Softball is a modified form of baseball. The bat and ball game is played between two teams of 10 players. Softball and baseball are considered to be twin sisters though there are certain differences between the two; the pitches in softball are thrown underhand, unlike in baseball, where pitches are thrown overhand. And also, the bat used in softball is larger and harder than that used in baseball.
Like any other sport, softball has its equipment that is used to play the ball. These include; the helmet, the chest protector, softball uniform, the ball, the bat, the gloves, and the shin guards.
The ball, bat, uniform, and gloves are those we used to play the ball while the other equipment is the main equipment misused to protect the player. Let’s take a look at the equipment used in playing softball.
The bat is used by the batsmen to hit the ball and score runs. Bats are made from wood, metal or aluminum, and it has a shape similar to that of a cylinder. The average length of a bat is 86cm with a diameter of about 5 to 6 inches and a weight of about 1.2 kilograms.
From the name of the sport, we know that a ball has to be involved. However, the ball used in playing the game is not a softball. It’s even harder than that of baseball. The game is called softball because it is mainly played by women.
Like most games, uniforms are provided in baseball to increase the bond between players. In softball, the uniform includes; shirt, pants, shoes, caps, visors, and helmets. While male players must wear caps and headbands, it is optional for female players.
The gloves are our topic of discussion in this article. The gloves come in different sizes available for players at different positions in the field. However, according to the American Softball Association, the size of a softball glove can’t exceed 36cm.
Buying a softball glove can be daunting as there are many types available in both the online and offline markets. To make sure you get the right glove you deserve, we have written this to guide you in choosing and cleaning your glove.
How to Choose a Softball Glove
When choosing a softball glove, there are certain things you’ve to consider, these are:
- Understand the anatomy of the glove
Understanding the anatomy of a glove is very important. Every part of a softball glove has its purpose. Therefore, by understanding the different parts of a softball glove, you can be able to meet your needs in the field. Let’s take a look at the main parts of a softball glove.
- The Web design
The web design of your glove will depend on your position in the field. Mainly, there are two types of web design, open and closed webbing. Pitchers mainly prefer closed web design, while fielders mostly used open web design.
The back is the space provided for your index finger. Just like the webbing, it comes in two designs, the open and then closed. While the open backs feature a larger space for flexibility, the closed style features a smaller space for added stability.
- the pockets
the pockets connect the fingers and the thumb when controlling a ball in impact. Mostly, outfielders prefer a deep pocket, while infielders prefer a shallow pocket.
The Palm of a glove has padding underneath the leather and protects impacts.
- Finger stalls
The openings for your fingers in a glove are called the finger stalls.
The lower part of your glove that protects your hands is called the heel.
- Wrist adjustment
The wrist adjustment allows optimal fit. They come in different designs, which include the hook and loop fasteners, the lace adjustments, and the D-ring fasteners.
A glove’s material can affect its durability and how comfortable a player feels when playing with it. Gloves are made from Kip leather, Synthetic, Cowhide, and full-grain hide leather.
Kip leather gloves
Kip leather gloves are lightweight and popular among youth players because they allow motion and mobility.
They are also popular among youth players. They are lightweight and are easy to close.
The weight of these gloves ranges from medium to heavy. They break in faster and are popular among young players.
Full grain hide leather gloves
These are standard pro series gloves. They offer more excellent performance and durability but require more of a break-in process.
When choosing the material of a glove, go for the one that suits your role, and offer excellent performance.
Type of Web
Another important factor to consider when buying a softball glove is the type of web. While webbing designs are generally classified into closed and open designs, there are varieties of types under these classifications.
Common types of web designs used by infielders include; the cross, the basket, the trapeze, the H-web, the I-web, the modified trap, and the two-piece.
The first basemen usually use the dual bar, the single post, or the modified H-web. On the other hand, the catchers prefer the half-moon type or the one piece.
The type of pitch player you are
The type of pitcher you are is also a factor to consider when buying a glove. Slowpitchplayers (catchers and pitchers) usually prefer a large glove that will accommodate the size of the ball. While fast pitchers usually prefer a smaller glove.
The above-mentioned factors are the main things you ought to consider when choosing a softball glove. After choosing a durable glove that suits your position in the game, the next thing to do is take good care of the glove to make sure it looks clean and lasts long. Below, we shall discuss how you can take care of your gloves.
Softball Glove Care Guide
Here we shall take a look at how you are expected to take care of your gloves, why you need to keep them clean, and where to store them during the offseason.
Gloves are important parts of the softball game, and they have a lot to do with determining who will become a great player. It isn’t just about buying the gloves, using them on the field, and dumping them till the next match. You need to take care of your glove, make sure it’s always clean, keep it at the right player to make sure it extends more than just one season.
