Last year, I signed up for a local slowpitch softball league after not playing the game for over a decade. I thought I could just go down to the store, buy the cheapest glove, and have a great time. After all, that’s what I do with all of the furniture in my house and even the car I drive. I just don’t care about what my stuff looks like. Unfortunately, buying a slowpitch softball glove the same way I buy everything else was a terrible decision. After the fourth game, my cheap glove was uncomfortable, the size wasn’t right for my outfield position, and I didn’t like the way it looked. In other words, it showed its worth and I was forced to go buy a new one. I learned the importance of doing research to find a great leather glove that is going to perform well.
If you’re a softball player or have one in your home, and you’re anything like me, you’ve spent hours online trying to decipher what the best gloves might be. Why have I spent so much time looking? I realized after game four of my softball season that it’s important to get the best product in order to have the most enjoyable season. I’ve written this article to save you time and money as you seek out the best gloves on the market. Some of them are expensive and some have a lower price tag. What I hope you see is that you can spend less money and not sacrifice quality. Because every player needs something a little different, I’m sharing the best infield, outfield, and all-around softball gloves. Unfortunately I don't have any input on catcher mitts, as it's not a position I often play, and in slow pitch softball, you don't really need a specific catcher's mitt.
There are four characteristics of slowpitch softball gloves that you need to keep in mind when you’re looking for a new one.
Ask yourself, “What is my level of commitment to softball? Do I think I’ll play a season or two? Or do I think I’m in it for the long haul?” Good material will keep its form and fit to your hand a lot longer than synthetics like mesh. So, if you’re planning on sticking with it for a while, you should spend the money on higher quality leather instead of gloves made from other materials. If you’re planning to enjoy one or two seasons, save your money and buy a more reasonably priced softball glove.
Most slowpitch softball gloves are between 12.5 and 13.5 inches. If you’re an infielder, you will want a slightly shorter glove, closer to 12.5 inches to assist you with the ground balls. If you’re an outfielder, you might want a glove measuring closer to 13.5 inches to better snag the fly balls. Some outfielders might purchase gloves measuring 14 inches. Spend time thinking through what size works best for your position. Are you a versatile player who moves around the diamond? Choose a glove around that is sized around 13 inches. It's important to get the right glove size for your hand.
After choosing your size, you’ll want to look at comfort level. Whether your glove is made of leather or synthetics can make a difference here. But, there are other factors that go into comfort level. Some gloves are made for small or larger hands and others have adjustable or non-adjustable wrist-straps. The adjustable straps can really affect how stable a glove feels on your hand, so do your homework. Another characteristic that can increase or decrease comfort is pocket size. You might like the feel of a really deep pocket or you might prefer a shallow pocket. Just like adjustable wrist straps, you’ll need to figure out what feels best if you want to enjoy your softball experience.
Even if you say you don’t care about what your glove looks like, you really do. There are all sorts of different aesthetics to choose from: do you want a closed or webbed glove? Do you want an old-school, plain look or do you want a colorful design? Some models only come with bright colors while others are customizable. So, you’ll want to keep that in mind when deciding on your slowpitch softball glove. The truth is that even if a glove checks your boxes for leather quality, size, and comfort, you may not like how it looks. Speaking from experience, you will want something that looks good on the field.
The Miken KO Series, is the newest release from Miken. specifically the Pro H model. Though it is slightly heavier than other gloves at 1.9 lbs., the Pro H delivers in comfort and performance. The Pro H is ready to go upon purchase and requires a minimal amount of time to break it in. The Pro H is full of Miken’s most recent technological improvements and the top-quality leather provides a virtually sting-free catching experience. One awesome feature of this glove is its versatility. The Pro H has some potential hang ups. Without a pinky loop, and an extremely deep pocket, you may notice that this glove feels very different than ones you’ve tried before. If you are a creature of habit, it may take a while to get used to.
Yes, it’s technically a glove for fielders, but with the webbing, players are able to clearly see the ball when it’s in the air. As an infielder, make sure you purchase a Pro H that is sized for an infielder. You won’t want a super long glove to catch ground balls. Instead, stick to something 13.5 inches or shorter. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with the Miken KO Pro H. The price is on the high-end at about $109, but if you can afford it, I promise you will love it!
