Leather Vs. Synthetic Tennis Grip: Which One To Choose?
When you dive into the world of tennis grips, you will notice many kinds of materials and differences between them. In this article, I will explain the pros and cons of each, how to choose one fit for your skillset, and my recommendations for each player type.
But first, what’s the difference between leather and synthetic tennis grips?
Synthetic grips are the cheapest option for players who favor good cushioning, comfort, and sweat absorption. On the other hand, leather grips are slightly more expensive and heavy. They fit players who want a firm feel to the racket with great feedback from the received strike.
That being said, the choice should be quite clear because the grips differ so much from each other. However, if you are a beginner, then you might not know which one to choose from.
Be that as it may, I want to explain further the pros and cons of both grip types so you can be 100% sure about which grip could be the right choice for you.
- Synthetic and leather grip pros & cons
- What’s the difference between a replacement and an overgrip
- How to choose a tennis replacement grip
- My recommended grips for each player type
- My Favorite Tennis Equipment
Synthetic and leather grip pros & cons
Let’s start the comparison with the most popular grip type: synthetic grip.
1. Synthetic tennis grip pros & cons
Synthetic tennis grips are great for various reasons such as affordable price, comfortable hold, and cushioning better sweat absorption, and they’re easy for the hand. In addition, they are animal-free, which is great for vegans. As a pro or a con, synthetic grips are lightweight as well.
On the con side, synthetic grips cannot transmit much feedback from the received strike because the material is so soft. Also, it lacks that really firm and confident feel, even though the overall feel is still great.
2. Leather tennis grip pros & cons
Leather grips are the best choice if you value the racket’s firm and traditional feel with great feedback from the opponent’s strike force, spin, and more instead of cushioned and comfortable handle. Also, if you want to add more weight through the grip, then a leather grip is the choice.
Leather grip’s cons are that they aren’t really comfortable because leather is so non-forgiving and firm material. Also, leather grips are slightly more expensive, and using an overgrip is mandatory, whereas you can play without one with a synthetic one even if it isn’t recommended.
In conclusion, you should choose a grip as follows:
- Choose synthetic for: more comfort, lighter weight, affordable price, sweat absorption
- Choose leather for: firm grip, strike feedback, traditional feel, more weight
What’s the difference between a replacement and an overgrip
In short, the difference between a replacement grip and an overgrip is that a replacement grip is stuck directly on the frame handle, whereas an overgrip is applied on top of the racket’s grip providing more comfort, protection, and tackiness.
If you want to learn more about the subject, in addition to how often you should change your grips and how to change your overgrip, I encourage you to read my in-depth article about it!
How to choose a tennis replacement grip
Choosing the right kind of replacement grip is really important because it drastically affects your only point of contact on the racket (handle). Thus, having the wrong kind of tennis grip will decrease your whole performance on the court and vice versa.
As discussed above, you have two material choices: synthetic and leather. You narrow down your potential choices by first choosing your material, so it’s a good place to start.
If you want the most comfort, sweat absorption, and get off as cheap as possible, you want to choose a synthetic grip.
If you prefer a firm and tight grip with a harder feel and want good feedback from the coming strikes, you want to choose leather if a slightly higher price isn’t an issue.
If you chose a leather grip, then this isn’t something you need to consider because the overgrip that you need to apply over the leather grip will have all the tackiness.
If you went on the synthetic road, you need to consider how tacky you want your grip to be. Tackiness helps with the grip so that your hold of the racket will be really secure and confident. The tackier the grip, the more secure hold.
Before selecting the right synthetic grip for you in terms of tackiness, you should read the product’s description and see how tacky it is described to be. If you aren’t a fan of tacky feel, there are synthetic grip with minimal tackiness that is more towards comfort, thick or thinness, breathability, and more.
Thickness is a crucial part to think about because when you add a grip to your racket and an overgrip, the handle’s thickness can vary by quite a lot, and if it doesn’t fit your hand, your whole performance will suffer.
Generally, synthetic grips are less thick than leather grips, but there are variations inside both categories, so you need to check them before making a final choice. The thicker the grip, the more comfort, shock, and sweat absorption, especially in synthetic grips.
In leather grips, the thickness really doesn’t provide more or less comfort because the material itself is so dense and non-forgiving.
Whichever is your choice, you need to also think about how it will affect your grip. When you wrap the grip around your racket, the outcome can be a slim or thick handle, so if your hand is small, you want to look at the thinner grips, whereas if you have a large palm, you should focus more on the thick grips.
The next step to think about is the weight. The weight varies especially between synthetic and leather grips, not within the materials themselves, even tho there are variations between them.
Generally, the synthetic grip is lighter and can weigh anywhere between 0.52oz- 0.88oz (15g-25g), whereas leather grips are heavier, often weighing between 0.71oz-1.06oz (20g-30g). Therefore the weight difference between a synthetic and a leather grip can be 0.52oz (15g).
Did you know that you can add power to your tennis racket by adding more weight? You can make use of a heavy grip to add weight organically, or you can use things like lead tape to increase the weight on your racket.
The final aspect to consider is the cost. Luckily, tennis grips won’t cost a lot no matter what specs you choose for them. However, there are price differences, so you should at least know about them.
In most cases, leather grips are more expensive because the material is more valuable than synthetic. For example, the cheapest Wilson grip costs $6.5, whereas the only leather grip costs $15.95, so the price difference is more than 100%.
Even tho the price of either one of them isn’t astronomical, the difference between the two is considerable, especially when you look at it in terms of percentages.
My recommended grips for each player type
Now that you know the differences between the grip types and how to choose your replacement grip fit for your playstyle, I have a recommendation for all grips that I highly encourage you to check out.
- Best synthetic grip: Gamma Sports Ultra Cushion Grip
- Best leather grip: Tourna Leather Grip
These two grips are my absolute favorites for various reasons.
The synthetic grip is great because it has maximum comfort with the cushioned design. Also, you can choose from two grip patterns that further improve the grip, and the price is really affordable.
When it comes to the leather grip, it has beveled edges which makes it so much easier to install, and the fitting is also better. It comes with a finishing tape, so you don’t even need to have your own, and the really dense, firm, and tacky feel will improve your game on the court.
My Favorite Tennis Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you’ll find my top tennis equipment recommendations would like.
- Racket: My preferred tennis racket is the Wilson Ultra 100 V3. This racket is made from graphite and carbon fiber, making it durable, firm, and easy to swing. The racket weighs 300g, making it lightweight yet not too lightweight to generate power. The racket’s main benefit is power. I like to add multifilament strings to the racket, such as Wilson NXT Soft 16 (recommended tension 52lb/23.5kg), because they are comfortable and soft on the arm with a great feel to the game.
- Tennis balls: Best tennis balls are always pressurized, and I like them having extra-duty felt, which is fit for hard court play. I like Penn Championship Tennis Balls, and so does the ITF because these balls are approved for competitive play. So yes, these are the real deal.
- Tennis shoes: I can’t stress enough the importance of comfortable and supporting shoes. ASICS Gel-Resolution 8 tennis shoes are unique because the balance between durability and support mixed with comfort is something out of the ordinary.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.
I always love to talk about tennis grips because I once had a learning curve on my own when I first got to know all the different kinds of grips. Personally, I like to use a leather grip and a great overgrip on top because I really like that firm and tight feeling on the handle.
Over time, you will get to know your own preference, but if you are just starting, then I recommend a synthetic grip because it is a more safe choice at first.