The Best Muay Thai Gloves

Best Muay Thai Gloves for Beginners: Elite Sports Muay Thai Specific Boxing Gloves

Best Muay Thai Gloves for Advanced Fighters: Fairtex BGV1 Muay Thai Boxing Gloves

Table of Contents

1. Best Muay Thai Gloves for Beginners and Fighters on a Budget
2. Best Muay Thai Gloves for Advanced Fighters
3. How Do You Know What the Best Muay Thai Gloves for You Are?
4. Types of Muay Thai Gloves
4.1. Bag Gloves
4.2. Sparring Gloves
4.3. Training Gloves
4.4. Should I Buy one pair of Training Gloves, or a Pair of Bag Gloves and a Pair of Sparring Gloves?
5. What to Look For
5.1. Construction Quality
5.2. Padding
5.3. Fit
5.4. Breathability
5.5. Can I Use Boxing or Kickboxing Gloves for Muay Thai?

1. Best Muay Thai Gloves for Beginners and Fighters on a Budget

Elite Sports Muay Thai Boxing Gloves

The Elite Kickboxing Bag Gloves are a great pair of Muay Thai entry-level gloves. They have gel and foam padding which makes them great for working the heavy bag and sparring. Initially, they may feel a bit stiff, 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, the Elite Sports Muay Thai Specific Gloves offer amazing value for money!

Pros:

  • Soft padding – good for sparring
  • Very good for bag work
  • Good wrist support
  • Good breathability
  • Sleek design. Lots of colours and sizes

Cons:

  • A bit top-heavy. You might need some time to adjust to the balance
  • Thicker padding makes it hard to open and close your hand. Need breaking in
  • Synthetic material; won’t be as durable as leather gloves

Sanabul Essential Gel Boxing Gloves

Founded in 2014, Sanabul is one of the newcomers in the world of sports gear. But that hasn’t stopped them from making a name for themselves.

Case in point – their Essential Gel Boxing Gloves. The thick gel padding makes them a great option for working the heavy bag. 

One of the downsides they have is that they don’t have padding on the palm, which means you’ll have a rough time with some of the kick-blocking techniques used in Muay Thai. 

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.

Overall, these gloves are a great choice for bag work, thanks to their thick padding and durability. But if you plan to use them for sparring, then you should probably go with the Trideer Pro Grade Boxing Gloves.

Pros:

  • Great value for money
  • Decent breathability
  • Wide range of designs

Cons:

  • Some users found the gloves very tight
  • Not the best wrist support
  • No padding on the palm makes blocking difficult

RDX Boxing Gloves

RDX have been around since 1999, and they’re best known for their boxing and kickboxing gear. While these gloves are intended for boxing, they’re also a good choice for Muay Thai.

Given the price, they’re very durable, even if you pack a lot of power in your punches. Although, some users have had problems with these gloves chafing their knuckles. So you should consider using handwraps. 

The padding is soft enough to be used for sparring as well as working the heavy bag, and the ventilated mesh offers quite a lot of breathability.

Overall, the RDX Boxing Gloves are a great fit for both beginners, and fighters on a budget, giving you great value for money.

Pros:

  • Very durable for the price
  • Good breathability
  • Available in many colours

Cons:

  • Synthetic leather
  • Not the best fit. Consider using handwraps

Jayefo Glorious Boxing Gloves

Like the Sanabul gloves we saw above, these Jayefo Glorious Boxing Gloves also use gel padding. This means the padding will be better distributed along the entirety of your knuckles, giving you more protection. This makes them a good choice for working the heavy bag.

They’ve quite durable for the price, although they won’t last as long as a pair of leather gloves. Also, being made of synthetic leather also means they tend to hold more smells than leather gloves do. Still, they have decent breathability, thanks to the mesh they have below the knuckles.

In terms of disadvantages, many users have complained that these gloves run a little small. So if you decide to get them, consider ordering a size or two larger than what you’d normally get.

Overall, the Jayefo Glorious Boxing Gloves are a very good choice for both beginners and fighters on a budget. And they’re definitely on par with the Sanabul Essential Boxing Gloves.

