Hey everyone and welcome back! Today we will discuss the best way to break in a baseball glove.
In this article we will be going over one of my favorite projects; breaking in a new baseball glove 🙂
I hope you enjoy.
This method works just as good with softball gloves too!
Why Break In A Baseball Glove?
If you are wondering why you would even bother breaking in a baseball glove instead of just using it, there is a good reason for it. The number one main reason why you want to break in a baseball glove is because it becomes much easier to use. A new baseball glove is going to be super stiff.
A stiff glove is very hard to maneuver with your hand inside of it. If a baseball glove is brand new, you might not be able to squeeze it hard enough to actually catch a ball that comes in at high speeds. At the very least, breaking in a baseball glove will also make it much more comfortable to wear.
Best Way To Break In A Baseball Glove
Breaking in a new glove is a really cool experience that I enjoy sharing with my kids. They get to see and feel how the glove goes from being new and stiff, to a well fitting, flexible defensive weapon. You should expect this process to take a couple of days to reach a comfortable level of break in.
Remember, you are actually molding the glove to your hand, so don’t expect it to be perfect right away. And for me, the best part is that I get to enjoy some quality time with the kids doing something that we all like doing.
There are lots of different methods that I have seen recommended over the years. I will be going through the process of the method that I have used personally for the last 20+ years that has worked every time, with every glove.
What you will need
- Your new glove
- 2 large rubber bands
- 1 bottle of glove conditioner
- Hair dryer
- 1 Baseball/Softball
When you first get your glove, spend as much time with your hand inside of it as you can. Spend some time opening and closing it. (until your hand and forearm get tired). Grab the top of the web with your throwing hand and bend it down toward your wrist as many times as you can.
Be as violent as you can with it. You are doing everything you can right now to loosen the leather and let the glove know that it will conform to your will! Grab a baseball and throw it into the glove as hard as you can and as many times as you can.
Now that you have spent an hour or two getting to know your new glove, and making sure it knows that you are the boss, it’s time to break out the hair dryer.
The point of the hair dryer is to heat the leather up so the conditioner can work its way into the pores and fibers. You don’t need to get it too hot for this to work. Warm the glove to the point where you are still comfortable with your hand inside it. Now grab your bottle of glove conditioner and pour a good amount right into the palm.
Start working it into the glove, working your way out toward the web. Apply more conditioner every time it starts to get dry. You cannot put too much conditioner on your glove (The more the better).
Don’t forget to keep opening, closing, bending, and twisting the glove through the entire process. Everything you are doing right now is helping to loosen the leather and make the glove conform to your hand.
Try to make sure that the proud new owner of this glove is the one who has their hand inside it. I know this can be tough with a young one, but you really want the glove to conform to their hand.
This is the messy part of the break in. I usually try to do this outside, or in the garage, but you can do it inside as well. I will just get a piece of cardboard and some old newspapers and lay them down on the floor. It’s a good idea to have some paper towels or an old rag handy before you start.
This part of the process is not only helping us to break in our new glove, but it is also protecting the leather for years to come.
*Note ~ The conditioner will slightly darken the leather. Personally, I like this effect. I think it adds character to the glove, and that’s what I’m after.
At this point I like to get the baseball back out and throw the ball into the glove as many times as I can. The pocket is very formative at this stage. Squeeze the glove with the ball inside as much as you can.
You can even take it outside and play a little catch. Playing catch is one of the best things you can do to help break the glove in. At this point your glove should already be feeling much more broken in.
Whew! That was the hard part. Now on to the easy part.
Now it’s time for the rubber bands. Take the ball and throw it into the pocket a few more times, just so the glove knows exactly what it is supposed to do! Firmly push the ball into the pocket and take your hand out. Wrap each side of the web around the ball as tightly as possible.
Take one rubber band and wrap it around the bottom of the ball as tight as you can. Now re-wrap the top of the web around the top of the ball and wrap the other rubber band around the top. Again, try to keep everything as tight as possible.
