Man breaking in boxing gloves, softening the padding.

How to Break in Boxing Gloves (The Right Way)

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While there’s nothing like the excitement of getting a great new pair of gloves, breaking them in can be a different story. Rest assured that there’s no need to panic if your new boxing gloves feel stiff, large, or just don’t have the same feel as your old ones.

Just like a new pair of shoes or jeans, new gloves can have a break in period. Luckily, we’ve learned how to break in boxing gloves the right way and can lead you through the process.

That Stiff New Glove Feel

One of the main reasons that brand new boxing and MMA gloves can feel so stiff is that the padding has yet to be broken in or conform to the shape of your hands.

Another reason relates to the shell material. Even though they smell great, genuine leather boxing gloves are stiffer initially than synthetic gloves. They need some care to loosen up.

The new glove hacks we’re about to explore help to soften up both the shell material and padding. Most importantly, they go about it in a way that can help avoid injuries and ensure that your gloves last for years.

These tips work well for heavy bag gloves, sparring gloves, and competition gloves.

Work the Fingers to Break In Padding

When it comes to breaking in new boxing gloves, one of the first things you can do is gently roll the front of the gloves to help soften up the padding and leather.

You can also use your fingers to squeeze the outsides of gloves gently, but be careful not to go overboard. Remember that you’re trying to shorten the break-in period, not achieve it overnight.

Additionally, you can put the gloves on and flex your hands from the inside to help the padding get used to moving.

The internet is full of advice on how to break in new gloves, but use your best judgment when it comes to how much of it is actually worth trying at home.

One such example includes reports of people sitting on their new boxing gloves to break them in. If you go this route, just be careful because you definitely do NOT want to compromise the strength of the wrists, especially on laced gloves.

Breaking in MMA Gloves

Some of the tactics mentioned above will also work with MMA training gloves. Bending the fingers over and over can go a long way towards helping loosen them up.

Some fighters go even further, especially when it comes to competition gloves supplied by a venue they’re fighting at on the same day.

In this case, you can ball up the gloves, turn them inside out, and do whatever you need to to ensure that they’re flexible enough to use for the fight.

Go Slow!

Regardless of any tips and tricks that you may use to speed up the process, one of the best ways to break in new gloves is simply to use them.

Remember that a great pair of gloves can last you for years, so don’t feel like you have to compromise your comfort to break them in right away.

Rather than jumping right in and attacking the heavy bag for hours at a time, start off with some light rounds, pad work, or combos on a lighter standing bag.

It’s not a bad idea to bring your old gloves along to the gym, so you can gradually use the new ones a little more each training session.

The more use they get, the more comfortable your new gloves will start to feel.

Buy Quality Gloves

The type of gloves you buy is also going to affect how long they take to break in. In general, synthetic leather gloves can be broken in much faster than real leather. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should avoid leather gloves.

While they take longer to break in, high-quality leather training gloves also tend to hold up much longer, especially if you train frequently.

In the long run, the better quality gloves you buy, the longer it will be before you need to replace them.

Avoid This When Breaking in Boxing Gloves

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that there’s no need to be a hero when it comes to breaking in your new gloves. It’s important to listen to your body and stop punching if your hands start to feel truly uncomfortable. Otherwise, you can end up with painful blisters.

  • Stop if Your Hands Hurt
  • Do Not Moisturize
  • Do Not Run Through the Dryer

Some forums advise using leather softener or other moisturizers to help break in new gloves, but this may or may not actually be a great idea.

One of the most obvious reasons is that many gloves aren’t made of real leather, so such products may not have an effect.

The next is that there’s a possibility that the product may damage the seams or stitching of your gloves. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to call the glove company and ask before using any unknown moisturizers.

Last but not least, you may come across some people in forums that advise you to run your new gloves through the clothes dryer. This may be the most truly terrible idea of all.

Depending on the material your gloves are made of, it could cause melting, damage to the seams or padding, or a number of other issues that could be hard (if not impossible) to repair.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, you can do a few things to speed up how long it takes to break in a new pair of boxing gloves (or MMA gloves). While breaking them in can be a pain, it’s better to take it slow than risk hurting yourself.

If you’re working with gloves that you want to use for years, then don’t be afraid to take your time. And speaking of longevity, it’s worth learning how to properly clean your gloves next.


MMA Revolution