When it comes to softball gloves, there are two different styles. You have fastpitch gloves and slow pitch gloves. And while each is designed to catch and secure a softball, there are few major differences in the construction of each. To help make sure you are shopping for the correct type of glove, our Glove Experts have taken the time to outline and walk you through the differences before you checkout.
Main Differences Between Fastpitch & Slow Pitch Gloves
The first, and most noticeable difference between the two types of softball gloves is the fit. Fastpitch softball is a game played by female athletes, most commonly between the ages of 3 - 18 years old. To accommodate for their smaller hands, manufacturers create fastpitch softball gloves to have smaller wrist openings and shorter finger stalls compared to baseball gloves and slow pitch gloves. This allows players to better control their glove while on the diamond.
Slow pitch softball gloves are made to accomodate adult athletes. Manufacturers like Miken specialize in slow pitch equipment and work to provide players with larger hands a comfortable, affordable product. While female athletes also play slow pitch softball, they are able to choose their glove from either of the available fastpitch or slow pitch glove selections.
Note: Most softball gloves will come with an adjustable wrist strap to enable athletes the opportunity to create a customizable fit.
When it comes to slow pitch softball, players generally gravitate towards a larger glove. The game is played at a more leisurely pace so players don’t need to be as quick with their hands and transfers. This allows slow pitch athletes to use gloves that will range between 13” and 15” in size to create a massive area to catch the ball.
Fastpitch, on the other hand, is a much faster game that requires quick ball transfers from glove to throwing hand. As a result, most fastpitch players play with a glove between 11” and 13” in size. There are a few positions around the diamond that are exceptions to this rule of thumb, but we’ll touch on those just a little bit later.
Fastpitch softball is a more rigorous game compared to your recreational slow pitch league. Players in fastpitch softball will want to invest in a more rugged (typically leather constructed) glove. A full grain leather glove will have a much higher chance of holding up over time in the game of fastpitch. Slow pitch allows athletes to make a decision. If you are not playing at a competitive level, multiple times a week, you will be just fine using a synthetic leather glove. While the materials are weaker than leather, they are still strong enough to get the job done.
As the names suggest, the major difference between the two style of softball is the means in which the pitch is delivered. Both are thrown underhand, but slow pitch requires pitchers to deliver the ball in a high, lofted manner that is easy to hit. Fastpitch on the other hand allows pitchers to deliver the pitch as fast or slow as they desire. Pitches such as the rise ball, curveball, and screwball will dart in different directions based on their spin. To conceal the upcoming pitch selection from the onlooking batter, it is recommended that fastpitch softball pitchers use a fully-closed web design. As for slow pitch softball pitchers, feel free to use any style of web that you would like.
Similar to softball pitcher’s gloves, softball catcher’s mitts will vary from fastpitch to slow pitch. In slow pitch, catchers do not squat down behind the plate, but rather stand back by the onlooking home plate umpire. As a result, slow pitch softball catchers can use any glove they would like.
That is not the case for fastpitch catchers. One of the most grueling positions in all of sports is the fastpitch catcher. As pitches dart all over the zone and hitters slap, chop, bunt, and swing away, catchers are tasked with doing whatever they can to secure the ball. To help in the process, glove manufacturers like Rawlings, Wilson, and Easton have created fastpitch catcher’s mitts with larger pockets and additional padding. We highly recommend that any competitive fastpitch catcher invest in a high-quality leather mitt.
In conclusion, fastpitch softball gloves are made for smaller hands, offer more padding, and are typically constructed to last longer than their slow pitch counterparts. Slow pitch softball gloves are made for adult athletes looking for a larger glove that won’t break the bank. If you have any questions regarding your next glove purchase, be sure to contact our team of Glove Experts via phone at 866-321-4568, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or click here to live chat. We're JustGloves and we're with you from Click To Catch!