Boxing Gloves Buying Guide
What are Boxing Gloves?
Boxing gloves are used for any activity where punching and stroking is involved. It might be boxing, martial arts, or just exercise using a heavy bag or speed bag. Making sure that you have the right pair of boxing gloves is important for many reasons such as preventing injuries and protecting the participants involved in a sparring or boxing match. It enhances the enjoyment of these activities as well because of the added comfort boxing gloves provide.
There are many different types, sizes and weights available when it comes to boxing gloves not to mention the vast array of brands that sell them. It can be overwhelming to consumers who are looking for the right pair of gloves for themselves. When you learn about the different kinds of gloves that are available and the benefits to each, it makes it much easier to narrow down the search. This will also help you avoid paying too much for gloves or accidentally buying low quality pairs.
The Different Types of Gloves
There are four basic categories that boxing gloves fall into. Each of them has their own use that they are best suited for. We have outlined the different kinds below so you know the difference.
Training Gloves – All Purpose – This type of boxing glove is great for punching bags and sparring with partners. They have a plush padding and a good wrist support that allow the user to use them for long training sessions and you won’t end up with sprained and sore wrists. The all purpose boxing gloves are a little heavier than other types but this added weight is a benefit and provides the user with a really good workout. You will usually find all purpose training gloves in most gyms because they are such good choices for beginners to use.
Bag Gloves – The next of the list is the bag glove. Although they are similar to all purpose training gloves, they do not have the same amount of thickness and padding that training gloves have. Bag gloves can give the user a great workout with the right support and not damage your wrists. You can use a good set of bag gloves for a full day’s workout without getting excessively tired due to them being lighter than the training gloves.
Sparring Gloves – In between training gloves and competition gloves is the sparring glove. It has plenty of padding and support to enable the user to have good long workouts, but they don’t have the tiring weight that training gloves have. They are comparable to competition gloves but for sparring, the extra padding that competition gloves don’t have come in handy while they are getting used to fighting with partners. A general rule of thumb is to use sparring gloves for practices and the lighter gloves for fights and competitions.
Competition Gloves – Last but not least is the competition glove. This is not a glove that all users will be using due to the fact that not all people who use boxing gloves will be competing. These gloves are easy to pick out of the different kinds of gloves because they are not designed with a lot of padding. They are best used for short matches between serious and experienced fighters. It is not advisable for beginners to spar or bag train with competition gloves. It takes some time to gain the proper strength and skill with a partner or on the bag and it is recommended that users take that time before ever attempting to enter competitions.
How to Get the Right Size Gloves
Boxing gloves are available in sizes that work for men, women and children and there are small, medium and large sizes within each of those categories. The most flexible of all three of these will be women’s and children’s gloves and men’s will usually be the largest. There are several different factors that go into determining the right size glove for you if you will be participating in competitions. These include:
- The size of the user
- The type of glove it is
- The type of competition
- The fighting organization
Fitting boxing gloves properly takes a bit of maneuvering to make sure that they are snug but not tight. You need to be able to tell the difference between the two. One way of telling is to note if your fingers or hands are experiencing discomfort. Make sure that you choose a size that is big enough to fit over the hand wraps.
Hand wraps are a necessity when using boxing gloves, whether you are exercising or sparring or competing. The purpose of the hand wraps is to provide the user with more stability when they are punching and striking. They are stretchy and wrapped around the user’s hand from the wrist to the top of the fingers.
If the boxing gloves you choose are leather, make note of the fact that leather gloves will stretch over time and will need to be replaced. Leather boxing gloves that are not snug can be a danger and not just uncomfortable. The best way to determine what the right size is for you is to try on some boxing gloves at your gym is available. They can help you narrow down which is the right size for you to get.
How Important is the Weight of the Gloves?
The weight of the gloves that you choose will also be dependent upon the weight of the user. In general, if the weight of the user is heavier they will require a heavier glove. This is not as complicated as it may sound. Training gloves are usually heavier than some other types of gloves. Sparring gloves will be about 2 ounces heavier than the training gloves will be according to the weight of the user. Here’s an example.
A user who weighs 180 pounds will want to get training gloves that are 16 ounces and sparring gloves that are 18 ounces. The extra padding provided in the sparring gloves will protect both you and your partner while you train and learn the proper techniques, etc. If you compete or plan on competing, these will be your lightest gloves but will require some knowledge of what the competition allows. Be sure you know before you purchase a pair of competition gloves. Below is a chart that you can use as a guideline for choosing the right glove weight. The chart below applies to children and adults, although most children will fit in the under 120 pounds category.
