Best softball gear
Softball gear – Buying Guide, Ratings, & Comparison
If the best softball gear is what you are looking for, but finding the necessary time to research this topic is rather difficult, this article will provide all the answers you need much faster. Our team has conducted an in-depth analysis of the highest rated gear available for this sport and concluded that the first item you should consider is Louisville Slugger’s 2018 PXT -10 softball bat, as it’s one of the most advanced and innovative models released by the manufacturer. The 100% composite construction and the patented Tru3 technology the design includes, that reduces vibration on contact, make this a bat that can be used by anyone, including elite players. Moreover, the PWR STX Barrel technology ensures an even impact load distribution across the entire barrel. In case this model is not available for sale, the next item you should keep in mind is the DeMarini Diablo Glove.
Top features to consider
Since you are reading this article, you most probably want to get some pointers on how to choose exactly those items that suit your every need. The realm of available models goes from those dedicated to beginners to top-rated softball coaching gear.
For this reason, we’ve decided to put together a list of the main things you should take into consideration before venturing into the pool of products available in this category. In the end, what you most probably wish is to find those items that enhance the player’s performance and lead him or her to the final victory.
Choosing quality equipment
Before we go into more particular characteristics, let’s cover one of the basic things to keep in mind, that is well-known by most of us but that can definitely make a difference in terms of performance and learning curve. That’s right, we’re talking about choosing gear that is made of high-quality materials.
Although it might seem like a significant money investment, many times you can find products that are made keeping quality in sight at affordable prices. It’s true that maybe you don’t want to spend a fortune right from the beginning, before the end user, whether it’s you or your kid, has taken the time to make a little progress.
Therefore, the key approach here is to take the time to do a little research and read articles just like this one that guides you through the many options available on the market in order to find the right balance between quality and price, in order to have every need met. Now that we’ve got this point covered, let’s get into some details.
The materials used to make a helmet will also determine both its performance and its durability. High-end helmets include high-impact padding in their construction, which ensures the necessary energy absorption during the game. Many times they also include soft padding in order to add to the player’s overall comfort.
More basic models might only have the bulky soft padding that helps absorb the impact. The choice depends on the player’s level of experience. For those who are just getting started, a lighter alternative is better. However, once the player goes to a more professional level, such as high school or beyond, the helmet should include high-density foam to prevent any injuries.
Since we’re talking about a more professional level, let’s take a look at what models with one ear flap have to offer. First of all, this design is recommended for higher-level players as their age and experience can help prevent any potential injuries around the missing ear flap.
However, by having only one ear flap, the player can hear everything better and also enjoy a lighter construction. Another interesting fact to keep in mind is that if the player is a right-handed batter, the left ear needs to be covered and the other way around.
When it comes to the gloves, the first thing that you need to establish is the position that you play, and get the appropriate model. Of course, beginners can also go for sets of gloves designed for both hands, but once you’ll get more experience, you’ll see that going for a professional-level and quality glove is what you need to do.
In case you are wondering what the difference is between gloves and mitts, we’re here with the answer. Gloves are designed with more defined finger separations, whereas mitts don’t have this feature. The catcher and first baseman use mitts, while all the other players get to use gloves.
For this reason, if your playing position is a catcher, you’ll want to specifically choose a dedicated mitt, and usually, these are the largest models of all gloves and mitts used in softball. Moreover, this type also has the deepest pocket, so that’s another thing to think about.
Compared to these, the first baseman’s mitts is the longest model of all the softball related hand gear. The third type is the infield glove that needs to be designed in such a way as to allow you to handle the fast-paced game and respond quickly. These mitts are shorter than the other two types, and also have shallow pockets.
We couldn’t just leave this important topic unattended, since selecting the right bat can make a huge difference in the player’s overall performance. When selecting the next bat you want to purchase, the length and weight are the two main factors you should take into account.
The first step here would be to make sure that the bat the player needs is the right size. In order to do so, you’ll need to measure your own height and weight and then check out some of the many charts available online that will tell you exactly what you should go for.
Once this is done, you’ll need to think about your playing position to know what materials are best suited. To get one thing out of the way, when it comes to a bat’s construction, this can be either a one-piece, which means that the same material is used throughout the entire design or a two-piece where the handle is separate from the barrel, which ensures less vibration.
In terms of materials, bats have been made out of aluminum for a long time. The benefits are pretty obvious since it’s both strong and lightweight. However, well-known manufacturers have also developed other materials such as composite, which is a mixture of carbon fiber, graphite, fiberglass, and maybe Kevlar.
