Unlike slow-pitch softball, a game of fastpitch isn’t about massive home runs. Fastpitch pros know very well that the offense comes from moving around quickly between the baselines.
I’ve seen teams with big hitters and a lackluster defense lose to the more coordinated band of runners and fielders. So, what’s the takeaway here? A good defense is as important as a powerful offense.
That’s where the best fastpitch softball glove comes into play. If your fielding skills are excellent, all you need is a top-notch glove to turn a double into a single, and a triple into a double. So, every time a ball comes flying your way, you’ll be essentially saving IMPORTANT runs that could make or break the game.
It’s not always the pitcher or the hitter who walks out of the field as a hero. You can MAKE a difference by saving runs as well.
I’m going to give you a complete breakdown of the gloves that’ll take your game to the next level. The target is to have something for people of all ages, hand preferences, and budgets. So, even if the first glove doesn’t suit you, keep on reading. I’ve got a glove here for just about everybody.
- Infield model; H-Web
- Pro Stock leather
- Dual welting for a durable pocket
Top 7 Best Fastpitch Softball Gloves Review
It’s time I show what the top 7 fastpitch softball gloves that I’ve selected bring to the table. I’m not just going to color them with compliments. I’ll show you the downfalls as well, and how you can work around them to get the most out of your money.
- Synthetic leather
- Hand formed pocket
- Customizable thumb-adjustment
- Bio Soft leather
- Palm Liner Steer Soft
- Pro-level lace
1. Wilson A2000 Fastpitch Softball Glove
Now, any fastpitch softball player worth their salt has to know the name of Wilson. They’ve been around in the industry for so long, and so many pros have sported the Wilson accessories that they’re close to reaching somewhat of a celestial position.
Anyways, the A2000 series is the top-of-the-line gloves from Wilson. I don’t use the term “top-of-the-line” lightly. For starters, the Pro Stock Leather (a high-end leather that comes from the American Steerhide) makes this glove strong enough to handle a lot of aggression.
However, the sturdiness is what makes it a little tough break-in as well. You need the proper break-in techniques to get it all ready for the game.
Besides, 8 softball players out of 10 prefer having a tight glove. The Velcro wrist closure of the Wilson A2000 makes sure that the glove remains glued to your hands. That doesn’t mean you are stuck with one particular strap arrangement. A Velcro write closure allows you to adjust it as you want.
The Pro Stock Leather and the Velcro are all incredible features. But now, I’ll come to the biggest upside of having the Wilson A2000. It’s the honeycomb padding.
A major thorn in my path to good fielding was sweating. The honeycomb padding on this glove has water retention and dissipation capacity greater than a ton of other gloves. My hand didn’t burn up after a long game because the padding kept the insides of the gloves cool.
You should also know that I’m talking about the infield model of the Wilson A2000. There are 8 other variations available. You’ll see that other models have slight changes in webbing, strap condition, and paddings. However, the quality of each variation is second to none.
Doesn’t matter whether you’re a traditional righthander or an unorthodox lefty, Wilson’s got you covered.
Apart from the break-in issues, the other problem I had with this glove is that there wasn’t a 12.75-inch size. The sizes range from 11.75 to 12.5. Now, outfielders in particular prefer having a larger glove. It makes catching the ball a tad bit easier.
However, the .25 inches difference isn’t a major dealbreaker, considering the quality of this glove. While it could’ve been better, it’s still an incredible glove. If you feel like using a glove for years or become a high-school pro, the Wilson A2000 should be on your list.
- Glove Type: Infield/ Outfield/ Pitcher/ Monica Abbott Style
- Style: 11.75 – 12.5 inches
- Throw- Right Hand/ Left Hand
- Material- Pro Stock Leather
- Comfortable grip and adjustment due to Velcro wrist closure
- Honeycomb padding keeps the heat in check
- Can handle incoming fastballs with ease
- It will last for years if maintained properly
- No 12.75-inch size
- Needs expert break-in techniques to be used effectively
2. Rawlings R9 Fastpitch Softball Glove
The next glove on my list goes out to my fellow budget peeps! Not everyone wants to shell out more than $200 for a glove. I mean, if you’re playing the game just for some good memories and a bit of physical exercise, you probably don’t need to suck the life out of your wallet!
So, that’s where the Rawlings R9 series shines. If I had to sum this glove up in two words, it would be a budget beast. I know I sound like the not-too-polished salesperson trying to push something through. You don’t have to take my word for it. Just check the reviews and you’ll see.
The Rawlings R9 series gloves have two color variations- brown and light grey. The brown gloves have synthetic leather while their grey siblings have full-grain leather. So, there’s a difference in quality here.
