How To Stretch Leather Motorcycle Gloves
We all know that over time, leather gloves stretch and conform to our hands. But often we get caught in a situation when the gloves we ordered actually turned out to be a little too tight. This is particularly common with gloves made of leather, because these goatskin or sheepskin motorcycle gloves act like a second skin, in order to provide maximum protection.
Besides, no two hands are the same. In general, the right hand is slightly bigger than the left or vice versa. So, a glove that fits the left hand perfectly might not be big enough for the right hand.
However, if you feel that the tightness around your hand caused by the incorrect sizing is restricting your maneuverability, it is best to replace them with at least one size larger. This however is unlikely to be the case if you are either already too late to make a return request, or if you received these gloves as a gift from special someone. The next best alternative, then, is to stretch them a bit so that they fit around your hand comfortably.
In today’s blog, we will discuss some of the best fixes to potentially stretch your gloves up a size so that they are well worth the purchase. So, keep on reading below to find out how.
Analyze the issue
Before you attempt to stretch the leather, determine the specific problem related to the incorrect sizing.
If the material is strictly tight around the width, you can stretch them yourself using our recommendations. However, if the gloves are short in length, for example, your fingers can extend all the way to the tip of the glove and still require a bit of additional room in length, then any kind of treatment will not be able to achieve the desired results. So, in this case it is ideal to not waste any more time and purchase a brand-new pair of leather motorcycle gloves.
Also, for gloves with leather linings remember that not all the stretching methods might be suitable. This is because not all the types of motorcycle gloves can be stretched. As such, you can only stretch gloves that are made from genuine leather (sheepskin, goatskin, deerskin, kangaroo skin, or cowhide).
Now that you are clear about the material and the cause of problem, you can proceed ahead with our recommendations.
This is how you can stretch your leather motorcycle gloves using household products
There are several approaches that you can employ in order to stretch your gloves using household products. But first let’s take a look at one of the easiest ways to do this using a rich moisturizing cream, something that is readily available in every household (and the one which we personally prefer).
Using Moisturizing Cream
- Using a simple moisturizing cream, you can achieve fairly good results and stretch the leather gloves to your desired width. The cream gently penetrates inside the material which allows you to stretch and expand the leather without damaging it.
- To do this, apply the cream evenly to the leather glove and let it sit for around 5 minutes before working around it. This will allow the moisturizer to impregnate and soften it.
- Once you notice that the cream has turned transparent and the glove looks shiny, gently wear them around your hands.
- Re-apply the moisturizer to the gloves and allow another 2-3 minutes for it to settle. Post which, you need to clench your fist together while trying to stretch and expand them as per your size.
- Repeat the process of clenching and releasing a few times until you are satisfied with the result.
- Once done, remove the excess cream from the glove using a dry cloth and let them rest overnight.
Using After Shave Lotion
- Beards and bikes tend to go hand in hand. But in case you sport a clean-cut urban look, chances are you will have an alcohol-based aftershave lotion in your cabinet. Alternatively, you can use any inexpensive cologne that contains alcohol, even an alcohol-based perfume can do the trick.
- Pre-treat the leather gloves with cologne by applying evenly all over the surface.
- Now wear the gloves and wait for the product to dry completely. Since cologne evaporates really quickly, you may have to repeat the process a couple of times.
- Once you feel that the gloves have been stretched considerably, gently remove them and let them dry for a couple of hours before storing them in your closet.
- Do note that this process can leave your gloves dry, so a thin application of moisturizer is highly recommended once the procedure is completed.
Using Wet Newspaper
- This method is very popular and by far the most economical one. All you have to do is place some damp newspapers inside the gloves until they are stuffed. Alternatively, you can also use a damp towel to avoid leaving behind bits of paper inside the glove.
- Once you have placed a damp towel/newspaper inside the glove, wrap them up completely in another set of damp cloth.
- Leave them for 5-6 hours allowing the leather to get soft.
- Post which, put on the gloves and wear them for at least 20 minutes while working around them the same way you would do on a motorcycle (clench your fist, engage the brake/clutch, etc.)
- After some time, you will observe that the gloves have expanded in width and are fitting more comfortably around your hand.
- Remove the gloves and let them dry before applying any lubricating or polishing cream.
Using Water & Rubbing Alcohol
- Soaking the leather gloves completely in water is not recommended. However, in extreme cases where leather gloves are extremely tight, a mixture of warm water (not hot) and rubbing alcohol can be used. By mixing rubbing alcohol, water tends to dry out faster from the gloves.
