How to Use Shaving Cream on a Baseball Glove for Effective Breaking In?

Pat Bloom

shaving cream on baseball glove

When you first get your hands on a new baseball glove, the leather is often stiff and unyielding. This rigidity can make it tough to open and close the glove, leading to frustrating errors during play. Breaking in your glove is essential for optimal performance on the field.

One surprisingly effective method to soften the leather involves using shaving cream. By applying shaving cream to both the inside and outside of the glove, you can expedite the breaking-in process and make your glove more comfortable.

This simple trick can save you time and improve your game, ensuring you’re ready to catch every ball that comes your way.

The Role of Shaving Cream in Breaking in Baseball Gloves

Shaving cream plays an interesting role in breaking in baseball gloves. While it might seem odd to use a grooming product on sports equipment, shaving cream is valued for its lubricating properties and ability to soften leather.

Why Shaving Cream?

Shaving cream is preferred for breaking in baseball gloves for several reasons:


Shaving cream contains oils and moisturizers that lubricate the leather, reducing friction and making it easier to manipulate the glove during the breaking-in process.

Softening Agent

The emollients in shaving cream help soften the stiff leather of a new glove, allowing it to mold more easily to the player’s hand.


Leather can dry out over time, leading to cracking and stiffness. Shaving cream moisturizes the leather, helping to prevent these issues and prolonging the lifespan of the glove.

Readily Available

Shaving cream is a common household item, making it easily accessible for players who want to break in their gloves at home.


Shaving cream is generally safe to use on leather without causing damage, unlike some other products that might contain harsh chemicals.


Some players enjoy the fresh scent that shaving cream leaves on their gloves, adding a pleasant touch to the breaking-in process.

How It Works

First, spray an even layer of shaving cream inside and outside the glove. Then, place a baseball where it naturally fits and rub the cream into the leather with your fingers, focusing on the seams and pocket areas.

Next, fold the glove as you want it to close around the ball and wrap it tightly with a belt or large rubber bands.

Leave it overnight to allow the cream to condition the leather deeply. This process ensures that the glove becomes soft, flexible, and game-ready.

Steps to Apply Shaving Cream on a Baseball Glove

Applying shaving cream to a baseball glove is a straightforward process.

Here are the steps to follow:

Cleaning the Glove Before Application

Use a damp cloth to remove any dirt or debris from the glove. Focus on the palm, fingers, and pocket areas since these are the most common places for buildup.

Avoid using harsh chemicals or soaps for cleaning as these could damage the leather. Ensuring a clean surface before applying shaving cream will help the leather absorb the conditioner evenly.

Next, apply a small amount of shaving cream to a soft cloth and work it into the glove using circular motions. Allow the cream to sit for 10-15 minutes to nourish and soften the leather.

Application of Shaving Cream

Apply a generous amount of shaving cream containing lanolin, which helps in softening the leather. Spread the cream evenly over the entire glove, covering both the inside and outside surfaces.

Use your fingers to work the shaving cream into the leather in a circular motion, ensuring it penetrates deeply. Pay extra attention to the palm and pocket areas as these are crucial for forming the glove’s shape.

Let the shaving cream sit on the glove for about 12 hours to allow it to fully absorb. After the waiting period, wipe off any excess cream with a clean, dry cloth.

This treatment will not only condition the leather but also extend the glove’s longevity. Finally, store the glove in a cool, dry place, preferably with a ball inside the pocket to maintain its shape.

Setting and Drying Process

Place a baseball in the glove’s pocket to help it form the desired shape. Wrap several large rubber bands around the glove to keep the ball in place and to hold the glove’s shape.

Leave the glove to sit overnight or for at least 24 hours to allow the shaving cream to condition the leather thoroughly.

After the waiting period, remove the rubber bands and take out the baseball. Lastly, wipe off any excess shaving cream with a clean cloth, ensuring no residue remains to maintain the glove’s softness and flexibility.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Shaving Cream

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of using shaving cream:

Benefits of Using Shaving Cream

Using shaving cream to break in a baseball glove offers several benefits:

Softens Leather

Shaving cream contains moisturizers and oils that penetrate the leather, softening it and making it more pliable. This helps to reduce the stiffness of a new glove, making it more comfortable to wear.


The lubricating properties of shaving cream reduce friction between the leather fibers, making it easier to manipulate the glove during the breaking-in process. This allows the glove to be bent and shaped without causing damage to the leather.


Leather can dry out over time, leading to stiffness and cracking. Shaving cream helps to moisturize the leather, keeping it supple and preventing it from drying out prematurely. This prolongs the lifespan of the glove.


Shaving cream is a readily available household item, making it a convenient option for breaking in a baseball glove. It can be easily applied using a cloth or sponge, and there’s no need for specialized equipment.


Compared to commercial leather conditioners or glove oils, shaving cream is a cost-effective option for breaking in a baseball glove. A small amount of shaving cream can go a long way in softening and conditioning the leather.

Pleasant Scent

Many shaving creams come in a variety of scents, which can leave a pleasant aroma on the glove after application. This adds an enjoyable sensory element to the breaking-in process.

