sliding slowpitch softball

Slowpitch softball has come a long way since the beer leagues of yesteryear. There are now hardcore softball leagues with players that seem suited for minor league baseball fields, and some even make a living playing the game. Of course, there are also still fun-times recreational leagues throughout the country. The trick for manufacturers is to make equipment to suit all these players.

As a slowpitch player, you are the beneficiary of the equipment manufacturers’ need to chase your dollar. Softball gloves were once an afterthought to these companies, but no longer. The modern slow-pitch glove can be every bit the equal of its fastpitch and baseball counterparts.

This list of our favorites of the best slowpitch softball gloves includes models to suit any budget. The game is more fun when played with quality equipment that you do not have to struggle and fiddle with on the field. Most of these gloves can move anywhere on the diamond, so your main concerns should be about materials. Following that, let your own taste and budget lead you to your favorite option. You really cannot go wrong with any of these gloves.

Looking for Youth and Fastpitch gloves?  Check out our overall softball glove reviews on the main page.

Our Top Pick:

Rawlings Player Preferred P130HFL


player preferred 13 inch

The Player Preferred is a quality glove that has a short break in time, the versatility to be played anywhere on the field, can be used for baseball or softball, and is made from top grain leather.

Note: If you need information on how to figure out your glove size, please see our detailed article on how to measure your glove size and the differences for each position.

Rawlings Player Preferred P130HFL

Features:

  • Oiled, full-grain leather
  • Utility pattern
  • Pro H-Web
  • Use for softball or baseball
  • Adjustable Velcro strap
  • Soft and (nearly) game ready
  • Zero Shock palm padding

Advantages

Multi-sport capable

Part of Rawlings’ Player Preferred series, the P130HFL is made to work equally well in baseball and softball. Rawlings’ choices in the size of the glove and its pocket make it useful at several positions around the field in each sport. Being meant for baseball, the P130HFL has more padding than a normal slowpitch glove.

Top Quality Leather

Rawlings use top-grain leather in all its Player Preferred series gloves. The leather comes pre-oiled from the manufacturer to speed along the break-in process. Though it does make for a glove that is ready for use right away, some breaking in will still be required on your part before game play.

Disadvantages

Jack-of-all-Trades Issues

The problem with doing several things well is that it is hard to be great at doing at any single one. The P130HFL suffers from this trait, but it does not suffer much. It moves from softball to baseball and back effortlessly. The same pocket that is large for baseball is small for softball, though never too much so. Its 13-inch pattern works well in the outfield in both sports and is only out of place in baseball infields, though it functions there as well.

H-Web Not for Everyone

Slowpitch outfielders and first basemen tend to prefer open webs like the single-post, or H-web. However, some players prefer a closed back, especially those who used them in high school baseball and softball careers. Those players may want to check out the Rawlings Player Preferred 12.5 inch with its basket web.

Verdict

For those who move around the field, or those who play both baseball and softball, the Rawlings Player Preferred P130HFL is a great option. Utility players who only want to own one glove flock to the Player Preferred series because they are versatile and high-quality. The soft leather is durable, starting out soft and pliable and only becoming more so as the glove is used.

Rawlings Renegade 13-inch R130BGB

Features:

  • Dense leather palm
  • Pro Mesh nylon shell
  • Adjustable Velcro strap
  • Quick break in with game-ready feel
  • Deep pocket
  • Utility pattern
  • Basket web with neo-flex back

Advantages

Quickly Game Ready

The mesh back on the R130BGB is pliable right off the shelf. With plush, soft leather, the Renegade gloves are immediately able to close around the ball with little effort. With just a couple practices, Rawlings’ Renegade gloves will be ready for game time, though they can really go straight into the action if need be.

All-Around Utility

With its long fingers and deep pocket, the 13-inch utility pattern of these Renegade gloves is a preferred size for outfielders, but it can be used anywhere on the field. If you are the type of player who moves around the field, this glove should suit you well, especially if you see considerable time in the outfield.

Disadvantages

Mesh Back Instead of Leather

The mesh back feature may not be everyone’s ideal. It is functional, but it lacks the ability to be cleaned and oiled for longevity that leather has. It may be cooler in hot weather, but it allows dirt in between the mesh fibers that, once there, tends to stay put. This is not a deal breaker for many players, but purists may want to opt for an all-leather glove.

Soft Leather May Stretch

When leather comes to the user as soft as the palm on the Rawlings Renegade is, the risk is always that it will continue to break in after it has already reached game readiness. Since it lacks a leather backing, the leather in the Renegade may lose its shape quicker than some players might prefer. Two seasons of hard play is doable, but more than that might be a stretch.

Verdict

If you can get past the fact that it utilizes a mesh back, the the Rawlings Renegade R130BGB is a fine glove for most positions on the slowpitch field, but it shines in the outfield. The risk of stretching is present, but is more a matter of longevity. With moderate care, this glove will absorb the abuse of multiple seasons, and it will perform well from the moment it takes to the field.

Mizuno MVP GMVP1300S2 13-inch

Features

  • Durable, Bio Throwback leather
  • Open back
  • H-web
  • High-quality lacing
  • Soft palm liner
  • High-quality laces

Advantages

Quality = Longevity

Some glove leathers start life already soft because their leather is either thin or cheap. Mizuno pebbles its Bio Throwback leather on the GVMP1300S2 to soften it, and the process makes for a pliable glove that is ready for play as soon as it is purchased. Mizuno uses dens, quality leather that would otherwise be stiff, softening it mechanically.

