If you've ever had to break in a new baseball glove, you know that the process takes time -- usually a few months at best. It can take all of Spring Training for pro players to get the leather worked out, but even then, fielders are left with hauling the weight of that material. The folks at Nike have a knack for sporting goods innovation, and working alongside Colorado Rockies' all-star left fielder Carlos Gonzalez, it crafted the Vapor 360 Fielding Glove.
Nike's on-campus Innovation Kitchen tackled the challenge, designing a glove that requires no break-in time and weighs about 20 percent lighter than full-leather options. Taking cues from its footwear advances, the outfit leveraged its Hyperfuse and flexible Flywire technology to cut the extra heft and add versatility. Leather is still the best option for the palm though, but the material has a perforated pattern allowing it to be game-ready immediately. There's also "tunable" inserts inside the thumb and pinky for a custom feel. Lastly, a TrueAdapt heel has thinner layers of leather, tweaked binding and soft foam that further contributes to the pliability and increases comfort.
"We've taken a traditional leather for the palm and perforated it to remove some of the structure so it forms more quickly," said Matthew Hudson, Nike Baseball Senior Designer. "Therefore, the glove is ready to use straight out of the box." In fact, the Gonzalez will be snagging fly balls with the glove during tonight's MLB All-Star Game in Minnesota. While the Vapor 360 is making its on-field debut at Target Field, it's expected to hit retail in time for the holidays.