At a glance, softball and baseball look like very similar games because they have the same goal: try to score more runs than your opponent. If you aren’t familiar withRead More
A catcher who controls the game carries the team to victory.
I’m a firm believer in defensive play. People usually tend to prioritize offensive play over defensive measures. However, the great defense can turn into your biggest offense if you know how to play your cards right.
And catchers are a big part of defensive play. From saving wild pitches and passed balls, strategizing with the pitcher, making sure to stop any bunt shenanigans, keeping the team’s spirits up – catchers have a lot on their plate.
The last thing you’d want as a catcher – when you’re shouldered with so many responsibilities – is a garbage mitt. A poor mitt will be like that mental itch you just can’t scratch. Having the best fastpitch catcher’s mitt is one way of keeping your head in the game.
As I said, defensive play is just as important as offense. So, I’ve always made sure that catchers are trained right and they are geared properly. Now, if you’re serious about taking and maintaining control, you’d want to go through the catcher’s mitt list I have here.
I’ve decided to shed some light on a range of different mitts based on price, material, age, gender, and overall quality. So, no matter what your age, skill level, or budget is – you’ll find something. With that said, let’s head straight into it.
7 Best Fastpitch Catcher’s Mitt Review
Not every mitt that hits the market is of the same caliber. Some make their way to the hands of MLB pros, and others never get their day in the sun. Anyways, the gloves I’m about to highlight here will help you one way or another. Not all of them are top-tier, though. I’ve kept some cost-effective mitts for my fellow budget hunters. So, I’ll break each mitt down to the last detail and you can use the information to evaluate and eventually decide.
1. Wilson A2000 Fastpitch Glove Series (Best Premium Fastpitch Mitt)
I don’t think the Wilson A2000 needs an elaborate introduction. People who are regulars in softball or baseball are familiar with the legend of the A2000. Once an exclusive gear to baseball only, the Wilson A2000 has made its way to softball now. And as expected, the performance is still as excellent as ever.
The A2000 glove series has a lot of fastpitch gloves suited for different positions. However, I’m just going to focus on the 34-inch mitt. So, the first thing – the 34-inch mitt size is enough to accommodate adult hands. I used it for a long time with no issue whatsoever.
Wilson’s signature Pro Stock Leather is one of the major perks of this mitt. If you’re not familiar with the Pro Stock, it’s actually leather from the US steer hide. So, the material itself makes the mitt strong enough to last for years even if you use it regularly or roughhouse with it.
However, the Pro Stock Leather on this model was further upgraded by the “SuperSkin” feature. The result is- less weight but more durability. I can’t comment about “more durability” because the traditional Pro Stock is really sturdy as well. But I can vouch for the lightweight nature that comes with the SuperSkin.
Also, there’s the flat finger binding to help unorthodox catchers. If you don’t like the distance between the back of the glove and your hand, you can simply keep a finger out and still get all the benefits of this mitt. The comfort won’t be compromised even if you keep a finger out.
The pull-strap adjustment option is more durable compared to the traditional Velcro. However, you need to get the hang of using it to understand the adjustment mechanics.
This mitt has basket webbing. To be honest, I would’ve preferred an H-web or I-web. But you can work with it once you put some practice hours into it. Also, the US steerhide leather makes this mitt a tough nut to crack. You need to use it as much as you can to break it in properly.
Still, the Wilson A2000 is on a league of its own. If you want to go into pro softball, this mitt can set you on that path. It has what it takes to stand up to fierce competition and extensive use. So, once you get it primed and broken, you won’t have to look back.
- Material: Pro Stock Leather (US Steerhide)
- Size: 34-inches
- Webbing: Basket Web
- Throw: Right Hand
2. Rawlings Player Preferred Baseball/Softball Glove Series (Best Budget Fastpitch Catcher’s Mitt)
In the head-to-head for being the best softball catcher’s mitt, Rawlings sits right next to Wilson. I can’t even call it close second because both manufacturers are top-tier, and know what they’re doing. Statistically speaking, a lot of MLB pros prefer Rawlings. But Wilson has made its way to MLB as well.
Anyways, the Rawlings Player Preferred catcher’s mitt is targeted towards budget hunters. It does lack the elite features you’d otherwise get from premium Rawlings like the Liberty Advanced. But it certainly packs a lot of punch for a budget mitt.
Even people looking for a recreational or top-tier slow-pitch glove will find something from Rawlings’ collection.
