Combat sports are as old as time. Since man first curled his fist into a ball and struck his opponent, violence has ruled our world. It’s the one part of our primal being that somehow never evolved out over time.
No matter how advanced our societies and our technologies become, we will always have that itch under our skin, that unspoken desire, the suppressed emotion, the little twitch in our hands, and the rush we get from watching two great athletes face off in hand-to-hand combat.
Boxing as we know it today has been around for thousands of years, or at least some small form of it. The first recorded boxing events originated in the Olympic games hosted by the ancient Greeks. Two combatants would step into a roped square and throw their fists at each other until one was knocked-out, unable to continue, or in some cases dead.
This was the first time that any real form of boxing gloves were seen. After a while, fighters realized that in order to lengthen the fight and give the crowd the spectacle that they wanted to see, they would need to wear boxing gloves.
Not only would this save their hands and knuckles, but it would also minimize the impact from their hard knuckle bones. In both cases, the fight would be able to last up to ten minutes instead of turning into a quick one minute knockout fight.
Today, all forms of regulation boxing are going to require players to wear gloves. In fact, if you go into almost any official training gloves, the instructors will require you to wear gloves as well. And why not?
A good pair of gloves will save your hands, wrists, and fingers, allowing you to keep on boxing. While you can certainly gain a little bit of street credit by touting your abilities at being a bare knuckle boxer, it will be a short-lived 15 minutes of fame. Before long, your knuckles and fingers will fracture, and the surrounding ligaments and connective tissue will degrade, leaving you with nothing except an arthritic pair of hands.
The Best Boxing Gloves Based On Your Needs
Let’s take a look at some of the best boxing gloves on the market.
To make things easier on you, we took some time and sorted them out into a few key categories. Let’s take a look!
Gloves That Provide Good Thumb And Knuckle Protection
If you’re going to be hitting the gym regularly and hitting the bag on a daily basis, then your primary concern should be keeping your hands in fighting shape even if you’re using and abusing them everyday. Here are a couple of great choices when it comes to overall hand protection.
Cleto Reyes Professional Fight Gloves
Cleto Reyes is one of the biggest names in boxing gloves and high-quality fight gear. Each pair of gloves is handmade in Mexico with pride and is engineered to the highest standard of quality, and you’ll often see these gloves on the hands of Mexican boxing superstars such as Canelo Alvarez, Julio Chavez, and Oscar De La Hoya.
These gloves are made from 100% leather which means that they’ll last you a lifetime. Whether you’re sparring, fighting professionally, or just looking for one of the best pair of gloves to workout with, the Cleto Reyes Professional Fight Gloves won’t let you down.
The inside is padded with quilted horse hair and the thumb and knuckles are protected with a thick layer of high-density foam designed to protect your fingers from impact and tearing forces.
One other really nice feature about these gloves is that the outside is coated with a water-repellent nylon coating. When you’re sparring or fighting, the sweat from your opponent can often find its way into your glove’s padding and start breaking it down. You’ll never have to worry about that happening with these gloves.
Hayabusa T3 Boxing Gloves
Hayabusa knows fighting. They make products for fighters by fighters, and every one of their products is designed to give you the best fighting chance both inside and outside the ring. Their Hayabusa T3 boxing glove is one of their most well-known and highly reviewed products in the industry and was the result of painstaking research and development.
Let’s break down a few of the features. First, these gloves provide excellent wrist support with their Dual-X closure system. Unlike traditional gloves which feature one wrap around strap, these gloves feature two for a tighter, more secure fit. These gloves also do a great job of keeping your thumb and wrist aligned with their Fusion Splinting technology which provides a firm encasement for the area.
Looking inside the glove, you’ll see that the inner lining is made with Hayabusa’s patented XT2 lining. This fabric is sewn with antimicrobial threads which prevent the buildup and growth of bacteria which can cause dangerous staph infections. It also keeps them from developing that all-too-familiar boxing glove stench.
Gloves That Are Good For Heavy Bags And Sparring
When you’re sparring or hitting the heavy bag, you’ll want a glove that offers considerable protection both for your own hand and for your opponent.
Venum Elite Boxing Gloves
In Thailand, fighters take boxing, kickboxing, and Muay Thai to the next level. They are dedicated to the fight, and in that same spirit, Venum designed their Elite Boxing Gloves to be able to keep up with top-performing athletes and boxers around the world.
Each pair of Venum Elite Boxing Gloves are hand-crafted in Thailand. They are made with Skintex leather which is a high-quality synthetic leather designed to be flexible and comfortable while still providing superior support for the wrist and hands. It’s well-known for its ability to resist cracking, tearing, and other abrasive forces which means that these gloves are built to last.
