How to Break in a Baseball Glove

by Brett & Kate McKay on April 19, 2009 · 87 comments

in Gamesmanship, Manly Skills

glove

Image by rmccurdyb

Baseball season is starting up, and it’s time to get your gear ready for the beer league softball team. One of my fondest memories growing up was getting a new baseball glove and breaking it in. I remember my dad letting me in on all his tips and tricks on how to get a nice, broken in glove that would make Willie Mayes jealous. There are nearly as many ways to break in a glove as there are men who have played the game. Every player has their own ritual, one they’ll staunchly defend as the best and only way to break in a mitt.

With that in mind, I’ve included several tips and suggestions on how to break in a baseball glove that I’ve seen and heard throughout my baseball playing years. Try them out and find the one that makes your glove feel just right on your hand, with a pocket that seems to magnetically attract the ball.

Soften the leather

Brand new baseball gloves are pretty stiff, so the first thing you need to do is soften up the leather. . Here are a few of the ways to do it:

Just use it. Probably the best way to soften up a baseball glove is to get out there and let it see some action. Find a buddy, go out to a park, and play catch. After weeks of fielding grounders, shagging flys, and just plain old playing catch, your baseball glove should be nice and soft.

Of course, the problem with this method is that it a can take a long time, and the whole reason you’re breaking it in is to make it more comfortable for playing ball. If your team has a game next Monday and you need to break a glove in fast, keep reading.

Oil it up. There’s a lot of controversy among baseball players as to whether you should use oils and other lubricants to soften up a baseball glove. There’s a contingency that says you shouldn’t, because it deteriorates your mitt faster and can make your baseball glove heavier since the leather soaks up all the liquid.

I’ve always used some sort of agent to soften up my glove. It’s worked for me, and I haven’t noticed any detriment to the condition of my glove.  If you decide you want to soften your baseball glove by rubbing it down like a Swedish masseuse, you have to choose what lubricant you’re going to use. Here’s a non-exclusive list of things you could try:

  • Baby oil
  • Vaseline
  • Shaving cream
  • Saddle soap
  • Special glove oils

What you decide to use is a matter of personal preference. Growing up, I always used a can of my dad’s Barbasol shaving cream. It’s cheap, and it works. Experiment with different substances, and see what works for you.

Whatever you decide to use, don’t go overboard. You don’t need to douse your glove in baby oil for it to get nice and soft. Just use a drizzle and work it into the leather. Repeat as necessary.

Beat it up. Another time saving (and cathartic) way to soften a baseball glove is to just beat the hell out of it. Get a hammer, preferably a ball-peen hammer, and start pounding on the outside and inside of the baseball glove. You can also lay your glove in the dirt and take a baseball bat to it like a bookie to some knee caps. I’m personally biased to this method. The combination of manly aggression, a baseball bat, and real dirt seems to please the baseball gods and they bless your sacrifice with a nice soft mitt.

Heat it up. I never did this, but I’ve heard from several players that the best way to soften up a glove is to heat it up. Again, using heat to soften up a baseball glove is a touchy subject. Like using oils to soften a glove, heat can cause the leather on a glove to deteriorate faster than normal. Some players would rather cut off their pinkie than let that happen.

If you decide to use heat to soften up your glove, here are a few ways to do it:

The microwave. Yes. The microwave. I knew one player who put his new baseball gloves in the microwave to get them toasty and soft. Be careful with this method or you could end up making your kitchen smell like a cow that just got struck by lightning.

The oven.
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it gets to the pre-set temp, turn the oven off. We’re not baking cookies here, so we don’t need it to be at a constant temperature. Next, place your glove on a cookie sheet, and put it in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Check on it every now and then to make sure it’s not catching fire.

Leave the glove in the car.
The inside of your car can reach up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. So while it’s a crime to leave a baby in there, it’s a good idea to abandon your glove to the heat. On a hot day, park your car outside, and leave your glove in it. The next morning, your glove should be nice and soft.

black-kid

Image by foundphotoslj

Form the pocket

The pocket of the glove is the space between your thumb and forefinger. A well formed pocket makes catching baseballs much easier. Again, just playing catch for a few weeks can help form the pocket. But if you don’t have time, you need to bust out some tricks.

Store a ball in the pocket. The old standby method involves putting a baseball in the pocket of the glove, wrapping it up with twine, and leaving it overnight. Rawlings makes rubber bands just for this, but why spend $3 when you can do it for free? If you decide to tie down your glove with twine, make sure to not do it too tight or you’ll leave some wicked creases in your glove.

For a different take on this method, place a ball in the pocket and put it under the mattress for the night. This was my favorite way of doing it as a kid. It’s probably because the idea of sleeping on top of my baseball seemed like the coolest thing in the world to my 10 year old brain.

