Difference Between Slowpitch And Fastpitch Gloves

Softball suits all genders and ages because you can choose to play slowpitch or fastpitch. You need to select the right glove to bring out the best of your game. 

So what is the difference between slowpitch and fastpitch gloves? We will give you a side-by-side comparison to determine how each glove helps with your performance. Let’s check it out! 

Difference Between Slowpitch And Fastpitch Gloves

First, we need to answer the question: What is the difference between slowpitch and fastpitch? They both are forms of softball.

However, while you can play slowpitch comfortably for entertainment, the latter will come with more competitiveness. 

Based on the different characteristics, the two games require different rules and sets of equipment. 

When choosing gloves for softball, you have to consider your position first. Then, check other factors of the gloves, such as their sizes and durability.

The following differences between slowpitch and fastpitch gloves will help you make an informed decision. 


Certain positions in the softball game require particular gear to nail their jobs. 

The best gloves for your position differ depending on whether you play as a catcher or a fielder. 

Catcher’s Mitts

Fastpitch catchers must cope with balls that are flying in at speeds more than 60 mph. You must, thus, prepare thickly cushioned mittens.

These mitts will be helpful in two ways: 

  • They can soften the blow once the ball hits your glove, protecting and supporting your hand. 
  • Because they are larger, you can catch the balls more accurately and quickly, especially with ground balls.

As opposed to fastpitch softball, slowpitch softball does not require extra cushioning. Use a fielder’s glove or a multi-purpose glove as you will handle the pitcher’s harsh throws and the unexpected catch from the fielder. 

Fielder’s Gloves

You will catch the ball from a distant spot if you are an outfielder in a fastpitch game. So you’ll need a glove with a wider pocket to effortlessly handle the hit. Gloves of 12 inches or bigger will be necessary. 

And if you play as an infielder, third base, second base, or shortstop, you will need slightly smaller glovers. 

However, when playing slowpitch softball, the dimensions of your gloves don’t change whether you are an outfielder or an infielder. 

Consider your position in the game first


Outfielders generally employ larger gloves with a deeper pocket to give themselves some wiggle room to catch the ball. Typically, these sizes start at 12″. 

For speedier, more accurate transfers, infielders prefer using smaller gloves. The sizes fall between 11.5″ and 12″.

All softball gloves aim to catch balls of the same size. However, gloves for slow pitch softball often have deeper pockets because there will be more ball hits.

Deep pockets can help trap the ball easier. Meanwhile, fastpitch players often have gloves with shallower webs.   


Cost is always a significant factor when selecting a glove. 

Nowadays, gloves are accessible almost anywhere for a reasonable price, and the quality varies from model to model.

When choosing a product based only on budget, a slow pitch glove may be the best choice if you don’t mind sacrificing a little quality for a lower cost. 

You can also buy affordable fastpitch gloves. Purchasing lower-quality synthetic leather is an excellent solution.

Of course, the performance won’t beat the higher-quality leather. 

Fastpitch gloves are often more expensive

Break In

Do not buy a costly, high-quality full-grain leather fastpitch glove if you have a softball game tomorrow. You don’t pull it off because the leather needs a long time to break in. 

Instead, search for cheaper models. They have lower quality, but they will be ready for your next game. 

Be careful that it cannot fit your hand correctly if you use cheaper leather. Take the time to try on each pair of gloves before picking the one that feels the best.


Most players choose a bigger glove when playing slowpitch softball. They don’t need to move their hands and perform transfers as quickly since they play the game at a slower tempo.

Because slowpitch softball doesn’t rush, players can utilize gloves with a large surface area to grasp the ball. The gloves often range in size from 13 to 15 inches.

Meanwhile, fastpitch is a faster sport that calls for rapid ball transfers from the gloves to the tossing hand. As a result, players use gloves that vary in size between 11 and 13 inches.


Fastpitch softball is more competitive and rigorous than its slowpitch counterpart. Players should spend more money on a tougher glove.

In the fastpitch competition, a glove constructed of full-grain leather would be significantly more likely to last over time.

On the other hand, slowpitch softball players can choose their gloves. If you just need a recreational game, gloves made of synthetic leather will suffice.

Although they are not as durable as premium gloves, they can get you to the game without any problem.

Baseball in a mitt on grass. Free public domain CC0 photo.

Comparison table 

All the differences between slowpitch and fastpitch gloves are clear. This comparison table will help you summarize their characteristics.  

CriteriaSlowpitch GlovesFastpitch Gloves
PositionFor catchers: Padding is not compulsory.For fielders: Dimensions are the same.For catchers: Well padded.For fielders: Dimensions are different. 
CostCheaperMore expensive 
Break InLess time to break inMore time to break in 
Size13 to 15 inches11 and 13 inches
DurabilityOften made of synthetic leather, which is less durable Often made of full-grain leather for improved durability 

Can You Use A Fastpitch Glove For Slowpitch?

The players typically utilize the same gloves for slowpitch and fastpitch in lower games. However, this idea only applies to catchers. 

If you play the game as a pitcher, things will change because you need special gloves to hide the ball from hitters. If they can see the seams, they can guess your pitching style. 

As a result, your fastpitch gloves must have substantial webbing, which you won’t find in slowpitch gloves, to prevent the information from leaking.

On the other hand, you will be throwing the ball gently in a slow pitch game whether the hitter expects your pitch or not doesn’t matter. 

Choose the right gear for your position

What Are The Best Softball Gloves? 

The best gloves for your softball games depend on multiple factors. After determining if they are slowpitch or fastpitch gloves, think about these criteria:


The material affects how durable and expensive your gear will be. When it comes to softball gloves, you can choose from this list:

  • Steerhide: Steerhide leather is sturdy, thick, and long-lasting. However, the rugged nature makes it hard to break in. 
  • Cowhide: This material is thinner than the previous, but it will be easier to break and move in. 
  • Synthetic: Synthetic leather is cost-effective and ready to use. Yet, the ease of use sacrifices its durability. 
  • Full-grain: This kind of leather is stronger and thicker than other options, but breaking into it is challenging. 
  • Top grain: The leather is pretty similar to cowhide, but it’s thinner and more flexible. 


The glove size should be perfect for your position. So you need to see yourself as a pitcher, outfield, or infield to opt for the best fit. 

You can learn more buying tips from this video:

Consider carefully before buying gloves

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. What are the two types of gloves in softball?

There are two types of softball gloves: slowpitch and fastpitch. 

They differ in size, cost, durability, and some other factors. Hence, players at certain positions will use them differently. 

2. Is there a difference between the infield and outfield gloves in softball?

Softball infield gloves typically measure 11.5 to 12.5 inches. Outfield gloves are bigger because they have to cover more range. 

3. Are baseball and softball gloves the same?

The main difference between these gloves is the ball-catching surface. Since the softball is larger, softball gloves must be bigger to accommodate the ball.  

4. Can you use a baseball glove for softball?

Yes. Gloves for outfield baseball are suitable for softball because they offer more surface area to capture the ball. However, infield baseball gloves can’t be that large to handle the big softball.  

5. How do you break in a softball glove?

There are many ways to break in softball gloves. You can apply pressure, oil, or shaving cream on your gear. 

There are also break-in kits for new gloves. This video will show you more tips:


What is the difference between softball gloves? Fastpitch and slowpitch gloves serve different purposes so that you distinguish them from the size, durability, and how players use them. 

Hopefully, you will find this article informative. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Thank you for reading!