What makes these such great sparring gloves is that they feature a triple-density foam which encases the thumb and knuckles. This creates superior shock absorption and means that you’ll be able to land a heavy hit without worrying about damaging your own hand. The palm also features a light layer of padding to aid in shock absorption throughout the glove to prevent the impact vibration from traveling into your wrist.
One of the coolest features of these gloves is that they come in seventeen different color combinations which range from matte black to bright neon colors. You’ll never have to worry about mixing your gloves up at the gym again.
Best Lightweight Training Gloves
Sometimes you don’t need a heavy professional glove. If you’re just hitting a medium-sized bag at the gym or playing around with a stand-up dummy, then a pair of lightweight training gloves is all that you need. Here’s a couple of great ones that we found.
Winning Training Boxing Gloves
You may not have heard of Winning before because they’re not known for their colorful products or memorable advertisements. However, Winning is incredibly well regarded among the boxing community for their humble, well-designed, ultra-high quality boxing gloves. Traditionally made by hand in Japan, they’ve been shipping their gloves to the USA for over 15 years, and have developed a reputation among professional boxers.
While these gloves are definitely on the expensive side when it comes to training gloves, they are well-worth every penny that you spend on them. They feature advanced wrist support with their lace-up system that offers just enough flexibility around the wrist for functionality and range of motion, but binds them tight enough to prevent unwanted bending.
They’re made with high-quality leather, and the padded thumbs are sewed into the rest of the glove to prevent accidental thumbing which could potentially break the bone. The best thing about these training gloves is how much air flow that you get with them. You can beat up a bag for thirty to forty minutes straight, and you’re hands still wouldn’t get that hot and sweaty feeling that you would expect out of a more traditional sparring glove.
Cleto Reyes Hook & Loop Training Gloves
We can’t stay away from Cleto Reyes can we? From professional fighting gloves to training gloves, they truly do make some of the highest-quality products on the market. We really like the feel of these simple hook and loop training gloves. You can get them in any standard size from twelve to eighteen ounces depending on your needs, and they’re available in thirty different colors and styles.
What’s really nice about this glove is that you have the option to purchase a traditional lace-up style design or a single strap velcro design. While the velcro is a little bit cheaper and easier to put on, the lace-up design provides excellent support and flexibility.
The thumb is attached to the glove to prevent it from bending back and the knuckle of the glove is covered with two inches of high-density latex foam which provides excellent shock resistance and lasts for years before breaking down.
Don’t believe us? Check out the customer reviews on Amazon. Everybody raves about how well they fit, and how hard you can hit with these gloves while feeling only minimal impact.
Best Beginner Gloves
If you’re just getting into your first boxing class and you’re unsure of what to expect, you just need a simple pair of beginner gloves to last you your first few weeks until you decide on a more permanent pair of gloves based on your skill and activity level.
Everlast Pro Style Training Gloves
The Everlast Pro Style Training Gloves are the perfect gloves for somebody who’s just taking their first few steps into the world of boxing. Everlast is one of the biggest names in boxing and they are known for both their quality and affordability. These training gloves are perfect if you’re just going to be hitting a bag or doing some light sparring with your trainer and they are built to be durable enough to stand up to several years of continuous use.
The best part about these gloves is how cool they keep your hands. The inner wrist and palm is made up of Everlast’s patented EverCool mesh technology which helps to circulate airflow by wicking away the heat and sweat from your glove and letting cool air flow in. In addition to this, these gloves also feature a special antimicrobial treatment that prevents bacteria from growing and keeps your gloves smelling as fresh as the first day you got them.
Another feature which we really like about these gloves is the grip cord that forms a straight line through the thumbs and finger portion of the glove. This cord gives you something to hold onto and helps you to make the perfect fist for extra punching power and control over the impact.
Best Gloves On A Budget
Sometimes you need a decent quality, all-around good boxing glove that doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg. While the Everlast gloves we reviewed are affordable, they’re not geared towards boxing so much as they are training, so let’s take a look at what Ringside has to offer.
Ringside Pro Style Boxing Training Gloves
If you’re looking for an affordable glove that covers almost all of your bases while offering a comfortable fit and decent-quality impact absorption, then the Ringside Pro Style Boxing Gloves are a great choice. They’re durable, easy to clean, and are designed to fit you perfectly with their layered-foam design and gel-padded inners.
While they may lack some of the bells and whistles of other more expensive gloves, these gloves can be used for training, sparring, and even ring fights. You may experience some discomfort after extended periods of use, but overall, you’ll find that these are very comfortable gloves especially considering that they’re less than $30.
Why It’s Important To Pick The Best Boxing Gloves
A good pair of gloves serves two functions. The first function is that it saves your hands. While it’s always good to wrap your wrists with tape underneath the gloves, the wrist guard on the glove creates a tight binding around the area of your wrist that’s most likely to snap or bend the wrong way during a fight. It will keep your wrist straight allowing you to make the best possible contact when your fist strikes it mark, whether it be a person or a bag.