Repetitious beating. Another way to form the pocket is to throw a ball into it as hard and as frequently as you can. This is a nice activity to do when you need a break from work.

Form the glove

During this whole process, I would always bend and shape my glove to my liking. The goal is to make the glove as comfortable as possible on your hand. There’s really no exact way you should do it. Just keep bending it until it fits like, well, a glove.

Alright, now it’s your turn. Got a killer tip on how to break in a baseball glove? Share your secrets in the comments.

{ 86 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mike April 19, 2009 at 5:11 pm

Good post, I slept on mine as a kid too!

2 QoE April 19, 2009 at 5:19 pm

We would rub neat’s foot oil into the glove, tie a ball into the pocket and then sleep on it. If it was really stubborn and stiff, we would soak it in a bucket of water, tie the ball into the pocket and then dry it in the oven. Have gloves changed in the last 50 years?

3 Jeremy Firth April 19, 2009 at 5:22 pm

I like to heat up the oven to about 200 degrees F. Put the glove in and leave it for 10 or 15 minutes. Take it out, and while it’s still warm, rub generously with mink oil. The leather will soak it right up! I repeat this process two or three times. After the final application of mink oil, I put a baseball in the pocket, rubber band the glove around it, and leave it like that for a day or two. Now your glove will feel like an old friend!

4 Dan April 19, 2009 at 5:29 pm

Nice post. As far as I can tell a “baltine” hammer does not exist. I am guess you meant a “ballpeen” hammer.

5 Allen April 19, 2009 at 5:31 pm

Very good article. I worked in sporting goods for 7 years and passed on very similar knowledge to many glove buyers.

I tend to disagree that glove oil causes a glove to deteriorate more rapidly. I have seen many well maintained gloves last years longer than un-oiled, un-maintaned gloves.

Also, heating a glove is probably the fastest way to break-in a glove, but is very detrimental to the well being. One should also be careful with heating gloves as some do have metal hooks and things on them.

6 Brett April 19, 2009 at 5:36 pm

@Dan-

Thanks for the correction. I’ve apparently been mispronouncing it my whole life and it does not in fact rhyme with saltine.

7 jon jon Weso April 19, 2009 at 7:26 pm

Growing up, as the middle child of nine, my brothers taught me to spit in my glove. Though they never told me how, they said it would “give it character.” I think I’ll have my children spit in theirs. Character’s important ya know?

8 Rich Landers April 19, 2009 at 7:41 pm

All great ideas. Neat’s Foot Oil is another lubricant to consider. Any shaving cream used should contain lanolin. Not all do. That’s why Barbasol works so well. Check out DirtDog Baseball for other manly advice on not only breaking in a glove but actually relacing it… If you’re Man Enough!

9 jeremiah April 19, 2009 at 10:04 pm

I’ve always slathered some oil all over the glove and baked in the oven for 10-15 minutes. This combinations seems to work the quickest and gives a beautifully supple leather texture and softness.

After reading some of these comments though, I can imagine the heat damaging the leather a bit, but it seems to be OK. I just did this with a new glove I bought a week ago and it feels beautiful on the field.

10 jeremiah April 19, 2009 at 10:05 pm

I’ve always slathered some oil all over the glove and baked in the oven for 10-15 minutes. (Petroleum jelly works fine) This combinations seems to work the quickest and gives a beautifully supple leather texture and softness.

After reading some of these comments though, I can imagine the heat damaging the leather a bit, but it seems to be OK. I just did this with a new glove I bought a week ago and it feels beautiful on the field.

11 Mike April 20, 2009 at 4:25 am

I was always a Barbasol and hours of catch kind of guy, but I heard that running it over with the car a dozen times or so softens it up.

12 Dave April 20, 2009 at 4:45 am

If you’re going to use oil, try sewing machine oil. Very light stuff. Pocket formation: instead of putting a baseball in the the mitt, try a softball before wrapping with rubber bands. I used to do both.

Try going to local garage sales to find mitts that have already been broken in. They are cheaper, and having more than one will help you figure out what you really want in a mitt.

Of course this stuff really needs to be taught to the 9-11 year olds just getting past their first mitts.

13 Robert April 20, 2009 at 5:24 am

I’ve always heard baking is bad because it dries out the leather. May help in the short term but will cause it to degrade quicker. If you want your glove to be workable in 30 years (I think my dad’s is even older)… not a good idea.

I’ve done linseed oil… seems to do a good job. Supposedly it’s also somewhat protective for the leather.