Unlike the A2000, the Player Preferred has synthetic leather. Synthetic leather isn’t as durable as steer hides or cowhides. However, it’s really easy to get it game-ready. You can get the maximum performance out of this mitt just after a few days of catching practice.
Plus, synthetic leather is perfect for players who are starting out. If you’re not used to playing competitive softball or getting your foot in the door, the Player Preferred is an excellent entry point.
Also, the impact shock you get from an incoming fastball is something every catcher dreads. They have to deal with this issue more than any other position on the field. But the thick padding of the Player Preferred mitigates the shock to a large extent.
The Player Preferred catcher’s mitt also has a closed web. It’s kind of similar to the basket web. The design is different – yes. But the visibility issue with both basket and the closed web is similar.
There’s the leather pull-strap for adjusting the mitt. So, you won’t have any problem tightening/loosening it.
Overall, the Rawlings Player Preferred is an amazing budget-friendly mitt. If you are a good softball player, you can get a ton of value out of this mitt. The comfy leather, adjustment options, shock-resistant padding – this mitt has features that can give the big boy mitts a run for their money.
Still, some of the drawbacks of this mitt are pretty clear. It’s not meant for players with large hands. And you should maintain it regularly to keep it in shape. However, if you don’t want to spend four times the price for a high-end mitt, the Player Preferred should be the path you take.
- Material: Synthetic leather
- Size: 33-inches
- Webbing: Closed Web
- Throw: Right-hand throw
3. Wilson Aura Fastpitch Glove Series (Best Budget-friendly Branded Catcher’s Mitt)
Most people I know think that Wilson only comes up with really expensive high-end gloves and mitts. That’s not entirely true. The seemingly top-shelf manufacturer does have a few weapons in their arsenal for budget hunters as well. And the only budget mitt in their repertoire is the Wilson Aura.
Let me clear a couple of things out before you get into this review with the wildest of expectations. Despite the big Wilson name attached to it, Wilson Aura is a budget-friendly mitt. So, think of the price point and keep your hopes grounded.
With that out the way, this mitt has a lot of good things going for itself. Unlike the Player Preferred and the Wilson A2000, Wilson Aura has a dual post-H-web. So, this mitt has the edge when it comes to the slight visibility issue that the other two mitts have.
Also, the leather is synthetic. There’s little to no effort required to break in the mitt. I had it on for a couple of days playing catch with my students. And that’s all it took. No oil, no hammering, no complicated shenanigans needed.
Plus, the top grain leather makes the mitt lightweight. You can quickly move it around to prevent wild pitches or passed balls. The padding is thick and comfortable enough to take a lot of hits. There’s a nice pop sound every time the ball hits the center padding.
I liked the Velcro adjustment. While I have nothing against pull-straps, I prefer Velcro. It just makes the wrist adjustment way easier. The 33-inch glove can fit adult hands. Once I put it in and strapped the Velcro, it was all good.
However, it’s not all sunshine for the Wilson Aura. Synthetic leather isn’t as durable as steerhide or cowhide leather. Top grain gives you the ease of movement but takes away a chunk of durability as well. So, the build quality isn’t stellar. But if you maintain it properly, it’ll still last a long time.
The Wilson Aura catcher’s mitt was never meant for full-on professional softball. It’s more of a recreational/practice mitt. I’d recommend this to people who want to use it as a practice mitt for drills or adult players who just want to have some fun – nothing serious.
- Material: Synthetic leather
- Size: 33-inches
- Webbing: Dual Post H-web
- Throw: Right hand throw
4. Rawlings Liberty Advanced Fastpitch Softball Glove Series (Best Premium Fastpitch Catcher’s Mitt)
As a professional or elite catcher, one of your primary concerns should be the quality of the mitt you are using. I have already mentioned once, a catcher controls the game. Imagine how it’ll feel if you are penalized for a passed ball not because you lack the talent but because your mitt failed you when you needed it the most.
If failure isn’t an option for you, then you should have a look at the catcher’s mitt of the Rawlings Liberty Advanced Fastpitch Softball Glove Series. It hasn’t failed my team; so, I believe it won’t fail you as well.
The leather quality of the mitt is simply great. This is what I check first before suggesting my players a glove. It features full-grain shell leather, which is oil-treated from the factory for extended life and durability.
The mitt comes with an H-web design that I think is optimal for catchers. It gives you better accuracy and vision of the ball and the pitcher’s movement. Additionally, the opening is adjustable and it features a pull strap; so, you shouldn’t have any problem finding the perfect fit for your hand.
