Softball Gloves vs. Baseball Gloves: Here Are The Differences

Softball Gloves vs. Baseball Gloves: Here Are The Differences

The differences between a softball glove and baseball glove might seem subtle, but are significant in practice.

Aug 21, 2023 by Kyle Kensing

When it comes to playing ball, a glove is a glove — right? Yes, but in the same sense that you can technically play softball wearing basketball sneakers but cleats will make an athlete more effective and less prone to injury. 

Understanding the differences between softball and baseball gloves is important when gearing up for the season. 

Softball Gloves vs. Baseball Gloves: Here Are The Differences

The first place to start, and perhaps the most obvious, is with the size of regulation softballs vs. baseballs. Regulation baseballs measure nine or 9 1/4 inches in circumference. Regulation softballs typically measure 11 or 12 inches in circumference. 

Large balls require larger gloves, and a softball glove is typically longer than its baseball counterpart, above 11 1/2 to 13 inches for upper levels. Likewise, the larger softball necessitates more space for the pocket and web to catch. 

But these sizes aren't universal across all positions, nor is every type of webbing the same. An outfielder's softball glove will usually be slightly longer than an infielder's.  

Similarly, middle infielders' gloves might need more of an open style of webbing than outfielders or first basemen who do more catching than quick-release field-and-throw plays. Softball gloves' webbing is also much more open, regardless of position than that of baseball counterparts. 

Softball catchers' mitts also differ from the other positions. The more circular or oval shaping of the catcher's mitt is immediately recognizable, with considerably smaller webbing and a deep pocket that covers almost the whole interior of the glove. 

The catcher's mitt also brings the fingers in tight together, more closely than positional gloves. 

Catchers' mitts for softball are typically 32 to 35 inches, depending on size and competition level. The baseball catcher's mitt ranges from 31 to 35 inches.