Multi-Position Utility

A key component of a good slowpitch softball glove is its ability to move around the field. Players in recreational softball leagues may move from the outfield to the infield and back again during the course of a single game. Thanks to a large size and a wide, centered pocket, you can use this Mizuno at any position in slowpitch softball.

Disadvantages

No Padding

Players who spend a considerable amount of time at the hot corner may want to think twice about this particular MVP glove. Because it has next to no padding under its palm, these Mizuno gloves do little to protect your hand from the sting of a hard-hit ball. If you usually catch with the web, this will be less of an issue though.

Nonadjustable Closure

Because its hand opening is nonadjustable, this Mizuno MVP may not work well for you if your wrists are either very large or small. For casual play in a recreational league, the fact that its hand opening cannot be easily adjusted may not be an issue. As the glove breaks in, the hand opening will form around your hand.

Verdict

For players in softball leagues who never know where they’ll be playing next, the Mizuno GVMP1300S2 solves a lot of problems. Outfielders usually prefer the open, H-web design, but you can use it just as effectively in the infield. With durable yet soft pebbled leather, it is game ready almost as soon as you put it on your hand, but these gloves can easily last many years with the most basic of care regimens.

Louisville Slugger Dynasty FGDY14-BK130

Features

  • Full-grain leather
  • Extra-large pocket
  • Ladder-basket web
  • Same pattern as manufacturer’s pro gloves
  • Soft palm liner
  • Large pocket
  • Closed back with Velcro closure

Advantages

Infield-Focused Utility

These Louisville Slugger gloves are able to move around the field with the best of them, but their dimensions lend themselves more to the infield than the outfield. It is not that they are out of place in the outfield, but the glove is of the smaller dimensions that infielders usually prefer.

Affordable Full-Grain Leather

Compared to other gloves in its price range, the Louisville Slugger Dynasty’s materials are top-shelf. Its full-grain leather is a surprising addition on a glove of this type. This leather is durable and soft, making for a glove that has several-season durability. Top-grain leather provides excellent feel in the pocket, while still being strong enough to last through several years of hard use.

Disadvantages

Small Hand Opening

The hand opening on the Dynasty is smaller than usual on a 13-inch slowpitch glove with an adjustable strap. Even with strap open, you may find it difficult to insert your hand until the glove is completely broken in. This issue does not affect playability, however, because once your hand is in place the fit is normal.

Not 100-Percent Full-Grain Leather

Top-grain leather is certainly a nice addition, but Louisville Slugger chose to keep cost down on the Dynasty by sewing it onto a cheaper-leather back. This lesser material requires more break in than the palm and web do, and it will not have the same longevity. It will also require a bit more care than will the palm.

Verdict

Not everyone can afford to spend hundreds of dollars on a new softball glove, and even those who can afford it may not want to if only playing in a recreational league. For those people, a glove like the Louisville Slugger Dynasty FGDY14-BK130 may be just right. It is a durable and playable glove with quality leather where you need it. Most players will never notice the difference between the lower-grade leather on the back.

Milken Koalition Series KO135 13.5 Inch

Features:

  • Full-grain leather shell and lacing
  • Leather palm liner
  • Modified-trapeze web
  • Poron XRD Palm Pad
  • Pre-oiled leather
  • Deep pocket

Advantages

Top-notch leather

In the slowpitch softball market, not every glove has the quality of leather that Milken utilizes in the KO135. Dense, full-grain leather is in every part of these gloves, even the lacing. Pocket feel is luxurious, and longevity should be an afterthought with just the normal schedule of cleaning and oiling that every top-tier glove deserves.

Large Pocket with Trapeze Web

The great thing about trapeze webs is that the laces that comprise their edges stretch out over time. This makes the webbing able to secure hot shots with ease. The full-grain leather laces will stretch only so much, however, as they become denser with use. When coupled with the large pocket area, the KO135 becomes an excellent outfielder’s glove with the ability to move to the infield with little fuss.

Disadvantages

Best in the Outfield

An outfielder would likely not consider this a disadvantage, but a utility player may find difficulty making quick transitions with the Milken KO135. Its 13.5-inch pattern will likely be clunky for most users in the infield, but its large pocket and overall length will make catching fly balls on the run a much easier.

Uniform-Specific Colors

There is absolutely nothing wrong with using red, white and blue for the colors on your glove, but there are uniform colors out there that won’t match the KO135. This will not be an issue for “beer” league players, of course, but players in more competitive leagues may want to consider whether the colors clash with their team’s colors.

Verdict

When you have to resort to a glove’s color scheme to find something wrong with it, you know you have a good one on your hands. If feel and playability are your priority, it is hard to find a better glove than the Milken Koalition KO135. The leather is super soft and ready for play on day one, and being 100-percent full grain means it will last through many years of hard use.

Bottom Line

umpires

One of the main factors you should consider when making a final decision on a slowpitch softball glove is your level of seriousness about the sport. If you believe you will be playing multiple seasons, you should opt for the best leather you can afford. Otherwise, you may spend more over time as your replace your glove every season.

If you are just out to have some fun, and you are not sure you will play again next year, there is no need to drop serious money on equipment. Every glove on this list will perform well for at least the first season of use. It is not until the glove must get up again for spring training that the extra cost of higher quality will start to pay off.