How to Break in a New Softball Glove and Get It Game-ready

tips on how to break in a new softball glove

Whether you’re new to the game or not, nothing beats having a new glove to step up your game.

One of the fun aspects of owning a new glove is the process of breaking it in and giving it your identity.

No idea how to break in a new softball glove yet? Here are the best practices that professional athletes swear by.

How to Break in a New Softball Glove

You’re probably familiar with the process of breaking in a new pair of shoes. It needs to mold into your feet’s contours to ensure a snug and comfortable fit.

As you can imagine, it is imperative that you break in your softball glove for the same reasons. Otherwise, it will affect how you play.

Here are what millions of other softball players do to get their new gloves game-ready:

1. Play catch with it.

The most effective way to break in your new softball glove is by playing catch with it.

Do this for hours, and the leather components will loosen up from the pressure applied when catching the ball.

Your glove will also slowly adjust its shape according to your hand structure.

Unlike other methods, this is by far the best if you’re trying to improve your catching skills. More importantly, it’s also the most natural.

how to break in a new softball glove easily

2. Moisten the leather parts.

One quick way to remove the stiffness of your glove is by adding moisture using oil.

You can use mink oil to lubricate the leather; better yet, use glove oil you bought from the same manufacturer.

Oil doesn’t only condition your glove, but it also adds a coat of protection from dirt, hard impacts, and scrapes.

Be sure to knead your glove with light amounts of oil, as oversaturation will make it heavy and more prone to cracking.

3. Strike the glove with a bat to soften it up.

If you don’t like spending hours playing catch just to soften up your glove, there are alternatives.

One clever way to simulate the impact of catching a ball is by striking the glove using a bat or a ball mallet.

Pound the center of the glove’s pocket where the ball would rest to stretch the fibers and webbing.

Professional baseball and softball teams call this technique “manhandling,” as it quickly breaks in the gloves before the big game.

4. Leave a ball in the pocket.

Another trick is shaping your gloves while you are doing other things or asleep.

Leave a ball inside the pocket of your glove and wrap it using rubber bands. In time, the pocket will mold to the ball’s shape.

Due to the elastic nature of the leather, keeping a ball inside the glove will also be another form of maintenance.

Eventually, this practice will no longer need rubber bands, as you can just leave a ball inside the glove’s pocket.

What To Avoid When Breaking in a New Glove

5. Use heat.

Another simple and effective way to break in your glove is by applying the right amount of heat. Here is how you can break in a new softball glove using heat:


Steaming is arguably the best method to use if you opt to heat-treat your glove.

To do this, wear your glove with a ball and place it over a boiling pot of water, allowing steam to run through the fibers and webbings.

This technique will allow your glove to take the shape of your hand as it relaxes and loosens while infusing moisture into the leather.

You can also find a professional who offers steaming service if you want to add safety and security in treating your glove.


Condition your glove by rubbing oil or shaving cream, then place it in the oven at around 300 degrees Fahrenheit for three minutes.

Be sure to use a cookie sheet to avoid damaging the softball glove.

Eventually, the heat will allow the glove to soften and absorb the oil.

As a precaution, allow the glove to cool down after taking it out of the oven if you want to use it immediately.


The microwave is the fastest way for professional players to break in their new gloves.

Simply soak up your glove and place it in the microwave for small intervals of under a minute.

Although it will quickly soften up the glove, it is a destructive process that shortens its lifespan.

On a side note, you should never attempt this method if your glove contains any metal parts, as it can cause fires.

Hot Car

A natural way to break in your glove is by leaving it for a few hours on the dashboard or trunk of a hot car.

The heat and humidity will slowly work around the glove, increasing its flexibility.

Never attempt to leave your glove under direct sunlight. The intense rays of the sun will damage the leather, especially on hot days.

learn how to break in a new softball glove

What To Avoid When Breaking in a New Glove

While we encourage you to use the methods above, there are a couple of things you should avoid as these may do more harm than good.

1. Never let someone break it in for you.

While it may seem harmless, letting someone break in your glove is a big no-no.

One of the risks you might encounter is that the glove may mold to the size and shape of that person’s hand, not yours.

If you fully want your glove to fit snugly, you have to do it yourself.

2. Use the wrong-size softball.

Always make sure the ball you’re using to shape your glove matches the ball you’re going to play with.

If you break in your glove using the wrong ball size, the pocket would be big or small, making it difficult to catch a softball.

So, if you play both baseball and softball, avoid placing the wrong ball on the glove; doing so will affect the shape of the pocket.

Caring and Conditioning Your New Softball Glove

Caring and Conditioning Your New Softball Glove

Of course, breaking in your glove isn’t the only thing you should know. As a bonus, we’ve thrown in some tips and tricks to extend the lifespan of your new softball glove.


Using a bristle brush, carefully remove clumps of dirt stuck on the surface.

Put leather-safe cleaner on a piece of clean cloth and then rub off the remaining dirt. For synthetic gloves, use a mild detergent.

Finish it off by rubbing the right amount of conditioner to moisturize your glove. You can clean your softball glove after every game, but be sure to condition it as well.


If your glove has worn-out or damaged laces, don’t throw it off just yet.

Purchasing a new set of laces is cheaper and saves you the hassle of breaking in your glove again.

Use a knife to remove the damaged laces one at a time. Then, slowly thread in your new laces using a straight-laced grooved needle.

If you think you can’t repair your glove, you can always ask for help from a professional or someone on your softball team.


When not using your glove, find a cool, dry spot to store it in to keep its moisture. Also, put a softball in the glove’s pocket to retain its shape.

Avoid storing your glove in humid bags or compartments or exposing it to outdoor conditions.


Conditioning your glove is essential to keep it in tip-top shape for game day. From time to time, rub some glove oil or conditioning cream to moisturize it.

It’s a good habit to maintain if you’re going to the offseason. Doing it every so often prolongs the glove’s lifespan.

Getting Your Glove Game-Ready

Mastering how to break in a new softball glove can be a long and tedious process, but it is worth it in the end.

Remember that one of your identities as a player is your glove, so properly breaking it in will ensure a better performance.

By following these simple tips, you can have a new glove ready to use for your next game.

4 thoughts on “How to Break in a New Softball Glove and Get It Game-ready”

  1. Wonderful article on How to Break in a New Softball Glove. I must admit I had never even thought of breaking in a new glove. I did buy a new one a few years ago, and other than slamming a ball into the pocket a few times, I did nothing else. I don’t play very often but I can see now that I really should at least be taking measures to protect the leather from deterioration.

    Thank you for this very enlightening article. I learned a lot.

    • Hi, William, and thank you.

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Yes, it would be suitable for the glove. But understandable when it is used for fun once in and once.

      Reading your comment, I was wondering if you had an interest in this article here. It is about how long the gloves last.

      Great to hear about your benefit of the article too.

      Don’t hesitate to contact me to help you with anything else or if you have any questions.

  2. Although I am not a sports-minded person, I found your article interesting. I didn’t realize that you had to break in a new softball glove. I also didn’t realize it was such a tedious process to do. I also didn’t realize that the storage of your glove was such an important issue either. 

    • Hi, Carol Barnes, and thank you.

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Gloves have such an essential role in the game that maintaining the quality of the glove is part of the game, if we can say so.

      And we are talking about leather, so we need to take extra care of that.

      Great to hear about your benefit of the article too.

      Don’t hesitate to contact me to help you with anything else or if you have any questions.


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