Boxing has been in existence for literally thousands of years. Since ancient times, boxing as a sport has entertained spectators and challenged participants. Boxing was even used to fight to the death in some ancient cultures. Today, the popularity of boxing is at its height, with over a hundred million fans worldwide. It’s a sport that is versatile and exciting, as well as mind- and body-developing. One of the draws to boxing is its great versatility because spectators feel like they’re involved and can also perform it on a smaller scale in gyms or in their own homes. To practice though, you may want to invest in a set of the best boxing gloves first.
Those who are more serious about it can also compete in smaller tournaments in boxing or in one of its many outgrowths, including MMA (mixed martial arts) and Muay Thai. The excitement of boxing is obvious and, frankly, can’t be debated, as it pits opponents against each other in a thrilling fight to the finish. And finally, the ability the many different types of the sport of boxing has to develop a participant’s body as well as mind comes from its technique and training which are designed to develop focus, agility, muscle tone, and power.
What are the different types of boxing gloves?
Ancient boxers learned early on that fighting simply with fists caused a great deal of pain and injury. That’s why boxing gloves were invented, mainly to protect the hands of combatants. The first ‘boxers’ date back to ancient Greece, where those who participated in the sport often wrapped their hands with strips of leather for protection. Over time, extras were added on in order to provide greater impact and injury to opponents.
The Romans were the ones who became fond of such weaponry add-ons (known as ‘cestus). They included iron plates and even spikes or blades designed to take down enemies as swiftly and brutally as possible. It was this savagery that led to a ban of boxing in 393 AD. Thankfully, today’s boxing gloves contain no such weaponry and are designed first and foremost with protection of users in mind. And for those who are involved in it, whether it be for enjoyment, sport, competition, or a combination of these, choosing the right boxing glove is vital.
Bag gloves are pretty much just what their name suggests; they’re gloves used for punching a bag. Beginners typically start out with bag gloves, since punching a bag is what they’ll be doing most when learning proper boxing techniques. Bag gloves are designed and made to provide proper padding in order to provide proper protection and agility when punching a bag. Users generally would not use bag gloves when sparring, and they surely wouldn’t use them when competing.
Training gloves, like bag gloves, are named for their main purpose – training. However, training gloves also are used for other purposes, since this type of glove is a general all-around boxing glove. They are designed with the proper amount of padding to provide beginners with optimum comfort during training, and these are often used as a type of bag glove for use on punching bags. Their versatility also makes them great for use in everyday training sessions.
Like training gloves, sparring gloves are often used in training sessions. However, their softer, more cushiony padding makes them an optimum tool for use in sparring. Since the purpose of sparring is for both opponents to practice in order to develop their skills, sparring gloves are designed with optimal cushion distribution throughout so as not to injure each other.
Muay Thai gloves
Muay Thai is a combat sport from Thailand in which opponents use stand-up striking moves against each other. It’s often referred to as ‘the art of limbs’ because combatants use legs, knees, shins, fists, and elbows to strike each other. For this reason, Muay Thai gloves are designed to have added flexibility which enables users to clench their fists and grip better than regular boxing gloves would.
MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) gloves
Though MMA gloves aren’t considered actual ‘boxing’ gloves, they are similar. The major difference between these and regular boxing gloves is that MMA gloves are fingerless allowing for easier grappling. Grappling is an art form in certain types of boxing that involves various types of ‘mind-over-matter’ techniques designed to focus on forcing opponents to submit rather than taking them down physically.
Amateur boxing gloves are designed with user protection in mind. They have more padding than professional gloves, and that padding provides extra protection to hands and knuckles. They can also be used in sparring.
Professional boxing gloves are designed and manufactured specifically for professional competitors. The idea with professional gloves is optimal opponent take-down. For this reason, the design is aimed at smaller, firmer, and more compact to maximize ‘strike-ability.’ Professional gloves sacrifice user comfort in order to deliver sharper blows. Professional gloves should only be utilized during competitions as they are not suited for ordinary use.
What are the major differences between gloves for boxing and gloves for MMA?
As mentioned above, there are major differences between boxing gloves and those gloves used for MMA and Muay Thai. Because of how MMA and Muay Thai sports are fought, their boxers need more flexibility in their gloves. They also need to be able to maneuver their hands and fingers better, which is why MMA gloves are fingerless, and both MMA and Muay Thai gloves offer users more flexibility in order to move and maneuver their hands and fingers more optimally.
What features should I look for in a boxing glove?
When shopping for the right boxing gloves, it’s most important to consider size, comfort level, and the type of boxing you’ll be performing. Good fit means gloves should not hurt your hands; they should protect them. It’s also often best to choose leather over vinyl, if budget permits. Additionally, reading up on the different types of gloves available on the market today is vital. For instance, you wouldn’t want to purchase a regular boxing glove if you’ll be performing MMA or Muay Thai. If you’re a beginner, speak with your instructor or trainer about which glove is best for your particular situation. Finally, read reviews to learn how users find fit and comfort levels of various brands and makes.