Synthetic gloves are cheaper and don’t require a ton of effort to break in. On the other hand, leather gloves are more expensive and they have no factory break-in. But the durability, comfort, and overall performance is greater.
So, you have both options available. Just pick what you want and you’re good to go.
I always love having pull-strap closures in a softball glove. It’s similar to Velcro wrist closure as it gives you a lot of room for adjustments.
The palm pads are thicker than the average glove. In this case, thicker is actually better because it reduces the impact you’d feel from an incoming ball.
Also, unlike the Wilson A2000, you actually have 13-inch outfielders’ gloves in the Rawlings R9 series. So, you won’t have a problem if you have big hands or want more reach for the outfield position.
However, this isn’t an adult glove. But I’ve used it without any hiccups. It may not be the best fit for adults, but it’s still good enough for a weekend warrior.
Overall, all the gloves from the Rawlings R9 series are excellent. Well, some are a little better than others. If you want a glove that’s ready to roll right out of the box, go for a brown synthetic style. If you want to lean towards durability, getting a grey full-grain leather glove will be the way to go.
With that said, the price differs from one glove to another. But it’s all around the $100 territory. So, I must say, the Rawlings R9 series is hands down the best budget fastpitch softball glove.
- Glove Type: Infield/ Outfield/ Pitcher/ Catcher
- Style: 11.75 – 33 inches
- Material: Synthetic/ Full-grain leather
- Throw: Right hand/ Left hand
- A lot of options to choose from
- A bang for the buck
- The break-in process is comparatively easy
- Thicker padding protects hands from injuries
- Not suitable for professional softball games
- A bit uncomfortable for adults
3. Mizuno MVP Prime Fastpitch Softball Glove
I’ve seen parents struggling to find a good softball glove for their daughters. Given the dominance of men’s accessories in the sporting world, it’s understandable. That’s why I’ve decided to include a female softball glove for all the ladies who want to be the next Joan Joyce.
Similar to the Wilson A2000 and Rawlings R9, the Mizuno MVP Prime softball glove is also available for all the different positions. However, there’s no dedicated catcher’s mitt in their arsenal. So, the only option you have is to use the outfield glove as a mitt.
The signature bio-soft leather gives you the ideal combination of comfort and durability. It’s hard to get both these factors right. As far as my experience goes with the Mizuno MVP, they’ve almost hit the mark. The only portion they missed is that it takes a while for the “comfort” to kick in. Once you break the glove in properly, the comfort-to-durability ratio is close to perfection.
Besides, the leather comes from the mighty US steer hide. It’s almost Wilson-tier. And that’s a huge compliment for this glove because it’s less than half the price of the A2000. So, you get the durability of a high-end glove that costs around $100.
I loved that this glove has a size for every position. If you’re an infielder, getting the 11.5- or 12-inch glove would do the trick. Plus, there’s a 13-inch glove for outfielders. So, no matter what position you’re playing in, you’ll find a glove ready to rock.
But I haven’t talked about the key feature of the Mizuno MVP yet. What strikes me is that this glove is a dedicated female glove. The hand opening is designed to support the length and width of a girl. So, it’s a breath of fresh air to see a high-quality softball glove for girls only.
However, it doesn’t necessarily mean a boy can’t use this glove at all. The truth is- I’ve used it, but the fitting is somewhat uncomfortable for me. I can still play, but with compromised performance. With a little lace adjustment, men can get into the action with the Mizuno MVP as well. It’s better if your hands are relatively small.
- Glove Type: Infield/ Outfield/ Pitcher
- Style: 11.5 – 13 inches
- Material: Steerhide leather
- Throw: Right hand/ Left hand
- Top-quality Steerhide leather can take a beating
- Adjustable straps
- Pockets are deep and make catching easy
- Not suitable for men\
- Breaking in the glove takes time and effort
4. Franklin Sports Fastpitch Softball Glove
After the Wilson A2000, I took a long walk down the budget lane. And you can see that from the gloves I’ve listed here. So, I wanted to see how deep the rabbit hole goes before I have to call it quits and find out a threshold beyond which no man looking for a quality glove can venture. The Franklin Sports Field Master is that threshold.
If there’s one thing that this glove beats everybody (even Wilson and Rawlings) at, it’s the price point. However, the fat cats may look down on this glove. Trust me- I’ve had a couple of games with this, and it can go toe to toe with the other big-boy gloves. But there’s a catch. I’ll get to it later.
For starters, the Field Master has synthetic leather. I’ll level with you. Synthetic leather isn’t as good as full-grain or steer hide leather. That said, synthetic leather also has its benefits. If you have never used a steer hide glove before, you don’t know the big “break-in” mountain that awaits you.
