Choosing Your Baseball Glove Leather

Choosing your glove leather can be both an easy task and difficult task. It all really depends on what you are looking for out of your baseball glove.

The majority of gloves you will find on the market at stores and online are going to be your traditional USA Steerhide Leather and USA Cowhide Leather gloves. These generally tend to be a bit heavier in quality and overall feel. While steerhide is probably the heviest with the longest break in times, cowhide is ideal for junior or youth players since the leather is softer and easier to break in. Most top companies like Rawlings, Wilson, Easton, Akadema, Nokona, Nike, and Mizuno use these leathers for their gloves for mass consumption at Dick's Sporting Goods, and any other mass merchant retailer you can walk into across the country.

Where things get a bit more premium and specialized are the Kip Leather baseball gloves. These can be found in both USA Kip Leather and Japanese Kip Leather. Kip leather is usually the most preferred leather among professional players due to the light, firm, feel and higher quality of the leather. Kip leather comes from younger cattle, which creates a lighter hide that is extremely durable and taut, while also being a little bit easier to break in when compared to USA premium steerhide gloves.

While gloves last for various duration of time depending on use by the owner, most serious and high level players replace their gloves every season as to maintain consistency and to keep glove performance at a high level. After all, the better your equipment and maintenance of it, the easier your job to perform consistently becomes. Almost all professional baseball players use the same model glove and leather over a career, and just replace their gloves every off season and spring as they prepare for season.

So depending on your level of play, caliber and skill level, think about what type of glove your are using or should be using.

Selecting Your Leather:

  • Cowhide Leather - Heavy leather, fastest break in time, medium quality, short durability, ideal for youth players.
  • Steerhide Leather - Heaviest leather, longest break in time, high quality, longest durability, ideal  for high school and college players.
  • Kip Leather - Lighter leather, medium break in time, higher quality, long durability, ideal for college and pro players.
  • Japanese Kip Leather - Lightest leather, medium break in time, highest quality, long durability, ideal for elite pro players.