In a hurry? Check out My top recommendations:
First off, I want to welcome you to the exciting world of Muay Thai. If you’re here, there’s a good chance you’re gearing up to try your hands at the sport to see if you like it. You may even be a seasoned veteran just looking for an upgrade. Either way, you’re in the right place!
It’s no question that there are a ton of options when it comes to finding the top muay thai gloves. It’s easy to get paralyzed by all the content out there. Which is where this list comes in.
Not all gloves are created equal. Getting the wrong pair, especially early on, can lead to some painful lessons. So, I’m going to lean on my personal experience, that of my gym mates, my Krus, and give you the ultimate list of gloves that won’t destroy your hands.
Buying Gloves Online
I recommend getting your gloves online for a few reasons. Physical stores tend to sell the same products for significantly higher prices due to their higher costs of operating. It’s not uncommon for people to go into brick and mortar stores, try out what they’re considering buying, and then buy it online because of this same reason. They call it the showroom effect. You could even take it a step further and buy your gear straight from the Thailand like I mentioned earlier. A much cheaper option even after factoring in the shipping cost, but one we typically advise against. While you may be getting a great deal from Thailand online stores, you’ll also be dealing with much more risk than you may want to deal with. Longer shipping times, poor customer service due to language barrier, and return policies are all something to consider. For these very same reasons, we’ve decided to choose Amazon as our preferred source of Muay Thai gear.
Top 10 List
Best Gloves for Muay Thai in 2020
Affordable, high-quality gloves are everywhere in 2020 if you know where to look. While the top 3 Thai brands are usually a no brainer for newer fighters – there are definitely alternatives in the market that are worth considering. Some of which are on this very list. Here are our recommendations for 2020:
1. Fairtex Thai Boxing Gloves BGV1
Fairtex is by far the most popular option outside of Thailand. Largely due to their highly recognizable marketing campaign in the 90s, but not without practical reasons. These genuine leather gloves are, simply put, made to last. The padding and leather are both high quality while keeping a smaller, slimmer look than other brands.
Fairtex gloves may not be as soft as Twins or Top King, but the knuckle protection is notwithstanding. There is no question that these gloves will live up to their name. Not to mention that the BGV1 series has an onslaught of color and design options to choose from. Making it damn near impossible to not find a style you like.
These guys pride themselves on making top quality products. Even while talk of companies dropping their standards of the years ensues, Fairtex is one of the few that rarely is mentioned in those conversations. Intense product testings are done regularly for quality control and no matter where you look on the internet, you won’t find many complaints.
2. Yokkao Matrix Thai Boxing Gloves
Since this brand was founded in 2010, Yokkao’s design and quality have improved by leaps and bounds. The Matrix Thai Boxing series is their basic product line and comes in solid colors only. Making these the most affordable gloves they offer.
Padding is standard Thai-style. The gloves consist of foam distributed throughout to protect your knuckles all the way to the back of the hands and on through the wrists. The wrist support offers stability without comprising your ability to clinch properly. The high-grade leather is breathable and feels fantastic.
You will need a couple of sessions to break the gloves in, but once that’s done, they feel downright amazing.
3. Twins Special Premium BGVL3 - Perfect for Women or Smaller Hands
If Fairtex is the most popular brand outside of Thailand, Twins Special is arguably the most popular brand in Thailand. If you’re going to take your training seriously, you need gloves that provide solid wrist support and sufficient knuckle protection. Twins gloves are made with that in mind.
The padding offers ideal protection while you master your technique and season your hands to the impact of your punches. Extremely soft and comfortable while offering top tier support and protection. The perfect choice for any beginner fighter.
You can expect these gloves to last you quite a while due to their quality leather composition. With hand slots that are more spacious than other Thai brands.
Twins Special increased their prices this previous year and are no longer one of the cheapest options. But if you want the best, there aren’t many other options out that can stand up to these.
4. Top King Gloves
Another Thai brand that you’ll see all the time in gyms is Top King. Offering similar protection as Twins gloves, the two companies are actually owned by brothers. Top King has a bit more flair and sticks out from other brands with bold and distinct styles. The aesthetics don’t overshadow build quality either. Taking a page from his brother’s book, Top King showcases great leather craftsmanship with their gear.
