Before diving headlong into this oft reared debate, here’s a bit of good news. Many Wilson softball gloves are made from a combination of their Pro Stock Leather as well as some synthetic materials. In that way, they are designed to capitalize on the relative advantages of both materials, so that you get the best of both worlds.
Still, the argument has come about and continues to come about with frequency, and on more than one front. After all, it’s not just softball gloves that are made with leather, and other clothing and footwear are, too. Still, they’re not subject to the rigors of play or practice, so for the purpose of athletics, which is better? Here’s a breakdown of some of the relative benefits of both.
Strength: There’s no denying that leather is an impressively strong material, especially Wilson’s Pro Stock Leather. It’s so strong, in fact, that it’s almost uncomfortable when you first use it and needs to be broken in.
Durability: Leather is not only very strong against tensile resistance, but it is also very tough. It handles abrasion and weathering well.
Comfort that improves with time: There’s very little else as comfortable as a leather glove that has been carefully broken in over time. When you bring home a synthetic, it’s not really going to improve.
Heavy: While leather is very strong and very tough, there’s no way around the fact that it’s also very heavy. This can fatigue players over time and it also can slow down plays.
Absorbs water: Leather absorbs water, which also means it absorbs sweat. It can be treated, but not prevented, and if the leather is not cared for properly after absorbing water, it will spot, wear and deteriorate.
Requires a lot of care: Even when leather is not abused, it needs to be maintained over time or it will dry out, crack, and eventually fall apart. Even high grades of leather will fall apart without the proper care.
Synthetic Material Pros:
Strength: Some of Wilson’s gloves are made with what they call SuperSkin, which is a synthetic that is half the weight of leather, but supposed to be twice as strong.
Lightweight composition: Some synthetics are lighter than leather, whether or not they are stronger. For you, that means, at a minimum, that you might be able to make quicker plays with a synthetic glove.
Requires little care and effectively no conditioning: Synthetics basically cannot be conditioned, which means they require no care – they won’t benefit from it.
Some are not absorbent: Wilson’s SuperSkin, in particular, is also resistant to moisture, which means it won’t have the same problem with water that leather has.
Synthetic Material Cons:
It can’t be restored the way leather can: Since synthetics cannot be conditioned or maintained, they will not have the longevity of a well cared for leather glove.
Some are not as strong, despite their lightweight nature: Some synthetics are not as strong despite the fact that they are lighter, which might turn some players off.
If you’re looking for someone to walk you through the finer points of leather and synthetic materials, or give you a breakdown of some of the best Wilson softball gloves, leave this article and visit HB Sports at HeadbangerSports.com. There you won’t just be able to buy the Wilson gloves that appeal to you, but you’ll also have access to a customer service team that knows much more than we do.
Maybe they can even put down the argument of leather vs. synthetics for good, for you at least. Check out their website via the link above, and if you have any questions, give them a call at 1-888-540-BATS.