While they have some notable differences, softball and baseball are still rather similar sports.
There’s not much difference in rules of the game, players’ positions are the same, and pieces of equipment used in both sports are very much alike.
So, it’s no wonder that plenty of people are engaged in both sports.
Furthermore, a lot of former baseball players turn to softball after finishing their competitive baseball careers.
For all of them. being able to use the same gear in both sports would be very practical, not to mention much cheaper than having a separate set of equipment for each sport.
This may sound too good to be true, and in many ways it is.
While the gear is similar, can you use it interchangeably for both sports?
Below, I’ll concentrate on one essential piece of equipment and answer the question can you use a baseball glove for softball.
Can You Use a Baseball Glove for Softball?
The reason why baseball and softball gloves are different is the different sizes of balls used in each sport.
Baseball has 9 inches in circumference while softballs are 11 or 12 inches.
As a result, baseball gloves are smaller.
Logically, players in each sport use gloves that give them the best chance to properly catch and handle the ball.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t use baseball gloves while playing softball.
Plenty of people do. Still, this is most suitable for recreational play.
At a more serious level of play, it would put you at a disadvantage and prevent you from giving your optimal performance.
A baseball glove is a bit more suitable for infield softball players as a smaller glove can help when spinning the double ball.
On the other hand, outfield players will have a lot of trouble catching the softball with a smaller glove.
Baseball vs Softball Glove – The Differences
Last update on 2023-01-26 at 13:25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
As I already explained, the most notable difference between baseball and softball gloves is their size.
However, if you take a closer look, you’ll discover that they are different in more ways than one.
Even though it may not seem so when watching games on TV, softball gloves are significantly larger than baseball gloves.
The length of a standard baseball glove for adult players ranges from 11.25 inches (middle infielder) to 13 inches (outfielder).
Youth gloves are even smaller and start at 9 inches.
On the other hand, softball gloves are commonly 11.5 inches long for an infielder and go up to 15 inches for outfielders.
The size of the catchers’ mitts also differs.
In baseball, they’re in the range of 32-34.5 inches while in softball, catcher’s gloves are 33-35 inches long.
Due to the discrepancy in the ball size, baseball and softball gloves have different size pockets.
As expected, baseball gloves have smaller and shallower pockets, as players have to catch and control a smaller ball.
However, softball pockets, besides being deeper, are a bit shorter.
This allows players to control the ball better and have less spin. In addition, softball gloves have larger webs.
While webs are closed in both sports in order to easier hide the ball, the web in the baseball glove typically doesn’t run as deep into the pocket as it is the case with softball gloves.
As softball is mostly played by women who have smaller hands than men, softball gloves are designed in a way that would fit them better.
They commonly have smaller hand openings than baseball gloves.
Furthermore, softball players usually prefer tighter fitting gloves than their baseball counterparts.
On the other hand, baseball players are more inclined to have a looser fit as an extra room in the gloves allows them to move the ball from the glove to the throwing hand more easily.
Also, softball gloves, in most cases, have hook-and-loop closures or velcro adjustments on the backside which makes them more adaptable to different hand sizes.
How to Choose a Softball Glove?
- LIGHTWEIGHT MESH DESIGN: Constructed from lightweight technical mesh, this glove gives maximum comfort and helps...
- ADJUSTABLE WRIST: Designed with an adjustable wrist closure to ensure a comfortable customized fit for all players
- SOFT POCKET: The soft pocket material is designed for a quick, easy break in process and provides a dynamic, responsive...
- GREAT FOR YOUNG PLAYERS: Adjustable sizing and comfortable fit make this glove perfect for Softball players of all ages
- NOTE: Left Hand Thrower glove, worn on right hand to throw with left, Right Hand Throw equals to glove worn on left hand...
Last update on 2023-01-26 at 18:58 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
It’s important to have a softball glove that fits perfectly and serves its purpose.
For this reason, you should take a couple of factors into consideration when shopping for gloves.
Different positions on the field require different gloves.
Catcher’s gloves are without finger-separating channels.
They commonly have thick extra padding on the palm and overall reinforcement to withstand constant hits from the pitches.
Gloves for infielders have deeper pockets and five individual fingers.
Adult infielder gloves are 10.5 to 11.5 inches long.
Players at the first base also don’t have gloves with separate finger channels similar to catchers, but the padding is much thinner.
Their gloves are a bit longer and have shallower pockets.
Second basemen have smaller gloves to provide a swift transition of the ball to the throwing hand.
Third basemen’s gloves are larger to allow players to easily snag quick hits to the corner.
Softball gloves are commonly made of leather, synthetic leather, or treated leather.
Leather gloves provide the best feel and the most durability. Treated leather gloves are a bit softer and easier to break-in.
They are easy to maintain and are also rather durable.
The gloves made of synthetic lack in quality compared to the other two types, these gloves are still a pretty decent choice, especially for younger players.
Lately, a lot of manufactures incorporate mesh in their gloves, allowing for more flexibility and better airflow.
Of course, when shopping for gloves, budget is an important factor.
Leather gloves are the most expensive, but they will probably serve you the longest.
Synthetic gloves are a budget option and are mostly used in recreational and youth leagues.
Even though they may not be obvious, there are some important differences between softball and baseball gloves.
Ideally, for softball, you should always use the glove that was specifically designed to handle the larger ball.
However, if for whatever reason, you only have a baseball glove, you’ll still be able to get by, particularly in less serious games.
When playing just for fun, a baseball glove will do the job.
Still, if you decide to buy a new glove, make sure that it’s the one that has been manufactured with softball in mind.
It will improve your performance and make you more comfortable on the field.