What is the difference between Muay Thai, MMA, and Boxing Gloves?
Different types of boxing have resulted in brands developing different types of gloves. With the different types of boxing styles, it is important to choose the right type of glove depending on the fighting style (e.g., Muay Thai, MMA, and (western) boxing) as all boxing gloves come in various shapes and uses.
There are only two real styles though, two different enough to be separated. Those styles are the Muay Thai style and the Western Boxing style. When most people think, of “Boxing gloves,” they usually think of the more western style. Due to the growing popularity of MMA, there is also the new, “MMA Boxing glove,” style.
Traditional Western-Style Boxing Gloves
Boxing gloves usually have the same overall style with some slight changes. Some are more rounded than others, such as the Ringside IMF gloves, and some are more flat, like the Ring To Cage C17s. Some use a straight thumb like Winning and others used a more curved thumb like Reyes.
Practically any western Boxing glove though comes standard with a grip bar and either closure of lace or velcro, sometimes both. The materials used range from leather to synthetic to mesh, and the liners use all sorts.
Because Boxers use their knuckles and only their knuckles for striking, a Boxing gloves padding is heavily used for the knuckles. The foams used to go all over the glove but the greatest accumulation of padding will always be the knuckles to offer great protection.
Some gloves also have some thick padding on the palm side for things such as parrying but the majority is for the knuckles. Western Boxing gloves also aren’t as flexible as Thai gloves.
Our recommended western-style boxing gloves
Hayabusa T3 Boxing gloves are one of the best boxing gloves we recommend. They are built with the finest materials and best in class foam padding that offer incredible protection to your knuckles and wrists. The dual strap wrist support ensures that your wrists stay aligned & protected even when you throw bad punches. What really stands out is the inner fabric which feels smooth and keeps your hands cool and less sweaty.
If you are in the market for a new pair of boxing gloves that will stand up to the test, the Hayabusa T3 is a great pair of gloves to get.Pros:
- Fantastic wrist support
- One of the best-looking gloves
- Premium quality end to end
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- They can get quite tight when you wear them on hand wraps
- It can take some time to break into them as the foam is hard
Winning is widely regarded as the BEST BOXING GLOVES in the world of combat sports. Over the years, the Japanese brand has retained not just its brand respect but more importantly its quality control. There isn't any hype unlike other brands and they are not dependent on sponsorships. Winning gloves have become the defacto standard for professionals around the world. No gimmicky marketing or annual redesigns just simply amazing gloves. The gold standard and a favorite among professionals and serious amateurs alike.11/22/2023 01:44 am GMT
Cleto Reyes is one of the most respected names in boxing and has developed some of the highest quality gloves available. When you're training for a competition, you want to make sure you're using gloves that are designed with your striking needs in mind.
These gloves have many excellent features, including an intelligently designed thumb and wrist support system that is made of 100% leather and waterproof nylon padding to keep your hands dry and ensure you have a superior training experience. These gloves are very comfortable and also feature a wrap-around hook enclosure that doesn't ever seem to slip. When it comes to comfort and performance, these are great gloves, second only to the winning boxing pair.11/22/2023 11:54 am GMT
Ring to Cage C17 2.0 gloves are third on our Top 10 list. R2C has been successful in making more affordable Winning alternatives. The overall performance and design truly rival Winning for half the price. It is usually difficult to find a pair that works perfectly for both bag work and sparring but R2C provides the right mix with ample padding and is small enough for the canvas. R2C gloves are available in both Velcro and Lace-up depending on what you prefer11/21/2023 10:29 am GMT
Muay Thai Style Gloves
Muay Thai gloves are used for thai boxing and are of excellent quality, although they are not identical to boxing gloves. They are designed in such a way that it is easy to open your hands and for your thumbs to clinch and grab opponents. They’re also better at blocking kicks, which is an important part of Thai martial arts. Because these gloves keep your hands open, making it difficult to make a fist, they slow down your punching combinations and rate.