14 Erik April 20, 2009 at 5:31 am

Ahh such nostalgia from this site; I have articles delivered via e-mail daily-

I love stuff like this, it takes me back to when my dad walked me through such lessons as a boy growing up.

Excellent community and content here-

15 Enrique S April 20, 2009 at 5:44 am

“like a bookie to some knee caps” – love that analogy!

I used to put a softball in the pocket, tie it up tight with some twine, and soak it in a bucket of water for a few days. Then, just throw it in the backyard to dry, and use it until it was broken in.

16 lou April 20, 2009 at 6:39 am

take it out to the yard and hit it with a baseball bat. improves your swing and breaks in the glove

17 Andrew M. April 20, 2009 at 6:42 am

I used baby oil, then put it under the mattress for a few days with a baseball in it. I still use the glove 10 years later. I would also add that none of these works on synthetic leather, which you should probably avoid like the plague. Now I’m off to go play some catch.

18 Seth April 20, 2009 at 7:22 am

For catchers:

I used to keep a belt (those stretch-style uniform belts) around my catcher’s mitt with a softball stored inside. I kept it in my bag that way all the time – after every practice, game, etc… it’s actually still being stored like that now in my garage (ready for when my 10 month old son is ready to get started)

It helped with breaking it in… it helped form a very nice and deep pocket… and it helped force the mitt to break-in to the proper shape (that was the main reason I could never borrow a mitt – they were never broken-in right)

19 Uberhack April 20, 2009 at 7:28 am

I never used one of these, but it looks like a good idea for forming the pocket:
http://baseballtips.com/glovehammer.html

You can probably make the same thing by sawing off the first 10 inches of an old bat and screwing a ball to the end.

20 Marshall Jones April 20, 2009 at 7:48 am

Great post! If I weren’t at work right now I’d be on my home to work on it right now.

After every practice my dad would have me throw my glove up in the air and whack it. After about 20 times I was exhausted, the glove was dirtier and softer and it helped me go from hitting (a ball) off a tee to hitting out of the air.

21 Jacob Fehr April 20, 2009 at 8:31 am

The absolute best thing for your glove is Kiwi Mink Oil, rub it down with the mink oil, play a good game of catch with it, then tie it together with a ball in it when you’re not using it. Mink oil also works great on your boots.

22 Krishna April 20, 2009 at 10:29 am

If you have an old belt that you don’t mind punching a hole in, that can be preferable to twine, in my opinion. With the added width, you can get a bit tighter without leaving a mark (obviously there are still limits). And it’s easier to have it in the belt, take it out for a catch, and then redo the the belt than to deal with untying and retying a rope.

23 Chuck April 20, 2009 at 11:44 am

I got my last glove about 13 years ago and it is still holding up like a champ. When I first got it is cleaned it with saddle soap and then covered it in mink oil. After that I tied a softball in it (I used the laces from my cleats to get it good and tight).

The things that I like about mink oil is that it does not soak in too much and it does not contain any alcohol or petroleum distillates that can break down the leather. Once you’ve let the glove sit over night with the ball tied inside you open it up and wipe off the excess oil with a dry towel. Then go beat the hell out of it.

I’ve never baked my glove but I would definitely oil it before and after to keep the leather from drying out.

As a side note, the saddle soap and mink oil treatment works great to loosen up a new pair of work boots as well.

24 Nate April 20, 2009 at 8:22 pm

From my experience, the absolute best way to break it in is to just play catch a LOT. No oil, no liquids (other than occasional spit) as these will only break down the fibers of the leather and over time, break the glove down causing it to fall apart. Yes, it took a few seasons to get it there, but I’d say my glove has been absolutely perfect for at least the last 6 summers.

My brothers broke an old glove in using crap like vasoline and baking it in the oven. Yeah, it became flexible quickly, but completely fell apart after two seasons of heavy use. He followed my advice with the current glove and after a few years his glove is in FAR better shape then the last one.

25 Lee April 21, 2009 at 4:05 am

Ahhh, the memories. I taught my (then 10 year old) son that the best way was to liberally rub a conditioning oil all over it, beat the pocket with a baseball, wrap it with an old belt with the ball in the pocket and then to drive over it a few times in the dirt. Gravel or asphalt is too graphic. Within a short period of time the glove was sweet and soft. Thanks for a timely (baseball season is here) article.

26 adam April 22, 2009 at 4:48 am

please don’t bake the darn thing. Pure lanolin. That’s the best way, hands down. Trust me on this. And, use the softball to form the pocket as others have said. Then, use it, use it, use it.

27 Thad April 22, 2009 at 7:47 am

I second the catcher above. Oil the glove good … something like Mink Oil works wonders … use it a lot and keep a ball in it when you are not using it. The last step is especially true for catchers mitts because nothing is worse than a mitt with that has been folded flat during the off-season!

