When leather baseball gloves come out of the factory they are stiff and difficult to use. Thus, you need to soften them up in order to develop a good pocket to grip the ball easily. For this purpose, you can use a wide variety of oils, creams, conditioners, and softeners. These substances penetrate the surface of the leather and make the gloves more supple.
Here are the best items you can use to soften your baseball gloves and break them in –
Glove conditioners are specially produced by major glove and sporting goods manufacturers. They are different from the regular oils because they have special ingredients which not only soften up the leather but also clean it and shield it from soaking the moisture and dirt. Leather conditioners, however, are the costliest things that you can utilize to break in your gloves-even though most times they are also the best. If you are not a professional athlete, you may look into alternatives that you can use.
You can use lanolin oil on the leather since it softens it up and protects and preserves the leather, permitting your glove to stay supple in the long term. Lanolin is the main ingredient that is found in many glove conditioners but you can buy pure lanolin or lanolin oil (Lanolin Oil is a derivative of pure Lanolin) rather than conditioners and use it to break in your gloves. If you have sensitive skin that doesn’t react well to chemicals, it is better to use lanolin oil than glove conditioners which may contain various chemicals.
Vaseline/ Petroleum Jelly
Vaseline or petroleum jelly is another substance that one can use to break in your gloves. Petroleum jelly contains moisturizing properties that are effective when it comes to softening up leather. Additionally, Vaseline or petroleum jelly is also useful in sealing and protecting your glove from drying out in hot environments as well as from exposure to dust and dirt. Make sure to use petroleum jelly or Vaseline sparingly and work it into the surface of the glove completely before you add any more. Too much of Vaseline or petroleum jelly on your glove can make it sticky and uncomfortable to wear.
This is one of the more traditional substances used to break in a glove. Just like shaving creams soften and moisturize your skin, it also softens up leather gloves. Avoid using shaving gels and creams that have added perfumes/alcohols. Use a standard fragrance-free foaming shaving cream to break in your baseball gloves.
No matter which item you choose from the above to break in your gloves, make sure that the said product is applied correctly. The proper application technique affects the performance of the gloves. Thus when you apply, take a small amount of lanolin on a clean cloth. Start in the palm of the glove then spread out in circular motions to the outer edges. Once your glove is completely coated rub off the excess on another cloth or rag. Place a ball in your glove pocket, wrap it with rubber band and store in a cool, dry place.