How to Choose a Softball Glove the RIGHT way (Size Chart)
Have you ever felt overwhelmed when looking in the glove section of a sports store or website?
I know I have!
There are so many different gloves available all boasting features around pocket size, webbing, comfort and much more. Once you figure that out – you’ll notice that some gloves are more suited for certain positions.
The aim of this article is to show you how to choose a softball glove the right way.
We look at the important features you should consider (hint: it starts with getting the size right) so that you can feel confident on the field. We also provide some charts that look at typical sizes based on age.
Let’s get going!
Softball Glove Sizing
There are plenty of different features that could entice someone to buy a specific glove. However, the glove size should be the main concern and focus when ultimately deciding which one to purchase.
Having a glove that fits while playing is vital.
If your glove is comfortable, you’ll improve your confidence, reliability, and consistency. Not to mention, you’ll have more fun this way as well as it won’t be an everlasting issue for you in the game while you’re trying to focus on each play.
How to measure for Glove size
The length of a softball glove is measured from the tip of the index finger to the heel of the glove. If you want to measure your hand for the exact size of the softball glove you’ll need, use a flexible measuring tape to find the distance between the tip of your index finger and the start of your wrist – where the base of the glove lands. The result will be your ideal glove size.
It’s certainly true that there are several different parts of the glove that you need to consider as well. But if you get the sizing wrong, nothing else will feel right or help you. We look at those features in the next sections.
Softball Glove Size Charts
It helps to have a starting point when trying to figure out your glove size. Although these aren’t exact figures as there are always outliers, the charts that follow should provide you with a good starting point.
Youth Size Chart
First let’s look at youth players who typically do not require a position specific glove.
|6 & under||7 to 8||9 to 10||10 to 14|
High School & College Size Chart
As players age they tend to specialize in different positions. In the chart that follows – we’ve indicated the general ranges based on the position specific glove for high school and older players.
|Infield & Pitcher||Outfield||First Base||Catcher|
Catcher Size Chart
The last area we wanted to key in on is the catcher. Instead of being sized in the 9 to 13 inch range like regular gloves, catchers are measured slightly differently. We cover this in more detail in another article. But for those looking for a mitt, here are the typical ages and size ranges.
|8 & under||9 to 13||14 and above|
Speaking of catchers – if you play the position and are looking for a new set of gear, you may want to check out our equipment page for some recommendations.
Features in your Ideal Softball Glove
A common mistake to avoid when choosing a softball glove is getting a glove designed for baseball instead of fastpitch softball.
Baseball gloves have a smaller pocket designed to fit baseballs while softball gloves have a deeper, shorter pocket making it easier to catch a softball rather than the considerably smaller baseball.
The web design of your glove is the key to ball control.
There are two main styles: open and closed. The type that you end up choosing depends on your favorite position and also your comfort preferences.
Fielders typically prefer an open web, while pitchers like using the closed web so it’ll help hide their pitches.
The closed basket web is a good choice for all older fastpitch players as it helps them catch balls with more velocity. Gloves with an I-web or H-web gives middle infielders an easy way to find the ball for a fast transfer.
The modified trap web keeps the ball in the pocket, making it a good choice for younger players who might drop the ball, even after it’s landed in the glove. The strip of leather atop the webbing holds the ball in place.
First basemen appreciate the single-post web as it gives the ball a consistent pocket and gives players access to the ball to turn double plays.
Similar to the web, the pocket helps connect the fingers and thumb when the ball hits your glove. Infielders generally prefer using the more shallow pocket while outfielders go with the deep pocket. The back part of your glove is for your index finger.
There are two different designs to choose from, one being more open and the other being closed. The open back will typically have more space so you’ll have more hand and wrist flexibility whereas the closed back will help more for stability rather than flexibility.
Finger stalls are openings on a glove for the individual fingers. The palm of the glove includes padding underneath for protection when the ball hits the glove. The heel is at the very bottom of the glove. It protects the bottom part of your hand.
Securing the Glove
Finally, each glove comes with a wrist adjustment. This feature is for the player to make sure the glove fits perfectly. There are many different types of these available such as:
- lace adjustments
- D-ring fasteners
- buckle systems
- hook and loop fasteners
Fastpitch or Slowpitch?
Lastly, whether you are playing fastpitch or slowpitch softball will ultimately determine which glove you will use as well. Wear and tear is one of the big things to think about in this situation.
For slowpitch softball, you could use a synthetic leather glove for years and not have to worry about durability. However if you make the transition to fastpitch softball, it’ll wear out quicker thanks to the velocity of the hits and throws.
Position Specific Gloves
As we’ve seen so far – there are many different things to take into account when choosing a glove, such as the hand size, position, comfort, and whether you’re playing fastpitch or slowpitch softball.
The fit of the glove on your hand will help with catching the ball and also transferring it from the glove to your hand. The position you play will also play a big role in determining the specific type of glove you get.
