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Buyers Guide: The Best Boxing Gloves for Beginners2019-01-25T17:36:11+00:00

Buyers Guide: The Best Boxing Gloves for Beginners

A pair of red boxing glovesIn the world of competitive sports, training plays a vital part of becoming a better fighter. But there’s another thing that can give you an advantage – something that shouldn’t be overlooked – and that’s your gear. For this reason, investing in quality boxing gloves (and other equipment) can keep you from injury and help you to train longer, harder, and more efficiently.

But if you are just starting out, you are probably facing the same dilemma most beginners face: there’s just too much junk on the market and this can make buying the right boxing gloves rather difficult. That’s why this guide will help you to make this task easier by providing you with the know-how on what to look for when you’re buying your first pair of boxing gloves.

Since boxing gloves are used in different sports (boxing, Muay Thai and kickboxing) we are going to take a look at the gloves used in them. Also, let’s avoid the low-end gloves (the junk) and focus only on the ones that offer you the best protection and durability for a reasonable price. This way you can be sure that the gloves you buy, won’t start falling apart with the first punch!

Which Gloves Should You Get?

Like already mentioned, there is a huge variety of gloves available. This means that there are a couple of things you need to consider before choosing the best fit for you.

The very first thing you need to know when making your decision is to choose your gloves based on the sport you practice. If it requires you to open your hands, like in Muay Thai while clinching, then choosing a glove that offers more flexibility is a good idea. If your chosen sport consists of just punching something (or someone) as hard as you can, then the right kind of padding will also play a major role in the decision.

Another factor to consider here is the weight of the gloves. Since most heavier gloves are designed to offer your hands and your sparring partner better protection, it’s recommended that you stick to them when training with someone. The lighter gloves are usually used either in bag work to improve technique, or when competing in pro fights for maximum damage.

The third factor you need to consider is what kind of training you are doing. If you are only doing bag work, then getting gloves specifically for that purpose is a great idea. However, if you have a training partner, choosing sparring gloves would be a much better fit for you. And if you are doing both, gloves that combine these activities, are a smart choice. Even better (although more expensive), is to buy different gloves for different workouts.

Generally speaking, the best choice for a beginner are training (or even sparring) gloves. That’s because they can be used for all training purposes, whether it is sparring with someone else or hitting the bag. The easiest way to find the best boxing gloves for beginners is to choose them based on your body weight. Here is a general guideline to help you choose the right ones for you:

  • Up to 120lbs/54kg (12oz or 14oz)
  • 120lbs/54kg to 150lbs/68kg (14oz – 16oz)
  • 150lbs/68kg to 180lbs/82kg (16oz – 20oz)
  • 180lbs/82kg & up (18oz & up)

Since we now have to basics down, let’s look at the different kind of gloves so you get a better idea when and where they are used.

This is going to be a long guide and if you don’t really feel like immersing yourself too deep into this topic, here are my recommended gloves at Amazon you can take a look at:

Boxing gloves: For gloves with a reasonable price tag, go for Venum Elite Boxing Gloves. And if you don’t mind spending a bit extra, Cleto Reyes Training Gloves or Winning Training Gloves are excellent high-end alternatives.

Muay Thai gloves: Fairtex Muay Thai Gloves and Twins Special Boxing Gloves are perfect.

Tip: If you are missing wraps, then here is my recommendation.

The Types of Gloves

If you are choosing between boxing glove types, you also need to know what the main differences between them are. So, here’s a list of different types of boxing gloves and how they are used for training:

Training Gloves – If you are just starting out, training gloves are most likely the best option for you. They come close to the all-purpose glove: sparring, bag work, mitts training etc. Now, because of their universal use, they can be lacking in some aspects. Some gloves might not offer enough protection for sparring or aren’t really the most comfortable while hitting a bag. But with this being said, unless you are doing a very specialized form of training, they are the gloves you should start with.

Sparring Gloves – Sparring gloves are designed to provide extra padding for your hands to protect your sparring partner from injury while training. Unless you are a very small person (under 120 pounds), 16oz. should be your standard choice of gloves. Basically, you could go also for 14oz., but anything below that isn’t considered safe for sparring anymore. Sparring gloves are also good for beginners.

Bag Gloves – Bag gloves go up to 12oz. and unlike training or sparring gloves, bag gloves usually come with a reduced level of padding. For these reasons, they aren’t meant for sparring. So, if you are only hitting the bag (and not someone else) these gloves are perfect for this activity. But with that being said, some modern bag gloves could even be used as sparring gloves if they are above 12oz.

Fighting/Amateur/Pro Gloves – Like the name already says, these gloves are intended to use while you are competing with someone. They are usually built for maximum damage and therefore should be avoided for any other purpose than fighting. The main differences between amateur and pro gloves are the weight (amateur 10oz. – 12oz. vs. pro 8oz. – 10oz.) and padding (amateur gloves have more padding in the knuckle area).