Possible Drawbacks

While using shaving cream to break in a baseball glove can be beneficial, there are also potential drawbacks to consider:

Residue Build-Up

If not applied and wiped off properly, shaving cream can leave behind residue on the glove. This residue can attract dirt and debris, leading to a dirty or sticky glove over time.

Potential Allergens

Some shaving creams contain fragrances or other ingredients that could cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. It’s essential to check the ingredients list and be mindful of any potential allergens.

Messy Application

Applying shaving cream to a baseball glove can be a messy process, especially if not done carefully. Excess cream may get on hands or surfaces, requiring additional cleaning.

Requires Cleaning

After applying shaving cream to the glove, it may need to be cleaned to remove any residue. This adds an extra step to the breaking-in process and requires additional time and effort.

Not Instantaneous

While shaving cream can help speed up the breaking-in process, it still requires time and effort to properly shape and mold the glove to fit the player’s hand. It’s not a quick fix and may require multiple applications over time.

Potential Damage

While generally safe for leather, using shaving cream on a baseball glove carries a risk of over-saturation or improper application, which could potentially damage the leather if not done carefully.

Alternative Products

Some players prefer using specialized glove oils or conditioners designed specifically for baseball gloves, which may offer more targeted benefits compared to shaving cream.

Alternative Methods to Break in a Baseball Glove

Breaking in a baseball glove is a crucial step to ensure comfort and optimal performance on the field.

While using shaving cream is a popular method, there are several alternative techniques players can try:

Using Glove Conditioners and Oils

Glove conditioners and oils can effectively break in a new baseball glove. Avoid using household products such as Vaseline, olive oil, or petroleum jelly, which can dry out or over-grease the leather.

Instead, opt for products like lanolin oil or specialized glove conditioners available at sports stores. Apply a thin layer evenly across the glove’s surface with a soft cloth.

A light coating offers protection and keeps the leather supple. Using too much product could cause the leather to degrade prematurely, so apply sparingly. Reapply small amounts as needed for ongoing maintenance.

Mechanical Methods of Shaping the Glove

Mechanical methods of shaping a baseball glove involve using tools or equipment to expedite the breaking-in process.

Here are some common mechanical methods:

Glove Mallet

A glove mallet is a specialized tool designed to help shape the pocket of a baseball glove. It typically consists of a wooden or rubber head attached to a handle.

Players use the mallet to pound the pocket of the glove, helping to break in the leather and form a deeper pocket for catching balls.

Glove Steamer

A glove steamer is a device that uses steam to soften the leather of a baseball glove, making it more pliable and easier to shape.

Players can use a handheld steamer or a dedicated glove steaming machine to apply steam directly to the glove. Once softened, the glove can be shaped and molded as desired.

Ball in the Pocket

Some players use a baseball or softball to help shape the pocket of their glove. They place the ball in the pocket of the glove and wrap it tightly with rubber bands or string. This helps to stretch and shape the leather, forming a deeper pocket for catching balls.

Tying Method

Another mechanical method involves tying the glove closed with rubber bands or string to help shape the pocket.

Players can place a baseball or softball in the pocket of the glove and wrap it tightly with rubber bands or string. This helps to maintain the desired shape of the glove while it breaks in.

Glove Forms or Shapers

There are also specialized glove forms or shapers available that players can use to help shape their gloves. These forms are typically made of plastic or metal and are designed to mimic the shape of a hand.

Players can insert the form into the glove and leave it in place to help maintain the desired shape while the glove breaks in.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is shaving cream good for a baseball glove?

Yes, shaving cream, especially those containing lanolin, is good for softening and breaking in a new baseball glove. The shaving cream helps to soften the leather, making the glove more pliable and comfortable to use.

How do you break in a baseball glove like a pro?

The best way to break in a baseball glove like a pro is to play catch with it regularly. The natural oils from your hands and the repetitive action will help soften and mold the glove to your specific hand shape.

How long to leave shaving cream on a baseball glove?

Leave shaving cream on a baseball glove overnight. This allows the cream to soak into the leather thoroughly, softening it. Remember to wipe off any excess cream in the morning.

What is the best way to condition a baseball glove?

The best way to condition a baseball glove is by using specific glove conditioners or oils like lanolin oil. Consistent use, combined with occasional conditioning, ensures the leather stays soft and durable.

Is it OK to put Vaseline on a baseball glove?

Yes, it is okay to put Vaseline on a baseball glove. Vaseline, being a petroleum jelly, can soften and protect the leather, making it a good alternative for glove conditioning.


Using shaving cream on your baseball glove can be an effective way to break it in and enhance its durability, especially when it contains lanolin. While it’s a tried-and-true method, it’s crucial to be mindful of the amount and type of shaving cream you use to avoid damaging the leather.

Exploring alternative methods like glove conditioners, oils, and mechanical techniques can also yield excellent results. Consistent care and maintenance will ensure your glove is always game-ready, giving you the best performance on the field.

Photo of author

Pat Bloom

I lead Washington University in St. Louis' baseball team, emphasizing skill development, strategic play, and sportsmanship. Our rigorous training and competitive spirit cultivate discipline and teamwork, preparing athletes for success both in baseball and academics. We embody the determination and sportsmanship that define our university's athletics. LinkedIn

Leave a Comment