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The glory days of boxers like Muhammad Ali and George Foreman may be long past, but boxing gloves aren’t just for prime time fights.
People often buy boxing gloves to use with exercise programs. Kickboxing classes might require gloves. Hitting a heavy bag could be a part of your workout routine. Or maybe you spar regularly as an amateur fighter.
Regardless of why you need the perfect pair of boxing gloves, we can help you find them.
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We never accept free samples from manufacturers, so our selections and product reviews are free of bias. And we use our research to identify what shoppers need to know to make a smart purchase.
If you want to know how boxing gloves differ and how to pick the best pair for you, just keep reading.
Different types of fighting require different gloves. So what are the differences between boxing gloves and other fighting gloves?
Boxing gloves are made exclusively for boxing. They have greater padding distribution and support throughout the hand and wrist area than other types of fighting gloves. Boxing gloves are solidly constructed, which ensures they will last a long time. Boxing gloves are longer than Muay Thai gloves (see below) for additional wrist support.
Gloves that fasten with Velcro rather than with ties work well for training and exercise purposes.
Muay Thai gloves are made for a kickboxing style of fighting. Muay Thai gloves don’t have as much padding as boxing gloves. This allows for greater freedom of hand movement, as Muay Thai fighters need to be able to grab their opponents. This means Muay Thai gloves have more flexible thumbs than boxing gloves. Most of the weight and padding in Muay Thai gloves is at the top of the glove.
Gloves made for MMA, or mixed martial arts, offer the least amount of padding. They’re sometimes designed as much for aesthetics as for protecting the hands. MMA fighters need a near-total freedom of movement for grabbing. This limits the amount of padding the gloves can carry. (These MMA gloves are different from boxing gloves manufactured by MMA companies, which you’ll find in the next section.)
Pick the right size of boxing glove for your hand to help prevent injuries.
There are quite a few types of boxing gloves on the market today. It is important to pick the right type of glove to meet your exercise needs.
Competition boxing gloves are designed for ring boxing. These gloves weigh less, which means more force is delivered with each blow. Competition gloves also work for sparring or working a heavy bag, though a fighter should use a heavier pair of training gloves for safety. Competition boxing gloves cost more than other gloves and fasten with laces.
Measuring your hand to find the best size of boxing glove is something you can do at home.
These boxing gloves are designed primarily for use with a heavy bag or handheld pads. They’re a good “general” glove for a variety of uses. Training gloves may fasten with laces or Velcro; Velcro is preferable for people who need to put on the gloves without help. (It’s almost impossible to lace up gloves properly without a second pair of hands.) Training gloves are usually cheaper than competition boxing gloves.
If your exercise routine only involves hitting the heavy bag, there are specific gloves for you. These gloves offer extra padding, which is ideal if you’re someone who has experienced hand injuries in the past.
Gloves designed for mixed martial arts will allow for more hand flexibility than boxing gloves.
Unlike the MMA fighting gloves discussed above, these gloves are constructed like training boxing gloves. They are manufactured by companies that make MMA gear and are suitable for working a heavy bag or handheld pads.
These inexpensive gloves are often sold in department stores. Though they’re advertised as “fitness” gloves, you shouldn’t use them for sparring or extensive work on a heavy bag. You could injure your hands. The fact is, these gloves just don’t have high-quality padding — though they might suffice for simple exercise routines and very limited bag or pad work.
Heavier boxing gloves absorb more impact than lighter gloves. That’s why competition gloves weigh less than training gloves — so the opponent can be hit harder.
Proper fit is important to prevent injuries to the hands.
If a boxing glove is too big, the hand will move around inside the glove, and the protective padding can’t do its job. Gloves that are too small will cut off circulation to the hands and fingers.
To measure your hands for boxing gloves, find a flexible tape measure. Wrap the tape measure around your hand, just below the knuckles. The circumference of your hand is your boxing-glove size.
There are different gloves for men and women.
Boxing gloves need replacing when you notice the padding inside is no longer compressing. Tears or scratches on the gloves indicate the need for a new pair, too.
Here is a general guideline for glove sizes:
Notably, some companies offer medium/small as the smallest size. Other companies offer medium/large in place of a medium size.
Padding inside the glove needs to be of a high quality to prevent scrapes to the knuckles.
Smaller boxing gloves typically weigh less than larger gloves. A small glove may weigh 10 to 12 ounces, while a large glove may weigh 16 to 18 ounces. Some companies offer multiple weights within each size of boxing glove. For example, a company may offer a small glove at either 8 or 12 ounces.
You should pick a glove weight based on your body’s weight and height.
10 to 12 Ounces: Choose this if you weigh around 135 lbs. and stand about 5’4”.
12 to 14 Ounces: Choose this if you weigh around 155 lbs. and stand about 5’7”.
14 to 16 Ounces: Choose this if you weigh around 175 lbs. and stand about 5’10”.
16 Ounces or More: Choose this if you weigh around 195 lbs. and stand about 6’1”.
When picking a boxing glove for training or exercise, opt for a heavier design. A heavier glove absorbs more force than a lighter glove.
Lighter gloves are designed for competition. They allow you to deliver a blow of greater force to the opponent.
In boxing matches, boxers often wear light competition gloves that weigh 8 or 10 ounces.
Boxing gloves constructed from high-quality materials last longer and protect your hands better. Keep the following information in mind when choosing a boxing glove material.
Manufacturers use a variety of padding materials, including cotton, polyurethane, and horsehair. Any type of padding will compress to help absorb the force of a blow. But padding must rebound quickly to work for the next blow. Cheaper gloves use a memory-foam type of material that does not rebound quickly enough.
Trying to use a heavy bag with poorly constructed boxing gloves made with too little padding could lead to hand injuries.
The exterior of the glove should be made of leather or imitation leather. Cowhide and goatskin are common because they are durable and resistant to tears. Vinyl is a poor choice. It has minimal durability and is susceptible to scraping. Cuts and scrapes on the surface of the glove could cause it to fail prematurely.
Poor stitching could cause the glove to break down prematurely. It also may cause the padding to move out of position, which could lead to a hand injury. A strong nylon thread should be used for stitching.
Q. How do I know I’m buying a high-quality pair of boxing gloves?
A. When purchasing boxing gloves, beware of gloves that are little more than toys. Low-priced gloves that aren’t designed to protect your hands will be lightweight. They’ll have less padding than higher-quality training boxing gloves. And they may be made of materials other than leather or imitation leather.
Q. What are some good brands of boxing gloves?
A. The best brands for boxing gloves include Winning, Venum, Everlast, Hayabusa, Grant, and Cleto Reyes.
Q. Do the different colors of boxing gloves mean anything?
A. Colors are primarily are a stylistic choice. However, some trainers may request a particular color of glove because it’s easier to see while sparring. Being able to see exactly where a blow lands is important for boxing trainers.
Q. Do I need a particular fastener design?
A. The design of the fastener makes a difference in how the glove works. A Velcro-fastening glove works well for training and exercise workouts. And it is easy to fasten Velcro when you take off or put on the gloves by yourself. But for actual boxing matches, gloves with laces are required. Someone will need to tie the laces on the gloves for you. Another fastener design is called hook and loop, which is easier to fasten than laces.
At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.