For many newcomers to the game of softball, it may seem as if buying fastpitch softball gloves should be easy, right?
You only have to pick if it’s for left-handed or right-handed players (a matter which isn’t actually as clear-cut as you might think), and then you just pick one that’s within your budget.
That’s not exactly how it works. Not every glove is the same.
You need to consider the various relevant factors so that your gloves are more than just ornamental.
They really have to give you what you need, and that’s what you can expect from the best fastpitch softball gloves.
Right-handed and Left-handed Fastpitch Softball Gloves
Most people know that if you’re right-handed, your gloves go to the left hand.
It’s much easier to catch a ball with the non-dominant hand than to use it to throw properly.
Try it, and see how that can really make you look inept.
The problem is that if you buy online you can get confused as to which version you’re getting.
Some are labeled as “right-hand thrower”, which means that the glove sits in your left hand (because you throw with your right hand).
But every now and then you may stumble across a glove labeled “full right” and that means you wear it in your right hand.
Fastpitch Equipment Tips From Jennie Finch
Fastpitch vs. Slowpitch vs. Baseball
Then the next thing you need to check is that the glove you’re using is actually for fast pitch softball.
Your typical fastpitch softball gloves are different from slowpitch softball gloves and baseball gloves.
Fastpitch softball is mainly played by female players, so in general the gloves are designed for smaller hands.
They have smaller hand openings and finger stalls. In contrast, slowpitch softball players are predominantly male, so the gloves are designed for larger male hands.
Adult fastpitch players use gloves ranging from 11.5 inches to 13 inches in size. Slowpitch gloves can go up to 15 inches.
You also can’t just pick up a baseball glove and label it a softball glove. That’s because the size of the balls are different for each sport.
Baseball uses 9-inch gloves, so smaller gloves are used. Fastpitch softballs measure 11 inches, which makes the gloves bigger.
And slowpitch softball uses 12-inch balls, which again explains why their gloves are bigger.
Gloves for Specific Positions
Some are mitts designed for catchers. These are easy to identify because they don’t have defined finger slots or webbing.
They’re supremely designed to catch fast-travelling softballs.
Then you have gloves for outfielders, which tend to be larger and longer than the other gloves.
This size advantage offers these players a greater chance of catching fly balls, while a deep pocket secures the ball in the glove.
Usually the webbing is open so the outfielder can view the ball up high through the glove.
Finally, there are the infielders’ gloves. Some gloves are generic, meaning they can work for all infielders (especially the 2nd baseman, shortstop, and 3rd baseman).
Others are meant for a particular infielder position. The 1st baseman can resemble a catcher’s mitt, because they often try to catch the ball before the hitter gets on base.
The 2nd baseman’s glove can be small, so that the infielder can transfer the ball more quickly to the throwing hand.
The shortstop and the 3rd basemen need to glove the ball more, so they’re a bit bigger.
Learn more about the above pictured Shoeless Jane glove on this page.
The general rule for gloves is that the cheaper they are, the less durable they tend to be. That’s usually because of the quality of the leather used for the glove.
Synthetic gloves are the cheapest of the lot, so they’re only good for T-ball and farm ball.
Pigskin or cowhide gloves are well-suited for young players. Cowhide gloves are still quite affordable, they perform well, and they break in quickly.
But they’re not as durable as the premium leather gloves. Pigskin gloves are the cheapest of the non-synthetic gloves, and they’re also very flexible.
But they don’t generally last for more than a season.
Full-grain leather is excellent, and many of the top rated fastpitch softball gloves use this material.
They can be a bit stiff and heavy, they’re more expensive, and they need a longer time to break in.
But once broken in, the durability and performance are superb.
Finally we come to glove size. There are lots of online glove sizing guidelines which can give you an idea of which size to get.
But if you’re buying a glove for yourself, you need to try it out first.
You need to be comfortable when you wear it, and you should be able to open and close the glove.
Recommendations For The Top Rated Fastpitch Softball Gloves
So what’s the best fastpitch softball glove for you? My top five are listed at the top of this page but here are a few others to consider.
Here are some of my suggestions for different price ranges:
2016 Nokona X2 Buckaroo Series X2-V1250. This is undoubtedly one of the most expensive gloves you can find, as it can cost up to $350.
Primarily that’s because it uses kangaroo leather. It’s one of the toughest leathers in the world, and yet it’s very light.
What that means is you can snag hard hits without hurting your hand, it can stand several seasons of use, and its light weight gives you better control.
It even offers out of the box playability, which means you may only need a few hours of playing catch to break it in.
- 12" First Base Model
- Double Horizontal Bars Web
- Pro Stock Leather
- Comfort Velcro Wrist Closure
- Honeycomb Cell padding
This is one of the most highly rated softball gloves, and that’s not just because you can get it for less than $250.
It doesn’t need much of a break in, and you can practice with it for one day and it’ll be ready for game day.
The leather is very soft and supple, and it really looks great too.
- MODEL – Fastpitch First Base Mitt is a youth model – 12”– for the ages of 13 and over
- MATERIAL & DESIGN - Special aged soft antique tobacco leather with traditional first base webbing, individually hand-cut and sewn
- INTENDED FOR - Professional break-in process, it is great for teenage and adult first base players
- FEATURES - Adjustable wrist strap, old-time classic-golden era look, keeps its shape and structure for many seasons
- FIT - Left-Hand Throw (Item goes on the right hand), Right-Hand Throw (Item goes on the left hand)
SHOELESS Joe Women’s Fastpitch Softball First Base Glove. Affordable doesn’t mean cheap, and for proof we offer this $179 glove.
It uses 100% Steerhide Tobacco tanned leather in the palm for durability, and there’s no need to break it in.
Shoeless Jane Fastpitch Softball line of gloves are specifically designed for girls who play fastpitch softball.
Good luck buying fastpitch softball gloves and good luck with your game!
Last update on 2021-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API