If you’re in a hurry, and just want to find out what the best boxing gloves are, then for beginners my favourite are the Sanabul Essential Gel Bag Gloves. For advanced fighters I recommend the Fairtex Muay Thai Style Training Sparring Gloves as the best boxing gloves. They’re also a good choice if you’re on a budget.
Boxing gloves are the first thing people picture whenever they hear the term “kickboxing”.
There are hundreds of brands out there – some much better than others. And with so many options, how do you tell a good pair of gloves from a bad one?
What IS a good kickboxing glove, anyway?
The short answer is – it depends. As for the long answer – read on, and find out what are the best kickboxing gloves for you!
Best Gloves for Beginners and Fighters on a Budget
While Sanabul haven’t been around for as long as some of the other brands in this list, they’ve quickly made a name for themselves.
And their Essential Gel Boxing Gloves are a great option if you plan to do a lot of bag work. They offer good wrist support and very good knuckle protection.
Although they’re made from synthetic leather, many users say they’re quite durable. So, with proper use, they can last you quite a long time.
- Great value for money
- Decent breathability
- Wide range of designs
- Some users found the gloves very tight
- Not the best wrist support
This pair of Athllete kickboxing gloves are another good option for beginners. They’re a bit bulky, but they offer good wrist support and knuckle protection. While they aren’t made of real leather, they offer very good durability for the price.
One of their disadvantages is that they give a tighter fit. While this may be a positive for people with smaller hands, if yours are on the larger side, then you may have some trouble with these.
- Decent durability for non-leather gloves
- Good padding. Can be used for both bag work and sparring
- Good option if you’re a beginner
- Some users with large hands found them too tight
- Take some time to break in. Might feel stiff at first
The Elite Kickboxing Bag Gloves are another good pair of entry-level gloves. The gel and foam padding makes them great for punching the heavy bag, as well as for sparring. Initially, they might not give you a lot of flexibility, but after you break them in, it shouldn’t be an issue.
Their velcro strap loops around to give you better wrist support for punching and blocking. They have a cooling mesh that offers good breathability. They’ll still get sweaty, but they won’t feel so hot so they distract you from your workout.
They do have some disadvantages, of course. For one, they’re made of synthetic leather, so they won’t last you as long as a pair made of real leather. But still, if you’re looking for an entry-level glove, or you just don’t want to spend as much, these Elite Sports Kickboxing Gloves offer a great bang for your buck!
- Soft padding – good for sparring
- Very good for bag work
- Good wrist support
- Good breathability
- Sleek design. Lots of colours and sizes
- A bit top-heavy. You might need some time to adjust to the balance
- Thicker padding makes hard to open and close your hand. Need breaking in
- Synthetic material; won’t be as durable as leather gloves
Review: Ringside Apex Training Gloves
While these Ringside Apex Training Gloves are primarily intended for boxing, they can also be a good low-price option for kickboxing.
They offer really good knuckle protection, as well as wrist support. Their large size makes them good for sparring, especially if your style is more defensive, as the padding can help with blocking punches and kicks.
They’re also a good option if you want to do a lot of bag and mitt work. They offer decent breathability, although it’s not as real leather. Still, their cooling mesh and ventilation hole will make sure your hands don’t get hot and sweaty too early on in your workout.
- Very durable for synthetic leather
- Very good knuckle protection
- Good wrist support
- Decent breathability
- A wide variety of colours to choose from
- Very sturdy, need some time to get broken in
- Only come in two sizes
Review: Trideer Pro Grade Boxing Gloves
These Trideer Pro Grade Boxing Gloves are another good option if you’re in the market for more affordable kickboxing gloves.
Their multi-layered foam padding makes them good for punching the heavy bag, and for sparring. They’re more of a Muay Thai style of glove, making them small and compact. This means they’re good for sparring, as they’ll make it easier to see and react to your opponent. The wrist section is quite flexible, providing you with good mobility. But even though the wrist is flexible, it still provides enough support for bag work.
Still, they aren’t as sturdy as the more high end brands. This is mainly due to the synthetic leather they’re made of. This can also cause some breathability issues, because they only have a couple of small holes for aeration.
But for an entry level glove, they provide a very good value for money.
