will allow you to play any position in the field. It is even available in two throw orientations, the right and the left hand throw.
It has a Velcro wrist strap for easy adjustment and will give you a snug fit. It is made with genuine palm leather and features a Pro-Tech padding for maximum protection. It has a solid constructed glove and pockets. It is a glove that can fit both a male and female adult.
This glove is made with pre-oiled soft Java leather that is easy to break in and has a long lasting quality. Its Hi-Low lacing lets you maintain the integrity of a glove that has a fully laced web but provides added flexibility.
The ParaShock palm technology will give you comfort and protection while the PowerLock closure system will ensure maximum performance and snug fit. It has a Patented QuickForm lacing so it holds the shape of the gloves and gives you solid pockets. It is designed mainly for an adult male but it can also fit a larger female hand.
This glove is made with soft, lightweight, and full-grain leather shell so you are game-ready and it is easy to break in. Its palm pad has a Poron XRD technology that virtually diminishes the ball’s impact on your hands. This makes catching the ball a sting-free experience, even with repeated use.
Its laces are made with USA tanned leather for increased durability and they pull the glove together for a more solid construction. It has a modified trapeze web and is available in both the right hand and the left hand orientations. It mainly fits the size of an adult male’s hand.
The Best Softball Gloves for Youth Players
As most star players started out very young, you can fit your kid into this Rawlings Players Youth Glove to help them start playing even at an early age. This glove is perfect for youths aged 2 to 7 years old.
It is designed with durable composite shell and it is very easy to break in so your kid can start catching the ball right away. Its Basket Web design allows smaller hands to fit in and squeeze the glove shut for a more snug fit. This glove is designed for left hand throw orientation and is used by infielders and pitchers.
This mitt is one of the best fastpitch softball gloves for younger players. Its Power Close design makes it easy for your kid to fasten the glove and to catch the ball. The palm pad has a ParaShock technology that absorbs the impact of the ball and virtually diminishes the shock of repeated use and provides less rebound.
This allows the glove to provide ideal comfort and outstanding protection. The PowerLock technology allows for a simple and most secure fit. It is easy to break in so your kid can just go out and readily use this glove for her game.
This glove is perfect for your young girl. Its pink accent will add cuteness to your daughter’s softball outfit. It is a versatile glove that can be used in all different positions in the field. Its Victory Web design gives it’s a more solid construction and deeper pockets. It is designed for right hand throwing orientation and is perfect for beginners.
This glove is perfect for children aged 2 to 7 years old. It is a perfect first glove for any young aspiring softball athlete because of its T-ball design. It is easy to break in so your daughter can go out to play right away
Fastpitch Catcher’s Mitts
This catcher’s mitt is designed for younger players. It has a circumference of 32.50 inches. Its Power Close design makes it easy for younger players to fasten the gloves on their own and without so much effort. Its snug-fitting design makes its more comfortable and easier to catch a ball.
The V Flex Notch helps initiate easier closure. Its palm pad is designed with Mizuno’s ParaShock technology that absorbs impact of the ball upon catching it and it withstands repeated use. It also provides the player with outstanding protection while giving comfort. It has a hand orientation of a right hand throw.
This catcher’s mitt has patterns designed specifically for fast pitch players. Its narrow-hand spread allows the player to easily control the glove. It is made with soft full-grain leather shell that will allow you to break it in easily while providing comfort and durability.
Its palm pad is designed with Silencer Sting Reduction so the sting from catching the ball and its impact is virtually diminished. Its custom-fit Velcro strap provides a secure fit for any size of the hand. It has a right hand throw orientation. It is designed to fit a youth’s hand but can fir an adult as well.
This catcher’s mitt is designed by four-time All-American league champion and Olympic gold medalist Jessica Mendoza who proudly wears a #2 jersey. This mitt has a gold medal design following Jessica’s success as a softball player. It features deep pockets and narrow finger stalls for smaller hands.