Really wish that I still had time to play ball …

28 Steve April 22, 2009 at 10:08 am

I’d be wary of heating a glove in the microwave. The metal parts would cause problems.

I would highly recommend not putting it in the microwave.

29 Анджела April 27, 2009 at 9:59 am

Probably the best way to soften up a baseball glove is to get out there and let it see some action

30 FAPORT International April 30, 2009 at 1:55 am

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31 Evan June 12, 2009 at 12:12 pm

First of all, oils for gloves are great between seasons…. Since leather is skin, just like yours…. And the oils in your skin help keep moisture in, that’s what glove oil is used for… So after the season, oil it up…. It will stop it from drying out, and breaking down… Oils immediatly applied to a new glove give the illusion of it breaking in faster…. It does make it softer, but only cuz it’s saturated and wet. Playing catch after is what will actually break it in and form a pocket…as for catchers gloves…. You gotta beat em up… I spent most of my baseball career behind the dish, and strange as it sounds…the best way I found is to run it over with a car immediately after purchase. About 4 times…. Then constant forming, and shaping….. After the season, oil it, store it with a ball in it… Booyah!

32 Dean-O July 13, 2009 at 1:58 am

A note on oils- if you get a glove that has that natural finish to it adding oil completely changes the color to a much darker shade. I just bought a new Wilson glove and this happened when I used dubbin. Other than the color change though, I always use dubbin to soften up leather. Throwing a ball into it a lot works just as well as storing it tied up.

33 Dean-O July 13, 2009 at 2:02 am

Also on the Wilson tags it now tells you specifically not to put your glove in the microwave or oven, as it WILL damage your glove.

34 Jesse July 27, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Others have already said it, but nothing is better than mink oil. You can buy expensive mink oil sold specifically for baseball gloves, or you can go to a feed and tack store and get the same quality mink oil for a lot less money.

35 Pete August 12, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Chew spit seems to work on my glove

36 allenstjohn August 27, 2009 at 1:01 pm

The good folks at Nokona, who made my amazingly great semi-trapese 12-incher, strongly advise *against* heating a glove in any way, and it voids the warranty. I tend to believe them.
Nokona suggests petroleum jelly, but my friend Noah Liberman, who wrote the great book Glove Stories, argues for Lexol, which is a few bucks at any hardware store.
It worked great on my A-2000, and even did a nice job on my first glove, a Rawlings Roberto Clemente autograph glove that my late brother-in-law bought me.

37 Daddy22Hubby21 September 22, 2009 at 10:43 pm

The problem with all of the methods suggested above: they require a trip to the store (or at least to the basement) or an unnecessary thrashing of a new glove. I’ll share an old family recipe. Take your new glove, tie a softball in the pocket, and let it soak in a bucket of water for two or three days, then let it dry. It’ll feel a bit crispy when it first dries out, but after a day or two, it’ll be just like old. It’s like cooking ribs…you just have to be patient. As a sidenote, I can’t believe that using vasoline or lanolin are even suggested on such a site. Those guys must be second-basemen.

38 alex October 17, 2009 at 11:45 pm

Can we use crazy things like NIVEA, milk, butter, sperm(I’m not kiding), Febreze. Can someone give me a hint my e-mail is alexis.305@hotmail.com

39 George November 9, 2009 at 7:33 am

The pros say the best way to break in a glove is to put a ball in the pocket and leave it in the back window of the car for a couple of days. Then, of course, if you play with it for 5-6 hours a day like they do, it shouldn’t take long.

40 Jorge December 15, 2009 at 9:09 pm

First of all, don’t let anyone put their hand inside the glove if its not theirs! Only the operator gets to slip it on. I have tried it all, but what works best and doesnt weight down the glove is Wilson pro stock lanolin with vitamin E. After buying gloves for $300.00 dollars on up, Playing catch or Glove hammer is the way to go, Over night and every night put a softball in the pocket of the glove. Never put it underneath the mattress as you dont want to crease the glove. When you are working with the glove bend the glove fingers outward to have an open glove. Pros dont care about longevity because their gloves are free. They are always breaking in a backup glove. Go to the Wilson website and see the video of how to break in a glove properly. Good luck to all, and Play Ball.

41 Scott February 10, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Great post. I sleep with mine to. Try putting a softball in the pocket instead. The softball makes a really nice pocket.

42 ashley March 21, 2010 at 10:01 am

I stand on my glove with the web to the palm of the mitt while the coach is talking, or fold down the web and put some textbooks on it after I warm it up and put some oil on it.

