Boxing gloves provide plenty of cushioning to protect the hands and wrist, but the additional layer of hand wraps is crucial to avoid injury. While boxing wraps are essential, although not mandatory, they provide the extra line of defense to one of your most important assets.
Not wearing appropriate hand wraps during training or competition is one of the biggest mistakes a beginner can make when boxing.
Multiple hand wrap styles for boxing are available, from cotton wraps to more modern fast wraps. To help you choose the right wraps, we’ll break down the most commonly used hand wraps in boxing and how to use them.
Standard Wraps – The Traditional Way
Manual wraps are the most common type of hand wrap in boxing.
These hand wraps are made of cotton, polyester, or nylon blends and offer great versatility, support, and protection. They’re inexpensive, plus they come in a huge variety of colors.
Since they’re the most popular type of hand wrap, nearly every brand that deals in martial arts offer them.
Most wraps have a thumb loop at one end and a hook and loop strip band on the other as a closing system. They’re usually between 2 to 2.5 inches wide and 6 to 15 feet long, so you have more than enough material to fully wrap your hands.
- Widely available and cheap.
- Washable and reusable.
- Does not offer the best wrist protection.
- Limited stretch.
Mexican Style Wraps – Elastic for Better Support
The difference between Mexican hand wraps vs. traditional wraps is they are a bit stretchy. This stretch allows you to wrap your hands tighter and maximize the wrap’s support capabilities.
Mexican-style wraps have no set elasticity. The amount of stretch given to these wraps depends entirely on the brand. You’ll find the elastic percentage on the product’s technical features section or the package itself.
Usually, the stretch is listed between 10% to 30%. The higher the stretch, the tighter you can wrap the material around your hand. Just ensure you don’t overtighten, as this can cause poor circulation.
Mexican-style wraps offer marginally better protection than traditional cotton wraps. However, they have a much shorter lifespan than the latter. Elasticated materials lose their stretch after being used and washed several times.
- Excellent stretch and conformability to your hands’ shape.
- Better protection than cotton wraps.
- It will not loosen during an intense workout.
- Elasticity may deteriorate after several washes.
Inner Gloves – Good for Beginners
Inner gloves look nearly similar to fingerless gloves, except they are made with thicker material. They’re best for beginners and individuals who don’t want to go through the tedious and complicated process of hand-wrapping.
That said, inner gloves don’t offer as much protection as other types of hand wraps on this list. They’re for general protection more than anything else.
With no option to wrap or add extra padding to areas you want to support, they’re mostly used in beginner boxing classes and general workouts.
- Easy to wear; no wrapping needed.
- Suited for beginners.
- Great for general workouts.
- Limited hand and wrist protection.
- Not suited for intense training.
Gel Padded Undergloves – Best Knuckle Protection
Gel padded under gloves is essentially an upgraded version of inner gloves.
Like inner gloves, they’re quick and easy to wear. No wrapping is needed; simply put them on as you’d do with normal gloves, and you’re all set. And since they come with Velcro bands, you can tighten them as much as you want.
Here’s what makes them different from regular inner gloves: they feature gel padding on the knuckle area. This is supremely helpful for people with delicate knuckles and fingers.
Gel wraps are convenient and practical, but they cost more than double that of cloth wraps. And though they do a fantastic job covering the knuckles, the caveat is that they offer less wrist protection than their manual wrap counterparts.
- Comfortable and easy to wear
- Gel padding adds extra knuckle protection
- Decent stretch
- More expensive than manual wraps.
- Offers less support than manual wraps.
Tape and Gauze – The Pros Choice
Professional boxers often wear tape and gauze. You’ll rarely see this hand wrap style outside competition, as it takes too much time to wrap and remove. Plus, it requires another person to wrap it properly for you.
Tape and gauze wraps are typically made with standard medical supplies, but you’ll also find sport-specific options like the Hampton Medical Athletic Tape.
These hand wraps offer a lot of support and protection when properly used. When hitting, they compress the hand bones and tissue, allowing boxers to hit with greater force.
Moreover, they can reduce the pain when hitting an opponent and increase the pain the opponent feels.
If it weren’t for the fact that they’re a nuisance to wrap and unwrap, more people would use them outside matches.
- The best support and protection out of all the listed wraps
- Lightest option
- Most often used by professionals.
- Takes a lot of time to wrap up.
- Requires an experienced person to wrap you up.
- Single-use only.
Fast Wraps – Convenient and Effective
Fast wraps, also known as quick wraps, combine the slip-on simplicity of an inner glove with the support of a traditional wrap.
Like most wraps, they’re designed to protect the hand, knuckles, and wrists from the impact of a heavy bag or punch. They have extra padding to protect the knuckles and long straps from wrapping them snugly around the wrist.
Fast wraps are a great all-around solution for beginner and intermediate boxers—if not for one small problem.
Fast wraps are thicker than average hand wraps, so you’ll need to either stretch your boxing gloves to fit the wraps or buy bigger gloves to make sure they fit perfectly.
Quick wraps are brilliant alternatives to traditional wraps due to their amazing support and protection if you’re not bothered with possible glove fit issues.
- Easy to wear and put on by yourself.
- An excellent blend of comfort and support.
- Thicker than most hand wraps, you may need different boxing gloves.
- Not the best for sparring.
Summing it Up
There you have it; the most popular types of hand wraps and how to use each of them.
The safest and most commonly used hand wraps are cotton wraps, though you need to spend a bit of extra time wrapping them to perfection.
If you’re not big on manual wrapping techniques or simply want something quick to wear, consider getting yourself a pair of inner gloves, gel-padded under gloves, or fast wraps. All you’ll need to do is to slip them on—no wrapping needed!