In that sense, the synthetic glove has the upper hand. Once you know the techniques of breaking in a synthetic glove, it becomes a cakewalk. More importantly, most synthetic gloves, the one I’m addressing here as well, do not need any break-in at all. Just take the Field Master out for a ride a few times and voila.
Besides, this glove comes for three different positions- infield, outfield, and pitcher. The 14-inch basket web is enough to hide the ball. I pulled off some crazy pitches thanks to the cover of the basket web.
However, there’s no H-web modification in this glove. H-web gloves are favored by outfielders. Even if you don’t get the option to have an H-web, you can use the 13-inch modified trapeze or the 12-inch trapeze for the outfield position just as easily.
The Franklin Sports Field Master is worth every penny you spend. However, you must remember that it’s a budget glove. So, it’s a no-brainer that you should keep your expectations grounded. Anyways, if you want to enter the world of softball, this is an excellent glove for beginners.
- Glove Type: Infield/ Outfield/ Pitcher
- Style: 11 – 14 inches
- Material: Synthetic leather
- Throw: Right hand/ Left hand
- It’s highly affordable- can’t get any cheaper than this
- Available for different positions
- Easy to break-in
- Adjusting the glove is effortless
- No mesh ergo the glove builds heat quickly
- Not meant for big hands
5. Wilson Siren Fastpitch Softball Glove
Never thought I’d live long enough to see a Wilson glove that’ll not wreck your bank. But the surprising 2020 pulled it off again. The Wilson Siren is an embodiment of the fact that even high-end brands can entertain a budget-minded audience.
Anyways, the moment it hit the market, I decided to give this a shot. From what I’ve observed, it can be titled as a worthy young sibling of the A2000.
Now, I bet you’re wondering how did the elite Wilson come down under $100? Short answer- it’s the leather. Instead of using full-grain leather otherwise named the signature “Pro Stock Leather”, Wilson decided to go with the top grain.
However, top grain leather isn’t the runt of the litter. In fact, it can still outperform a ton of synthetic leathers, depending on maintenance. Coming back to the point. The top grain leather sacrifices durability for flexibility and ease of movement.
It means- the glove is lighter, you can move around with it, and your hair won’t turn gray until it breaks in completely. I could tell the difference when I used it. My gloved hand moved faster than usual. However, the difference is less noticeable with a fully broken in full-grain glove.
Besides, the wrist closures are quite comfortable, but you won’t be able to adjust them. It’s fixed. However, you can change the webbing pattern to a certain extent. The lack of common webbing styles like the I-web, trapeze, or H-web is another drawback of this glove.
Still, the Wilson Siren is amazing if you consider the price. The quality, performance, and feel of the glove is classic Wilson. But this is a glove for people with relatively small hands. If your hands are bigger than the average man’s (that’s 7.6-length and 8.6-width), you’ll feel discomfort using this glove.
- Glove Type: Infield/ Pitcher/ Outfield
- Style: 11.5 – 12.5 inches
- Material: Top grain leather
- Throw: Right hand/ left hand
- Lightweight and easy to move
- The break-in process isn’t hard
- Ideal for young players
- No traditional webbing styles
- Laces need to be carefully maintained
6. Rawlings Heart of The Hide Fastpitch Softball Glove
As you can see, I’ve reviewed a budget-friendly Rawlings Glove earlier. The R9 from Rawlings is excellent. However, if you want to take a deluxe ride down the Rawlings town, you have to try out the Heart of the Hide.
The Heart of the Hide, or known in the community as the HOH, is kind of a celebrity similar to the Wilson A2000. I think what sets this glove apart from the Wilson A2000 is the leather quality. Instead of steerhide, the glove are made with rawhide.
Sure, a lot of people believe in the supremacy of the steerhide. I get it. But the rawhide is softer, making it easy to break-in. So, once you get your hands on this glove, you don’t need to soldier through hundreds of hours before the glove is all primed up.
However, I must say- that the steerhide used in Wilson A2000 has a slight edge when it comes to durability.
Still, if you maintain your gloves, I believe the Heart of the Hide can outlast a lot of other big-ticket gloves in the market.
However, there aren’t a lot of options available. In short, you can use this glove for two positions- infield and outfield. Also, the 12.5-inch catcher’s glove isn’t for adults.
The H-webbing is excellent for increased visibility in the infield. The combination of the lightweight rawhide and the improved vision granted by the H-web makes this glove a lethal weapon for a good infielder.
