When you first get a new baseball glove, most of them need some sort of oil, conditioner or softener to help prepare the glove for a game or practice. Many leather gloves, when new, are tough to open and close because they are so stiff. By conditioning the glove with oil you can soften your glove to create a proper pocket for the baseball.
There are many different approaches you can take to help break in your glove before using it. With these different approaches, there are also many different substances you can use to “season” or help condition the glove. In this next breakdown, I will describe some potential benefits and drawbacks of some of the more common substances used.
One application some use is a form of glove conditioner. These are specialty products specifically designed for use with leather. Glove conditioners will soften the leather, while cleaning and protecting the surface.
Leather conditioners are also typically one of the more expensive conditioning options available as that is what they are made to do. However some conditioners target specific types of leather. Paying attention to which surfaces they work best with is crucial before purchasing anything.
In general, leather glove conditioners are regarded as the most effective way to season your baseball glove. In addition to preparing the surface for league play, a good leather conditioner can even help you protect the glove from excess moisture and dirt. Many experienced baseball glove buyers have found that they prefer using a leather glove conditioner as they often work the best.
One outside-the-box method some have used believe it or not, is shaving cream. Just like it does for your skin, shaving cream moisturizes and softens the surface of leather. Shaving cream can be a little dangerous though, be sure to avoid using any product that contains added perfumes or scents or any alcohol as it will dry out the glove.
Vaseline is another household item that has been used to help break in gloves. It contains many mineral oils and moisturizers that work to soften leather and other surfaces. In many applications, Vaseline is used to seal and protect, the same idea works for your glove.
If using Vaseline, be sure not to use too much. Too much Vaseline and your glove will become sticky. Work it into the surface completely before you decide whether or not to add more.
There are many different substances you can use to try and condition your baseball glove. Whichever method you use, be sure to apply small amounts at a time to be safe. You do not want to overdo it and potentially damage your favorite glove.
#1: Wilson Premium Glove Oil
Widely considered the best leather glove conditioning product on the market today, Wilson Premium Glove Oil works wonders. This oil will help soften and break in our leather glove if used correctly. Wilson’s Glove Oil is derived from neatsfoot and other essential oils specifically put together for leather preservation.
This oil will help clean, restore and protect your glove from unwanted effects such as moisture and dirt. Perhaps best of all, Wilson Premium Oil comes pre-packaged in an easy to use spray applicator. Like any glove conditioner you may use, be sure to thoroughly read all instructions before application begins.
Bickmore 100% Pure Neatsfoot Oil is a great all around product for many leather surfaces. It also doubles as a wood finish. If you have any other leather items around the house, Bickmore’s Neatsfoot Oil works great on boots, shoes, horse saddles and much more.
For baseball gloves, Bickmore’s oil is great because it softens, lubricates and moisturizes all in one. Bickmore’s Neatsfoot Oil is 100 percent pure, meaning there are no added petroleum distillates. After applying Bickmore’s Oil to your glove, you will be amazed at how your glove naturally repels water thanks to the Neatsfoot oil you applied.
As stated on their label, the Bickmore 100% Pure Neatsfoot Oil will darken most leather. If you are in love with how your glove appears, I would find a different oil to try. Otherwise, try it on a small, inconspicuous area first and see how your glove responds to the newly applied solution.
You can order Bickmore’s 100% Pure Neatsfoot Oil online, they offer an 8 ounce bottle or a 32 ounce bottle. An 8 ounce bottle should last you a while as when conditioning your glove, you do not need to use much liquid. Always pay attention to both the directions of the individual glove you are conditioning and the product you are using to season it.
When it comes to conditioning your glove, there are several unproven and unorthodox methods out there. We recommend trying the tried and trusted methods before doing anything weird such as petroleum jelly or other substances not made directly for leather. Although, if you do have a proven method you have used many times before, we would love to hear about it.