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How To Break In Boxing Gloves

You've just got yourself a brand new pair of gloves, and they smell like new leather. The inner lining is soft against your skin. You put them on, and they're a bit tight even without hand wraps. So you take them to your next training session, you're buzzing to use them, and you start hammering the heavy bag and slamming into the pads. And before too long, your knuckles hurt, your fingers are numb, and you're regretting the enthusiasm. It's not a problem with the gloves, and it's because they're new.

If you want a quick fix, buy some hand wraps and wrap them around your hands first before putting on the gloves. Then take a few minutes wrapping your hands with the wraps to ensure that they're tight enough for maximum protection. This will help soften up any leather that's stiff or has been dried out from sitting unused for long periods!

With most synthetic gloves, you can normally start using them right away, they might be a little stiff, but you can normally get past that after the first session. Leather gloves are different, though. They normally start stiffer and are sometimes constructed with higher quality padding, so they often need more time before they're completely comfortable.

All you need to do is gently stretch the glove, do some light pad and bag work for a few sessions (how often you train is going to alter how long this takes), and your gloves should be nice and comfortable, ready to use them for regular training.


Don't go too tight – your gloves should be snug but don't buy gloves that will cut off circulation. Consider that your hands may swell as your work up a sweat. Gloves that are very tight when you try them on may become too tight while training. Gloves that are too big could be prone to falling off.


When putting the glove on, make sure you push your hand as far in as possible. It's okay if the tips of your fingers are touching or gently pushing against the end. Also, make sure you're clenching your hand into a fist when punching, which should help a bit with the knuckle positioning.


For average weight fighters, a good combination is a pair of 16 oz for sparring, 8 oz for drills and pad work, and bag gloves. 16 or 18 oz gloves for heavier boxes, 10 or 12 for bag/pads/drills, and thick bag gloves. Some people use 16's for sparring and bag work, so it's best to have 2 pairs.


If you notice that the leather or material around the knuckle is cracking or showing an excessive amount of wear, replace them sooner for safer contact. You should always feel at least 1.5-2" of padding across the knuckle. With additional wear and contact, the foam will break down more quickly and should be replaced.


How To Break In New Boxing Gloves 

You can do things for shortening the period, and there are things which you should not do. Below you will find our research about the subject.

Step 1.

To break in new boxing gloves, you need to follow the below-mentioned steps.

First, squeeze and press down the gloves to properly break in boxing gloves. Ensure that you gently do this. Squeezing and pressing down on the material of the gloves will soften the foam padding on them. Do this on each glove for at least 2 to 3 minutes with both of your hands. Following this, wear gloves and keep moving your hands around. Additionally, stretch your hands a little bit while your gloves are on for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Some people also recommend sitting on a pair of boxing gloves. This helps you to apply pressure on the gloves and break them in. However, doing this could potentially damage the wrist area of the boxing glove.

Step 2

The next step will be to start light training on a heavy bag or focus mitts. If you are breaking in a pair of sparring gloves, consider skipping this step. Hitting a heavy bag with sparring gloves can harden the padding over time which can be dangerous if your gloves are primarily used against other people. However, if you are working with training gloves, there is nothing wrong with breaking them in the bag. Focus on volume and don't throw very hard. You don't want to hit too hard when you are breaking in boxing gloves since they are less protective in their new state. Often people complain about knuckle pain, bruising, and scraping to the knuckles when punching with a new pair of gloves.

Step 3

The final thing to do to break in your boxing gloves properly is to use longhand wraps. Longer hand wraps tend to have more fabric, allowing the boxer to wrap their hands more. This also provides the boxers with additional protection. Your hands tend to be more at risk and are more vulnerable when the boxing gloves are new, even posing risks of bruises and scratches. By using longer hand wraps, breaking in of the gloves will become easy on the boxer as well.

Additionally, it will help the boxer stretch their gloves out with the added volume within the glove.