Pros:

  • Good durability for the price
  • Good breathability
  • Great for using on the heavy bag

Cons:

  • Made of synthetic leather
  • Run a little small

Trideer Pro Grade Boxing Gloves 

The Trideer Pro Grade Boxing Gloves are a great option if you’re in the market for more affordable Muay Thai boxing gloves. 

Their multi-layered foam padding makes them good for punching the heavy bag, and for sparring. They’re intended for Muay Thai, 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. Like any good Muay Thai boxing glove, these Trideer gloves also manage to hit that nice middle ground where the wrist is flexible, but 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 excellent value for money.

Pros:

  • Very low price
  • Good durability for the price
  • Good customer service

Cons:

  • Low breathability
  • Can break down during very intense workouts

Best Muay Thai Gloves for Advanced Fighters

Fairtex BGV1 Muay Thai Boxing Gloves

Fairtex are one of the staples in fighting gear. Based in Thailand, they’ve been making Muay Thai boxing gloves and equipment ever since 1958.

While this model is geared towards heavy bag work, you can also use them for sparring, as well. Even though the padding starts off a bit hard, it’s high quality and durable padding, and it can take even your most intense Muay Thai workout sessions. Once you break them in, you’ll find they have very good knuckle protection and enough padding on the back of the wrist to help with blocking.

The padding is also quite flexible which means you can open and close your hands easily. Which is very helpful during clinching.

Some fighters found the gloves having low breathability. And it’s true – the only cooling these gloves have is the slit behind the velcro strap, and the natural breathability given by the leather. But that can only get you so far. Still, they offer better breathability than a lot of the other non-leather gloves out there (such as the Venum Elite Boxing Gloves, for example).

Taking all of that into account, the Fairtex BGV1 Muay Thai Boxing Gloves are a great option for both advanced and intermediate Muay Thai boxers. The amazing padding means that your hands will be protected when working on the heavy bag. While the wrist flexibility means you’ll have a wide range movement when blocking and clinching during sparring. An added bonus is all the colours and patterns these gloves are available in – no matter if you want something flashy or more understated, Fairtex has you covered!

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • Take longer to break in
  • Not the best breathability

Venum Elite Boxing Gloves

Venum are definitely one of the most recognizable brands in combat sports. Their Elite Boxing Gloves are manufactured in Thailand, and are among their most popular products. 

Although they’re marketed as boxing gloves, they’re a good option for Muay Thai, too. They use multi-layered, natural foam padding. This makes them great both for bag work, and for sparring. To add to that, they’re compact and really well balanced. A lot of users say that sparring with them feels really good.

They also have very thick padding in the palm area. This makes them amazing for blocking kicks. In fact, the padding is so thick that you can even 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 (not to mention the money you could save on buying mitts).

Like the Hayabusa T3, the biggest downside for me is that they’re made of synthetic leather. While the Venum Elite offer a higher quality than other synthetic 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 will be exactly what you’re looking for.

Pros:

  • High-quality padding. Can be used for both sparring and bag work.
  • Compact
  • Good balance
  • Lots of colours to choose from

Cons:

  • Not a good option if you have sensitive hands
  • Made of synthetic leather. Doesn’t last as long as leather

Hayabusa T3 Boxing Gloves

Like Venum, Hayabusa is another mainstay of combat sports, and their T3 Boxing Gloves one of their most popular products. 

Their padding consists of 4 layers of foam which gives very good knuckle protection. This makes these gloves a great fit for the heavy bag, pads, and sparring. 

Another big feature of the Hayabusa T3‘s is the stellar wrist support. Most gloves use only one tightening strap, but the Hayabusa T3 use two. And while tightening both of them can be a bit annoying (especially if your other hand is already gloved), that annoyance is a small price to pay for the amazing support they provide.

They also have four foam splints on the back of the hand. They help you in two ways. First, they really help when blocking kicks. Second, which is arguably more important, is even greater wrist support. 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 prefer to fight in clinching distance.

Another unique feature of the T3 is their fabric thumb. The point is that you can use it to wipe sweat from your face when training. While this is a neat feature, 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 the Hayabusa T3 aren’t 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. 

