What is the difference between baseball, fast pitch softball and adult softball gloves?
Gloves different from glove maker to glove maker, line to line, and even glove to glove. But what really is the difference between a baseball glove, a fast pitch glove and an adult slow pitch softball glove?
First, we need to look at what size of gloves each of the sports are wearing. Baseball players tend to use sizes from 10″ up to 12.75″. Fast pitch softball players tend to use 11.5″ up to 13″. Adult slow pitch softball players tend to use glove that range from 11.5″ up to 15″. As you can see, many of these sizes overlap, 11.5″ to 12.75″. Most manufacturers design these gloves towards the baseball market more-so than the other 2 markets.
Second aspect we will look at is the design of the glove itself based on the size of the ball being used. Baseball uses a 9″ ball; fast pitch and slow pitch softball uses either an 11″ or 12″ ball. With these differences in ball sizes, the pockets of the gloves need to be redesigned to catch the ball. When the pocket is redesigned, the rest of the glove changes. With baseball using a 9″ ball, the pocket is typically smaller and longer. Softball glove pockets typically are wider and deeper than baseball gloves. When the pockets get deeper, the height of the glove is shorter, even in the same size gloves. So, a baseball glove in 12.75″ will be taller than a softball specific glove in 12.75″ because the softball pocket is deeper bringing the profile of the glove down. However, many manufacturers tend to “add length” to their baseball gloves to make them softball gloves. They keep the pocket of the baseball glove and add the length making a balanced baseball glove into a heavy feeling softball glove.
Third aspect is how big the players’ hands are. Fast pitch gloves are geared towards female fast pitch softball players. Typically, females have smaller hands than males(not is all cases). So, the manufacturers design the fast pitch gloves with smaller hand openings and/or smaller finger stalls. Baseball and adult slow pitch softball gloves, have larger hand openings and/or finger stalls than their fast pitch counter parts. However, not all manufacturers change their hand opening or finger stalls between the gloves. Some higher end manufacturers have slightly smaller finger stalls on all gloves that will form and mold to the players hand, whether small or big.
Fourth is how the players like to wear their gloves. Most softball(fast pitch and adult slow pitch alike) players like to have the glove clamped to their hands as tight as they can go. So, manufacturers combat this by putting velcro on the glove for the widest degree of adjustability. Baseball players tend to feel more comfortable with a little movement in the glove, so the velcro isn’t needed and they have standard backs.
Fifth is the quality of gloves offered. Baseball gloves range from $50 and up to $600. Typical fast pitch and slow pitch softball gloves range from $50 to $200 and some manufacturers offer quality gloves the $200 mark. However, most manufacturers do not offer a softball specific glove above $120, pushing softball players into baseball gloves with smaller pockets. Vincipro does make high end softball gloves for the serious softball player.
In short, baseball gloves tend to have a more shallow pocket and a taller profile than softball gloves. Softball gloves typically have a deeper, rounder pocket and shorter profile in a same sized ball glove. Fast pitch players typically like to have velcro adjustment straps on their gloves.
Vinci offers both high end baseball and softball gloves.
Guest Blog by Mark Jones