Nokona Leather Guide
Experts Since 1926
Since Nokona first started making leather goods in 1926, the importance of leather quality has always been a top priority. Our constant pursuit of excellence is shown in working with tanneries, both in the United States and globally, to obtain their highest quality hides. Choose from our signature full-grain Steerhides, to Bison, Kangaroo, and exotics, we have a wide selection of high-performing leathers to suit your preferences.
In ninety-three years, we have seen a lot of leather. All leathers are unique and we have always strived to fit the right leather with the intended use. Some players prefer “broken-in”, softer leathers, like our kangaroo hides, while others want a stiffer leather like our Kips, which the player can mold to their hand over an extended time. One of the things that sets Nokona apart from other manufacturers is the goal of finding the right leather for the job, not just accepting “so called” glove leather from tanneries.
Nokona management and craftsmen have studied at the University of Cincinnati Leather Research Laboratory to learn about how leather is tanned and tested for top performance.
As a natural product, all of our proprietary leathers have unique characteristics. Different leathers can be combined to bring certain qualities to a glove. An example of this would be our use of lightweight and supple, but tough kangaroo skin, with more, fuller-bodied steerhides, for a great performance combination.
There are many types and tannages of leather.
CHROME TANNING – This is the most preferred method for ball glove leather, as it yields a manageable temper leather that is best suited for ballgloves.
VEGETABLE TANNING – More normally used for saddles and belts, this process can sometimes be combined with Chrome Tanning to make a very unique feeling leather.
ALUM TANNING – This process has long been used to make ball glove laces with less stretch. A more recent development has been the combining of Alum and Chrome tanning to make a supple and tough lace.
FULL GRAIN LEATHER – The strongest. Full grain leather is the topmost part of the hide, where the animal’s hair existed. Because it still has the epidermis layer, it is the strongest type of leather.
TOP GRAIN LEATHER – This is a hide that has had the top layer mechanically manipulated to hide defects. Top coats can be added to “even out” the finish and make a very nice looking leather, but with not as much strength as full grain.
SPLITS – Suede or “sueded split” is the back layer of a hide, being mechanically cut from the full grain side at the tannery, so that both sides have a rougher feel. This can be used in linings, but would not be used for the outside shell of the glove. Typically, tanneries use splits to sell the remainder of a hide, when their top grain customer does not want the full weight of a hide.
Nokona is the only glove manufacturer to offer 7 different leathers in over 30 colors. Each leather is unique and offers different characteristics. Players should take time to study the qualities of the leather to ensure a good match to their break-in preference and playing styles. Choose from our signature full-grain Steerhides, to Bison, Kangaroo, and exotics; we have a wide selection of high-performing leathers, each with unique characteristics to suit your preferences.
Full Grain Steerhide
Sourced from American ranchers Walnut™ – our signature Steerhide, known for its classic “crunch” look and feel
Buckskin Stampede™ – infused with proprietary oils and waxes for a soft, pliable, dense feel
Generation™ – our pro-grade Steerhide, with a vintage, golden finish
Full Grain AmericanKIP
- The finest American Steerhide
- Durable with a buttery feel
- Top choice among pro players
A specialty-tanned Steerhide, made with an organic tanning method
Great flexibility and softness
Flexible and soft for easy break-in, with a distinct grain
Durable and light-weight
Ideal for Select and Adult gloves
Sourced from specialty-tanned Japanese calfskin
Tight fibers and fine pores, for a very smooth appearance
Holds vibrant colors very well
Sourced from wild-range Australian kangaroos
High-performing, specialized leather that is stronger and lighter-weight than any other ballglove leather at same thickness
Fibers interlock for greater strength and durability
Soft and flexible
When combined with our Steerhides, we call it Buckaroo™