What to look for when choosing a pair of boxing gloves

A brief description

Whenever I describe a new pair of gloves to a client or customer, I tend to compare them to a pair of shoes. Just like a fresh pair of kicks, gloves do go through a “breaking in” period. There should be that initial snug fit and gradually over time the padding will begin to mould around your hands.

Throwing back to my group boxing days I was constantly updating my gloves on a regular basis. Why I did this was purely being a safety precaution. After you start dealing in numerous sets of different sized and shaped hands in every pair of gloves, the glove itself will start losing its mould and therefore support, the padding will spilt and separate along the contact zone, the glove will lose its “spongy bounce back” quality and injuries will no doubt occur – normally wrist, knuckles and thumb as these are the most vulnerable areas in boxing.
This is even more dangerous when it comes to sparring as the glove is normally one of two things protecting boxer’s head and knuckles – the other being headgear.

I do urge every boxer regardless of the purpose to invest in their own pair of boxing gloves and wraps.

Bag Mitts vs Bag/Training Gloves vs Sparring Gloves vs Competition Gloves

Bag Mitts (i.e. the squarish looking glove with the flexible thumb) – Even though I did go through a short period in using these, I personally wouldn’t really recommend them. The reason being is that they don’t offer much protection for your hand and on occasion among beginners; can potentially injure their thumb through incorrect technique. In saying that, these gloves tend to be a hell lot lighter to gain speed and control over when it comes to speed work (pads, noodles and floor-to-ceiling bags) or “cardio” boxing if that is your aim. These do come in S, M, L, and XL sizing rather than the standard weight in ounces.

Bag/Training Gloves (i.e. the stereotypical boxing glove shape with the fixed, padded thumb) – This is my personal preference when it comes to training. Ideally, these gloves can be used for most things. They are lighter than a sparring glove so you can get more accuracy from them and you can still pack a decent punch. I suggest using a 12oz to 14oz for the fellas and either an 10oz or 12oz for the ladies.
I highly recommend that you do aim for at least a midrange glove as these will provide you with the best comfort, quality and normally added wrist support. Not to mention, they will hold their shape for much MUCH longer. Some brands even come with anti-shock technology to help absorb the impact of your punches which will help prevent pain and discomfort up your arm following an intense session.

Sparring Gloves (i.e. the boxing glove look) – Now these are similar to the training gloves
but are normally a bit more padded and softer along the contact zone. As mentioned, you
should be using at least a 14oz or 16oz for sparring. This is to protect your hand along with
your sparring partner’s head. Using a heavier weight glove can also help you in training as it
will build up the strength and conditioning in your arms and shoulders.
Lace up gloves can provide a much more snugger feel and add further support to the wrist
but will require someone to lace them up for you each time. Velcro straps are more
convenient in throwing the gloves on and off without any assistance.

Competition Gloves are normally much lighter in weight with a lot less padding (normally
8oz or 10oz) designed to inflict damage on your opponent, reduce fatigue levels and allow
for much quicker striking ability around the ring. Boxers generally will use red gloves as they
can be harder for the opponent to see.


Just like in the sole of a shoe, gel is an anti-shock substance that is built into some higher
end training gloves and wraps. These will help absorb the shock that is generated from
loaded punches allowing you to get more striking power without the pain and discomfort
after a session of laying into the heavy bag or pads.


Standard wraps are a stretch of material (normally ranging from 120”-180” in length)
designed to protect your bones and tendons in your hand, along with adding support to
your wrist, knuckles and thumb. Quick wraps are inner-like with finger cut-offs designed to slip over
your hand and do include a shorter length wrap to support your wrist. These normally come
with a layer of padding to help protect your knuckles. Although these quick wraps can be
ideal for group “cardio” boxing as they only take two seconds to throw on and off, I
personally wouldn’t recommend them too often in general pad and bag use as they don’t
add the required support. Both styles of wraps are worn under your boxing gloves.
I would generally wrap every client’s hand regardless of the type of training. They should be
fitted first when purchasing a glove as it could be a factor in regards to sizing.


Now I’m not going to be that guy who has claimed to have tried and tested every single
glove ever made and give you his “expert” opinion on what/ what not to use. I am just going
to give you my honest personal experience on some of the better brands that I’ve used.
These have only been used for training purposes only. That is pad work – focus and Thai,
punch and kick shield, heavy bag and floor-to-ceiling bag.

  1. Rival – 10/10 I’m currently training with the Rival RB10 bag gloves and they are
    EVERYTHING that you’d look for in a training glove. The D30 Intelligent shock
    absorption technology absorbs 40% more energy than most standard bag gloves and
    is 38% lighter than most Gel bag gloves. The microfiber construction AirFlow Control
    system helps to keep your hands cool during training. To top it off, they are an
    awesome looking glove. Worth every penny in my books!
  2. Twins – Overall, I place these on the same shelf as Rival. They are an extremely well
    made glove, durable and do allow maximum protection for your thumb, knuckles
    and wrist. You should get years of wear out of any of Twins’ boxing range. I have
    been using a pair of Twins Thai pads for over a year now and they have already
    lasted twice as long as the last couple pairs of (another brand) Thai pads put
  3. Top King – To be honest, I haven’t had a huge experience with TK’s range of gloves,
    although I do own and swear by their focus pads. Just by looking at them you can tell
    that TK have put in a lot of thought into their product range. The pads I own come
    with a unique soft foam tip on the tip of the pad for sticking the boxer for defence
    practice while using. They are also lightweight and compact with wrist wedge for
    support and control while using.
  4. Sting – For the price you pay, these gloves are beyond exceptional. Sting’s range of
    boxing gear does cover beginner through to advanced competition level so they are
    ideal for everyone. I’m currently using Sting’s ArmaPlus boxing gloves in my client’s
    personal training. Not only do they look amazing, they are also a perfect midlevel
    training glove with just the right amount of padding, comfort, wrist support and
  5. Jim Bradley – Even though these are no Rivals or Twins, I have been using JB boxing
    gear throughout my entire personal and group training career. For the price that you
    pay on JB gear you will get more than enough wear and satisfaction out of every
    piece of equipment. Jim Bradley also manufactures outstanding bags and other
    quality training equipment that you’ll find in many gyms around Australia.


I do hope that you have benefited a bit out of this blog. For any questions and enquiries
please do not hesitate to contact me.

Matt Brown

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