Everyone (literally everyone) knows that boxing requires gloves. That much is clear. It might seem easy to just walk into a sporting goods store and pick a random pair of boxing gloves.
However, there are many different types available. Choosing the wrong pair can end up hindering your performance and even worse, lead to injury.
The best boxing gloves for you will depend on a number of factors, including what you'll be using them for and your budget. In this post, we offer detailed information and guidelines that will help you identify the best boxing gloves for you and your training goals.
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Size Does Matter
In simple terms, the size of the gloves indicates the amount of padding offered. The bigger the glove, the more padding it has. More padding offers more protection for your hands while training.
However, more padding means more weight. As such, heavier gloves will fatigue you sooner.
Glove sizes are indicated in ounces (oz) and usually range from 8 ounces up to 18 ounces. The most common sizes are 12oz, 14oz and 16oz.
The table below helps you to choose the right size boxing gloves, based on your size and what you will be using them for.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT SIZE BOXING GLOVES
Bag / Fitness Gloves
Training / Sparring Gloves
Up to 100 lbs
6 - 8 oz
8 -12 oz
101 to 150 lbs
10 -12 oz
12 -14 oz
151 to 175 lbs
14 - 16 oz
Over 175 lbs
16 - 18 oz
16 -18 oz
*If you are more familiar with kilograms (kg) than pounds (lbs), please note that 1kg = 2.2 lbs.
Types Of Gloves To Choose From
Bag gloves or heavy bag gloves, are designed to be used for heavy bag workouts. Heavy bag gloves are designed protect your hands and wrists on impact with the bag, and avoid injury.
If you are going to do a lot of sparring rounds, you will need well-padded gloves to protect yourself and your partner.
When you move on to competitions, your gloves will be lighter so you can move fast and make sure your opponent feels your punches and not your padding. The type of competition will dictate the size and type of gloves you will be allowed and required to use.
Muay Thai / Kickboxing Gloves
Most "western" boxing gloves can be used for Muay Thai training - however, if you intend to compete in Muay Thai, it's best to buy and train in a pair of Muay Thai boxing gloves.
The padding on Muay Thai gloves is usually thicker on the back of the hand, while the front/inside and thumb are much thinner and more flexible. Muay Thai gloves are specially designed to allow the fighter to grapple, catch kicks or even hold an opponent.
Due to the similarities between Muay Thai and Kickboxing, the gloves are also similar - as such, you can use Muay Thai gloves for Kickboxing too.
Gloves for MMA
When training MMA, you can use either "western" boxing gloves or Muay Thai gloves to train your stand-up (boxing, kickboxing and muay thai).
However, if you intend to compete in MMA, you'll need to practice in MMA gloves too (pictured). They are lightweight (4oz to 6oz), fingerless gloves, with very little padding.
While they offer much less protection than "western" boxing gloves or Muay Thai gloves, their smaller size is something you will need to get used to.
How Will I Know If The Glove Is Right?
Does it fit like a glove?
The fit should be snug; the gloves should be comfortable and feel natural when making a fist. Make sure your fingertips reach the top of the glove, and it doesn't take a lot of force to make a fist.
Also, make sure to wear your hand wraps when selecting the right size.
Use the general guidelines above to know what the size range is you are looking for and let comfort be your guide. The more comfortable the fit of the glove, the more inherently protected your hands will be and the more confident you will be when throwing punches.
Vinyl Or Leather?
When buying a boxing glove, you can choose between two materials, Vinyl and Leather.
Vinyl boxing gloves tend to be on the cheaper side of boxing gloves. While this might be tempting, especially when you are just starting out, there is no other saving grace for vinyl gloves. They won't stand the test of time and generally don't offer much comfort. They also tend to get very hot and sweaty during practice / training.
If you intend to box / train very occasionally (e.g. as part of a fitness class), vinyl gloves could be an option - however, if you intend to do some serious boxing training, we don't recommend vinyl gloves.
With respect to leather boxing gloves, you have two choices:
- 1Polyurethane leather (commonly known as PU Leather); and
- 2Genuine leather.
PU leather gloves are a good starting point if you don't want to break the bank or live a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.
However, nothing can beat the comfort and durability of genuine leather gloves. If possible, we recommend you opt for genuine leather gloves.
Keep in mind that some break-in time is unavoidable, even with the best leather boxing gloves.
Lace-up or Velcro?
