Buyers' Guide To Softball Glove

The Best Softball Glove Buyer’s Guide

In the game of softball, one of the most important roles that all players have is catching. Whether you play infield or outfield, you are the first baseman or the catcher, catching the ball is paramount in the game of softball. For that reason, you need the best softball glove to ensure that your ability to catch is at its finest.

Catching the ball – or a failure to do so – can make the difference between winning a game and losing it. While having a great glove is paramount to your success in the game of softball, finding the best softball glove for your specific needs can be a bit challenging; especially if you are new to the game and have never purchased a glove before.

Softball Glove With Ball Displayed On Dirt

In order to help you on your quest for finding the best softball glove, we have created this informative buyer’s guide for you. We have done extensive research to determine what exactly makes the best softball glove, and we have also tested out countless gloves. In this guide, we share with you everything you need to know about softball gloves so that you can find the best one to suit your specific needs.

This guide sheds light on the most pertinent information that you will need in order to find the best softball glove. We discuss the different types of softball gloves, how to shop for the best softball glove, and we also share the top softball gloves that are available on the market today, among other things.

This comprehensive buyer’s guide truly provides you with all of the information that you need to find the best softball glove. After reading this guide, you will be well informed and prepared to make the best decision possible.

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Different Types Of Softball Gloves

When you are shopping for the best softball glove, the first and most important thing that you need to do is make sure you are shopping for a glove that is designed for the position that you play. Different types of softball gloves are specifically designed for the different positions that are played on the field.

To further elaborate, there are softball gloves and softball mitts; the two are, indeed, different, though the names are commonly swapped: people often use the word ‘glove’ to describe a mitt, and the word ‘mitt’ to describe a glove. So, what is the difference between a glove and a mitt? Gloves are designed with finger separations that are more defined than the finger separations in mitts. Mitts are used only by catcher and first basemen, and all other players use gloves.

Now that we have differentiated between gloves and mitts, let’s talk about the different types of softball gloves and mitts.

Catcher’s Mitt

If your position is catcher, you are going to want to specifically shop for a catcher’s mitt. With a circumference that ranges from 31 inches to 34 ½ inches, these softball mitts are the largest of all softball gloves and mitts. A catcher’s mitt also has the deepest pocket of all the gloves and mitts that are used for softball.

Artistic Shot of Female Softball Catcher

The large circumference of the catcher’s mitt, coupled with the deep pocket, makes it easier for the catcher to grab those fast moving balls. The mitt is heavily padded, which provides extra protection for the hand.

If you are shopping for a catcher’s mitt, make sure you pay careful attention to the weight of the mitt. A lightweight glove is the ideal choice, as it will allow you to quickly transfer the ball from the mitt to the hand. If the mitt is too heavy, it will impact the quickness of this transfer, which could potentially impact how efficiently you play your position.

First Baseman’s Mitt

If you play first base, you want to shop for a mitt that is specifically designed to be worn in this position. With a length that can be up to 14 inches, the first basemen’s mitt is the longest of all softball gloves and mitts. This extra length will give you more space to secure the balls that are thrown to you from the infield.

Like the catcher’s mitt, the first basemen’s mitt also has a deep pocket; however, the pocket is not as deep as the catcher’s mitt, but it is deeper than infield and outfield gloves. The extra depth in the pocket also allows you to better secure the ball, but because it is not as deep as the pocket in the catcher’s mitt, you will be able to transfer the ball to your hand quicker.

Infield Glove

If you play a position on the infield, you need to be ready for the fast action that occurs on this part of the field. The infield glove is specifically designed to allow you to handle the high levels of action that occur on the infield. They are shorter than catcher’s and first basemen mitts, and they also have shallower pockets. Since time is of the essence in the infield, you want to be able to pass the ball that you catch in your glove to your hand so that you can throw it to other players as quickly as possible. The design of the infield glove allows you to do just that.

Female Infielder Throwing Ball Mid Game

If you are a pitcher, you are also going to want to shop for an infield glove. Keep in mind that you should look for a glove that will allow you to conceal the ball so that you don’t reveal the pitch you are going to play to the batter. You should also opt for a glove that has a shorter profile, as it will allow you to pass the ball from your glove to your hand more quickly.

If you play both the infield and outfield, there are specially designed infield gloves that will allow you to transition from each position on the field. Gloves that are designed for use in both the infield and the outfield are longer than those that are specifically designed to be used on the infield.

Outfield Glove

If your position is in the outfield, you are going to want to shop for an outfield glove. This type of glove is specifically designed to catch balls that are moving at high speeds, such as fly balls. You may also have to dive to catch those fast moving balls. To accommodate the needs of players in the outfield, gloves that are designed to be used in the outfield are longer than those that are used in the infield. The extra length provides you with more space to catch those fast moving balls, and gives you more room to grab those balls that you have to dive for.

