For both fastpitch and slowpitch players, finding the perfect glove is quite a difficult task task. The choice depends on many different things such as the position you play, the level you play at, your age and your hand size. That is why this page was setup…to outline the best softball gloves available to all players right now.
You may be thinking…aren’t all softball gloves the same? I would say not even close! Finding the perfect fit for your playing style and position is as important as finding the perfect bat for your hitting needs. There really are a lot of options and styles available, and we are going to try to help you sort out what you really need vs. all the hype. So where do you start? Well it comes down to a few of basic things:
Are you right or left handed?
What position do you play?
How much web do you need?
How deep a pocket?
Do you need an open back or a closed?
We’ll break these options down even more later. But for now, let’s take a look at what you came here for…the best options available right now. And to do this let’s take a peak at this handy table:
In 2017, there are four main choices that seem to be “in a league of their own”. You can view more details side by side with help from the softball gloves table above, or you can read on further to see what we think of each.
No two softball players are the same which makes this task even more difficult. Although we can’t provide you with reviews on every single softball glove used in 2017, we have provided you with what we feel is the top resource when it comes to finding the top one for your specific position. Below we provide what we feel are your top options along with a review for each. We then also provide a bit of a buyer’s guide or things we feel are important to look at when making your decision.
Our top choice for all position players is the Worth Toxic Lite which is available in 13”, 13.5”, and 14” glove sizes. Why do we consider this model to be one of the best fastpitch softball gloves around? For starters it is one of the lightest ones available which makes a huge difference on a player. With a lighter glove, you can react quicker and not be weighed down by a bulky uncomfortable thing hanging from around your wrist. Although it is used by more competitive level players, the price tag allows just about anyone (even casual players) to easily own it and enjoy the benefits. Some of the other top features include:
Full grain leather lining and laces for even more durability and strength
Use of Worth’s Pro Mesh backing for quick break in and lighter weight
If you play first base, you know that there are many things you need to do differently than everyone else on the field. Because the position is so unique, you also need a glove to fit the rigors of your position. As far as 1st base gloves go, for we feel like the Easton SVS 3 Salvo is the way to go. Some of the reasons why include:
Great brand name – let’s face it there are not many better than Easton
Tremendous value – the glove is middle of the road in terms of cost
Lightweight, game-ready, and a larger pocket tailored for the position
Adjustable strap to provide a custom fit to every player
Extra protection in the palm area
We feel that the Salvo SVS 3 should be considered the best valued glove on the market and would make an excellent companion for any player playing first base.
Ahhh the catcher, arguably the most unique position in all of softball (let alone any sport). In all seriousness however, playing behind the plate presents many unique challenges that are not experienced by other positions. Not only will you be catching the ball the most during any given game, but you are also expected not to drop the ball in any circumstance. The Worth Liberty Advanced Series catchers mitt has been one of the most sought after gloves for players that want to crouch behind home plate. Although more expensive than the average catchers mitt, we feel the extra features included will knock your socks off. The things we like about the Liberty Series include:
Comfort – made from comfortable leather on the inside and outside, many players believe Liberty series provide a unique and great feel
Durability – something that many like about the Liberty series is its ability to keep the same shape after multiple seasons. Using strong material for laces allows for the shape and glove to be as durable as possible
More protection – Brand new for the Advanced Series, a new PORON XRD palm padding has been added to keep your hands protected while absorbing impact from even the highest of speeds.
This last choice is dedicated to youth softball players who are approximately 10 and under. The important thing to consider when purchasing a youth softball glove is that you are more than likely still growing. You certainly don’t want to pick up an expensive glove only to have it not fit next season. That is where the Mizuno Prospect Series comes in. This glove has been designed to help younger players learn the game properly in that it aids in teaching proper technique that coaches are constantly talking about. Using Power Close, when a player catches the ball, the glove is actually designed to help perform that last “closing” action for you. Now you can really impress your coach! Other great features include:
Wider pocket so there is more area to catch the ball
Better palm lining to reduce sting and soreness
Closed back so it can be used for any position around the field (very important for youth softball)
How to find the right one: A brief buyer’s guide
As mentioned in the introduction section, there is so much to consider when finding a new glove. From the webbing to the amount of padding and everything in between the process can become complicated quickly. Below we describe some of these options to hopefully get you thinking on what you might be after. While this is by no means a definitive discourse on the glove it is a great starting point to get you in the right direction for choosing an option that will best suit your needs. While learning about them is a plus, getting out there and trying them for yourself is definitely the next step in making you not only a great catcher, but a well-rounded player overall.
Differences between fastpitch and softball gloves
One of the first things you may be wondering when coming to this page is what the difference is between a fastpitch and a slowpitch softball glove. In all honesty however, they really are one in the same and do not differ from each other. You’ll notice many websites separate them into two different categories, however I believe this is for simplicity so that each player can choose the sport they play instead of having them mixed. If you were to get really technical one glove that is slightly different between fastpitch and slowpitch disciplines could be the catchers mitt. Although again, a catchers mitt for fastpitch can still be used for slowpitch it may not be entirely necessary. As the name describes, fastpitch pitcher can hurl the softball at incredible speeds which in turn can lead to passed balls. Therefore a fastpitch catcher is better off using a mitt to account for these situations. In slowpitch however, really any glove could do at the catcher position.
All gloves, whether they are softball or baseball, have a connective web between the thumb and the fingers. This web is set up in different patterns and tightness that changes based on position and personal preference. But basically there are two differing types, the closed and the open web. The closed web has a tighter lacing and is generally used by catchers, pitchers and in field. The tighter weave is excellent for quick snags and short hits where you don’t need to line up the ball. The open web has a looser weave and is designed more for infield and outfield play. It allows the catcher to see through the webbing and easily line up pop flies and higher hits, plus the webbing is loose enough to make sure you can quickly transfer the ball from the catching hand to the throwing arm and get the ball back in the infield as fast as possible.
The wrist enclosure of the glove is usually referred to as the back. It is definitely more about personal preference though and unlike the pocket or web it has little to do with position. The two basic types of back are the open and the closed. Open back gloves have a space in the material that allows for greater mobility in the wrist and help for speedy ball turn around and hand mobility. Even though it is a personal preference we do see it a lot more in the infield to insure quicker plays. The closed black glove is far more rigid and sometimes has a hole that allows the index finger to rest outside the glove, for added support. You tend to see this type more in the field as it allows more support for the catch which is really needed in deep power hits and pop flys.
While most people think of the pocket of the glove as the area where it is caught in the netting, its actually just below. It is a small indent in the glove, right over the palm, where the ball falls after it is caught in the webbing. There are two types of pocket, the shallow and the deeper, and this depth is an excellent indicator of the position and use of the glove. Shallow pockets are used mostly for infield play as they allow for faster plays and getting the ball back to the plate before the runner. Generally shallow pockets are used most for quick grabs and transfers to the throwing hand. Deep pockets are better in the outfield and add to the player’s skill by helping hold onto fly balls and hard hit fielders. This little advantage can make a huge difference across a full team and an entire season, so making sure that everyone’s pocket depth is according to their playing style can make the difference to a team that is as dramatic as winning a couple or winning a conference.
A great video from Wilson Sports highlighting some of these options is provided below:
We hope that this page has helped you better figure out the best softball glove for your needs. Do you have any better ideas when it comes to our choices? If so, do not hesitate to let us know by using our Contact form or by leaving a comment below. Thanks again for stopping by!