There are two great outfield gloves, one on the top of the price spectrum and the other for the more budget-conscious players. On the high-end is the Mizuno GMVP1300, a glove with features found on the gloves of professionals such as top-quality lace and premium, soft leather. One really cool feature of this Mizuno model is its design customizability. When you purchase one, you can choose a color scheme to fit your personality, from traditional to colorful.
It runs small and may not be good for people with large hands. It also doesn’t customize to different wrist sizes. One of the possible problems with this glove is its lack of break-in time. If you’re the kind of person who likes a glove to fit on your specific hand, this one will take a little while to make you happy. Its open back is not for everyone, but in my opinion, it’s what makes it unique. This glove is extremely durable, lightweight, and looks great on your hand. The Mizuno GMVP1300 will cost you around $130, but if you have the money, you’ll get your money’s worth over the course of a few seasons.
Another great option, especially if you’re conscious of your budget, is the Louisville Slugger Dynasty Slowpitch Outfielder’s Glove. It will only cost you around $40 while giving you the durability and quality of cowhide leather and full-grain leather web. This is the perfect glove for you if you’re (1) not sure if you’re going to play multiple seasons or (2) want a good glove and don’t care too much about how long it looks like new.
Louisville Slugger’s Dynasty model does not have the longevity of other gloves. You might notice the wear and tear pretty quickly on the laces and the pocket. But, the professional lace gives you a trustworthy product that performs well and doesn’t compromise on comfort. Similar to the Mizuno model, you’ll have to take time to break in this Louisville Slugger model, something you might actually appreciate. If you can spend the money, buy the GMVP1300. If you want something cheaper, you can’t go wrong with the Dynasty.
The Rawlings Renegade series R130BGB model is a perfect all-around glove for the player who spends a lot of time rotating around the field. It’s a versatile glove, suitable for every position on the field, but it shines in the outfield because of its long fingers and deep pocket. The R130BGB is ready for gameplay after a couple of practices and, if you take care of it, will last you multiple seasons. When you put this glove on, you’ll notice the pliability of the good Rawlings material.
One of its issues is that it has a back made of mesh instead of leather. In my opinion, this is just an aesthetic thing. If you don’t mind its look, you won’t notice a difference in performance. Some players claim that a mesh back allows a glove to lose its shape quicker than other models, but for the price and good catching experience, I don’t think it’s a big deal. If you are okay with your glove showing its age a little bit quicker than other gloves, this is a great choice at a reasonable price of $50.
Another great choice for an all-around slowpitch softball glove is the Easton Salvo Series. If you are just starting out, and you want to look good while using a high-quality glove, the Salvo is for you. It’s made with a combination of cowhide leather and mesh to provide optimum flexibility and comfort. It has an old-school, classy look with all the technology of modern slowpitch softball gloves.
It’s broken in and game ready, which won’t allow you to customize your fit. And it’s not great in wet weather, so if you live in the rainforest, this might not be your glove. One of its best features is a Velcro strap that can adjust around your wrist for optimum comfort and stability on your hand. It has added palm support to complement its double deep pocket. The Easton is a reasonably priced glove at around $60.
Whether you’re a serious softball player or you’re planning to just play for one season, it’s important that you pick the best glove possible or you will end up like me, buying a new glove after four games. The reality is that you can get a good slowpitch softball glove for a very reasonable price if you’re willing to do your homework. I hope this article has helped make the process a little easier for you and that it has shown you the best infield, outfield, and all-around gloves on the market.
When you’re looking to buy a slowpitch softball glove, you should consider, above everything else, leather quality, size, comfort, and design. And be sure to take the time to read customer reviews before you purchase anything. Your budget is obviously a factor, but that’s something only you can figure out. All that being said, and all factors being considered, the very best glove is the Miken KO series Pro H model. It has the best infield glove qualities with built-in versatility such as webbing for catching fly balls. Honestly, any of Miken’s KO series gloves are full of the most current softball technology, provide maximum comfort, and are made from top-quality material. If you’re willing to buy a slowpitch softball glove at the top of the price-spectrum, you will not regret it. It will last you a long time and I promise you won’t end up embarrassed by your glove only four games into the season. You can buy the Miken KO Pro H model here.