It’s understandable that when you get a new pair of leather boxing gloves, you want to just put them to use right away. Most of the time you will notice that the first time trying them on, it will typically feel restrictive – tight and uncomfortable.
For leather gloves, this is totally the norm.
Unlike synthetic gloves where they’re pretty much ready to go fresh out of the box, or will feel worked in within the first session. Leather boxing gloves would require some effort in order to get them worked in properly.
Due to the construction of leather boxing gloves and their higher-grade padding, it’s understandable they will be a bit stiff initially.
The good news is there are various ways to approach a solution. Little things like gently flexing and manipulating the gloves by making a fist and extending your fingers a few times, will help work out the padding from within.
You can simply use the gloves for light pad work and increase the length and power gradually can help break them in and improve flexibility.
Another important step is to use certain ointments or leather conditioners which will not only help with working in your boxing gloves, but it should be treated regularly to help maintain the life of the boxing gloves as well as keeping it in good condition.
In this article we will talk about the different ways to work in your gloves and how to treat different conditioners.
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How To Break In New Leather Boxing Gloves
There is no single method in properly breaking in leather gloves. In fact, I would recommend doing alittle bit of all the things we mention below. The goal is get the gloves conformed to your hand shape and how you use it as much as a possible.
Let’s look at some ways to get you started.
When Fresh Out Of The Box
Although breaking in new leather boxing gloves is an important process to ensure they become more comfortable and mold to the shape of your hands. There is a quick process before starting anything else. And that is to lightly clean gloves.
You want to get rid of any manufacturer dirt and oils before conditioning the brand new leather.
- Start by lightly dampening a clean cloth or sponge with water and very mild soap. You want the cloth to be slightly damp, not soaked.
- Gently wipe the entire surface of the gloves, both inside and outside, with the damp cloth. This helps to soften the leather and make it more pliable.
- Dry with a fresh towel and let sit in a well ventilated room until there is no moisture left.
- Create a process to repeat these steps in a regular routine.
If you want to have your gloves last longer, a scheduled maintenance involving the steps above should be done every so often. You can check out our article on how to clean boxing gloves, for a complete step by step plan.
Boxing Glove Interior
- Gradually flex and manipulate the glove: Begin the breaking-in process by gently moving and squeezing the glove. Put on one glove, make a fist, and extend your fingers a few times. Use your other hand to squeeze the padding around your fist, particularly against your knuckles. This will help alleviate stiffness, but be cautious not to overdo it, as excessive force may compromise the foam padding’s durability.
- Wear Hand Wraps: Before putting on your new gloves, always wear hand wraps to provide added protection and minimize excessive sweating inside the gloves. Hand wraps help absorb moisture and prevent odors, keeping your gloves fresh.
Boxing Glove Exterior
- Lightly hit the pads: Since the purpose of the gloves is to hit things, it makes sense to break them in by using them for their intended purpose. However, it’s crucial to start with lighter punches, around 50% power, to allow the leather and padding to adjust and conform within the glove. Gradually increase the power over several sessions, ensuring you protect your hands during the process.
- Incorporate punch bag training: There is some debate regarding the impact of heavy bag training on glove padding density and firmness. If you plan to use the gloves for sparring, it’s advisable to limit heavy bag work. However, using lighter punch bags, double-end bags, or other bags for a few rounds can be beneficial for breaking in the gloves. These bags can also be useful for high-intensity workouts once your gloves are comfortable for everyday use. Remember, if the padding becomes excessively compressed and hard after just a couple of bag sessions, it’s an indication of poor glove quality.
Remember, breaking in leather boxing gloves takes time and patience. It’s essential to gradually loosen the leather and allow it to adjust to your hand shape for a better fit and improved comfort during your boxing sessions.
Oil and Conditioners For Leather Boxing Gloves
Moisturizing all types of leather gloves should be part of a regular routine, not just for leather boxing gloves. Using both oils and conditioner helps keeps the material supple and prevents the gloves from drying out, which leads to cracking and damaging the boxing gloves.
- Neatsfoot Oil: Neatsfoot oil is a popular choice for softening leather. Apply a small amount of neatsfoot oil to a clean cloth and gently rub it onto the surface of the gloves. Massage the oil into the leather, paying attention to any stiff areas. Allow the gloves to absorb the oil for a few hours or overnight. Wipe off any excess oil with a soft cloth. Neatsfoot oil helps moisturize the leather, making it more supple and flexible.
