If your new mitts are a little stiff and you’re wondering how to break in your hockey gloves, look no further. We’re going to break down the methods that are out there and hit you with the goods on the best way to break in those gloves.
Simply put, most higher-end hockey gloves come ready for play straight away and require nothing more than a couple of uses to have them feeling broken in. Even today’s lower to mid-range gloves should be good to go after hitting the rink and swatting some rubber for a couple of hours. That’s probably not the answer that some people are shooting for, so for the more Red Green style methods, read on.
Note: The manufacturer’s recommendations from the major hockey brands that we contacted stated that the following practices are highly unusual. They may compromise the integrity of the gloves and/or reduce their overall lifetime. In choosing to follow any of the outlined methods, you do so at your own risk.
Beyond just wearing them, there are many alternative methods that some old-school hockey heads swear by. The two most popular among them, to steam your gloves with a hand-held steamer or to actually bake them in a skate or home oven. Both methods are said to increase the flexibility and softness of the mitt, while maintaining its integrity.
Also Read: Best Hockey Gloves For A Defenceman
Steamed Hockey Glove Break In Method
This first way to break our gloves in faster requires the use of a hand-held steamer. This device, usually used to remove wrinkles from clothing, shoots out a directed stream of hot steam through its head. The steam will be used to simulate sweating during gameplay and shouldn’t present much risk to your equipment, unless you’re talking to the guys at Warrior, Bauer, or CCM.
Note: Hot steam can burn you and potentially ruin your hockey gloves. Exercise caution and common sense should you go about anything mentioned here. Proceed at your own risk.
This first step involves placing the head of the steamer and inserting it into the hockey glove. Once inside the mitt, turn the steamer on and let it do its job for roughly 10-15 minutes.
Once the time is up, remove the steamer from the glove and allow for any excess steam to dissipate.
When cool enough to do so, put the glove on and begin working the glove with your hand; extend and contract your fingers, ball up your fists, and exaggerate any movements that you would make in gameplay. If you want to work the gloves further, you can remove them and continue to flex the various parts and allow the materials to soften up a bit.
For those without a steamer on hand, you can get similar results over the course of a couple days with a few hot showers and repeating the steps mentioned above.
Baked Mitt Break In Method
The second method is to actually bake your new hockey gloves in an oven. If you have access to professional skate oven, that would be your safest way to go about baking your new hockey gloves. While designed for hockey skates, a similar process can be used on your gloves, giving them a great worn in feel afterwards.
Should you not have access to a professional skate oven, worry not. Your home oven, while presenting slight risks, will serve the same purpose.
Note: Ovens are hot. They can burn things, including the awesome hockey gloves you’re about to throw in it. Exercise caution and common sense should you go about anything mentioned here. Proceed at your own risk.
Pro skate ovens generally operate at a temperature of around 180°F-225°F. The first step in this procedure requires preheating your home oven. To achieve the effect of the professional ovens, set it to preheat to a temperature of 200°F.
While the oven is warming up, soak a towel in some warm water. Wring out as much of the excess as possible. The towel offers a bit of extra protection for your new mitts. Place one glove on a cookie sheet. The next glove will be done as this one cools upon completion.
Once preheated, turn off the oven and then insert your wrapped glove. The heat of the oven will drop a bit when you open the door. This will make the temperature less drastic for baking your hockey gloves. With the oven off, it will cool down further over time, reducing any worry associated with baking your new mitts.
Bake your towel-wrapped mitt for 2-3 minutes and remove it from the oven.
Now, simply work the gloves in the same manner described above in the steamer method until they are cool to the touch. Once they’ve cooled down, repeat the same steps you’ve followed thus far until you’ve reached your desired feel and are happy with the outcome. When you are satisfied, follow the same steps and do the other glove.
Other ways to break in hockey gloves include placing light weights on them for periods of time or taping back the fingers overnight. With the storied history of hockey, there’s sure to be plenty more MacGyver-esque techniques that we’ve never heard of.
The bottom line, as we initially stated, is that the best way to break in hockey gloves the right way is to practice or play them in. Get the gloves on and work them hands until you can handle a stick like Alexei Kovalev in his heyday. They’re sure to be broken in by then.
Or you can do like this guy…