When it comes to picking your next, or first, pair of fighting gloves, it is very important to do your research. And since you’re here, reading this Definitive Buying Guide – I think it’s safe to say that you’re on the right path.
It’s frighteningly easy to underestimate just how much strain is put on one’s hands when taking up boxing. Whether you’re hitting the bags or sparring with a partner – in boxing, the main point of contact will always be your fist. That added stress can either build you up or break you down depending on how well you’re managing it.
The Right Fighting Gloves for You
With a good pair of gloves, it’s a lot easier to protect yourself (and training partners) while building the skills, endurance, and power that all soon-to-be great boxers seek.
Depending on how serious you are about your training, you may want to consider having multiple pairs of gloves for the type of workouts you’ll be doing.
Serious, more veteran fighters, will tend to have 2 or more pairs of 16 oz gloves (more about glove sizes below):
- A soft pair of lace-up gloves for sparring sessions.
- A dense pair of velcro gloves for any bagwork.
- You can also go with lighter 14 oz gloves for speed, or with heavier 18 oz gloves for added protection and conditioning.
- Larger fighters like to spar with 18 – 20oz gloves, and sometimes even heavier for added protection.
- While other fighters spar with 12oz or 14 oz gloves in order to practice fighting with lighter gloves closer to those of actual competition glove weights.
If you’re on a tighter budget and can only buy one pair of 16 oz gloves, then my advice is always to prioritize quality over a good deal. Not only will you spend less money in the long-haul since well-made gloves last longer than cheap knockoffs, but you’ll also be less likely to hurt yourself and have to deal with sensitive hands for the rest of your life:
- If you’re more into sparring, then go with softer gloves that will protect your partner.
- If you’re more into bagwork, then go with denser gloves to protect your hands.
- If you’re not sure which size glove you should get, then go with 16 oz.
Keep in mind that:
- 16 oz is the standard for men, while 14 oz is the standard for women.
- dense gloves are for bagwork, and soft gloves are intended for sparring.
- lace-up gloves provide better support, while velcro gloves are far more convenient.
Top 10 Boxing Glove Reviews
1. Sentinel's Choice - Ring to Cage C-17 Japanese Style 2.0
Easily the smartest purchase you can make at this price range. These gloves rival even some of the premium $400+ gloves out there that are usually reserved for the elites of the boxing world.
If you’re just starting out, or you don’t want to get multiple pairs of gloves for different types of training, there aren’t many alternatives that trump this.
With plenty of protection and cushion, these gloves are perfect for sparring and bagwork.
If you want a pair of gloves that you’ll be sure to love for years to come without having to get a second mortgage, this is it. There are both Velcro and lace-up options available so make sure to pick the one that best suits your needs.
2. Most Comfortable - Winning Training Gloves a.k.a. The Japanese Pillows
With a nickname like “The Japanese Pillows” it’s not hard to guess why this is my top pick for the most comfortable gloves. With top tier protection and support that rivals it’s comfort, Winning gloves are easily the most popular gloves among professionals and amateurs alike.
“But dude, if they’re so great, why aren’t they #1 on your list?”
The short answer is: The price tag.
Being at the top of the totem pole, Winning gloves are also some of the most expensive around. Many companies have tried to copy the success of these gloves while cheaping out quality and failed miserably.
The Ring to Cage C-17 being one of the clones that found a good balance between quality and affordability.
Still, there are no true substitutes for the real thing. So, if you’re looking for the best of the best, then Winning is the way to go.
3. Best Wrist Support - GIL Boxing Gloves
Another high-end alternative for those not willing to compromise for their protection.
Simply put, these are dense gloves that can take a beating. Built with the best materials and a very unique aesthetic. The color combinations alone are sure to draw the attention of everybody in your gym.
The padding is more on the stiff side with a bit of bounce to it that feels like your hands are being slightly repelled back after impact as opposed to fully absorbing all contact.
The Laces make sure that your wrists are nice and snug no matter how much power you put behind those punches. Which, coupled with the top-tier stitching and build quality, make these the best gloves for anyone wanting proper wrist stabilization.
4. Best Hand Protection - RIVAL Boxing d30 RB10
An extremely high-quality brand from Canada that offers great padding, comfort, and durability.
Their d30 RB10 model is designed mainly for bagwork as the thick padding would likely injure any partner that you sparred with
They do have sparring specific options with softer padding that don't hit as hard, but they naturally leave your hands more susceptible to injuries.
5. Built to Last - Cleto Reyes Hook and Loop (Extra Padding)
Even though these gloves take quite a bit of time to properly break-in, they are virtually unmatched when it comes to durability.
Boasting an average of 3 to 4 years of life, you can rest easy knowing that you won’t have to buy a replacement pair (or 2.. or 3) for a long time to come.
The hook and loop nature of the wrist system makes the gloves easy to slip on and off while also giving your wrists more mobility. A tough balance to make work.
6. Soft Padding - Ringside IMF Tech Hook & Loop
Great sparring gloves that can handle the occasional bag session. These gloves have softer padding for a more forgivable absorption of power intended for sparring sessions. Protecting both yourself and your partner.
The Hook & Loop Technology combines the ease of straps with some of the extra security usually exclusive to laces.
7. Top Choice for Small Hands - Twins Special BGVL3 (14oz)
The brand and the name speak for themselves on this one. Pretty much anyone who has looked into getting some boxing gear has come across Twins at some point.
They’re a well-established company with plenty of great products under their name. Twins Special Velcro Gloves are a model that puts extra attention into the wrist protection over everything else.
On top of that, you’ll also find that the general construction of the glove is of great quality. The material allows for a decent amount of airflow to pass in and out of the gloves in order to keep your hands nice and dry. Also, the sizing is about as accurate as it gets. Reducing the odds of you needing to exchange pairs that you get online.