Thai gloves usually have the same style. They aren’t as versatile as Boxing gloves when it comes to looks. The designs such as screen printing can be dramatic but the actual glove style is relatively the same. For example, the majority of Thai gloves are usually one solid shape from the back of the hand to the thumb. In boxing gloves, on the other hand, the thumb can be sewn on separately such as in Winning gloves. You frequently see a Boxing glove thumb split into two different colors such as Grant’s.
Thai gloves are also usually more compact than Boxing gloves. A lot of the padding is focused on the back of the hand for better blocking. The knuckle padding is noticeably thinner when compared to Boxing gloves. This is due to a Thai Boxer’s usage of other striking tools such as kicks, knees, and elbows. A Thai Boxer doesn’t need to rely on just their knuckles which means there’s no need to heavily load the knuckles with foam.
Thai gloves are also more flexible than Boxing gloves. Some Thai gloves also have no grip bar such as my Fairtex BGV1s (one of the best muay thai gloves). Both the flexibility and lack of grip bar serve the purpose of allowing the user more control of the hands during a clinch. The straight thumb implemented by Thai gloves also allows for a better grip which again aids in the clinch.
Our recommended Muay Thai Gloves
Fairtex BGV1 comes #7 in our Top 10 gloves list. Fairtex is another Muay Thai brand that has been making premium boxing gloves for over 40 years now and the quality of their gloves showcases their long history.
The padding is durable but not too hard, giving you just enough space to transfer the power of your punch into your target while protecting your hands from getting hurt.
Other boxing gloves make it hard to clinch effectively, but the shape of these Muay Thai gloves helps you get the most of this position.11/22/2023 12:36 am GMT
Top King’s “AIR” gloves are a true workhorse made for punishing the heavy bag, focus mitts, or heavy sparring while giving you the peace of mind that your hands and sparring partners are nice and protected. Due to the padding, these would be great for those practicing Muay Thai or western boxing alike. Fighters with previous hand issues should also check these out or anyone in general who wants a glove that will set them apart from the crowd while giving them the performance to match.11/22/2023 12:19 am GMT
Twins is a leading manufacturer of Muay Thai boxing gear and sports equipment. These gloves were chosen by many as the best Thai-style boxing gloves. The velcro straps on these gloves are fantastic and don't slip the way some of the other straps tend to. The padding is strong and durable and allows for some devastating punches in the ring.
Boon Gloves are by far the most comfortable piece of gear I’ve bought to use for training, and not just in terms of boxing gloves. If you’re looking for an all-around great pair of gloves. They work well as either a bag glove, for pad work, or sparring with enough padding and wrist support to keep you hitting for days. We have received numerous compliments about these gloves from others who have tried them on and I’m sure you will too if you give them a try.11/22/2023 01:55 am GMT
Just to be clear I am referring to the Boxing MMA style gloves, not the hybrid open palm MMA gloves used by MMA fighters. Now, this is considered as a “new,” style but the gloves fall in either the Thai style or the Boxing style. For example, the Venum Challengers are primarily Thai gloves while the Hayabusa Tokushus are more Boxing.
The reason these gloves are considered a new style is mainly because of how awkward or unique they are. The Tokushus have dual velcro straps, a split backhand, and also a knuckle section that is split from the rest of the glove. Even the stitching is unique as it’s very close to the striking surface. All these qualities are things you don’t see in standard Boxing gloves. Winning, Ringside, Grant, they don’t use dual velcros, no sectioned backhand, no sectioned off knuckles. Standard Boxing gloves are traditionally one solid shape with few sections.
The MMA Boxing glove style again just falls into either Thai or Boxing. The reason these new gloves have sprouted their style is just on the looks. Another example would be Title’s new sculpted foam series. Title’s strange concoction would lead many to see these as, “MMA,” style just because of how strange they look.
