Can You Use a Baseball Glove for Softball?




Baseball glove on the ground


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Softball and baseball are two sports that are constantly compared to each other, which is not surprising, considering how much the two sports have in common. However, since I’ve always been an enthusiast of both baseball and softball, I’ve always wondered, are they interchangeable?

Can you use a baseball glove for softball? Yes, you can use a baseball glove for softball in informal settings. While baseball and softball gloves are not exactly interchangeable, they can still be theoretically used for each sport. However, this could lead to unreliable outcomes, as a baseball glove is built to accommodate the much smaller ball used in the game.

Since there are a lot of different variables that play into whether or not you can exchange baseball and softball gloves, let’s learn more about the subject! I will explore if you can use baseball gloves in softball games and vice versa. And, I have some excellent recommendations for softball gloves you can choose from! Let’s get started.

A baseball glove

Are baseball and softball gloves interchangeable?

Contrary to what many believe, baseball and softball gloves are distinct sports gear that is unique to each sport. In the game of baseball, you can use specific gloves designed for the sport, and the same goes for softball.

However, that being said, for a quick game, or if you don’t have any other alternative, you can use a baseball glove while playing softball. However, this may affect your game. In order to understand why you need to compare the two and the roles they accomplish.

The most obvious difference between a baseball glove and the ones used for softball is the difference in their size. This difference comes up because of the different sizes of the balls themselves. Softballs are much larger and heavier than baseballs.

This means that softball gloves need to be able to accommodate the difference in size between the two balls. Softballs generally have a circumference of 12 inches, and so the gloves are upscaled to keep up with this, at a size of around 15 inches.

On the other hand, baseballs can measure up to 9.25 inches in size, and the average size of a baseball glove is accommodated to around 12.5 inches. This, however, does not mean that you can’t catch a softball using a baseball glove.

FactorBaseball GloveSoftball Glove
Average Size13 inches15 inches
Pocket SizeShallow and longDeeper and short
FittingLooser FitTighter Fit

Comparison of baseball and softball gloves in different dimensions.

Outfield baseball gloves are a better choice as they offer a more significant space to catch the ball in softball. Infield gloves are often smaller and so are less suited to the demands of softball as a sport. 

However, what this can mean is that you won’t be able to catch well. Because the baseball glove is smaller than the normal expected size of a softball glove, there are chances it won’t be the best possible choice if you are looking to perform at your best.

When you look at the pocket size in a baseball glove, it is often shallow and longer, whereas a softball glove has a deeper and shorter pocket. One reason for this could be that usually softball gloves are accommodated to women’s hand sizes.

Softball gloves also offer a tighter fit to the hand than a baseball glove. The loose fit of a baseball glove offers more flexibility, whereas the tight fit of a softball glove gives you a secure ability to catch the ball.

In professional settings, using a baseball glove is strictly not allowed in a softball game. This is because major sports associations and leagues want to keep their sports gear consistent. So, all players have to abide by strict rules regarding what gloves to wear.

Softball pitcher holding a softball

Can I use a softball glove in baseball?

While you can use a baseball glove in softball, it is likely that the opposite situation may be a little trickier than expected. Think again about the differences between softballs and baseballs that we discussed in the section above.

Baseball gloves are smaller. However, softball gloves are much larger, and so they pose their own challenges. At first glance, you may think a softball glove would be excellent for baseball. After all, you have more surface area to catch the ball in the field.

However, the point of wearing a glove isn’t just to catch the ball. You also need to be able to get a steady hold of the ball, so you can react to the catch and throw it back. With a bigger softball glove, this is going to make gameplay much harder.

When you are wearing a glove far bigger than the ball, you are more likely to scramble to try and catch a steady hold of the ball. That loses precious reaction time that can cost your team a lot throughout the game. Click here for Why are Softballs Bigger Than Baseballs?

So, you may be considering using a softball glove if you have one at home and a friend invited you to a friendly game. In that case, you may use the glove, but remember, there is always a chance that the glove may not help you achieve your highest potential.

In professional settings, it is absolutely unacceptable for athletes to use the two gloves in any form of interchangeable way. In fact, most leagues will have specific rules about what kind of gloves you can wear, their dimensions, and even the materials that are used.

Softball glove with ball inside

What are the best softball gloves?

Now that you know how detrimental it can be to your standings if you use a baseball and softball glove interchangeably, what can you do? If you are on the lookout for an excellent softball glove, here are some options to consider.

Wilson A2000

The gloves use high-quality leather and offer an excellent feel and durability. You can be assured that these gloves are a solid investment in your future, as they will last you for many seasons. However, you may need to take some time to break them in.

Mizuno Classic Elite

You need it to be able to capture the ball and above all, help you hold onto it quickly to keep up with the quick pace of the game. Luckily, this glove is able to do that and so much more. It has the ability to control the ball and keep its shape despite the fast pace it deals with.

The gloves are constructed from pre-oiled leather, which helps them keep their shape for a longer period of time despite strenuous activity. It also stays soft, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to break it in, unlike most other softball gloves.

Rawlings Liberty

If your prime motivation when looking for a new softball glove is the ability to feel comfortable in it, look no further than Rawling’s Liberty series. One of the most difficult things about some gloves is that they can be incredibly uncomfortable to play in.

Asa result of this, you won’t be able to perform to the potential you know you can. However, with Rawlings gloves, you can achieve that comfort along with functionality. It is also incredibly easy to break in – some athletes say it’s ready from the first day!

The glove comes with extra padding along with the space in your palm, so you have added protection even in fast-pitch softball. There is also a strap with the glove that you can use to keep it on and secure even in the fast pace of the game.

Multiple bats on the ground

Frequently asked questions

1.   Is a 12-inch glove good for softball?

Yes, you can use a 12-inch softball glove in the game. However, what is more crucial is that the glove fits your hand more effectively, so you can play well during the game. The best way to assess the size of your hands is to measure them.

You can do this by measuring the distance between the tip of the index finger and taking it all the way down to the beginning of your wrist. Remember that you should measure this in inches.

2.   Is there a difference between slowpitch and fastpitch softball gloves?

While the general design for the gloves is the same, gloves built for fastpitch softball are often deeper. Since there are more chances of fly balls in this version of the game, using a deeper pocket, it is easier to catch the ball.

That being said, because of the other similarities in the game, you can use the two interchangeably. However, if you are the person dealing with fly balls, you can handle them with greater efficiency using fastpitch softball gloves.

3.   Can men use women’s softball gloves?

You can absolutely use women’s softball gloves if you are a man, and vice versa. This is because the gloves are not created with gender in mind but rather the size of the hand. Therefore, as long as the gloves fit your hands, you are likely to face no problems.

Final words

When it comes to playing softball or baseball, gloves can sometimes become an almost forgotten part of the game. When you’re playing, you’re likely to even forget that you have gloves on, and instead begin to view them as an extension of yourself in that situation.

However, gloves are an important part of the game and can affect your performance. Therefore, the best course is to choose the right glove for the game you are playing. I hope this article helped you see the nuances of the types of gloves used in these sports!

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