- Very low price
- Good durability for the price
- Good customer service
- Low breathability
- Can break down during extremely intense workouts
Best Gloves for Advanced Fighters
Review: Twins Special Boxing Gloves
Twins are a staple of Muay Thai, and their boxing gloves are used by professionals in Muay Thai, boxing, and kickboxing.
While their Twins Special Boxing Gloves are meant for Muay Thai, they’re a very good fit for kickboxing, as well. Made of genuine leather, you can expect these to last you quite a while of intense bagwork or sparring. Even though they may need a few training sessions to break in, the Twins Special have some very good padding. You can use them for both bag and mitt work, and for sparring.
The padding is heavily concentrated on the back of the hand, all the way to the back of the wrist. This greatly helps in blocking kicks. The leather and aeration holes provide a lot of breathability. While your hands may not stay dry, they won’t feel unbearably hot – even during intense workouts.
However, if you have bigger hands, consider other brands, or ordering a larger size than you’re used to. Maybe it’s because they’re based in Thailand, or just because Muay Thai gloves usually run a little smaller, but a lot of people complained about these gloves being smaller than expected.
Still, they’re a solid choice if you’re a kickboxer who wants to up their game.
- High durability, thanks to leather
- Great wrist support, while maintaining good flexibility
- Lots of padding on the back of the hand – great for blocking kicks
- Good breathability
- Start out a bit stiff. Need to be broken in
- Not the best if you have bigger hands
Fairtex are another staple of fighting gear. They’re based in Thailand, and specialize in Muay Thai gear. Just like the Twins Specials, these are also made with Muay Thai in mind, but they’re also a great choice for kickboxing.
While this particular model is geared more towards work on the heavy bag, they can be used for sparring, too. They have good, durable padding, but it starts off being a bit harder. So, expect them to feel stiff for a while. But once you do break them in, they provide good knuckle protection and enough padding on the back of the wrist to help with blocking.
The padding is also quite flexible, and allows your hands to open and close easily. One of the downsides to them is the wrist section. It’s very flexible, which is great if you value wrist maneuverability. But if you’re a very heavy puncher, you might not like this added flexibility. In that case, you’ll probably want to add some extra wrapping to your wrists, or even use tape.
Some users found the gloves having relatively low breathability. The only cooling they provide is the slit behind the velcro strap, and the natural breathing properties of the leather. But that can only get you so far. Still, they offer better breathability than a lot of the non-leather gloves out there.
So, taking all of that into account, the Fairtex Muay Thai Style Training Gloves are a pretty good option for advanced and intermediate kickboxers. An added bonus is all the colours and patterns they’re available in – so no matter if you want something flashy or more understated, Fairtex has got you covered.
- Premium leather makes sure they’ll last you a long time
- Good wrist support
- Very good for heavy bag and mitts
- Wide range of colours available
- Take longer to break in
- Not the best breathability
Review: Venum Elite Boxing Gloves
Venum are one of the most recognizable brands in combat sports. Made in Thailand, their Elite Boxing Gloves line are one of their most popular products.
Although they’re marketed as boxing gloves, they’re a good option for kickboxing, too. Their multi-layered, natural foam padding means you can use them for bag work, as well as for sparring. To add to that, they’re compact and very well balanced. A lot of users say that sparring with them feels very good.
They have padding in the palm area, which can not only help you with blocking, but you can also use it for mitt drills, where you and your partner can both use gloves instead of mitts. That way, when it comes to switching roles, you won’t waste time changing from mitts to gloves, making for a more dynamic training session.
Unfortunately, they’re made of synthetic leather. And while the quality is higher than other faux leather gloves, chances are, they won’t last as long as a pair of leather gloves will. Moreover, at this price point, you can easily get a pair of leather gloves.
Another thing you should definitely keep in mind is that this is a striker’s glove. The padding is on the stiffer side. So when you hit something, you will feel it. And if you don’t have good, proper form, it could lead to injury.
But if your style is more aggressive, then this is exactly what you’re looking for.
- High-quality padding. Can be used for both sparring and bag work.