- Less than 120 pounds – Training Gloves – 10 oz Sparring Gloves – 12-14 oz
- 120-150 pounds – Training Gloves – 12-14 oz Sparring Gloves – 14-16 oz
- 150-180 pounds – Training Gloves- 14-16 oz Sparring Gloves – 16-18 oz
- Over 180 pounds – Training Gloves – 16-18 oz Sparring Gloves – 18-20 oz
Below is a breakdown of the different weights that boxing gloves come in and what they are best suited for at each weight.
8 oz gloves – These are primarily used for competitions and fighting. They are extremely small on adults unless their hands are very small which is why they are mostly just used for full contact tournaments.
10 oz gloves – This size glove is a good choice when you’re looking for something to use for hitting heavy bags and pads. This is going to be the smallest choice for adults on a practical level.
12 oz gloves – This is a commonly chosen size for an all around training glove. There is a good chance that you will not be allowed to use this size glove for sparring in gyms.
14 oz gloves – This is the most common size all rounder glove. You won’t get as tired using these when working on the hitting pads because they are a little lighter than the larger 16 oz size. There is a good amount of padding on a 14 oz glove and can more than likely be used to spar if you’re weight is on the lighter size.
16 oz gloves – This is the most common sized gym sparring glove and is considered the “big dog” of the boxing world. These are very effective for larger people with big hands, as the extra size protects your partner. You can use 16 oz gloves for hitting pads; you just may find that it is more tiring. They are the perfect go to choice for anyone weighing over 143 pounds that will be doing sparring with a partner. Be aware of the design of the 16 oz glove you are looking to buy because sometimes they don’t have any more padding than a 14 oz does. Check to ensure that extra padding protection is there.
18 oz gloves – You will not see 18 oz gloves very often except for the largest men in combat sports. They are not only super padded but very heavy as well. Their purpose is to make it safer for a smaller/lighter person to spar with an exceptional large and tall one. The only reason you will need this size is if you are a heavyweight boxer.
Which is Better, Vinyl or Leather?
When it comes to the material your boxing gloves are made of you will typically find choices in vinyl and leather. Of the two, leather is a better choice for many reasons. We’ve outlined the differences between the two below for you to consider.
Leather Boxing Gloves – The pros of buying leather gloves are that they are long lasting, durable, breathe well, and are better quality than vinyl. Some cons that many users may not like is that they are more expensive than vinyl gloves and they are prone to stretching after they’ve been used for awhile, much like leather shoes do.
Vinyl Boxing Gloves – Many people end up buying vinyl; boxing gloves thinking that they are saving money, but this is not a good alternative to leather, especially if the user intends to do any boxing or sparring. Here are some other pros and cons about vinyl boxing gloves. They are less expensive and easy to clean. They are not as durable as leather and more than likely, if vinyl gloves are purchased, you will be replacing them all too soon. They tend to hold moisture longer which can cause problems as well. They can be good for cardio kickboxing and martial arts if the user prefers and can also be a good introductory pair of gloves for a child but if they are serious about boxing they will need to have leather at some point.
Which is Better, Laces or Velcro Closures?
There are two types of closures that boxing gloves will have: lace up or Velcro. Lace up boxing gloves work just like a pair of lace up shoes. You will get a much more secure closer with laces than with Velcro. The major drawback to lace up boxing gloves is that you will need someone else to help you lace them up. For this reason, you may want to have Velcro for working out if you will be working out alone.
How Many Pairs of Gloves Should You Get?
If you are going to be just using your boxing gloves for exercise purposes such as using a heavy bag or speed bag then you will probably only need one set of boxing gloves. If you plan on training for sparring with an actual live partner and competing it would be advisable to get a couple of pairs of boxing gloves at the very least. Most people that intend to be serious about boxing will get a pair of gloves for practicing and a pair for competitions.
Your heavier gloves will be for sparring and using the punching bag for training. The lighter pair that optimally will be lace up will be for your competitions and fights. If you enjoy working out by yourself, make sure your practice gloves have Velcro closures so you can put them on properly by yourself. Leather is going to be the preferred material for both sets of your gloves.