While testing out the mitt, I’ve found that it has thick index finger and palm pads. When I went to the practice session with some of my players, I asked them how hard the ball impact feels. Their answers were the same and all of them thought that the pads significantly reduced the impact.
The only downside to the mitt, I’ve noticed so far, is that it takes a while to break in completely. The stiffness remains there for quite some time; so, make sure to treat the glove with oil and practice as much as you can.
- Material: Pre-oiled shell leather
- Size: 34-inch
- Webbing: Pro H-web
- Throw: Right hand throw
5. Mizuno Franchise Fastpitch Softball Glove Series (Best Fastpitch Catcher’s Mitt for Girls)
If you haven’t skipped your biology classes, you should know that the hand structure of males and females are not the same. Call me old-fashioned, but I do believe there are differences between the needs of a man and a woman. Hence, I present to you the Mizuno Franchise Fastpitch Softball Glove Series catcher’s mitt, the perfect glove for girls.
First of all, the mitt is made up of Java leather and it is also pre-oiled from the factory. There are some advantages and disadvantages of having Java leather. It ensures easy and fast break-in, but with the cost of durability and longevity.
Although it is believed that Java leather catcher’s mitt doesn’t last long, but the one I got for my girls seems to be quite durable. They have been using the Mizuno glove for over a year now and still, there are no major signs of damage.
Apart from that, the mitt features HiLo lacing, which increases its flexibility. It is perfect for women or girls who have small to medium hands and are sensitive to the ruggedness of a catcher’s mitt.
I’ve also noticed that the glove comes with Parashock plus palm pads. It reduces the impact of a ball and the sting you feel after catching a fastball. Nevertheless, one of the students told me that the pad around the palm is a bit thin. It used to sting her around the palm area when I threw her a fastball.
On the other hand, the mitt is designed with pinky and thumb hinges. What they do is create a wide pocket at the center of the glove to make catching easier. Overall, the mitt is worth the money unless you have very large hands.
The opening is smaller than some of my players usually prefer but after loosening one of the laces, it used to fit their hands perfectly.
- Material: Pre-oiled Java leather
- Size: 34-inch
- Webbing: H-web
- Throw: Right-hand throw
6. Mizuno Prospect GXC112 Youth Catchers Mitt (Best Youth Softball Catcher’s Mitt)
As a coach, I always planned to make my kids interested in sports, especially softball. But, after looking at the price tags of some mitts my head began to spin. It didn’t stop me though and I knew there must be another way to ensure that my kids learn how to play without me going bankrupt.
So, if you are also looking for a budget-friendly mitt that you would like for your growing child, I suggest you have a look at the Mizuno Prospect GXC112 Youth Catchers Mitt.
Okay, first things first. The mitt features full-grain pigskin leather, which is not the best material out there but can get the job done. In any case, the glove will still last for a few seasons, provided you or your kid use it only for recreational games or training.
Apart from that, the mitt comes with a soft palm lining and ParaShock palm pads. These features make the glove comfortable and easy to wear. It also reduces the pressure on your hands and fingers when you catch a fastball.
While practicing with my youngest kid, who is about 10 years old, I noticed that whenever I threw the ball above 60mph or near 60mph, it used to sting his thumb and index finger. So even though the glove comes with padding, it is not meant for kids who are above 12-14 years old.
Although the mitt is nearly game-ready and features almost a 100% factory break-in from the start, you’ll still have to do a few things in order to reduce or eliminate the bounce.
I used a glove mallet and started by giving the mitt 500 impacts. Make sure to do it between the palm area and the pocket. Then, try to apply Neatsfoot Compound oil and a few hundred more impacts. Once you finish creating the glove, you’ll see that it is near perfection.
It may still have some bounce at first but after a few hours of training, there shouldn’t be any. Yes, it is a little annoying that you have to go through the extra work, but trust me the end result is great.
- Material: Full grain pigskin
- Size: 31.5-inch
- Webbing: Closed web
- Throw: Right-hand throw
7. Rawlings Renegade Baseball/Softball Glove Series (Best for Recreational Softball/ Honorary Mention)
So, we are down to the last one. I was half mind-ready to include and half ready to exclude the Rawlings Renegade Baseball/Softball Glove series catcher’s mitt in my list of the best as it is already long enough. But as you can guess, the latter half won the match and now here I am talking about the mitt I believe is a total value for the money.
Let me make a few things clear first, the mitt is most suitable for the young generation and it is not meant for hardcore/professional sports. So, before buying the glove, make sure you are planning to use it for recreational softball.