As the other gloves in this top list so far, a lot of the focus is put on protection during construction. Expect these Thai gloves to protect your knuckles and wrists with their foam padding. The glove compartments are really snug and fit small to medium sized hands extremely well.
If you pick these as your first fighting gloves, there’s a chance you’ll never switch brands as long as you’re into the sport!
5. Boon Sport Velcro Gloves BGN
Boon Sport is a bit of a veteran in the Thai Boxing community. Having been in business since 2002, they’ve been perfecting their flagship boxing gloves, the BGV, nonstop. This year, however, Boon Sport released their BGN model featuring a shorter cuff more common in Thai gloves.
As expected, the padding on these gloves is extremely balanced. Having the foam extend throughout for optimal protection is what makes them more of a Muay Thai style glove. Boxing gloves tend to be more top-heavy due to their sole intent is to protect your hands from direct punches. This balanced protection makes BGN gloves perfect for sparring.
Similar to the Twins Special BGVL-3, these gloves are comfortably snug. They also don’t need to be broken in, unlike other leather gloves.
There is no question that the new BGN gets my seal of approval. With the level of workmanship, high-quality cowhide leather, and all around comfort, these gloves clinch the top 5.
6. Hayabusa T3
If you’ve got some money to blow on your first pair of gloves, the T3 gloves is an option you can’t ignore.
The Tokushu T3 is the latest iteration of the top-selling Tokushu Regenesis boxing gloves. A lot of things have changed, but you can bet that the quality is as good as ever.
Like most modern fight gear companies, Hayabusa takes pride in the thorough research and innovation that’s put into place for the design of their products. With that in mind, there was more put into this refreshed model than just an upgraded style.
The new T3s bring an amazing dual wrist wrap brought in from the older model. This added wrap locking system secures the gloves firmly on your wrist, providing the same level of support as lace-ups but without the inconvenience of not being able to put them on yourself. The thumb extension now comes with a suede adjacent microfiber section. Adding to its unique style while providing additional functionality.
While this is an upgrade, a lot of the original features of the Regenesis are still in place like the anti-microbial inner fabric. This technology helps the gloves stay fresh while improving ventilation, breathability, and heat regulation. The ideal choice for fighters prone to getting sweaty hands while training.
One of the few downsides to the T3s is that they don’t open up quite as easily as other Muay Thai gloves for clinching. Besides this minor flaw, these gloves are downright perfect for training and hardly need any breaking in period.
Hayabusa’s T3 is the perfect example of what can happen when you take consumer feedback and focus on improving your product. Certainly not pure Thai style gloves, the T3’s top quality materials, wrist support, and protection still make it a great choice for anyone looking to pick up their first pair.
7. Venum Challenger 2.0
The Venum Challenger is the top selling model for the well-known company. These entry-level gloves are made of synthetic leather with firm padding and great shock absorption. The cuffs are thick and wide for secure fasting. And heat regulating mesh interiors help improve comfort and breathability.
After a normal break-in period, these gloves will fit most average hand sizes. Being made of synthetic leather, the price of these this pair becomes one of it’s most attractive benefits right alongside its attractive design. Shooting for a lower price, Venum opted to use a less durable PU leather than their premium Elite model which uses higher quality Skintex synthetic leather.
The wrist support could also use a little bit of tuning as it can feel a bit on the flimsy side. Their flexibility around the wrist does make them great for clinching but it opens you up a bit more to injury with a lower level of support.
Still, for the price, these are flat out good beginner gloves. They look good, will last you a good bit, and will keep your hands nice and fresh while slugging it out in the gym.
8. Title Pro Style Leather Gloves
The Title Pro is nothing less than a complete steal. You’ll be hard pressed to find authentic leather gloves of this quality at the same price point as these. The gloves’ padding is firm and durable. With the intention of withstanding regular training sessions with bags and pads. Wide velcro straps provide a secure fit that prevents your hands from shifting inside the glove.
One of the only major complaints circulating about this model is that colors may bleed a little after with some wear and tear. The design may also come across as a bit dull so to some as Title has kept things rather basic with this model. But if you’re looking for a dependable pair of gloves that are going to last and offer solid protection, these gloves are second to none at this price range.