Our Recommended MMA Gloves
The Fairtex Combat Sparring Gloves are one of the finest creations ever for MMA training. These gloves are relatively expensive, but if you are looking for something durable for your training, these are highly recommended. They come with a top-grain leather shell and offer complete protection for sparring and bag training. These are probably the only gloves that have an all-black look and are sure to turn heads at the gym.
We found the foam to be extra thick but not so thick that your movements are affected. Their ergonomic built-in curve in the foam ensures good movement and protection. It also has a full wraparound wristband and a hook and loop closure for added wrist protection.
Crafted in the heartland of muay thai, Thailand, this boxing gear embodies the essence of quality, these weighted gloves come in sizes ranging from 8 to 16 oz.Why should you buy this?:
Why shouldn't you buy this?:
- If you are someone that always values quality and value for money, these gloves are for you. They are not relatively expensive, but their quality justifies the price.
- With complete protection in mind, these gloves excel in both functionality and style. Their all-black design sets them apart, ensuring you not only stand out at the gym but also have the confidence of adequate protection during intense training
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- These gloves might be an overkill if you are novice and just getting started in the sport.
Considering the price, design, durability, comfort and efficiency of these gloves, Venum Challenger 2.0 is a great way for new boxers to get started with some great gloves without breaking the bank. These gloves last a long time, hit hard, absorb most shock and are light as a feather. The amount of support given to the hand and fingers is surprisingly good considering that these gloves cost only around $50.00. With the low price-point and unmatched quality offered by Venum, you can't go wrong with the Venum Challenger 2.0 Boxing Gloves.11/21/2023 09:25 pm GMT
The most important job of gloves is to safeguard knuckles and wrists, and RDX excels in this arena. Crafted with 100% authentic Maya hide leather, they outshine conventional PU leather gloves. Maya Hide offers heightened resilience, lasting durability, reduced weight, and a distinct texture.
Gym practitioners, attest to RDX gloves' stellar knuckle protection, eliminating tears and blisters. The gloves feature a hook-and-loop system for added wrist support, without compromising movement.
Versatility stands out - these gloves smoothly transition between exercises while ensuring knuckle protection. Their lightweight construction and easy on/off design are a boon for varied training sessions.
But the real game-changer? The tri-layered padding disperses punch impact shock, tailor-made for impact resistance. Moreover, the cut-curved palm design ensures flawless bar gripping during workouts while open-palm style keeps airflow steady, avoiding bad odors.
Price wise, RDX strikes the perfect balance between quality and affordability. No more costly yet fragile gloves or flimsy inexpensive pairs.Why should you buy this?:
Why shouldn't you buy this?:
- Unbeatable knuckle protection, versatile workouts, and premium Maya hide leather, all within your budget!
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- These gloves take a while to break into, so if you are looking for gloves that offer immediate flexibility, these are not for you.
The Louis-Vuitton of MMA gloves, the Hayabusa T3 LX Leather gloves, are made from high-end hand-crafted Italian leather. It’s not just about the looks, their premium multi-layered foam technology absorbs heavy impacts and offers best-in-class protection for your knuckles and fists. It is also very versatile and allows you to smoothly transition between striking and grappling moves thanks to its Y-volar no-shift design.
We were concerned about durability as this is not genuine leather, but the gloves held up well against the most intense training exercises over a 9-month period and is still going strong. The leather does fade if exposed to extreme heat or if it isn't maintained properly.Why should you buy this?:
Why shouldn't you buy this?:
- If you are someone that hates wearing hand wraps, these gloves are for you.
- The dual-x closure of these gloves will ensure a snug fit. They are also easily one of the best-looking MMA gloves on the market today!
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- If you are someone that likes a looser fit, you may find these gloves very tight especially if you have bigger hands.
- If you don't want to compromise on genuine leather, although the quality of the leather is extremely good and long lasting
For aspiring boxers on a budget, the Combat Pro gloves offer an excellent entry point to the sport without breaking the bank. Tailored for beginners, these gloves meet state regulations for professional competition, making them a suitable choice for those exploring the sport's fundamentals.
