Is Your Softball Glove Illegal?


All games have their unique set of rules, and where they are rules, there must be authorities to administer them. Soccer is unarguably the most widely accepted sport globally, and FIFA and other continental soccer bodies centrally govern the sport. Softball as a game does not have a strong standing yet like soccer, and it has only featured in the Olympics once, which was back in 2008. There are multiple bodies governing softball in America, and they are mostly on a league basis. Even though the game has gained ground in America and there are generally accepted practices for playing softball, some rules have not yet been strongly defined. One of the loopholes in softball is the use of gloves. Softball is a lot like baseball, and even though there are significant differences, people often can’t identify these distinctions. Baseballers wear gloves to play, and some softballers do the same. However, there are specific types of gloves that are considered illegal in softball. In this article, we want to look at two major governing bodies in softball and the rules they have set regarding the use of gloves. Enjoy!

National Softball Association (NSA)

The NSA is a full-service association that helped to develop the body of work that most leagues use as guidelines today. The organization has earned the respect of softballers and softball leagues around the world.

If you are playing softball in a league that adheres to NSA rules and guidelines, then you should make sure you meet all these requirements before wearing a glove to the field.

  • Size

If you want to wear a glove in a league that works with NSA rules, you should make sure the glove is perfectly sized as outlined by the guidelines. The entire height of the glove must not be longer than 15 inches, and it must not be less than 8 inches. Also, the entire width of the glove must not be more than 8 inches

  • Webbing

If you want to use a glove in a league operating under NSA rules, ensure the glove’s webbing is measured at 5.75 inches from top to bottom. If the measurement on your glove is different from the above-stated requirement, then it deemed illegal

  • Color

Softball is played in the summer, and you must wear a glove that can be seen. This is why white, gray, and optic colors are disallowed for gloves. If you are a softballer playing under NSA rules, you should keep this in mind.

National Collegiate Amateur Association (NCCA)

While the NSA is majorly formed for softball, the NCCA is a countrywide association that controls everything that has to do with college athletics. It is a long-standing custom that athletes are sourced from colleges into various sporting leagues, including softball. Softball players in college are some of the world’s most talented players and adhere to stricter rules.

If you are playing softball in a league that adheres to NCCA rules and guidelines, then you should make sure you meet all these requirements before wearing a glove to the field.

  • Size

The size of the gloves allowed by the NSA is closely similar to those allowed by the NCCA. However, there are some slight differences between both of them. The standard width allowed for a softball glove is 8 inches, while the height is 14 inches (this is one inch less than the NSA-approved standard). The webbing on the glove is not allowed to exceed 7.75 inches, and the thumb height must not exceed. 9.75 inches. Even though these specifications seem excessive, you should keep them in mind if you hope to play in a league that adheres to NCCA rules and guidelines.

  • Mitts

If you are a catcher on your team and are playing in a league that adheres to NCCA guidelines, you can only use catcher’s mitts. This is because you have an unfair advantage when you use a standard glove, and you might also get injured in the process.

  • No adhesive

If your glove conforms with all the above rules and specifications but comes with any adhesive, that club will be deemed illegal. The adhesive gives an unfair advantage, and you should make sure your glove does not come with it.


If you want to play any game at the highest level and perform at your peak, you have to use the best equipment allowed within the rules of that game. Using a glove is not illegal in most leagues. All you have to do is make sure your softball gloves are in line with the laid-down requirements. If you buy a standard softball glove manufactured by leading brands like Wilson, Nokona, Rawlings, and others, the chances are that they conform with these requirements, and you can use them without any consequences. However, before you decide to play with gloves, get a clear directive from the authorities managing the league. Cheers!