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5 Best Nokona Baseball Gloves

Nokona baseball gloves have been a huge seller for many years. Players are very partial to certain glove manufacturers once they’ve played for a long time. With their gloves dating back close to 90 years, all levels have leaned on Nokona.

What are the current top options from the company for the average baseball player? For performance options, these five series are all great to examine.

Nokona doesn’t focus much on budget options, so all of these will cost a decent amount of money. What shoppers will find is they are all built for a good amount of use.

Here are the 5 best Nokona Baseball gloves right now.

1. Nokona Bloodline Edge

Nokona has changed up how the Bloodline Edge is created based on position. Some of these gloves use Japanese CalfSKN and Australian Kangaroo, while others will use Japanese CalfSKN and steerhide madone.

This might not seem like that big of a change, but the little things do make a difference from a performance and durability perspective.

As one of the more expensive gloves from the company, they feel they are worth the investment because of their performance. The gloves are soft and flexible, yet hold up well through the elements and sweat.

There’s nothing worse than investing in a brand new glove, only for it to look worn out after moderate use. No one purchasing this glove will ever have that feeling.

Pros

  • Uses a combination of leathers for the perfect feel
  • Enhanced control
  • Very lightweight

Cons

  • One of their most expensive models
  • Lack of color choices

2. Nokona Alpha

The Alpha series really puts a focus on eliminating the break-in period for the average baseball player. Using American kip and super soft leathers, the glove is ready for gameplay and will last a long time.

Nokona has mixed the leathers around so that it’s a lighter glove than before. The palm leather feels very comfortable for all positions.

One reason why the Alpha series has stayed around for so long is that people fall in love with it early on, and then never look back. It’s accessible enough for younger players, and they can grow into a better one as time goes on.

Since infielders seem to be the pickiest with tough break-in times with certain gloves, they lean towards Alpha options.

Pros

  • No break-in time required
  • Very durable in the palm
  • Mixed leathers for ultimate comfort

Cons

  • One color choice
  • Doesn’t feel as premium as some of the others

3. Nokona SKN

Using both American bison and Japanese CalfSKN, the feel with SKN gloves is a bit different from previous models. The goal with the new leather placement is to make these gloves even more durable than before.

There’s also more structure to the glove to make it perfect for players ranging from professionals to youngsters.

The glove still takes a decent amount of time to break in properly, but that’s about the only complaint players will have when using the glove. It originally caught on at the highest levels of play because of its structure. Those still in search of the perfect build will love giving the SKN a try.

Pros

  • Improved structure
  • More durable than the previous SKN release
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Glove color shows wear-and-tear more easily than others
  • Two-tone contrast of colors is polarizing

4. Nokona AmericanKIP

Using the top-end American steer hide, the goal with AmericanKIP is to have the same type of play as kip leather coming from Japan or Europe. The reason why so many have fallen in love with kip leather is that it’s extremely lightweight, yet highly structured.

The AmericanKIP comes in white, black, blonde, and gray. The white gloves tend to show wear and tear pretty easily, but the others all look great even when used for a few seasons.

A lot of professional players using this glove love the soft and buttery feel the leather has when fielding balls.

Pros

  • Four color choices
  • Lightweight
  • Highly structured

Cons

  • Break-in takes some time
  • Not all colors are always in stock

5. Nokona Walnut

This is about as classic of a glove as one can find. With the history dating back over 80 years, Nokona has made some tweaks to a classic look to provide a high-performing glove overall.

Maybe the biggest selling point of this glove is its overall stability and durability. Some players have been using the same type of glove for years and years, and it’s never let them down. They make some changes every once in a while, adding modern features that players have responded well to.

Nokona uses top grain steer hide for the leather on this one. The softness of the glove makes it easy to break in and start using very quickly. The walnut color is synonymous with a glove look that’s been around for years.

Pros

  • Classic look
  • Great stability
  • Limited break-in time

Cons

  • Feels a little heavier than most
  • Lacks some of the modern touches other lines have

Buying the Right Nokona Glove

Ask five different baseball players, and they’ll provide five different answers on the perfect Nokona glove. Even within each series, a person needs to buy the proper glove for a position and their hand size.

Most are aware that a catcher glove will look significantly different from any other glove on the field. It’s meant to provide padding while receiving hard pitches throughout the game.

First baseman gloves are the closest thing to a catcher glove, as they have some extra padding as well. They are bigger so that they can scoop up bad throws to first base.

Infielders tend to use the smallest gloves, because it’s all about making the smooth transition to throwing the ball over to first base.

An infielder can’t afford to be digging around and searching for a ball when they field it. Pitchers might use a similarly shaped glove, since they essentially become an infielder once they throw the ball.

Finally, outfielders tend to use ball gloves that are around the same size as a first baseman glove. The difference is that they don’t need the same type of padding, so it looks like a more traditional fielding glove.

All of the Nokona series have different types of glove webs out there. Options like a modified trap, closed basket web, or closed two-piece web are popular for pitchers. It allows them to hide the grips they use, while still being solid for infield use.

Most middle infielders will lean towards an I-web or possibly an H-web. Full trap options are usually a preferred option for outfielders. It’s important for pitchers to use a closed webbing option so that hitters can’t see their grips.

Most of the top-end Nokona gloves are expensive, so shop around and don’t rush into buying a new glove for a player who might quickly grow out of it. A lot of people wait until they are fully grown to invest in a top-of-the-line option from them.

Final Thoughts on Nokona

As an American-made baseball company founded in 1934, they’ve found a way to stay relevant in today’s baseball.

The craftsmanship they put into the gloves makes them a bit on the higher end, but there are plenty of very loyal users for the brands. When shopping for the next baseball glove, Nokona should always be on the shortlist.

They don’t get the same type of publicity as other gloves out there, but that comes down to a smaller marketing budget than other brands. Anyone who has picked up and used a Nokona once in their life understands the quality rivals any other option on the market.