Though these gloves adhere to competition standards, they might not be the best option for senior-level tournaments where higher-grade gear is expected. Designed with safety in mind, their 5-ounce weight and 3/4-inch padding provide a balance between protection for both the wearer and opponents.
Ideal for sparring sessions, the gloves' open palm design enhances grappling and gripping capabilities. While not intended for advanced competitions, they remain a budget-friendly choice for those aiming to dip their toes into the boxing world.
In conclusion, the Combat Pro gloves offer a cost-effective option of decent quality, making them a viable selection for novice fighters seeking to engage in controlled sparring and preliminary competitions.Why should you buy this?:
Why shouldn't you buy this?:
- These gloves are for you if you are a budget-conscious beginner seeking affordable gloves that meet professional competition regulations, prioritize safety, and allow better grappling during sparring.
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- If you're a senior-level or serious competitor, give these gloves a miss. While they meet professional regulations, they might not match the quality expected for higher-level tournaments.
The Sanabul Battle Forged MMA Gloves are meticulously crafted for both aspiring novices and seasoned professionals. They are ideal for training, sparring, and competition. These gloves boast the iconic Muay Thai compact shape, providing an intentionally snug fit that mirrors traditional Muay Thai-style gloves while delivering unmatched enhancements in performance.
Crafted with SBL engineered leather and three-layer foam, they offer elevated comfort and durability. The entire Battle Forged Series embodies the ethos that small details make significant differences, showcased through subtle exterior designs and high-performance composition, solidifying the Battle Forged line as a favorite choice.
Designed to seamlessly transition between grappling and striking, these gloves are perfect for MMA training and sparring. The performance premium lining averts excessive moisture absorption, extending the glove's lifespan. The hook-and-loop closure system enables easy on-and-off, even while wearing hand wraps, while the extended overstrap ensures a secure training fit.11/21/2023 03:30 pm GMT
The Everlast Pro-Style MMA Grappling Gloves are the perfect sparring gloves for both beginners and professionals. Crafted from premium synthetic leather, these gloves showcase exceptional construction, ensuring longevity and functionality. Elevate your training sessions with the full wrist wrap strap that offers unparalleled wrist support and a customizable fit, guaranteeing security during every move.
Innovative EverDri Technology sets these gloves apart, featuring a moisture-absorbing lining that keeps your hands dry and your equipment in prime condition, enhancing their lifespan. The gloves boast a sleek new design, incorporating a refined MMA grappling glove padding silhouette that strikes the perfect balance between protection and agility.
Designed for comfort and flexibility, the gloves feature an ergonomic fist shape that adapts to your hand's natural curvature, reducing strain during intense sessions. Whether you're honing your grappling skills or engaging in mitt work, these gloves cater to your needs.
Overall, the Everlast Pro-Style MMA Grappling Gloves are the ultimate companion for those who demand durability, functionality, and comfort in their training gear.Pros:
- Perfect for general use and exercise
- Best suited for amateur fighters
- The padding on the knuckles is sufficient
- The thumb is open for greater flexibility
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- Heavy-bag training is not recommended
- Knuckle protection is insufficient for rigorous training
- Finding the ideal size could require some effort
- The absence of leather may reduce user confidence for prolonged use
These are hands down one of the best gloves for bag and sparring use. A 2" layer of molded foam padding ensures maximum safety during training. We thought the thick padding would interfere with mobility, but the gloves felt so comfortable due to their ergonomic fit and the hinged knuckle design allows for a full range of motion. These gloves also offer amazing wrist support with their wrap-around wrist strap that keeps them tight and secure. Our boxers liked the fully open palm design that allows for skin contact and better control. It has a good quality striking surface built with leather and can easily last more than 6 months for heavy to intense trainers.Why should you buy this?:
Why shouldn't you buy this?:
- If you are focused on stand-up training like punching bags, these gloves offer the best protection for your hands overall.
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- If you are someone that is used to loose-fitting and flexible gloves, you might find these gloves uncomfortable.
- Do not buy these gloves if your training is focused on grappling!