- Mink Oil: Mink oil is another effective option for softening leather. Apply a small amount of mink oil to a clean cloth and rub it onto the gloves in a circular motion. Focus on stiff areas and ensure that the oil is evenly distributed. Let the gloves sit for a few hours or overnight to allow the leather to absorb the oil. Wipe off any excess oil with a soft cloth. Mink oil helps to condition and soften the leather, restoring its natural flexibility.
- Olive Oil: If you don’t have specialized leather oils on hand, olive oil can be a suitable alternative. Apply a small amount of olive oil to a clean cloth and gently rub it onto the gloves. Massage the oil into the leather, focusing on any stiff or tight spots. Allow the gloves to sit for a few hours or overnight. Wipe off any excess oil with a soft cloth. Olive oil helps to moisturize and soften the leather, making it more pliable.
- Coconut Oil: Coconut oil can also be used to soften leather gloves. Apply a small amount of coconut oil to a clean cloth and gently massage it onto the gloves. Work the oil into the leather, paying attention to areas that feel stiff. Leave the gloves to absorb the oil for a few hours or overnight. Wipe off any excess oil with a soft cloth. Coconut oil moisturizes the leather, promoting flexibility and softness.
- Leather Conditioner: Using a commercial leather conditioner specifically designed for softening leather is another option. Follow the instructions on the conditioner product and apply it to the gloves as directed. Gently massage the conditioner into the leather, focusing on stiff areas. Allow the gloves to absorb the conditioner for the recommended amount of time. Wipe off any excess conditioner with a soft cloth. Leather conditioners help nourish and soften the leather, restoring its natural suppleness.
Remember to use oil sparingly and avoid saturating the leather with excessive amounts. Allow the gloves to absorb the oil and air dry before using them again. With regular application and proper care, your leather boxing gloves will become softer, more comfortable, and ready for intense training sessions.
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Breaking in leather boxing gloves is an essential process to ensure optimal comfort, flexibility, and performance. While new leather gloves may initially feel stiff and uncomfortable, there are various methods to soften them and make them fit like a glove.
Taking the time to break in your gloves not only enhances your training experience but also helps maintain the longevity of the leather. It allows the fibers to loosen up, reducing the risk of premature wear and tear.
By following the tips and techniques mentioned in this article, you can effectively have well worked in boxing gloves and optimize their performance.
So, next time you purchase a brand-new pair of leather boxing gloves, embrace the breaking-in process and enjoy the journey of transforming stiff gloves into a perfect fit for your hands. With soft, supple leather gloves.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should Leather Boxing Gloves Be Stiff?
Yes, leather gloves are generally expected to be somewhat stiff when they are brand new. The stiffness is a result of the high-quality leather used in their construction, along with the dense padding designed to offer excellent protection and support during boxing or other combat sports.
The stiffness of leather gloves is beneficial as it provides a solid structure and shape to the gloves, ensuring durability and longevity. It also offers better impact absorption and protection for your hands while delivering powerful punches.
However, it’s important to note that while some initial stiffness is expected, leather gloves should not be overly rigid or uncomfortable. Over time, with proper use and care, leather gloves will naturally break in and become more flexible, conforming to the shape of your hand and providing a custom fit. This process allows for improved comfort and increased dexterity during training or competitive bouts.
Remember, breaking in leather gloves takes time and patience. Through consistent use and following proper care guidelines, the stiffness will gradually diminish, allowing you to fully enjoy the benefits of your high-quality leather boxing gloves.
How To Clean Boxing Gloves
To ensure your leather boxing gloves are properly cleaned and maintained, it’s important to incorporate a regular cleaning routine into your training regimen. Keeping your gloves clean not only helps eliminate unpleasant odors but also prevents the buildup of bacteria and extends their lifespan. While there are various cleaning methods available, one effective and natural approach involves using a simple solution of water and vinegar. This affordable and readily available mixture can help sanitize your gloves and keep them in optimal condition.
Using an empty sterilized spray bottle, mix a 1:1 ratio of water and vinegar (1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar). Mist the outside of your gloves, let sit for 15 seconds, and wipe off the solution completely, preferably with a microfiber cloth. Similarly, spray the inside of your gloves a couple of times, let sit, and again, using a microfiber cloth, thoroughly dry up any moisture inside the glove.
After cleaning and drying your leather boxing gloves with the water and vinegar solution, you’ll be amazed at the fresh and revitalized feeling they possess. The vinegar’s natural antibacterial properties help eliminate any lingering odors while also sanitizing the surface of the gloves. Additionally, the water moisturizes the leather, preventing it from becoming overly dry or brittle.