Types of Boxing Gloves
Whether you’re new the sport of boxing or even an amateur who has been boxing for a few years, you may not realise that boxing gloves come in many different types for different purposes, from training, sparring to competition and of course there are variations within the variations, so to combat this complexity, we’ve written a guide that covers all the different types!
First of all is the traditional glove that most people would recognise, the sparring glove. Also known as training gloves and sometimes known as all-purpose gloves, which, can you guess, is because they can be used for all of your training needs, you can use them for both bag work and sparring. However, they are not used for competitions, we’ll come to that later.
Gloves come in different weights depending on the amount of padding within the glove, they range from 8oz to 20oz and go up in 2oz intervals (oz stands for ounces). For kids use 4oz & 6oz.
The get the right size glove for yourself, use your body weight as a measure, bigger people will use a heavier glove to provide more padding. Use the table below as a reference to get yourself the right size glove:
Below 120lbs (55Kgs)
12oz – 14oz
120lbs – 150lbs (55 – 68Kgs)
14oz – 16oz
150lbs – 180lbs (60Kgs – 81Kgs)
16oz – 20oz
18oz – 20oz
Sparring gloves are meant for sparring (sparring is fight practice against an opponent), however they are often also used for general training.
They are slightly more padded than other gloves to ensure that your opponent does not get hurt when sparring. Typically, you would use a heavier glove when sparring, at least 16oz unless you are on the smaller side, below 120lbs, in which case you might use 12-14oz.
If you are bigger, 180lbs+, you should opt for at least 18oz gloves for sparring.
Tip: Make sure you are your sparring partner are using the same weight gloves, otherwise you will get a hit a lot harder than you are punching, and give them a massive advantage.
If you are looking to compete at boxing, it is often advised to spar with the same weight gloves as you would use in competition so you can optimise your technique and style for the weight and get used to the size of the gloves when blocking.
For beginners, you should start with a higher weight and slowly reduce down to your competition weight gloves when you feel comfortable.
These are of course, gloves for competitive boxing events, and for almost all boxing events you will be given an exact weight to use depending on your weight class, such as 12oz or 14oz. The gloves will have to be approved for boxing competitions by the organisers and the boxing body. Your fight organisers or trainers will normally provide you with the correct size and specifications or simply get the gloves for you. Typically, competition gloves provide less padding and are smaller than training or sparring gloves. This means that you will inflict more damage on your opponent and receive more damage!
Bag gloves are meant just for bag work and there are actually two forms of gloves, one type for hard hitting training and one type for technique training. The heavy hitting workout type have a lot of padding and wrist support so you can hit the bag as hard as possible, providing a great workout and of course power training. The gloves just for technique are very thin and provide no support/padding whatsoever, this allows them to be lighter and so allows the boxer to improve speed and technique.
However, most boxers will simply buy a pair of training gloves for bag workouts, something like a 12oz weight instead of specific bag gloves, and then purchase a separate pair for sparring that provides a bit more protection, normally 14-16oz.
Hook & Loop (Velco) Vs Lace
Aside from the different types of gloves and the different weights, there are also two different variations for fastening the glove to your hands. The first is hook-and-loop, which is a Velcro strap and so allows you to do the gloves up yourself, the second is a lace variation, which provides more support to the wrists as they will be slightly tighter down the wrist, but require someone else to do them up for you. For this reason, they are only used for sparring and competitions and hook-and-loop are used for bag workouts, as well as sparring depending on if the boxer prefers the ease of use.
Boxing Glove Material
All high quality boxing gloves are made of leather, normally cowhide, sometimes goatskin., with the padding consisting of a mix of horsehair and foam. High quality gloves are made of leather because its flexibility and durability, whereas lower quality gloves are made of vinyl, due to lower production costs. It is not recommended to use vinyl gloves, they won’t last anywhere near as long as leather and won’t be as comfortable when punching. Additionally, professional boxing bodies won’t allow anything except leather gloves to be used in fights. are made of synthetic leather.
Don’t forget to purchase hand wraps with your boxing gloves, they are worn at all times when boxing. Hand wraps are used to secure and tighten the hand when making a fist, not to provide padding for the knuckles, that’s what the gloves are for. Hand wraps stop your fingers or knuckles breaking onto each other and stop your hand collapsing in on itself when throwing punches.
Differences Between Boxing Glove Size & Type
Generally, the bigger the glove, the more padding it has. When training, boxers want more padding as this gives more protection when hitting the bags and sparring. Hitting the bags, especially the bigger bags, can cause damage to the hands over time without adequate protection, so of course you want the best protection possible, which are the bigger gloves.
Note: You should also be wearing hand wraps at all times when training, sparring and competing to protect both your hands and your wrists.
Additionally, training with bigger and heavier gloves will make you more accustomed to that size and so when dropping down in glove size, such as for a competition, you will find your hands and punches will be faster!
Amateur competition gloves have the least amount of padding for an amateur, while professional competition gloves have the least padding of all, which allows for harder punches against your opponent.
Mexican Style Gloves
Mexican styles gloves are smaller and encourage a more compact fist, essentially they allow you to make the perfect fist, which allows for harder punches. They typically don’t have as much padding unless you buy a high quality pair but they are often regarded as the best type for competitions, Cleto Reyes is the without a doubt the best brand for Mexican style gloves and one of, if not, the best, manufacturer of gloves in the world today.
Make sure you get proper fitting gloves, this means the gloves fit your hands with your hand wraps on, they should be snug around the wraps on your hands, however you should still be able to make a fist quite comfortably inside the glove. Try on a few different brands if possible, as they are all slightly different sizes around your hand inside the glove, potentially try on other people’s gloves at your boxing gym, or your trainer may have a few pairs.
The brand does make a difference with boxing gloves. They all have different manufacturing processes and so the weight is distributed across the glove differently, due to more or less padding in different sections of the glove, for instance some brands provide more protection to the fist and some have more wrist protection. A smaller weighted glove from a high quality brand, such as Grant or Ringside, will provide more padding and protection than a higher weighted glove from a cheaper manufacturer such as TKO or Century. Your best bet for high quality gloves is to buy online, where there is a huge range of gloves after trying some on in person.