- Good balance
- Lots of colours to choose from
- Not a good option if you have sensitive hands
- Made of synthetic leather. Doesn’t last as long as leather
Review: Hayabusa T3 Boxing Gloves
Like Venum, Hayabusa is another mainstay of combat sports, and their T3 Boxing Gloves one of their most recognizable products.
Their 4-layer foam padding offers very good knuckle protection. You can use these gloves on the heavy bag, pads, or for sparring.
Another big feature of the Hayabusa T3’s is the stellar wrist support. This is in large part thanks to the two tightening straps they have. Tightening both of them can be a bit annoying (especially if your other hand is already gloved), but it’s a small price to pay for the support they provide.
They also have four foam splints on the back of the hand. They provide you with two things. For one, they really help when blocking kicks. The other benefit, which is arguably more important, is the added wrist support they provide. When you strap your hand tightly, they snap in place, and keep your hand secure. But this does come at the price of reduced wrist mobility. So, bear that in mind if you highly value your parries.
Another unique feature of the T3 is their fabric thumb. It’s made so you can wipe sweat from your face while training. While it can really come in handy, keep in mind that it can get soggy if you use it too often. So, consider using it only for shorter training sessions.
In terms of downsides, a major drawback for me is that they’re not made of real leather. While they claim that the “engineered leather” they use is stronger than real leather, one place these gloves are lacking is dealing odour. While they do have a special lining to help deal with the smell after a long, sweaty, training session, they’ll need a lot of time to air out after training. Way more time than leather gloves in a similar price range.
In terms of durability, users report them lasting about as much as leather gloves. So I don’t think the trade-off is worth it. All in all, it comes down to personal preference. If you value good wrist support, and just can’t resist the slick design, then the Hayabusa T3 Boxing Gloves are a very good choice.
- Very good wrist support
- Padding makes it very good for both heavy bag, and sparring
- Padding on back of the hand very good for blocking kicks
- Very slim profile
- Fabric thumb to wipe off sweat
- Lots of designs to choose from
- “Engineered” (a.k.a. synthetic) leather. Provide very low breathability
- Compared to leather gloves in this price range, these gloves smell more after training
- Restricted wrist mobility
- Sweat-wiping thumb gets soggy if used too often
One of the mainstays of boxing, Cleto Reyes are the pioneers of Mexican-style boxing gloves. Although they are synonymous with boxing, they’re a great choice for punch-heavy kickboxers as well. They’re made of full grain leather, and have very good stitching, making them extremely durable. This ensures that they’ll last you quite a long time.
Cleto Reyes also have very good breathability, thanks not only to their material, but to the many aeration holes, as well.
The gloves offer great mobility for your wrist, and overall provide your hands with a very good range of motion. That range of motion, however, comes at the price of a lack of wrist support. So, if your technique isn’t good, you are definitely going to feel it.
Their latex and foam padding makes them very springy. This means that you can unleash a volley of punches, and the gloves’ recoil will help you reset, so that you can unleash another flurry of strikes. Due to the padding, Cleto Reyes boxing gloves have great power transfer. However, that does come at a price.
If you’re not experienced enough to control your punches, have weaker hands, or a history of hand injuries, then these are not the gloves for you. When hitting, especially if your hands aren’t wrapped, you can actually feel your knuckles make contact through the padding.
All that being said, Cleto Reyes are a great choice for kickboxing gloves if you’re an experienced fighter who has a punch-heavy fighting style.
- Full-grain leather. Extremely durable
- Extremely thick and durable
- Very good breathability
- Good range of movement for your hands
- Good wrist mobility
- Very good power transfer
- Some people have problems with the thumb area
- Not a lot of padding around the wrist. If you punch wrong, it may cause injuries
How Do You Know What the Best Kickboxing Gloves for You Are?
The first question you need to ask yourself is: what will you be using your gloves for?
The way you determine that is by looking at your workout. Do you do a lot of work on the heavy bag? Then you’ll need some heavy bag gloves with stiffer padding. But if you do a lot of sparring, then you’ll need softer gloves that won’t harm your partner. What if you’re kickboxing just to stay in shape?
Or maybe you want some combination of the above?
Once you know the answer to these questions, you’ll know what kind of gloves you’re looking for. Generally speaking, if you do a lot of bag work, you need gloves with extra thick padding to protect your hands.