If you're a woman looking for top-tier boxing gloves, these are a pair worth considering.
Still, one thing that could use some improvement down the line and you should take into consideration with this current version is the durability
Right now, these punching gloves are, on average, lasting people up to a year. Which isn’t anything spectacular considering where they’re priced.
8. Most Popular - Everlast Pro Style
Everlast is a company that has been around forever due to its focus on producing great quality products. Something which holds true to this day with their Pro Style gloves.
It’s not uncommon to hear about people keeping the same pair for as long as 3 years. Which says quite a bit about the level of durability that these things are packing.
With their Thumblock innovation, Everlast gloves are incredibly easy to slip on and off while maintaining a secure fit during training sessions.
Wrist padding is something that could use some work though – trying to strike a balance between great support and lack thereof, in order to promote good technique in their fighters for the future. An intention I can get behind but believe will also drive a lot of people who expect a certain level of protection from modern gloves of this caliber away.
It’s also important to note how the price difference between sizes can be a bit shocking at first. Keep that in mind when deciding on your next pair.
9. Best Budget Option - TITLE Classic Leather Gloves
One of the only "cheap" options that are worth considering for serious boxers and dabblers alike.
Flexible enough to be used for both sparring and bagwork and sturdy enough to keep your hands nice and safe in either scenario.
Comes in both Laces and Velcro versions – the Velcro version having a cheaper strap that will likely end up breaking after some heavy use. Still, for the price, you will get your money’s worth with this one and then some.
10. Top Choice for Beginners - Sanabul Essential Gel
If you're just starting out and looking for a pair of gloves that will do the job while you figure things out, here you go.
Sanabul gloves are best known for their top of the line GEL padding. Making them perfect for heavy bag training. There’s a good chance they’re not going to last you very long, but while you have them, you can rest assured that your hands are in... well, the best hands.
Protection and support are second to none in my opinion, but that's mainly because their built with only the one purpose in mind.
Hardcore training will result in maybe a 3 to 6-month life expectancy from the Sanabul Essential GEL Boxing Gloves. But like I said, what you’re really paying for here is the protection and support.
Perfect for beginners and heavy bag users – the shock absorption that you get from the gel padding and wrist support offered by the velcro system is pretty damn good for the price.
Best Boxing Glove Brands
Definitive Buying Guide
How to Choose Good Boxing Gloves
Type – There are 5 types of gloves (more about this below)that you want to keep in mind when deciding on your next pair. Prices, as expected, can vary slightly between types and what you’ll be using the gloves for.
Size – Glove sizes normally range from 8 to 20 ounces. The general guiding principle is that you want to choose your size depending on how much you weight. A 100 lb person would choose 10oz. Someone who weighs 120 lbs would go with 12 oz gloves etc. 16oz being the most popular option for men and 12 oz for women.
Fit – A properly fitting boxing glove should feel snug. You don’t want a lot of room for your hand to wiggle about inside the glove. Something else to consider is whether or not you’ll be using hand wraps inside of your gloves. That’s going to add some girth to the equation.
Padding – This is probably one of the biggest factors you’ll have to decide on before taking your pick. Padding varies quite a bit depending on the type of glove you’re looking at. It’s important that choose gloves that are going to support the type of training, sparring, or fighting that you’re going to be doing. More about glove types below.
Comfort – This one goes hand in hand with the fit. Gloves that fit well are generally quite comfortable. Gloves that are either too big or too small will wear you out quicker than you’d imagine. So, as long as the materials aren’t complete shit – the right fit is what’s going to determine just how comfortable those gloves are going to be for you.
Thumb Compartment – Mostly an aesthetic factor, it’s still important to note because it impacts the price. Most gloves these days have a thumb compartment constructed into the gloves themselves.
Hand Control – This is ultimately about how flexible your hands feel inside of the gloves you’re wearing. Are you able to flex your fingers? Can you recover and block quickly enough?
Closure – This one is mostly up to preference. Lace-up or velcro. Both will offer a comfortably secure fit for most purposes.
Wrist Support – The further up your forearm the glove reaches, the more secure your wrist will be. The tradeoff is a lack of wrist flexibility along with more intensive closures.
Wrist Mobility – Much like wrist support, wrist mobility is contingent on the amount of padding offered at the wrist.
Material – Quality of materials used to build the glove is going to affect the fit, comfort, level of protection, and price. Check the different types of exterior and padding materials above all else. The interior lining can also be important if you don’t want your hands getting too sweaty due to lack of air flow.
The Different Types of Punching Gloves
Training/Heavy Bag Gloves – As the name points out, these are gloves designed mainly for building up a sweat with punching bags. The padding is molded accordingly and helps distribute the impact generated away from your hands.
Sparring Gloves – A lighter weight version meant to keep your sparring partner alive. With heavier, more padded gloves it’s easy to misinterpret just how hard you’re hitting the thing you’re hitting. When that’s another human being just trying to get a good workout, it can be a problem.
Amateur Gloves – Built for beginners. Amateur gloves will help train your hands, wrists, and arms get used to the level of impact you’ll be putting them through from here on out.
Professional Gloves – Normally worn in competitions. These gloves are constructed strictly according to regulations in order to protect both your hands and your opponent.
Muay Thai Gloves – Because Muay Thai also consists of a lot of clinching, gloves designed for the sport are a lot more flexible than regular boxer gloves.
Frequently Asked Questions
The standard size that most people will want is 16oz. This is ideal for both sparring and bagwork as it offers ample protection for yourself and your training partner. If you have smaller hands, then 14oz is often a good choice. While 12oz gloves are typically reserved for speed work due to their lack of protection.