Highlighting Some of Our Softball Gloves
There are many different types of softball gloves out there and it’s important to pick out the right one for your position and style of play. Let’s first start off with two of the main types of softball gloves. They are slow pitch and fastpitch softball.
One of the main differences between fastpitch and slowpitch softball comes down, unsurprisingly, to how the ball is pitched. Slow pitch softball requires a larger load of players, takes place over a shorter number of innings, requires the catcher to be less fully protected from a half windmill pitch. In addition, the batter is given more time to prepare for the pitch, which is delivered from farther away than in fastpitch. As a result, slow pitch softball tends to be higher scoring and involve a larger number of big hits. That being said, some slow pitchers aim to pitch the ball as slowly as possible to stifle bigger hits.
In fastpitch softball, the pitching is more aggressive and comes at the batter over a shorter distance, giving much less time to prepare to bat. Some might call this a more aggressive style of play. It’s also the style of play with which most people are familiar.
When it comes down to the styles of gloves involved in the sport, the position you play will more greatly affect your choice in a softball glove, but that being said there are a few differences between most slowpitch and fastpitch gloves. The key difference between most slowpitch and fastpitch gloves is that slow pitch gloves tend to have deeper pockets to make it easier to catch fly balls that are more common in slow pitch. Generally, fastpitch gloves are designed for fast responses and quick plays. Something else to note - since they aren’t playing with pitches that are as aggressive, occasionally slow pitch catchers will use a fielder’s mitt. Realistically, however, the style of softball glove you buy and even the brand will have an impact on the depth of the pocket. Not all gloves are the same.
When it comes to picking out a softball glove, the choice you make will be most greatly affected by your position. The two main types of gloves are catchers mitts and fielders mitts, which can sometimes be broken down further by position such as first base, third base, and even shortstop. Some gloves are even designed specifically for pitchers, with closed webbing to enable them to hide the pitch they are going to deliver.
At HB Sports, we offer a wide range of softball gloves both for slowpitch and fastpitch softball, with a range of features that will make you more effective at your game. Consider the following choices while you’re shopping for a softball glove.
Worth XT Extreme 14” Slow Pitch Softball Glove - Looks aren’t everything, but these softball gloves combine a colorful aesthetic with a comfortable and functional fit. This glove makes the most of its Pro-H web, which slowpitch players love for its roominess - it makes it easy to comfortably catch those fly balls and then to quickly get the ball back into play.
To that end, the palm is heavily cushioned to absorb as much impact as possible, and the entire glove is made from tough, heavy leather that is soft and supportive, without requiring the extensive break-in period for which some other gloves are known. It also offers an adjustable quick release strap so you can get a great fit very quickly. It’s designed to be a fielder’s mitt, but in a pinch, you could use it as a catcher’s mitt, too.
We also offer this same basic model of slowpitch glove in 13 and 13.5-inch configurations because fit is critical when you’re picking out a softball glove. If the glove is too big or too small, it can incur discomfort while playing, bruise your hands, and overall hinder your performance on the field. Not to mention the fact that an improperly sized glove will have you dropping more balls. Check out any of our Worth XT Extreme Slowpitch mitts if slowpitch softball is your game of choice.
Wilson A2000 SuperSkin 13” Slowpitch Softball Glove - Here’s another slowpitch softball glove that you’ll love. This glove is an artful mix of carefully chosen leathers and SuperSkin synthetics for a great fit, finish and feel. The SuperSkin itself is carefully designed to be half the weight of leather while offering twice the strength. It also makes the glove more resistant to water - and water and leather don’t mix.
It also has a fairly deep, wide pocket with open webbing that some appreciate in a slow pitch glove. It’s not as suitable for lightning-fast transfers, but it definitely gives you a comfortable cushion in which to catch flies and other aggressively batted balls.
Miken Player Series 14” Slowpitch Softball Fielding Glove - Designed with slowpitch players in mind, this mitt has a deep pocket and is sized perfectly for 12 inch balls commonly used in slowpitch games. In addition, it features Poron XRD palm and finger padding to help shield you from serious hits. It’s also made with game-ready full-grain leather for a comfortable and protective fit. Most of the break-in is performed at the factory, so when you get the glove you can hit the field. It even has a non-slip pull strip on the hand stall for a nearly custom fit for just about any player.