43 Bryan March 23, 2010 at 3:49 pm

A local Radio guy and former major leaguer says rub down inside with shaving cream. Place ball in pocket and tie with socks and let it set over night. Wipe off any dry cream and play catch for 20 mins. the next day. I have been doing this the last few years and it works great for me.

http://jimtraber.com/tips_recipes.htm

44 J.C. March 24, 2010 at 6:58 am

I played AAA minor league ball and been around a lot of major league players. Most of them break in a glove like this…….put 2 balls side by side in the pocket of your mit then close it and tape it up. Dunk the taped up mit in water for about a minute or a minute and a half. Let dry then oil it with mink oil or vaseline. Use it and oil it then tape it with 2 balls side by side repeat this except the water part. You will have a professionally broken in mit in no time. The water opens the pour s of the hide and lets in the oil where its needed. It will not shorten the life of the mit!! Good luck…..

45 jeffrey March 28, 2010 at 2:16 pm

My Middle school baseball coach is a former MLB player but only lasted a month due to torn muscle….And he told me to break in a new baseball glove its best to put in an oven, for safer and better results put it at about 200 degrees for about 7 minutes, the glove would be hot but not so hot. Another thing you could do is put oil on a glove put a baseball in it and close the glove with tape then put in the freezer…once it is cold put it somewhere warm and the glove should be smooth….hope this help

46 Mani March 30, 2010 at 9:03 pm

I saw on MLB Tonight that Harold Reynolds puts two, or even three, balls in the glove. He says an infielder’s glove should be open and wide (do not curve the fingers in). Then he said you should tape up the glove and dunk it in water for 3-4 minutes. Then dry it off, hang it up, and let air dry over night. Finally, he said to rub either glove oil, or what he preferres, vaseline. He also said to keep rubbing vaseline into the glove throughout the season when your glove is looking dry.

47 savon sumrall April 7, 2010 at 9:01 pm

another way is to roll the glove up and put it under your matress

48 Tarik Dennie April 24, 2010 at 10:00 am

like an old friend… couldn’t have been said any better

49 Kolton Smith April 25, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Don’t run the mitt over, I agree with putting shaving cream on it an put it in the oven for about four minutes, not to exceed,then put two balls next to each other and put it under your mattress and sleep on it for a couple of nights.

50 steve April 26, 2010 at 4:54 pm

there r a few tips on breaking in baseball gloves…
1.) get it online. the gloves tht sporting good stores sell arent as good as ones from the interent

2.) do not put it under your matress or run over it with your car. simply rubber band it shut with a ball in the pocket

3.) always make sure you shape around your own hand!

4.) try not to bend the glove otherwise you will create folds and bubbles.

5.) beat the heck out of it. soften the leather as much as you can

51 jorque April 27, 2010 at 4:37 pm

the microwaving works but the smell is awful

52 Tyler April 28, 2010 at 9:33 am

just bend the heck out of it.

fold it turn it inside out and repeat.

53 Mike April 28, 2010 at 3:05 pm

For a ball hammer I took a cheap hard rubber mallet and shaped one end into a half sphere. I think I spent 4.00 on it and it works great for softening and forming pockets, no marring or tearing the leather.

54 Trelow May 2, 2010 at 10:00 pm

I always have folded the pinky finger in when wrapping it up, and like to use plastic wrap to do so. Then again, I was taught to field off the back of my glove, rather than in the mitt whenever possible.

55 nick May 14, 2010 at 4:14 pm

form your pocket and glove while softening the leather
A) it saves time
B) it makes the glove soften to a perfect form

56 Tyler May 23, 2010 at 11:11 am

DO NOT USE GLOVE OILS!!!
what I would recomend put the ball comfortably in the pocket then tie it up with rubber bans.
let it sit in the sun for aobut 4 hrs. then take it and put it under your matress do this for about 3 days and your glove will be good in no time.

57 Jim June 12, 2010 at 7:54 pm

Oil it down good with neatsfoot oil, jam a ball into the pocket, then with your hand in the glove have someone tie it at three points with ropes. This will set the pocket right where you want it.

Then, soak it for two hours in a pot on the stove, just nice and warm, not hot.

After that, stick it in the freezer overnight.

Next day you thaw it out, and congratulations…you’ve got the beginnings of a well-fitting glove with a good pocket.

58 collin June 22, 2010 at 10:00 pm

i just ordered a wilson a2000. so i was looking up on different sites on how to break it in. it doesnt really say what the oproper way your glove should close?

59 MIke June 30, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Mink oil and tie a ball in the pocket! Re- mink oil a few weeks every year pre spring training camp.

