The Best Softball Gloves of 2019 & What To Know When Buying
A great summer sport for adults and kids alike is a game of softball. Whether you have child enrolled in the sport for extracurricular or if you and you and your work friends play on a league, having a great glove is essential for any player.
Even though the name makes you think the ball played with is indeed soft, this is misleading which is one of the reasons we made a list of the best softball gloves of 2020. We understand you’re a busy individual and finding the right glove and comparing gloves can be time consuming, so we did it for you so that you can spend more time on the field. There is a softball glove for everyone so let’s get into the best ones for 2020!
How To Pick The Right Glove
An important thing to remember when learning how to pick your glove is which position you play. There are gloves specifically made for every position on a team. Another thing that’s important to a lot of people is the cost. You can buy a synthetic glove that is much more cost efficient or you can spend more on a leader mitt that will last for ages.
When picking the correct glove it’s crucial to remember that if you throw with your left hand, the glove is worn on your right hand and vice versa for right handed throwers. Let’s talk a little more in detail about a few specific things to keep in mind when picking the best glove for you.
If you’re out in the field catching any amount of softballs, the webbing matters. The webbing is the pocket of the glove the ball is caught in. There are tons of different webbing designs you can choose from but the two most popular come in “H” and “I” patterns. Another popular type is literally called “softball glove webbing”. Not too hard to remember, huh?
A lot of people that play infield positions prefer this type of glove. This glove type, along with the two patterns above are considered open webbed mitts. There is another type, closed webbed mitts are are just one piece across the mitt that allow for more aggressive catching. People that play the pitching position are usually the ones to use the closed web design to help them shield their grip.
Having the correct glove size is probably the most important thing when it comes to finding the best softball glove for you. Softball gloves are measured in inches from the slot on the top of the index finger to the heel of the glove the sits on your wrist.
If you’re a catcher, your glove is measures by the circumference of the glove instead of the length. This is done to make it easy to measure gloves that will be doing the majority of the catching.
No matter what kind of glove you use, you want your hand to fit comfortable inside and to be able to easily open and close the glove quickly. If the glove is too big, your hand could fall out and it will make it much more difficult to grab hold of a ball you catch.
Material and Pricing
We put these two things together because companies that make softball gloves put them together as well. We mentioned earlier that synthetic gloves are a great option if you’re not looking to spend a ton of money. Gloves made out of synthetic materials are perfect for novice players or people who don’t play as often or as seriously as others.
On the other hand (pun intended) you can get a leather glove. These will definitely cost you more in the financial department but they have a much longer life and conform to your hand, unlike synthetic gloves. If you’ll be playing a lot or taking the game more seriously, consider purchasing a leather softball glove.
Breaking In A Glove
When you’re trying to pick the perfect softball glove for you, the break in period is an important factor to consider. A lot of the time this is actually written on the packaging or the product details section if you’re purchasing online. Whatever you do, don’t buy a glove and assume you can use it in a game right away before breaking it in.
When you first receive a glove it will be really stiff and hard to open and close. Not breaking in a glove can even get you hurt. To speed up the break in process, you can purchase glove oil and apply that whenever you’re practicing before a game.
Types of Softball Gloves
There are a handful of different types of gloves based on which position you play. Getting the right glove for your position will enhance your overall performance. Let’s talk briefly about a few of the different glove options available.
Outfield gloves tend to be longer than other gloves. The finger slots are deeper so that the pocket is deeper, making balls easier to catch. Outfield gloves often have a closed web design since softballs are bigger than baseballs. A lot of outfield gloves are equipped with the H webbing design we mentioned earlier. The purpose of this is being able to hold the glove up to track it while still being able to block out the sun with your glove.
Catcher’s gloves have a lot of different characteristics compared to any other glove on the field. They have extra padding since they’re built for catching flying balls. They also don’t have individual slots for each finger. An important thing to note is that catchers mitts take longer to break in than other gloves due to the extra materials used.
Gloves worn by infielder’s tend to have shallow pockets and are smaller than the other gloves on the field. The have to have a quick opening and closing capability so you’re able to transfer the ball from your glove to another player fast.
The lightest gloves on the field will belong to the pitcher. A pitcher usually will focus on the comfort of a glove over the other aspects. This is simply because they’re not using it nearly as much as anyone else on the field. These gloves are often the closed webbed type so that the competing team won’t be able to see what they’ll be pitching.
