How To Choose The Best Softball Gloves – Buying Guide

Finding the best softball gloves is hard for both Fastpitch and Slowpitch players. Although the choice depends on several factors such as your playing position, in most cases the difficulties in choosing a glove come from a lack of information. However, there are only a few things that you need to understand so as to choose the best glove.

1. Wilson A360 Series 14 Inch WTA03RS16 14 Slowpitch Softball Glove

The WTA03RS16 is an all position slowpitch glove that comes from one of the most trusted brands in the industry. It is a leather 14” glove with a split hinge web design making it one of the best slowpitch softball gloves. It is also available in models for both right and left hand throwing players.

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Features and Benefits

  • Material: It is a pure leather glove, and so you can be sure of maximum protection and also that it will serve you for a long time.
  • Size: The size of this glove is 14 inches, and this means it is ideal for most adult players.
  • Dexterity: Wilson avails this glove in both left and right-hand throw. And so it is all inclusive because any slowpitch player can use it regardless of their style of throw.
  • Positions: The fact that this is an all position glove is one of its biggest advantages. Any player from an outfielder to a catcher can use it comfortably.
  • Web Design: This glove has a split hinge web design, and this will offer players a better feel of the ball when it is in the Pocket.

Pros

  • The glove breaks in within a few days of play.
  • It is a very affordable glove.
  • You can use it comfortably and more efficiently in various positions.
  • This glove is available in both left, and right-hand orientation.
  • The padding is sufficient and very comfortable.
  • Wilson uses high-quality materials to make it very durable.
  • Just like most others from Wilson it has a very attractive appearance

Cons

  • Laces will start getting loose after a short while.
  • Thumb holster will sometimes get tangled.
  • Some players complain that it feels smaller than the description.
  • The stitching needs some improvement.
  • It is still a little stiff even after you break it in.
Price, Reviews & Pics

2. Mizuno Prospect Series 12.5″ Fastpitch Softball Glove Gpl1250f1 Tartan Hilo

GPL 1250f1 Tartan Hilo is an excellent 12.5-inch glove that uses modern technology such as PowerClose, ParaShock, and V-Flex Notch to give players maximum comfort and also ensure that they can catch the ball quickly.

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Features and Benefits

  • PowerClose Technology: This technology is one of the things that make Mizuno GPL 1250f1 a top notch glove as it makes it easy for a player to catch the ball.
  • Web: The Tartan Finch Web pattern not only makes the glove more attractive but will also give you better ball security.
  • V-Flex Notch: V-Flex Notch is a unique feature in this glove, and it is the modern technology that makes it easy for it to open and close.
  • ParaShock: The ParaShock Palm Pad design helps to absorb the vibrations from the ball impact and also reduce sting.
  • ButteSoft Lining: This lining will provide you with on-field comfort and better hand protection.
  • Hand: You get the opportunity to choose between left hand and right hand throw because they are both available.

Pros

  • This Mizuno softball glove requires little to no break-in.
  • The leather is not only quality but also feels very soft.
  • Price is great and affordable for everybody.
  • Available for both right-handed and left-handed fastpitch players.
  • This glove is easy to fit, and it also stays securely on your hand.
  • The unique palm pad reduces shock and eliminates sting.

Cons

  • It has a rather small-fitting, and so it is not suitable for players with large hands.
  • Some people will find it dull as it does not have any fancy graphics.
  • You cannot adjust it as much as other Mizuno gloves.
  • This glove is only suitable for an infielder.
  • The padding is not the worst, but it still needs some improvement.
Price, Reviews & Pics

3. Mizuno Premier GPM1403 14″ Adult Softball Glove – Fastpitch or Slowpitch

Mizuno Premier is what a softball player needs to have when on the field. It has an open back design to fit all hand sizes and a Polyurethane Powerlock Strap that will secure it to your hand.

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Features and Benefits

  • Material: It has different types of leather on the interior and exterior. The full grain leather shell on the surface is what makes it a very durable glove.
  • PowerLock Strap: The PowerLock Strap will secure it on your hands and also make it feel very comfortable.
  • Open Back Design: This glove has an open back design that will make it fit all or at least most hand sizes.
  • Hand Orientation: Just like most other modern gloves it is available for both right-hand and left-hand throws.
  • Utility Pattern: It is a 14” softball glove for both fastpitch and slowpitch, and it has an impressive Arched Tartan Web Design.
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Pros

  • It has an excellent feel and fits right out of the box.
  • The genuine high-grade leather makes it very durable.
  • This glove is very affordable for all players.
  • Mizuno Premier has a deep pocket that catches the ball nicely.
  • Works for both recreational and professional softball.
  • Apart from the performance it also looks amazing.
  • The open back design makes it fit all hand sizes comfortably

Cons

  • It seems a little bit hard to break in even when you treat it with glove conditioner.
  • There are small defects in the outer layer of this glove.
  • You will need to undo and redo the knots on the webbing after some time.
  • Leather ties between the fingers are not very durable.
Price, Reviews & Pics

4. Louisville Slugger 10.5-Inches FG Diva Softball Infielders Gloves

Diva Series is a category of softball gloves for young players that are just getting in the game. This one is 10.5″ with soft pig leather on the palm that makes it game ready without breaking in, and it is perfect for infielders.