I’ve got one bone to pick with this glove. There’s no Velcro write adjustment. While the leather pull-strap makes it sturdier, the Velcro straps add a layer of flexibility that’s hard to match.
Still, once you put in some extra hours, adjusting it becomes second nature. Overall, the Heart of the Hide is a pro-tier glove. If you’re thinking of giving it your best in games that matter, you should try this glove out.
If you want to know more about how good this glove is, check out the mono-a-mono I did with the Pro Preferred and you’ll see.
- Glove Type: Infield/ Outfield
- Style: 12 – 13 inches
- Material: Rawhide leather
- Throw: Right hand/ Left hand
- Rawhide makes the glove softer and more comfortable
- The glove is 80% ready right out of the box
- H-webbing increases visibility
- Suitable for professional softball games
- Not a lot of options (no pitcher or catcher’s glove)
- No Velcro wrist closure
7. Mizuno Franchise Fastpitch Softball Glove
I’ve decided to top this list off with another Mizuno marvel. I was this close to not putting it in because the 6 gloves I’ve reviewed are all incredible. However, I just coached two girls who were using this, and the performance was so good that I had to give it a shoutout.
Similar to most of Mizuno’s gloves, the Franchise Fastpitch also comes within a reasonable price point. That’s what sets Mizuno apart from other manufacturers. It’s a budget glove, but it has what it takes to compete with the other high-end alternatives.
For starters, the glove has Java leather. Most people are familiar with either the steerhide or cowhide leather that comes in a top or full grain variation. So, what’s the Java leather?
The Java leather can come from either a steer or a cow. This particular type of leather is named after an island called Java in Indonesia. So, the cows and steers of that region aren’t as thick as the ones we have in the US.
So, the padding and the overall leather are thinner, but the quality is still the same.
One upside of having Java leather is that it’s easier to break in. I’ve seen it in action, and you don’t have to bend over backward to get it prepped and primed for the game.
Also, the Franchise series has a glove for all positions. Unlike a lot of other gloves on this list, the Mizuno Franchise even has a 34-inch catcher’s mitt. So, all my fellow catcher’s out there who were feeling left out, this one’s for you.
However, this glove is meant to be used by girls only. So, if you’re thinking about getting it for your boy, you might end up disappointed. You can still give it a shot. And maybe if you’re kid doesn’t have big manly hands there’s a chance it’ll fit.
Apart from this, the glove has no H or I-web options. So, visibility issues can creep up, especially for infielders. Still, for the price you’re paying, the Mizuno Franchise is an amazing glove. It’s durable, breaks in easily, and the fitting is nice and comfortable. Totally worth the money!
- Glove Type: Catcher/ Pitcher/ Infield/ Outfield
- Style: 12 and 34 inches
- Material: Java leather
- Throw: Right hand/ Left Hand
- Easy to move with the lightweight glove
- Made with quality leather
- Effortless break-in
- Won’t fit full-sized male hands
- Visibility issues due to trident webbing
How to Choose the Best Fastpitch Softball Glove
Now that I’ve covered all the top-rated fastpitch gloves, I should tell you how to navigate the treacherous marketing realm to get a hold of the best fastpitch softball glove. All you need to do is simply have a set of benchmarks.
If the glove you’re eying up can live up to the standards, you’re all set. So, I’m going to divide this buying guide into two sections: A) Primary considerations and B) Secondary considerations. Once you go over them, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Material Matters (Primary considerations)
The first question you should ask yourself when you’re about to get a softball glove is- what is the glove made of? This single factor can be the difference between choosing or rejecting a glove.
Gloves that are made using high-quality material not only last longer but they’re more comfortable to wear. So, the first thing your eyes should scan is the material of the glove.
Now, most gloves will be leather-made. So, you should know the difference to understand what each leather type brings to the plate. I’ll give you a quick breakdown.
- Steerhide: Thick and Strong. Will last for a lot longer than other leathers. But the rugged nature of this leather makes it tough to break in.
- Cowhide/ Rawhide: Comparatively thinner than steerhide. However, the leather is soft ergo easier to move and break in.
- Synthetic: The runt of the litter. Not as strong as the cowhide or the steerhide. However, gloves made with synthetic leather are basically ready for action the moment you get it out of the box.
- Full-grain: Similar to the steerhide, thicker and stronger compared to other variations. However, breaking into the glove made of full-grain leather is difficult.
- Top grain: Similar to the cowhide, thinner but has more flexibility and gives players ease of movement. Breaking the glove in doesn’t require a ton of effort.
So, you have a clear picture of what to expect now. If you can dish out big bucks, I’d say go for gloves made of full-grain steerhide. However, the investment can backfire if you don’t know to break the glove in properly.