My dad taught me this. I used it on my (then) new Wilson glove for my endeavors at 3rd and short. The palm has the “autograph” Mark “the bird” Fidrych in it. (for you “old schoolers” out there, you get an idea the age of this mitt) I just handed this glove down to my youngest son as he started his little league career this season. He is loving the game so he will be getting his own glove to break in this year.

Thats right boys and girls, my little league and high school years and 2 sons later (some 30+ years of service) this old mitt is still “shagging flys” and “scooping grounders”!!

Need i say more about the properties of Mink oil!!!

60 Trey July 9, 2010 at 5:30 pm

hey you can also put rubber bands around the pocket then slip a baseball in there and stick it in the freezer it works it just might be a little hard so put some petrolium jelly on it that’s all

61 Josh July 16, 2010 at 2:20 pm

What I do is I get the nokona glove conditioner, rub that into the pocket, the web and the creases where the glove opens and closes and then throw a ball in the pocket and wrap an Ace bandage around it, let it sit in the hot car for a day or 2 then go at it with the ball mallet or just throwing a ball into the pocket. This has worked very well on my Rawlings heart of the hide glove.

62 Jordan July 27, 2010 at 4:26 pm

I never had any idea there were so many ideas about how to soften a glove. Heating it in the oven, beating it with a bat, and running it over with a car never would have occurred to me in a million years. Very interesting. The last time I bought a baseball glove, I bought a tube of Nokona to go with it, and I like it. My real problem is that I never get to use it much. Most of my friends aren’t big baseball, or sports, lovers. Ultimately, What I want is for my glove (a Rawlings) to last over twenty years like my dad’s old softball mitt.

63 Joe October 29, 2012 at 11:38 am

Dubbin is the best treatment for baseball gloves in my opinion. It doesn’t add weight or feel oily/sticky as it absorbs very well. I have used Dubbin for the past 35 years on all of my gloves and they have maintained great shape and condition. I have never used water, freezing the glove or heated the glove in microwave or oven. I treat the gloves every fall/winter and then place a ball in the pocket, wrap it with a tensor bandage and occasional take a ball mallet to the glove in the winter while watching TV. Other than having my gloves re-laced there have been no issues. I still have my first glove from little league which I just passed along to my 7 year old.

64 David Brazil December 24, 2012 at 9:33 pm

I have an 11 year old son that takes the same pride in his new glove as I did when my dad bought me my first baseball glove.. Now, with that being said please go support Nakona gloves! An American made glove and still made in America. Best glove I ever owned and it will be the only glove my son ever uses. Hand made from the finest leathers.. always!
They have their own glove conditoner that will not soak into the glove and make it heavier. It helps with the break in PROCESS! it also adds just enough conditioning when needed to use during off seasons to keep the laces and dry areas from becoming brittle.
Sleep on it, Pound it with a baseball, Pound it with a ball mallet, Bend it and just plain play catch with it. Any other form of breaking in a glove is bad for the long term effects of the glove. Heating it works if done properly but drains the natural oils and moisture out and shortens its life…just common sense. You just want the glove to break in the way you want it for catching or fielding but not to become floppy.. so Play catch, sleep on it with a ball in the pocket and the Nakona glove conditioner will break it in perfectly. Buy a cheap knockoff glove or use your old glove for game situations until your comfortable that your new glove is broken in the way you want it.

65 JEREMY January 5, 2013 at 12:34 am

U CAN use tender nipple sounds werid but it work in any baby store like babysrus there a product called tender nipple its FULLL of lanolin and lanolin is great tyo break in your glove

66 Todd January 16, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Jeremy is right about lanolin being one of the best and the safest treatments. Much better than any oil, but if your glove is pre-oiled, don’t use it. It is perfect for a vegetable tanned high end glove. I used Lansinoh brand. One tube should be enough for 20 gloves, unless you leave the open tube on a table accessible to you dog. Then a small tube will treat one glove and one dog.
Rub a little in the triangle, crease the sides of the triangle, and play catch or use a glove mallet while watching TV.
Also, if you store your glove under the mattress on your wife’s side of bed with ball in it, then everything that might require Lansinoh is in the same place.

67 Mark February 7, 2013 at 10:55 pm

Be gentle with your glove. It’s your best friend when you’re out on the field.
The idea of heating, beating, squishing gloves makes me cringe.
The leather used on gloves today is generally very soft. You only need to go play catch for an hour or two before it’s game ready.
Heating a glove can dry the leather and lead to cracking (beware of leaving your glove in the car). Putting a glove under a mattress can squish the padding and leave some nasty creases in the leather. (I don’t even like to put my glove in my baseball bag). Definitely never soak it in water; it’s just not good for the leather.
Using glove oil is a decent idea. Beating the pocket is ok, but don’t just randomly beat the leather; the fingers should remain rigid. The palm should be soft enough to close on the ball, but beware of overworking it.
Really just go play some catch.