Since there’s a rather fierce debate on whether aluminum, composite or alloy bats are better, let’s take a look at some of the differences. A composite bat is generally lighter than an aluminum one, but it also requires a break-in period of around 150 or 200 swings before getting the maximum productivity out of it.
Aluminum bats don’t need this time and they also usually have a longer total life span. Composite bats, on the other hand, might offer a more balanced swing weight. In the end, the most important thing is to get started and see which models suit you best. Your preferences might change over time, as you get more experience.
Top rated products
In case you’ve already gone through various softball gear reviews, but the multitude of choices available on the market was a bit overwhelming, do take a look at the selection we’ve compiled below, as it features the highest-rated models in the most popular gear categories associated with this beautiful sport.
Louisville Slugger 2018 PXT -10
This is the manufacturer’s most advanced and innovative bat released lately, built for elite players that are ready for a model that can match their skills. Ensuring the right combination between momentum, unmatched pop, and speed, this model is specially made for power and performance.
Made of 100% composite, the bat features the patented Tru3 technology that reduces vibration and provides unmatched feel on contact.
Moreover, the PWR STX Barrel technology that this model includes evenly distributes the impact load across the entire barrel, ensuring maximum performance.
Since quality is a crucial element when choosing good softball gear in general, the manufacturer has added to this bat’s design the ultra-lightweight X-Cap which gives the player an improved swing speed and better durability.
The engineering behind this product is specifically made for fastpitch players. The thing to keep in mind is that this bat is basically a multi-layered construction designed to turn player-created energy into performance.Buy from Amazon.com for ($185.9)
DeMarini Diablo Glove
The DeMarini Diablo Glove is a piece of softball pitching gear that you don’t want to miss out on. Suitable for a right-handed throw, this model is made of exclusive ECCO leather, a high-quality material well-known for the superior qualities that make it the right choice for this category.
Moreover, the glove’s construction offers a high level of comfort and quality, as the ECCO name stands as a guarantee for this.
Also good to know about this glove is the fact that the Sorbothane shock-absorbing interior protects your palms, meaning that you’ll get to feel the ball but not the pain.
Since it’s important for the skin to also breathe, the Dri-Lex ultra-breathable lining ensures the proper transfer of moisture from the skin, keeping your wrists and back fingers dry and cool, this way ventilating the entire hand. The thing here that you should be aware of is that this model is rather large.Click to see the price on Amazon!
RIP-IT Fielder’s Mask
Many times it might seem hard to find cheap softball gear that is also well-built, offering very good performance. However, in this case, all the boxes are ticked by RIP-IT’s Fielder’s Mask.
The model ensures the player’s comfort and maximum protection, without being too heavy or obstructing visibility.
Besides offering the largest viewable area of any fielder’s mask, this model is ergonomically designed to ensure a secure fit when running.
As this is not enough, it also features a ponytail-friendly head strap, as well as an adjustable chin cup for constant comfort.
Since softball protective gear has to look good as well, it’s a very good thing that this model comes in a variety of sizes and colors, as this way it can match most standard uniforms without a problem.
The steel safety cells technology transfers and reduces the force of impact, this way significantly lowering the risk of any injuries.Buy from Amazon.com for ($39.99)
Softball headgear is another category that should not be forgotten since it’s crucial when it comes to the player’s protection. For this reason, choosing a high-quality product that gets the job done should be the main criteria upon which to choose your next helmet.
Luckily, we might have found just the model for you, namely DeMarini’s Paradox Batting Helmet. This model also includes a softball protective mask, and it’s designed for a superior fit.
Plus, the rubberized matte finish is made of premium materials and, let’s face it, looks very cool.
In terms of ventilation, another significant feature that defines a good softball helmet, the Paradox model features strategically placed venting for maximum airflow, which means that the player’s head will be kept cool throughout the game or practice.
Moreover, the Dual Density Padding and wrapped earpieces covered in an antimicrobial fabric can be adapted to the team’s colors.Buy from Amazon.com for ($42.76)
DeMarini Voodoo Rebirth
DeMarini knows what a player needs when it comes to building a useful softball gear bag. The Voodoo Rebirth model takes backpacks to another level, as it features a neoprene bat sleeve, as well as an area for customization.
Offering everything a player needs to get all of his or her gear to the field, this model is large enough to fit a helmet, cleats, and glove, as well as any other additional equipment or personal items that the user might need.
Plus, the gear Molded barrel lock neoprene bat sleeves can accommodate up to two bats.
