As players progress in the game, they heap ever greater demands on their equipment. Synthetic leather may suffice for tee ball, but it has no place on elite-softball diamonds. When a fastpitch softball player reaches high school, or begins travel ball, play gets serious. Her gear should reflect and compliment her abilities.
If your child is getting to that critical point in her career, you may be looking at higher-grade equipment than you ever have before. That is where sticker shock can often set in, as elite equipment often commands significantly higher prices than you are used to paying.
Most Nokona gloves are situated at this high end of the market, and they fill the niche that better players create in the sport. Elite players often prefer a broken-in glove, preferably one with at least a season of play on them. Nokona makes the Buckaroo Series Fastpitch X2-V1250 with these elite players in mind. So, what’s so special?
- Play-anywhere utility glove
- Kangaroo and top-grain steer hide
- Closed back
- Closed, basket web
- Velcro wrist strap
- Made in the U.S.A.
- Two-year warranty
- Nolera composite padding
Quickly Broken In
Like many Nokona gloves, the X2 Buckaroo Series gloves require very little in the way of a break-in process. That is not to say, though, that they are pre-broken in from the manufacturer. On most of these gloves, the pocket is stiff when purchased, necessitating some practice play before game time to loosen it up. As Nokona gloves are all handmade, each is a one-off, and so the degree of necessary break-in will vary from glove to glove.
The steer hide and kangaroo leathers that Nokona uses for the Buckaroo Series are some of the best in the business for their respective purposes. Heavy wear areas get Nokona’s trademarked Stampede steer hide, which is a heavy, pre-oiled, top-grain steer leather. Stampede steer hide is about as soft as this tough leather type gets. Kangaroo leather is supple and strong, though stretchy, and it helps these gloves feel broken-in right off the shelf.
Usable at Multiple Positions
The basket web and mid-size of the X2-V1250 is that it plays well in most positions on the field. The 12.5-inch pattern makes for a smallish outfielder’s glove or a largish infielder’s glove, but it will serve well at those positions. Closed webs like these also hide the ball well for pitchers, players who sub in to pitch can do so without changing gloves.
The saying, “you get what you pay for,” is not always right, but it is with Nokona gloves. Hand-crafted gloves require inspection at every stage, so inferior pieces of leather seldom make it into the finished product. With a lower number of gloves produced than mass-manufactured glove companies can put out, Nokona must price their gloves accordingly. And with the price of quality leather, the company is not likely making any more profit than its competitors. Still, serviceable gloves can be had for significantly less of an investment.
Issues with Lacing
Like the rest of the Nokona Buckaroo Series gloves, the lacing is all applied by hand. As such, constant care must be taken during use to ensure that the laces remain tight. The lacing issues are uncommon, and result from the one-off nature of each glove Nokona produces. The company warrantees its gloves for two years, though, so any serious issue can be handled through Nokona for a considerable portion of the life of its gloves.
Kangaroo Leather May Stretch
Kangaroo leather has more tensile strength than most other leathers thanks to its elasticity. It is commonly used in gloves and mitts because its strength allows for thinner leather, hence lighter weight. The drawback is that over time it may begin to lose its shape, as it stretches repeatedly with wear. This stretching should take several seasons of hard play to become an issue, though, if it happens at all.
Nokona makes great products, and they do it the old-fashioned way. Handmade items like these softball gloves were once common, and they deserve a descriptor that is seldom used anymore — craftsmanship. Solid feel at a low weight is a result of quality materials and production by craftsmen who know what they are doing. The fact that they are 100-percent American made is more than a point of pride; it’s a hallmark of quality.
The Nokona Buckaroo Series X2-V1250 is a prime example of the company’s products. It is a serious glove for serious fastpitch softball players. If you or your child is just getting into softball, another option will likely suffice. But, if you are ready to bring your softball career to the next level, the Buckaroo Series will easily fulfill your needs and will likely exceed your expectations.