Just like their competition counterparts (T3 LX MMA gloves), these gloves have a premium feel to them. They also feel incredibly comfortable to wear and spar with. It is designed for the boxers’ comfort and has a pre-formed curve to reduce hand fatigue and an open palm design with a fully-adjustable velcro wrist wrap closure. They are built with microfiber vegan leather that provides superior tear, crack, and abrasion resistance and helps them last longer than most other sparring gloves. The Dual-X Closure provides hand and wrist stabilization and the high-density padded foam absorbs impact and dissipates energy so your hand is protected and you can train longer.Why should you buy this?:
Why shouldn't you buy this?:
- If you are not budget constrained and are a Hayabusa loyalist, go for these gloves. Otherwise, these gloves are way too expensive for what they offer (our opinion)
- They do offer best in class comfort and durability
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- At over $100, these gloves are one of the most expensive in the market, there are other options that are cheaper and offer more.
The Everlast training MMA gloves are probably one of the best training gloves under $40 on the market today. They are made of 100% Polyurethane (PU) that provides decent durability. They have reinforced finger loops with anatomical thumb padding for increased protection while only mildly compromising mobility. They also come with an 18” hook & loop wrist strap and a tri-sect closure for extra support and protection. These are a must-have for any budget-conscious beginner who is trying to get into MMA.Why should you buy this?:
Why shouldn't you buy this?:
- The Everlast training MMA gloves stand out as one of the top training options available for under $40.
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- The Everlast training MMA gloves are constructed from 100% Polyurethane (PU), which might not offer the same level of durability and quality as gloves made from more advanced materials like genuine leather.
The latest entrant to our elite list of the best MMA gloves for sparring, these stunning gloves from UFC feature an injection-molded foam knuckle with a pre-curved single-mold design. These could compete with any other regular boxing gloves for impact dispersion and yet offer the mobility of an MMA glove. The D-ring allows boxers to pull the strap snugly for maximum security to minimize shifting while sparring. These gloves offer less finger coverage, but they are awesome for gripping and grabbing opponents while sparring. They come with independent EVA foam segments on the thumb for extra protection while maintaining flexibility. They have been constructed from super soft grade A leather for a premium feel and long-lasting durability.Why should you buy this?:
Why shouldn't you buy this?:
- I would recommend these gloves for fighters across all experience levels, these are great even for beginners as they are very forgiving to mistakes and protect your hands.
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- The D-ring system while innovative, may not be to everyone's liking, especially for athletes who are used to the traditional hook-and-look closure systems.
The excellent design of the Everlast Pro-Style MMA Grappling Gloves makes them much more useful and long-lasting. The strap in the wrist wrap enhances wrist support and enables a better fit.
The gloves have MMA grappling glove padding and a shape that makes the fist more comfortable and flexible. These gloves, made from premium synthetic leather, are ideal for MMA and grappling. available in a 5-ounce size.Pros:
- Has good durability
- Ideal for beginners
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- Not available in all sizes
The Hayabusa T3 MMA gloves have a spectacular Y-Volar design. They provide greater control and stability than the regular MMA gloves.
The many layers of foam in these gloves make your hands feel very comfortable and are great for sparring. Whether you're hitting or wrestling, its molded fit will keep you safely in position.Pros:
- Build of the highest caliber
- Exclusive no-shift design
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- May not be ideal for rough boxing.
The Ring to Cage Kickboxing Bag Gloves are ideal for martial arts, boxing, and kickboxing. The force of each punch is taken up by three layers of padding, which also helps support the knuckles. The thumb can move freely and fully thanks to the hinge, and there is an additional finger safety.
