I like leather

Leather grips, that is. Nothing else compares to a good leather grip on a racquet.

There was a time when I thought my preference for leather was getting a little old school. Everywhere I looked racquets were coming equipped with soft synthetic grips. However, I’m happy to see racquet manufacturers are again including a leather grip on their flagship player’s racquets.

In the last few years the leather trend has really begun to kick in with lots of new sticks getting the leather treatment at the handle. Take the new HEAD YouTek Speed Pro and YouTek Radical Pro, the Wilson KPro Staff 88 and KSix-One Tour 90 and the Prince EXO3 Graphites as examples. Of course there are those classic sticks that we still carry, such as the Prince Original Graphite, as well as those with just a few seasons under their belts like the Babolat Pure Storm Limited and Wilson KBlade Tour. Just think about all that hitting pleasure for us fans of leather. Ah, these are good times indeed.

Going old school, leather on a Kneissl White Star

Going old school, leather on a Kneissl White Star

Now, I know I’m not alone in my desire for a high quality leather grip on the handle of my racquet. The cry from our customers and Talk Tennis posters rang loud enough for us to source our own grips. The Tennis Warehouse Private Label leather grips are like any really good leather grip, just superb.

What makes a leather grip so special? Well, nothing else allows me to feel the bevels of the handle like a leather grip. There’s just more feel for ball contact when playing with leather. Less feedback is lost compared with a softer synthetic grip. A leather grip can make even the muddiest, most muted of racquet responses feel cleaner and crisper. A leather grip doesn’t just allow me to feel the ball on the strings, it allows me to feel the felt of the ball on the strings. The best analogy I can think of is a surfing one. Playing with a leather grip is like surfing barefoot. When the winter months recede and the water on the Central Coast warms up a to a balmy 55°F, it’s time to peel off the neoprene booties and paddle out barefoot. The connection between foot and surfboard becomes so much closer. I can feel every ripple, every undulation and every turn that much better. Much like leather, it’s a feel thing.

On the tennis court, leather gives me a better gauge of depth. I feel more connected to the amount of spin I’m generating. My touch shots have, well, more touch.

And what about those really hot days when some grip absorbency is needed? Just throw on a favorite overgrip. An overgrip takes the whole leather experience in a different direction. Even with an overgrip I can still feel the bevels of the handle better, I can still feel the ball better and feel more connected than with a synthetic grip alone.

But don’t get me started on overgrips. That’s a whole other blog. Maybe next time?

In the meantime, let me know your take on grips. Are you a leather fan? Perhaps leather with an overgrip? Even if you’re not a fan of leather at all, it’s time to speak up.

Cheers,
Chris.

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4 thoughts on “I like leather

  1. The primo leather grip way back when was the Balmforth leather grip which I believe was a golf club grip. I would get them from my pro shop and wrap and glue them myself. I agree that it improve you touch especially on the volley. Maybe a top player will start using leather and it will come back into fashion.

  2. Lots of top pros use leather ;)

    Amen Chris, I’ve been using leather for several years now. I also enjoy the added effect of the (slightly) extra weight, giving me a little more tail weighted-ness.

  3. I remember Balmforth leather. The Fairway grips heavily influenced the feel and design of the TW Private label grips.

  4. I hate to burst your bubble, but if you sweat, leather just doesn’t do it FOR ME. All that stuff about ‘feel’ it’s just in your head. I’ve been playinging for many years and I’ve tried and used them all. A sticky grip and an big heal with assure the racket stays planted in you hand and bottom line that’s what you want.

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