What Are Lacrosse Balls Made Of?

Throughout history, lacrosse balls have been made of different materials.  There are currently two different types of lacrosse balls certified for games and being used today – latex rubber made overseas & crosslinked polyurethane made in the USA.

What are lacrosse balls made of?

According to certification standards, lacrosse balls must be made of a solid, elastomeric material.  There are many elastomeric materials available to lacrosse ball manufacturers, such as silicone, polyurethane, latex rubber, and various types of vinyl.

There are two types of lacrosse balls certified for games in use today:

  • Latex Rubber balls made overseas
  • Crosslinked Polyurethane (patented) balls made in the USA

What are rubber lacrosse balls made of?

The majority of all lacrosse brands have their lacrosse balls made by 2-3 manufacturers in China and Taiwan.  These manufacturers use the same formula and manufacturing lines to private label the balls for these brands.  They use vulcanized latex rubber, which mixes natural rubber with different oils, fillers, and additives; a similar process used to make car tires and footwear. 

Rubber lacrosse balls are solid and strong but when these oils and fillers leach out of the rubber balls, they become greasers and are slippery.  As with car tires, with continuous exposure to the elements, the rubber degrades and hardens.

What are polyurethane lacrosse balls made of?

PEARL X and NX lacrosse balls are made in the USA with a crosslinked polyurethane formula.  The formula contains no oils, fillers, or substances that are banned by Prop 65 and thus never grease or get hard.  The Guardian Sports chemists that created the ball formula wanted a lacrosse ball that stayed in spec and didn’t grease.  The polyurethane is a similar product that is used for making standard household products and FDA approved farming tools.

What’s inside a lacrosse ball?

People may ask ‘are lacrosse balls made of cement?’ because at one point some lacrosse balls did have cement on the inside.  While that is no longer the case, rubber greasers can feel like cement balls.  Lacrosse balls are made of one material all the way through without a core.  See a dissection of a ball here: https://youtu.be/tNbtSCIQlvo

Do rubber or polyurethane lacrosse balls last longer?

Both rubber and polyurethane lacrosse balls meet the NOCSAE/SEI spec when manufactured.  However, the polyurethane balls have shown to meet the spec after years of aging on the field while rubber balls can harden and degrade with exposure to sun, heat and rain within a few weeks after use.

Here is an illustration of the difference between PEARL lacrosse balls and competitors: