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How to Break in Leather Work Gloves?

Fact checked by Andrew Carnegie

Breaking in leather work gloves is important if you want them to deliver excellent performance and show their full potential. Fortunately, it is not that difficult to find ways on how to break in leather work gloves. In fact, there are several methods that you can use in breaking it in and softening in.

how to break in leather work gloves

The ones mentioned here are also versatile and flexible. This means that you can choose to use or apply each one individually or together with one another. The following are just some of the things that you can do when planning to have your leather work gloves broken in.

How to Break in Leather Work Gloves

#1 – Apply leather oil

One of the most commonly used solutions in breaking in leather work gloves is leather oil. What is good about this type of oil is that it does not only soften or break in the leather material. It is also effective in making leather gloves as waterproof as possible. The ability of this oil to waterproof the gloves is actually a bonus.

breaking in leather work gloves

To apply the oil, get a stiff brush. Use it in applying the oil into the gloves every three to six months. This can help in allowing the oil to saturate the work gloves completely. One thing to remember, though, is that since the glove will become oil-saturated, there is a great possibility for it to darken.

This might also cause the material to have some smell in it but rest assured that this will only be for a short period. There is also a need to apply the oil once again into the work gloves. One sign that indicates that it is time to do so is if the water stops to bead off from the leather material.

#2 – Put in a bit of moisture

You can also break in the leather gloves by putting in some moisture. However, when doing this method, you need to remind yourself that excessive dampness can have a negative impact on the leather material. What is required is just a bit of moisture so the leather will stretch and become softer.

To add some moisture into the gloves and subsequently breaking it in, dampen them by allowing a bit of clean water to be absorbed through the leather material. Ensure that this does not cause the gloves to become too wet. After that, get tightly packed newspapers then stuff your gloves with it.

Store your gloves in a dry area and allow them to rest there. Your goal is to let the gloves dry gradually using indirect heat. Do not use a hair dryer when drying the gloves. It is because this might only cause the leather material to become overly dry, leading to cracks and damages. Allow it to dry fully for a minimum of one day.

#3 – Use mink oil

You also get another chance and opportunity to break in and soften your leather work boots if you use mink oil. To take advantage of this solution, you just need to rub the oil into the gloves’ surface. One of the reasons why mink oil is effective in breaking in your work gloves is that it features a natural acid, which serves as its softening component.


It is possible to access the oil at several sporting goods and leather stores. Just check the packaging of the oil to see some instructions on how to apply it. After that, use a clean cloth to buff it dry. Just like the previous solution, this might cause the leather material to darken a bit.

It is, therefore, advisable to use this oil first on the less visible parts of the gloves. This can help you test its results prior to using it in treating the whole work gloves.

#4 – Take advantage of rubbing alcohol and leather conditioner

You can also use either the rubbing alcohol or the leather conditioner in breaking in your work gloves. Rubbing alcohol is actually an excellent solution when it comes to softening your work gloves. The good thing about it is that it is easy to use. All you have to do is to put on the alcohol on the outer surface of the leather work gloves.

Just make sure to do this technique every six months. Applying the alcohol within that prescribed frequency can help break it in at first and ensure that it maintains a high level of dexterity, comfort, and versatility.

The leather conditioner, on the other hand, is a big help if you want your work gloves to last for several years. Just invest in a leather conditioner that is available commercially and apply some of it into the gloves. Alternatively, you can apply saddle soap, which works as a great substitute for the leather conditioner.

#5 – Treat it with silicone

You can also break your leather gloves in through silicone treatment. What is great about this treatment is that it adds more water resistance into your work gloves. Apply the recommended amount of it to finally break it in.


Aside from its effectiveness in breaking the gloves in, you will also find this solution useful in adding surface water resistance. This is a big help when trying to use it in environments with light to heavy rain or places with moisture.

#6 – Avoid using hot water

Some may recommend using hot water to break in baseball gloves. However, this will not work for leather work gloves so you should avoid using this as much as possible if you want to properly break in the item. It is because hot water tends to damage the waterproofed coating and material used in the leather.

Aside from that, it also tends to make the protective features integrated into the glove weak. These include the Kevlar stitching and TPR impact protection. Apart from hot water, you should also avoid using break-in ointments and liquids.

It is because using these items might require you to dip the gloves completely into the liquids. If you do that, you might damage the glove’s long-term sturdiness and safety features. This is something that you should avoid if you want your leather work gloves to be properly broken in without causing any damage to them.


In addition to the solutions on how to break in leather work gloves mentioned in this article, it is advisable to use it as often as possible. You need to wear it as frequently as possible to stretch it, allowing it to mold naturally to your hands’ actual shape. Also, try looking for the most comfortable pair of work gloves as much as possible.

Note that some high-quality work gloves, even if they are new, actually feel like they were already broken in. It is all just a matter of finding them. You need a high-quality work glove so you can use it right away in performing precise tasks while also gaining adequate protection from various dangers, like force impact, abrasions, punctures, and cuts.

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