Let’s go! You just secured your new baseball glove for the upcoming season. Unfortunately, new gloves are far from game-ready right off the shelf, especially when they are made using expensive leather. That's where we come in.

At BRUCE BOLT, we're not solely concerned with selling premium leather batting gloves. We're committed to equipping baseball players with the knowledge and tools they need to excel on the field. In this guide, we'll walk you through the ins and outs of breaking in a baseball glove, making sure you break it in the right way. 

So get ready, it’s time to harness the full potential of your baseball glove with BRUCE BOLT's insights and expertise.


Understanding the Importance of Breaking in Your Baseball Glove

If you're a committed baseball player, you know that the relationship between a player and their glove is almost sacred. But why is breaking in a new baseball (or softball glove) so important? Let's dive into the key reasons behind this crucial process.


Significance of Breaking In

Imagine stepping onto the field with a brand-new glove. It looks fresh, but when the ball comes your way, you find it difficult to close the glove and secure the catch. This is the basic reason for breaking in your baseball glove. Here are some of the other benefits:

  • Enhanced Ball Control: Breaking in your glove involves forming a ball-sized pocket in the palm, which is essential for consistently trapping and controlling the ball. A properly broken-in glove ensures that the ball stays securely in place, reducing the chances of fumbles or dropped catches.
  • Personalized Fit: Every player's hand is unique, and a properly broken-in glove molds itself to the shape of your hand. This personalized fit offers unmatched comfort, allowing you to focus solely on the controllable factors of your game.


The Break-In Process

The break-in process involves a series of techniques and methods to soften the glove's leather, create a pocket, and ensure that the glove conforms to your hand's shape. While it may sound like a hassle, it's an investment that pays off significantly on the field.

Note: When dealing with premium gloves like the Wilson A-2000, Rawlings Heart of the Hide, or Mizuno Pro Series, breaking the glove in properly is even more critical. These gloves are known for their long-lasting quality, which further emphasizes the importance of breaking it in right considering you do not get a second chance.


Common Ways to Break In a Baseball Glove

Now that you understand the general importance of breaking in your baseball glove, let's explore some different methods to achieve that optimal fit and feel.


Common ways to break in a baseball glove infographic.


Using a Glove Mallet to Form a Pocket

One of the traditional and effective ways to break in a baseball glove is by using a glove mallet. Here's how it works:

  • The Tool: A glove mallet (or wooden mallet) is specifically designed with a round head the size of a baseball. It's used to soften the glove's leather and create a well-defined pocket.
  • The Process: To break in your glove using a mallet, go to town on the glove's palm area and the pocket. This repetitive motion helps to soften the leather and shape the pocket.


Using a Baseball and Rubber Bands

One effective way to break in your glove over time is to use a baseball and some rubber bands. Here's how it works:

  • Setup: Place a baseball in the pocket of your glove.
  • Secure It: Use rubber bands to secure the glove tightly around the baseball, ensuring that it forms a deep pocket.
  • Under Your Mattress: Place the glove under your mattress and leave it there for a few days or even weeks. The pressure from your mattress helps to shape the pocket.


The Hot Water Method

The hot water method is an effective way to break in your baseball glove, but it requires some caution:

  • The Idea: The principle behind this method is to use hot water to soften the glove's leather, making it more pliable.
  • The Process:
    • Boil a pot of water and let it cool slightly, so it's hot but not boiling.
    • Dampen a sponge or cloth with the hot water.
    • Apply the hot water evenly to the glove's palm and pocket, focusing on stiff areas.
    • After applying the water, repeatedly open and close the glove to help the leather stretch and shape.
    • Allow the glove to air dry naturally. Avoid using direct heat sources, as they can damage the leather.