How To Shop For The Best Softball Glove

No matter what position you play, you are going to want to have the best softball glove or mitt possible. Having a well designed glove that properly fits your hand, is comfortable and is durable will allow you to make the plays on the softball field with greater accuracy.

Multiple Softball Gloves Displayed in Store

There are a lot of softball gloves and mitts on the market, which can make it challenging to find the best softball glove or mitt for your needs. To help you find the best glove possible, we offer some tips that will make your shopping experience a bit easier – and will guide you to the best possible choice.

Here are some important tips to keep in mind when you are shopping for your softball glove or mitt.

Pay Attention To The Material

Softball gloves are constructed of different types of materials. The material will impact the quality and the durability of the glove, and it will also impact the price point. For these reasons, it is important that you pay special attention to the material that the glove or mitt you are thinking about purchasing is constructed of.

Gloves and mitts that are constructed of the highest grade, full grain leather, are the most durable. This material also conforms to the hand better than other materials. Top grade leather is also the most expensive material. Keep in mind that a glove or mitt that is constructed of this material will be stiffer and will take some time to break in; however, once the leather is broken in, you will achieve the best and most comfortable fit for your hand. Additionally, because of the strength of high grade leather, your glove or mitt will last you a long time.

Softball gloves and mitts can also be constructed of mid grade leather, such as cow hide and pig skin. This material is less durable than high grade leather; however, it is still considered very durable and will last a long time (though not as long as higher grade leather.) Mid grade leather gloves and mitts have a lower price tag than those that are constructed of higher grade leather, which may be appealing to you if you have budgetary restraints. These gloves also need some time to be broken in, though they are not as stiff as higher grade leather.

Softball Glove, Ball and Bat Displayed on Wooden Surface

Synthetic materials are also an option; however, unless you are shopping for a glove or a mitt for a youth player, it is best to avoid this material. They are the least durable option, which means that they are more likely to fall apart – something that you definitely don’t want to happen when you are in the middle of trying to catch a ball.

Because youth players’ hands will grow, the gloves and mitts that they use will need to be replaced, so longevity isn’t necessarily an important factor. Also, softball gloves and mitts that are constructed of synthetic materials are the least expensive, which may be something worth considering if you are shopping for a youth player, who you will need to buy another glove for in the future.

Check The Size

In order to find the best softball glove or mitt, you have to make sure that you purchase the right size. As discussed in the ‘types’ section of this buyer’s guide, softball gloves and mitts vary in size. The size is important as it will impact your ability to catch the ball, as well as your ability to transfer the ball from the glove or mitt to your hand.

Catcher’s mitts have the largest circumference, which can range from 31 to 34 ½ inches. The large circumference improves the player’s ability to catch the fast moving balls that are pitched by the pitcher. First baseman’s mitts are the longest of all softball gloves and mitts. In fact, this mitt can be up to 14 inches in length. The added length enables the first baseman to catch the balls that are thrown to him or her from the infield.

Ranging in size from 11 ¼ inches to 12 inches long, infield gloves are the shortest of all softball gloves and mitts. The shorter length allows an infield player to pass the ball from his or her glove to his or her hand more quickly so that the ball can be thrown as quickly as possible to other players. Outfield gloves are longer than infield gloves; they are typically 13 to 14 inches long. This contrast in size gives outfield players the ability to catch high and fast flying balls, and also allows them to dive for balls.

Consider The Design Of The Web

The web of the softball glove or mitt is also something else that you are going to want to pay attention to. The web refers to the catching area, or pocket, of the glove or mitt. There are open web designs and closed web designs. The former is generally preferred by infield players because it allows for a quicker transfer of the ball; the latter is often preferred by pitchers, as it allows them to conceal the pitch that they are going to throw to the batter.

Webbing of a Softball Glove

Check Out the Back

The back of a softball glove or mitt is also either closed or open. Gloves and mitts with open backs keep the top of the wrist exposed and offers a larger range of movement. Infielders usually prefer open back designs, as it allows them to move their hand more freely to catch balls that are coming from various angles. Outfield players tend to prefer a closed back design, as it offers increased support for the wrist, which is particularly important when catching those fast moving fly balls and beam line drivers.

Consider The Wrist Adjustment

The wrist adjustment is a matter of personal preference. Options include Velcro, lace, D-ring and buckle. Velcro and buckle options are the quickest to adjust, while D-ring and lace adjustments will require more time to adjust. Though adjustments can be made more quickly with Velcro and buckle options, they don’t wear as well as D-ring and lace adjustments.

