Resource Guide | How to Break in a Glove
How to Break-in a Glove
The best way to begin breaking-in a glove is to lightly apply an thin coat of glove oil. Glove oil keeps the leather "alive" while providing a softening condition and minimizing weight gain. Apply about a dime-sized amount of glove oil to a sponge or cloth, then use the sponge or cloth to apply the oil to the areas of the glove that are currently firm. Begin at the palm before proceeding to the break point of the glove and lastly the web. Later you can use the glove oil on all other parts of the glove, including the inside lining to help moisturize and protect the glove. Be sure to work the glove oil into the leather evenly. Do not apply the glove oil directly to the glove, as it will be too concentrated at the point of application and could potentially cause staining.
Also, make sure that the laces get oiled so they can stay moisturized as well. Failure to do so can cause them to begin to crack and the webbing to become loose. Remember, leather is a skin and leather experts tell us not to treat glove leather any differently than you would your skin.
Important Points to Remember
- Excessive glove conditioner/oil will damage and shorten the life of a new glove.
- Allow the glove oil to absorb into the leather for 24 hours in a warm area.
- Play catch daily until the glove is ready for game play.
- Use the glove oil sparingly; you can always add more.
- At the end of the season, gently apply glove oil to keep your glove from becoming brittle.
- Store your glove in a dry place with a ball in the pocket to maintain shape.
- Do not use neat's-foot oil, linseed oil or silicon-type spray, these tend to close the pores of the leather, causing it to dry, harden and become heavy.
- There is no short cut to breaking-in a glove, playing catch remains the best way.
- Do not apply the glove oil directly to the glove, as it will be too concentrated at the point of application, apply to a cloth first.
- A high-quality leather will likely be the most difficult to break-in.
A professional ball player will sometimes break-in a glove in a way that will contradict what glove manufacturers recommend. This method is not endorsed by glove manufacturers because it will shorten the life of your glove. Professional ball players usually receive their gloves free of charge, so they are not as interested in longevity, as a quick break-in period. We understand that some players who are not professionals also weigh a real quick break-in more important than longevity of the glove, so we will let you know how many professional ball players break-in a glove.
First, they submerge their glove in a bucket of very hot water for 1-2 minutes. Then, they put a baseball or two in the pocket of the glove and tie the glove up tightly with a sock, large rubber bands, or string forming the pocket around the ball. One baseball in the pocket is usually for infielders, and two baseballs are usually for outfielders. The two baseballs create a bigger pocket. Directly from there, with the baseball(s) still in the pocket, they will put their glove in a dryer to dry the glove. The dryer helps beat-up the glove, which adds to the quicker break-in.
Next, they will untie the glove and work in shaving cream with lanolin, or glove oil. If you are using shaving cream, you can apply it with your bare hand. When using glove oil, apply to a sponge or cloth, then use the sponge or cloth to apply the oil to the areas of the glove that are currently firm. Start with the palm, the break point of the glove and then web. Then use the glove oil on all other parts of the glove including the entire inside to help moisturize and protect the glove. Work the glove oil or shaving cream into the leather evenly. At this point, it is time to start pummeling the glove. You can use the barrel of a bat to do this. Pummel the glove at the break points to loosen it up even more. This will speed up the process, but you will still have to play a lot of catch and work the glove to get it broken in all the way. Remember, this method will shorten the life of your glove.
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