The Shaving Cream Method

Another trusted technique involves using shaving cream. This method may sound unusual, but it has been a favorite among baseball players for many years:

  • The Reason: Shaving cream contains a mixture of soap, water, and other ingredients that can help soften leather. It's particularly useful for gloves made of tougher, high-quality leather and can be applied more frequently than glove oil.
  • The Process: Here's how to break in your glove with shaving cream:
    • Apply a small amount of shaving cream to a cloth or sponge.
    • Rub the shaving cream evenly over the glove's palm, pocket, and any other areas that feel stiff.
    • Work the glove by opening and closing it several times.
    • Allow it to air dry overnight.


Breaking in a Baseball Glove: Expert Tips & Tricks from BRUCE BOLT

At BRUCE BOLT, we understand that breaking in a baseball glove is an art, and we're here to share some insider tips and tricks that can help you achieve that perfect fit and feel.


BRUCE BOLT's expert tips & tricks to breaking in a batting glove infographic.



Different Approaches for Different Leathers

Different glove leathers may require slightly different strategies. Here are two methods that can be effective for different leather types:

For Stiffer Leathers:

  • Petroleum Jelly: Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the stiff areas of your glove, focusing on the palm and pocket.
  • Work the Leather: Gently work the leather. This will help distribute the petroleum jelly and soften the glove.
  • Dumbbell: To expedite the process, consider using a dumbbell rather than a glove mallet for added weight when shaping the pocket. 

For Softer Leathers:

  • Glove Mallet: Soft leather gloves require a less strenuous approach. Simply use a glove mallet to create a well-defined pocket.
  • Less Maintenance: Soft leather gloves often require less conditioning and can maintain their suppleness with regular use.


The Use of Glove Oil or Glove Conditioner

Glove oil and conditioner are great for maintaining the quality and longevity of your baseball glove. These products can help keep the leather supple and prevent it from drying out or cracking. No matter which techniques you choose, applying leather conditioner or glove oil periodically can make a huge difference in the longevity of your mitt. Keep in mind, too much glove oil will make your glove heavy so it is best to stick to thin layers and apply it less frequently than shaving cream.


DO NOT: The Microwave (Or Oven) Method

Using your microwave or oven is a quick way to soften the leather and accelerate the break-in process. However, we strongly advise against this method as it can ruin the leather and collapse the pocket. When done right, the break-in period is long, so a good general rule of thumb is – if the method softens the leather in under an hour, avoid it.

Here's why:

  • Gradual Adjustment: Your glove needs time to adapt to your hand and playing style. Rushing the process can lead to an uncomfortable fit and ruin its pocket.
  • Consistency Matters: Consistent use and maintenance of your glove are key. Regularly condition the leather, work the pocket, and keep your glove in optimal shape. The right way.


The Best Way: Just Play Catch

At the end of the day, the best way to break in a baseball glove is simply by playing catch. Playing catch to break in your glove ensures that it forms specifically to you and your play style. To speed up this process, you can use a pitching machine to catch a bunch of balls in a row.


How to Break in a Baseball Glove: Where BRUCE BOLT Fits In

When it comes to baseball, every play counts and your equipment can make all the difference. Breaking in your baseball glove isn't just a rite of passage; it's a necessity. It's the process that makes a new glove truly yours, enhancing your performance, and giving you that BRUCE BOLT edge.

As you set off to break in that sweet new baseball glove, we have one last thing to say. If you enjoy your premium leather baseball glove, you should consider our 100% Cabretta leather batting gloves to match. That is unless you care more about your performance in the field than your performance at the plate… which we know you don’t ;).

At BRUCE BOLT, our commitment to the sport and our dedication to players like you sets us apart. Come shop BRUCE BOLT's extensive line of baseball equipment and premium batting gloves today!


This article is reviewed by Coach RAC
RAC (RobertAnthony Cruz) is a former collegiate All-American and professional infielder for the Washington Nationals organization.  He has amassed a following of over 1 million ball players since 2022 for his insights into the mental and physical aspects of the game.
Born and raised in Southern California, RAC and his wife currently live in Redlands CA and it is their dream to educate and encourage the next generation of young athletes. Check out @coach.rac on TikTok to learn more.

Leave a comment

Stay in-the-know

// klaviyo script