A Complete Guide on How to Choose a Fastpitch Softball Glove
Choosing the right fastpitch softball glove is crucial to success defensively. Various factors such as age, position, and glove size all play a role in a player's capabilities while on defense. Along with this, gloves can also fit differently, are composed of various materials, and have different webbing patterns. If you would like to find the perfect fastpitch softball glove, keep reading!
In this article, we’ll cover:
When finding the right size glove, there are multiple aspects to factor into the decision. These aspects include choosing a glove size based on the player’s age while also factoring in the player’s position. By considering both of these aspects, you will be able to choose the right fastpitch softball glove size.
Fastpitch Softball Glove Sizing: Age
The age of the softball player will determine a lot when choosing the correct fastpitch softball glove size. Typically, younger softball players do not have a set position on the field and thus do not need to factor in their position when choosing a glove size. As the player gets older, however, this will become a bigger component of the decision-making process.
Fastpitch softball players between the age of 5 and 8 years old will typically use a glove that is 9in. to 11in. in size. Once the player falls into the age range of 9-14, the glove size range will increase to 10in. to 12in. Lastly, high school-aged fastpitch softball players and older will use gloves sized anywhere from 11.5in. to 13in.
Although age is an essential factor when deciding on a glove size, once the player is around 10 years old, they will likely implement their position into the decision-making process. This will narrow the size range when choosing a fastpitch softball glove. The chart below will give a clear layout of glove sizes based on player age.
Fastpitch Softball Glove Sizing: Position
Once the player starts narrowing down which position(s) they play, this also contributes to the selection of the proper glove size. Gloves for infielders, outfielders, utility, first base, and catchers will all be sized differently but also should coincide with the age of the player. Along with this, different positions will also feature different sizes to help defensive performance as gloves are tailored to help players at their respective position.
Infielder gloves will be smaller and have a more shallow pocket compared to outfield gloves. This makes it so infielders can field the ball and quickly transfer it to their throwing hand. Contrarily, outfield gloves will have a deep pocket and long fingers to help the outfielder secure the ball whether it is a routine fly ball or a diving play. Catcher’s mitts on the other hand are measured around the circumference of the mitt. Catcher’s mitts will feature more padding than infield or outfield gloves and also supply the catcher with a deep pocket to help secure the ball. Lastly, first base mitts will be measured the same as infield and outfield gloves. First base mitts will feature a wide catching surface, a deep pocket to secure the ball, and more padding than an infield glove but less than a catcher’s mitt.
As far as sizing goes for each position, fastpitch infield gloves will range anywhere from 9in.-12.5in. In the outfield, fastpitch softball players will typically use gloves that are 9in.-13in. Catcher’s mitts are measured around the circumference of the mitt and will be anywhere from 29.5in.-35in. Lastly, first base mitts will fall in the range of 11.5in-13in. Each of these size ranges does not factor into the fastpitch player’s age. That being said, younger players will be on the smaller end of these ranges and older players will be towards the top end of the size range.
Along with different fastpitch glove sizes, there are also different fits that help with comfortability, different age groups, and different hand sizes. The four fits that we will discuss are youth fit, standard fit, tapered fit, and adjustable fit. Let’s look at what each means for a glove.
Youth Fit fastpitch softball gloves are made for kids 5-8 years old and designed to be snug, yet comfortable so they can play multiple positions on the field.
A Standard Fit is a traditional fitting fastpitch softball glove that is designed specifically for catching a softball as these gloves feature a deeper and shorter pocket compared to baseball gloves.
A Tapered Fit means that the glove will have a tapered hand stall in order to provide the player with a better fit and more glove control.
Adjustable Fit fastpitch softball gloves are typically designed with a velcro strap on the back of the wrist to provide the player with a custom fit every time. These gloves are great for the player who is still growing and looking to keep a glove for an extended time.
Fastpitch softball gloves, like baseball gloves, are primarily constructed from leather, synthetic leather, or other synthetic materials. Some advantages of a leather glove are increased durability and longevity of the glove. Traditional leather gloves will be stronger and last years with proper maintenance. However, leather gloves will be heavier than synthetic gloves but the durability of synthetic gloves will not be as good as a full-leather glove.
Fastpitch softball gloves will be different than baseball gloves when it comes to the pocket depth on the glove. Fastpitch softball gloves are designed specifically to catch the larger softball. That being said, the gloves will feature a deeper and shorter pocket than a baseball glove to aid in catching a softball. This pocket design on fastpitch gloves helps minimize drops, creates easier transfers from glove to throwing hand, and provides the player with a better catching surface.
Fastpitch softball gloves, like baseball gloves, will feature different web patterns that are designed for various positions on the field. These webbing styles will make it easier for the player at their respective position.
A two-piece/basket web is a web style that is designed for pitchers. These gloves will perform similarly to an infielder’s glove as they offer flexibility to quickly react to balls hit in the infield. Two-piece/basket webs are perfect for a pitcher as it helps cover the pitcher’s hand so that the opposing hitter or coaches cannot see what pitch is coming.
An I-Web pattern is designed for infielders as these gloves are flexible and their open-web style is designed to help infielders make quick transfers to throw across the diamond.
Similar to an I-Web, H-Web patterns are also flexible and their open web style will allow for quick transfers from glove to throwing hand. H-Web gloves are used in both the infield and outfield as the open web style also makes it easier for the outfielder to see the ball when camped under it. When picking an H-Web glove for the outfield, make sure it has a deeper pocket than that of an infield glove. Also, be mindful that a larger-sized H-Web glove will be better for outfield play as this will give the player a larger catching surface and help ball security.
Trapeze gloves are designed specifically for outfielders as the Trapeze web will help the player create a deeper pocket. The Trapeze web will also aid the outfielder in controlling the ball as this webbing will conform better around the ball when making a catch.
With gloves specific to fastpitch softball, there are also premier brands to be aware of when looking for your next glove. Wilson fastpitch gloves have been around since 1957 and are known for their renowned A2000 series. These gloves are very popular in both baseball and fastpitch and they make a variety of gloves for all positions. Another top brand in the glove world is Rawlings fastpitch gloves. Rawlings is known for their Heart of the Hide and Liberty Advanced series gloves for fastpitch softball. Both series are made from top-quality steer hide and are some of the best gloves you can buy. Lastly, Mizuno fastpitch gloves are another great option for fastpitch softball players. Mizuno is a reputable brand, especially in fastpitch softball, and many college softball programs choose Mizuno year after year.
How do I know what size softball glove my child needs?
The size of the glove will depend on how old the child is and if they are old enough to have more of a set position. If the child does have a particular position in mind then this will also help determine what size glove they will use.
What size glove for fastpitch softball?
When determining glove size for fastpitch softball, one should consider the player’s age, position, and different web styles on these gloves. Once these three factors are considered it will simplify the decision when looking at glove sizes.
How do I choose a fastpitch softball glove?
A fastpitch softball glove should be chosen based on how old the player is and what their position on the field is. Some other factors to consider are the web type and what different web types help with on the field.
How do you know if a fastpitch softball glove is too big?
A fastpitch softball glove should have a snug fit but also be comfortable for the player. Another thing to keep in mind is to not buy a glove so that the player has room to grow. The glove should fit them at the time of purchase for the best results on the field.