A glove is the second most expensive piece of equipment most players will buy. Thankfully, if you get the right glove, it will last for a very long time!
Generally speaking, gloves are like cars. You can get a Chevy, a Buick or a Cadillac. What makes one better than the others?
You get what you pay for!
Why are some fielder’s gloves so much more expensive than a glove that appears to be very similar? The answer to this question can be tied directly to the automotive analogy we drew earlier. The basic design of a fielder’s glove is pretty similar across all the price ranges. Where things get interesting is in the quality of the leather and the methods used to construct the glove.
The most-expensive gloves use a much more durable and heavier leather. They are usually much harder the break in (more on that later) but will also last a very long time. There are some high-end gloves (Mercedes-Benz) that we call “forever gloves” because with proper care, they should last a lifetime. Just like the million miles you expect to get out of your Mercedes.
Gloves made from lighter and softer leather are going to break down over time and need to be replaced more often. If you get two full years out of a bargain glove, you can consider that a victory. The good news, however, is that the cheaper gloves break in much faster and can often be played with right off the shelf.
Glove construction also plays a role in price. While most designs are very similar, the way a glove is assembled can vary greatly. Certain manufacturers have highly skilled technicians who can “feel” when the glove is constructed to the highest standards. Other gloves are assembly line specials where the gloves fly through the factory with less skilled workers doing the assembly.
When it comes to a glove, we believe you get what you pay for. The investment is a good one for an experienced player who is very serious about the game. Having said that, we do not recommend buying a high-end glove for younger and less-experienced players. Start your rookies out with a less-expensive or hand me down glove and let them wear it out.
If that rookie sticks with the game and reaches a higher level, determines what positions she is most likely to play, and has shown a dedication to the game, then buy her the best glove you can afford. The investment will pay off!
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.
Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.