Since it takes a good and sturdy material to ensure that the gear is well protected and transported, it’s good to know that this backpack is made of a composite treated base material that is waterproof as well, to keep the gear away from moisture. For extra comfort, the shoulder straps and back paneling are padded.Buy from Amazon.com for ($33.99)
Easton Flares Bk/Pk
Protecting your eyesight is yet another element that you should keep in mind before venturing to your softball practice, so you might want to take a closer look at what Easton’s Flares sunglasses have to offer.
This model is made of durable plastic, which means that it can withstand some rough handling during softball season, but also that the sunglasses don’t cost a fortune, so you can replace them in case anything goes wrong and they get broken.
Moreover, they feature a new frame design that includes an adjustable rubber nose piece.
This element ensures that they correctly and comfortably fit the user, so you don’t need to worry about getting the right model and pair.
Besides the UV protective and shatter-resistant polycarbonate lenses, these sunglasses also ensure a good depth perception, helping the player better approximate distances, which is always a good thing when you want to lead your team to the final victory.Buy from Amazon.com for ($24.99)
TCK Sports Elite Camo
Another example of excellent softball practice clothes that can be used during games as well, without a problem, the TCK Sports Elite Performance Digital Camouflage socks are made of high-quality materials that include 64% Polypropylene, 27% Nylon, 7% Elastic, and 2% Lycra Spandex.
You don’t need to worry about getting the desired performance with this model since it features antimicrobial properties, as well as a blister control design.
Moreover, the material also ensures the necessary ventilation, by properly transferring moisture away from the skin.
The athletic design that goes over the calves can be used for any team sport and elite athletes since the model is available in a wide range of sizes suitable for both men and women, adults and children alike.
Another cool feature is that this model is available in various colors, which means that you’ll most probably have no problem finding the one of your team.Buy from Amazon.com for ($12.95)
Louisville Slugger UPM 45 Blue Flame
Since in this article we are going through pretty much everything related to this topic, we could not take the softball training gear off the list.
If what you need is a reliable device that will help you improve your game, take a closer look at the UPM 45 Blue Flame pitching machine, since it might be exactly what you are looking for.
This unit throws any type of ball, including hard balls, fastpitch softballs, light flight, plastic, or even soccer and volleyballs.
This makes it a highly versatile machine to have around the house or training center, as it answers to more than one need.
In terms of speed, it can throw hard balls from 18 to 45 mph and, of course, the controls are adjustable. The light flight and plastic balls can reach a speed of 60 mph, while the slowpitch softballs are thrown with a 12 in arch.Buy from Amazon.com for ($123.99)
Easton’s E50BP Youth Bat Pack is one of those softball handbags built for utility. This Sports Utility 2.0 backpack features a fence hook for dugout functionality, as well as a front pocket that can conveniently accommodate personal items that the player might need to use during practice or the game.
On the same note, the side pockets are useful for either bats or water bottles, and since comfort is an important characteristic of a good backpack, it’s a good time to mention the padded shoulder straps that help distribute the item’s total weight better, while protecting the areas that rub against the body.
Made of 600D Polyester, this model is built with durability in mind, as it can carry multiple items without getting damaged in the process.
Although for some users it might be smaller than expected, the nicely designed interior space can fit the necessary items, such as cleats, a helmet, and gloves.Buy from Amazon.com for ($29.99)
Louisville Slugger 10.5-Inch FG Diva
Specially designed for young fastpitch players who are just getting started in this beautiful sport, the Louisville Slugger 10.5-Inch FG Diva glove features a leather palm and mesh backing, and it requires no break-in.
This makes it the right choice for a beginner since he or she first has to learn to catch the ball and then to break in a pair of gloves.
In terms of comfort, the lightweight mesh back ensures an easy closure, while the extra-soft palm lining offers an unmatched feeling of comfort and control while preventing against pain.
This is especially important, as beginner players should enjoy everything the game has to offer during the learning process, and remain excited about it.
Moreover, the high-quality materials used in this glove’s construction ensure its durability, so the young player can have the time to get properly used to it before getting some experience and maybe choosing a new size.Click to see the price on Amazon!
Frequently asked questions about softball
Is softball an Olympic sport?
Although it’s been a matter of debate, given that softball has been added and removed from the Olympic programme between 1996 and 2016, it’s been re-added for the 2020 Summer Olympics. With the 2009 softball removal from the programme, the sport has suffered an adverse impact which included less funding.
However, given that it appears to be reintroduced, it will most probably get back what it has lost then, getting back to the attention of professional athletes as a sport that can take you to the Olympics. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee whether this sport will remain an official Olympic one or not.
