New Baseball Glove

How to break in a baseball or softball glove...

...and what NOT to do!

Oh boy, we got a new glove, let’s go play!  It only takes a single catch to find out, it’s not easy to catch a ball in a brand new glove and it stay in there.  It will take a few hours of love to make sure it fits right, forms to a ball properly and lasts for a decade!  There are shortcuts, but they end up breaking down the leather and shortening the lifespan.  Unless you like buying a $79.00 – $350 glove every year, it’s worth a little extra time to break it in right.

First, you don’t have to buy anything to break in a glove.  Put your hand in the glove, grab a ball and sit and watch a movie while you bang the ball into the glove over and over.  Flex the glove to mild extremes to loosen the leather. By the time the movie is over, the glove will be a little better than it was.  Keep watching movies until the glove is broken in to your satisfaction.

For a little faster and easier way, you will want to at least get some glove conditioner, be it from the store you bought the glove from, or from Amazon on the link here.  Then a glove mallet is also a little easier to bang that leather into form for catching than using a ball.  (Plus, it gives a satisfying POP getting you excited to play a little ball soon!)

Glove conditioner is a great thing to have not only to break in your glove, but to keep the leather conditioned.  Adding glove conditioner at the end of the season is just as important, so the leather won’t deteriorate in the off season. Never soak the glove in the conditioner/oil, you want to add a little bit at a time and rub it into the leather.  As you work it into the leather, you are stretching the leather to flex easier.  Never leave the glove looking soaked.  

Glove Mallet

A glove mallet is a little extra money to spend, but especially if you have multiple players in the family, or a coach, it’s a great tool.  You simply bang the mallet ball into the glove, just like it’s a ball impacting the glove.  You can use the handle to insert into the finger slots to loosen that tight leather so it better fits your fingers.  Of course you could also use a broom handle or other stick, if you elect to save the money on a mallet.

  • When the leather loses its natural oils, it deteriorates quickly. It is important not to heat the glove up because it dries out those oils.  It is important that when left out in sunlight, to rub glove oil/conditioner into the glove to prevent the leather from cracking.

  • Water and sweat can also cause the glove to deteriorate.  Make sure to dry the glove in natural air, never in hot air or in a dryer.  Once it has dried, also apply a light coat of glove oil to replenish the leather.

  • It is best to wear a batting glove when wearing your glove.  Sweat from your hands also break down that leather.  Yes, that’s why your old glove started cracking apart where your hand goes before damage to the rest of the glove became visible.  It’s also what makes your glove stink!

One final thing, the glove will be able to better maintain a proper ball pocket by keeping a ball in the glove when not in use.  Some go a step further with getting a velcro glove wrap, or even using a number of rubber bands to keep pressure on the ball.  


While I hope this helps with some advice on how to break in your new glove, there are other levels for more advanced players, in how to better form creases for the type of position you play.  That goes beyond what I intend for my advice, but there are plenty of sources out there for advanced glove forming.  

Enjoy the game!