68 odus February 20, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Just used the mink oil and oven at 200 degrees method and it did a wonderful job breaking in the glove. thanks for the info

69 Syon February 23, 2013 at 9:02 pm

im 11 and i recamend to just put shaving cream on it and put it in the oven on 275 degrees because my cousins dog chewed up mine and just got a nike one and did that 45 minuites ago and it works. :D

70 Chipper Jones February 23, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Im retired now but i agree with Syon and Jermiah ive been doing that since tee ball.

71 Danny February 26, 2013 at 3:48 pm

I’ve always oiled it up a bit, placed a baseball in the pocket, then rolled the glove nice and tight left to right over the ball while it’s still in the pocket. I then get some twine or thin rope and wrap it around the glove to keep it in that wrapped state. Place the glove in your attic or trunk of your car for a few days and you’ll have one beautifully formed mitt when you’re done.

72 Phil J. March 4, 2013 at 9:31 pm

I’m glad I found this posting. I find it interesting and it has brought back many fond memories.

I just bought a new high-end glove. My old glove is more than 40 years old and I thought I’d treat myself to a new one. The following are some of my observations on breaking in a new glove.

First, there is one current option that has not been mentioned in this thread, for which I’ve seen several advertisements: Steaming. It is offered by many reputable sporting goods stores and appears to be a quick and effective way of doing it. However, I decided not to do it, partly because I felt that I had already spent enough money on the glove, and partly because it would take away most of the enjoyment and rewards of breaking it in myself.

Second, I tend to side with the folks who have stated that you should not abuse the glove (like running over it with a car). I’m also leery about baking it, freezing it or soaking it in a bucket of water. I believe that bringing it along slowly and carefully will help ensure a satisfying result that can last decades. It also gives you a more personalized result and more confidence in using it.

Here’s what I did 40+ years ago and am doing now:

1. Find a glove that “fits like a glove.” I did a lot of on-line and in-store research before honing in on my new glove. I wanted a model suitable for playing the outfield in senior softball, but did not want a gargantuan glove. I ultimately targeted the Wilson A2000 KP92-BL based on its size, style and description on the Wilson website. When I tried it on at the store, it fit perfectly and seemed to cradle the ball just as I would want it to. That made spending the $200+ for it a little easier.

2. Start softening it up by bending it along the natural crease lines, especially from the heel at the base of the pinky to the web. Wrap the glove around a ball at night so that it bends along this crease line. I use an old white undershirt to tie the glove, which doesn’t leave any marks or discolor the leather.

3. Put on the glove and pound the pocket, heel and web by repeatedly throwing a ball into it. This not only conditions the glove, but it also conditions your hand and exercises your throwing arm as well.

4. Lightly and evenly oil the glove on all the outer surfaces and the laces, including the inside of the glove where the palm of your hand touches the glove. In the past I used Neatsfoot Oil. When I bought the glove, the store recommended Glovolium (a Rawlings product), which I had seen discussed on the internet. Based on the store’s recommendation I purchased a 4 oz. bottle from them for $1.99, but I haven’t actually used it yet. Note: I called the Glovolium “800” number to confirm that the glove should be oiled on the inside at the palm, as I had not seen this detail discussed elsewhere.

5. Of course, when the weather is right and you have a partner, play catch with your new glove as much as you can.

Hope this helps.

73 Phil J. March 5, 2013 at 11:21 am

Oops — for the sake of accuracy and completeness, I found the following on the Wilson customer care webpage, which seems to cast doubt on the viability of using the Glovolium and oiling the inside of my Wilson glove. Note that I did not ask this question:

Proper care of Wilson Baseball Gloves

Question:

What is the best way to take care of my Wilson® ball glove?

Answer:

Wilson does not recommend using any other product than our Pro-Stock™ Glove Conditioner on our gloves, and we definitely DO NOT recommend putting our gloves in the oven or hot water. Each glove manufacturer has different specifications for its gloves and the materials used in those gloves. We may use a different leather than another manufacturer, and if you use the same leather conditioner on both gloves, you may get 2 different results.

The recommended method to break in your new Wilson glove is to apply the Pro-Stock™ Glove Conditioner on the glove, including the laces. Do not put any conditioner on any leather “inside” the glove. Work the conditioner in well, then wipe off the excess. Play catch for 20-30 minutes, and you should be good to go. You may need to repeat this process several times to get the desired level of playability in your glove.

