The Top 10 Best Youth Softball Gloves of 2023
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The quality of your softball (slowpitch or fastpitch softball) glove plays a large part in your success on the softball diamond. Choose wisely and your fastpitch softball glove (or slowpitch) will help you field groundballs, line drives, pop flies and other potential base hits, turning them into outs.
However, selecting the perfect softball or fastpitch glove for yourself or the youngster in your family is not easy. Your nuanced preferences along with the specific position you play on the diamond ultimately determine which softball glove is best for you. Let’s take a look at the best softball gloves and the primary considerations to think about before committing to a specific glove.
If you're looking for tips on picking the right youth baseball glove, make sure you check out our buyer's guide here.
|Mizuno MVP Prime SE 13" Fastpitch Glove||Fastpitch; Pitcher, Closed Back||13"|
|Rawlings Liberty Advanced 12" Fastpitch Glove||Fastpitch; Infield, Open Back||12"|
|The Mizuno Prospect||Fastpitch; Infield, Closed Back||11.5"|
|Wilson A2000 Series||Fastpitch; Infield; Open Back||11.5" - 12.75"|
|Louisville Slugger LXT Series 13" Fastpitch First Base Mitt||Fastpitch; 1st base; Dual Post Web||13"|
|Rawlings Heart of Hide||Fastpitch; Infield; Open Back||12" - 13"|
|Mizuno Premiere Series||Slowpitch; Infield, Closed Back||12" - 14"|
|Nokona X2 Buckaroo Series||Fastpitch; Pitcher; Closed Back||13"|
|Mizuno Franchise Slow Pitch Softball Glove||Slowpitch; Infield, Closed Back||12.5"|
|Easton GHOST FLEX Youth Series||Fastpitch; Pitcher, Open Back||10.5" - 12"|
1. Mizuno MVP Prime SE 13" Fastpitch Glove
Softball players across the land rave about this elite fastpitch softball glove. Mizuno has been one of the top names in both the softball and traditional baseball leagues for several decades. Try on the MVP Prime SE and you will find this fastpitch softball glove really does make it that much easier to improve your game. Youth softball players are partial to this fastpitch softball glove as it has quite the visually striking colorful design. Move your hand through the palm section’s pocket and you will find there is ample room along with just enough padding to prevent the softball from causing pain at the point of impact.
This glove features Mizuno’s unique Heel Flex technology that ensures the heel proves forgiving and flexible for the optimal comfort level and performance on the field. Mizuno is so confident and protective of this technology that it has filed a patent on it.
Additional Mizuno MVP Prime glove features include:
- Tartan 4 webbing
- Closed back
- Bio Soft leather that is uber-smooth
- The optimal balance between softness and oil for the perfect feel along with the control every player needs
- Professional Level Lace replicates the durable lace provided in gloves used at the pro level
- PlusGrip Thumb with additional padding along the slot that accommodates the thumb
- Center pocket design patterns that center the glove pocket below the index finger for the perfect break-in
- Roll welting gives the glove a clean aesthetic and much-appreciated finger stability
2. Rawlings Liberty Advanced 12" Fastpitch Glove
Liberty’s Advanced Series gloves have just the right pattern balance. This fastpitch softball glove is specifically designed with female hands in mind. Put your hand into this beauty and you will find it is comfortable, providing more ball control than other gloves. Made with finger back adjustments and hand opening adjustments to help players achieve the optimal level of comfort, this Rawlings glove is hands-down one of the best youth fastpitch softball gloves on the market. The glove’s dynamic pattern technology is brand new for this year.
Additional fastpitch softball glove features include:
- Pattern of 12” is perfect for softball
- Basket style webbing
- The back is open style with a non-slip pull strap
- Comprised of full-grain leather
- Suitable for players who play both infield and pitcher
- Full-grain shell leather treated for flawless performance
- Game-ready the moment you receive it
- Made with all leather lacing for improved shape retention and durability
- Conventional back has a comparably wide opening above the wrist portion of the glove
If you are looking for a softball glove that makes it easy to field scorching hot line drives, you have found it in the Rawlings Liberty Advanced glove. This glove is built with Poron XRD padding along the index fingers and palm to minimize the impact of the softball on the hand, ensuring full protection. This is exactly what you or the youth softball player in your family need to catch those laser-like line drives and grounders without considerable pain.