However, at this price range, I personally think there are better options out there, such as the Fairtex Muay Thai Training Gloves or the Twins Special Boxing Gloves.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • “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

Twins Special Boxing Gloves

Like Fairtex, Twins are another staple of Muay Thai. Their boxing gloves are used by professional fighters in Muay Thai, boxing, and kickboxing. 

Made of genuine leather, you can expect the Twins Special Boxing Gloves to last you quite a long time of intense bagwork and sparring. Even though they may need a few training sessions to break in, their padding is very good. This means that you can use them for bag work, mitt work, and sparring. 

Speaking of sparring, the padding is heavily concentrated on the back of the hand, all the way to the back of the wrist. This really helps in blocking kicks. Meanwhile, the leather and aeration holes give you 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 Muay Thai boxer who wants to up their game!

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • Start out a bit stiff. Need to be broken in
  • Not the best if you have bigger hands

YOKKAO Matrix Breathable Muay Thai Boxing Gloves

Yokkao is one of the newer combat sports brands, established in 2010. But although they don’t have a long tradition in the field, many pros use their Muay Thai boxing gloves, including Buakaw Banchamek, Liam Harrison, and others.

Their Matrix Breathable Muay Thai Boxing Gloves certainly show why that’s the case. For one, they’re very flexible, giving you a wide range of movement in your hand and wrist. This helps immensely when blocking and parrying. It’s also a huge help when clinching, where hand flexibility is very important.

The padding is very soft, making these gloves a great choice for sparring. You could use them on the heavy bag as well, but since they’re so soft, you run the risk of punching through the padding. Normally, this isn’t a problem, but if you don’t have proper technique, it could lead to injuries. 

The gloves themselves are made of high quality cowhide leather, so they’ll definitely last you a very long time.

As far as issues go, some people have complained of receiving lighter gloves than they ordered. So, if you decide to buy them, make sure to weigh them once they’ve arrived. That way, if your gloves are lighter than you ordered, you can quickly exchange them for the right ones.

Other than that, the Yokkao Matrix Breathable Muay Thai Boxing Gloves are a great pair of sparring gloves, and are definitely worth the price.

Pros:

  • Very durable
  • Soft padding, excellent for sparring
  • Good breathability

Cons:

  • Not the best for heavy bag work
  • Some users have complained of receiving lighter gloves than they ordered

How Do You Know What Are the Best Muay Thai Gloves for You?

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 doing Muay Thai 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 doing Muay Thai 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. 

4. Types of Muay Thai Gloves

4.1. Bag 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!

4.2. Sparring Gloves

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.

4.3. Training Gloves

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.

4.4. 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 Muay Thai 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.

best muay thai gloves

5. What to Look For

5.1. Construction Quality

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 Muay Thai 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 Muay Thai 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.

5.2. Padding

A Muay Thai 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.

5.3. Fit

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.

5.4. Breathability

Let’s not beat around the bush – a good Muay Thai 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.

5.5. Can I Use Boxing or Kickboxing Gloves for Muay Thai?

You’ve probably noticed that here I’ve reviewed a lot of gloves that are marketed as “Boxing” or “Kickboxing” gloves. So, you’re probably asking yourself: can I use them for Muay Thai?

Short answer is: yes! Long answer is: it depends.

In terms of general use, many fighters use such gloves for Muay Thai, without any issues. But before you go off buying a pair of boxing or kickboxing 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. This makes the wrist stiffer and less flexible.

A big disadvantage is that their big size can make it harder to see your opponent’s punches and kicks, especially when it comes to low 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.

Kickboxing gloves are the closest to Muay Thai boxing gloves. They have enough padding on the back for blocking kicks, and are generally lighter and more flexible than boxing gloves. The biggest difference from Muay Thai gloves is that kickboxing gloves are usually longer and with a more tucked in thumb. This makes them a bit clunkier when you’re in a clinch.

So in general, if you already have some boxing gloves laying around, you can use them for Muay Thai as well. But if you’re a beginner, and are serious about the sport, then I suggest getting either kickboxing or proper Muay Thai gloves.

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