How to Care for Your Rawlings Baseball Gloves
Many Rawlings baseball gloves are made with Heart of the Hide or Pro Preferred Leather and finished with genuine rawhide laces. Heart of the Hide gloves are made with leather that comes from the top 5% of all hides and is cut from the center portion, which is both the thickest and the toughest part. Pro Preferred gloves are made from Kipskin leather that is more supple and supportive.
The point is here that Rawlings baseball gloves are made from some of the highest quality raw materials in the game. They’ll keep you comfortable and protect your hands from hard impact through many seasons - provided you deliver them the same level of care they offer you.
These are our top tips for keeping your Rawlings glove in fighting shape, and in good condition for years to come.
Break it in the old fashioned way
There is really only one way to break in a glove, and it is through practicing and playing in it. That breaks in a glove naturally, over time, and doesn’t stress the leather.
Is it acceptable to take it to a specialist to steam it to soften the leather and improve break-in times? Sure, it can’t hurt if you are conscientious about it - but there’s no way to fast-track a good old-fashioned break-in period through play and practice.
And, in the name of all that is good, do not beat your glove, soak it in hot water or oil, run it over, or microwave it. That’s a sure-fire way to destroy the leather.
Keep it dry, and always dry it before storing
Try not to let your glove become waterlogged. Playing a game on wet grass and catching wet baseballs is one thing, and all gloves will get a little damp from time to time, but never wash your glove in water or let it become soaked if you can help it.
If your glove does get really wet during a game or practice, the next best thing you can do is not to put it away wet, and never try to dry it off too fast. Don’t stick a wet glove in the sun, the oven, in the microwave, or in a dryer. That will stress out the leather and can cause cracking, stiffening, and warping.
Instead, if your glove gets wet, let it dry slowly in a cool, dry place, and never store it wet, or the fibers will wear and mold might form on them, ruining the leather.
Clean it off after use
Always clean your glove off after use, every time, even if it’s just a light catch in the yard. Use a damp rag to wipe off dirt, mud, grass, or other debris, and once dry use a gentle (non-abrasive brush) to give it a final pass.
Then store it somewhere cool, dry, out of direct sunlight, and preferably inside at room temperature.
Periodically condition your Rawlings baseball glove
Leather is a natural material made of animal hides, and as such is it absorbent and prone to decay if it is not cared for properly.
There are many ready-made leather conditioners on the market that you can use to soften, condition and protect your Rawlings baseball glove. You can also use natural, pure neatsfoot oil or beeswax. Be sure only to use pure neatsfoot and not compound as compound neatsfoot oil has additives in it that can destroy laces or rawhide.
Treating your baseball glove with oil will prevent the natural fibers from drying out too rapidly. They will remain soft and supple which is a hedge against cracking, warping, stiffening, and delamination, all of which can destroy a baseball glove. Also, conditioning them prevents the leather from absorbing too much moisture, which can also damage it.
Condition your glove as needed whenever the leather fades or starts to stiff or become shrink. At the bare minimum, condition the glove every three months or so whether you use it or not.
Another note: don’t over-condition or soak your glove in oil. Leather will absorb as much oil as you give it, which can cause discoloration, loss of support, and premature oxidation which can damage the leather. Just add a thin layer of oil as needed or every few months, that should be enough.
If it’s really hot out, wear a lighter glove like a batting glove inside of your fielding glove
Sweat, oil, and sunscreen can all damage a leather glove, so if you’re playing on a really hot day, consider wearing a thin fielding glove inside of your baseball glove to protect it from the oils and dirt on your hand.
Replace ripped ties and laces as soon as possible
After every game or practice, check your Rawling baseball glove for ripped laces or ties, especially between the fingers. The loss of a lace or two might not cripple the glove but it’s best caught sooner rather than later.
Besides, if some laces fail, the entire glove could fall apart. If you catch these early, you can take the glove to a sporting goods store or a leather specialist and have them fix it for you.
Don’t let your glove lose its shape
Finally, don’t let your glove lose its shape. That is, make sure you store it properly since you’ve worked so hard to break in the pocket.
If you’re going to be storing your glove for an extended period of time, consider storing it with a baseball in the pocket. This will keep it from collapsing. Some players also insist on storing it with a baseball in the pocket, with the glove wrapped up with rubber bands. We don’t think this is necessary but as long as the bands are too tight, it shouldn’t cause any harm.
Keep Your Rawlings Baseball Glove in Top Shape Season After Season
There you have some of the best tips in the game for keeping your Rawlings baseball glove in fighting shape. If you’re here to pick up a new Rawlings glove before the upcoming season, take a look through the link above. You can’t go wrong with one of the brands that’s consistently trusted highly by Major League Baseball Players!
We also carry a wide range of other baseball equipment and baseball gloves, as well as youth gloves and softball gloves - check out the links to find them and get in touch with us at 1-888-540-BATS if you have any questions.
- Blog Admin