Even if the temperatures dip down low in the spring or fall when your softball league is starting/ending, you will find this Rawlings glove provides adequate protection for your palm, ensuring as little stinging as possible. Pair this glove with a quality softball pitching machine and you'll be unstoppable at your next softball game!
3. The Mizuno Prospect
This sharp-looking glove carries the Mizuno name so you know it is likely to meet, if not exceed, expectations. As noted above, Mizuno is one of the top names in the glove industry. The Prospect is created with PowerClose technology, meaning it is designed to help softball players catch line drives, lively ground balls, pop flies and more with comparable ease. This is the perfect youth softball glove for those especially young players who are still attempting to master the game. The bottom line is young players are quite impressionable when they first start playing. If the young softball player in your life cannot handle a line drive or even a basic ground ball, she might lose confidence and quit the sport. Provide the young softball player in your life with the Mizuno Prospect and you will find she catches the softball consistently, grows that much more confident with each passing day and falls in love with the game of softball.
The Prospect’s PowerClose technology really will help the softball player in your family catch softballs, improve their performance in the context of fielding and ultimately get the most out of the time spent practicing and playing on the diamond. The glove even features PowerLock technology that ensures the glove remains fit and secure on the hand during gameplay without exception. Though all of this technology might seem complex and somewhat intimidating, there is no reason to be intimidated. The Mizuno Prospect is quite easy to use, even for those who are just starting out with the game. Additional Mizuno
Mizuno Prospect Glove features include:
- V-Flex Notch makes it easier to execute the perfect catch when softballs are hit your way
- Additional ParaShock palm padding to reduce the stinging sensation at the point of the softball’s impact
- 12.5” size
- Tartan Hi-Low webbing
4. Wilson A2000 Series
Opt for the Wilson A2000 series and you will be able to choose from a wide variety of sizes ranging from 11.75” to 12.5”. Though this is somewhat of an expensive glove, it is worth every penny and then some. Comprised of Pro Stock leather along with another material Wilson refers to as “superskin”, this glove is built to take a beating. Available for both left-handers and right-handers.
The Wilson A2000 Series features include:
- Unisex design suitable for boys and girls
- Dual welting creates a pocket that stands the test of time
- Elite leather construction ensures the perfect break-in
- Unique material is two times as strong as traditional leather
Give the WIlsonA2000 Series a try and you will immediately notice the glove is about half the weight of most other gloves. This is the perfect pitching glove as it has a Velcro style wrist closure that provides unparalleled comfort, making it easier for pitchers to focus on hitting their target instead of fussing around with a loose glove. Add in the D-fusion style pocket padding that reduces stinging during catches and this glove has even more appeal.
5. Louisville Slugger LXT Series 13" Fastpitch First Base Mitt
Break in this bad boy and it will serve you well for years or possibly even decades into the future. The LXT is mad with full grain double-oiled leather for lasting durability.
Softball Glove Features include:
- X-Spand style wrist opening for the optimal fit
- Easily adjustable wrist strap
- 12.5” pattern
- Open back style
In short, this is one of the most reliable fastpitch softball gloves on today’s market. Pick up the Wilson A2000 and you will not be disappointed.
6. Rawlings Heart of Hide
Few softball gloves compare to the Rawlings Heart of Hide. Measuring 12.75” and highlighted by a Pro-H web, this glove provides all the room you could possibly need to catch pop flies with ease. The glove’s high-quality leather ensures it proves durable as time progresses.
Softball Glove features include:
- Full-grain, plush finger back style lining for optimal comfort
- 65% break-in and 35% player break-in
- Adjustable wrist strap creates the perfect size for your hand
- Deer-tanned palm lining
- Padded thumb sleeve
Strap on this glove, adjust the pull strap as desired and you will head out onto the softball diamond in full confidence. This is the custom feel you need to go all out on the field of play knowing your glove is up to the challenge.
7. Mizuno Premiere Series
The Mizuno Premiere is available in black or gold colors, both of which make quite the powerful visual impact. This is a unisex glove with true mass appeal.
Additional Softball Glove Features include:
- Full grain leather palm
- Pigskin back for elite durability
- Secure fit thanks to the power lock wrist strap
- Uber-soft palm liner enhances comfort, feel and durability
This utility style softball glove can be used for nearly every position on the field. Its superior shock absorption system protects your hand even after catching a smoking hot liner from the plate. Add in the lightweight padding, securing strap and durable leather material and you have all the elements you need for the perfect softball glove.
