My softball cleats are on their last legs, so I’m shopping for a new pair. This will be the first pair I’ve purchased since becoming vegan, and I’m trying to find some cleats which do not use animal products. While I’ve found no end of online stores selling vegan shoes, not a single one of them sells cleats. The closest thing I’ve found is indoor soccer shoes, but those are basically just sneakers, which is not what I need. Hiking boots, work boots, dress shoes, sandals, etc — vegan options available for all of them. But not cleats, for some reason.
I’ve found a lot of cleats which are made of synthetic leather, but it’s impossible to tell if they’re actually vegan. For example, do they use glue made from animal parts? And when I was looking for vegan batting gloves a while back, I found that pretty much all batting gloves which used synthetic leather also used at least a little actual leather. I’m not sure if this is true of the cleats or not. That said, it’s looking like the best I’m going to do is to buy some cleats which are made of synthetic leather.
For the benefit of fellow animal lovers who happen to play softball or baseball, I wanted to make this post. Unfortunately I cannot be of much help when it comes to cleats, but I did want to list what I found for gloves.
Like with cleats, I was unable to find any verifiably vegan batting gloves. When I shopped for them in person, every pair used at best a mixture of synthetic and actual leather. Well, that’s not strictly speaking true — I did find one pair of children’s batting gloves which seemed to be fully synthetic. But these gloves were very tight on me, and I have fairly small hands, so I don’t think they’re a good solution for most people. Plus, they were pretty flimsy, didn’t provide much benefit, and didn’t last long. So I was stymied in my search for vegan batting gloves. But in the course of my search, I found a source for vegan gardening gloves. They looked like they might do the trick, so I ordered a pair, and they are the best batting gloves I’ve ever owned. They have already outlasted (by far) all of my previous batting gloves, and they are still in excellent condition. With as much softball as I play, I usually run down gear pretty quickly. Clearly these gloves are made of sterner stuff. And they do a good job of gripping the bat, cushioning your hands from the shock if you hit the ball wrong, and preventing blisters. I cannot recommend them highly enough. You can buy them here. They’re a little more expensive than regular batting gloves, but given how long they last, I’m pretty sure you’ll still end up saving money in the long run.
For fielding gloves, I found a source right away. There is a guy who makes custom synthetic fielding gloves. The downside is that it is pretty expensive, but the nice thing is that the glove is tailored specifically to your hand. You can also tell him which positions you play (and whether you play softball or baseball or both), so he can further customize the glove. My current fielding glove predates my becoming vegan, and it’s still in good condition, so I haven’t used this guy’s services yet. But when the time comes to buy a new fielding glove, I plan to get it from him. You can visit his web site here. (Note: It looks like they’re not accepting new orders right now, but it sounds like that is only a temporary thing)
If you know of good sources for vegan sporting goods, please comment!