Once you have found the right messenger bag for you, the next step is breaking it in. Below, we give you the helpful hacks that you need to know when softening a new leather bag.
How to Break in a Leather Messenger Bag
There is something undeniable about owning a brand new leather bag: the fabric and metal hardware glisten and the smell of genuine leather is iconic. Although it’s only natural to want to keep these pieces of handcrafted magic in this state of perfection forever, not using them would be even more of a shame.
Leather is a naturally stiff material. So, “breaking in” or softening genuine leather correctly is a vital part of caring for this kind of bag, especially for improving functionality. While this will happen over time by itself, if you want to use your messenger bag as an everyday bag you may be looking to break in the leather sooner.
To do this, you’ll need several items - most of which can be found right in your own home (or easily bought online). Below, are the best hacks to use when breaking in a new leather bag.
1) Use Coconut Oil
One of the best ways to soften leather is by rubbing it with coconut oil. Leave your bag sitting directly in sunlight for 10 minutes and then gently massage coconut oil into the leather with either a cloth or a brush.
Once the oil has been applied, leave the leather messenger bag to dry in a cool place. Repeat this process once a week and you should see a remarkable difference in the softness of the leather.
2) Wipe With a Damp Cloth
Wiping your leather messenger bag down with a damp cloth is another foolproof way of breaking in your bag. Using a clean microfiber cloth, soak in distilled water and then gently wipe over the entire surface of the bag. Don’t use too much water as this can lead to water damage.
Pat dry any excess water with a clean cloth and let it finish air-drying naturally in a cool, dry place. Along with usage, this method is one of the quickest ways to break in your bag fast.
3) Relax Leather Using Heat & Humidity
While it may seem counterintuitive, placing your leather goods in a dryer on a medium temperature setting can be great to get things loosened up. The heat combined with the spinning motion and friction will provide the same result as if the bag has been used for years.
If you feel uncomfortable placing your new leather bag on a drying cycle, there is an alternative that works just as well. Place your bag in a humid environment such as a bathroom while the shower is running. This will allow the leather to loosen from both the residual heat and moisture.
4) Treat With Leather Conditioner
Finally, another way to speed up the softening process is by treating your leather bags and accessories with a high-quality leather conditioner. The oils that are in a leather conditioner will lubricate the material allowing it to flex and bend more easily.
A good rule of thumb when using a leather conditioner is to soak a small amount of the product on a clean cotton cloth and then gently massage it into the leather. Never apply it directly to the bag as this can compromise the craftmanship. After applying a thin layer, you should see a faint sheen to the leather.
Treat your leather messenger bag with a leather conditioner once every few months as part of a care routine.
Our Top Picks for Men’s Leather Messenger Bags
At Hides, our high-quality men’s leather messenger bags are built to last. Made using only the finest full-grain leather, these bags are perfect for carrying all your essentials: laptops, files, clothes - you name it.