The mitt is made up of full grain synthetic leather and black mesh. It is not an all-leather glove and the non-leather portions feel a little uncomfortable. The combination, however, allows the mitt to retain shape quickly. It is quite durable and will last for a couple of seasons and frankly, you can’t ask for anything better with the price you are paying.
Another thing I like about the glove is that it is lightweight. Therefore, it is perfect for recreational softball as the weight makes it easy for the hands. There are cushion pads on the index finger and palm area, making the mitt very comfortable to wear and maneuver.
Apart from that, the 31.5-inch catcher’s mitt comes with a 90% factory break-in. It means you’ll only need a day or half a day to completely break-in. Usually, it takes quite a while to break in a mitt; however, this one is different as it is specifically made for practice and recreational softball.
As you can already see in the pictures, the glove features a closed web design. Yes, it gives better stability but with the cost of vision and accuracy. The glove is one of a kind and very comfortable; however, it will start to crumble if used roughly and continuously. It is an entry-level glove; so, make sure to treat it like one.
- Material: Full-grain synthetic leather
- Size: 31.5-inch
- Webbing: Closed web
- Throw: Right hand throw
How to Choose the Best Fastpitch Catcher’s Mitt
All the mitts I’ve listed are here for more than one reason. Now, I’m going to explain why I’ve handpicked these mitts from a flurry of options. The general framework I’m about to give you will help you find the perfect mitt for yourself regardless of the budget, age, hand size, gender, or any other peculiarities (if I’ve missed any).
Material Trumps Every Other Consideration
I know – a lot of different variables are in play when you’re trying to find the good catcher’s mitt. However, there is a clear winner – the build quality. What the mitt is made of overrides every other aspect. So, the first thing you need to check when getting a mitt is the material.
If you’re looking for durability and long-lasting performance (and I mean freaking long), there’s no beating full-grain leather. It can either be US steerhide or cowhide – both are exceptionally good.
However, you may not have the moolah to afford premium leather. Instead, you could go for either synthetic leather or pigskin. From what I’ve seen, synthetic leather is a bit better than pigskin. But the difference is marginal.
So, always keep an eye out on how durable the mitt is going to be. You don’t want to get a mitt and lose it after a week or two.
The Webbing of Your Choice
Webbing preference actually comes down to the individual. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to different web patterns. However, professional catchers have a tendency to either go for closed basket web or H-web.
The basket web may interfere with better vision. But it is easier to strategize with the pitcher using a basket web. Plus, there’s no chance of slips and sudden base changes because you can catch the ball with ease.
Flat Finger Binding
If you’ve watched any MLB matches, you probably saw a lot of pro catchers keeping a finer outside of the glove. Some people feel comfortable this way. Even I switched between keeping my fingers inside and outside depending on how I’m feeling with the mitt.
However, this feature isn’t available in all the mitts. It’s a high-end feature. And you’ll only find it in a few select mitts. The Wilson A2000 and Rawlings Liberty Advanced have it. It gives you more flexibility to switch between different stances as the game drags on.
Shock Resistant Padding
As a catcher, you’ll have to be on guard. Sudden wild pitches may startle you, but you still need to stop them to prevent a base change. Also, there’s the chance of getting a rewarding foul tip in an important match.
Anyways, the sudden change of trajectory doesn’t allow the player to snag the ball in the pocket. You have to improvise. If the ball doesn’t hit the pocket, chances of an impact shock are high. Take ten of them and your hand’s going to be in serious trouble.
That’s why a full leather mitt with impact/shock resistance is essential in saving you from injuries. You don’t want to be knocked out for the entire season after one match, right?
Control the Game with Comfort
Catchers are an integral part of professional softball. You can lead your team to victory with exceptional defensive plays, leadership, and quick thinking.
But – the sweet taste of victory will elude you if you’re not comfortable with your position. That’s why the best fastpitch catcher’s mitt is so important.
A comfortable mitt will let you focus on the game and look at the bigger picture. Also, you can save sudden wild pitches and passed balls. When all of this comes together, you can sure as hell get the game in the bag.
So, if you want a premium catcher’s mitt with excellent control, comfort, and durability, the Wilson A2000 or the Rawlings Liberty Advanced should be your weapon of choice. However, not everyone has the necessary dough for it. So, for starters looking to improve your game, the Rawlings Player Preferred is an excellent option.
I hope I’ve covered everything there is to know about the fastpitch catcher’s mitts. Go ahead and take charge with a top-shelf catcher’s mitt, cheers!