Touted as a ‘zero break-in’ glove, Nike is setting the bar high for themselves with a product that has a culture of ‘break-in enthusiasts’ known for hacking the break-in process in order to create a deeper bucket for those pop flies.

As baseball becomes increasingly quicker and more athletic (like all other sports), innovation is a fuzzy area in a sport with such a deep heritage and tradition. Designed with insight from outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, the Nike Vapor 360 incorporates technology that is normally seen in Nike shoes including Hyperfuse construction and Flywire support.

Could this really be the first lightweight, ultra-responsive glove that is game-ready right out of the box?

Let’s start by taking a look at how traditional leather baseball gloves are made:

…and the ‘expert’ way of breaking-in a glove for a professional baseball player:

While Nike is claiming that traditional leather baseball gloves can take up to three months of breaking in (or just hire the guy in the above video), it’s hard to argue that their dedication for replacing the methods are worth taking a look at…particularly because certain design directions including perforating the material just makes obvious sense for loosening up the structure:

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”We’ve taken a traditional leather for the palm and perforated it to remove some of the structure so it forms more quickly…therefore, the glove is ready to use straight out of the box.”


-Matthew Hudson, Nike Baseball Senior Designer

When considering how the Hyperfuse and Flywire technologies have helped make various performance athletic shoes perform better at certain tasks and movements, integrating these systems into a baseball glove makes perfect sense even if there was a break-in period.

Another factor to consider is the universal fit as no two hands are the same. This was considered into the design with tunable inserts in the thumb and pinky finger sections of the glove for a player-specific, individualized fit:

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The glove is completed with a Nike TrueAdapt heel construction that eliminates the amount of material needed to create a more responsive feel for the player…however that leaves one to wonder if there is enough padding to cushion a 100 mph hit into right field?

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Any baseball players want to chime in?

Author

Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.