Whether you’re just starting out your boxing training, or thinking of simply getting an upgrade, here, you can find a list of things to consider in selecting the perfect pair of boxing gloves. Read on!
1. The different types of boxing gloves
The most important part of buying a pair of gloves will always be the intended purpose of said gloves. Amateur, training, sparring, bag, professional, each glove, “type,” has their own special purpose.
a. Training boxing gloves
For starters boxing training gloves can be considered multipurpose, at least that’s my view on them. These are the gloves such as Sabas, C17s, Winnings, Death Adders, etc. Gloves that don’t use an extremely firm foam but also not a soft foam. Gloves that are right in between and more like a medium foam density. This not only offers great protection for the user but also protects the user’s sparring partner.
These gloves can be used for literally anything and don’t usually specify or have an intended purpose. This also depends on the brand too and sometimes price. Everlast sells their, “pro training,” gloves in local retailers and even though they’re called, “training gloves,” these gloves are terrible for practically anything due to the cheap construction and almost cardboard like foam.
b. Sparring boxing gloves
Sparring gloves lean more towards the soft foams. For example the Rival Hybrid Sparring gloves. Very soft gloves, protective for both the user and sparring partner. The, “problem,” these gloves have though is that the foam is very easy to break. It is because of this that sparring gloves, especially a lot of Rival gloves, should be strictly used for sparring. If used for bags and mitts the longevity of the foams would be shortened significantly because that’s obviously not the intended purpose. Those Rival Hybrids actually had foam split apart exactly where the knuckles were. To the point where sparring with them would lead to practically hitting another person with bare knuckles.
Now, this isn’t the case for every sparring glove though. For example, the multipurpose king, Winning, those gloves can be used for everything and anything. The foams will withstand it all, no matter what for years. That’s because Winning uses a medium density foam though, not too firm, not too soft, that offers perfect protection for both parties. Pros regularly use Winnings in sparring and training.
c. Heavy bag gloves
Bag gloves are strange as in my opinion there are technically two different styles. One is a more uncommon style and the main difference is that there is no thumb. Your thumb freely moves around and about and the padding over the knuckles are on the thinner side. Personally, I don’t see the point in these even if they are cheaper. A glove should offer total protection which obviously includes the thumb.
The next, “version,” is that of standard Boxing gloves where the main difference would be the foam. Heavy bag gloves offer the most firm foam of any glove type. That’s because the more firm the foam, the longer it lasts and the more protection it offers. These gloves serve one and one purpose only and that’s bag work as the name obviously implies. They can also be used for mitts though but bag work is their specialty. Due to the foam though sometimes these type of gloves can be a little uncomfortable and other times they take a long time to break in.
Heavy bag gloves are usually pretty cheap too such as the Title Classic Boxing Gloves for $15. Now these gloves aren’t the greatest or most protective things on the market but for $15 they give decent protection and I would recommend them for Fitness Boxing classes or hobbyists. These were some of my first gloves and because I was uneducated I would let people spar me in them. The firm padding is one of the worst feelings against the face. Not only does it not absorb shock but it also burns and just feels very blunt. Horrible feeling, definitely not something I would recommend trying out.
For me the best bag gloves besides Winnings are the Hayabusa Tokushus. Now some people use these for sparring but I would advise against it because the padding is too dense, firm. It’s a solid, a jarring feeling, when you get hit by these. As bag gloves though they’re perfect and offer total protection.
d. Amateur boxing gloves
One of the good things about these is that you don’t have to worry about the size to use as the size is in accordance with your weight. The ounces used are usually 10oz and 12oz. In the US, the gloves also have to be USA Boxing approved.
Amateur Boxing gear is heavily tested and usually very padded around the knuckles. Amateur Boxing gloves were white around the knuckles now recently that’s been phased out a little and the gloves are either solid blue or solid red. The color corresponds to your corner.
These gloves also are made of different padding than standard trainers. Winning, for example, uses soft plastic, low density foam, and plastic foam as the padding for their amateur gloves. Their trainers, on the other hand, are three layered, different density foams. Just by the shape you can tell how different the padding is as their amateur gloves have a more bulbous look than their trainers.
Due to the testing these gloves have to endure to pass certification you can expect them to be very high quality. Because of that though they are costly and usually above $100. Buying them in order to get a feel for them wouldn’t be a bad idea but buying with the intention to use them in competition wouldn’t be the best. That’s because you probably won’t be allowed to use them in an actual competition. Above all there are better gloves to train with than amateur gloves.
e. Professional boxing gloves
Professional Boxing gloves are those that are used in a pro match. These are usually the least padded and smallest gloves you can use. Welterweights and under use 8oz while Super Welterweight and over use 10oz.
The foams of these gloves are also different from training gloves as they have an emphasis on damage instead of protection. Such as the Cleto Reyes gloves, their pro gloves use horse hair while their trainers use a latex foam. Because of the horse hair it is easier to punch through the glove and land with the knuckles. That’s why Reyes is referred to as, “punchers,” gloves.
Even so, though some pro gloves are used by pros like Manny Pacquiao for training such as the Winning pro fight gloves. Obviously, Winning’s pro gloves can’t compare to their trainer counterparts in protection but they still offer a fair amount more protection than the standard pro fight glove.
Due to the ounces of pro gloves, they’re also significantly more compact than training gloves. Which is why I recommend using something like the TU Death Adders for sparring as the compact size mimics pro glove size.
2. Muay Thai gloves vs boxing gloves
I’ve written a more in-depth article on this topic before which can be found here: Boxing Gloves vs Muay Thai Gloves.
