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Securely fastening boxing gloves is important for safety and performance. Poorly tightened gloves risk not only hand and wrist injury but feel terrible when training.
Most types of gloves are available in two standard wrist closures: Lace-up vs Velcro strap (aka Hook & Loop).
A lace-up boxing glove will provide the tightest, most secure fit, but requires a partner to tie up. Velcro strap gloves rely on a thick strap to pull and secure the gloves but can be tightened by yourself.
The style of glove you decide to go with is going to depend on what kind of training and competing you will be doing. It’s time to learn the strengths and trade-offs of these two popular types of gloves.
Strap Boxing Gloves – Pros & Cons
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Strap boxing gloves are known by several different names, including hook & loop gloves or Velcro gloves. This is because they’re held closed by a thick strap at the bottom of the wrist that’s secured with Velcro.
Given that boxing gloves were actually invented before Velcro, there was a time when all boxing gloves were of the lace-up variety.
When hook & loop came along, it changed the game by making it a lot easier for boxers to take their own gloves on and off.
Here are some of the pros and cons of going the Velcro route:
- No Assistance Required – The fact that you can put on Velcro boxing gloves without any help is enough of a selling point for many boxers. Even if you have to grab the strap with your teeth every now and then, it’s still incredibly easy to put on velcro gloves alone.
- Quicker to Take on and Off – Even if you do have a partner willing to help you lace up or untie your gloves, Velcro is a lot quicker. It’s nice to be able to slip out of your gloves at a moment’s notice to hold pads, lift your water bottle, or even run to the bathroom.
- Adjustable Wrist Support – The straps on Velcro gloves are adjustable, so you can customize them to provide as much wrist support as you like.
- Affordability – Velcro gloves are available in a variety of price ranges, but it’s generally easier to find a quality pair for cheaper than what you’d pay for a pair of lace-up gloves.
- Scratchiness – While an exposed piece of Velcro is unlikely to accidentally take out your sparring partner, there’s a slight danger it could scratch them.
- Aging – As Velcro ages, it will lose some of its effectiveness. You have to be sure to keep the strap clean. When the hooks are exposed, they may cling to hair, strings, or any other stray debris floating around in your bag
- There’s nothing worse than having to wait for help when you need to get your gloves off. Once you’re strapped in, your hands are of little use for anything other than throwing punches.
- Wrist Support – Many quality Velcro gloves are nice and sturdy, but if you’re looking for next-level wrist support, lace-up gloves are the way to go.
- Intended for Training – Velcro gloves are great for training, but most professional boxing competitions will require lace-up gloves for actual matches.
As you can see, Velcro gloves are all about convenience. They’re much quicker and easier to put on and take off, which is nice for solo or cross-training.
Lace-Up Boxing Gloves – Pros & Cons
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Lace-up boxing gloves are easily identifiable because they’re held closed by strings that tie up kind of like shoelaces. These are the type of gloves used in most professional fights, though the laces are often taped over to ensure they won’t get in the way.
Lace-up gloves tend to go higher up the forearm than most Velcro gloves and offer killer wrist support when properly tied. Some are also lighter and have firmer padding, allowing for maximum speed and impact.
- Wrist Support– Lace-up gloves are all-around designed to help minimize the risk of a wrist injury. In addition to their customizable closure and longer cuffs, many also have extra wrist padding.
- Sleeker Wrists– The straps of Velcro gloves can sometimes feel a bit bulky, while lace-up gloves tend to be more form-fitting.
- High Quality – While they may be a bit more expensive, many pairs of lace-up gloves are built to professional standards and made to last.
- Professional Standard– If you ever fight professionally, you may be required to wear lace-up gloves.
- Tie-Up Buddy Needed – The most obvious drawback is that it’s incredibly hard to put on a pair of lace-up gloves alone.
- Slower – There’s nothing worse than having to wait for help when you need to get your gloves off. Once you’re strapped in, your hands are of little use for anything other than throwing punches.
- Expense – Since most lace-up gloves are made to last longer, they’ll likely be a bit more of an investment.
- Taping – Many boxers also like to have their gloves taped after they’re tied up, especially for a fight. This only adds more time to an already time-consuming process.
They may not be the most convenient option, but there’s a reason that lace-up gloves are required for most professional bouts. They may be a pain to get in and out of, but the trade-off is better support and comfort.
Are Lace Up Gloves Worth It?
If you’re looking for the best wrist support money can buy or want to fight professionally, then the answer is probably yes.
Lace-on gloves will run you 3-5x the cost of your basic strapped models.
The main drawback, besides the cost premium, is the convenience factor.
For this reason, many boxers have a pair of Velcro gloves they use for circuit or solo training and a pair of lace-up gloves they use for fights and longer sparring or training sessions.
Best Ways to Tie Lace Up Gloves
The best way to tie lace-up gloves is to find an experienced partner with some experience tying up gloves. You want confidence in their ability to securely tighten your laces.
While you may be able to pre-tie the laces on your gloves by yourself, chances are you will not be able to tighten them adequately to protect your hands during training.
With some practice, you can use your mouth to help pull the laces tight since one hand would already be inside the first glove. Make sure to hand lace your primary punching hand first.
Some boxers pre-tie their own gloves using elastic shoe strings, which will stretch enough to allow them to slip in their hands.
Convert Laced Gloves to Straps
If you enjoy the feel of laced gloves, but also like the convenience of strapped gloves, you may want to buy a few conversion straps. The Lace N Loop device is designed to tightly secure your laces around the end of the gloves.
The laces thread through a hole in the elastic band. The band wraps the laces around your wrist and secures them with a strap closure.
All you have to do is pull the Lace N Loop to tighten your strings, wrap them around your wrists, and secure them like strap gloves. This allows you to quickly and easily put on and take off your laced style gloves on your own.
Lace Up vs Velcro – Which is Best?
Should you go with lace-up gloves or Velcro gloves? As you can see, both are solid choices for different reasons.
If you’re looking for a long-lasting, professional glove with plenty of wrist support, then lace-up gloves may be worth it for you.
If, on the other hand, you’re looking for gloves that are easy to slip on and off without any help, then Velcro is your best bet.