Guide to Boxing Gloves, What’s inside a boxing glove part 1
The most important parts of a Boxing Glove for Boxing, Muay Thai and Mma.
Whatever the style of fighting sport you practice, whether you are a competitive fighter or you train Boxing or Muay Thai for fitness or self defence.
You will hit a lot of punching bags, focus pads, Thai Pads and some of you will hit your opponents or sparring partners. This will mean a lot of punishment for your hands which need to be protected over the many years that you may train. I have been training, competing and coaching boxing and Muay Thai for over 30 years and expect many more years out of my hands. So if you plan to hit the heavy bag, focus mitts, speed ball or spar with an opponent you will need to know how to select the right boxing gloves for you.
This boxing glove guide will answer many of the most frequently asked questions and many of the most important questions you would not think of asking but should!
There are important things people should contemplate when buying gloves for their Boxing , Muay Thai or Mma training. Not only to protect their hands but also the durability and cost of the purchase. I have listed the most important considerations below.
Material the outside of the gloves. part 1.
- How the IMF or injected foam and mould layered foam inner foam glove is constructed. Part 2.
- The wrist support and thumb is attachment to the glove Part 3
Bag glove or training / sparring glove. Part 6
Size of the glove & palm grip bar.Part 7.
Is there a real difference between Boxing gloves and Muay Thai gloves. Part 8.
Materials the outside of the glove can be made from.
Leather, Micro fibre, Pu, Vinyl.
There is leather and there is leather, many different qualities are used, with most boxing glove manufacturers use cow leather, or buffalo leather. Cow leather is the most expensive and depending on how thick it is the most supple and longest lasting. Buffalo leather is courser than cow leather and you can usually see the old hair marks, it can be as durable as cow leather.
Leather can be split many times and the more times it is split the thinner and weaker it will become. The most expensive is the cow leather and the top grain is the best, leather can made thick, soft and supple but it can also be made thin, weak and therefore cheaper. A boxing glove leather is usually between 0.5mm and 1mm thick.
Higher quality leather boxing gloves will use full grain cow leathers which will be at least 1mm thick, used by manufacturers like Twins, Ringsport, Rival boxing, Top King and Fairtex. Most of the leathers used by Thailand manufactures tend to be the higher quality leathers. Pakistan and Indian manufacturers often use thinner, cheaper leather though it does comes down to price, and some of Pakistan boxing glove manufactures will produce very high quality leather boxing gloves, it just depends on the price point retailers are after.
Above are three brands that are using high quality leather gloves, the Ringsport and the Top King gloves are models made in Thailand with high quality leather and the Rival glove although made in Pakistan is a high quality leather.
In my opinion a boxing glove made of high quality cow leather is the best for durability, odor control and comfort.
Micro fibre is a relatively new material used in boxing gloves and technically there is not much info around about it, I know of only one manufacture that is promoting the use of it and that is Rival boxing from Canada, the gloves that are being manufacture with this material are made in China. The material is very good and from what I have seen and tested it is very durable and possibly more durable than high quality leather. All of the gloves that this material is used on have mesh in the palm of the glove, which may be to help with odor control. I have a pair of the RB10 bag gloves which have been used by one of my competition boxers in my gym for going on two years. I check them quite often and they are in very good condition with no odor at all.
I believe this is a very good material and I expect it will be used more and more in the future, as cow leather keeps increasing in price.
Both gloves above are high quality gloves made from micro fibre
PU - Polyurethane
PU is one of the poorest materials I have seen used in boxing gloves, it does look nice and feels nice in it new state but it is tends to separate from its backing material quite quickly and get very smelly, it is one the cheapest material to manufacture boxing gloves and such there will always be a market for it. Some big name brands use it in many of their gloves especially in the palm area.
Pu made boxing gloves are ok as an entry level glove, or a glove to start training with incase you do not find boxing training is for you. If you love boxing and will be training often, you can them and then move up to a better quality glove. I would avoid boxing gloves with any PU material in them if you plan to box more than twice a week.
Above is PU material separation on a cheaper bag mitt
Vinyl material in boxing gloves tends to be a stronger longer lasting material than PU but it does get very smelly and tends to split along the stitching lines at the pressure areas, around the thumb and the curl of the fist at the hitting areas. Not the best and again I would avoid it if possible.
There are many non-leather or semi leather variations of materials that boxing gloves are made with, I could not say I am expert in all of the materials that have and are being used for boxing equipment. Top King have a material they call semi leather which is very durable and looks so much like leather you cannot tell that it is not real leather.
Punch branded gloves also use a non-leather which they call punchtex which again is very durable and it looks and feel is very similar to real leather, these sort of materials are very good and more economical than leather gloves. The non-leather materials are better for shin guards, hand pads and products that are open to the air and don’t stay damp.
Vinyl is a durable material but tends to split at the stitched areas
With boxing gloves, muay thai or mma gloves, if your budget allows stick to high quality leather boxing gloves, they should last years. In Australia a good pair of high quality leather boxing gloves should cost around $90 to $125 for a full range visit Ringsport