Muay Thai/Kickboxing Gloves – As Muay Thai and kickboxing have become more popular around the world, glove brands have started designing for these sports as well. The gloves themselves have quite the same characteristics as training and sparring gloves. The most notable difference from the traditional boxing gloves is their flexibility – the option to open your hand for clinching or grabbing your opponent. If you are practicing kickboxing or Muay Thai, these are the gloves you should choose.

Lace Up vs. Velcro Gloves?

Winning boxing gloves

Winning boxing gloves on Amazon.com

Not going to deny it, lace up gloves look awesome and in some ways are superior to Velcro gloves. That’s because they offer you a tighter and secure fit around your hands. But, unless you are a pro fighter who trains with a coach at all times, deciding in favor of lace boxing gloves is a terrible idea.

The reason for this is quite simple – lace up gloves are nearly impossible to put on alone. Even if you somehow managed to do it, you wouldn’t really get the benefits mentioned earlier. When you want to use lace gloves, make sure to always have someone ready to help you put them on and remove them.

Because it’s time-consuming to use lace boxing gloves, you should stick to Velcro when training. Velcro, or as it’s also called “hook and loop”, makes your gloves much easier to put on and to remove. In fact, it is your only option when training alone. The downside for a hook and loop glove is that if your sparring rounds get too intense, they can come loose (although, never happened to me) and while practicing Muay Thai, can scratch your sparring partner while clinching (this has happened to me).

Now, if you can afford it, buying two different pairs of gloves is an excellent idea. Velcro is the perfect choice for shorter training sessions or practices where you have to put on or remove your gloves fast. Lace up gloves, however, give you the freedom to do heavy sparring rounds and, if you are doing Muay Thai, practice the clinch without worrying about scratching your partner.

Leather vs. Vinyl Gloves?

I’m not even going to compare leather to vinyl here because if you are looking for quality gloves, leather should be your preferred choice. The disadvantages are nearly nonexistent. Leather offers the needed durability to a glove, therefore, removing the possibility of tears or scrapes while training with them.

Exactly for this reason, I advise you against buying vinyl. There are a lot of cheap vinyl gloves on the market and you might even feel that you are getting a great deal, but they will break down faster. If you decide in favor of vinyl (especially the cheap kind), eventually you will have to buy another pair while a quality pair of leather gloves can last you for years. So in the long run, leather will be cheaper than vinyl.

But if you still insist on getting vinyl for whatever reason, at least avoid buying the cheapest gloves.

Choosing the Right Brand

Brands do matter. If you have to make a decision between two identical gloves in the same price range, but with different manufacturers, then go for the one that has already made a name for itself. Some glove manufacturers have a long history of producing quality gloves and you can feel safe buying from them.

But with so many brands out there, which ones should you choose? Well, here are some of my (and other people’s) recommendations:

Title. Title Boxing has been in the industry for almost two decades and has established itself as an authority in the boxing community. In 2007, it also expanded into mixed martial arts and became a go-to brand for many athletes.

Ringside. Ringside has been active as a boxing glove supplier for over thirty years. It has established a reputation among its customers for offering quality gear at fair prices by integrating cutting-edge technology with old school craftsmanship.

Rival. As a Canadian company, Rival has made itself a name in the boxing community as a leading innovator in glove design and technology. In its short ten years of existence, Rival has become one of the top brands preferred by many boxers.

RDX. RDX Sports was founded in 1999 in the UK and develops a wide range of boxing, MMA and Muay Thai equipment. It has quickly risen to popularity and is one of the top brands preferred by many athletes.

Venum. Venum, only created in 2006, has quickly become very popular among many MMA fighters. It offers a wide variety of sports apparel and equipment. Their boxing gloves are associated with quality at a reasonable price.

Everlast. Founded in New York in the year 1910 and specializing in boxing gear since 1917, Everlast is probably one of the most known boxing gloves brands out there. The Everlast brand is represented in over 75 countries. With the rising popularity of mixed martial arts, it has also started to produce gear for MMA.

Winning. In recent years, the Japanese based brand Winning, has become known for its high-quality boxing gloves. It is one of the preferred brands by many top athletes because of its combination of high quality and flexible design.

Cleto Reyes. Cleto Reyes boxing gloves are known for their quality and performance. With its high-quality leather and inspired design choices, Cleto Reyes boxing gloves are widely seen as one of the best high-end gloves in the world.

Here are some of these top brands on Amazon:

The brands you’ll find below focus mostly on Muay Thai equipment and produce high-quality gloves. Obviously, you can also use them as boxing gloves.

If you are practicing Muay Thai, you can feel safe buying from the following brands:

Top King, Twins, Fairtex, Windy, Boon.

If you avoid going for the low-end gloves of these brands (like Everlast’s gloves in the $30 price range), you can be sure that you are getting quality gloves.

What Else Besides Gloves?