74 ragouzis22 April 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Thanks. Does this mean I lost the art of being manly since I had to come here to remember what I used to do as a kid? Forgotten Manliness perhaps. Lost? Never. thanks, Ragouzis 22

75 Phillip Smith April 27, 2013 at 7:44 pm

I just got my daughter her first glove….stiff as hell, her tiny hand couldn’t squeeze it over the ball. As my dad did for me, I rubbed it down with Crisco, bent it back and forth a while, whiped off the Crisco excess until it was not greasy, then I put it in the clothes dryer on fluff for a couple hours. It was a little loud, like drying sneakers, but in the end, the glove softened nicely. We then greased it up again, wiped it clean and stuffed a soft ball in the pocket and wrapped a belt around tightly and she slept with it right next to her pillow. In the morning, it was lookin good. We reapeated this a couple more time and now is like it’s been used for a decade. Fun, Fun Fun. How to remeber your dad for the rest of your life!

76 Bob May 2, 2013 at 6:13 pm

I have always used sno-seal. its a beeswax based oil for leather. I figure if it works to to waterproof and preserve leather boots from snow and water, it will definately work for a glove. Heating beforehand helps open the pours on the leather so it soaks up the oil better.

77 Turtle May 13, 2013 at 10:57 am

My experience was to tie a ball up inside of it and then stick it in the dryer with a load of wet towels. Worked fine in the past man theres so many different ways of doing it.

78 trent May 16, 2013 at 6:02 pm

The best way I have found to break in a glove is smother it with neatsfoot (spelling) or mink oil, put your hand in it, shove a ball in the pocket and situate it how you like it. Then tightly wrap it in a towel, tape it up and throw that in the dryer for 30 min. Medium or high heat. Play catch for a while and if it needs more repeat.

79 Paul June 21, 2013 at 12:54 pm

I like using an ace bandage to wrap my glove. I can get it tight without leaving any marks. If I need my glove broke in quickly I rub it down with petroleum jelly, wrap with an ace, and place in a black trash bag, tied, and placed in the front windshield of my car for about an hour. Works great! My new mitt I repeated for three days and it was ready for the big game… Church league softball second week! HaHa

80 Jack July 16, 2013 at 9:52 am

I steamed my rawling pro preferred infielders mitt ($350) and it broke in my glove faster than anything i have ever tried! Got the glove for Christmas and it was perfect by Febuary! I’d say it takes a good month of breaking in off of the time for it to be perfectly ready for game play. IT DOES MESS UP THE COLOR. It turned my maroon red color glove to a very dark maroon red. Gloves that are not steamed will look better, but as long as you oil your glove, it will be fine! I’ve had mine for a year and a half of NONstop games, and its holding up fine, but it would be better if i had oiled it though.

81 Destiny October 23, 2013 at 5:02 pm

If the reason why you use shaving cream & so forth is the lanolin, why not just buy lanolin cream? They have it at most stores in the baby department near the breast pump/feeding supplies.

82 wolf January 22, 2014 at 10:43 am

drill a hole through the baseball tie a rope to it put it in your glove and slam it up against a pine tree it don’t work unless its a pine

83 James Coker March 14, 2014 at 1:54 pm

With your glove closed, simply park your vehicle on it.

84 Tom Schwindy April 7, 2014 at 11:22 pm

Easy Peasy 1, 2, 3

Condition the all leather glove with your favorite leather conditioner, (I use a Tandy Leather product called Dr Jackson Hide Rejuvenator) Make sure to get it inside where your hand goes into the glove and all over the mitt.
Place a ball right where you wish to catch the ball, form your pocket to your hand and your liking. Now wrap the glove up lightly with an ACE bandage and place the glove into a 2 gallon zip lock bag and sip it closed. ALL BUT one inch. Allow some of the air to circulate yet keeping most of the moisture in. Place the glove in a sunny window or your car. BUT BE careful because you can “cook” your glove. You don’t want to cook your glove. After two or three hours check on the glove.
Quickly unwrap get your hand in there and see how it’s working. more if needed but be sure the conditioning is still in the leather. After your second round in the window, take the glove out and beat it with a wooden mallet MADE for baseball / softball. Start with the inside (15 minutes) then when you go to the outside of the mitt, First put the ball back into the pocket and beat the glove closed. From the fingers side as well as from the thumb side. Now take the glove with the fingers pointing down and hold the thumb and pinky fingers and roll the heel as if you’r playing with a slinky and go back and forth about 30 to 40 times. Two or three rounds of the above and your glove will be ready to go!
Good luck to you all and play ball!

85 JD April 16, 2014 at 8:24 pm

I agree with the microwave thing, microwave the glove for 45 seconds and bam that glove is broken in extremely well

86 Brian S. April 20, 2014 at 1:33 pm

I used “Glad Wrap” instead of rubber bands or twine. Leaves no marks on glove and gets it good and tight.

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