The defining characteristic of the Babolat Skin Feel Replacement Grip is its thinness. With this grip, you are as close to the racket as you can get and that can give you a great connection with your stick.
Some people love to build their grip out with multiple overgrips and really round it off, but those people are not going to get on well with the Babolat Skin Feel. This grip hugs the contours of the grip closely, and you can feel the bevels of the handle with great ease.
I’m not someone who likes a very thick grip, but I also like a little bit of roundness to the grip, rather than the fairly cubed shape you get when using this grip. However, if you’re new to tennis and busy learning the correct grips for your strokes, then having such a thin grip can be very useful.
When coaches are teaching tennis, they will use the different “bevels” on the racket to indicate where you should be holding the racket (check out our article on grips for more info on this). With a thin grip like the Babolat Skin Feel, it makes it easy to keep an eye on where your grip is on the racket.
There are lots of more advanced players out there who love a very thin grip too. This is because it makes them feel more connected to the racket, giving them extra feel. I myself don’t like to have too thin of a grip, just because I like to have a little more grip to absorb some vibrations, but this is just a preference.
At present, I actually use the Babolat Skin Feel as the under grip on my rackets with the Wilson Pro Overgrip over the top. This works very well for me, as the two grips are still pretty thin, so I still get a good connection to the racket, but there is a little bit more cushioning to take away vibrations. This combination also keeps the grip fairly true to the original shape of the handle, and I can still feel the pronounced bevels of the handle.
Although I choose to put an overgrip on my Babolat Skin Feel, it is a rare class of under grip that I could actually use without fear of having the racket slip out of my hand. It has a similar feel to most of the overgrips people use today, just with a little bit of extra tack and doesn’t feel like it will get too slick when my hand gets sweaty.
The last grip test I did was on a Babolat Leather grip, and I was a little bit worried about hitting full pace serves with it, because it just felt like it was going to slip out of my hands. I didn’t have the same fears with the Babolat Skin Feel though and was confident I could give it a full playtest.
Comfort – 8.5/10
This is probably the second most important aspect of a grip for me. If I’m going to be out on court for hours smacking a ball around, I don’t want to be doing it with something that’s going to tear my hands to pieces.
That was certainly not the case with the Babolat Skin Feel, as I enjoyed the feel and comfort of this grip. The texture of this grip is extremely soft, and I enjoyed all aspects of its tacky nature (more on that later).
The only downside for me with this grip was the thinness did put me a little closer to the handle would like to be and I didn’t feel it absorbed quite as many of the shocks as I would have liked. I tend to like a deadened feel in my rackets, so this is a personal thing, but I would like a little bit more shock absorption.
While I don’t like my grip super rounded, I did find this grip a little too thin, which meant the contours of the racket are extremely defined which some people can find off-putting.
Comfort wise, there are some things I didn’t enjoy, but they were mainly due to me not being used to playing without an overgrip. The texture and tack of the grip are very good, and these aspects feels very nice in your hand.
Absorbency – 7/10
If comfort is my second most important aspect for a grip, then absorbency is number one. Tennis rackets are expensive items, and it’s pretty heart breaking to see your brand new stick bouncing down the court because it slipped out your hand.
When it comes to absorbency, the Babolat Skin Feel isn’t bad, but I wasn’t 100% sure I’d trust it in the toughest situations. This is where I go back to the tack aspect. I find the tack is great when my hand is dry, but when it gets wet, the tack just seems to make everything a bit more slippy.
Ultimately, the Skin Feel’s absorbency is adequate, but I would just never choose to use it over a much more absorbent overgrip. At the start of the playtest, my hands were dry, the intensity was a bit lower, and I felt very confident with the Skin Feel, but as soon as things stepped up a bit, the doubts started to creep in.
I didn’t lose my racket at any point, but it just felt a little bit slippy, and that’s not a feeling I enjoy. If you’re someone who likes to use just a base, undergrip though, this is one of the better ones I have tried. It’s much more absorbent than some of its competitors, and so, I have given it a 7 out of 10 for its absorbency.
Thinness – 9/10
This is a slightly weird category because some people want a thin grip and others don’t. The Babolat Skin Feel is about as thin as it gets though, which will be heaven for some and tennis hell for others.
Personally, I like the thin undergrip, which gives you the ability to pad the grip out as you wish with overgrips. For me, the Skin Feel needs just one overgrip, and you feel nice and connected to the racket while still having a bit of padding to absorb shocks.
Thinking about the Skin Feel purely as a grip that I was going to put an overgrip on I think it is perfect. However, if I was going to use it as my actual grip, I would find it a little bit too thin and would want some more padding in there.
If you like to play with something super thin that keeps you super connected with the racket, then this is a great option. It’s comfortable, the absorption is adequate, and you are right there holding the handle as it is.
I’ve given the Babolat Skin Feel a 9 out of 10 for thinness. As an undergrip I think it is great. As a grip to use without an overgrip, a little too thin.
Conclusion – 8/10
This grip serves two purposes and does both pretty well. Obviously, as an undergrip, I think it is excellent because I use it! As a grip in its own right, it’s not something that I would use, but I can see why people would like it.
Its thinness means it stays very true to the shape of the handle, and this can be very useful for beginners. The thing I like about it is that it allows you to build your grip out how you like it by adding overgrips. Some grips are too thick, and they don’t allow you to do this, but the Pure Feel allows you plenty of room to customize your grip.
As a grip that you’re going to play with, the Skin Feel is pretty good. If you like a very connected feel, then you will enjoy how close you feel to the racket with this grip and it gives good comfort to match. My one worry with this grip would be the absorbency – does it have enough for me? I don’t know.
Overall, a very solid grip; adaptable and comfortable, so I have given it an 8 out of 10. It works well as a base grip to add over grips to and you can also use it as your main grip.
Review by: Will