Softball gloves are an important piece of equipment for all players of the game. While the early gloves used in the game were the same for all fielding positions, this has changed as glove manufacturers have realized the specific needs of each position and altered the gloves slightly to accommodate these needs.
The material of softball baseball gloves has not changed much as leather has always been the first choice for glove construction. However, some synthetic materials have been adopted to lower the cost of gloves. Unfortunately, these synthetics tend to wear out quickly and require frequent replacement.
There are five main aspects of both a slowpitch and fastpitch softball glove: pocket, webbing, backs, wrist closure, and padding.
- The pocket is the area of the glove where hits and throws are caught. An outfielder benefits from a deeper pocket to aid in catching long hits as well as shock absorption. Infielders prefer the pocket to be more shallow as it means that they can retrieve the ball from the glove quicker.
- The webbing in a fastpitch softball glove can either be closed or open. Pitchers should use a closed web as it hides the ball from opposing teams. If the web is open, a batter may be able to see how the pitcher is holding the ball and thus which type of pitch will be delivered. Most infielders choose an open webbing to increase the ease and speed of getting the ball out of the glove.
- The backs of softball baseball gloves can also be open or closed. This aspect is usually decided by which style gives more comfort and ease of use to the player.
- The wrist closure is how the glove is tightened on the hand to provide a better fit. There are many different types of closures available and personal preference is the main deciding factor.
In addition to the fielding gloves, softball batting gloves are used by many players when they are up to bat. These gloves have a central area that gives players a better grip while they are batting.
Also, specific materials are used that keep the hands cool and dry to prevent slippage of the bat. Softball batting gloves also feature wrist closure that help to increase the snugness of the fit. Softball gloves are an essential piece of equipment for players of the game and careful consideration should be taken to ensure that a player chooses the right one.