Put the glove in a cool, dry spot. It’s a good idea to keep the glove on a piece of cardboard overnight, as there may be some conditioner that will run off before morning. I will usually keep the glove wrapped up tight for 8-10 hours. Now sit back and enjoy your favorite beverage! The glove will do the rest of the work.
Fastest Way to Break in a Baseball Glove – Like the Pros
Most people do consider the above method that we talked about the best way to break in a baseball glove. With that being said, there are other ways to do so. Moreover, there are also much faster ways to do so.
The fact of the matter is that professional baseball players don’t have days or even weeks to break in a baseball glove. Professional baseball players, when they get a new baseball glove, they want it broken in and ready to use by the next day.
What we want to do right now is to go over the fastest way to break in a baseball glove, the way that the professionals in the MLB do it. Now, one thing that you do need to keep in mind here is that the method we are about to talk about is definitely not ideal for the longevity of your baseball glove.
Professional baseball players get free baseball gloves, so they don’t really care how long they last. They are often much more concerned with how long it will take for that glove to be broken in, regardless of what it ends up doing to its overall lifespan. Let’s get to it and talk about how the professionals break in their baseball gloves so they’re ready to use the next day.
- The first thing that you want to do here is to boil a gallon of water, and then put it in a heatproof bucket.
- Take your brand new baseball glove and totally submerge it in that super hot water for at least two minutes.
- Take one or two baseballs and put them inside of the pocket of the glove, or in other words where you would usually catch the ball with the glove. Something to keep in mind here, is that if you are an infielder, you would usually put one ball in the pocket. If you are an outfielder you would usually put two balls in the pocket when doing this. The reason for this is because using two baseballs will create a much larger pocket, which is ideal for catching baseballs coming in at great speed from far distances.
- Take a sock, some string, some rubber bands, or anything else of the sort, and then tie the glove together so that it is extremely tight. Make sure that it is tied very tight.
- Now comes the stage where you really want to solve my glove up, which the pros actually do by throwing them into the dryer. It really helps to beat up the glove so it breaks in very quickly.
- Once the glove has spent 30 to 60 minutes being beaten around in the dryer, you then want to take out the balls and use some lanolin, shaving cream, or glove oil to rub the glove down. You can use a sponge or a cloth to apply a generous amount of any of these substances to your baseball glove. Start with the palm of the glove, and then move to the break point of the glove, and then finally to the web. You then want to use that same glove oil or shaving cream on all other parts of the glove. Anything made out of leather needs to be treated.
- You now really want to beat up that baseball glove in any way you see fit. Many professional baseball players actually use their baseball bats to beat up their glove. Remember folks, the bottom line here is that you want to get that glove nice and loose. You want it to be very easy to move around with your hand inside of it. If you use this method, your baseball glove should be ready to go by the very next day. Generally speaking, this process really shouldn’t take longer than a few hours to complete.
A few more tips on breaking in a new baseball or softball glove
Microwave: I have read a few tips from MLB players who will actually take their new glove and put it in a microwave to try and speed up the break in process. My thoughts on this are: If you accidentally leave the glove in too long, you will be destroying the leather and other fibers in the glove. You may even catch it on fire.
Remember, the pros can walk over to the bin and get a new one. I have to purchase another one. If you’re anything like me, you do not want to buy another glove just because you wanted to speed up the process by a couple of hours. And I’m pretty sure no one is going to give me a refund for my half melted glove.
Oven: My thoughts on using an oven to heat up your new glove are pretty much the same as using a microwave….No thanks. If you decide to go this route, at least keep the temperature on a very low setting, and keep a very close eye on it.
I would truly hate for you to look around and see smoke pouring out of your oven with your brand new glove inside. Seriously, a simple hair dryer will give you more than enough heat.
Sunshine: There is nothing wrong with using sunshine to heat up your glove. I have done this myself several times. The only drawbacks with this method is that it can take a long time to heat up, and clouds become your instant enemy.
