Leather gloves are ubiquitous clothing pieces with a wide range of applications. Whether motorcycle, baseball, or high-end fashion leather gloves offer comfort and protection as they fit snuggly around your hands.
The truth remains that nothing matches the warm, fuzzy feeling I get while sliding my hand into my favorite leather gloves. But, it can be highly frustrating to find an “ideal” pair of gloves only to discover that they do not fit properly.
Thus, learning how to stretch leather gloves to make them more flexible for a perfect fit is crucial. Fortunately, there are a few easy steps you can take to ensure that your leather gloves always fit perfectly. This comprehensive guide will expose the best techniques for stretching leather gloves.
4 Ways of Stretching Leather Gloves
Leather gloves are made from various leather types and come in different textures and styles. These fashion pieces have been an essential part of every wardrobe since antiquity. Not only do they protect your hands from the elements and keep them warm, but they are also highly fashionable accessories.
Should leather gloves be tight? Your leather gloves should fit snugly and be tight enough. While it is normal for new leather gloves to feel uncomfortable and tight, they eventually loosen up and become more comfortable as you wear them. This natural process is known as the breaking in of leather and is common for other leather accessories.
However, if you’re uncomfortable and feel the breaking-in process is too slow, you can quickly stretch the gloves using some proven methods. Stretching leather gloves will make them more comfortable and increase their durability. Here’s a comprehensive guide on quickly stretching leather gloves without ruining them.
Method 1 – Stretching Leather Gloves with Water
Without care, water could cause permanent damage to your leather glove. But, if handled correctly, you could use water to stretch your gloves. This method is relatively easy and cheap and can be employed for stretching leather pants, jackets, and similar items.
That said, here’s how to stretch leather dress gloves using water.
- A dry cloth
- A sizeable bowl
- Cold water (<85 °F)
Steps to Follow
- Start by cleaning the surface of the gloves with a cloth. Through such an action, you eliminate dust particles that could block the leather pores and limit water penetration.
- Now, soak the gloves – Place the glove in the bowl and ensure it is completely submerged underwater. Use your fingers or a wooden stick to push down any part above the water level to ensure an even and thorough saturation.
- Remove the leather gloves from the bowl and squeeze the excess water. Gently wring both gloves until they are no longer soggy, wet, and only damp.
- Wear a wet pair of gloves and flex your fingers as it dries. You can move your fingers around or perform chores while wearing the gloves. Ensure that the gloves do not get dirty during this stage.
- Once the gloves are dry, apply a suitable leather conditioner to keep them supple.
Wet leather gloves may feel too uncomfortable as you wear them. But you must keep them on until dry to facilitate this stretching process. You could also wear latex gloves before wearing wet leather gloves. This way, you minimize the discomfort.
Method 2 – “Stretching Leather Gloves with Wet Newspaper”
Stuffing leather items with wet newspapers has been common for folks who stretch leather wallets, hats, and shoes. Impressively, this technique also works well for stretching leather gloves.
- A large bowl.
- Warm water (80 – 105 °F)
- Old newspaper sheets.
- Leather conditioner.
Steps to Follow
- Begin by moistening your leather gloves; hold the piece above a bowl and pour warm water. Repeat this process until the gloves are saturated and thoroughly wet.
- Next, gather some newspapers and get them damped. You can soak these sheets in water for a few minutes, but ensure they don’t turn out excessively soggy.
- When the papers are damp, take them out of the bowl. Squeeze them to get rid of the excess water and get them into a squishy mass.
- Now, tear up the paper and stuff them into the gloves. You can also roll them into smaller bits and push them into the fingers of the gloves. Make sure that the paper gets into every corner of the glove.
- Leave the wet newspaper in the gloves and let them dry. This process could take as long as 24 hours or even more.
- Take out the newspaper from the gloves. You could turn them inside out to ensure you do not miss any paper.
- Finally, condition the gloves with a suitable leather conditioner to protect them from shrinking.
While you may be tempted to speed up this process and dry the leather gloves under direct sunlight or with a hand-held dryer, it is not right. You should know that excessive heat can shrink leather and permanently damage the material. So, allow the gloves to dry at room temperature in a well-ventilated area to prevent knots and wrinkles from forming.
Method 3 – Stretching Leather Gloves with Rubbing Alcohol
Alcohol helps to relax leather and soften the material, and this solution works well for stretching leather sandals and can effectively help loosen leather gloves. Looking for how to stretch leather dress gloves? Here’s how to achieve the desired results using rubbing alcohol and water.
- A bowl or hand-held spray bottle.
- A dry cloth
- Rubbing alcohol
- Leather conditioner
Steps to Follow
- Begin by cleaning the glove surface with a clean, damp cloth to remove dirt/dust that could interfere with the absorption of the stretching solution.
- Mix 3 parts of water with “a part” of rubbing alcohol to get a mild stretching solution.