Tips For How To Break In Boxing Gloves

Wrap Your Hands two times

Having boxing hand wraps is very important for safety, and when you punch, it will increase the pressure on the glove's padding. And when the pressure is increased, this will shorten break-in time.

After you wear a pair, you can wrap your hands twice if it is not tight. However, if your pair is a snug fit, you don't need to do it twice.

Gently move and squeeze the glove.

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This probably steps one in breaking down the gloves, though it's important not to do too much. Put one glove on, make a fist and extend your fingers a few times. Then, use the other hand to squeeze the padding around your fist against your knuckles. This will start easing out the stiffness of the gloves but avoid doing it too much because you can affect the durability of the glove if you start damaging the foam padding.

Use Regularly

Pair's material is made for preserving its state. If you don't use them regularly, the break-in period can get longer. I experienced that when I used the Cleto Reyes pair 2 times per week, the break-in period was 7 months. However, trainers in my new gym used the same training gloves 3-4 times a week. And they had 4-5 months of a break-in period. So regular usage will shorten the time.

Also, many people think that they should do heavy bag training to shorten the period. And it is better and provides a shorter period. However, as long as you punch anything, including pads, double end bag, the pair's padding will have an impact, and the break-in period will be shortened anyway.

Hit the pads (lightly!)

You're going to use the gloves to hit stuff, so, logically, the best way to get them broken in is… to hit things. The issue will come if you go all in and throw punches the same way you did with an older, well-used glove. Go at 50%, let the leather and padding move and adjust within the glove. It may take a few sessions before you can up the power but protecting your hands is worth waiting.

Go with Synthetic Leather Pairs

If you don't like long break-in periods, you can always get synthetic leather gloves. Do these have break-in time? Some of them have. However, it is generally a lot less than real leather. Also, if you don't like break-in periods, avoid handmade pairs. These can try your patience. It may even take 7 months to finish it.

Important Note: Don't close and open the front of boxing gloves. It can affect the padding, and if you do it repeatedly, the pair's padding quality will suffer, and it can shorten the durability. The padding is made for taking impacts and not for stretching.

Hit a punching bag

This is the main area where you start to find disagreement between people. Forums are full of people saying that hitting heavy bags makes the padding denser on a set of gloves and hardens them up. So if you've got a set of gloves that you're going to use for sparring, then I'd avoid doing round after round of work on real heavy bags. 

But using lighter punch bags, double end bags or other bags for a few rounds is a great way to break in gloves. The bags are also going to be useful if you want to go hard during your session, which you'll want well broken in gloves for, but you can throw your new gloves off for a few rounds on the bag at the end of your session until they're comfortable for everyday use. At the end of the day, if you've brought gloves and the padding compresses and becomes hard after a couple of sessions on the bag, you've brought a terrible pair of gloves.

Below is an outline of how I recommend breaking in boxing gloves:

  • Put on your new boxing gloves and wrap them around something solid like a pole or chair backrest that is at eye level.
  • Wrap one hand with tape (or both if you're feeling adventurous).
  • Start with some light contact drills such as pushups, shadowboxing, and jump rope as a warm-up.
  • Once you're loose, hit the heavy bag with your boxing gloves that are still wrapped up to break them in. I recommend hitting the heavy bag around 10 – 15 times before doing any power drills such as hooking, uppercut, and combination drills.
  • After this process is complete and you feel comfortable using your new boxing gloves, unwrap them and start using them normally. The whole process shouldn't take longer than 20 minutes every other day for about three weeks.

Should You Use Boxing Gloves with Long Break in Time?

If you use Cleto Reyes Boxing Gloves after you finish training the pair's break-in time, you will have an amazing punching experience for a very long time. And you will get used to gloves. You might even get the same pair after that pair becomes useless.

However, your glove's leather may not have any quality. Let's say it lasts a year, and if this pair has break-in time around 4-5 months, then you will get the same quality punching experience only for 7 months. So you will only have a good punching experience for a short time. So even though it can offer a great punching experience, in my opinion, it is not worth it.

