What is the Best Leather for Baseball Gloves (4 Types!)

In baseball, leather gloves are considered to be of better quality than synthetic gloves because they are softer and easier to break in. However, when choosing the best leather for baseball gloves, one must consider the qualities of the various types of leather.

In this article, we are going to look at the different types of leather used to make baseball gloves along with their benefits and drawbacks.

Additionally, we will guide you on how to choose the right one for your baseball gloves.

best leather for baseball gloves

What is the best leather for baseball gloves?

When choosing your baseball gloves, consider the ones that are made from cowhide, kipskin, full grain, or premium steer hide leather. Kip leather is however the most common because it is lighter, softer, and easier to break in than other leather types.

Let’s explore these in more detail by examining their qualities and the reasons why they are more popular for creating baseball gloves than other leather types.

1. Kip leather

Kip is a type of luxurious leather that is obtained from calves aged less than 12 months.

Since it comes from younger cows, Kip leather feels softer, thinner, flexible, and lighter than cowhide.

These qualities have made Kip the most popular leather among manufacturers and users of baseball gloves.

The softness makes the gloves easier to break in and very comfortable to wear even during the extra-long inning games in baseball. Even though the gloves may feel stiff at first, conditioning helps to soften them quickly.

Additionally, the flexibility and lightweight qualities of kip leather make it ideal for making gloves for baseball where quick hands are the key.

Furthermore, Kip leather makes gloves that are firm and durable so they can withstand everyday wear and tear.

However, despite all the above benefits, kip leather baseball gloves tend to be quite costly.

For instance, check these EASTON Professional Collection Baseball Gloves that are made from Japanese Reserve kip leather from palm lining to finger stalls and binding.

Despite the high cost, these are the go-to gloves for a number of professionals due to their benefits. They are made from high-quality, soft, durable, and lightweight leather that makes them comfortable to wear and quicker to break in.

2. Cowhide leather

Cowhide as the name suggests is leather obtained from cows or cattle. It is recognized as the strongest natural leather and is extremely durable.

The thick and sturdy structure of cowhide is one of the factors that make it the perfect material for baseball gloves.

It has a thickness of roughly 2.5 millimeters, which increases the gloves’ sturdiness and strength.

Although cowhide leather may not feel luxuriously smooth, it is incredibly soft and flexible. This shortens the breaking-in period of the gloves and makes them super comfortable. They also come pre-oiled, which helps to minimize the break-in period.

On the downside, cowhide leather gloves have the drawback of drying out when exposed to water, which makes them stiff and may cause breaking.

This means that if your baseball gloves are made of cowhide, you need to find others ways to prevent sweaty hands if your hands sweat a lot when playing.

Some players wear light batting gloves to improve their grip while others carry an extra pair of gloves for changing. You can also consider applying dry glove lotion to prevent sweaty hands.

3. Premium Steerhide leather

Steerhide is leather that is obtained from the hide of male cattle commonly known as a steer or a bull.

It is considered to be premium leather because it is derived from the rear shoulder of the bull, which is known to be the toughest part.

Thus, of the four varieties of leather used to make baseball gloves, steerhide is not only the strongest and toughest but also the most resilient and long-lasting.

Baseball gloves made from steerhide leather are renowned to be of the greatest quality, can resist heavy use, and do not wear out quickly.

However, due to the toughness of the leather, the gloves are very difficult to break in. In addition, they are very stiff and heavy so they are not flexible enough to allow the players to have control and quick response when playing.

If you are looking for premium steerhide leather baseball gloves, consider this Buckler Fame Pro Series glove that is made by a tannery in Japan known for producing the best baseball gloves.

For maximum comfort, the palm and finger back linings of the glove are cushioned with sheepskin and full-grain cow leather.

The glove is also strengthened with additional lacing to ensure its structural integrity and the back of the fingers is thickened to ensure durability.

4. Full Grain leather

Full grain leather is high-quality leather that is obtained from the outmost layer of cowhide. This makes it the strongest leather that is tough and extremely durable.

It is referred to as full grain because the leather’s natural grain remains visible, which makes it stiffer than the other forms of cowhide leather.

Most baseball glove manufacturers use full-grain leather due to its ability to withstand wear and tear and its effective performance once it’s broken in.

However, as a player, it’s important to know that these gloves take a long time to break in because they are quite stiff and tough. But once broken in, you will love their extraordinary performance especially when it comes to quick response and control.

To quicken the break-in period, consider using a silicon-free leather oil or conditioner like Leather Honey Conditioner. It is ideal for leather gloves because it is not sticky and improves the flexibility of leather within a short time.

How to choose the right leather for your baseball gloves

In order to choose the right leather for your baseball gloves, consider the following qualities.

  • Break in time

    This refers to the time by which your glove becomes comfortable for use and gets accustomed to your hand sooner. Although there are several ways to eliminate the rigidity of baseball gloves, choosing the right type of leather shortens the break-in time. Kip leather for instance is soft and flexible and makes breaking in easier compared to cowhide leather.

  • Durability

    The type of leather you pick should be strong enough to be able to withstand the wear and tear of playing. So if you are looking for durability, consider premium steerhide or full-grain leather gloves since they are quite tough. The only con is that they might take a while to break in.

  • Easy to use

    Baseball gloves should be easy to use. They should be lightweight enough to enable sufficient maneuverability to boost your confidence in the field. Thus, avoid leather gloves that might feel bulky and uncomfortable.

  • Sturdy construction

    The kind of leather used to make baseball gloves influences their construction. A well-constructed and designed baseball glove is made from high-grade leather such as cowhide which makes it fairly sturdy but not very stiff.


Baseball gloves are made from a variety of leather types, such as full-grain leather, premium steerhide, and cowhide.

However, the best leather for baseball gloves should be of the highest quality, durable, easy to break in, and easy to use.

Professional players typically favor kip leather over other types of leather because of its firm feel, lightweight, superior quality, and ease of breaking in.

Full-grain leather is however most resilient and makes durable gloves but it costs much more than the rest.

Similar Posts