There are typically five different kinds of gloves made for a specific position. These include:
- infielders (2nd base, 3rd base and shortstop)
- first baseman
Having a high-quality glove that is both comfortable and fits your hand size will improve your game immensely.
Infielders should consider gloves with an I-web or H-web. These two webbing types get their names simply by their design because their letter resembles the letter of each glove. A shallow pocket is preferred to help with an infielder’s quick release.
Softball infielders benefit from having a closed design to guarantee a more secure catch. Smaller gloves with specialized websites are perfect for infielders because they have more flexibility than other styles making it easier to transfer the ball from catching to throwing for quick double plays.
Outfielders should look into getting a deeper pocket glove to catch fly balls. There are a couple of different ways to look into it in regards to the webbing, however. Some will elect to go with an open web for increased visibility, while others prefer a closed web for more support.
The most popular styles of softball gloves for outfielders are the H-web and trapeze webbing. H-web gloves have an open pocket that will make it easier for catching fly balls, whereas trapeze-style webbing has a deeper pocket that will make it easier to catch and control the ball.
First Base Gloves
The players at the first base position should look for first base mitts which are usually longer than other softball gloves because players focus on catching more than throwing. It typically has a shallower pocket than most so the player can transfer the ball faster.
Just like catcher’s mitts, first baseman’s mitts do not have fingers, which allows for the player to secure the ball more easily. The rounded edges act like a funnel, which will help guide the ball to the pocket for a secure catch. It also makes it easier to scoop up rapid ground balls and catch those tough throws from players from time to time.
Catchers have an easy choice of glove since softball catcher’s mitts are designed specifically for the position. For a catcher’s mitt, it is most important to make sure that the glove feels comfortable on your hand.
There are some mitts out there that have a little extra padding to help the sting out of fast pitches. Catchers need their mitts for mobility and control. Softball catcher’s mitts typically have open webs which will make it easier to catch a ball coming from the pitcher at a fast speed.
There are two distinct types of mitts for catchers. One is the half moon mitt. The web forms a tight pocket with little to no visibility. They are also more flexible than the fully closed models. Then there’s the one-piece mitt. From the name, the web has one large piece of leather that laces around the outside of the pocket.
Generic / Utility Gloves
Some players move around the diamond, so they need flexible gloves they can use around the infield and outfield.
For slowpitch, you are often expected to play numerous positions across the field. Whether that be infield/outfield, outfield/first base, pitcher/outfield, and possibly even pitcher. If this sounds like you, a multi-purpose glove may be the right fit for you.
A multi-purpose glove would be a glove around the 13” range if you are a utility player. The main difference between slowpitch and fastpitch softball is in terms of thinking about what glove you may need, most fastpitch gloves will feature a smaller wrist opening and tighter finger stalls.
Youth Sizing Considerations
Earlier we displayed a chart representing the range of glove sizes expected for youth players. I wanted to take a bit more time in this article to provide more details for our future softball superstars!
6 & Under
For softball players, 6 years and under, a glove size between 9 and 10 inches should be able to do the trick for all positions, except the catcher position. Catcher’s mitts are a little different in terms of sizing. A good range for 6 & under is 30″ to 32″.
7 to 8 Years Old
A 7 or 8-year-old needs a glove that is 10 ½ to 11 inches. As mentioned before, the catcher’s mitts are a little different in size compared to other gloves. 7 to 8-year-olds that play the catcher position will want to stick with a catcher’s mitt that is in the 30″ to 32″ range.
9 to 10 Years Old
Most players in the 9-to-10-year-old age group usually find themselves with an 11 to 11.5 inch. The infielders will usually go with the 11 to 11.5 glove while outfielders will go with a slightly bigger glove such as an 11.5 to 11.75 size. As the player gets older, they’ll need a bit larger of a glove and in this situation, a catcher’s a mitt. Normally once the player hits the 9-year-old range, they’re going to be wanting a bigger catcher’s mitt somewhere in the 31″ to 32.5″ range.
10-14 Years Old
For players aged 10 to 14, infielders may fit with 11.5 to 12.5, while outfielders can go with a little larger of a glove such as a 12 or 13. Catchers in the 10-14 year range can still go with the 31″ to 32.5″ but in special situations and as the player gets older near high school, competitive players will appreciate having a glove in the 32.5″ to 34.5″ range.
As you’ve seen in this article – finding a softball glove isn’t a walk in the park! But no matter what you do – the first thing is to find your size. If you start with the wrong size – you are automatically at a disadvantage.
Once figure out your ideal size, you can then determine if you need a position specific glove and look for additional features like the type of web, pocket, and anything else that provides you with comfort.
We hope that we’ve helped you figure out how to pick out a softball glove, and that whatever you choose will take your game to the next level! If you are interested in our picks then check out our top softball gloves page where we rank numerous choices available to you.