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Softball Mitts: A Buying Guide for 2024

Multiple softball mitts on a field

From the crack of the bat to the sting of a fast pitch, the right softball mitt can make all the difference on the field. Softball is a game of catches, so it makes sense that softball mitts are one of the most important accessories for consumers. And with 22,000 searches in February 2024, softball mitts are also popular enough to present a good opportunity for retailers!

This article dives into the world of softball mitts, exploring the current state of the market, and the key features that retailers should be aware of to help their buyers take their game to the next level.

Table of Contents
What’s the state of the softball equipment market
What to look at when stocking up on softball mitts
Bottom line

What’s the state of the softball equipment market

Young girl in blue using softball mitt

The global softball equipment market thrives, with experts estimating its value at US$ 698.9 million in 2023. Projections indicate a steady growth trajectory, reaching US$ 854.8 million by 2030, with a modest but consistent 2.12% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Between 2018 and 2022, the market saw a 2.5% CAGR, demonstrating sustained progress. Experts anticipate Asia Pacific will experience robust growth at a projected 5.5% CAGR from 2023 to 2033.

What to look at when stocking up on softball mitts


Woman holding an oversized softball mitt

A softball mitt’s size directly affects its catching ability. If it’s too small, players may have a limited catching surface, making it challenging to catch balls effectively. Conversely, if softball mitts are too large, they may be hard to handle, hindering the user’s ability to control the ball.  In addition, different playing positions may require varying mitt sizes. For example, outfielders typically use larger mitts with deeper pockets to catch fly balls, while infielders may prefer smaller mitts for quicker transfers and throws.

Size (inches)Playing positionPerfect for
9.50 to 10.50Youth infieldYounger players (ages 5 to 8) with smaller hands.
10.50 to 11.50InfieldYouth players (ages 9 to 12) or adults with small hands.
11.50 to 12.50Infield/outfieldYouth players (ages 13+) or adults with medium-sized hands.
12.50 to 13.00OutfieldAdults with medium to large hands who play outfield.
13.00 to 13.50First baseAdults with large hands who play first base.
31.50 to 34.50CatcherCatchers of all ages and hand sizes.


Softball mitts are only as good as the materials manufacturers use to construct them. Material quality is an incredibly important factor that affects durability, performance, and comfort. Softball mitts can come from leather or synthetic materials.


Leather is a popular choice for softball mitts due to its durability, flexibility, and excellent feel. If consumers want the highest quality and durability, sellers can offer them full-grain leather. But if they want something more affordable without sacrificing performance, they can’t go wrong with top-grain leather.

Synthetic materials

While natural leather has many perks, it may be heavy and take time to get comfortable on the wearer’s hands. Synthetic materials are an amazing alternative to traditional leather. Synthetic leather or blends can create more affordable mitts and perform similarly to regular leather. But they come with added benefits! They are lighter and have quick break-in times. However, they may not be as durable as genuine leather over the long term.


Some softball mitts feature mesh panels or inserts, which help improve breathability and reduce weight without sacrificing durability. Mesh-backed mitts are often preferred in hot weather conditions or for players who prioritize comfort and ventilation.

Softball mitts may also contain padding materials like foam or gel inserts, offering added hand protection and cushioning. These padding materials (especially high-quality ones) offer impact resistance and shock absorbance, helping to minimize discomfort and hand fatigue during gameplay.

Webbing style

Person using a light brown softball mitt

Softball mitts come in various webbing styles, each designed to serve different purposes and preferences on the playing field. But generally, the webbing style affects how well softball mitts will perform and function. Here are some of the most common softball mitt webbing styles:

Closed Web

Closed web designs feature solid webbing, covering the area between the thumb and fingers. This webbing style offers added durability and stability, making it ideal for pitchers and infielders looking to conceal their grip on the ball. They are also great for preventing opponents from seeing the ball’s movement.

Open Web

On the other hand, open designs come with gaps or spaces between each webbing, allowing consumers to gain increased flexibility, visibility, and quicker ball transfer. Outfielders love this webbing style! They are great for catching fly balls and quickly transferring the ball from glove to hand for throwing.


H-web designs are another great alternative to open or closed variants. They have vertical and horizontal leather strips that form the letter “H,” providing a blend of stability and visibility. For this reason, they are great for infielders and outfielders, especially those looking for versatile options for fielding ground balls and catching fly balls.


Here’s another great web design for infielders: I-web. Instead of forming the letter “H,” these look like the letter “I” using a single vertical and two horizontal leather strips. Some infielders prefer these webbing styles for their maximum visibility and flexibility—they will quickly get those field ground balls and make accurate throws to bases.

Basket Web

These web designs use a series of interconnected leather strips to create basket-like patterns. What’s good about basket web designs?  This style provides excellent stability and ball retention, so they are the go-to for catchers. Such softball mitts can securely catch and control fast-moving pitches.

Modified Web

Modified web designs combine elements of different webbing styles to create unique patterns and features. These custom designs are often preferred by players who want a personalized option that meets their needs and preferences.

Break-in time

Three softball mitts on a playing field

Last but not least, sellers must consider how long it takes for consumers to get comfortable in their softball mitts. Some mitts are already softened and ready to use, while others need more time to fit your hand perfectly. Pre-oiled or pre-broken-in mitts are like wearing new shoes right out of the box—they’re comfortable from the start.

Typically, manufacturers make them from high-quality leather treated with oils or conditioners. This style helps enhance flexibility and suppleness, giving them shorter break-in periods. For this reason, players can start using them immediately without any discomfort. While they may be more expensive upfront, pre-broken-in mitts can save time and effort in the long run since they require less conditioning and shaping.

But if a mitt needs more time to mold to the hand, consumers must spend extra time breaking it in. These mitts are stiff and rigid on first purchase, requiring time and effort to soften and shape them to the player’s hand. Manufacturers often make these mitts from durable leather that becomes more pliable with use and proper conditioning. Since unbroken-in mitts have longer break-in periods, consumers can condition the leather, shape the pockets, and form the fingers to their liking. Although some players hate the initial patience and effort, unbroken-in mitts offer the highest customization.

Bottom line

Softball mitts are an essential piece of equipment for players of all levels, offering comfort, protection, and improved performance on the field. With various designs and materials available, offering the perfect mitt can enhance skill development and one’s overall enjoyment of the game. Following the tips offered in this article will help businesses to confidently choose softball mitts for a better day on the field, and for increased sales in 2024.

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