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Features and Benefits

  • Size: Although it is a 10.5-inch glove it has a large fitting and so it will still be ideal for players that prefer 11” gloves.
  • Hand Orientation: There is an option to choose between a left and right-hand orientation. And this means that you get to have something that conforms to your throw style.
  • Material: It has a soft pig leather on the palm that eliminates the need to break it in by making it game-ready off the shelf.
  • Position: FG Diva from Louisville Slugger is an infielder mitt but its design also makes it possible for players in other positions to use it.

Pros

  • It has a great fit and also looks magnificent.
  • Synthetic material is very flexible and breathable.
  • The price is fair and affordable.
  • This glove will require less break-in time.
  • Lightweight mesh makes closure easy.
  • It is quite a durable glove especially if you compare it with others.
  • Available in both right and left-hand orientation.

Cons

  • This glove lacks enough padding, and this is a huge shortcoming.
  • It feels slightly larger on most young players.
  • The FG Diva is only ideal for youth who are starting out.
  • You might not like it if yellow and pink are not your favorite colors.
Price, Reviews & Pics

5. Rawlings Playmaker Series Glove

Rawlings Playmaker Series is a crossover glove that you can use for both softball and baseball. It features the patented Basket Web Design and flex back with a Velcro Strap to give you a customized fit.

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Features and Benefits

  • Basket Web Design: The basket web design is one of the highlights of this glove, and it creates a flexible pocket that makes it one of the best softball gloves on the market.
  • Cushioned Palm and Index Finger: It has cushioned index fingers and palm pads that will offer extra protection in the impact areas.
  • Palm Perfection: Playmaker Series have full leather palms that are more than 90% broken in when you buy the glove.
  • Velcro Strap: If you are a younger player looking for a snugger fit then this is what you need to buy because it has a Velcro Strap that will give you a customized fit.

Pros

  • This Rawlings Playmaker Series glove fits both female and male players.
  • No breaking in is necessary on the soft leather palm
  • It gives you quality and performance without spending much.
  • The deep pocket will help you hold the ball more securely and comfortably.
  • You can use it for both softball and baseball.
  • The basket weave on the glove is excellent
  • This fantastic infielder’s mitt has both left and right-hand models.

Cons

  • Faux leather on the top side makes it stiffer than most other gloves.
  • It is not an ideal fit for people with big hands.
  • Only the palm of the glove is real leather.
  • It lacks enough padding to cushion your hand from ball impact.
  • The strap is not very effective in tightening the glove.
Price, Reviews & Pics

How To Choose The Best Softball Gloves For Fastpitch And Slowpitch

Your choice of gloves will depend on your playing position, age, the level that you play and also the size of your hand. However, even by considering all these factors, you will still need to find something that does not only fit your hands but is also comfortable and will help protect it against the impact of the ball. And for this to be possible, it is important to understand the following vital things when choosing a best fastpitch or slowpitch softball glove. We also have buying guide about Best Youth Catchers Gear if you want to take a look.

1. Fastpitch Vs Slowpitch Gloves

There is no much difference between fastpitch and slowpitch gloves. In fact, you can use them interchangeably and still enjoy all the benefits of a softball glove.

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The only significant difference between the two gloves is when it comes to what the catcher uses. In slowpitch, the catcher is supposed to catch some soft tosses and some occasional throws from infielders, and so she does not need a particular type of glove.

However, in fastpitch, the catcher will need a well-padded mitt because the balls come in very fast, and so the padding will prevent the hand from becoming sore. Another difference is that a fastpitch pitcher needs a glove that has substantial webbing as it prevents the hitter from seeing the ball so as not to predict the type of pitch you intend to throw.

However, in slowpitch, this should not be an issue because the pitch travels slowly and so it cannot fool the hitter meaning that it does not matter if she knows how you intend to throw the ball.

2. Back

The back is the wrist enclosure in a softball mitt, and its choice is about personal preferences. It has little to do with your playing position, but it is still something important to consider when choosing your glove. However, making the selection is very easy because you can only make a choice between a close or open back.

Gloves with an open back will offer you greater wrist mobility, and this also means that you get better hand movement, and this is why most players prefer it. The closed back is quite rigid because it does not have and opening but some have a small hole that makes it possible for your index finger to be out of the glove. This closed type of glove is popular in the field with catchers because it gives them more support for the catch.

3. Material

Gloves come in different materials, and so you have plenty to choose from, and they include synthetic, leather, mesh and also treated leather. Leather gloves are what most pro players prefer, and this is not only due to its durability but also because it is hard meaning that it offers better protection than other materials.