People with somewhat of a budget leash should go for either synthetic leather or cowhide. Gloves made of synthetic leather or top-grain cowhide are excellent for beginners. It doesn’t require a pro-grade break-in. You can still enjoy the game and hone your skills.
Ready for the Game
Once you’re done with the build quality of the glove, you should figure out whether or not the glove is game-ready. And if it isn’t, how long does it take to reach peak performance?
A lot of top-end gloves come with rugged and sturdy leather. While the seemingly impenetrable leather looks good on paper, the task of breaking in can be a very tall order.
Not everyone has the skills or the equipment to perform the break-in rituals necessary to fire up a glove. So, if you don’t have the financial means to get oils and stuff to prime the glove, just go for something that has factory break-in.
Factory break-in means the glove will be 50-80% ready without you even touching it. So, taking it out for a few games should be enough to get firing on all cylinders.
That’s why it’s important to know whether you’re ready to handle the painful break-in process. If you’re not, you know what to do.
Price to Performance Ratio
The price-to-performance ratio is a universal factor. And you should always keep this in mind whether it’s for a softball glove or your next car.
At the end of the day, the performance of a glove comes down to the player who is using it. Sure, having a comfortable glove can turn a good catcher/pitcher into an incredible catcher/pitcher. But if the person using the glove is a newbie, even a $1000 glove won’t make them Joan Joyce.
In this fastpitch softball glove review, I’ve listed some budget-friendly gloves that can give even big-league gloves a run for their money. Again, it’s all about how you swing it.
So, the rule of thumb here is- that if you’re learning or a mid-tier player, go for a budget glove. If you’re playing in the leagues where one mistake can transition into an exit from the team, don’t cheap out and get a top-shelf glove. Simple!
Size and Position Flexibility (Secondary considerations)
If you’re up to speed by now, you already know that it’s unlikely to find a glove series that’s suitable for all positions. Most glove series’ I’ve mentioned can support three different positions- infield, outfield, and pitcher.
So, it’d be nice if you get a glove series that supports the catcher’s mitt as well.
Again, it’s a secondary consideration and not a dealbreaker by any means. Having different sizes suitable for different positions allows you to shop comfortably without switching tabs every other time.
Velcro Wrist Closure
I’ll keep it short. There are two popular closures in softball gloves- the Velcro wrist closure and the leather pull-strap. The pull-strap is sturdier and will last longer. However, the Velcro closure gives you a ton of more adjustment options.
I’ve answered some of the most common questions people ask about fastpitch softball gloves. Check it out if you want to know more about these bad boys.
What gloves do pro softball players use?
Two words- Wilson A2000. Yes- that’s the glove used by professional softball players. Wilson is an iconic manufacturer in the softball and baseball industry. So, no wonder their high-end glove is being used in the leagues.
Is Mizuno a good brand for softball gloves?
Mizuno is a budget-oriented brand. Their gloves aren’t as packed as Wilson or Rawlings. But they’re good starter gloves. Besides, they don’t manufacture softball gloves for males. All their softball gloves are made for women.
Can you use a fastpitch softball glove for slow-pitch?
The answer is both yes and no. You can use a fastpitch glove for slow-pitch softball as well. However, there are subtle differences. For instance, fastpitch catcher’s need gloves with thicker padding because of the high velocity of the ball. So, you can use both gloves interchangeably but your performance can suffer.
What size glove do college softball players use?
The glove size sported by most college softball players is 12-14 inches. It can change depending on the length and width of a player’s hand.
Should you steam girls’ youth softball gloves?
You can steam the glove to make it soft. However, there’s a catch. The durability of the leather will take a hit.
Are softball gloves bigger than baseball gloves?
Yes. It has to be. Softball balls are bigger. So, the increased glove size accommodates the bigger ball.
Fastpitch softball requires high-octane gameplay. You have to be on your toes to prevent the hitters from changing base.
Even the slightest discomfort in your catching gloves can be the difference between winning or losing. That’s why you need the best fastpitch softball glove to have an edge over the competition.
All the gloves I’ve reviewed have the potential to win you important matches if you know how to use them. Still, I have my favorites from the list.
I’d recommend the Wilson A2000 in a heartbeat, given that you have the cash to spare. This glove is kind of a one-time purchase. I mean you can get it for your high-school games. And if you maintain it, take it with you to the major league if you make it there.
However, if you’re looking for a starter glove that’s not going to thin out your wallet, try the Rawlings R9 Series. Despite being a budget glove, it has a number of excellent features. I’ve seen some of the best high-school softball players use the Rawlings R9. So, ready to own the field? You know what you have to do. Cheers!