There’s nothing quite like getting together with your friends at the diamond for a game of slowpitch softball. One of America’s favorite pastimes is accessible to all regardless of athletic ability or physique, as slowpitch can be played by those even with very limited skill level. At the end of the day, all you need to know how to do is hit, throw and catch.
Because the game is so accessible to so many people, we are seeing more and more adults join recreational slowpitch softball leagues each and every year. If you are looking to try out the sport, one of the very first things you’ll need to buy is a softball glove. There can be so many different options to choose from, it can be intimidating to try to find the right one. Thankfully, our guide will help with outlining some of the nuances when it comes to finding a slowpitch softball glove that’s right for you.
What Differentiates A Slow Pitch Glove From A Fast Pitch Glove?
There are not too many differences between slowpitch gloves and fastpitch gloves, especially if you’re playing at lower levels of recreational and casual slowpitch softball. Some slowpitch gloves will be a bit larger than fastpitch gloves, and that is simply because the size of the softball is a bit larger in slowpitch.
You can use the same glove for both slowpitch and fastpitch, especially if you are just a casual player. At high levels some players will have different preferences, but most manufacturers will make gloves that can be used for both games.
There are some positions, however, that will require their own specialty gloves if playing fastpitch softball - for example, catcher, or first baseman. In slowpitch softball, these differences are minute and players will generally use the same glove for all positions. This is because in slowpitch catchers do not have to catch pitches that are thrown hard from the pitcher; rather, they are lobbed in and easy to catch.
What Are Considerations When Buying A Slowpitch Glove?
So if you’re in the market to buy a new slowpitch softball glove, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Durability: look for something that can withstand the rigors of a softball season, ideally multiple seasons.
- Web design: Will you choose a closed or open web? What type of style or design are you looking for?
- Comfort: Find something that can fit your hand comfortably, with an adjustable strap to loosen and tighten as needed (velcro is preferable).
- Size: You’ll likely want to buy a glove between 12.5 to 13.5 inches, although if you are an infielder you can go down to 12”; similarly, if you are in the outfield you can go up to 14”.
- Material and construction: you pay more for better quality leather, but it may be worth it.
Product Reviews - Which Is Right For You?
Without further delay here are 5 slowpitch gloves we are loving for the 2017 season:
Mizuno: Premier GPM Series
Mizuno continues to show all softball players why they are such a strong force in the slowpitch softball glove industry. The GPM 1403 combines style and durability with the latest technology to provide a glove to slowpitch softball players that is not only comfortable and effective, but affordable too. Although the GPM can be used for both fastpitch or slowpitch, it is an excellent slowpitch glove and becoming more and more popular among slowpitch players.
- Shell constructed of full grain leather for maximum toughness and durability.
- Parashock palm pad for increased comfort and protection.
- Mesh inserts in glove to reduce glove weight for excellent playability.
- Polyurethane powerlock strap for customized fit.
- Affordable price makes it suitable for those on smaller budgets.
- Minimal break-in time to get this glove game-ready.
- Open-back design may not be suitable for all players.
This top quality glove is sure to make a good impression right out of the box. If you’re a recreational player looking to score a great glove at a great price, this is an excellent choice for you.
Wilson: A360 Slowpitch Series
Wilson’s A360 model is a great glove for beginners and intermediate players, but experienced and more competitive players will likely need and want something a bit better. Still, it comes at a very affordable price and is great for kids; you really can’t go wrong at this price and you get amazing bang for your buck as the quality is actually quite good. Best of all, the break in time is minimal which means you can buy it and use it right away.
- Comfortable leather that feels good to the touch.
- Flexible right out of the packaging, very little break-in required.
- Priced low, affordable for all.
- Pocket is pre-broken in, which means if you are looking for a custom pocket you are out of luck
- Not great for advanced ballplayers
- May not fit those with larger hands
A good option from Wilson that is accessible to all regardless of budget. May not be for serious pros, but good enough value for anyone looking for a well-priced glove.
Easton: Salvo Series
The Easton Salvo is likely better known as a bat, but the Salvo name is also used here for a softball glove, and it is quite a reasonable choice for slowpitch softball players. It features cowhide leather with added mesh that increases flexibility while staying lightweight. The palm pocket is deeper than traditional gloves which bodes well for softball, as it is slightly deeper and wider. It also features shock-absorbent padding, which will help protect your hand from stinging. All in all, a very good choice from Easton.
- Mesh backing is lightweight and helps the glove stay flexible.
- 365 degree cowhide leather.
- Double deep designed palm with enhanced padding for additional palm support.
- Broken-in and game ready right away.
- Lock-down velcro strap to adjust to your hand.
- Does not do great in wet weather, so try to keep it out of the rain.
A nice affordable option from Easton, the Salvo is good bang for buck and great value for those looking for an entry or mid-end glove.
Miken: KO Series
The KO is an amazing new series from Miken that is gaining more followers daily. Short for Koalition, these gloves feature USA leather with a full-grained shell that is both durable and comfortable. Miken uses PORON technology which enhances padding in the palm to reduce hand sting. The KO gloves fit a bit smaller to size, but are overall very comfortable once broken in.
- Leather lacing with full leather shell.
- Palm padding gives added protection (Miken’s patented PORON technology).
- Priced in the mid-tier but you still get some excellent quality leather - although may not be top-tier premium leather, still very durable and will hold up well for multiple seasons.
- Overall very nice look and feel.
- Takes some time to break in.
- Fits slightly small to size.
Though Miken may be better known for their bats, the Koalition line of gloves is a worthy option for anyone looking for a new slowpitch softball glove.
DeMarini: Diablo Series
Although the Diablo is suitable as both a baseball and slowpitch glove, it shines as a slowpitch glove due to the large pocket size and closed mesh pattern. DeMarini uses ECCO leather to make the Diablo, which ensures the glove is very comfortable from day one of purchase. The Diablo features breathable lining that helps to reduce moisture from the fingers and wrist, and also has a palm reinforcement that reduces stinging. Best thing about the Diablo is the game-ready broken-in leather, meaning you can use it right away.
- Soft and broken in right out of the packaging.
- Very reasonably priced and not too expensive.
- Great beginner-intermediate glove.
- Perfect for those with larger hands.
- Comfortable shock-absorbent palm padding.
- Dri-lex breathable wrist and finger lining to reduce and wick away moisture.
- Not the most premium leather.
- May not be suitable for smaller hands.
A very nice glove from DeMarini that doesn’t drain your wallet or blow your budget, the Diablo is ready to be used immediately with a non-existent break-in period. Overall a very good glove that comes at a reasonable price, there’s not much to dislike here.
All of the options here are worthy of recommendation, and that is the reason all 5 made our list of the top slowpitch softball gloves. If you are okay to spend a little bit more money, I would highly recommend the Miken KO series, as it seems to be gaining popularity and has received very good reviews thus far. It is excellent value and will be a great glove to last you many seasons. Good luck in your search and remember to have fun out there!