The Best Sparring Gloves

Best Sparring Gloves for Beginners: Trideer Pro Grade Boxing Gloves

Best Sparring Gloves for Advanced Fighters: Winning MS600 Training Boxing Gloves

Best Sparring Gloves for Fighters on a Budget: Ringside IMF Tech Hook and Loop Boxing Gloves

Table of Contents:

1. The Best Sparring Gloves for Beginners or Fighters on a Budget
Trideer Pro Grade Boxing Gloves
Everlast Pro Style Training Gloves
Sanabul Essential Gel Boxing Gloves
Elite Sports Kickboxing Bag Gloves
Ringside Apex Training Gloves
2. The Best Sparring Gloves for Advanced Fighters
Winning MS600 Training Boxing Gloves
Ringside IMF Tech Hook and Loop Boxing Training Sparring Gloves
Twins Special Velcro Boxing Gloves
Venum Challenger Boxing Gloves
Hayabusa T3 Boxing Gloves
3. What type of Boxing Gloves do I need for Sparring?
4. How Sparring Can Be Beneficial
5. How to Prevent Injuries from Sparring
6. What to Look for in a Good Pair of Sparring Gloves

1. The Best Sparring Gloves for Beginners or Fighters on a Budget

Trideer Pro Grade Boxing Gloves

The Trideer Pro Grade Boxing Gloves are the best beginner sparring gloves. With their multi-layered foam padding, they’re a great choice for sparring gloves. They’re very soft, so that you won’t hurt your sparring partner.

Even though they’re made of synthetic leather, they’re very durable. They’ve also got a very flexible wrist section, which is a great help with blocking and parrying. However, if you’re doing pure boxing, you should keep in mind that this flexibility means less wrist support. So if you want to use these gloves for the heavy bag in addition to sparring, then you may want to get the Ringside Apex Training Gloves instead.

Although the gloves have only three little air holes on the palm area, they offer some really good breathability. This will prevent your hands from getting too sweaty and distracting you during sparring.

On the con side, the padding starts off a little stiff. So it’s a good idea to break them in a little before using them for sparring. A couple of heavy bag sessions should do the trick. 

Overall, the Trideer Pro Grade Boxing Gloves offer great value for money, and I definitely recommend them as the best sparring gloves if you’re looking for beginner gloves, or are just on a tighter budget.

Pros:

  • Very low price
  • Good durability for the price
  • Great wrist flexibility
  • Good breathability

Cons:

  • Weaker wrist support
  • Not a good choice for bag work

Everlast Pro Style Training Gloves

Everlast are one of the oldest and best known boxing brands, and their Pro Style Training Gloves are a great choice for beginners or fighters on a tighter budget.

They’re very affordable, in a large part because they’re not made of leather (they’re 80% polyurethane and 20% plastic). Still, they’re surprisingly durable, and can last you a long time.

Since they aren’t completely closed off, and have a big mesh on the palm, they have very decent breathability.

Some users complain that they smell bad after use, but as long as you don’t leave them in a closed area (e.g. your gym bag), and let them ventilate, then you should be fine.

If you hit very hard, then you might feel the padding getting thin, and you could start feeling your hands getting sore.  If this feeling continues even with hand wraps, then you should consider upgrading to a more heavy-duty pair of gloves. But if you only use them for sparring, then you won’t be hitting full-force anyway, so this shouldn’t be a problem. 

As it stands, though, if you’re a beginner these are definitely a good pair of sparring gloves.

Pros:

  • Low price
  • Very durable for non-leather gloves
  • Easy to put on and off by yourself

Cons:

  • Synthetic materials. Not the best breathability
  • Not recommended for heavy bag work

Sanabul Essential Gel Boxing Gloves

While Sanabul aren’t as established as a company like Everlast, they still make some very good equipment.

Their Essential Gel Boxing gloves are a great example of that. They use gel for their padding, which means they’re a bit stiff. This is why it’s a good idea to get their 16 oz gloves. That way, the padding will be softer, and you won’t hurt your sparring partner. 

Still, these gloves are intended for heavy bag work, and it’s still a good idea to pull your punches when sparring with them.

Other than that, they’re very durable for the price, and the mesh on the palm of the hand offers really good breathability.

Pros:

  • Good value for money
  • Good breathability
  • Wide range of designs

Cons:

  • Some users found the gloves very tight
  • Not the best wrist support

Elite Sports Kickboxing Bag Gloves

The Elite Kickboxing Bag Gloves are another good pair of entry-level sparring gloves. They’ve got gel and foam padding that makes them really good for sparring.  Initially, they might not give you a lot of flexibility, but after you break them in, it shouldn’t be an issue.