The only shortcoming is the fact that real leather gloves tend to be more expensive than most other types. Other players prefer treated leather because the oils that pre-condition it give it a quicker break in period. A mesh glove, on the other hand, is perfect for players who want something light while the synthetic material one is ideal for young players because it is the lightest and most affordable.

4. Web

All softball gloves have the Web that connects the fingers and thumbs. This web comes in different patterns and varying tightness, and so the ideal one for you will depend on your position and also you preferences.

There are eight different web types to choose from, and they are Closed, Dual Post, trapeze, Modified Trapeze, Two-Piece Closed, Single Post, Basket and I-Web. However, you can classify all of them under either closed or open web. The closed web one has a tighter lacing, and it is what most pitchers, catchers, and infield players prefer.

An open one has a loose weave and is ideal for outfield players because it allows them to see through it so as to line up pop flies and to transfer from the catching hand to throwing arm fast.

5. Wrist Adjustment

​Most softball gloves have a wrist adjustment but a few cheap ones do not have this feature. The ones with the wrist adjustment are the best, but they also have different systems for this, and so you still need to make a choice between these adjustment mechanisms.

Here you have to choose from D-ring fastener, Velcro, Laced or a Buckle System. Your personal preferences should guide your pick when it comes to this, but it is vital to try out different styles and choose what you find most comfortable. The amount of money that you are willing to spend on the glove will also have an effect on your choice because the wrists adjustment system on the glove also has an effect on its price.

6. ​Size

​The pocket size is another important factor that you have to consider when choosing a softball glove and this is regardless of whether you are a slowpitch or fastpitch player.

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Whereas most people tend to assume that the pocket is the area where the ball falls in the netting, this is not true because it is the small indent on your glove over the palm. And this is where the ball will fall after you catch it with the webbing.

There are two options to choose from that are a shallow and deep pocket size. The shallow size pocket is for the second baseman and shortstops because it makes it possible for them to get the ball from the glove fast. Deep pockets sizes or bigger ones are for outfielders as they allow them to catch fly balls with ease.

​Softball Gloves Buying Guide: Glove Designs By Position

When shopping for the best softball gloves, you have to consider things such as the pocket, webbing, wrist adjustment, back, and size. However, even with all these things you can still fail to get a good one for you because different types of gloves are suitable for various positions. And so it is also vital to know the features and characteristics of gloves appropriate for each playing position. Below is a simple guide to the different glove designs according to positions.

Outfielders

Outfield gloves are the easiest to identify because they are larger and longer than others. They also have an open webbing pattern, closed back and deep pockets. The large size of this glove will make it easy to catch flying pops, open web, on the other hand, is perfect for better visibility.

Deep pocket allows for a good hold of the ball, and the closed back will give an outfielder an extra support and strength for hard hits. The sizes for youths range between 11” and 12” while for adults the size is between 12” and 13”.

​Infielders

​Infield gloves are typically smaller than those for players who play in the outfield. Their smaller size helps to provide increased speed and flexibility to ensure maximum performance.

In the infield, you will find both closed and open webbing with the latter being for second and first basemen and the shortstop to give them first ball transfer while the former is ideal for third basemen as it offers added support for hard hits. These gloves also have shallows pockets for quick catch and ball retrievals. The right sizes for adults are 10.5″ to 11.5″ inches for youths between 9″ and 10″.

​First Base

​The First Base Mitts are fingerless, and they are very similar in appearance to the Catcher’s mitt with the only difference being that they have a defined web and less padding. This design will complement the particular needs of a first baseman and ensure that they can catch the ball comfortably.

The glove has open webbing, and the pockets are also shallow to enable the first baseman to retrieve the ball for first throws and plays. And the sizes for adults range between 12 and 12.5 inches and 9 and 10 inches for youths or younger players.

​Catchers

​A Catcher’s Mitt has a unique design that has the sole purpose of protecting the Catcher from hard, fast and also repetitive pitches. This glove has a fingerless construction and an extra heavy padding that gives it a bulky appearance.

Unlike the other gloves its size is according to circumference and for youths the ideal size is 31 inches or less and 32 inches or larger for adult players. The other characteristics of the Catcher’s Mitt include a closed web pattern for extra support and fast snaps and small shallow pockets for fast transfer of the ball to your throwing hand.

​Pitchers

​Pitchers do not need a particular type of glove, and so most choose one according to personal preference. But, most will prefer to go for closed webbing as it prevents the batter from seeing their grip or the ball. The size and depth of pocket will depend on comfort and preferences.

​One cannot overemphasize the importance of choosing the best softball gloves for your position but, for this to be possible, you will first need to understand the characteristics of each glove according to the position. However, the guide above will give you all the information you need to make the right choice.

​Conclusion

​Having the right glove can make a huge difference in your play and will also influence the performance of your team. Choosing the best softball gloves should not be a problem with the six points above in mind, but you still have to consider other things such as the brand and your budget. It is also vital to read customer reviews on any glove before buying it so as to know what other players who use it have to say.