Which softball glove is best?
You’ve probably heard the old saying that offense wins games, but defense wins championships. You can be one of the best hitters on your team, but if you’re not a competent fielder, you won’t be of much value to your team.
Being a solid fielder requires skill, but having a reliable glove, like the Rawlings 12.5-Inch GG Elite Series Fastpitch Glove, goes a long way. It’s pricey, but players love its high-quality leather construction and superior flexibility, making it a worthy investment.
What to know before you buy a softball glove
Before buying a softball glove, it’s crucial to consider the fielding position you play, as some gloves are designed specifically for certain positions. Pitcher, infielder and outfielder gloves differ slightly and are somewhat interchangeable, but you need a catcher’s glove if you’re a catcher.
Softball gloves are made with durable materials to withstand the rigors of fielding hard-hit balls and fast passes from other players. The most common materials include full-grain leather, steer-hide leather, cowhide and synthetics. Leather and cowhide gloves offer superior performance and are the most durable, but they take longer to break in than synthetic-material gloves. Synthetic gloves are more budget-friendly and get the job done, but they generally wear out faster.
Fast-pitch vs. slow-pitch
There are two versions of softball, each featuring a different type of way the ball is pitched to batters. Slow-pitch softball involves a gentle underhand lob to the home plate, while fast-pitch features a quick underhand toss through the strike zone.
Fast- and slow-pitch gloves are designed to catch the same ball, but some positions require a designated-positional glove, mainly pitchers and catchers. Fast-pitch pitchers should use a glove with a closed web to hide their hand formation. Fast-pitch catchers need gloves with extra padding to effectively catch several high-speed pitches without wearing them out.
What to look for in a quality softball glove
Gloves can have either open or closed webbing, the main area where most balls are caught. Infielders usually prefer open webbing, but pitchers should use closed-web gloves, especially if it’s fast-pitch softball.
Also, there are several patterns the webbing part of a glove can have. For example, a glove can have a trapeze, basket or cross design, to name a few. Some patterns offer greater flexibility and are preferred by outfielders and pitchers, while others are more suitable for infielders who prefer shallow pockets.
The pocket is the area where the fingers connect to the thumb. Infielders generally prefer using gloves with shallow pockets, since they often need to retrieve a caught ball from their glove for a quick throw to a teammate. Outfielders prefer deep pockets, since they provide a more secure space to catch fly balls.
Your softball glove should fit you comfortably, but your main priority should be to ensure that it’s not loose, which can lead to an error at best and a severe injury at worst. There are several types of glove wrist openings, including lace adjustments and hook-and-loop closure, which is the most popular option.
How much you can expect to spend on a softball glove
If you want a decent starter glove, you can find something reliable for $50-$100. However, if you want an elite-performance glove with superior durability, comfort and adjustability, expect to pay anywhere between $100-$270.
Softball glove FAQ
Can fast-pitch gloves be used to play slow-pitch softball?
A. Yes. There are minimal differences between slow-pitch and fast-pitch gloves. The main differences are usually found among catcher’s gloves, but it’s worth noting that fast-pitch gloves typically have more robust builds.
How do I find out my glove size?
A. Your glove size should depend on your age and hand size. There are sizing charts that can help you determine your glove size, but in general, most adult gloves will be anywhere between 11.5 and 13.5 inches top-to-bottom.
What’s the best softball glove to buy?
Top softball glove
What you need to know: It’s expensive but ideal for experienced players who want a specially engineered fast-pitch glove with unparalleled durability and flexibility,
What you’ll love: This glove has a high-grade leather shell with a cowhide palm lining, making the pocket easy to adjust based on fielding position or preference. Best of all, it’s versatile enough to be used by players of all positions, except catchers.
What you should consider: Some customers found it difficult to break in.
Where to buy: Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods
Top softball glove for the money
What you need to know: It’s for slow-pitch players, but it’s versatile enough to be used for the fast game, making it a great bargain pick.
What you’ll love: It’s suitable for all fielding positions and boasts a soft but durable oiled leather exterior. The palm pad is highly effective at shock-absorbing, so you won’t feel any impact pain from catching hard-hit balls.
What you should consider: It’s an excellent glove for beginners, but it’s not as durable or flexible as some other models.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This glove is relatively inexpensive, but it boasts a high-quality premium leather construction and is excellent for players of all fielding positions.
What you’ll love: It provides a comfortable, secure fit thanks to Easton’s innovative Quantum Closure system, which features an easy-to-adjust opening. It also has tough rawhide laces for superior durability and a leather lining for optimal comfort and fielding performance.
What you should consider: It takes longer to break in than some other comparable models.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Kevin Luna writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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