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How To Condition A Softball Glove

Conditioning a softball glove can be time consuming but also necessary if you want to preserve life and maintain a good shape for your glove.

What Is Conditioning A Softball Glove?

Conditioning the glove is getting the glove ready to be used in a game. Most gloves off the shelves can be stiff, which isn’t a bad thing. It just means you probably got some pretty tough leather, which is essentially what you want. 

The Process

1. Shaping

Shaping the glove to your individual hand is necessary for becoming one with your glove. When the glove feels more of an extension of your hand vs a glob of leather that is crippling your hand, then playing defense can feel a little more satisfying. 

2. Conditioning

In order to condition the glove, we want to start with some warm water and make the leather a little easier to move.

  1. Fill a spray bottle with warm water and be generous with each area you're trying to work in.
  2. Start with a nice amount in the pocket.
  3. Then hold the glove firmly on the outside. One hand on the pinky side and the other hand on the thumb side.
  4. Face the pocket of the glove away from you and start to shear the glove up and down, like milking a cow.

This will help soften the heel pad just below the pocket. 

3. Work The Pocket

Once we have loosened up the leather, you can pound a ball in the pocket or play catch.

Repeat the cycle until you can start to make the glove feel more pliable.

4. Glove Conditioner (Optional)

In order to help soften the leather a little more utilize glove conditioner, putting some overnight glove conditioner will help preserve the life of the leather.

Don’t be fooled by some who say putting olive oil, Vaseline, etc will work because it won’t. Using something too viscous won’t help it soak in and make the glove playable. You may have a film on the glove for weeks no matter how much you wipe it off. 

So be generous with some glove oil or something specifically made for glove leather. You can always wipe off the excess with a towel and it won’t feel slick to the touch.

Rub the oil into the laces and the binding of the glove along with all of the necessary creases, such as the heel of the glove and let it sit overnight. Play catch the following day and see where it is.

5. Repeat

You may want to repeat everything from the previous day until you get it game day ready.