In baseball and softball, a glove is a tool that players spend exorbitant amounts of time breaking in, working on, using, and protecting. But eventually, the time comes for every glove where a lace snaps or a ball breaks through the webbing, and the last thing any player wants to do is throw out his or her well-conditioned glove and start fresh.
Your fielding glove is, in a sense, an extension of you, but that inevitable time will come and your glove will need repair. Softball and baseball glove restoration is something any player can do simply by following the instructions in this guide. Below, you will learn:
What You Need - Tools for Re-lacing
Re-lacing a glove is something that can be done in just a few hours. It’s true that the first few times you do it, re-lacing can be one of the more complicated types of softball and baseball glove repair, but we promise that you’ll become more comfortable with the process after having done it a time or two. You’ll need the following tools to properly re-lace your glove:
- Laces – these usually come in lengths of 72 inches and a typical glove will require 3 - 4 laces. If you are re-lacing a trapeze glove, modified trapeze glove, catcher’s glove, or first basemen’s mitt, you’ll need more. Typically, six will be enough.
- U-wire or straight-lace grooved needle
You should be able find many of these items in the Glove Accessories section of our online store.
How to Lace a Softball or Baseball Glove
It’s ok if you don’t know how to repair a baseball glove at first. Many people feel overwhelmed with the thought of re-lacing a glove on their own, but the process actually isn’t as daunting as it seems. Follow these easy steps and you’ll have your glove re-laced in no time:
- Before you remove the older laces that have broken down or ripped, draw a diagram or take pictures of the glove from multiple angles so you don’t get lost in the process. If this is the first time you have re-laced a glove, you should immediately re-lace as you go so you don’t get lost. You should do this by removing and replacing one lace, one hole at a time.
- Once the laces have been removed, apply conditioner to the glove, especially on the areas between the fingers and other areas that would otherwise be too difficult to get to when the laces are on. Make sure to work the conditioner into the entire glove, even on the inside, but be sure to use sparingly and don’t over apply.
- Before you begin to re-lace, rub some conditioner on the laces to help make them go through the holes easier. This will also be easier on your fingers.
- On one end of the lace, take your punch and make a small hole. Stick one side of your u-wire needle through the hole and tie a knot at the opposite side of the lace.
You should start with the toughest area to re-lace, which would be the palm area.
- When you first start lacing, you should be sure that the smooth side of the lace is exposed. Start at the back side of the pinky finger and look for a hole that doesn’t appear to belong. This is usually located on the right side of the pinky finger on a right hand throw glove, and on the opposite for a left hand throw glove. Feed the needle and lace through the hole and trace down the line to the palm. These first few holes will be the hardest to complete. Use your non-lacing hand to try and feel the holes through the underside of the glove. This will give you a more accurate judgment and allow you to feel your glove’s pattern and how you need to lace.
- On most gloves, the pattern you will want to follow for these next series of holes would be lace, lace, lace, space, lace, lace, lace.
When you reach the area where the web should be, use the closest hole and tie off a knot, while leaving enough to be able to tie it up later.
- Complete the lacing around the rest of the glove using the same method, but you will need to re-lace the web before finishing. See below for detailed directions on how to replace your glove web.
- The thickness of the laces you purchase should be 3/16 inch wide, with the exception of first base gloves or catchers’ mitts, which should be 1/4 inch.
- Ensure the conditioner you use does not have any animal byproducts if you have a dog around - they may try to chew your glove. You may want to stick with the brand conditioner the manufacturer recommends or has developed for the glove.
- When re-lacing, be sure not to cover the finger sleeves on the inner part of the glove, especially for the pinky and thumb fingers. Go under these or it will be uncomfortable.
After following these steps, you’ll know how to lace a baseball glove like a pro.
How to Replace a Baseball Glove Web
When you took the laces off your glove to replace them, you also took the webbing off. Don’t worry - it’s not hard to learn how to replace a baseball glove web. You’re going to follow a similar process to re-attach the webbing to your glove as you did to re-lace it.
Remember, you actually need to complete this step before you finish the laces on the fingers. If you lace the fingers first, you will have to backtrack in order to get the lace through the top part of the pocket, the funnel. Here are the simple steps below to make your favorite glove new again:
- Make sure you previously conditioned your webbing.
- Line up the web and lace before you start to make sure it’s straight and not being laced on incorrectly.
- Start lacing from the backside of the glove at the bottom where your web should be. You will need to leave some lace out so you can tie another piece of lace together at the end of the process.
- Begin on the thumb side of the glove, near the edge of the inner glove. Insert the lace into the hole near the edge facing inward on the glove toward the pocket. You will go through the glove and out of the hole located on the side of the pocket. Depending on what type of web pattern your glove has (I-web, H-web, trapeze, etc) you need to follow the pattern to the top of the glove, funnel the lace through the top part of the pocket regardless of the style, and go out the hole and through the web into the hole. You will continue this until you get to the top of the web where you’ll then feed the lace through the funnel.
- Continue down the other side of the web and follow the same pattern you used for the thumb side.
- Make sure that the lace is very tight on the web so you don’t miss any holes. Neglecting this could allow a baseball to break through the web, which could be dangerous, especially for corner infielders
- Finish your re-lace at the bottom on the outside of the glove one hole away from where you began. It should be relatively symmetrical on most pocket styles. This is a general way to check your work to see if you’ve done re-laced your glove correctly. Another indicator to check your work is to feel the inside of your glove. Take your laces that are hanging out of these holes, cut them to the same length and tie them together in a knot to complete the process.
- And voilà! This is what your glove should look like when it's complete:
With a little bit of time and work, your glove should be good as new. But if your glove is beyond repair, you can always shop our collection of new baseball and softball gloves.