There are many ways to classify different types of softball gloves. Base on material, we could divide softball gloves into 2 main types which are leather and synthetic ones. Among leather gloves, there are 3 subcategories: top grain, premium steer hide and full-grain leather (in order of increasing heaviness and durability). However, the most common and main method to classify softball gloves is based on position of the players who use the gloves. Each position in a softball match has their own duty in field and obviously, has different requirements for their gloves. There are 5 types of softball gloves for five main positions in a softball match.
Catcher is the most vulnerable position to injury, so they need a glove that provides better protection than any other positions. There are a lot of demands for a good catcher’s glove. First of all, it needs to be strong enough to protect catcher’s hand and comfortable enough for them to wear it and catch the ball in the entire match. Therefore, a catcher’s glove has a lot of padding, close web and deeper pocket. Besides, catchers’ glove should be made from more durable material, so it could withstand numerous catches match after match. Because catcher gloves are made to achieve high durability, so they are quite stiff right after purchasing and need a break-in period.
First baseman glove
Basically, there are not many differences between glove of catcher and first baseman. The most noticeable difference is the pocket. First baseman glove’s pocket needs to be more flexible to scoop the rolling balls, so its pocket is open and webbed. Besides, first baseman glove has less padding than catcher’s.
In a field, pitcher just uses glove to catch ball from catcher or others, so pitcher’s glove is not used as often as other positions. Therefore, quality of the glove doesn’t have much impact on performance of a pitcher. The most important demand for a pitcher glove is the comfort which it could bring to the players. In order to achieve best comfort for pitchers, glove makers often use lightweight material so that the glove is not too heavy. Besides, pitcher glove doesn’t have padding and has a webbed pocket.
The most important characteristic for an infielder is quickness. Infielders need to quickly catch the ball, release it to the other hand and throw. A glove with deep pocket would cause difficult for them to get the ball out quickly. Therefore, infielder’s glove is lightweight one with shallow pocket.
Unlike infielder who needs to catch and throw the ball quickly, an outfielder needs to be able to catch flying ball and keep it in the glove. Hence, outfielder glove has deeper and close webbed pocket.
It’s crucial to choose the right softball glove for the position that you would play. A wrong choice definitely leads to poor performance. Therefore, understanding differences and requirements of each type of gloves is indispensable before buying new softball glove.