Wilson A2000 12.25” Monica Abbott Fastpitch Softball Glove - This glove was designed with the help of Monica Abbott of Team USA, and incorporates a lot of features that pitchers can appreciate. The closed webbing helps conceal your motions and hide your pitch, something that pitchers take great pains to safeguard. The ProStock leather is more than just protective and durable - it’s very comfortable right out of the gate. In addition, the SuperSkin used in its construction makes the glove lighter and more water-resistant. To that end, the glove even features an enhanced cuff called a Dri-Lex wrist lining to help keep your wrists dry and chafe-free during even the hottest games. It’s tough as nails, reliable pitcher’s glove - but don’t shy from it if you’re an outfielder, either.
Rawlings Liberty Advanced 12.5” Fastpitch Softball Glove - Let’s lead with the fact that this glove is crafted from full-grain leather. Nothing is as tough, as durable, as supportive or as form-fitting as full-grain leather. That’s a bold claim, but we stand by it. Full-grain leather is crafted from the unadulterated, top layers of a cattle hide - the toughest part - and over time, that leather will break it to cushion your hand while at the same time making no compromises on strength.
All that being good and well, this glove comes from the factory already impressively soft and ready to use. It will still require break-in, but nothing like the other full-grain leathers you’re used to. It has a pull strap for a custom fit like no other and has a padded palm to make it easier on your hands to field those hard-hit balls.
Rawlings Heart of the Hide ColorSync 3.0 11.75” Fastpitch Softball Glove - First off, this glove is easy on the eyes, with attractive color schemes that you’ll love. That being said, the quality of a softball glove reaches far beyond its visual appeal. This glove is remarkable for the fact that
80% of the break-in is done at the factory before it even gets to you, so you can start playing with a glove that you feel like you’ve known for a while.
It’s aptly named as the “Heart of the Hide” because these mitts are cut from some of the best leather Rawlings can find - only the top 5% of hides make the grade. That results in an exceptionally strong, remarkably durable and wildly comfortable fit that will protect your hand while still enabling you to make lightning-fast transfers. It even has a padded thumb sleeve for that extra protection you could use against line drives and other hard hits.
Breaking In Your Glove
Some gloves are more flexible than others at purchase, but even so, all gloves require some level of break-in before they will develop their true potential. Break-in is necessary to reduce the stiffness of the leather (or the synthetic material) from which softball gloves are made. Break-in is never fully done, in truth, as you play with a glove it will conform to your contours for a better fit to your hand. That being said, here are some steps you can take to reduce the time required to break in a new softball glove.
The best way to break in a glove is to practice with it. That way, you can get used to the fit and feel of the glove in a simulated situation as opposed to during a game. Practice pitching, throwing, catching and fielding with your new glove. As you work the glove, throw, and field, the glove will slowly start to soften up while at the same time accommodating your fit.
Some specialists will steam a leather glove for you, which is analogous to wet forming leather. Since leather is absorbent, when a glove is steamed it will be more receptive to forming and working, and once dry will retain part of that shape. After having your glove steamed it can be better formed to your hands. It’s not quite as good as practicing with the glove, but it can be used in conjunction with practice to minimize break-in time. If your glove is leather, some people advise treating the glove with oil or special leather treatments. There are arguments for or against it, even for or against what type of oil should be used, but there are definitely some benefits to doing so.
As we stated, leather is absorbent, which makes it receptive to wet forming methods like steaming. Then, the water will evaporate and the glove will retain some of its form. If you apply oil to the glove, the leather will absorb the oil, but the oil will not evaporate. Therefore, the glove will become almost immediately softer and more pliable, and it will retain that softness for a long time.
The oil won’t evaporate, but some oils will oxidize over time. Some suggest olive oil - this will soften the leather, but it will probably darken the leather over time and it is difficult if not impossible to remove once applied, so that is something to keep in mind. There are other options like neatsfoot oil, which are designed specifically for leather (it comes from cow’s legs) and will not darken the same way as olive oil. Some would argue to apply synthetic oils to leather, as these will not oxidize. There are also a number of other leather treatments on the market that you can use to soften your glove.
These are not a substitute for practice, only a supplement. Practicing is really the only way to fully break in a new mitt. One more thing - whenever your glove is not in use, store it with a ball in the pocket to protect its form and shape. Some even wrap bands or bungee cords around the glove to form it to the ball. That will preserve its shape when you’re not using it.
There, you have a primer on some of the different types of softball gloves that we offer, as well as a crash course on how to break in your new glove. Our shipping is crazy fast, with many orders shipping within one day of the order being placed, and if you have any questions about the softball gloves we offer here on our website, give us a call at 1-888-540-BATS. Our customer service can’t be beaten, and we’d love to help you pick out the right softball glove.
- Christopher Bastien