- Prepare a solution of three parts water and one-part isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) in a spray bottle. Spray this solution inside and out, just enough to dampen the gloves well.
- Now wear the gloves until they are completely dry, while performing your routing work such as bending your fingers, making a fist, etc. This procedure will allow the gloves to expand as needed.
- Once the gloves are completely dry, you may need to follow certain steps so as to ensure their longevity. This includes polishing and moisturizing them either with household products or using dedicated conditioners.
Using Hair Dryer
- All you need for this method is a hair dryer and a pair of glove liners – and you’re ready to go.
- Put on your glove liners and slip your hands into the gloves that are too tight.
- Now take the hair dryer and gradually bring it closer to the pressure points that cause discomfort. Since heat causes the leather to soften up considerably, this is an excellent technique for loosening up tight leather gloves.
- Keep your gloves on until the leather has cooled down.
- Now treat the gloves with nourishing care products.
Advice: Remember that using hair dryer at high temperature can damage the texture of the leather. Make sure you are holding the dryer at a distance and allowing the natural heat emitted from the device to do its work.
Stretching your leather motorcycle gloves using dedicated products
So, if you do not want to take any chances with your premium leather gloves and would rather stick to dedicated products that are meant for this job then you can use specialized compounds instead.
Such compounds are readily available in any big retail stores that deal with leather goods or footwear. Alternatively, they can be purchased online from any ecommerce store.
Usually, these compounds are available in liquid form with a spray nozzle. This allows you to apply them to the surface of the glove evenly without any hassle. And most likely you would be able to stretch the gloves up to one size.
One such amazing product that is available on Amazon is FootMatters, that can be used to stretch both leather gloves as well as leather boots by one size.
In fact, this solution is ideal for all kinds of leather including suede leather, bonded leather, vintage leather, artificial leather as well as textured leather. All you have to do is spray the solution evenly all over the glove and wear them immediately. This will do the trick in case marginal amount of stretching is required around the width.
Things to note
Now, before you proceed with the methods discussed above, it is important to familiarize yourself with some key facts concerning leather material.
A leather glove can be stretched no more than one size, which means that in case you stretch the material beyond its elasticity, chances of losing its appearance will be significantly increased. In most cases, the seams will start to deteriorate with time.
Also keep in mind that these gloves can only be stretched in width, as such any kind of treatment is useless in case you are trying to stretch along the length.
Moreover, in case of a brand-new glove, which is naturally tight due to its construction, we do not recommend any of the above procedures. Rather, wait and let the new glove adapt to your hand. Ideally, a new glove can be stretched just by wearing regularly. Other stretching methods should be resorted in case the new glove does not break-in even after couple of weeks.
How to soften a hard leather motorcycle glove
Over time, leather becomes stiff and brittle primarily because of aging and deterioration from its natural state. It’s contained moisture and natural oils are gradually exhausted due to constant abuse endured while riding. And unless the motorcycle gloves are properly maintained and treated with additional compounds, the material will continue to become harder and more brittle.
In order to make your leather gloves soft, follow these procedures:
- First, thoroughly clean your leather gloves with a slightly damp cloth. Post which, pat them dry with a soft piece of rag.
- Use a suitable leather care lotion (e.g., Vaseline petroleum jelly or coconut oil) and spread some on a clean cloth.
- Gently rub it all over the surface and let the oil/cream penetrate for a day.
- This will immediately lubricate the leather and make them soft again.
- In case you wear the gloves regularly, you will have to repeat the same process every month.
Advice: Use the leather care products in moderation! The pores may otherwise get clogged and the leather will no longer be able to breathe.
Read more about this process in detail here: How to maintain motorcycle gloves.
So, these were some of the ideal procedures to follow while stretching or softening your leather motorcycle gloves. However, do note that you can only achieve the desired results if the gloves are tight across their width. No household remedy or chemical treatment can increase the length of your motorcycle glove.
Also, in order to retain their performance, physical characteristics and appearance, do not stretch them more than one size. With extensive stretching, the original resilience and attributes are lost, which might cause them to deteriorate quickly.
Lastly, before purchasing a glove, make sure you are clear about the sizing. For an in-depth guide, refer to our article on choosing the right motorcycle gloves to get a complete understanding.
Let us know in case you need any further help.