- Soak the gloves in the mixture, ensure it is fully submerged, and let it sit for a few minutes.
- Take the gloves out of the mixture and pull them on. Flex the gloves as they dry, ensuring you focus on the tough spots while flexing your hands.
- Now, allow the gloves dry and condition them with a suitable leather conditioner.
If you have metal bits on the gloves that you need to protect, use a spray bottle to apply the mixture to the leather gloves. You could also dip a rag into the mixture and rub it over the surface of the leather gloves.
Method 4 – Stretching Leather Gloves with Leather Conditioner
As you know, real leather gets sourced from animal hides and contains oils that keep it soft and malleable. A leather glove shrinks and wrinkles when it loses these oils. With leather conditioners, you can replenish lost oils and make it easier for leather gloves to stretch. So, here’s how to stretch your leather motorcycle gloves using a suitable conditioner.
- Leather conditioner
- Soft cloth
Steps to Follow
- Clean the gloves to get rid of dust. This way, you make it easier for the conditioner to spread over the material’s surface. You also reduce the amount of conditioner you need.
- Apply the conditioner to the glove using a soft cloth. Apply large portions and ensure that every inch of the material is covered.
- Massage the conditioner into the material using your fingers.
- Now, wear gloves and flex your fingers as the conditioner dries. Also, continue to massage the material as the conditioner dries.
- Finally, buff the surface of the gloves to give your gloves a shiny look.
Leather conditioners help protect the pores on the material’s surface and prevent moisture from damaging the gloves while leaving this material soft and supple. Hence, I also recommend this technique to stretch leather belts and wallets.
Q: How do you break in tight leather gloves?
New leather gloves gradually break in as you wear them; this process happens due to the supple nature of the material. Kindly note that this break-in could take as long as a few weeks or even months, depending on the type and size of the gloves and how often you wear them.
However, there are several ways you could use to speed up the breaking-in process. The most familiar method is the use of leather conditioners. Leather conditioners soften and relax the fibers of leather gloves and make it easier for them to stretch. This method also protects leather gloves from water damage and increases their durability.
Q: How do I make my gloves looser?
You can loosen your leather gloves by wearing them more frequently. This natural method softens the leather with warmth and moisture from your hands. The oil from your skin pores also aids this process.
Alternatively, you can stuff your gloves with bits of paper or old clothes. Stuffing your gloves helps adjust their shape and size, and this method also prevents leather gloves from shrinking or wrinkling.
Q: Will tight leather gloves stretch?
Tight leather gloves stretch with time since leather is a natural material that stretches and shrinks depending on the conditions it gets subjected to. Several factors determine how much leather gloves stretch; however, the most important ones are the type of leather, how you maintain the material, and how much stress you subject the gloves to.
Stuffing leather gloves or pulling at their ends applies considerable stress to the leather piece and forces it to stretch. Also, treating the leather with conditioners will prevent it from shrinking and make it easier to stretch.
Q: How do you resize leather gloves?
Leather gloves naturally stretch and become larger as you use them. However, you may need to resize leather gloves before they can fit. You can resize leather gloves with a suitable glove stretching tool.
Most leather glove stretchers fit into the fingers of leather gloves and can be manipulated to adjust the size of the gloves. Also, soaking the tight gloves in warm water for about a quarter of an hour before wearing them and letting them dry could resize them.
Q: Do leather gloves get looser?
Leather gloves get looser with time due to this material’s nature. It contains natural oils and moisture that keep the material supple and flexible. This quality makes leather gloves expand and become looser with continuous use.
You could also loosen leather gloves and make them more comfortable by stretching the material, using a safe and effective technique. Also, treating the leather with leather conditioners helps the material stay supple and easier to stretch.
Q: Will Vaseline soften leather gloves?
Vaseline or petroleum jelly is an excellent moisturizer that works perfectly on leather. Just like leather conditioners, it saturates the pores on the surface of the leather gloves and helps relax the material. This quality makes it easier for leather gloves to expand as you wear them. It also prevents the material from drying out and shrinking due to harsh weather conditions.
Q: What happens if you wear gloves that are too small?
Wearing gloves that are too small comes with lots of risks. Although the most apparent risk is ruining the gloves, there are other considerable risks to your person. Wearing gloves that are too small could injure your fingers and cause blisters.
Gloves that are too tight could also interfere with the use of your fingers and hinder some of your activity. Since most leather materials for making leather gloves are flexible, you can employ some practical techniques to loosen this piece and make it fit better.
Wearing tight leather gloves could cause discomfort and leave you with second thoughts about this fashion piece. That’s why I have described how to stretch leather gloves in this guide and provided effective techniques to make your gloves fit better.
While the strategies in this guide are sure to work on most leather gloves, you may need to repeat the procedure a few times to get the desired size. But remember that leather has an elastic limit, and excessive stretching could cause this piece to tear. Therefore, if the glove still doesn’t fit after several tries, it might be too small for you, and you need to buy a larger one.