How Martial Arts Gloves are Different
While most of what has been talked about so far in this buyer’s guide is boxing gloves. Gloves are also used for martial arts but these are very different gloves in look and function. One of the big differences between regular boxing gloves and martial arts gloves is that the hand (palm) is open that makes grabs, open fisted strikes and closed-fist strikes more accurate and possible. Those moves couldn’t be done with regular boxing gloves. Martial arts gloves are not different weights but they do come in different sizes. You want to find martial arts gloves that are flexible so the user’s hands move easily.
What is a Boxing Glove Set?
There are boxing glove sets available but these seem to be best suited for beginners and can be quite exciting for a younger youth/child to receive when they’ve shown an interest in martial arts or boxing. The box sets usually have gloves and others boxing or martial arts equipment. Most commonly seen together in box sets are heavy bags and gloves, gloves and headgear. These kits are good starter kits and not usually geared towards more experienced boxers. The gloves contained in boxed sets are usually not as high quality as individual boxing glove pairs are.
Caring for Your Gloves Properly
Caring for your sports equipment helps it last longer and this same rule applies to boxing gloves too. With the proper care they can last a lot longer. There are several things that you can do and not do to ensure that they last as long as possible. One of the most important things about taking care of your gloves is to watch that they are not stored in a place that holds moisture such as a plastic bag.
It might seem like an easy way to care for them and prevent scratching but the moisture can cause fungus to grow inside the gloves and also can make them smell terrible. Once you are done using them, let them air dry completely. Get a cotton duffel bag or other cotton bag and store them in there. The cotton breathes well and will not have moisture build up. Below are more tips for keeping your boxing gloves clean and fresh and ready to use.
- You can use an anti-bacterial spray to kill germs inside the gloves. Don’t soak them down but misting them inside and out will keep bacteria away. Don’t spray with body spray or perfume.
- If your gloves have developed a bad odor, put each glove in a separate bag that seals and put them in the freezer overnight. Let them air dry for a couple of days and you’ll be good to go.
- Place cotton fabric inside your boxing gloves before storing them in your gym bag
- Fill two socks with cedar shavings and secure. After your gloves dry out, slide one sock into each glove to keep them fresh and smelling good.
- Periodically apply lotion lightly to the outside of your leather gloves to keep them from drying out and cracking. Wipe the down before use so no chemicals get into the eyes of your opponent.
- Soak your boxing gloves in a saline (saltwater) solution overnight. This solution gets rid of any bacteria in the gloves. TAKE CAUTION: this method can be really detrimental to your gloves if they are made of a material that reacts badly to saltwater.
What Do Boxing Gloves Do?
The purpose of boxing gloves is to absorb the force of impact from whatever it is connecting with. A bigger and heavier glove will take more of the force as it flattens against the target you are hitting. The benefit to this is that less force will be transferred to your opponent. This means that less damage will be done on both sides of the glove. Beginning boxers need to understand that the goal of sparring is to practice your technique and improve your skill, not just knock someone out.
Because of this objective, sparring gloves have a lot more padding and they are generally bigger as well. Using a 16 oz glove to spar with a partner will be a lot less jarring than using a 10 oz which has far less padding.
Safety Measures When Boxing
Boxing and martial arts can be a dangerous sport when care is not taken to follow safety rules that will help keep the participants from getting injured by inexperience.
- Try to avoid wearing communal boxing gloves. Since you don’t know if they have been taken care of, you don’t know if they have fungus inside that could cause health problems for you by using them. It is best to have your own and properly take care of them.
- Have the proper equipment when boxing and/or using the heavy bag which will include properly fitting gloves, hand wraps, mouth guard and a timer.
- Beginners need to remember not to try to jump in and do too much. Hitting the bag too hard or going to fast will do nothing but cause injuries. Take the time to learn the proper technique for punching and striking and don’t over hit.
- Ensure that you have learned how to make a fist properly and to know which knuckles you should strike whenever you punch. It is also important to know the proper alignment of fist, wrist and forearm to avoid injuring these parts. Using videos, DVD training or in person instruction learn hand techniques and blows to the head and body. There are many different hits and punches and a professional instructor can teach you the right way to do them.
With all the information in this buyer’s guide you have everything you need to be able to get the perfect boxing gloves for your needs whether you are interested in becoming a competitive boxer or you just want to learn to use a heavy or speed bag for exercise. With so many choices available, having the right information can not only save you time but save you money as well.
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