Boxers use a lot of different types of boxing gloves as boxing has various training types so they need them for different purposes. This creates confusion about picking a glove and people just don’t seem to understand which type they need.
This easy-to-read guide explains all boxing glove types, when can you use them, their qualities, and why some gloves are more popular than others.
Basic Types of Boxing Gloves
1. Training Gloves
When can you use them?
Training gloves can be used for all boxing training types. Some of these are bag work, sparring, double end bag, mitt drills.
Training gloves tend to be really protective and need to have excellent shock-absorbing padding. Because you will throw repetitive punches to hard, dense objects like heavy bags and you will also punch your sparring partners with it. So this padding type needs to protect you and your partners from impacts at the same time.
This is tricky to pull off and this is why training gloves generally have layers of padding to minimize the power transfer and let you feel the punches and give you feedback so you can know whether you have a good form or not.
The cushion should not be very dense as it causes cuts, bruises during sparring. However, it should not be very soft either as it won’t last long if you use them constantly for bag workouts. Because dense objects can easily harm the construction of the gloves.
Training gloves need to have excellent wrist support because stabilizing wrists and hands is vital for preventing hand injuries.
Lastly, feeling comfortable in training gloves is important because your hands are likely to spend a long time in them. Preferably, the leather exterior should be made of high-quality materials which breath well. Also, the design and mesh should provide constant airflow to minimize sweating.
Considering that training gloves need to have various qualities, really good construction, this should not come as a surprise that these have higher prices.
Topten Superfight, Winning MS 600, John Golomb’s American Training Gloves come to my mind when I think about extremely well-built all-purpose training gloves.
2. Heavy Bag Gloves (Modern)
When can you use them?
You can wear these for all bag workout types including classic heavy bag and double end bag.
Your own hand protection is the priority during bag workouts as you punch very dense objects with these gloves. So padding quantity in the knuckle compartment is more than usual and prevents your hand from getting injured, rashes, etc. In addition to this, the padding is dense and thanks to the impact-absorbing qualities this is standard for bag gloves.
Also, the leather should be sturdy and should not lose its shape over the years. In this way, it can prevent you from punching through the padding and having nasty injuries.
In one of my articles, I reviewed the best gloves for heavy bags so that you can improve your performance and do bag workouts safer.
3. Traditional Bag Gloves
Compared to modern bag gloves, the hand compartment of traditional bag gloves is not as wide. These are lighter and have less padding in every compartment of the glove. So you can have more speed behind your punches. However, when this is the case you sacrifice safety and you really don’t want to do that especially if you are punching a heavy bag. So always wrap your hands and wrists before training! Even then, traditional bag gloves are not protective as their modern counterparts.
This snug-fitting glove with a rectangular design does not allow moisture to reach padding and different compartments of the traditional glove easily which is good for overall durability.
4. Sparring Gloves
Generally, these come in 14 oz. , 16 oz., and 18 oz. These are bigger sizes and that is expected because bigger sizes can protect your sparring partners by offering enhanced shock absorption.
To prevent injuries, these gloves need to have soft padding and not–so–dense leather to prevent cuts. In addition to these, these gloves need to have a good thumb position so you don’t poke your opponent’s eye.
5. Weighted Training Gloves
These can be bag gloves or all-around training gloves. This type has extra weight at the wrist part so punching with more speed is necessary to have a proper technique and rhythm while training. But it is arguable whether this improves anything related to boxing or not.
Because weighted gloves have a different weight distribution and getting used to them can be problematic. And after switching to standard boxing gloves, your timing will be off as it will travel faster and this might cause you to miss the target whether it is sparring or a mitt drill.
Also, I am pretty sure that it will also affect the punching technique badly as the extra weight forces you to punch lower and you need to adjust everything including power, angles during a session while training with weighted gloves. In addition to this, once you no longer use them, you need to readjust everything and get used to standard boxing gloves.
Because of these two reasons, I don’t recommend people to use them for learning boxing. However, if you want to achieve your fitness goals faster, then that is another story and you can give it a shot.
