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There are many shapes, styles, and types of boxing gloves, each having unique uses. How do you know which kind to choose?
This article breaks down each of the 7 types of boxing gloves. Learn how to best use each style, and which kinds of boxing gloves are going to work best for your training.
Boxing Glove Weights by Type
The weight of a boxing glove serves two purposes. The amount of resistance they offer is determined by the weight of the glove. Weight will normally range from 10 ounces to 18 ounces, with heavier gloves being used for sparring. More weight will offer less risk of injury but will also cause you to get tired much faster.
Before you choose the weight of your glove, ask yourself how you will be using it. Will it be used in training? For the heavy bag? Sparring? Or are you looking for a good glove you can count on during a match? Once you know how you will be using the gloves, you will be able to choose the right weight that will give you the best advantage to achieve your goals.
Traditional Style of Boxing Gloves
1. Heavy Bag Gloves
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Heavy bag gloves are used to help improve endurance and increase stamina. Bag gloves will provide limited protection against hand injuries. Padded training gloves made from leather or polyurethane will provide more. A good training glove will allow you to balance your heavy bag work with your aerobic work and still provide a modest amount of protection against injuries.
Heavy bag gloves have lighter weight with a thin design for fast movements. Padded training gloves offer the most protection against injuries. They include thick foam padding, wrist supports, and thumb locks for maximum support and protection.
The light design of bag gloves allows for quick, efficient movements. A key difference is the lack of overall support. Bag gloves are designed to enhance your speed and agility, not protection. Their lightness allows you to move as quickly as possible with fewer limitations.
The most popular colors are red, black, blue, and white.
Best Used For
- Heavy bag exercises
- Increasing agility and speed
- Building endurance and strength
2. Sparring Gloves
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Sparring gloves are used during training matches. They are a medium weight that allows you to measure your resistance. Their unique design allows them to be comfortably worn for longer periods, especially during training workouts where endurance and stamina are needed. While some fighters prefer training gloves, the lighter-weight sparring gloves will better simulate real movements, allowing for faster reaction times, while hurting less.
Sparring gloves are more contoured. They have a moderate amount of padding and provide firm wrist support. They are more comfortable and slightly lighter than training gloves. They are designed to provide both you and your sparring partner with modest amounts of protection while still giving you the advantage of being lighter weight and more comfortable.
They are medium-weight gloves that offer moderate protection. They look different than training and competition gloves because of their sleeker, more contoured shape.
Best Used For
- Sparring with a partner
- Builds speed and endurance
- Longer workouts
3. Competition Gloves
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Competition gloves must comply with professional boxing rules and guidelines. Different boxing/fighting organizations have different rules and regulations that must be followed. Competition gloves are used primarily during professional or competitive matches.
Competition gloves are much lighter and have firmer padding. They are secured with laces to ensure they remain in place. (Most trainers will tape the laces to keep them tight and secure.) Their lightweight design allows for quicker response and recovery.
Two key differences include less protection for your hands due to the firmness of the padding. Maximum knock-out potential during a match. Allows you to inflict more damage with fewer punches.
Best Used For
- Quick reaction times
- Maximum damage
- Maintains compliance in terms of rules and regulations
4. Mexican Style
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There are many types of Mexican-style gloves. Professional/competition, bag, sparring, and mitt/pad gloves are available. Mexican-style gloves are somewhat slimmer and use different types of padding. Cleto Reyes, for example, uses horsehair padding, while other brands may use latex foam or injectable molding.
Mexican-style gloves have a slimmer design which is more contoured to the hand. Most use the highest-quality cowhide leather and have a water-repellent lining made of durable nylon. The thumb area is attached so that the risk of eye injuries is reduced as well as lowering the risk of injury to the thumb.
Differences include the anatomical design which makes the glove more comfortable. They also have longer laces than most other boxing gloves. Most professional gloves are still stuffed with horsehair for padding.
Best Used For
- Competition or professional matches
- Endurance during training
- Maximum comfort
- Protect against injuries to the eyes and thumbs
Other Types of Gloves
These gloves are still meant for striking, just not specifically “boxing”. They are adapted for fitness training and specific martial arts disciplines.
5. Fitness Gloves
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If your only goal is fitness, you should consider fitness boxing gloves. They offer excellent padding in a range of weights, as low as 8oz all the way up to 16oz.
Look for gloves with multiple layers of foam and gel padding, with easy-on/easy-off wrist closures. This is often the type of glove women are looking for.
This will ensure you can really let loose on your cardio and aerobic workouts without messing with your gloves all the time.
Best Used For
- Punching based aerobics workouts
- Freestanding Bag workouts
- Maximum hand and finger protection
6. MMA Gloves
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MMA gloves are like boxing gloves in that they are designed to protect the hands, but they do their job in a slightly different manner. Since mixed martial arts often use an open hand during a match, the fingers must be free, and the palm of the hand protected.
Often made from lightweight nylon or leather. Fewer outward seams to protect against lacerations and other injuries. The fingers are open, allowing for more freedom of movement, grappling, and open hand fighting. Minimal padding is used to prevent injuries to the hand.
The primary differences between the top MMA gloves and boxing gloves are the placement of the padding and the open-finger construction. This allows the fighter to both grip their opponent as well as strike with a closed fist.
Best Used For
- Mixed Martial Arts Training
- Sparring & Grappling
- MMA Competition
7. Muay Thai Gloves
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Muay Thai gloves are used to protect the hands by absorbing the impact of the blows. They are used for both sparring and competition. Because Muay Thai is similar in ways to traditional boxing, they enclose the fingers and surround the hand with padding. Gloves carry different weights depending on their purpose, whether sparring, training or putting in heavy bag work.
Most good kickboxing gloves are commonly made in Thailand from quality leather and have various amounts of padding depending on their purpose. The weight of the glove will depend on the amount and type of padding used. Weights range from 6 to 18 ounces. The heavier the glove, the more protection it provides. Muay Thai gloves also are made to support the wrist and prevent injuries to the hand.
Muay Thai training gloves have a slightly different form than boxing gloves with most of the area of the glove being towards the top and finger portion of the hand with less wrist support.
Best Used For
- Kickboxing sparring
- Muay Thai heavy bag exercises
Choosing the Right Kind of Boxing Gloves
Several factors will go into choosing the right gloves. The purpose should be what you consider first. The wrong glove for the job makes everything more difficult.
Comfort is also a key issue. It’s hard to be effective if your hands aren’t comfortable. You are much less likely to punch as hard as you can if you expect to feel anything abnormal or uncomfortable.
Finally, it comes down to personal choice. You will be the one wearing them. Try on as many pairs as you need until you find the right fit, style, and weight that meets your expectations.
- For Punching Bag Work – Choose an appropriately sized Heavy Bag Glove or Sparring Gloves.
- For Cardio Punching – Choose lighter Fitness style boxing gloves.
- For Grappling and Groundwork – Choose an MMA style glove with open fingers.
*Last updated 2022-09-29 at 05:44 / Product Links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API