Best Boxing Gloves Reviewed
Perhaps the most important thing you can do when purchasing a boxing glove is to read product descriptions as well as reviews in order to get firsthand information from those who have already tried out the product you’re considering purchasing. Here is a review guide of the top-rated boxing gloves available on today’s market.
Venum is a manufacturer of gear designed specifically for various martial arts and combat sports. One of their top products is this boxing glove which boasts premium ‘Skintex’ leather construction. The triple-density foam and reinforced palm are designed to provide optimal comfort and protection. Additionally, the 100% fully attached thumb’s purpose is to give extra prevention of injury.
PROS: Reinforced palm allows for maximum absorption. Hand compartment size provides good fit.
CONS: Some reviewers state these tend to get hot.
These gloves provide performance-engineered leather construction for durability and easy cleaning. Their gel-infused foam is designed to offer more softness for optimal protection against injury while training. They also have a longitudinal arch design which Sanabul states gives better fit for natural hand curvature.
PROS: Price point is very budget-friendly. That arch design makes these easier to put on. Secure hook-and-loop closure system gives secure fit for training.
CONS: Not designed for heavy bag work. Some users also state these run a little big.
Everlast has become a household name, with its American brand of boxing and fitness-related gear, footwear, and clothing. From Everlast comes a versatile glove with a broad price point to suit most budgets. The full padding on front and back of wrist allows users to optimize proper technique.
PROS: ‘ThumbLok’ feature allows for better thumb and fist positioning in order to prevent injury. Comes in various colors. Good for use on heavy bags.
CONS: Reviewers describe a pungent odor emitting from bag when first purchased that can linger for weeks.
From Cleto Reyes, known for their Mexican-style gloves with less knuckle padding and rectangular shape, comes this stylish glove offered in over a dozen different colors and designs. The company boasts that these are manufactured under strict quality control in goatskin leather and other materials. The two-inch latex padding and attached thumb help to optimize comfort and prevent injury.
PROS: Water-repellant design prevents moisture from getting into the padding. Compact design makes these great for punching.
CONS: Some users state the thumbs feel short.
Again from Everlast comes a stylish and functional glove for women. The premium synthetic leather on these provides durability and hand conformity. Everlast also states that the ‘Everfresh’ treatment they use on these provides breath-ability and helps prevent odor.
PROS: Price point fits all budgets. Wrap-around hook and loop strap closure helps to provide added security and fit. Good for sparring as well as heavy bag.
CONS: Can run smaller, which can make the gloves bought in your usual size too snug and tight.
This stylish yet budget-friendly option from Venum is a lightweight glove designed in Thailand with all levels of users in mind. Venum states that the quality PU leather construction provides durability for high performance. And the triple-density foam is designed for unparalleled shock absorption to optimal protection of hands, which can give users more training time.
PROS: Very affordable. Great for beginners.
CONS: A few reviewers state the padding comes loose.
Pro Impact offers this durable and protective glove ideal for MMA, Muay Thai, and other fighting sports. The durable PU leather construction provides optimal protection for sparring as well as training. Pro Impact offers these as a comfortable and balanced-feel glove that can be great for a range of uses, including cardio workouts, kickboxing, Muay Thai, MMA, and other combat sports.
PROS: Affordable. Durable construction holds up.
CONS: Can run small, as some users state the fit is too snug. Gloves can also be stiff.
This training glove by Title Boxing is touted as being able to ‘go the distance.’ The multi-layer shock absorption foam over the back of the hand and fit offers protection as well as power. The hook-and-loop closure gives maximum security and support.
PROS: Budget-friendly. Satin nylon hand compartment liner repels moisture to keep gloves fresh. Good fit.
CONS: Some reviewers state the red dye bleeds, leaving a mess on clothes.
The 8- and 10-oz gloves are designed for heavy bag work as well as competition. The 12-, 14-, and 16-oz gloves in this edition ideally are used for training and sparring. The heavier version is touted as providing ‘rigorous workout,’ and the attached thumb design helps to prevent hand and wrist injuries.
PROS: Design holds up. Mid-price point fits most budgets. Easy to put on.
CONS: Some reviewers state the glove fits differently from one hand to the other, giving these an unbalanced feeling.
Hayabusa is known in the industry for providing top-of-the-line boxing gloves for men and women. The handcrafted, premium full-grain leather of these pro boxing gloves provides optimal hand protection and wrist support. The ‘Dual-X’ closure system provides ‘lace-like’ fit for better security.
PROS: Excellent wrist support. Feel secure on the hand and wrist.
CONS: Can feel a bit tight.