Lace-up boxing gloves secure around the wrist with lace, just like laces on your sneakers. Lace-up gloves offer a tight and secure fit. The downside is that it's impossible to put on (or take off) lace-up gloves without assistance.
Due to the secure fit, these gloves are used in competitions and by professional boxers during training, as they usually have a trainer around to help with the putting on and taking off gloves.
Velcro boxing gloves, also known as ‘hook and loop,' including a velcro strap and are much easier to put on and take off.
For non-professional boxers (most of us), this is generally the best and most practical option.
Does Color Matter?
Competitions have strict rules about the type of boxing gloves allowed and usually limits the color options to blue and red. In fact, fighters are automatically assigned a color corresponding to their corner.
However, if you're not competing, pick a color / pattern that appeals to you.
Did you know?
Light colored gloves are easier to keep track of and are therefore mostly used during training, aiding the trainer to keep track of and catch punches better.
Best Overall: Winning Boxing Gloves
For us, Winning Boxing Gloves are the best on the market.
While they are expensive, their quality and durability is unrivalled.
The pros seem to agree! Famous fighters like Floyd Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez have worn these gloves in the ring.
Best Boxing Gloves For Heavy Bag Training: Hayabusa Tokushu
- ENHANCED WRIST SUPPORT - Patented Dual-X Wrist Closure and Fusion Splinting technologies enhance wrist support by delivering up to 99.7% perfect alignment
- SUPREME ENERGY TRANSFER - Deltra-EG Inner Core with advanced Crush Zone complex works to provide superior energy transfer, protecting your hands at impact
- UNMATCHED DURABILITY - Upgraded Vylar-2 Engineered Leather provides advanced crack resistance for unmatched glove longevity
- ULTIMATE COMFORT - Exclusive Hayabusa AG inner fabric and improved ventilation provide enhanced breathability and thermo-regulating properties.Optimized ergonomic thumb position eliminates awkward strain on both thumb and wrist
- ANTI-MICROBIAL - Tokushu Regenesis gloves are powered with exclusive Hayabusa AG inner fabric, featuring X-Static XT2, an anti-microbial technology that delivers anti-odor properties
Need to buy a pair of boxing gloves for working out on the heavy bag?
We recommend Hayabusa Tokushu boxing gloves. In addition to their durability, they are uniquely designed to provide strong support when you are punching a heavy bag.
The Best Boxing Gloves For Sparring: Venum Elite
- Mesh panel under fist for great thermal Regulation
- Triple density foam
- 100% full attached thumb
- Large Velcro enclosure with elastic
- Handmade in Thailand
Why do we recommend Venum Elite gloves for sparring?
They are designed to last a long time and don't break down under the intensity of regular sparring sessions.
Venum boxing gloves also offer excellent value for money - just make sure you select the right size for sparring, using our boxing glove size guide above.
The Best Muay Thai Boxing Gloves: Fairtex
- Applicable for sparring, bag training and pad work.
- Tight fit design.
- Constructed of premium leather with vectro straps and handmade in Thailand.
- Free Shipping upgrade. Gloves ship express with standard shipping cost.
- Wrap-around hook & loop closures comfort and stabilize the wrists.
What makes Fairtex Boxing Gloves the best for Muay Thai?
For us, it's their quality and functionality.
Made with premium leather, these gloves are durable and suitable for all your Muay Thai training needs, including sparring, pad work and heavy bag training.
The Best Professional Boxing Gloves: Cleto Reyes Fight Gloves
- The Reyes Safetec Professional Fight Gloves feature molded-foam for added protection while maintaining the hard-hitting qualities for which the brand is known
- The foam composition makes these fight gloves perfect for bag or mitt work as well
- These boxing gloves are authentic Cleto Reyes made of high quality leather and handcrafted in Mexico under strict quality control
- This pair of professional gloves with a traditional lace closure are offered in both 8 oz. and 10 oz. weights in a variety of colors
- Train in style in your next sparring session or bag work routine in durable and comfortable top quality boxing gloves
Planning to compete?
We recommend Reyes Boxing Gloves - made from 100% full grain leather, they are an excellent choice for those who want to step inside the boxing ring!
Having been used in professional fights since the 1940's, Reyes gloves are known amongst boxing enthusiasts for their durability and quality. They were Muhammad Ali's favored boxing glove brand too!
We hope you liked our guide and use it to find the perfect boxing gloves for your needs!
If you have any comments or questions, we'd love to hear from you in the comments section below.
Last update on 2019-04-24 PST - Details