How to Break in Leather Work Gloves Without Damaging Them?


Written by

Madonna Chinn



Gilbert Kunde

how to break  leather work glove

If you’ve just bought a pair of leather work gloves, then congratulations! You just made a wise investment! Why, you might ask? Well, you’ll soon know this, but they’re very comfortable and breathable to wear, plus they’re very durable and long-lasting.

They’re also impervious to heat and sparks and can protect your hands from sharp edges. Perfect, right?

But the catch is that you need to soften the leather gloves first before using them. You see, they can be very rigid at first and can be very uncomfortable to wear.

So the question is, how do we break in leather work gloves?

Ways to Break in Leather Work Gloves


1: Using water


If you want to break your gloves quickly and easily, water is the best way to do it. All you have to do is wet your gloves with a little water, or better yet, wet them with a towel/handkerchief.

Once you’re done, put a piece of paper inside your gloves and allow them to air-dry. Keep in mind that rushing this step by exposing it to direct and intense heat, such as an iron or hairdryer, can cause it to crack.

The drying process should take around 24 hours; after that, voila, you now have a soft and flexible leather work glove that’s ready to use.

2: Using rubbing alcohol


Dampening your leather gloves with rubbing alcohol is also effective in softening your stiff leather gloves, and in contrast to water, this only requires a few minutes to dry.

This process is by far the quickest one on the list. However, this is only advised for those who don’t live in an area where winter or cold climates are prevalent or for those who have sweaty hands.

Because putting on the rubbing alcohol-treated gloves can dry out your hands, and if you do not sweat a lot, you might start to feel a little rough inside.

3: Using leather oil


For this process, use a brush to rub the leather oils into the gloves, then let them air dry for a couple of hours. This should be done every 3-6 months, or whenever you notice the gloves start to dry out.

Leather oils are the best on this list because they are made from natural ingredients and are specifically designed to moisturize and condition the leather fibers, restoring their natural suppleness and extending their lifespan.

In addition, if you use it on your old leather gloves, you might find that it can bring them back to their original condition, making them look fresh and shiny.

When it comes to leather oils, there are a few different types to choose from. Mink oil is a popular option, as well as neatsfoot and lexol oils.

There are many factors to take into account when making a decision, but the most important thing is to choose something that’s non-toxic and environment-friendly.

4: Using leather conditioner


Leather conditioner, unlike leather oils, is made from chemicals. They do, however, have the same function: a leather glove softener.  They are also applied in the same manner as leather oils.

The primary distinction lies in its drying time, which is typically longer than that of leather oils, and its potential to leave a stain if overused.

5: Using synthetic sealants


Spraying synthetic sealants can be an alternative to conditioning leather gloves, as it gives them the same softening effect.

The plus side of using them is that they stretch the leather gloves and make them waterproof, but the downside is that they can darken their appearance.


Leather loses moisture over time and becomes dry and stiff, which is why they feel rigid when you first buy them, as a long time may have already passed since they were manufactured and then stored in the warehouse.

So, to ensure the comfort of your hands while wearing them, it is important to know and understand how to break in leather work gloves. And the five methods I have outlined above should do the trick.

Do this every few months or so, or every time you notice your gloves lose their shine and become inflexible, and you’ll be surprised at how long they can actually last.

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