Note: For an overview of our reviews of the best softball gloves, please check out this page.
Thankfully in this day and age, it’s not hard at all to find a good softball glove brand. There are so many different variations available to players that cater to all types of players and various needs. The major brands are Wilson, Rawlings, and Nokona. All three of these brands produce gloves that range from elite-level fastpitch gloves to recreational slowpitch gloves. Let’s take a closer look.
Wilson is headlined by the Wilson A2000. This glove is definitely an investment, and will do the job for a long time if you treat it correctly. These things come stiff as a rock when you first purchase them, but will form nicely to your hand after repeated use. The A2000 retails for over $200. Wilson will always have your back. They have the right glove for every type of player, whether you play fastpitch or slowpitch. One level down from the A2000 is the Onyx, which retails for closer to $100 than $200. The Onyx comes with duel-welting, which makes for a quicker break in, and it features a strap-back for an adjustable fit. The leather is obviously not as high of quality as the A2000, but is still not bad. From there, Wilson produces the A900. This glove is okay. It sells for under $100, and can be used pretty much immediately after buying it. This glove will break down much faster than an Onyx or an A2000 would, but that is to be expected given the lower price.
Wilson sells a slowpitch version of the A2000 as well, which also retails for over $200. This glove is meant for people who are very serious about slowpitch. Break-in will most likely take you a long time, but you’re probably okay with that if you’re already planning on getting a high quality slowpitch glove. There aren’t many gloves on the market that are going to compete with this one when it comes to performance. Wilson also sells the Showtime, and the A360. The Showtime retails at $89.95, and features an “all leather construction” that makes the glove ready to go immediately. The A360 is for the recreational player; little-to-no break in time, as well as a lower quality leather for less of a beating. This glove goes for under 50 bucks.
Rawlings’ highest-quality glove is the Heart Of The Hide. This glove is similar to the A2000 in the fact that it is stiff at first, has high quality leather, lasts a long time, and has a great feel. The decision to purchase one over the other is completely up to personal preference. The HOTH comes in all different sizes for all different positions. Next down the line comes the Liberty Advanced Series, It is focused on comfort, as an adjustable strap-back and finger hole allow for maximum feel. This glove retails for around $200. Then comes the Rawlings Gamer, which retails for a bit less than the Liberty Advanced. This glove is not bad either, as it caters to the competitive player that may need something ready to play with a bit quicker. This glove will last you a while if treated properly, and will be effective in game. Next comes the Rawlings Shut Out. This retails for under $100, and will be a decent amount softer than a Gamer would feel when leaving the store. The Storm and Champion Lite cater to the younger players that are just getting accustomed to playing. They’re also much more affordable. There are different sizes available for these gloves, as well.
Just like the fastpitch line, Rawlings’ slowpitch selection is pretty robust. There are a variety of gloves for a variety of different skillsets, as well as a relatively wide range of prices. Though they cannot be found on Rawlings’ official store, you can find them all over the internet as well as in stores, (I always recommend trying on a glove before buying it, as there can be various differences between two gloves that are technically the same model and make). Rawlings offers the Rawlings Sandlot, (around $100) which rocks a rustic look in ode to the classic baseball movie, The Sandlot. They also sell the Renegade, (much less expensive) which is a very reliable glove for those who aren’t looking to break the bank too much. The Rawlings’ Player Preferred is similar, not too expensive, versatile, and comfortable.
Nokona is headlined by the X2 Buckaroo, which is actually made of steerhide and kangaroo leather. This is a carefully crafted glove, and has a different feel than a Wilson or a Rawlings. It is definitely a preference-based glove, but personally I am a fan. You have to try for yourself if you are thinking about making the purchase because it retails for a rather hefty $400ish price tag. The Legend Pro Fastpitch goes for less than the others and is made of Sandstone leather (as they call it). It has a lightweight feel to it and is made to last.
Nokona produces the X2 Elite, the Legend Pro, Walnut, and Generation in slowpitch models. The price is the same for the X2 Elite as it is for fastpitch, and is pretty much the same glove that you would be getting with the fastpitch model. All of these gloves retail for around $300, and vary in quality, size, break-in time, and other factors. If you are willing to spend, it would be worth it to try each model and pick a personal favorite.
Rawlings has the widest selection for their purchasers. They have all different makes, models, sizes, and colors. They truly make it so everyone has a glove that will match their play-style perfectly. Wilson has choices for all levels as well, but not as many. There is pretty much one glove for each type of player, and you are usually given the opportunity to break it in the way — or as much as — you prefer. Nokona sells super high-quality gloves, but they are relatively expensive. These gloves are some of the best crafted pieces you can find, as they are made in America. But make sure you have the budget before committing to one!