Customers are always fascinated by our materials. They can’t believe how spectacular they look and feel, and wonder how we can use these materials in all of our amazing products. Without giving away our trade secrets, we thought we’d explain a bit about each material…
Our authentic “basketball leather” was the first material we developed, and took years of trial & error and testing to find the right process to create the products you now see. It is the same material that basketballs are made from, and we refer to it as “basketball leather”. Is it animal skin? Of course not! Over 90% of all basketballs are made from proprietary blends of synthetic materials. Ours is no different. It’s the same synthetic leather that is used to make actual basketballs. It feels and looks like a real basketball because it is! While the actual formulation is a closely guarded secret, it is generally a urethane based synthetic leather. We looked at using actual animal skin, but there were many reasons not to…it’s physical properties were much worse (staining, water absorbency, etc); it was nearly impossible to find large enough sheets of leather to create our seamless bag panels; as a company, we were opposed to using an actual animal skin; our market research told us that customers preferred the look and feel of our synthetic product to the actual animal skin; the cost of obtaining and processing actual animal leather was prohibitive. Our bag would be 3-4 times as expensive, and there would not be a market at that pricing level. So, we selected our “basketball leather”, and from kids to parents to current and retired NBA players – everybody loves the look and feel of our products.
Our authentic “football leather” followed the same path as basketball. We use the same material that footballs are made from, and we call it “football leather”. Again, is it animal skin? Pig skin? Definitely not! Over 60% of all footballs are made from synthetic materials. Ours is no different. It’s the same synthetic leather that is used to make actual footballs. It feels and looks like a real football because it is! Again, as with basketball, our material is generally a urethane based synthetic leather. As with basketball, we did look at using real animal skin, but for the same reasons as basketball, we selected our “football leather” instead. Several current and former NFL players have examined our products, and actually thought it was animal skin! These professionals, and everyday kids and parents love the look and feel of our products.
Baseball & Softball
We wanted to use actual cowhide for the baseball and softball products, but when we tested the actual cowhide, we were not pleased with the properties of the material. For the bag, the cowhide didn’t cinch at all, was too thick and stiff, and the treatments needed to process the cowhide into our products were caustic and not environmentally friendly. Plus, the costs were prohibitive. We found a synthetic leather (generally a urethane based synthetic leather) that was used to make actual balls, and we went forward with our production. Early in 2010, we made a change to our “baseball leather” used for our bags, as we found a new material that was even more realistic looking and feeling. While still a synthetic, it is more widely used in the production of baseballs, and passed all of our tests for cinchability, authenticity, durability and value.
Our authentic “volleyball leather” followed the same path as basketball and football. We use the same material that volleyballs are made from, and we call it “volleyball leather”. Again, is it animal skin? Definitely not! Over 70% of all volleyballs are made from synthetic materials. Ours is no different. It’s the same synthetic leather that is used to make actual volleyballs. It feels and looks like a real volleyball because it is! Again, as with basketball & football, our material is generally a urethane based synthetic leather. As with the other sport materials, we did look at using real animal skin, but for the same reasons, we selected our “volleyball leather” instead. We spent a lot of time and did a lot of research to arrive at a product that has the look and feel of volleyball leather – from the texture to the softer (squishier) feel to the touch. Our Volleyball bags have an extra inner lining of foam, to complete the level of realism compared to a game-approved ball.
Our authentic tennis ball material is exactly that…the same material that’s used to make actual tennis balls. All of our tennis products are made from this actual tennis ball material (specifically non-woven polyester fiber).
Nearly all soccer balls are made from synthetic leather. They used to be made from real animal skin, but this leather would absorb so much water from the playing surface, the ball would become too heavy. Our soccer products are made from the actual materials used to make soccer balls – urethane based synthetic leather.
We are very proud of the effort and research that went into the development of all Zumer Sport materials. We have tried to stay true to each sport’s ball materials. We pride ourselves on keeping our materials as authentic as possible, while also keeping an eye on durability, usability, and cost. We have conducted blind “feel” tests with amateur and professional athletes, and nobody can tell the difference between our materials and the balls found at sporting goods stores. Our basketball, football and volleyball products are made from actual basketball, football and volleyball “leather” – the same materials used to manufacture the sport balls. Our baseball material is a synthetic leather, but this material is still used to make actual baseballs. Our soccer and tennis materials are the actual materials that the balls are made from. We hope you enjoy all Zumer Sport materials and products!
We take the plastic material that’s used to make actual golf balls, and mix it in a proprietary process to create a finished material that’s flexible enough to be used to make various products. The end result is the ability to use authentic golf ball materials, but still create a flexible end product.