It has smaller wrist opening to tailor it for all play levels. It has a circumference of 33 inches and is designed specifically to fit younger players. Its oil-treated leather allows easy break in and makes the leather really soft. This is one of the best fastpitch softball gloves for women and has a one-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.
The Mizuno catcher’s mitt has a circumference of 34 inches and will fit most adult female players. It has soft pebbled bio throwback leather that is easy to break in and will allow you to use it right away for your game. It is durable and will give you a long-lasting feel.
It features a Professional Level Lace that gives it durability. It is the same durable lace that is used in Mizuno’s professional level gloves so you can be assured that this is among the top softball glove. It has an outlined and embroidered logo and is available for left hand orientation throwers. It is also suitable for junior league players.
Benefit of Customers When They Use Softball Gloves
The different designs of the gloves allow you to play different position in the field and offers different support. Your glove should match the game and the strategies being played. Depending on the ball’s impact and how it is thrown, using the top softball glove will help you level up your game.
Gloves are a requirement when playing softball. You will not be allowed to play softball without the proper equipment. One of the most obvious reasons for using softball gloves is that they protect your hand from injury during play.
How to Pick the Best Softball Gloves – Step By Step
1. Choose the Right-Sized Glove That Fits You.
When choosing a glove, sizing charts can help you identify the size that you will generally fall under. There should be plenty of room inside your glove that will allow you to wear a batting glove inside. A glove that is too tight will not allow movement during plays. When trying on gloves, wear your batting gloves with it.
A batting glove will protect your hand and your glove from dirt and salt from your hands when you play. Choose a glove with enough padding to protect your palm from the impact of catching the ball. Your glove should be easy to adjust so it will fit snugly on your hand.
2. Your Glove Should Match the Position That You Play In the Field.
The different types of gloves based on your position have been discussed previously in this article. Different position calls for different gloves. But you can also choose the top softball glove that is versatile and can be used both infield and out.
3. Choose Quality Leather for Durability.
Inspect your glove to ensure that it is made with genuine leather. Avoid those that indicate that not all parts are made with leather. You also need to watch out for plastic gloves that are made to look like leather.
4. Shop Around Within Your Price Range.
Find a glove that meets quality and your price range. Shop around and compare prices. Do not settle for a versatile goal when you play a specific position and steer away from gloves made out of artificial materials, just to save some money.
5. Ensure That Your Glove Meets the Specifications That You Need.
The webbing, pocket, back, and wrist adjustment should be some of your consideration when choosing a glove. Do not hastily buy a glove without doing enough research. Find great value by using the right information and some practical knowledge.
Tips for Using Softball Gloves
You can maintain the quality of your softball gloves by ensuring that you do not use products that are not approved by its manufacturers. Use oils and conditioners that are specifically made for softball gloves. Apply oils or conditioners inside and outside of the glove. Applying these products on the inside of your glove will help protect it from your perspiration that can cause the deterioration of the leather.
If you are buying a glove for your kid, it may be best not to write his name on it if you intend to sell it when he outgrows it. As most excited parents write their child’s name on the glove, this can virtually eliminate your chances of selling your child’s glove in the future.
Frequently Asked Question (F.A.Q)
What size should I get?
There are several sizing charts available depending on the type of glove you want. You can generally get your size by following these charts or you can simply try some gloves on before actually buying one.
How to break in my glove?
Some methods to breaking your glove in are mentioned above. But the key is time. It may take some time to break in quality leather as compared with other materials.
Can I get a custom-made glove?
Several brands offer custom gloves. You can check out Rawlings, Mizuno, and Wilson.
Do I need to get a specially-designed glove if I am left-handed?
There are several gloves designed for left-hand catchers. But if you cannot find one that can suit your standards, you can opt for a custom-made glove.
Buying the best softball gloves can be tricky. But having the right information and using all the practical knowledge that you have should help you find the best value for your money.