Differences Between Softball And Baseball Gloves

What are the real differences between a baseball glove, a fast pitch glove and an adult slow pitch softball glove? To figure this out, we need to look at what size glove is used for each sport. Baseball players tend to use sizes from 10″ up to 12.75″. Fast pitch softball players tend to use 11.5″ up to 13″. Adult slow pitch softball players tend to use gloves that range from 11.5″ up to 15″.

Most manufacturers design and create equipment more towards the baseball market than the other two markets. However, many of the glove sizes overlap in sizes 11.5″ to 12.75″ between baseball and softball.

Basic glove design is influenced on the size of the ball being used. Baseball uses a 9″ ball. Fast pitch and slow pitch softball uses either an 11″ or 12″ ball. For baseball gloves, the pocket is typically smaller and longer. Softball glove pockets typically are wider and deeper. With deeper pockets, the height of the glove is shorter. For example, a 12.75″ baseball glove will be taller than a 12.75″ softball specific glove because the softball pocket is deeper and brings glove profile down. Many manufacturers tend to “add length” to their baseball gloves to make them even with softball gloves.

The next factor is the size of the players’ hands. Fast pitch gloves are geared towards female players. Typically, females have smaller hands than males. Baseball and adult slow pitch softball tend to have larger hand openings and/or finger stalls. However, not all manufacturers change their hand opening or finger stalls. Some higher-end manufacturers have slightly smaller finger stalls that form and mold to the player’s hand, whether the hands are small or big.

Most softball players like to have the glove tightly clamped to their hands. To help, manufacturers add Velcro on the glove for the widest degree of adjustability. Baseball players tend to feel more comfortable with a little movement, so they tend to have standard backs.

Finally, the quality of gloves comes into play. Baseball gloves range from $50 and up to $600. Fast pitch and slow pitch softball gloves range from $50 to $200. Some manufacturers offer quality gloves around the $200 mark. Most do not offer a softball specific type above $120, pushing softball players into baseball gloves with smaller pockets. However, some high-end manufacturers like Vinci do make high-end softball gloves for the serious softball player.

In the end, it’s all about what works best for the individual player! The right equipment makes for a more enjoyable and better-performing game.

Nicole Thomas

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