If you do a lot of sparring, you need softer gloves, so you won’t harm your partner. If you’re kickboxing just because you want to stay in shape, then the most important thing is for your gloves to be heavy enough to give you a good workout, but not so heavy that there’s a danger of injuring yourself.
Types of Kickboxing Gloves
Bag gloves are meant to be used on a heavy bag. Heavy bags are very hard, so it’s important for your hands to have some extra protection to avoid injuries.
Bag gloves are usually quite heavy, because they have extra padding to cushion the hands when striking. Their padding is usually stiffe. While this makes them great at protecting your hands and knuckles, it means they can be very hard on your partner, and it’s not recommended to use them for sparring.
However, their added weight will incentivize you to keep proper form. And if you train with them often enough, you can greatly enhance your endurance. Even if you aren’t working on a heavy bag, bag gloves can be a nice addition to your training, because their high weight can really work your arm muscles!
Sparring gloves have thicker and softer padding. This is meant to minimize the damage you do to your partner when sparring.
It isn’t a good idea to use them on a heavy bag, because that is going to wear down the padding, and make it stiffer. Once it reaches a certain stiffness, they could really start to hurt your partner.
Training gloves are a mix between bag gloves and sparring gloves. But be careful if you plan to buy a pair, because most of them are only good at one of these tasks.
Many of them are dense, and can really hurt your sparring partner. You might think that the solution is to just buy a softer pair of training gloves. But if you use them on the bag too much, then you run into the same problem you have if you use sparring gloves on a heavy bag – the padding gets stiffer, which can lead to very unhappy sparring partners.
So, now you might be thinking: should I be using training gloves at all? Well, there are some advantages to training gloves. For one, So, if you’re not a beginner, and are looking for some good training gloves, be sure you know what type of training you want to be doing.
If you plan on doing a lot of bag work and sparring, make sure you pick out something of higher quality. That way the padding will hold up for longer.
Should I Buy one pair of Training Gloves, or a Pair of Bag Gloves and a Pair of Sparring Gloves?
As we already established, when you’re working on the bag and sparring with a partner, you need different things out of your gloves.
Bag work calls for stiffer gloves, while sparring calls for softer gloves. So, should you buy two pairs of gloves – a pair of bag gloves and a pair of sparring gloves? Or should you just buy one pair of training gloves?
Having two separate pairs means they won’t wear out as quickly. Also, specialized gloves are better at their intended purpose when compared with a pair of all-purpose kickboxing gloves. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have just one pair of training gloves you use for everything.
First off, it’s usually less expensive to buy only one pair, rather than two. Also, a couple of well-made training gloves can be used both for sparring, and bag work. It’s also a good idea if you’re a beginner, and you still aren’t sure what you want to use your gloves for.
But if you do go for just one pair of training gloves, bear in mind that the texture and hardness of the heavy bag will roughen up a glove’s punching surface. This means that the padding will gradually wear down. This makes the punching surface harder, and could lead to hurting your sparring partner.
What to Look For
If you want your gloves to last a long time, then you want them to be constructed well. A good thing to look for is whether the gloves are made of leather, which is the best material for kickboxing gloves.
High-quality leather not only looks good, but is strong, allows the gloves to breathe, and lasts a long time. It’s also a plus if the glove is made of fewer separate pieces of leather. This means they use less seams, and there are less places where the glove can tear and fall apart.
A downside to leather is that leather gloves are expensive. But don’t worry! If you’re a beginner, or if you just don’t want to spend more money on your kickboxing gloves, you can still find some very decent boxing gloves from synthetic leather or other materials.
But bear in mind that they probably won’t last as long as leather gloves. In addition to being less durable, gloves made of synthetic leather offer less breathability, and are less comfortable.
But even if you do go for real leather, be sure you know how to tell apart good leather. Ideally, you want gloves made entirely of full grain leather, which is the absolute highest quality of leather. As a material It’s made from the outer layer of the hide, and it’s had a very little amount of processing.