9. RDX Ego Maya Hide Leather Training Gloves
RDX is known far and wide as a fight gear company in the United Kingdom. Used by both amateurs and professionals from boxing to Muay Thai and even MMA rings.
Altogether, these gloves have everything you need for less than $50. Decent quality, padding, wrist support, and comfort. With the added benefit of helping keep your hands nice and cool with their moisture-wicking inner lining.
The Maya Hide is synthetic leather with commendable durability. More breathable than vinyl, and softer as well. All in all, RDX is a great alternative to Ringside Apex if you happen to be searching for something around the same price.
10. Elite Sports Training Gloves
Based out of California, USA, this MMA gear company offers a wide range of equipment. Their training gloves being top of that list with one of the humblest prices in its class.
Highly breathable, with mesh ventilation in the palms and anti-microbial inner linings make this an incredibly cool pair of gloves. The stretchable wrist wrap helps secure these gloves tightly on your hands. With inner compartments spacious enough for average to large hands. Extremely easy to put on and take even with or without handwraps on.
Their top-heavy nature is something to note though. Resembling pure boxing gloves, the padding in these Elite Sports Training Gloves is focused primarily over the knuckles making them ideal for fighters that prefer to use their hands. Since the padding is concentrated mainly on the knuckles, we wouldn’t recommend these as sparring gloves.
Don’t expect these to last as long as some of our other recommendations on this list. Still, as a pair of beginner Thai Boxing gloves, these could be perfect for you if you’re looking for a bargain.
11. Honorable Mention - Sanabul Essential Gel
The Sanabul Essential Gel Training Gloves hold the top spot of Amazon right now as the top selling training gloves in the marketplace. Largely due to their budget appeal, but definitely not hurting in positive reviews.
Built with synthetic leather, these gloves are not known for their durability. Although, they do hold up reasonably well and provide better airflow than other brands due to their mesh palms. The gel padding provides effective shock absorption that will protect your hands the punishment that’s in store for them.
More designed for the casual fighter, we do not advise anyone with plans on taking Muay Thai seriously to compromise on something as important as gloves. If you like the style of these gloves but need some sturdier that will endure more impact, then Sanabul’s higher tier Battle Forged gloves might be right up your alley.
Top Thai Boxing Brands
Choosing the Right Muay Thai Gloves for Training
It’s pretty safe to say that your very first purchase when you start Muay Thai will be a brand new pair of training gloves. Yes, it’s possible in a lot of gyms to loan a pair but let’s be honest – most of those are old, worn out, unhygienic, and generally lame.
You’ll even get to the point where you own several pairs of gloves as you evolve in your journey. But it all starts right here, with your very first pair. Making it important for you to do your research so you don’t make the same mistake that so many other first-time students make.
Here are some vital characteristics to keep in mind when choosing your first pair of training gloves:
Sizing for punching gloves are measured in body weight. Typically running from 8 to 18 ounces. The heavier gloves providing thicker padding for better protection.
12 – 14oz is the common choice for training with the main concern being that they fit your hands snugly and offer proper padding for protection. While 16-18oz are typically better suited for heavyweight fighters.
Here’s a general size chart based on body weight you can follow:
Body Weight Recommended Gloves Size
100lbs & below 8oz – 10oz
100lbs – 120lbs 10oz – 12 oz
120lbs – 150lbs 12oz – 14oz
150lbs – 180lbs 14oz – 16oz
180lbs & above 16oz – 18oz
Glove size matters. While heavy gloves may be better for conditioning due to having to get used to maneuvering with more weight on your hands, the drawback is that it can also have an adverse effect on your technique. Still, heavier gloves are mandatory when sparring. Because the added padding of heavier gloves helps protect both yourself and your partner, gloves of 14-18oz are required.
Personally, I use 12oz gloves for non-sparring training – which is what you’re likely going to start out with. They allow me the added freedom to focus on tightening down my technique while still offering enough protection for my hands.
Something to consider when just starting out is how tender your hands are. Unless you have experience in other fighting disciplines, it’s likely that you’ll need heavier (more padded) gloves to start out with until your hands get used to punching solid objects repeatedly. I recommend 14-16oz (12oz-140z for women) in this case.
