Breaking In Your New All-Star Glove or Mitt

All-Star Pro-EliteTM, System7TM, Pro AdvancedTM, AF-EliteTM, and VelaTM gloves and mitts are designed and built for the serious player at a High School level or above.  They are intentionally quite stiff right out of the wrapper and take some work to break in.  All other All-Star gloves should break in a bit more quickly, but ANY glove will take a little work to get game-ready.  With a little patience, proper break-in, and some basic maintenance, your All-Star glove or mitt should provide many innings, and hopefully years, of top performance.

  

The #1, absolute, best way to break in any new glove is to simply use it (see our pro catcher videos above for their comments on this).  Playing catch with a friend or catching balls off a machine will lead to the most natural break in and will help the glove form to YOUR hand and the way YOU use it.  The harder your friend throws or the faster the machine is set will lead to faster break-in.  There are a few extra steps you can take to speed up this process, but use caution since extra pounding or bending is really just taking away from the overall life of the glove:

  • Glove Pounding
    • Tools
      • Glove mallets like the All-Star Mitt Masher are ideal.  This tool will allow for focused impacts that can influence the shape of the pocket.  For example, if an outfielder wants a deeper pocket they can concentrate the impacts at the base of the web and if an infielder wants a shallow pocket they can work on the center of the palm.
        • The barrel of a bat can be used if you do not have a mallet.
      • Throw a ball into the mitt yourself.  The simplest option.  Weighted balls can also expedite the break-in process.
      • TIP:  If the base of your index and middle fingers get sore, you can shift over starting with the pinky and ring finger in the pinky stall.  This will free up the most common impact areas and also improve the hand’s closing strength. 
    • Locations
      • The pocket of the glove
        • Depending on what type of shape you want, deep to shallow, will dictate where impacts are focused. 
      • Back side of the glove
        • Impacts at the base of the thumb and pinky can be helpful as they are hinge points.
        • To help expedite the break-in, pounding the backside of the web can also help.  This is not always needed as the web tends to be softer to start.

  • Work the hinge points
    • Grab the thumb and pinky of your glove or mitt with the web facing away from you.  Manually open and close the glove repeatedly and also use a light twisting motion to soften the hinge point at the “heel” of the glove.

  • Inside Out
    • Some pro players such as former catcher Rich Gedman swear by flipping the glove inside out a few times to help soften the leather and start the break in process.  Hold the glove by the thumb and pinky with the backside facing you and use your thumbs to push the back of the glove away from you.  Focus on pushing from the center of the glove (roughly on the back side of where the pocket will be).  This will stretch the leather and lacing to help get you started.  USE CAUTION however as overworking the glove in this motion can eventually damage the lacing and stretch the holes in the mitt that the lacing passes through.

  • Conditioning
    • All All-Star fielding gloves/mitts use oil treated leather.  Therefore adding more oil or conditioner will not greatly expedite the break-in.  Conditioners however are beneficial to use periodically (roughly once per year) over the life of the glove to help the leather stay strong and not dry out.
      • There are many options for glove and general leather conditioners.  We recommendation products that do not contain silicone ingredients which can dry out leather over time.
      • Lanolin and beeswax are good ingredient to look for when researching conditioning products. 
      • Applying water or steaming an All-Star glove will void the warranty.  While water/steam can provide some short term softening, it can dry out the leather over time and add weight

  • Storage
    • After use in the rain, always give your glove a chance to dry out in a warm, dry place
    • Remove any excess dirt with a dry or damp cloth when needed.
    • When the glove is not in use, put a ball(s) in the pocket at the preferred catch location and tie it tightly with a shoe lace.
    • Keeping gloves in mild to warm temperatures is preferred over colder temperatures.