Why do I have To Clean My Softball Gloves
You might be wondering if it’s necessary to clean your gloves at all. After all, it is not just to play with them and drop them. Well, your gloves need some care.
Taking proper care of your softball gloves ensures that the gloves last longer more than just a year. Though gloves are mostly made from tough leather materials, they easily deteriorate if they aren’t maintained properly.
Going through a complete one season without caring for your glove will cause the glove to damage and, in turn, make you start breaking into your glove all over again.
How to Clean Softball Gloves
As said earlier, taking proper care of softball gloves is essential to every player; it makes them last longer and prevents them from stinking. Below, we shall look at some easy steps you can follow to make sure your gloves stay clean.
Always Remove excess dirt after playing
After each game, don’t just put your gloves inside your bag; make sure you hit the two gloves against each other to remove dirt particles that have stick to them when you are playing.
However, hitting the two gloves against each other might remove all dirt specks. Use a dry leather cleaning brush and gently scrub each glove to remove the dirt remnants. Make sure you brush gently to avoid damaging the surface layer of the glove.
Removing excess dirt after each game makes your glove look cleaner and makes it more durable.
Wash the Gloves with Soap and Water
Once in a while, you’ve to wash your glove thoroughly with soap and water. Make a solution of liquid soap with warm water in a container. Grab a soft clean cloth, dip it inside the solution, and then used it to clean your glove wholly, making sure you’ve removed all dirt.
Soak up all the moisture on the glove using a dry piece of cotton cloth. Turn the gloves inside out and clean the inside thoroughly with the remaining soap solution. Take care not to oversoak it with water. Again, use a dry cloth to soak up moisture.
Wipe Your Gloves
When you’re done cleaning, the next thing to do is to wipe the gloves clean. Keep wiping them gently till they look clean. However, you must be careful not to douse the leather of your glove with too much water.
Dry the Gloves at Room Temperature
After wiping your gloves clean, the last step is to dry them. Hang them up in a clean area at room temperature, away from sunlight. Allow them to dey thoroughly them apply some leather cleaner on them and store in a dry place.
Is it Safe to Clean Gloves With Washing Machine
This question is what will to the mind of many players when they heard about washing gloves. It isn’t advisable to wash softball gloves in a washing machine as most of these gloves are made from synthetic and leather materials. The leather can easily get damaged when it is washed in a machine.
However, some brands make their gloves from natural fibers; if you are lucky to buy from such brands, you can enjoy washing your gloves in a washing machine. But if you aren’t sure whether your glove is made from natural or synthetic leather, it is not encouraging to wash it using a washing machine. Just choose a day that you’re a bit free and enjoy washing your gloves with your hand.
How to Properly Store Your Gloves
Most softball players don’t know how to store their gloves properly. Most players just throw their gloves into the garage, a closet or keep them in the bat bag. After cleaning gloves, the next step to ensure that your gloves are ready for the next spring rolls is by keeping them in the right place. To keep you on the right side, we’ve compiled some tips on how to carefully and properly store your gloves.
During the winter months, keep your gloves in a cool, dry place at room temperature. Take care not to leave it inside your bag for a long time. Also, don’t keep it outside or near a heater as it will be exposed to damage.
If your gloves get wet when you’re playing, use a clean cotton cloth to soak off all the moisture, then allow it to dry at its room tempered. If the leather becomes stiff, you can take care of that with a conditioner.
If you noticed that the leather of your glove has become stiff, gently apply some conditioner to it when it is dry. This will help remove the stiffness of the leather.
To keep the pocket of your gloves in shape, keep a ball rolled in the glove duríng the off months.
With the above guide, I’m pretty sure you will be able to keep your glove in good condition during the season and offseason. Make sure you always clean them with a solution of soap and water and dry it at room temperature. This will make sure your glove is kept in good shape, increasing its lifespan.
As a youth softball player, you might find it hard to choose the right glove as there are thousands of brands out there advertising their gloves. To make everything easy for you, we have decided to review the ten best softball gloves for youths. Please grab a cup of tea as you go through the list.
The 10 Best Softball gloves for Youths Are Reviewed Below
Rawlings Catch fastpitch softball gloves
The Rawlings catch fastpitch softball gloves are the best option for starters, especially youngsters about the age of 6 to 10. These gloves are lightweight and have an all-leather shell and padded finger linings that make the young players feel comfortable and confident when playing.