8. Nokona X2 Buckaroo Series
Though this softball glove certainly has an odd name, it is one of the best on the market. Get past the comparably high price tag, give the glove a chance and you will find its elevated price is justified.
The Nokona X2 Buckaroo Series features include:
- Kangaroo leather and Steerhide build
- Extra padding with composite material
- The fastest break-in possible for a premium glove
- Closed back
- Closed web design
- 12” and 12.5” sizes
- Velcro strap
This hybrid leather glove featuring both steer leather and kangaroo leather truly is one of a kind. Ask anyone who has tried the Buckaroo and you will find it surpassed their expectations in all regards.
9. Mizuno Franchise Slow Pitch Softball Glove
This classic softball glove made by Mizuno features pre-oiled Java leather to facilitate a timely break-in. The glove’s grip is second to none.
- Tartan H web
- Closed back
- Single finger fastback style
- Quick release
- Parashock Plus Palm Pad minimizes stinging
Whether you are new to the game of softball or have played for years, you will be more than happy with this glove. The glove even features two different lacing types in QuickForm for added form tightening and HiLo for enhanced flexibility.
10. Easton GHOST FLEX Youth Series
Those looking for an affordable softball glove have found it in the Easton Ghost Flex. This glove is widely revered as one of the best on the market, especially for youngsters who have not fully committed to playing softball. The comparably low price means there is minimal risk in purchasing the glove.
The Easton Ghost Flex merits and specs include:
- Sizes of 10.5”, 11” and 12”
- Grey, white and black colors
- Quantum Closure System provides a secure fit
- Diamond PRO Steer USA top quality leather
- Soft lining
The only potential concern with this glove is it is specifically tailored to female players. Buy this glove for your daughter or niece and she will agree its open back provides a perfectly secure fit.
What to Consider When Purchasing a Youth Softball Glove
Anatomy of a Softball Glove
First things first! Let's take a quick look at this diagram of a softball glove so we can understand each part of a softball glove so we don't get confused as we move through this buyer's guide.
Picking the Right Size Softball Glove
To make things things easier, we created a chart for selecting the right size softball glove based on age and position so you can select the perfect glove for your kid! We made two charts, one for fastpitch softball gloves, and one for slow pitch. Let us know in the comment section below if our recommendations worked out for you!
What is the Best Material for Youth Softball Gloves?
The material that softball gloves are made of is by far the most important factor aside from its design for left-handed or right-handed players. If you do not feel comfortable with the material pressing against the skin of your hand, move on to the next candidate. The glove you select should have a material that is workable, meaning it is somewhat malleable and capable of adjusting to your unique hand and material flexibility. The glove should also be made with a material that is durable.
Leather is by far the most durable material for softball glove material. Today’s leather gloves are comprised of cow or pig skin. Such sources enhance the glove material’s resiliency, lasting for several years or even decades. There is even a chance your high-quality softball glove made with top-quality leather will be passed down to nieces, nephews and kids within your family for continued use.
The good thing about leather is that you can treat it with oils and conditioners to help break it in, and keep it healthy for many seasons to come. For more information on glove oils and conditioners, check out our article and buyer's guide here.
Keep in mind that the type of material the glove is made of dictates its price. Elite leather consisting of full-grain is comparably expensive. When in doubt, opt for high-quality leather that adjusts to your hand and ultimately stands the test of time.
Though it will certainly take some time to break in your leather glove with the use of oil, a softball, rubber bands and play on the softball diamond, it will eventually reach the point at which it functions as expected. We would be remiss not to mention synthetic gloves are also available. However, gloves of the synthetic variety are typically used by beginning softball players. Synthetic gloves are comparably affordable yet they are not as reliable as leather gloves.
Getting the Right Size for Your Softball Glove
The right glove size ensures the perfect fit. Do not stop searching until you find a glove that fits your hand just right. The glove size is measured in terms of inches extending from the end of the slot for the index finger to the glove end at the wrist bottom, known as the heel.
However, catchers’ softball gloves are measured a bit differently in that their circumference is measured as opposed to the length. Circumference is important for softball catchers as it reflects the amount of space the glove has to accommodate pitched softballs. Regardless of the type of glove you choose, it should fit properly accommodate your hand size and prove easy to manipulate in terms of closing and opening.
A properly sized glove ensures the glove pocket is large and secure enough to grip the softball tightly when catching and fielding. If the glove is too loose, your hand will slide around within it, making it that much more difficult to field softballs.