If you are buying your first pair of boxing gloves, you are probably searching for other gear as well. Therefore, below you will find gear that is as important as your gloves:

1. The most important addition to your gloves should be a pair of quality hand wraps. There are some people who think that wraps aren’t as important when wearing gloves, and if you are one of them, I urge you to reconsider. They are a vital addition to your boxing gloves.

Never wear gloves without wraps! Not only will this damage your hands, but also harm the inside of the gloves. As an added benefit to protection, wraps also absorb most of the sweat your hands produce thus keeping the inside of your gloves fresh for longer. Therefore, choose quality wraps that protect your hands and gloves.

Tip: If you are buying boxing gloves, always leave some room for hand wraps.

2. If you are a person who is sparring with a training partner, always wear a mouthguard! This isn’t even a recommendation, but an absolute must! You will get hit in the face several times in a sparring match and if your teeth aren’t protected, you risk with losing them. No trainer in their right mind would ever allow you to spar with someone without wearing a mouthguard. Here is a good one: Venum “Challenger” Mouthguard.

3. If you are doing Muay Thai, you should also think about getting yourself shin guards. As a beginner, your shins aren’t yet ready to take the punishment of hitting or taking hits. And even if you think you can take it, whenever your training with a beginner, they definitely won’t. Therefore, to protect yourself and especially your sparring partner, always wear shin guards.

Gear You Might Need

Now, below you will find gear that isn’t always a requirement, but will definitely help you to keep you and your boxing equipment in best condition:

1. One thing that will definitely offer you additional protection is the head gear. Although I could have listed this in the previous part because it’s a must when you are doing really heavy sparring sessions or even compete as an amateur, you could go without one. A head gear is really useful for beginners when they want to test their strength against someone else.

2. Now, this is for you, gentlemen. Another thing that should actually be in the previous list is the abdominal guard. It’s something you have to wear while competing. The reason why this on this list is because people usually throw controlled punches while training with someone and therefore are unlikely to hit them below the belt. However, if you do some heavy sparring, where you and your sparring partner aren’t that focused on technique, extra protection is always welcome.

Now, in sports where you use your legs, kicks below the belt is a regular occurrence. When you are doing Muay Thai or kickboxing, you will intentionally kick (and receive kicks) someone in the thigh or shins to condition them. In this case, a small mishap can lead to a painful injury. Therefore, a cup is strongly recommended.

3. To keep your gloves fresh, you should always take care of them by cleaning them regularly (and your wraps too!). And since your hands will sweat a lot in a glove, something like a Glove Deodorizer will keep them fresh longer and eliminate the bad smells and bacteria. But of course, there are many alternatives to keeping your gloves fresh and therefore they aren’t really a requirement, especially if you are on a budget.

4. In Muay Thai, the art of 8 limbs, you will learn to use your elbows. Since elbow strikes can easily knock out, cut or injure someone, elbow support pads can offer the needed protection to absorb most damage and therefore are useful when you want to use your elbows while sparring.

5. A lot of people wear ankle supports in Muay Thai. There are several explanations why they might be useful, like keeping your ankles warm, taking some sting away from kicks or just supporting the ankles while moving, but no matter their purpose, they just look cool as hell. They are in no way a requirement and therefore, buy them only if you don’t mind spending a bit extra.

Buying from a Store vs. Buying Online

Now the question is, should you buy your gloves (and other gear) from a store or online?

Well, the obvious reason why you should buy your gloves from a retail store is that you can actually try them on first. You will immediately know if they fit and can quickly make up your mind. But on the downside, they will also be way more expensive.

However, if you decide in favor of buying gloves online, you will have to do a little research first. For example, if you have bigger than average hands, you have to be extra careful about buying some gloves. But on the upside, not only can you choose your gloves from the top brands, but you will also have a huge selection to choose from.

Tip: Buying from Amazon offers you a huge variety of gloves (and other) gear to choose from and will save you quite a lot of money.

The best advice I can give you when you decide to buy online is to buy from Amazon and choose based on the rating and the reviews about the glove you are interested in. Taking a look at both the positive and negative reviews can help you to make up your mind. If people complain about the size or quality of the glove, be very careful when buying it.

With that being said, if you decide in favor of buying online, I did already the research for you and listed only the top glove throughout this article. Hopefully, this way you have a much easier time to make up your mind.

Summing it All Up

Since you are most likely a beginner, choose gloves that best suit your activity and style. The safest bet is to go for a leather, Velcro, sparring or training glove that is 16oz. Choose a brand that has already made a name for itself in the boxing community, so you are guaranteed to get a quality glove for your money.

If you can afford it, buy two different kinds of gloves for different activities. It also makes sense to buy one pair of lace up and one pair of Velcro gloves. Also, buy wraps and account for them when you are choosing the size of the glove. Additionally, always consult an instructor before buying additional gear.

Hopefully, this guide gave you a better idea what the best boxing gloves for beginners are. Now you should know everything you need to know when choosing your first pair of gloves. All that’s left is to pick your favorite.

Boxing Gloves:

Muay Thai Gloves:

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