7 Features That Are Important for a Softball Glove — Plus What’s NOT

Last updated on March 1, 2024

All softball players know how important their glove is, especially considering how much time you spend with it. But with so many options on the market, it can be hard to know what’s worth your money and what’s just hype. That’s where we come in. We’ve put together a brief guide to help you navigate the world of softball gloves and make an informed decision when it comes to your next purchase.

First, let’s talk about the truly important features when it comes to softball gloves. Position-specific requirements, sizing, material, and comfort are all key factors to consider. You want to make sure your glove is designed to meet the demands of your position, fits your hand properly, and is made from high-quality materials that will stand up to the rigors of the game. Check out our guide below for more details on each of these important features.

What’s Important

Position-Specific Requirements

In the heart of the diamond, infielders need gloves that are designed for speed and precision. A shallow pocket allows for quick grabs and faster ball transfers, which is critical for turning double plays or getting the ball out of the glove and into the throwing hand as swiftly as possible. The these gloves are typically smaller, which aids in maneuverability and ensures that infielders can easily find and retrieve the ball. First basemen’s mitts are nearly complete opposite, with deep pockets and additional length with the sole purpose of a wider catch radius.

Outfielders, conversely, require gloves that cater to their need for range and security. These gloves are longer and have a deeper pocket, designed to catch anything that comes your way. The larger size and deeper webbing are crucial for outfielders who have to judge, track, and catch balls over long distances.


The right glove fit is essential for anyone who doesn’t want their glove to fly off when they catch a hard hit ball, and finger stalls are one of the most critical aspects of this equation. Each finger stall should snugly accommodate the player’s fingers, allowing for precise control and movement without any excess space. Too tight, and the player’s fingers might feel restricted, and as we mentioned earlier, you have your glove on far too often to deal with that. Too loose, and the glove may slip or move when you’re playing, causing you to make errors. The goal is to have finger stalls that offer a snug, yet comfortable fit, enabling the player to manipulate the glove with ease, enhancing their ability to catch, hold, and release the ball efficiently.

Equally important is the glove’s fit around the wrist. A glove that fits well around the wrist ensures that the glove stays secure during dynamic plays, without sacrificing flexibility or comfort. Adjustable wrist closures, such as Velcro straps, laces, or a buckle system, allow players to customize the fit to their liking. It’s about finding that perfect balance where the glove feels like an extension of the hand, providing both security and the flexibility needed to perform at one’s best.

Team huddled around the pitcher


Leather gloves are the gold standard for seasoned players, offering a blend of durability and comfort. The material not only lasts longer but also molds to the player’s hand. Each type of leather, from cowhide to kip, brings its own balance of flexibility and strength, catering to different preferences and levels of play.

Synthetic gloves, while more affordable and lighter, are ideal for beginners or young players. They require minimal break-in time and offer a practical solution for those still growing or not playing often. However, synthetics fall short in terms of longevity and the ability to shape to the player’s hand. Choosing between leather and synthetic depends on the player’s level of commitment, budget, and personal preference.


Comfort in a softball glove is paramount, your glove becomes your closest companion during practices and games. A glove should feel like an extension of the hand, with a fit so natural that the player barely notices it’s there, even after hours of play. I can remember after multiple long games for consecutive days, having my glove off felt strange. This comfort is crucial not only for performance, enabling players to focus fully on the game without distraction but also for preventing fatigue. If your hand is uncomfortable in your glove and then you force yourself to wear it for hours, you’ll be looking for any reasons to take it off.

What’s Unimportant

When it comes to buying a softball glove, there are some things that are not as important as others. Here are some aspects you can safely ignore:

Brand Name

When it comes to selecting a softball glove, the emphasis often placed on brand names can be misleading for buyers. It’s a common misconception that a higher-priced glove from a well-known brand automatically guarantees better performance on the field. However, the reality is that the effectiveness of a glove isn’t determined by its brand but by its quality and how well it fits the player’s specific needs. There are absolutely some lesser-known brands that offer gloves comparable in quality to the top brands but at a more realistic price point.

Color and Design

In the grand scheme of selecting a softball glove, color and design should rank low on a player’s list of priorities. While aesthetically pleasing equipment can boost your confidence and show your self-expression on the field, they really have no bearing on the glove’s functionality or performance.

Break-In Time

The concern over the break-in time for a softball glove is often exaggerated, especially if you don’t need to use it immediately. While it’s true that some gloves come game-ready with minimal break-in required, and others may take weeks of use to mold perfectly to your hand, this shouldn’t be an area of concern in choosing a glove unless you’re in a situation where you need it to be game-ready almost immediately. The key to remember is that virtually any glove can be conditioned to fit the contours of your hand and meet your playing needs; it’s just a matter of investing the time and effort.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to choosing a softball glove, the most important factors are finding one that fits well, is good quality, and is appropriate for the position you play. Manufacturers often boast about exotic features that aren’t truly necessary, so it’s important to know the difference between what’s essential and what’s a gimmick.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Benefits of Leather Gloves Over Synthetic Ones?

Leather gloves stand out for their durability and ability to mold to the player’s hand over time, offering a customized fit that improves with use. Unlike synthetic gloves, leather provides a superior feel and grip on the ball, enhancing control during play. Leather’s natural properties allow it to withstand the rigors of frequent use, making it a preferred choice for serious players seeking longevity and performance in their equipment.

How Long Should a Good Quality Softball Glove Last?

A well-made leather softball glove can last several years with proper care and maintenance. The longevity of a glove depends on factors like the quality of materials, frequency of use, and how well it’s cared for. Regular conditioning and proper storage can extend the life of a glove, ensuring it remains in good condition season after season.

What Is an Illegal Glove in Softball?

In softball, an illegal glove is one that does not meet the specifications outlined by the governing body of the league. For example, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) has specific rules regarding glove size, webbing, and pocket depth. If a player is found to be using an illegal glove, they may be penalized or even disqualified from the game. It is important to check with your league’s rules and regulations to ensure that your glove is legal.

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