If you are taking the two games seriously, then no you can’t use a baseball glove for softball. The gloves really are designed differently based off of the different sizes of a baseball and softball.
Softballs are much bigger, so in general, the glove is built to catch a 12” softball vs a 9” baseball. There are a few things to keep in mind before going out and purchasing a softball glove for recreational use.
It’s ok to use a baseball glove for softball. It’s not illegal but it may be more difficult to catch with. Softball gloves generally start around 12” once you graduate from the 11” softball to the 12” softball.
Here are some basic difference that you’ll want to understand if you are a serious softball player.
The softball glove requires a much deeper pocket than a baseball glove. The softball glove also has a bigger webbing to accommodate for the bigger softball. The softball is much easier to feel for and find in a deeper glove.
Transferring the ball quickly from glove to hand is much easier to do with a bigger ball in a deeper pocket. Also, the leather itself tends to be thicker in a baseball glove to help with the high rate of speed a baseball can reach, up to 120mph.
How to tell if a glove is for baseball or softball
A softball glove tends to be a little thinner and easier to manage for the hand. Softballs on average reach speeds around 80mph. In the softball world, a lot of gloves have a Velcro strap to help tighten the glove on the wrist. That is one of the biggest giveaways in how to spot a softball glove.
Most gloves will also have “softball" printed on the glove to help spot the difference.
The catchers mitt for softball is the most noticeable difference between baseball gloves and softball gloves. Catcher's mitts are built like tanks with a lot of extra padding to help compensate for the extra velocity.
A softball catcher's mitt is built sturdy to help with the demands of the position, but the large webbing is still intact to help with the larger softball.
So, if you're a weekend warrior playing with some friends and you want to use your baseball glove to play softball, have at it. If you're a serious softball player, shop for a softball glovedesigned specifically for the larger softball.