The DriMax liner helps to wick away skin moisture. With a classic grip bar and a covered palm, the durable synthetic leather fits the natural shape of the fist for the most comfort and protection. For stability and support, a wraparound Velcro strap is used at the wrist.Pros:
- Good fit
- Ideal for everyday training
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- Not durable
Venum Undisputed 2.0 MMA Gloves are one of the best gloves to come out of the Venum stable. Designed in Thailand, these gloves have been developed with more comfort and premium quality in mind. The gloves almost become an extension of your hands due to the curved shape design and comfortable, perfect fit. You will feel the difference in power when you land your punches. The double-closure system makes it easy to wear and guarantees comfort, fit, and support. The wide leather Velcro strap closure reduces the risk of a wrist injury.
The often-overlooked feature in these gloves is the reinforcement provided on each finger and thumb opening. This protects your fingers and absorbs continuous shocks, especially if you practice for longer durations. At a mere 0.31kilograms, 7 cm cup width, open palm, attached thumb, and 0.75 inches of padding, these gloves strike the perfect balance between agility and security.
The other Venum MMA gloves you should also check are the Venum challenger MMA gloves. They are an exceptional pair for any MMA practitioner.Why should you buy this?:
Why shouldn't you buy this?:
- If you are someone that puts protection and security above everything else, these gloves are tailor made for you.
- With features like a double-closure system and reinforced finger and thumb openings, these gloves prioritize your safety and longevity.
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- If you are someone that is just getting started in the sport, these gloves might appear slightly more expensive.
- You are probably not ready to appreciate all the advanced features that these gloves offer. That said, it is not a bad idea to own higher quality gloves even if you are just getting started especially if you do not have budget constraints.
Comparison: Ring to Cage C17 vs. Fairtex BGV1
As a quick comparison between the two styles- Western and Muay Thai, we will use the Ring to Cage C17s training gloves versus the Fairtex BGV1s. For starters, the foams of these gloves are vastly different. Complete opposites but that goes for any gloves no matter the style so we will disregard that. Instead, the comparison will focus predominantly on design.
For starters, the overall shape of the BGV1s is more compact and rounded than the C17s. Due to them being Boxing gloves, the C17s also have more padding on the knuckles while the BGV1s are more padded on the back of the hand. The C17s have a grip bar, which helps to make an ideal fist, while the BGV1s lack one.
Both gloves implement a straight thumb but the design is different. The C17’s thumb is angled up slightly and more rectangular while the BGV1s are more like a rounded, flat needle angled down. The C17s also offer more overall support which is due to them not needing the flexibility of a Thai glove.
Boxing Gloves vs Muay Thai Gloves vs MMA Glove: Significant Differences
MMA vs Muay Thai vs Boxing gloves: Conclusion and Recommendations
The type of style you end up using depends on two things, first the sport you practice and secondly personal preference. I consider myself a Boxer, I’ve dedicated most of my training solely to Boxing. Because of that, I’ve used Boxing gloves for anything, whether it be a Boxing class or a Thai class.
I’ve even used Boxing gloves for MMA sparring because they provide more protection than hybrid gloves. I also just prefer the feel of a Boxing glove more than any other style. I’ve used over twenty, maybe even thirty different Boxing/Thai gloves and nothing ever beats the feeling of a Winning Boxing glove.
If your sport is Muay Thai though I would recommend using Thai gloves as they will be what you use during an amateur or pro match. While it’s fine to use a Boxing glove during Thai training, it’s best to get used to the real style.
I alternate between Everlast Power locks,
Overall a glove is just a form of protection. No matter what your primary concern should be how well a glove can protect your hands and sparring partner so make sure you always use hand wraps independent of the gloves you use. Like I said I use the “MMA,” style Tokushus and they’ve never hindered my Boxing. Using Boxing gloves for Thai also hasn’t affected my Muay Thai at all.
The purpose of a glove is protection so if a glove protects your hands and feels comfortable then I suggest you use it, no matter the style. As I mentioned though if you do train in Muay Thai or even MMA, then it would be wise to use a Thai style glove for that added flexibility to use to your advantage during a clinch and also to grow accustomed to.
Read our Best Boxing Gloves list for the Top 10 gloves this year
Which gloves do you use for Muay Thai, MMA, and Western Boxing, let us know in the comments!
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