The Best Softball Glove Brands

Now that you know the difference between the type of softball gloves and mitts and what you should look for when you are shopping, we want to present to you some of the best softball glove brands. There are several manufacturers that make softball gloves and mitts, so in order to pinpoint which manufacturers make the best products, we have done extensive research, compared customer reviews and tested the products out ourselves.

Our assessment has led us to find that the following manufacturers – and more specifically, specific gloves and mitts that they offer – are the best of the best.

Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc.

Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc is one of the most trusted makers of sporting goods equipment in the United States. Since 1887, this company has been making various types of high quality sporting goods, including softball gloves and mitts. Some of the best players in baseball have used their products, such as Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial and Roberto Clemente.

Here’s a look at our top pick for the best softball glove from Rawlings.

Rawlings Playmaker Series 13 Inch Softball Glove

Constructed of the most durable materials, the Rawlings Playmaker Series 13 Inch Softball Glove is expertly designed for durability, comfort and longevity.

Rawlings Playmaker Series 13 Inch Softball Pattern Glove

With a unique Neo Flex conventional open back design and a Pro H web design, you won’t have to worry about loose balls, as this glove offers exceptional catching performance. The break in time of this glove is reduced because the 80 percent of the break in has been done by the manufacturer; that means that you only have to break in 20 percent of the glove.

Based on the five star rating system on Amazon.com, the Rawlings Playmaker Series 13 Inch Softball Glove has received an average rating of four stars at the time of this review. It is also currently available for purchase via this online distributor for just under $50, with free shipping.


Louisville Slugger

Louisville Slugger has been producing sporting equipment, specifically equipment for baseball and softball, since the 1880s. This company is, without a doubt, one of the most highly respected manufacturers on the market. In fact, to date, the company has sold more than 100,000 baseball bats, and countless gloves and mitts. If you are looking for the best softball glove, you can be sure that you will find it with Louisville Slugger.

Louisville Slugger 33 Inch FG M2 Softball Catcher’s Mitt

This is our pick for the best softball glove from Louisville Slugger. Made of high grade, oil treated leather, this mitt will break in quickly and will mold to the shape of your hand with ease, providing you with the ultimate in comfort when you are catching those fast moving balls. The 33 inch size also gives you plenty of space in the glove for improved ball handling.

Louisville Slugger 33-Inch FG M2 Softball Catchers Mitts

A deep pocket, narrow finger stalls and a small wrist opening all add to the comfort of this catcher’s mitt. Given all of the features of Louisville Slugger 33 Inch Catcher’s Mitt, it is easy to see why we consider it one of the best softball gloves on the market.

Currently, on Amazon’s five star rating scale, this catcher’s mitt has an average rating score of 4.7 stars at the time of this review. This is a testament to just how much people who use this mitt love it. At the time of writing this review, this mitt was being sold on Amazon for around $65 and is Prime eligible.


Wilson

Wilson is another one of the most trusted manufacturers of baseball and softball products. Their softball gloves are designed to offer the support and the flexibility that is needed to catch the fastest moving balls. Durably constructed of the highest quality materials, and offering a range of options, Wilson is, undoubtedly one of the best sporting goods manufacturers.

Wilson A360 Series 14 Inch WTA03RS16 14 Slowpitch Softball Glove

Wilson A360 Series 13 Inch Slowpitch Softball Glove

This is our pick for the best softball glove from Wilson. This glove is 13 inches in length and has a split hinge web and a Velcro closure. It is specifically designed to handle those slow pitches. Currently, on Amazon.com, this glove is being sold for around $50 with free shipping.


Mizuno

Mizuno has been manufacturing exceptional sporting goods products for generations. They are committed to making the highest quality gear that truly meets the needs of all players, including their softball gloves.

Mizuno GPP1150Y1 Youth Prospect Ball Glove

If you are shopping for the best softball glove for a youth player, you won’t be disappointed with this option. The Patented Power Close design makes catching an easy task. A Power Lock closure system ensures the best fit and enhances performance. It measures 11.5 inches in size, which is the ideal length for a youth player.

Mizuno GPP1150Y1 Youth Prospect Ball Glove

With an average rating of 4.8 stars on Amazon’s 5 star rating system at the time of this review, it’s safe to say that users are satisfied with this glove. It is currently being offered for around $35 on the site, and is Prime eligible.


Conclusion

To find the best softball glove, you really have to know what you are looking for and take the time to find a glove that will meet your needs. The gloves we have listed in this buyer’s guide are some of the best on the market. We are confident that you will be beyond impressed by the performance that they deliver.

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