Softball Glove Webbing
Webbing is the primary defining component of softball gloves. The web is the catching section of the glove, commonly referred to as the pocket. The last thing you want is for the softball to push the webbing back to the point that it results in drops. The webbing should hold steady after continued use rather than pushing backward. Be sure to read the reviews of the gloves you have in mind to ensure the webbing is reliable and stands the test of time as opposed to breaking.
Though there are plenty of fancy web designs on the market, the majority of gloves have webbing of two primary varieties. The open web softball gloves use an H or I design complete with leather pieces woven to the remainder of the glove, along with leather lacing. Infielders typically favor this style of glove as it facilitates a fast and smooth transfer of the softball.
Closed web mitts are the second most common type of glove. This glove variety is a single solid piece that provides softball players with a rigid catching space. The majority of players favor an open back that makes it that much easier to track the softball as it moves into the mitt. However, softball pitchers sometimes favor a closed web design as it conceals their grip on the softball from opposing batters.
Open or Closed Glove Back?
Similar to webbing, the softball glove’s backing can be open or closed. Open softball gloves expose the top portion of the wrist, offering slightly more range of movement as favored by those who play infield positions.
Outfielders typically prefer closed back gloves as they have that much more support for the wrist, ensuring line drives can be held onto. Certain closed back gloves have a finger slot to accommodate the index finger. However, some players prefer that such a slot not be included.
Picking the Right Softball Glove Based on Player Position
The position you typically play on the softball diamond dictates the type of softball glove you buy. Some softball gloves such as the Wilson A360 Slowpitch Softball Glove are useful for every position on the softball field. However, as noted above, the glove back differs by glove type based on positional needs. Infielder gloves are made for players to rapidly transfer the softball from the glove to the throwing hand for a timely throw. Those who play third base should consider a glove with a closed web as it makes it that much easier to hold onto those line drives to the hot corner.
Pitching softball gloves are specially designed as pitchers favor lighter gloves than those used for other positions. Above all, pitchers should favor gloves that are comfortable, facilitating a focus on the pitching process and allowing for the easy catching of balls thrown back by the catcher after each pitch. Pitching gloves should have a closed web that prevents batters from seeing the grip on the ball.
Outfielder softball gloves are made to facilitate the fielding of pop flies and line drives. These are comparably longer gloves with particularly deep finger slots to accommodate an oversized pocket. Outfield softball gloves typically have a closed web along with reinforced fingers to ensure the ball remains within the glove after diving catches. Catcher’s gloves are completely different than those used for other positions. Catcher’s gloves don’t have individually cut slots for the fingers as other gloves have. Catcher’s gloves also have padding to soften the blow of incoming pitches. Be sure to take some time to break in your catcher’s glove as it will be quite stiff immediately after purchase.
Slowpitch Gloves vs Fastpitch Gloves
Glove measurements are stamped onto the leather’s outer perimeter. However, a softball glove can also be measured with a tape measurer. Fastpitch gloves have different measurements than slowpitch gloves. Slowpitch gloves for players 14 and older typically measure 12” to 13” for first base, 11.5” to 12.5” for middle infield positions and 11.75” to 13” for third base. Fastpitch gloves for those age 14 and over typically measure around 29” to 30” for catchers, 11.5” for first base and 8” to 10.5” for third base.
Breaking in Your new Softball Gloves
Your new softball glove probably won’t be ready to use right off the shelf. Rather, it will take some time to break in the glove so it can grip softballs with ease and hold onto them when squeezing pressure is applied. It will certainly help to oil up the interior of the softball glove, place a softball inside and enclose it with large rubber bands. Let the softball remain in the glove in such a way for at least a full week and you will find it accommodates softballs that much easier when you hit the diamond for practice or play.
Some softball gloves such as the Louisville Slugger 10.5” FG Diva Softball infielder glove are comprised of softened leather that does not require breaking in. This unique type of glove can be used immediately after purchase.
The softball glove you select might not be the softball glove your neighbor’s child favors or that recommended by your youth softball team coach. What matters most is your unique comfort level with the glove you are considering. If possible, try on the softball glove at a local store before buying it. Keep in mind, you can still order the softball glove on the internet at a lower price after trying it on at your local sporting goods store.
Do not stop searching until you find the perfect fit for your unique hand and the position you play on the softball diamond. Once you find the right softball glove, break it in, be patient as its flexibility expands and you will find it serves you well for years or even decades into the future.
And when you do find that perfect glove, your next step is to pick the perfect softball bat and a good softball pitching machine!