6. Amateur Competition Gloves
These gloves come in two colors which are red and blue. These represent the fighter’s corners and depending on the weight class, the gloves come in two sizes which are 10 oz. and 12. oz. Also, amateur gloves are bigger than usual and have more foam to reduce injuries.
The same glove models, which have different colors, are given to boxers before a match so that a boxer doesn’t have an unfair advantage over the other.
The knuckle compartment has a white area and judges score according to whether this area contacts an opponent while throwing a punch or not.
Lastly, you can find stickers, stamps, and seals at the wrist compartment which show that the glove is certified by an organization.
7. Professional Fight Competition Gloves
Depending on the weight class, professional boxing gloves come in two sizes which are 8 and 10 ounces. These gloves tend to have slimmer designs, are compact and smaller to reach to intended target easier.
A lot of fight gloves are stuffed with horsehair or have another stiff padding type. It has less padding quantity at the knuckle area and fingers than usual as the main purpose of professional gloves is to maximize power transfer. The gap between the glove and attached thumb is less than 10 mm and this is one of the competition rules for preventing thumb injuries and protecting the opponent.
As a side note, this type of glove doesn’t even last 3 matches.
If you enter tournaments it is important to know what certifications your gears need to have. Firstly learn that and after that check the certifications of gears before you buy them.
Some famous competition glove brands are Golden Boy, Pro Mex, Rival. These brands have a lot of USA boxing-approved equipment and gloves that are authorized by WBC (World Boxing Council) in their official stores.
8. Fight Gloves for Training
This type and fight gloves have the same shape, leather exterior, lining, and some other qualities. However, the padding of fight gloves for training is not as stiff and it is long-lasting. These allow fighters to use this glove type for basic boxing training so you can get used to a fight glove as much as possible before a match.
Also, these gloves last so much more than the fight gloves and Safetec Official is the most known model for this glove type.
The following glove types are not classic types of boxing gloves, however, these can be used for punching.
Other Types of Boxing Gloves
9. Kickboxing Gloves
Kickboxing gloves are much smaller and padded differently than boxing gloves for enhancing flexibility to clinch. Also, it has a smaller wrist compartment to allow your hand and wrist to have more freedom to perform kickboxing techniques and kickboxing gloves should let you open your hand easily to clinch, catch kicks, etc.
These fingerless gloves have less padding in almost all areas except the back of the hand to improve protection from kicks which can be really dangerous. However, this square shaped-glove still offers good all-around hand protection for punching and if you want to use a glove for only punching purposes these are just fine.
10. MMA Gloves
These have soft padding so you can clench your fists effortlessly. The soft padding doesn’t stabilize your hand so you can clinch, and grapple with ease.
MMA gloves are small and depending on the type these range from 4 oz. to 10. oz. This is enough protection for hands and wrist. The straps are tight, prevent your wrist to wriggle around, and make it more secure for MMA workouts.
11. Muay Thai Gloves
These are built for Muay Thai training and you can see that the shape and design look a little different. Compared to boxing gloves, these are more compact and smaller. The palm compartment has way less padding whereas the gloves’ back is padded well and it is top-heavy. So punching with it will feel “awkward” if you used boxing gloves before.
However, it offers adequate protection for punching. After all Muay Thai is called Thai Boxing and uses elbows, kicks, knees, and punches so fighters’ hands need some kind of protection whether it is a training camp in Thailand or ONE Championship Fight.
Are you interested in learning the differences between Muay Thai gloves and boxing gloves? If so check out this recent article.
How to Determine the Boxing Gloves’ Type?
There are many types of boxing gloves on the market however the question is which one suits your needs?
These needs can be
- A pair for all-around training use
- Bag gloves with extra wrist support
- Well-padded sparring gloves for long sparring sessions
- Competition Gloves (Amateur or Professional)
- Gloves that provide a bare-knuckle feeling
- Gloves that can be used for other martial arts
Reading this article will help you determine which glove type you need so you can get your own and start punching as soon as possible!