From Fit to Function: Differences in Men’s and Women’s Softball Gloves

Last updated on February 23, 2024

Stepping into the world of slowpitch softball can be overwhelming. With all the different equipment you need to get through a season and all the options for each one, it’s easy to understand why. When you’re going to search for a glove, you may notice that there are some softball gloves specifically designed for women and some for men. But what are the differences between men’s and women’s softball gloves?

When it comes to fastpitch gloves, they’re usually made with women in mind, as men rarely play fastpitch softball. Slowpitch gloves, on the other hand, have many more options intended for men to use, although they may not be as constrained as fastpitch gloves. The difference between men’s and women’s softball gloves can be boiled down to three factors: the size of finger stalls and opening, palm padding, length of the glove.

Size of Fingerstalls and Opening

With softball gloves, the size of the finger stalls and the opening of the glove can make a big difference in how well it fits and performs. As a general rule, gloves intended for women tend to have smaller, tighter hand openings and skinnier finger stalls than men’s gloves. Simply because the average woman has smaller hands than the average man.

If you’re a man with smaller hands looking for a slowpitch glove, you may want to consider researching fastpitch gloves as well. Some fastpitch gloves have larger finger stalls than others while still having a smaller opening, and they may fit your hands better. Additionally, manufacturers often use finer leathers when constructing fastpitch gloves, so they may be a good option for men who want professional-quality gear.

Palm Padding

Palm padding is one of the most underrated features that can make all the difference in protecting your hand from impact. Men’s softball gloves typically have less padding in the palm area than women’s gloves, which may seem counterintuitive given the slower pitch speed. However, just because the ball is pitched slower, doesn’t mean it moves any slower through any other part of the game. In fact, the ball is often hit harder and thrown harder when the ball is in play in slowpitch games.

Length of the glove

While it may be a subtle difference, the length of the glove is another factor to consider. The length of a softball glove is measured from the tip of the index finger to the heel of the glove. Men’s gloves are generally measured between 14-15 inches, while women’s gloves are usually measured between 12 and 13 inches. However, the size of the glove can vary depending on the position you play.

Glove with dirt flying out of it.


Now the next time you’re shopping for a new glove and see both men’s and women’s, you won’t have to wonder what the differences could be. While there are some differences in size and padding, ultimately, it doesn’t matter if a glove was originally meant for a man or a woman. As long as the glove fits securely on your hand and you feel confident fielding the softball, then use it.

In fact, many former fastpitch players simply use their old high school glove when moving on to recreational slowpitch play. Fastpitch gloves intended for women do a better job of crossing over into slowpitch games than vice versa. Remember, when it comes to softball gloves, it’s not the name on the equipment that matters, it’s the skill of the person using it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any color or aesthetic differences in men’s and women’s softball gloves?

Yes, you’ll notice some fun color and design differences when looking at men’s and women’s softball gloves. Brands like to mix it up with women’s gloves by adding a splash of color and some lively patterns. This doesn’t mean they’re all about looking good and not performing; it’s just that they know some players love gear that looks great and plays hard too. Men’s gloves often stick to classic colors and designs, but they’re built to play just as hard.

Are there specific brands that specialize in women’s softball gloves?

While there aren’t any brands that exclusively specialize in either men’s or women’s softball gloves, most major brands, including Mizuno, Wilson, and Rawlings, offer a wide variety of options catering to both genders. These leading manufacturers understand the importance of providing high-quality equipment that meets the diverse needs of all players.

What are the typical price ranges for men’s vs. women’s softball gloves?

The cost of softball gloves, whether for men or women, really depends on what you’re looking for in terms of brand, materials, and special features. You can find a basic glove that does the job for about $30 to $60, which is great for those just starting out or playing for fun. If you want something that fits better and lasts longer, expect to pay between $60 and $150. And for those taking things seriously, the top-notch gloves made from the best materials with all the bells and whistles can set you back $150 to more than $250. The good news is, whether you’re shopping for men’s or women’s gloves, the prices don’t really differ just based on gender.

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