There are plenty of things to think about when you start looking for the right baseball glove as you’re going to want the perfect equipment to help improve your defensive capabilities. One of the main things you’re going to notice when you start shopping is that baseball gloves are certainly made out of a wide variety of materials, which leads many to question, what are baseball gloves made out of and which one is best for me?
In this guide, we’re going to go over the most popular materials used in baseball gloves, their advantages, and their disadvantages.
In most cases, you’re going to find that the vast majority of baseball gloves are constructed using natural leather. This is because over time, leather is renowned for how it’s easily broken in but yet still offers more durability than other materials on the market.
Also, you get the added advantage of being weather resistant (in most cases), and it looks great when paired with other materials, such as performance mesh.
There are four common types of leather that they use to make baseball gloves including full-grain, kipskin, steerhide, and cowhide.
Full-grain leather is one type of either steerhide or cowhide, but it looks and feels quite different due to how it’s cultivated. With a full-grain, the natural grain of the leather will remain intact which in turn makes it far heavier and stiffer than other types of leather.
The main advantage to a full-grain leather baseball glove is that it’s going to last far longer than other materials due to its durability and resilience; however, you’re going to need to spend far more time breaking it in.
What most people find with full-grain leather is that they will need to try several different breaking in methods before the glove starts to move with their hand, which surely means that it won’t be game-ready right out of the box.
Also referred to as kip, kipskin baseball gloves are the more luxurious designs that you’ll find on the market and in most cases, they’re affordable for more professional players. Crafted out of cowhide, kipskin is far more lightweight which is what makes it perfect for crafting infielder gloves.
After wearing your glove for the first time, you’ll also notice how simple it is to transfer the ball to your hand with kipskin because it helps to snag the ball regardless of how hard it’s hit.
The largest advantage to these types of gloves is that they take little to no breaking in as they arrive relatively soft and game-ready, especially when compared to gloves crafted out of game-ready leather.
In most cases, regular leather, also known as cowhide, is going to be your main choice when you start looking for baseball gloves because it’s affordable and a resource that is easily found. Cowhide gloves are known to be medium weight but depending on their design; they might be heavier than you originally thought.
Overall, regular leather is going to perform quite well and break in fast than steerhide or full-grain leather, and you can use a wide variety of conditioning oils on it without any worry.
Another characteristic that you’re sure to appreciate about cowhide gloves is that they’re best for youth players because they’re easy to use, affordable, and found at relatively every sports store in your immediate area.
If you’re on the hunt for the true crème de la crème of baseball gloves, you’re going to want to put your stakes in steerhide because we can guarantee that your glove is going through years of wear and tear.
Similar to kipskin, steerhide is a preference for professional players because of its durability and resilience. With that being said, it’s also quite expensive, and it will require a lot of breaking in as well. Steerhide is derived from the shoulders of steers, and this means the leather is going to be incredibly tough and difficult to work with at first.
If you’re not interested in investing in a real leather baseball glove, another way to answer, what are baseball gloves made out of, is to consider the alternative materials such as PU leather and performance mesh.
One of the things that we love the most about PU leather is the fact that it acts and looks similar to leather but doesn’t need to be cared for as much as natural materials. With leather gloves, you always have to be sure that dirt and grime are washed off and in many cases, you’ll have to regularly oil your glove to protect the casing.
On the other end of the spectrum, PU leather is a synthetic material that can get wet and dirty without the worry of the glove becoming ruined overnight.
Another advantage to this material is that it’s far less expensive than leather, which makes it ideal for younger baseball players who are likely to go through a glove or two in a single season.
Most baseball gloves aren’t constructed solely out of performance mesh, though it can be added in many areas to make gloves more comfortable to wear and easier to use to your advantage.
In most cases, this mesh is designed to make it easier to close your glove when you’re catching balls, so you can focus the majority of your mind on the game rather than whether you can work with your glove or not. It also offers plenty of other benefits such as making gloves more comfortable and more breathable, especially if you’re playing in warmer weather.
When you start asking, what are baseball gloves made out of, there are plenty of answers as many materials are used to craft some of the finest gloves on the market. From steerhide to performance mesh, there are materials for every type of player that is looking to improve their game and their catching percentage with ease.