Baseball glove vs. softball glove: are they different?
Most of the time, non-baseball or softball players would assume that the gloves and mitts used on these respective sports are just the same. From a distance, one can say that these gloves are just similar. After all, they share identical appearances and construction.
Despite this, you should still have to wonder why there’s a specific label for the gloves used on baseball and softball. Why is there a baseball glove? Why is there a softball glove? You see, these questions should give you an idea that there are underlying nuances that separate the two gloves.
And in this post, I am going to highlight those unique distinctions.
Let’s get started.
Baseball Glove vs Softball Glove: An Overview
The difference between a baseball glove and a softball glove is more than what meets the eye. Although they are similar in appearance to each other, they vary significantly in size and shape. In high school, it is mandatory by rule to wear a large mitt when playing catcher and first base positions; however, the only fundamental use for this type of glove is for catching a baseball.
Some of the biggest differences include the webbing between fingers on each glove, which increases while traveling from bottom to top in terms of softball gloves. Also, there is more padding in the ball area of baseball gloves than softball gloves. It provides baseball players protection when fielding grounders or making tags at home plate. Softball players tend to have slow pitches, so they don’t need too much impact protection.
Lastly, the pocket part of a softball glove is deep and broader compared to the shallow yet taller baseball pocket.
When it comes down to it, both gloves are used for the same purpose of catching and fielding ammunition. Depending on who is playing what position, that player must have the correct equipment to perform their best.
Let’s discuss the specific differences between these two gloves.
One of the striking differences between a softball glove and a baseball glove is the design. A regulation softball glove is closer to one foot, at 12 inches. Meanwhile, a regulation baseball glove is only 9 inches. The larger size of the softball glove allows a more oversized pocket since the ball used in softball is bigger than baseball. On the other hand, Softballs are larger, so the pockets of softball gloves are deeper and shorter. But keep in mind that the pocket of the baseball gloves is longer than their softball counterparts.
So what does this mean? Well, if you put a 13-inch baseball glove and softball glove side-by-side, you would notice that the baseball glove is taller because its pocket is tall.
In a nutshell, a baseball glove has a long and shallow pocket, while a softball glove features a deep and broad pocket.
One thing to note with the design of these gloves is that baseball gloves tend to be more versatile since their pockets aren’t as deep as softball gloves. Pitchers are required to wear a closed glove for both baseball and softball. However, baseball gloves tend to be shallower in design due to the top-of-the-hand position of the glove on a pitcher’s hand compared to infielders and outfielders. Therefore, the deeper pocket is not crucial for longer passes or lengthy throws on deep fly balls. A shallower glove will tend to provide more versatility and allow for easier scooping and transfer of the ball from glove to hand.
On the other hand, softball gloves have deep pockets better adapted to making longer throws and scooping up fly balls for infielders or outfielders. Pitchers are required to wear a closed glove but can wear an open-webbed baseball or softball glove. A pitcher’s webbing style is limited to a baseball pocket or the option of no glove at all. Also, defensive players in softball carry their gloves on their left hand since they’re throwing the ball with their right hand, so it doesn’t make sense to use open-webbed gloves.
Size And Bulk
Size Difference Of Baseball Gloves And Softball Gloves
The dimensions and shape of a baseball glove are different than those of softball. Baseball gloves typically have longer fingers and narrower finger guards, which protect the hand and help a player catch hard-hit balls that could potentially injure or deflect from their glove. Softball gloves, on the other hand, usually feature shorter fingers and broader finger guards, which allow for easy catching of softer-hit balls.
A typical baseball glove ranges in size from 9 inches for youth to 13 inches for outfielders. Pitchers and infielder gloves are usually 11 inches – 12 inches. If the glove is bigger than these measurements, then that is already classified as an outfielder’s glove.
Meanwhile, a standard Fastpitch softball glove ranges in size anywhere from 11.5 inches – 13 inches. Most softball infielder’s gloves are 11 inches – 12 inches, while outfielders tend to have larger gloves–around 13 inches – 14.5 inches. Fielders may have their hands inserted in a padded sleeve or “wrist pad” for extra protection and comfort.
Like baseball gloves, catcher’s mitts for both sports are differently sized. Specifically, the baseball catcher’s mitts range from 32 inches to 34.5 inches. Meanwhile, the softball catcher’s mitts are bigger, ranging from 33 inches to 35 inches. Again, the reason for this is the bigger size of balls used in softball.
The ball speeds are different in these two sports. Hence, baseball gloves are proportionally bulkier than softball gloves so that they can protect their players whenever they are catching strong and speeding balls.
The size of a glove’s opening is determined by gender. Females have a smaller hands-on average than males; therefore, fastpitch softball gloves generally have a smaller opening to fit them better.
Fastpitch gloves are designed with smaller hand openings better to suit the needs of players in this sport. The gloves are different for baseball and slowpitch softball: they have a wider opening for when the player’s hand is bigger than that of a softball player. Some of these gloves have been integrated with soft fur-like lining to provide comfort to their players.
Another striking difference between a softball glove and a baseball glove is the tightness. Softball players like to have their gloves as tight against their hands, which is why most of these gloves are made with Velcro straps so that they can adjust the tightness based on their preferences.
Meanwhile, most baseball players prefer their gloves to be less fitted than softball players. This is why baseball gloves are constructed with a standard conventional back, with no Velcro straps or similar adjustment mechanism.
The difference between baseball gloves and softball gloves is pretty apparent. As long as you scrutinize them, you would really know that these two are geared to serve different purposes and players.
At the same time, once you start playing either of these two sports, you’ll eventually realize that there’s just a particular glove that you need. You will need to consider the position you are playing, the size of your hand, and even your preferences. Regardless if you are playing baseball or softball, there’s a glove or mitt perfect for you.
That’s it for the meantime. If you have other inquiries, feel free to ask me in the comment section below.