Good news! Solid, top-quality gloves are not one of those things that are going to break the bank. You can find good pure leather, made-in-Thailand gloves for about $50 to $100. And if you happen to live or know someone in Thailand, the price drops significantly by buying straight from the source.
I’m sure you already know that Muay Thai is very much a contact sport. Right off the gate, you’re going to be hitting a lot of pads and dense heavy bags. If you want your gloves to withstand that punishment, you’re going to need reasonably durable gloves with decent padding.
Real leather tends to beat synthetic leather here. Both in durability and flexibility. Still, technology has advanced quite a lot in recent years making some top-quality synthetic leather gloves rival that of genuine leather.
Another option that’s becoming increasingly popular and a great alternative to genuine leather is microfiber leather.
Whatever version you choose, make sure that the build quality is good and you’ll be alright.
Velcro vs Lace-ups
The best Muay Thai gloves come either in velcro (hook-and-loop) or lace-up options. Lace-ups offer a more secure fit when lacing tightly and don’t shift around very easily. They also require someone to tie them up for you. Making them impractical for most gym training situations. Especially when velcro gloves offer comparable security and can be taken on and off easily by yourself.
Muay Thai Gloves vs Boxing Gloves
The major difference you want to be aware of is that Muay Thai style gloves allow you to open your hands more easily for clinching. There are also some aerodynamic differences, but honestly, that won’t affect most fighters.
Boxing gloves will work just fine if you don’t plan to incorporate much clinching into your training sessions and plan to focus more on the striking when wearing gloves. But if you want to play safe, of course, Muay Thai brands are the way to go here.
Different Types of Thai Boxing Gloves
We're going to spend a lot of time on sparring gloves because it's such an important aspect of the sport and your experience. Sparring is extremely important because it emulates a real fight, improves your cardiorespiratory endurance, quickens your reaction time, increases your awareness, and helps your mental conditioning. If you put all of those benefits together and do it right, you're going to be dangerous.
While being dangerous in a fight is a big plus, you always want to respect your sparring partner by protecting them from injury. The best way to protect your sparring partner is by using sparring gloves that are at least 16 ounces. This minimum weight will ensure enough padding to soften blows.
Some readers might think this weight would be too heavy, but that's actually a good thing. If you wear heavy gloves for sparring, then you're going to be quicker in a fight when you're wearing lighter gloves. It's the same reason sprinters wear parachutes when training. They're going to feel lighter and be faster when it's time for the real race. Also, remember that your sparring gloves should be different from your heavy bag gloves. Now let's take a look at some Muay Thai sparring glove options.
The Hayabusa T3 Boxing Gloves have extra padding and can be used for sparring as well as the heavy bag. Features include premium leather, five-layer padding with wrist support, a five-layer foam structure, a Dual-X closure system for a lace-like fit, four interlocking splints at the back for wrist support, and five designs to choose from. Thanks to the high quality of these gloves, they are very resistant to cracks and tears. The one negative is that they're expensive, but that is truly the only negative. If you can afford it, go for it.
If you want a very similar pair of Muay Thai sparring gloves, look at Winning Training Boxing Gloves. These are also premium leather and can be used for sparring or boxing. They have a water repellent nylon covering, which once again means resistance to cracks and tears due to water and sweat. The hook and loop closure makes them easy to put on and take off. However, these gloves are also expensive.
If you would feel comfortable wearing gloves many pros use, then strongly consider Cleto Reyes Extra Padding Boxing Gloves. Features include premium leather, hook and loop closure, and water repellent nylon covering. These are all quality features, but the big selling point here is the two inches of extra padding around the punch area. This extra padding allows for superb protection when sparring.
TITLE Gel World Boxing Gloves are another good option. Features include premium leather, enhanced gel filler, adjustable wrist strap, gel-enforced lining, multi-layered foam padding that allows for a custom fit and impact resistance and hook and loop closure. If you're seeking gloves that will always keep your hands cool on the inside, then these are the gloves you want.
If you're a beginner and you don't want to spend as much money, then look at Ringside Apex Boxing Gloves. These gloves feature injected molded form technology, tapered wrist enclosure, and they come in 10 different color combinations. The downside is they're not going to be very durable. But that's okay. These are starter gloves.
