There's a lot of gear out there, which sometimes makes it hard to know exactly what to get. We had our Division I coaches all sit down and compile a list of their Top 10 softball picks, just for you!
Our top 10 Softball picks! Check it out:
1. BATS - Louisville Slugger & Demarini
For a long time Easton bats were the hot item on the market. They were always explosive and had the most "pop" off the bat. But as new composite technology has become available, Louisville and Demarini have taken a large lion's share of the softball market. Both companies continue to produce powerful products that last. And the best part - year over year they keep their models similar, so you never have to worry about getting a new bat until you break the one you have.
2. GLOVES - Wilson, Louisville Slugger & Worth
A good glove is all about the leather. Many companies produce synthetic leather gloves (which can usually be found in the majority of all youth sized gloves). Good Leather = Longer Glove Life. Wilson, Louisville and Worth use durable, quality leather in the making of their gloves, which as you may have already noticed, is reflected in the price. They might cost you a little more to buy, but gloves should last you several years - that is, if you take care of it when you aren't using it. Always make sure to pack it with a ball inside, keep the laces tight, and pocket round - after all, no one likes pancake gloves.
3. CLEATS - Nike
Cleats. There's plenty of brands out there to choose from: Nike, Under Armour, Ringor, Mizuno, Rally, the list goes on and on. But cleats should be light weight, durable, breathable, and most importantly, comfortable. With that said, Under Armour and Mizuno shoot straight to the top, but Nike takes the prize in our book. Nike cleats have a lot of ventilation in their newer models, while still using durable material for long wear. They are more accommodating for people with wider feet. Under Armour and Mizuno cleats seem to feel just a bit narrower.
4. PANTS - TheGluv
It shouldn't come as a surprise that most softball pants have descended from baseball pants. If you played more than 15 years ago, you were probably wearing baseball pants because that's all they made. TheGluv is one of the only companies to design female only cut softball wear. The cut and shape is designed to fit softball bodies and build confidence. Trust us when we say that feeling confident in the gear you use is half the battle.
5. SOCKS - TheGluv
The biggest complaint softball players have with socks over time is that they get crusty (don't freak out that we just used that word) and loose. Well when you play three games in a day, sliding and sweating, your socks take the brunt of it. TheGluv socks have a lot of elasticity in their design that allow them to hold up to a full weekend of play. They are thick where you need it - but any pair of sock only has so many days. TIP : add OxiClean and fabric softener in your wash to keep your socks as good as new.
6. BATTING GLOVES - Easton
If you hit multiple times a week like most of our athletes do I'm sure you've noticed that your batting gloves wear and tear in the same spots consistently. Batting gloves aren't cheap, and you never realize how quickly you go through them until your at the checkout line again. Easton makes some great batting gloves - most have extra padding and durability in the areas that batters rub the most. Before buying your next pair of batting gloves check out your holes, and compare it to all their makes and models. There's probably a pair that will work just perfect for you.
7. SPORTS BRAS - Nike
If you've ever owned a Target sports bra you probably know it stretches out over time. There's something to be said for spending a little extra. Nike sports bras cost about $40. We know what you are probably thinking - that's a lot of money to spend on a bra. But seriously, it does the trick. Nike's sports bras are made incredibly well. The under band never looses it stretch and the seams stay intact. Ask any college athlete who was sponsored by Nike - they'd probably tell you the sports bras they got 4 or 5 years ago are still their best ones. Make the investment.
8. HEADBANDS - Under Armour
If we're being honest, this may have been the toughest selection we needed to make. If you ask any softball player, "What do you look for in a headband?" they'd probably all tell you, "Something that's going to stay on my head every time I take off my helmet, put on my visor, or do anything else that might cause it to fall off, like pitching." Headbands are super tough to deem the "best" because everyone's head and hair type are different. A great cheap solution is Mueller Colored Foam Under Wrap (often referred to as pre-wrap). It's an easy solution that you can do on the go, any size, and throw it away after, but disclaimer: it can often get caught in the back of your hair. Thus, our top pick is Under Armour because of their wide variety of sizes, shapes, and types of headband offerings. They have ones with silicone stay-put grip and others that manually adjust. Next time you need a new headband, take a look, they might just have what you're looking for.
9. BACKPACK BAT BAGS - Easton
We want to preface this pick with: Catchers this may not apply to you. Backpack bat bags are great bags for all of you who don't own catching gear - they just aren't big enough. They travel very similar to a normal backpack, which rest comfortably on your back. They have sleeves on both sides for your bats to fit into and a large pocket for your glove, helmet, and cleats. Parents: the best thing about these is there isn't much extra room for stuffing them with empty water bottles and trash, it just won't fit. With backpacks there's no excuse why Mom or Dad should be carrying the bag, but note: if you travel for games you will need to fit your bat in your suitcase.
10. BALLS - Wilson
When we discussed our top ball picks, the one word that came to mind was consistency. Dudley softballs are great balls, but they seem just a little lighter than the rest. Wilson is very consistent with it's production of balls. The seams and coverings on all its models feel very similar (excluding soft compression balls due to their purpose). All in all, you know what you are getting with a Wilson game ball.