How To Break In New Boxing Gloves (3 Easy Tips)

You’ve just treated yourself to a brand new set of gloves. They look fire and smell like heaven. Only problem is, they’re as stiff as a plank and as comfortable as an iron chastity belt. You need to break them in. Soften them up.

With this quick guide we’ll explain how to break in new boxing gloves, why it’s important, and what not to do.

1) Start slow. Train on the bags with soft punches to gradually break in the gloves. 2) Wear extra hand wraps to give your hands more protection while the gloves are still rigid. This will also help expand the glove from the inside. 3) Be patient! High quality leather gloves can take 3+ months before they are fully broken in. But it will be worth it.   

Why it’s important to break in new boxing gloves 👞

If you’ve ever put on a pair of brand new leather shoes, you’ll understand what we’re talking about here. They’re stiff. They’re hard. Your feet can’t breathe. The whole thing is decidedly unpleasant.

Eventually, though, they feel like cotton wool and you’ll practically want to sleep in them.

The same applies to buying and wearing new leather boxing gloves. They won’t be very comfortable straight out of the box. You need to do a bit of work first before you can use them properly. If you don’t, you run the risk of bruising your hands and resenting your new purchase.

Not only will your knuckles thank you for breaking in the new gloves, but your sparring partner will too. Being on the receiving end of a big left hook in fresh, hard gloves is not an enjoyable experience. Trust me.

So, softer gloves are better for you and better for your training buddies.

It’s worth mentioning that most synthetic gloves don’t need much breaking in and should be comfortable and ready for full use almost immediately. Although we’d still recommend some caution when using any new set of gloves.

If you want to avoid the process of breaking in new gloves then avoid genuine leather altogether.

How to break in new boxing gloves 🥊

1. Start with softer punches

Ease into it. If you start pummeling a bag the first time you use some new gloves then you run a much higher risk of hurting your knuckles. To go back to the shoe analogy, you wouldn’t start running around in a new pair of rigid leather loafers. You’d start slow.

Do the same with gloves. Begin with a few light exercises on the bag, punching softer than you usually would. If it starts to feel uncomfortable on your hands, use a different pair for the rest of the session, and then come back to your new gloves next time to continue breaking them in.

This might be a statement of the obvious, but make sure you’re landing the punches with your knuckles not your fingers. It’s the main padding on the top of the glove that is most important to soften up.

2. Use longer hand wraps

Or wrap your hand twice. This will give your knuckles extra protection while the gloves are still new and help prevent you from getting bruised. Also, the extra volume of wrap inside the glove will help to stretch out the glove from the inside, contributing to the overall softening process.

3. Be patient

It might be feel frustrating that your slick new pair of gloves isn’t ready to rumble straight away. But the wait will be worth it when they feel like perfectly fitting cashmere slippers on your hand.

How long does it take to break in new boxing gloves? ⏱️

This totally depends on the pair. Some of the finest handmade leather pairs can take 3-6 months of regular use before they are feeling soft and comfortable. Make sure you hold onto your old gloves in the meantime!

At the other end of the spectrum, synthetic gloves will only require a round or two before they’re ready to be unleashed.

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What not to do ❌

  • Put them in the tumble drier. You’ve just spent a bomb on these gloves. Don’t be a lazy muppet and risk damaging them like this.
  • Pull open the fingers too much. The gloves aren’t designed for this so you can tear the foam padding on the palm.
  • Keep training with the gloves if they are causing you pain. Don’t be a masochist. Alternate your new gloves with an older softer pair while you’re breaking them in.
  • Start hitting something very hard with the gloves. This can damage the glove by compressing the padding of the glove. Unless your aim is to inflict more damage on your knuckles and your partner, you don’t want this. The padding is designed like that for a reason so don’t start punching a wall thinking it will speed up the breaking in process.
  • Put them in the freezer. This can be good for getting rid of smell that has set into your gloves but it will re-stiffen them.
Don’t do this. The wall will win.

12th Round 🔔

That’s all. It’s not complicated. It just requires patience to break in new boxing gloves. If you have any other tips then please comment with them below – we’d love to hear your ideas.

Happy fighting! 🥊🥊

“Earnie Shavers could punch you in the neck and break your ankle.” – Randall “Tex” Cobb