If you're seeking style, go with Venum Elite Boxing Gloves. These gloves feature premium Skintex leather construction, triple-density foam, and they come in more than 20 different designs. The downside is that they're expensive. Also know that others who take the sport seriously might think you're more about style than substance if you go this route.
Heavy Bag Gloves
When you're looking for heavy bag gloves, remember that you're looking to strengthen your muscles and increase your striking power. These gloves are all about offense. However, you do want some padding for impact absorption so you protect your hands, knuckles, and wrists. If you're a beginner, then you want a minimum weight of 14 ounces. If you have experience, then the heavy bag gloves you choose should depend on your weight. If you weigh less than 125 pounds, you want gloves and are between 8 and 12 ounces. If you're 125-180 pounds, you want gloves that are 10-14 ounces. And if you're 180 pounds or more, you want gloves that are 12-16 ounces.
The best heavy bag Muay Thai gloves you're going to find is the Fairtex BGV1. These gloves are by far the most popular thanks to excellent wrist support and premium leather for comfort and durability. They are also the ideal Muay Thai heavy bag gloves for big hitters. The only downside is that they don't have as much padding as some other gloves that can be used for both sparring and heavy bag training. Remember, the hybrid gloves are going to have more padding because of sparring. The best hybrid gloves were mentioned above: Hayabusa T3 Boxing Gloves and Cleto Reyes Extra Padding Boxing Gloves.
Muay Thai VS Boxing Gloves
Muay Thai gloves are more flexible than boxing gloves. The primary difference is that you can clench your fist and grip and grab more effectively. If in desperate need, you can usually borrow a pair of Muay Thai gloves at your gym, but it's highly recommended that you don't take this route. If you use public gym gloves, the padding will have faded from overuse, which is going to lead to an increased chance for injury. Public gym gloves are also going to have an odor and carry more germs.
You definitely want to purchase your own gloves. When you do, be sure to get Velcro gloves as opposed to lace-up or hook-up gloves. The latter two options will be tighter but they take way too long to put on and take off, which leads to the loss of valuable training time. If you use lace-up or hook-up gloves, it would be like driving a Model T on today's roads.
As far as brands go, we'll cover some of them below. Every brand for Muay Thai gloves offers something different. However, if you want to have the first priority when purchasing Muay Thai gloves, it should be extra padding. You need that extra padding for protection so you can keep training and fighting, and unlike boxing, you need that extra padding to block kicks. Let's begin with Muay Thai Sparring Gloves.
Frequently Asked Questions
As stated above, Muay Thai gloves are more flexible than boxing gloves. You can clench your fist and thumb flexibility allows for a better grip when you squeeze the gloves. With boxing gloves, the thumb is usually separate from the rest of the glove mold.
If you live in the United States, then Fairtex is known for the highest quality Muay Thai gloves. Fighter is an up and coming brand, but Fighter Muay Thai gloves don't offer as much padding as Fairtex. Raja is another solid brand due to comfort, but these gloves are becoming difficult to find due to halted production. If you're looking for style over substance, look at Yokkao, but style over substance is rarely a good idea. And if you happen to live in Australia, go with BOON. If you live in Thailand, the best brands are Twins and Top King. For the record, Fairtex is of higher quality than both of them. And Top King is a bit on the puffy side.
One important point about training and fighting is that some Muay Thai fighters like to train without gloves. This is more common in Thailand. They want to be able to grip and clinch more, which leads to this approach being seen as better training. However, some of the best Muay Thai fighters in the Western world believe that you should train how you fight. By training with gloves on, you're going to mimic a real fight, which will make it better training. One theory isn't correct and one isn't incorrect. It's subjective and can be viewed both ways. That said, if you live in the West, then you will want to train with gloves.
When buying a new pair of gloves for Muay Thai, you want something that provides appropriate support and protection for your hands that will last a good while. As far as fit goes, you may need to try out a few pairs before finding one that fits your hands nice and snug. For this reason, you may even consider finding some options you like, going out and finding a brick and mortar shop to try to them, and then purchase them online at the (usually) much cheaper prices.
We’ve laidd out the best training gloves here in one place for you. So come back as many times as you need to gather the information you need to make an informed decision. For more information to help you on your Muay Thai or Mixed Martial Arts journey, feel free to explore the site for the article that’s right for you.