Leather is the classic material for baseball gloves. I mean, if you were a fan from your childhood like me, you have probably seen those rugged leather gloves in the hands of your idols all the time. And when you grew up and started playing, you naturally wanted to get a high-end leather glove yourself.
But make no mistake about it – leather gloves are pretty expensive. And on a small budget, going with a top-notch leather glove is really not an option. Well, as it turns out, you can also find Mesh back baseball gloves in the market, and they are a lot more affordable than their leather counterparts.
However, this also begs the question, are mesh gloves better than leather baseball gloves? Well, I’ll say it right away – no, they are not even in the same league. But mesh gloves do have some uses and can be quite useful in some settings.
Here, I will give you a quick comparison between mesh vs leather baseball gloves and help you understand which one to go with if you are on a tight budget. So, let’s hop in.
Mesh vs Leather Baseball Gloves (Quick Comparison)
The purpose of the chart is to give you a quick overview. However, it doesn’t give you the whole story.
Note: For instance, mesh gloves not requiring maintenance can give the impression that this material is incredible! But it’s quite the opposite. The cheap and casual material is not worth maintaining. So, don’t let the chart blindside you.
|Mesh Baseball Gloves
|Leather Baseball Gloves
|Polyester or other synthetic material
|Cowhide, steerhide, or deer hide
|Cheap less than $50
|Expensive (price varies depending on quality)
|PE or other training
|Competitive games and training
|Short (almost non-existent)
|Long (depends on the thickness of the leather)
Mesh Baseball Gloves vs Leather Baseball Gloves: What’s the Difference
Here are some of the key differences between mesh and leather baseball gloves –
· Materials and Pricing
The main difference between mesh and leather baseball gloves is the material. Apart from that, the design and idea are pretty much the same. However, because of the material choice, mesh baseball gloves are significantly cheaper than leather baseball gloves.
Yes, there are definitely some cheap leather gloves out there within a price range of around 50 to 100 dollars. But even these affordable baseball gloves are no match for the price tag that mesh baseball gloves come at.
To be honest, when I was doing my research, I was having a tough time figuring out who would go with mesh baseball gloves in the first place. The student-athletes who can’t afford the better gear? Even then, they would usually prefer saving up and going with a cheaper leather glove, right?
And then it hit me – the main buyer for mesh baseball gloves are schools with a P.E. course that teaches the kids the basics of baseball or softball. You see, baseball gloves can get pretty expensive, and if a school decided to blow their P.E. budget on decent leather gloves, they wouldn’t have enough for other sections.
Leather baseball gloves, on the other hand, are used by anyone who is getting them for personal use in a competitive baseball game. These gloves are designed for both casual and professional players.
· Durability and Performance
Mesh baseball gloves have the benefit of being cheaper, sure, but they are really not that good in a competitive setting. They don’t last as long, and also, while they have the advantage of being more breathable, they don’t feel as good as a leather glove.
What you need to understand is that mesh baseball gloves are really not designed to be used in competitive baseball. You can get them for cheap, which makes them a decent choice for kids playing casual softball and baseball. But for a youth player, a high-end leather baseball glove is almost always the better choice.
· Break in Time
The one good thing that mesh baseball gloves have going for themselves is that they don’t require any breaking-in. You can, in practice, buy a new mesh baseball glove and start using it in your next game. But with leather gloves, you need to break it in properly before it starts feeling comfortable in your hands.
That isn’t always a bad thing, however, as many people actually prefer how the leather glove feels in their hand after they break it in. While breaking in can take some time, and baseball glove oils are expensive, there are plenty of affordable baseball glove oil alternatives that can make things easier on your wallet.
Leather baseball gloves are considerably heavier than mesh baseball gloves. Mesh is basically a type of breathable, synthetic material. So, it usually feels softer in your hands and also has less weight compared to a bulky material like leather. Now, whether this is good or bad depends on you.
Some players prefer the feel of a lighter glove. But if you ask me, going with a lightweight leather glove (there are quite a few out there) is always better than committing to a mesh glove solely for the sake of weight.
Knowing how to take care of your baseball glove is a vital part of your training as a player. I’m sure you have heard about how much of a chore it can be to keep your leather baseball gloves game-ready at all times. Well, with mesh gloves, that’s not a problem.
You see, mesh gloves do not require much maintenance, and you can simply toss them in the locker after a game and call it a day. But with leather gloves, you need to clean them, condition them, and also store them properly to make sure it doesn’t get bent out of shape or torn up.
The Bottom Line
While on paper, mesh baseball glove does seem to pose some obvious advantages over leather baseball gloves, in truth, this really isn’t much of a competition. If you ask me to choose between a mesh and a leather baseball glove, I will go with leather gloves every single time.
Don’t get me wrong – there are some pretty valid applications for mesh baseball gloves. For example, P.E. courses in your school can definitely benefit from having a locker full of mesh gloves that everyone gets to play with. And since everyone is wearing the same glove, it won’t make any difference in your overall experience.
I hope my extensive comparison between mesh vs leather baseball gloves could help you understand which glove is the better choice for you. Good luck!