A unique advantage of these gloves is that they are patented with the Rawlings sure catch technology which gives them the ability to close and open easily than any other kind of glove. The Rawling company doesn’t stop there as they make sure that 90% of the work of breaking the glove has been done before they sold them out. This means that a player can start using it immediately it is pulled out of its box. Indeed the Rawling has broken the barrier that could get in the way of young players that want to start playing baseball.
- It is patented with the Rawlings Sure Catch technology
- Designed for youth players between the age of 4 to 6
- It is lightweight and had an all-leather shell and padded finger linings
- 90% of factory break-in makes the glove readily available for use
- It has both right hands and left-hand orientation
- Brand name: Rawlings
- Material: Leather
- Suggested users: Females
- Item package dimension: 9.6 × 7.2 × 6 inches
- Weight of package: 0.41 kilograms
- Dimension of Item [L × H × B]: 12 × 10 × 6
- Color: White/ Grey/ Purple
- Size: 12 inches
- It is patented with the Rawlings Sure Catch Technology
- The brand has done most of the break-in making the glove ready for use once you pull it out of the box
- It is durable and lightweight
- It can be used by girls only.
Fit Trek Softball Gloves for Infielders
The Fit Trek brand has tried its very best in inventing a unique glove for youth infielders. The gloves are durable, and lightweight feel comfortable while playing. The gloves have the right webbing and are made from high-quality and durable leather that was treated and softened with chemicals for an easy break-in. The gloves also have an added extra padding for protection and to allow the player to withstand the impact of repeatedly catching pitched balls. A unique feature of this glove is that it can be used by infielders, outfielders, catchers, and pitchers. Isn’t that amazing?
- It is made from a treated leather to increase durability and easy break-in.
- It comes with a closed webbing design and with an oval-shaped pocket.
- It has extra padding to protect the player’s hand and enable withstanding the impact of repeated catching of pitched balls.
- The glove is suitable for long-term grasp and is highly durable.
- It can be used by infielders, outfielders, catchers, and pitchers.
- Brand: FitTek
- Material: Treated Leather
- Sizes: 10.5 inches, 11.5 inches, and 12.5 inches.
- Color: Black, Brown, Blue, and Pink
- Package dimension: 10.8 × 5.6 × 3.6 inches
- Weight of package: 0.29kg
- It is made from treated leather which makes a break in easy
- It is highly durable
- It comes in different colors
Mizunu MVP Fastpitch Softball Gloves
If you are looking for gender-specified softball gloves for your sister, daughter, or granddaughter, then the Mizuno MVP fastpitch gloves are the perfect answer for you. The gloves are made from smooth and soft leather that provides comfortable and firm control to players’ hands. It also has the durable lace that’s contained in the brand’s professional level glove.
- It is made from a soft and smooth bio leather
- It is made mainly for females
- It has a durable lace
- The right-hand throw glove is worn on the left-hand side
- The left-hand throw glove is worn on the right-hand side
- Brand: Mizuno
- Material: Bio leather
- Color: White Tartan Web
- Weight of package: 0.61kg
- Dimension of Item( L × B × H): 1 × 1 × 1 inches
- Package Dimension (L × B × H): 11.34 × 8.46 × 7.91
- It is made from a bio smooth and soft leather
- It has durable lace just like professional gloves.
- It is gender engineered.
FerDIM Softball Glove for Kids and Youth Adults
If you have been looking for a glove that fits toddlers, kids, youths, and adults, then the FerDIM softball glove is the best option for you. The glove is ideal for beginners and professional players. The wear-resistant glove is made from thick, high-quality cowhide.
The FerDIM softball glove can be used to play both softball and baseball, and it can withstand strong impact and tear
- It is suitable for adults, youths a, and toddler
- It is made from high quality thicken leather
- It is very light weighted
- It can withstand strong impact, and retreat can be used to play baseball and softball.
- Brand: FerDIM
- Material: High quality thicken cowhide
- Color: Brown
- Weight of Package: 0.19kg
- Dimension of Package (L × H × W):9.69 × 6.65 × 2.2
- Size: 9.5 inches
- Skill level: For beginners
- It is made from a high-quality synthetic material
- It can withstand high impact and retreat is lightweight
- It can be used to play both baseball and softball.
- It can only be used by beginners
UNIHOH Softball Gloves
The UniHoH Softball glove is another perfect glove for the infielders. Made from synthetic leather, the glove came in a solid color that increases the players’ confidence and keeps them focused.
Also, the leather used in making the glove is high quality and durable one that requires little or no time to break-in, and it is decently soft, making it easy for the player to catch a ball. It has a trap-style shallow pocket that allows infielders to quickly snag a ball. It also comes with well-cushioned palm and finger pads that enable players to catch the ball with a minimum sting on hand.