How are softballs made?
A softball is mainly made of two layers, a core, and a cover, and it’s missing the yarn midsection that a baseball has. You can hear this difference as the bat makes contact. The core is made of a synthetic mixture of either polyurethane or kapok (a combination of cork and rubber), while the circumference varies by league-set standards.
The cover is usually made of either synthetic or natural leather, and the color is most probably either white or optic yellow. When it comes to competitive play, yellow remains the official ball color, while the white ones are used for recreational leagues.
Is softball harder than baseball?
Although both sports do require a tremendous amount of physical effort, especially in the professional leagues, it a proven fact that softball is harder than baseball. First of all, the field is significantly smaller in softball which means that a player has much less time to make a decision and react.
Secondly, baseball bats have bigger barrels, even though baseballs are smaller. Moreover, the baseball mound is raised, which prevents the player from throwing rise balls. This is not the case in softball, which means that the batters have to work against gravity as well to hit the ball.
How does softball work?
Softball is played by two teams of nine members each. They take alternate turns at batting and fielding, and the batting team has the goal of advancing a runner around all bases, all the way to the home plate in order to score runs.
Each of the bases needs to be touched in succession, and the team that scores more runs than its adversary wins the game. The fielding team has a catcher, a pitcher, a player on first, second, and third base, as well as three deep fielders and a shortstop. In baseball, a pitcher throws the ball overhand, while in softball is underhand.
Is softball a contact sport?
No, softball is not a contact sport, being in the limited-contact category. During the game, any potential contact with other players happens rarely or inadvertently. What defines a contact sport is the fact that athletes routinely make contact with each other, and this is not the case in softball by any means.
However, it’s still a sport where potential injuries are sometimes unavoidable, so wearing and using complete protection gear at all times during a game is the best approach in order to remain safe. Players can get bruises playing softball, so it’s always better to be on the safe side.
Are softball and baseball gloves the same?
No, baseball and softball gloves are not the same, since the size of the ball differs which means that different requirements are necessary. Baseball gloves are typically smaller and longer, while softball ones are normally wider with deeper pockets. One thing to know is that when a pocket is deeper, the height of the glove gets smaller.
Although every glove model tends to get the same thing done, if you are playing either softball or baseball aiming to get to a more professional level, then you should use the appropriate equipment in order to get used to it.
How did softball get its name?
This game was invented in 1887 in Chicago, as an indoor game. While it’s obviously related to baseball, softball got its name from the fact that the initial balls people used to play this game were, in fact, soft. Despite its name that stuck, the balls that are used today are no longer soft, so don’t be fooled.
The main difference between baseball and softball is the fact that the latter is faster paced, and the players have less time to make the necessary decisions, which in fact makes it a more difficult alternative to baseball.
What softball bats are illegal?
Since this is a standardized and regulated sport, a bat is legal only if it follows certain specific regulations. Although there are certain bat models available on the market that don’t follow these regulations but do look very cool, they could not be used in a competition or even in some parks and stadiums.
Since the list of illegal bats is constantly updated, you can check numerous online resources that keep track of these items. It’s actually a good idea to double check if a bat is legal or not before purchasing it, especially if you want to play professionally.
Best softball gear brands
This brand’s story was born in 1894 when it was registered with the United States Patent Office. Ever since then, the manufacturer has been a constant player in the field of bats-making, and it was also the first brand that used endorsement when Honus Wagner used his name on a bat.
As the company says, its values are rooted in history and tradition, and it will continue to evolve, as numerous teams and players continue to choose their products. It can be said that the world of wood and aluminum bats is still dominated by the brand.
Another key player in this field, DeMarini is well-known for its baseball bats, as well as for all of the other types of equipment it produces, constantly bringing innovation to the table. The brand was acquired by Wilson Sporting Goods in 2000, and it still continues to research, develop, and produce bats in its initial facility located in Hillsboro, Oregon.
Of course, softball and baseball apparel was also added to its portfolio, but the characteristic that makes it stand out is the quality of the items produced. Since more than 150 college baseball programs use DeMarini bats, it’s safe to assume that you cannot be wrong if you choose this brand.
They say that success doesn’t happen by chance, because it’s a result of constant innovation. This is the case with Easton as well. The company has been a consistent innovator throughout time, primarily when it comes to using aluminum in its products.
Besides bats, the manufacturer designs and produces archery equipment, hockey stick shafts, and blades, as well as hockey skate blades. You might not be aware, but it also makes bicycle components and tent tubes. The constant innovations brought on by Easton make this brand a trustworthy one that you should keep in mind.