Top 5 Softball Gloves On The Market in 2020
1. Franklin Sports Windmill Series Lightweight Softball Glove – PU Laminated Palm
Franklin gloves are known as a top pic when it comes to the younger crowd. This glove is perfect for your child in softball. The Franklin Sports Windmill Series glove is the perfect combination of durability and quality. It not only performs well, but looks great as well. You can get it in two different colors. It comes with a mesh design making it extra light weight, which makes for a short break in time.
Since this is a smaller glove, it generally fits hands for children 8 years old or under. You can use this glove no matter if you throw with your left or right hand and still be comfortable. One of the best things about this glove is that you can use it in any position on the field.
- No break in time necessary
- Fits most children’s hands
- Can be used by lefties or righties
- Extra flexible, making balls easier to catch
- Material is less durable than leather
- Not a lot of padding in palm
- Only available in two colors
2. Wilson A360 Utility – Double Deep Palm Design
If you’re looking for a glove that is not only soft but durable, the Wilson A360 Softball Glove may be the one for you. This glove is made out of steel-hide leather and based on what you read earlier, leather = quality. It will conform to your own hand and has an extra deep palm design that allows for easier catching since this glove has a deeper pocket than other gloves on the market.
A unique thing this Wilson glove has is a wrist strap that locks down the glove so it doesn’t fall off of your hand while playing. There is padding in this glove that has shock absorbing technology so that when you catch a ball you feel it less in your arm and hand. It’s not only lightweight but comes with mesh inserts that make for easier catching.
- Durable Leather Material
- Deep and Wide Pockets
- Made For Lefties and Righties
- Mesh Inserts to Increase Open/Close Abilities
- Longer Break In Time Due To Leather
- Sweat Collects Inside the Glove
- Leather Wrinkles Over Time
- More Pricey Due To Steel-hide
3. Mizuno Premier Slow-pitch or Fast-pitch Softball Glove – Parashock Palm Pads
Mizuno is a company known for the durability of their softball gloves. This specific glove has bigger pockets making it easier to control the ball. This glove may be considered an investment but rightfully so as it will last for a years all the while providing you with a better performance during games. Like others on this list, it’s equipped with mesh inserts to make it more light but unique to this glove is the full grain leather and the ButterSoft Lining. What this lining does is protect your hand from the body shock of catching a ball. The Parashock Palm Pads soak up the shock for you so your hand won’t tire out.
- Parashock Palm Pads
- PU Pull Tab
- Quick Break In Time
- ButterSoft Lining
- Adjustable To Most Hands
- Not as soft as competitor gloves
4. Rawlings Liberty Advanced Softball Glove – Paron XRD Palm and Index Finger Pad
When it comes to well known names for softball, Rawlings is at the top of the list. They continually come out with quality products that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. The liberty Advanced Softball Glove has some of the best comfortability and control on the market.
This glove is made with full grain leather which makes it very durable compared to other gloves. One great thing about this glove that you don’t see in many other leather gloves is it has a short break in time. Rawlings does 80% of the breaking in before you even receive the glove! It comes in two different sizes but both have a strap that you can use to adjust it perfectly to your hand.
The name is there for a reason and that’s because of the Index Finger Pad and the Paron XRD Palm. What this is is makes it easy as possible to catch fast balls all the while absorbing the shock of impact.
- Made From Leather = Durability
- Lefties and Righties Can Use This Glove
- Short Break In Time
- Palm Pads Absorb Shock
- Index Finger Pads Absorb Sting
- Only Two Colors Available (red and white)
- The White Glove Gets Dirty Easily
5. Mizuno MVP Prime SE Gloves – Ultra-Slim Palm Liner
This Mizuno glove has a short break in period which will get you out on the field quicker. It’s best known for how comfortable it is and incorporates heal flex technology that makes it flexible and ups the performance of the glove. The MVP Prime SE Gloves come in both left and right hand options. There are palm liners used to establish stability between your pinky and your thumb.
- Short Break In Time
- Bio-Soft Leather Increases Flexibility
- Lightweight Palm For Easy Open/Close Capabilities
- Size Runs Small For Many
- Not Very Comfortable As Other Mizuno Gloves
Hopefully after reading everything to consider, the different types of gloves on the top 5 softball gloves of 2020, you have a better idea of which glove would work best for you. There are plenty of options no matter if you’re a lefty or a righty, infield or outfield or a novice or a professional. Don’t be shy to test out plenty of gloves until you find the perfect fit.