The Union glove not only has a stunning and exquisite look, but it also has a solid performance.
- It is suitable for Infielders
- It is made from high quality and durable leather
- It comes with a high density cushioned finger and palm pads
- It has a trap style shallow pocket
- It comes In a solid color
- It requires little time tobreak-inn
- It can withstand strong impact and tear without losing its shape.
- Brand: Union
- Material: Synthetic Leather
- Color: Brown
- Hand orientation: Right Hand Throw
- Weight of package: 0.16kg
- Dimension of the package: 9.1 × 3.6 × 3.3 inches
- Size of glove: 10.5
- It can be used by kids and youths
- It comes in a solid brown color
- It requires little time tobreak-inn
- It is made from a high-quality synthetic leather
- It has high density cushioned pads for the Palm and finger
- Only Right-hand throw is available
Wilson A2000 Superskin Slowpitch Softball glove
If you have been looking for the best Slowpitch softball glove for your kid, then you ought to give the Wilson A2000 Superskin Slowpitch softball glove a trial.
The A2000 SP135 slow pitch glove is made from durable leather, and it is very lightweight, making it the perfect option for outfielders. Made from Pro-stock leather, the glove easily breaks in, and it is highly durable. It also features the white super skin which is twice durable as the normal leather but half its weight. Also, the high-quality glove comes with a whopping one-year warranty! Isn’t that incredibly amazing?
- It is made from a high-quality leather
- It is lightweight and perfect for outfielders
- It features the white super skin leather, Which is stronger than the normal leather
- It comes with a one-year warranty.
- Brand: Wilson
- Material: Leather
- Color: Black and Red
- Warranty: 1 year
- Suggested users: Both male and females
- Hand orientation: Right Hand Throw
- Dimension of the item (L × H × W): 12 × 8 ×6
- Weight of package: 0.75kg
- Dimension of the package (L × H × W): 11.8 × 6.3 × 2 inches
- It comes with one year warranty
- It features the white super skin leather
- It is lightweight
- It is mainly for outfielders
Buying Guide Questions
What is the best youth softball glove?
With different kinds of gloves in the market, choosing the best can’t be an easy task. However, according to our little research, the Wilson A2000 is currently the best youth softball glove. The super skin softball glove is made from durable synthetic leather and it features white super skin leather which is twice more strong as normal leather and less heavy. Unlike most softball brands, the Wilson super skin softball glove comes with a one year warranty
What Size of Glove Should an 8-year-old use for softball?
The size of the glove to be worn by an 8-year-old softball player depends on their position. Generally, for an infielder, the size is 10″ – 11″ while for an outfielder, the size ranges from 11″ – 11.5″. This site can be used by children between the age of 8 to 13.
How do you size a youth softball glove?
You can determine the size of the softball glove that can be used by youth by looking at the glove size charts. There are many of these charts available online. In the charts, the sizes are determined according to the position and age of a player.
What Size of the glove should a 14-year-old use for softball?
The size of glove that can be used by a 14-year-old softball player ranges from 11.5″ to 12.5″ for the infielders, while for the outfielders, the size ranges from 12.5″ to 13″
What is the difference between slow pitch and fastpitch?
The main difference between a slow pitch and a fastpitch softball is the manner of throwing the ball. Typically, a fastpitch ball is thrown with the distinct windmill motion at an upward angle, and it can reach the speed of about 60 mph. While in slow pitch, the pitcher steps forwards while tossing the ball underarm.
How do you pick a softball glove?
Earlier in this article, we have shared some tips on how to choose the best softball gloves. We mentioned that a player should first understand the anatomy of the glove, consider the material it is made from and the type of webbing it has. However, the above-reviewed softball gloves are worth giving a trial.
What does left-hand throw glove mean?
Left-hand throw glove abbreviated LHT means, a player will wear a glove on the right-hand side while using the left-hand side to throw.
Is there a difference between softball gloves and baseball gloves?
Both gloves have similar colors, are made from the same materials and lace but their pockets differ a bit. Due to the small nature of baseballs, their gloves come with smaller and longer pockets. On the other hand, Softball gloves are deeper and shorter because the balls are bigger.
Softball gloves are very important for the success of a player. Choosing the right glove increases your chances of becoming a professional player. With the above guide, we’re pretty sure that you can choose a glove by looking closely at its anatomy, its webbing design, and the material it is made from. You also know that taking good care of your glove by washing it with a warm solution of soap and water and storing it in a dry place both during the season and offseason will increase the lifespan of your glove.
For more information about softball check our previous articles:
(Best practice balls for softball)
(How to soften leather softball gloves)