In addition to this, the gloves will also feature padding around your fingers and knuckles, the part of your hands that are making contact with the target. Muay Thai or kickboxing gloves may feature padding down the side of the hand as hammer fist strikes are common in the sport.
This will prevent surface fractures from developing on your knuckles, save your skin from peeling, and reduce the tearing strain on your ligaments, which will allow you to keep on striking time and time again.
The second function that a pair of gloves serves is that they minimize the damage that you do on another person. While you want them to feel the impact, the hard point of a sharp knuckle striking the side of a somebody’s head can cause serious damage and increase the chance of brain injury or concussion.
When it comes to regulation boxing, the goal is to gain points by landing strikes on your opponent, not put them in a hospital. While you can’t make the sport completely safe and painless, efforts have been made to reduce the destructive force of a human fist landing on the delicate human head.
Types Of Boxing Gloves
Before you go buying any old type of gloves, you’ll need to buy the right type of gloves for your purposes. For instance if you’re just knocking around on a lightweight bag, then you don’t need a heavy duty glove.
Will you still be able to box and play around with a larger glove to get a good workout? Sure, but you will not be doing your technique any favors, since you’ll be throwing everything you have into the bag without the reservation that you would have in a person-to-person match. If you’re going to put all of that effort into a bag, you’ll want a lightweight glove that affords you a full range of motion and doesn’t slow you down.
If you’re sparring with an opponent or hitting a heavy bag, though, you’ll want to use a larger, heavier glove. This will protect your hands from the hard surface of the heavy bag or protect your opponent in the event that your fist lands a blow on his face.
When you’re searching for boxing gloves, you’ll come across three main categories:
The difference between these gloves lies in how much hand protection that each type offers and how much that they weigh. Depending on what you’re doing as a boxer, you may only need one pair of gloves. However, if you’re dedicated to the sport, then you’ll likely want two or three different types; a lightweight glove for hitting the bag, a sparring glove for practice matches, and a pair of professional gloves for your regulated fights.
Let’s take a few minute to discuss some of the differences between the type of gloves.
Heavy Bag Gloves
Bag gloves are usually going to be very lightweight gloves. Their designed to provide some minimal stability around your wrist, and some decent padding around your knuckles and fingers. Many lightweight bag gloves will also features holes or air slots to allow air flow throughout the glove and keep your hand cool and relatively sweat-free.
When you’re hitting a bag, you’re often going to be going for speed shots or you’ll be performing quick and repeated strikes to raise the intensity of your workout. A lightweight, breathable glove that provides decent knuckle protection and wrist stabilization is perfect for your bag training sessions.
Boxing Gloves For Sparring
The next most common glove that you’ll come into contact with at your local gym are sparring gloves. These are some of the heaviest gloves that you’ll find and offer the most protection. They are purposefully designed to be heavier than a professional combat-rated pair of gloves. This is to help the fighter develop the strength and stamina that they need in a full ten-round fight.
If you can get become skilled and proficient with a larger, heavier pair of gloves, then you should be able to perform even better once you’re ringside. Additionally, these gloves are extra padded and offer superior hand and wrist support. The worst thing that can happen to a fighter is for them to sustain a bad injury before the fight just because they were trying to get in some extra training time,
Boxing Gloves for Profession Fights
Professional gloves are what you’ll be required to use during a regulated fight. These gloves are going to be far heavier than your bag gloves, but they’ll be quite a few grams lighter than the sparring gloves that you’ve been using in the gym. These gloves will be extra padded across the knuckles and fingers and will prevent the hard surface of the knuckles from coming into contact with your opponent. They will also feature ultra-stiff wrist stabilization and support to prevent injury during a fight.
Since professional fighting gloves will all be the same weight and provide similar levels of protection, referees and scorers can ensure that the fight is fair and that no player has the unfair advantage of using a lighter glove.
A Quick Note on Glove Size
If you’ve been shopping around for boxing gloves you’ve probably realized that each glove is given a specific weight in ounces. While different glove weights may apply to the weight class that you’re fighting in, the general rule of thumb is as follows:
Our Final Thoughts
As a boxer, you’ll probably go through close to a hundred pairs of gloves throughout your career. You’ll have a few trusty pairs that you’ll wear till the end and a bunch of others that you’ll have for certain occasions. In general, when it comes to boxing gloves, you get what you pay for.
When you’re first starting out, you may not be able to afford some of the high end brands, but eventually, once you become more confident in your own abilities you’ll realize the value that these gloves bring to the table.
At the end of the day, though, it’s about what makes you comfortable. Find a glove that can last you for at least a few years, provides comfort, protection, and most of all fits your hand and the type of boxing that you’re doing.