Some of the key differences though would be the thumb, back padding, and wrist support. Muay Thai gloves use a straight thumb which helps in clinch work but from the experience of my Fairtex I just didn’t like the feeling. The Winning straight thumb is much more comfortable. Thai gloves also use a significant amount more padding on the back or the hand in order to block kicks which leaves the knuckles less padded. Boxing gloves are obviously opposite where the knuckles are more heavily padded than the back of the hand. Thai gloves are also more flexible at the wrist because this is necessary for clinching.
3. Boxing Gloves Weight
Boxing gloves have a wide range of weights usually from 8oz to something like 34oz if you count weighted gloves. Usually, a coach will help you get the right size. Other times it goes by your weight, the smaller you are, the smaller the glove and vice versa.
I tend to go more by the bigger the better for bag work. 16oz+ is usually what I use on the bag nothing less unless it’s Winning because I want the most protection possible. I even use 20oz Powerlocks on the bag and while some people may think it’s overkill I plan on having some custom gloves size 24oz made soon. Again, for me it’s the protection that matters especially considering I’m a small guy not some gargantuan heavyweight. The heavier glove offers more of a workout too.
For sparring I use 12oz-16oz, nothing less and nothing more. I think 14oz is best but the universal number is usually 16oz. 16oz is what my old gym wanted me to use for everything and 16oz is usually what any gym expects you to use regardless of your weight. That’s something I agree with considering how protective 16oz gloves can be both to you and your sparring partner.
4. Boxing Gloves Sizes
Sizes are in my opinion unnecessary. For starters besides the ounces, some gloves are sold by, “sizes.” Just like clothes some gloves have a, small, medium, large, etc. Personally I try staying away from these type of gloves because that type of sizing is obnoxious and confusing. The good thing is that mainly bag gloves are the ones that use this sizing method.
To show you how confusing this method is though let me share one of my experiences. I wanted some 12oz Reyes trainers but I heard that Reyes were overweight so I asked for some 10oz Reyes hybrids from a friend in Mexico. He sent me size, “XS,” Reyes hybrids. I have small hands ridiculously small hands so I can fit in these just fine but if I wrap my hand it’s impossible. These gloves are more for children ranging from ages 8-12 than an adult with small hands. A size medium or even large would fit me fine which doesn’t make sense considering my hands are very small. Large sounds like that’s made for a heavyweight but I assure you an average size hand will fit in them just fine.
Another example is the sizing charts that some websites offer. I weigh around 140lbs and my height is 5’5. That means my glove size, “should,” be around 8oz-12oz. If I used around 10oz for bag work I wouldn’t be in this sport for too long. Those gloves don’t offer the necessary daily protection in my opinion.
One last example of sizing is the method of measuring your hand. Take some measuring tape and wrap it around your hand a little below the knuckles. My circumference is around 8in which means my size is a, “medium,” which means my glove should be around 14oz. This is more understandable and more practical but it’s still a method that I never use because I still find it unnecessary.
Now not all glove sizes work like those examples but those are some of my experiences and I tend to go buy ounces anyways instead of sizing. Ounces are much more organized and easier to understand. I suppose on the bright side you aren’t limited to one single option in the end.
5. Boxing Gloves Brands
In Boxing there are those three brands that are widely known and stand above all others. Winning, Cleto Reyes, and Grant are the top dogs in the Boxing world with Winning being at the top, followed by Reyes, and lastly Grant. As made obvious by the previous topics, I consider Winning the most perfect and multipurpose gloves available.
Reyes are amazing gloves but like I said they’re punchers gloves which means they’re made more for the people that like feeling that bit of shock from a well connected punch. They’re protection isn’t bad but you’ll end up with some soreness after using these.
Grants are gloves very popularized by pros like Mayweather. Very nice looking gloves with an insane amount of customization. Its hard to justify their high prices though considering the longevity varies.
After the top 3 there are brands like Rival, Sabas, and Ring to Cage, just to name a few. These are the brands that offer some high quality gear without having to empty a couple paychecks. Rival tends to be on the more expensive side but Sabas and Ring to Cage offer very affordable gloves that provide some incredible quality and performance. Good examples would R2C C17s or Sabas SuperSoft, both gloves hit that sweet spot in price and perform as good as a $200+ glove.
Towards the bottom are brands like Everlast, Century, TKO, etc who offer some good gloves but are very overpriced. For starters Everlast Powerlocks or their MX series are great gloves but they should be priced significantly lower.
The Powerlocks, for example, perform very well but the construction isn’t too great and there are various models that break down quickly. For $150 this is a terrible glove. On sale for around $80 though its more acceptable.
Everlast also offers their sporting good store gloves which would be great for a hobbyist or someone just taking a cardio class. For someone who expects to train for competition though these gloves are awful and will most likely mess up your hands. Even these things are overpriced considering they can range from $40-$80 when they should be more towards $20-$35.
6. Frequently asked questions
How do I break in new boxing gloves?
Person, lly I break them in by hand by pressing down with the thumbs or palms. After a couple minutes it’s straight to the bag to further break them in.
How to choose boxing gloves?
First decide your spending limit, that’s the main thing. Try finding some reviews over the gloves that interest you and if sizing/ounces are an issue always remember 16oz is universal.
What are boxing gloves made of?
Boxing gloves are usually made from synthetic leather or leather but there are some weird exceptions. The padding is usually some type of foam.
How much do boxing gloves weigh?
Boxing gloves range from 8oz and above. There are also weighted gloves which means the weights are almost endless.
What size boxing gloves should I get?
As I said if you are unsure and can’t get a definitive answer to this question, the universal size is 16oz.
How much do boxing gloves cost?
Just like the weights the prices vary from $10-$1000s. A great glove is usually $100 though.
How do I measure boxing glove size?
For sizing I would try measuring the hand circumference just under the knuckles.
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