Fastpitch Gloves
Breaking Them In

The new fastpitch gloves arrive and everyone is excited, envisioning all of the great plays they are going to make. Now all that has to be done is to break them in ... properly. Someone will suggest that his Uncle Al told them to stick it in the oven. Someone else will say that it is best to stick it in water. Stop them before they ruin the gloves.

The best way to break in the glove is with glove oil. Which glove oil is best is your choice. I liked to use a brand that actually came out as a white foam. Take a soft cloth and rub the oil over the entire glove. Follow the directions on the glove oil container. By rubbing the oil in, you are allowing the oil to penetrate the leather. You want to soften the leather and the laces. Cover the entire glove, especially the inside, which gets the most use, and the laces. The importance of the laces is that you want to keep them soft. If they get brittle they will break (another reason not to cook your glove … you are trying to soften the leather and laces, not tenderize them).

© Kim Jew Photography Studio
softball catcher setting up for the throw down

Next, get a softball and put it in the glove. Bind the glove closed with the ball in the glove to form a pocket overnight. You can tie the glove closed using a rope. I actually used the bungee cords I have to keep things tied down on the roof of my car when we travel. That is it for day one.

The best way to break your glove in after you gave it a good oiling it is by using it. Have a catch to continue to form the pocket and to form to how you want it. Keep working the heel of the glove to get it to where you want it. Remember, most of the quick break in methods will only compromise the leather of the glove resulting in the glove not lasting as long as it should. Breaking the fastpitch gloves in properly will ensure a long and useful life.

Things to Do

  • Play catch every day during the break-in period.
  • Tighten the laces as necessary should they become loose.
  • If the glove should get wet, let it dry naturally. Do not stick it in a dryer.
  • Store the glove at room temperature. Keep it away from extreme heat.
  • Re-oil the glove at least once a year to keep it soft. You will not need to apply as much as you originally did, as this is maintenance.

© Ron Mayhew
Proper technique for handling a grounder in fastpitch

What NOT to Do

  • Do not stick it in the oven (that includes the microwave). You want to soften, not tenderize the glove
  • Do not stick it in a pail of water. Water will ruin the leather.
  • Do not leave the fastpitch glove in the trunk of the car. The extreme heat will ruin the leather.
  • Do not beat the glove with a hammer or some other object. You are not trying to tenderize but soften.
  • Do not use anything on your glove except a product made for your glove, like glove oil.
  • Don’t over do the glove oil. Use only as directed.
  • Do not use a product made with silicone, as this will ruin the leather.

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