There are many different ways to break in a new glove. The method I have shared here is very inexpensive, and an enjoyable way to spend a little time with your kids. It hasn’t let me down yet.
I hope you enjoyed the article on the best way to break in a baseball glove. If you have any questions, or something you would like to share, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you a.s.a.p.
Thanks for stopping by ~Jeremy
P.S. If you would like to check out my top 5 recommended gloves, You Can See Them Here
Here are some glove conditioners I have used that work really well.
Great. Your hairdryer idea is very good. Thanks
I’m glad you enjoyed the article on the best way to break in a baseball glove.
Using a hairdryer to warm up the glove is a method I have been using for years and has always worked very well.
Let me know if you need a hand with anything else.
Thanks for stopping by ~Jeremy
Jim Medici says
Breaking in a new glove is definitely a labor of love. I like how you talked about the breaking in process adding character to a glove. One of my favorite aspects of baseball is the bond that grows between the player and their glove due to this process. That is something completely unique to baseball.
I love how you put it – “labor of love”.
The new season is right around the corner, so I think it’s time to break out the old gloves and “re-break” those babies in!
Thanks for stopping by and have great season. ~Jeremy
I used to LOVE breaking in gloves when I was younger! It wasn’t nearly as advanced as it is now, but you definitely brought back great memories with this post!
interesting article, wish I’d known some of these things when I was younger and played ball alot, but when my grandkids get older, I’ll know what to tell them, thanks for the useful info!
I definitely hear you on that one. I’m glad you found the article useful. If there’s anything I can give you a hand with, give me a shout. ~Jeremy
Thanks Jeremy. The hairdryer seems so obvious for breaking in a baseball glove. Not too sure about the microwave, since certain materials don’t do so well. I’ll stick with the hairdryer as the best way to break it in.
All the best to you
Hi Damien. I definitely agree with you about the microwave. There is just no way I’m going to put a brand new glove into a microwave! Stick with the hair dryer, it’s much safer for you and your glove. Thanks for stopping in. ~Jeremy
Kenneth McKinney says
Great article I remember when I was a kid putting my glove in the dryer to warm it up never thought or rubber bands I used some zip tyes with dads help…
Hey Kenneth. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your great experience with your dad. I have never tried the dryer before, but I have used zip ties when I couldn’t find any rubber bands. The hair dryer method is the best I have used, it’s just a lot easier to control the heat. Thanks again for stopping by, and if you ever need a hand with anything, I will be happy to help. ~Jeremy
Andreas S says
Great baseball site you have and this was a really interesting article! Learnt a lot by reading it. Keep up the good work. Seems like baseball is a real passion for you. 🙂
Thank you Andreas. I’ve been a baseball fan for a long time, just can’t seem to get enough. I’m glad you found the article interesting, and if you ever need a hand with anything, stop back by and I’ll be happy to help. ~Jeremy
Oh, Nice I wish I knew about this when I played baseball as a child.
I hear you on that one Thaddeus. I remember playing through half the season before my glove started to feel good. Thanks for visiting, and stop back in if I can help with anything. ~Jeremy
Hey Jeremy, great site. I was just at my buddy’s the other day messing around with his gear and I notice he had those products on his shelf. I just happen to ask him what it was and all he said was it’s for his gloves. Never gave it much thought at the time but was happy to read your blog. Now that I know what it is I’ll definitely give that stuff a try with my next glove.
Thanx for the tips.
No problem Dan. Taking a little extra time to apply the conditioner will make a big difference in the feel and longevity of the glove. See ya soon. ~Jeremy
I have learned something new, thank you Jeremy. I had no idea that this much went into breaking in a baseball glove. This was very interesting to read, and you did a super job explaining the process. 🙂
Hey Michelle. Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you found the article interesting. If you ever need a hand with anything,stop back by and I will be happy to help. ~Jeremy