When Not To Buy Pre-Broken In Boxing Gloves? 

If you want to get a really good grip on each punch, you should break your gloves in instead of buying pre-broken boxing gloves. The only reason we would recommend buying pre-broken boxing gloves is if you have no other choice.

What Should You Know Before Buying Boxing Gloves?

Before you buy your boxing gloves, there are some things you should know:

When buying a pair of boxing gloves, it's important to buy sparring gloves and not bag gloves.

Leather and cloth gloves offer different benefits and disadvantages. It would help if you considered what would work for you before making your purchase. For example, leather gloves might last longer, but they don't provide as much protection as cloth gloves. Cloth gloves might need to be replaced more often, but they're more affordable than leather gloves.

The size of the glove is an important factor to consider when looking for new boxing gloves. It's important to get the right size to distribute the pressure across the glove evenly.

If you're buying gloves for punching bags, make sure to get a pair that is specifically made for bag work. Bag gloves are not as padded as sparring gloves are, and they don't have thumb or wrist support.

What To Do If I Do Not Want To Break In My Boxing Gloves?

Many people wish to avoid breaking in their boxing gloves. For them, the rules that are applied are a bit different.

Leather boxing gloves have been in the market for a long period. Moreover, they are considered some of the best options for a boxing glove. However, leather boxing gloves tend to be stiff when they are new. Additionally, they also require a substantial amount of time to break-in. In saying so, while leather boxing gloves are the best option for you in terms of quality, other synthetic gloves of great quality are also available on the market. Moreover, they offer a short break-in period and can be broken in within a single training session.

These gloves tend to have a lot of breathabilities, which is an added advantage. This is because breathability tends to lack in leather boxing gloves. Moreover, leather gloves can make your hands quite uncomfortable when using them for long hours of training.

One of the biggest ways to make sure your boxing glove, whether leather or synthetic, is comfortable for you is by wearing and using the glove regularly. Using the boxing gloves regularly tends to shorten the break-in period compared to using them once in a while, between long intervals.

Things To Avoid On Your New Boxing Gloves

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Do not use leather softener or moisturisers on your boxing gloves. This has been recommended, and while it may have worked in the past on boxing gloves, most today won't be compatible. Also, many boxing gloves are not made of real leather, so using a leather softener or moisturiser won't work- and you risk damaging your gloves or the stitching. If you want to do this to break in your gloves, consider contacting the company that makes your gloves and asking them if they recommend doing this.

Do not:

  • Moisturise your gloves – there are various pieces of advice about using oils and moisturisers to soften the leather. I guess this is up to you, but I'd be concerned about the oils damaging the seams or getting into the foam and limiting the durability of your gloves.
  • Hit brick walls – do we have to explain this? Years of design has gone into padded bags and focus mitts to make them safe to hit without messing up your hands, don't disappoint everyone by hitting walls in your new gloves. The bricks are going to mess up the leather too.
  • Put them in the tumble dryer – I've heard of this done with shoes, but the reality is this is going to destroy your new gloves. The same goes for putting them in the washing machine to keep them fresh.

All you need to do is gently stretch the glove, do some light pad and bag work for a few sessions (how often you train is going to alter how long this takes), and your gloves should be nice and comfortable, ready to use them for regular training. Just make sure you take care of them, and they'll last you for ages!


In conclusion, it is important to break in your new boxing gloves before using them. This will avoid the risk of your knuckles and hands getting bruised or scratched, or even injured in a major way. After that, you only need to stretch the gloves as gently as possible, pack a few light punches on a bag, and keep stretching the gloves while wearing them at regular intervals.

This ensures that your new boxing gloves are nice, comfortable and ready to use for your regular training sessions. Additionally, doing this will also ensure that your boxing gloves last you for a long time without getting withered.


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