Choosing Boxing gloves used to be a fairly simple exercise as there were only a few options on the market however this has changed dramatically over the last few years with literally hundreds of styles and manufacturers to choose from.
The Role of the Boxing Glove
There are two distinct types of Boxing glove, competition and sparring. Neither of these gloves types are really designed for use with bag or pads which you should use bag gloves for although you may get away with using boxing gloves and wraps for either however this will reduce the lifetime of your gloves and potentially damage your hands over time. Competition gloves are smaller usually weighing 10oz. Their purpose is to protect the users hands and wrists whilst fighting as well as to afford some protection to the opponent from cuts and a proportion of the blow. Competition gloves are often of the lace up variety and afford a tighter more comfortable fit for the fighter however in training this is less practical hence lace up gloves nowadays being mainly confined to actual competition.
Sparring gloves are usually between 12 and 16oz to allow more aggressive sparring often full contact used in conjunction with headgear. As the name suggests the gloves purpose is for boxing, kickboxing and Muay Thai sparring.
Boxing gloves RRP tend to be priced from £35 – £100. The average being around the £50 mark. Price doesn’t always denote quality but will usually give you some indication however trusted brands are often a better indication of quality.
Better quality gloves will use 100% cowhide leather for all the main areas of the glove. Many cheaper or lower quality MMA gloves use either synthetic materials or a low grade leather or leather/synthetic mix.
The quality of the strap/fastenings is a really important area to pay attention to with boxing gloves as Velcro if left exposed will cause cuts and grazes to sparring partners. Make sure the Velcro is cuffed with a leather or synthetic piping.
Palms are usually leather although some newer designs are beginning Honor Athletics to use a “breathable” material to guard against the gloves rotting inside kit bags and to allow for faster drying after heavy training sessions. If you are buying in a shop check the mould of the glove if buying online look for a trusted & established boxing gloves brand, many MMA manufacturers are making a boxing glove to enter that market however many of them have no where near the pedigree of established boxing brands and the quality of their gloves is not comparable to the quality of their apparel.
There are many brands to look at but my first advice is to narrow it to one of a few. Most manufacturers (with one or two exceptions notably Fairtex) are good at producing a certain type of equipment but are not so good at other types. It’s good to try and identify this as just because a brand makes good shorts doesn’t mean it will make good gloves as they are usually made in a different factory, often a different country! There are many awful cheap imports made by manufacturers who have no idea about the sport and just copy anything they can find. Look out for brands with some kind of pedigree in boxing or muay thai. Even some good manufacturers of MMA equipment don’t make good boxing gloves simply because they don’t have any real knowledge of the sport.