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It’s true. Baseball gloves and softball gloves look cunningly similar, at least to the untrained eye. They have identical lacing, same colorway, and are broken to perfection the same way. But it’s not just the gloves; the two games are LIKE identical twins. The games are played almost in similar fields, the rules may be a bit different, but they operate in similar environments.
These similarities often confuse buyers. If you are not keen, you might end up buying a softball glove instead of a baseball glove, especially if you are buying it online. With online purchases, you hardly get enough information about these gloves hence the possible confusion in the process of buying.
Despite these similarities, these are two different games. Softball is larger than baseball, and the game is usually played by girls and older females, while both genders widely play baseball. This difference in the categories of players partly accounts for the differences between these two types of gloves.
So, what’s the difference between a softball glove and a baseball glove? And, by the way, can you use a softball glove as a baseball glove?
Let’s start with the differences between these gloves.
Although on TV, the two gloves look like they are of equal size, the reality is different. Typically, a baseball glove for middle infielder measures between 11.25 inches (when measured from the center of the heel to the top of the index finger) to 13 inches for the outfielder.
On the other hand, softball gloves for infielders run from 11.5” for infielders to 15” for grownup outfielders.
The reason these two types of gloves differ in size is the different sizes of the respective balls. A softball is larger than a baseball and hence requires a more gigantic pocket in the glove. Since the ball is more massive, the gloves have to have a deeper pocket to give room to the player to receive and secure the ball properly.
Although these two gloves look quite similar in lacing, color, and leather, they differ remarkably in design. This difference is attributed to the role that the ball plays in the game. A regulation softball is approximately12 inches while a regulation baseball is only 9-inches.
This, in effect, means softball gloves have a larger and shorter pocket since the ball is larger. The pocket of the baseball is narrower and longer since the ball is more massive. So taking a 12-inch softball and baseball gloves side-by-side, you’ll notice the softball glove would be shorter because the softball pocket is narrower than the baseball socket.
Closely related to the design is the webbing of each of these gloves is how they are webbed. Although players of both softball and baseball have similar needs, softball gloves manifest lesser variety than do baseball gloves in terms of how they are webbed.
Irrespective of the player’s position, softball gloves always have more enormous webs than baseball gloves. Again, even though pitchers in both games require closed webs to hide the ball, softball pitchers need much larger webs to conceal the more massive ball. You’ll, therefore, notice that the web of a softball glove runs much deeper into the pocket compared to the web of a baseball glove.
Both softball and baseball gloves are made with the size of the player’s hand in mind. For fastpitch softball gloves, the opening tends to be smaller than that of baseball gloves. The reason is that generally, a majority of female players have smaller hands than those of male baseball players.
On the other hand, baseball gloves and those for slow pitch softball players have bigger openings since these players usually have bigger hands than those of softball players in different positions.
In many cases, you can tell which glove you are dealing with by just knowing the game the player engages in –whether softball or baseball. This has nothing much to do with the game but some superstitions and pre-game rituals.
For instance, softball players prefer tighter-fitting gloves than do their baseball counterparts. That’s why you’ll see many of the softball gloves in the market have a Velcro strap to enable the players to adjust the tightness of the glove to their liking.
For their part, baseball players prefer a more comfortable glove, and that’s why baseball gloves are designed with a standard back without Velcro strap.
To sum this up, it’s clear that though softball and baseball gloves have a lot in common in terms of style and color, the two are not identical. The key differences can be summed up as follows:
- Baseball gloves generally have a shallower pocket. This is because the ball is smaller and longer than a softball.
- A fastpitch softball glove typically has a more profound and rounder pocket because the softball is larger than the baseball.
- Typically, fastpitch player prefers to have gloves fitted with Velcro straps since they like a tight firm feel when they wear their gloves.
With these highlights, it’s now possible for you to easily navigate through the confusion and settle on the right ball when making an online purchase. But you might still be wondering whether you can use a softball glove for a baseball game and vice versa, in any case, the two types of gloves don’t seem to be so different from one another. The next question answers your question.
Baseball Glove or Softball Glove- Which One Should You Use?
While it’s true that there are overlaps between these two types of gloves, they are not supposed to be interchangeable. However, this is only true if you are using the glove to play in a strict environment. For instance, if you intend to use it to play in a professional game or rigorous competitions, then stick to the right glove.
Use a baseball glove for serious games and do the same for softball games.
But if you are just out with your buddies and you want to while away time as you polish your baseball skills, you can use any of these gloves. Although there’s hardly much you can’t do with a softball glove in a baseball game; you’ll notice it won’t be as comfortable and convenient to us as a baseball glove.
The more significant socket and the Velcro strap might not give you the same experience you’d have, or you are used to with a baseball glove.
It’s advisable to use a baseball glove to play your baseball games. Though you can use a softball glove for the same purpose, this should only be done in instances where there is no option. So next time you want to buy a baseball glove, don’t confuse it with a softball glove. Get the right glove for your favorite baseball game and play like a pro.