MMA Gloves vs Boxing Gloves
Having the right gloves on your hands can make all the difference when you’re throwing hard punches, but which gloves are the right gloves? The short answer is pretty simple; the ones that protect your hands the best. I know already that the different sports of Boxing, Muay Thai, and MMA have their own sets and styles of hand protection, and that they were designed with their different styles in mind.
Boxing, a sport entirely focused on punches, has a much thicker set of padding on it than MMA gloves, which have to focus on grappling as well. But how does that translate into hand protection? Well, there are arguments for each style of glove and, on paper, both of them make sense. As for which is better… well, you’ll just have to weigh in on that down in the comments section; all I can do is give you the info.
For this comparison, I’m working on only one principle, Newton’s Third Law, which says that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, IE, the more force you put out, the more force comes right back into your hand. If we just look at punching tests, it seems that the glove that puts out the most force is also the most damaging to your hand, and thus the least protected.
The Case for Boxing Gloves:
Pros: More Pads and Bigger Area.
Just looking at boxing gloves, you can tell that they’re much bulkier than their MMA counterparts, and for good reason. In a sport where you’re doing nothing but punching, your knuckles are going to take a lot of repeated abuse. As such, having more padding just makes more sense; you don’t need to grapple in boxing, so you can pad your punches a bit more and not suffer for it.
Compared to the 2 centimeters worth of padding in a standard MMA fight glove, the standard boxing glove has nearly three times that amount. You’ll also notice that boxing gloves have a bigger striking area on the knuckle. In addition to giving the gloves more room for padding, this also spreads out the force of punches over a larger area.
If that doesn’t make sense, think about it like this; you’d have a bit of trouble lifting a hundred-pound dumbbell in one hand because all that weight (or downward force) is concentrated in one place. Put that same hundred pounds across your back, and it’s suddenly much more manageable.
On the other hand, it takes a lot more energy to get a boxing glove going than it does an MMA glove. Here, we’ve got Newton’s Second Law to help us out (And you didn’t think you’d learn anything today, did you?). Simply put, it says that the force equals the weight of an object multiplied by how fast it’s going. So, in theory, it makes sense that a heavier glove, like a boxing glove, would put out more force than a lighter MMA glove.
Best Boxing Gloves – Our Pick
- Hayabusa T3 Boxing Gloves
- Fantastic wrist support
- One of the best-looking gloves
- Premium quality end to end
- 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 Professional Boxing Gloves (Lace-Up)
- Cleto Reyes Boxing Gloves
- Ring to Cage c17 2.0 Training gloves (Japanese style)
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.
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.
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.
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 prefer
The Case for MMA Gloves:
Pros: Denser, more stable padding.
Cons: Smaller area of protection, less use of wraps.
With MMA gloves, you get less padding, but the padding you do get does a great job of staying in place and staying tough. The combination of a Velcro strap on the wrists and individual fingers means that your padding will move with you, instead of being distributed over a large area.
In addition, most MMA gloves use stiffer padding, so ideally you’d get the same level of protection behind each strike. Here, oddly enough, the MMA glove’s smaller size is almost a benefit; if the padding is only on the knuckles, it can’t get squished out of the way of your strikes.
Of course, less padding does seem to be an issue, as does the fact that hand wraps are less common in MMA than in boxing. Even though the padding is denser, you can’t escape the fact that you’ve got so much less of it; combined with the lack of extra wrist support from hand wraps, it seems like the extra force would mangle your hands just as bad as the target you’re striking.
Best MMA Gloves – Our Recommendation
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.
- High-qualityty top grain leather shell
- Extra padding for protection
- Not customizable
If durability and protection are the two factors that you're going for, look no further than the RDX MMA Gloves. They're made with Maya hide leather, which gives exceptional durability, crack resistance, and more. Their PC3 padding delivers all-around protection and is exclusively designed for impact resistance. It also provides a natural grip for grappling moves. The gloves have an open palm design, and the inner fabric promotes airflow to keep the hands ventilated and dry.
- Maya hides combat-grade leather.
- Color variations
- Not all components of the gloves are durable
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.
- easy to transition between bag training and sparring
- Premium quality look and feel
- One of the most expensive gloves on the market
The Verdict? Inconclusive.
According to the video above from Fight Science, the results are pretty much inconclusive; it seems that, despite the boxing glove’s excessive padding, both gloves deliver the same amount of force to a target.
Based on my criteria, we can assume that the same amount of force went back into Bas Rutten’s hand with both gloves, and thus conclude that more padding isn’t always better. However, this test is hardly the end-all of hand protection debates; unfortunately, to accurately gauge what kind of force is going into Bas’s hand would require different measurements.
Bottom line? We’d need a new test that accurately showed how the force of these punches is deflected with each set of gloves. Until then, all we can say is that whether you use MMA or boxing gloves, your fists are going to remain about as protected.
If you have comments, please leave them below.
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As you said the question is more complicated than which glove puts out more force.
One of the benefits of training with MMA gloves is that the gloves are smaller, and thus it requires more precision to be on target with them. In addition to this, it also develops co-ordination with hand positioning when punching.
However, as you said they don’t attenuate force very well in your hand. Even with handwraps on, my first two knuckles on my right hand are currently raw because all the force is going through those two knuckles.