Full grain leather uses only the very best quality hides, and it accounts for only the top 3-5% of the world’s hide supply. The next best thing is top grain leather, which is full grain that’s been slightly sanded-down. It’s just one step below full grain in durability and breathability. One step below that is genuine leather, which is the type you see used most often in leather boxing gloves. It’s made from the layer of hide that’s facing the animal’s muscles, and it’s not as strong as genuine and top grain leather. While not as strong, it’s much more affordable. And even though it isn’t as breathable as full and top grain, it’s still a much better option than synthetic materials, which offer less durability and no breathability.
A kickboxing glove’s main purpose is to protect your hand. This is done by using good, high quality padding on the knuckles.
This padding protects them from injury when striking hard surfaces. Padding on the backside of your hand helps you in blocking punches and kicks by absorbing the impact. These days, almost all gloves are padded with latex or foam. The various manufacturers have different techniques for cutting and layering the foam, and this greatly affects the glove’s quality. If it’s done right, it feels great when you hit, and the gloves last a long time. Done poorly, and the padding will not only quickly fall apart, but also hurt your hands.
Unfortunately, a glove’s appearance can mislead you. There are gloves that look thin on the outside, but feel very soft when you punch, and vice versa. Some gloves look massive on the outside, but feel like you’re hitting bricks. It all depends on the glove’s construction and foam design.
One of the best ways to tell if a glove has good padding or not is to look for a manufacturer who has a proven track record of making high-quality products that last a long time.
How a glove fits your hand is obviously very important. Some gloves are better suited for people with bigger hands and wrists, while others fit better on smaller hands.
If your gloves are too big or too small, you can have difficulty forming a tight fist. Hitting like that will not only ruin your workout, but can also give you some serious hand injuries.
Another important thing is how long your fingers are. They need to fit comfortably, and the glove should curl easily when you make a fist.
Another important aspect is being able to easily open and close your hand. That way you can quickly transition from having a relaxed hand for parrying to making your hand tighter for punching and blocking kicks.
Let’s not beat around the bush – a good kickboxing workout will get you very sweaty! But the first place that sweat appears is in your gloves.
This is why it’s important to have more open gloves that let the skin on your hands breathe.
Not only is this more comfortable, it’s also good for the gloves’ padding. Sweat is acidic, and given enough time, it will actually break down the padding, and set your gloves on a course straight to the trash!
Ideally, you want gloves made out of leather, as it’s a much more breathable material than its synthetic counterparts.
But if you do go for synthetic gloves, make sure they have either a breathing mesh, or some holes in the palm area.
Can I Use Boxing or Muay Thai Gloves for Kickboxing?
You’ve probably noticed that here I’ve reviewed a lot of gloves that are marketed as “Boxing” or “Muay Thai” gloves. So, you’re probably asking yourself: can I use them for kickboxing?
Short answer is: yes! Long answer is: it depends.
In terms of general use, many fighters use such gloves for kickboxing, without any issues. But before you go off buying a pair of boxing and Muay Thai gloves, you need to know about their advantages and disadvantages.
First, we need to look at what’s the difference between boxing, Muay Thai and kickboxing gloves.
Western-style boxing gloves are thicker. This is because in boxing you spend 100% of the time punching, and you need good knuckle protection. Boxing gloves also have more wrist support, again – for the same reason.
A big disadvantage is that their big size can make it harder to see your opponent’s punches and kicks. Also, their padding is concentrated on the knuckle line, which makes them less than ideal for blocking kicks.
But if your style involves a lot of punching, then boxing gloves are a good choice. If you’re concerned about their big size, then you can just go for lighter gloves.
Muay Thai gloves are much smaller and more compact than boxing gloves, and they have more flexible wrist sections. Similar to kickboxing gloves, Muay Thai gloves have a more evenly distributed padding to allow for blocking kicks.
The main difference between kickboxing gloves and ones made for Muay Thai is that Muay Thai gloves have a shorter cuff to make clinching easier.
In general, if you already have some boxing gloves laying around, you can use them for kickboxing as well.
But if you’re a beginner, and are serious about the sport, then I suggest getting either kickboxing or Muay Thai gloves.
Kickboxing gloves are perhaps the most personal piece of gear a fighter can have. You train with them every day, and they accompany you during every part of your path as a martial artist.
So, choosing the right pair of gloves is a very personal decision. For me, the best