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How to Break in a Baseball Glove

Getting Started

No matter what position you play or what your skill level is, it’s crucial to break in a baseball glove before your season begins. Breaking in a glove entails creating the pocket where you catch the ball, softening the leather so it’s less stiff and rigid, and making sure it’s comfortable enough for you to actually use.  Here are a few key points when breaking in your new Nokona…

Playing Catch

The number one recommendation when breaking in a new glove is to just play with it.  Playing catch will allow the leather in the glove to mold to your hand and fingers.  Admittedly, using this method can be time-consuming than others, but it also reduces the risk of damaging your glove and decreases unnecessary wear and tear. 

Work the Hinges

Using both hands, grab the mitt on the left and right sides and while holding it tight, act like you are punching something, alternating hands.  This helps to stretch the internal pad fibers and soften up the leather.  In addition to that, you can also bend the thumb and pinky back and forth toward to help loosen up the hinges.

Glove Mallets

In addition to playing catch, you can also use a mallet on your glove. You’ll need to obtain a glove mallet (or make one using an old baseball), put the glove on your usual hand, and use the mallet to hit the pocket of the glove. A mallet simulates the true action of a ball breaking in a ball glove.  They are typically designed with a spherical head, to replicate the shape of a baseball or softball.  You can also take the glove off of your hand and use the mallet on the backside to break it in.

Baseball Glove Conditioner

While using Nokona Leather Treatment (NLT) isn’t enough to completely break a glove in on its own, it can help make the leather softer. Also, using it consistently will also prolong the overall life of the glove.  Be careful not to oversaturate the leather.  Use dime-sized amounts when you notice the leather looking dry.

Glove Wraps

To help your glove form its pocket, fold it in half, place a baseball or softball in the pocket, and tie it up using a glove wrap or old pair of shoelaces. You can also use this method to help your glove keep its shape when you aren’t using it.  In addition to this, treat your glove with respect.  Try not to leave it in the bottom of your bag.  The better you take care of it, the longer it will last.

Do NOT Use These Methods To Break In Your Glove

There are several methods you should never use to break in your new glove. Some of these aren’t as effective as the techniques listed above, and what’s worse, they may do more harm than good. Here are a few methods you should avoid when breaking in a ballglove…

Do Not Steam

Many other companies recommend steaming leather baseball gloves.  We definitely DO NOT.  Like with any high quality leather, applying heat and water to it will cause the leather to break down.  Although steaming may seem like a quick, easy shortcut to breaking in a glove, it will shorten the life span of the leather and will severely dry out the laces.

Don’t Use the Oven or Microwave

Some people swear by heating up a ball glove in the oven or microwave to help soften the leather, but this can do irreversible damage. This dries out your glove, potentially to the point that your laces break or the overall glove shrinks in size.

Don’t Run the Glove Over

Others purport that driving your vehicle over a new glove will help create the pocket and soften the leather. However, you just made an investment in a quality glove, and running it over isn’t going to help your glove keep that shape.  There is a good chance that will likely just get it dirty instead and the leather will break down.

Don’t Leave It in Your Car

The premise behind leaving a ball glove in your car is the same as heating it up in a microwave or oven — because cars can get so hot, they can accomplish the same job as one of these appliances.  However, it can also dry out your glove and make your laces so brittle that they break. You should avoid storing your glove in your car for the same reason.


Each glove is as unique as the person who wears it, and one method may work better for you than another. Some gloves require more time before they’re broken in. Do what works best for you and always prioritize the longevity of your glove when breaking it in.


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