They have a tight velcro strap which loops around and gives you better wrist support for punching and blocking. Their cooling mesh offers good breathability. They’ll still get sweaty, but they won’t feel so hot that they distract you from your sparring session.

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. 

Also, the hand portion is a bit stiff, making it hard to open and close your hand. This makes parrying more difficult, and will definitely take some getting used to.

Still, if you’re looking for a pair of entry-level sparring gloves, or you just don’t want to spend as much, the Elite Sports Kickboxing Gloves give you a great bang for your buck!

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

Ringside Apex Training Gloves

The Ringside Apex Training Gloves are a more high-end choice when it comes to entry-level sparring gloves. They have really good knuckle protection and wrist support. Their large size and soft padding makes them ideal 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 for bag and mitt work, although I still wouldn’t recommend using them for both sparring and bag work. They offer decent breathability, although they aren’t as breathable as the more expensive sparring gloves. Still, their cooling mesh and ventilation hole will make sure your hands don’t get hot and sweaty too early on in your workout.

Overall, they’re a great choice for beginners who don’t mind spending a bit more on their gear.

Pros:

  • Very durable for synthetic leather
  • Very good knuckle protection
  • Good wrist support
  • Decent breathability
  • A wide variety of colours to choose from

Cons:

  • Need some time to get broken in
  • Only come in two sizes

2. The Best Sparring Gloves for Advanced Fighters

Winning MS600 Training Boxing Gloves

Winning is the epitome of Japanese  quality. Established in 1937, they make some of the best combat sports gear in the world. Their equipment is used by professional fighters in a wide range of combat sports, and their MS600 Boxing Gloves are probably their most recognizable product.

People call Winning “pillow gloves”. This is because their padding is some of the best you can find. It’s so good that you can barely feel what you’re hitting. And while getting punched hard with a Winning glove will still hurt, if you’re careful you can ensure that you won’t injure your sparring partner. 

Almost all users find Winning extremely comfortable, and many professional fighters use them both for sparring and bag work. They’re made of high quality leather, and will definitely last for a very long time.

But as good as these gloves are, they have a big downside. Namely – price. Winning’s boxing gloves are definitely on the high end, and the MS600 are no exception. Still, if you can afford them, then these are definitely the best sparring gloves. They’re also a good option for people with sensitive hands, or ones with a history of hand injuries.

Pros:

  • Very good wrist support
  • Very comfortable
  • Excellent padding
  • Extremely durable, on account of high quality leather
  • One of the best gloves you can buy
  • Excellent padding. Protects your knuckles very well

Cons:

  • Very expensive

Ringside IMF Tech Hook and Loop Boxing Training Sparring Gloves

Ringside’s IMF Tech Boxing Gloves are a good option for advanced fighters on a budget. They’re made of leather, they’ve very durable, and use a very secure velcro strap.

While they do need some time to break in, once they do, they offer great knuckle protection thanks to their thick padding. This makes them an amazing choice for sparring. You can even use them for bag work. 

Their only drawback is the low breathability. They don’t have any breathing holes or mesh. This means you’ll be relying solely on the fact they’re made out of leather, but that can only get you so far.

Still, if you’re on a tighter budget, but still want to buy a pair of leather gloves, the Ringside IMF Tech Hook and Loop Boxing Gloves are a great pair of sparring gloves.

Pros:

  • All-leather. Offers great durability
  • Good for both sparring and bag work
  • Good value for money

Cons:

  • Difficult to put on by yourself
  • Low breathability
  • Need some time to break in

Twins Special Velcro Boxing Gloves

Twins are one of the premier Muay Thai brands. And their Twins Special Boxing Gloves are a great example of why that is. And even though they’re intended for Muay Thai, they’re a very good fit for boxing, too.

Made of genuine leather, you can expect these to last you for many years of sparring. They’re so durable that you can even use them on the heavy bag. The padding is extremely high quality, although it may need a couple of training sessions to break in. 

The leather and aeration holes give you lots of breathability. And while your hands may not stay dry, they won’t feel unbearably hot – even during intense workouts.

However, a lot of people complain that the gloves were smaller than expected. So, if you have larger hands, you should definitely order a larger size than you normally use. Another thing to note is that – like most Muay Thai gloves – the thumb sticks out a little. This is useful in clinching, but it may be a problem if you’re using them for boxing and aren’t used to this type of thumb setup.

But be that as it may, the Twins Special Boxing Gloves are a great choice for sparring gloves.

Pros:

  • Great wrist support
  • Good breathability
  • Excellent padding
  • Made of leather. Makes them durable, and helps with smell

Cons:

  • Thumb is small. Some users found it uncomfortable
  • May be too small for some users

Venum Challenger Boxing Gloves

Venum are definitely one of the most recognizable brands in combat sports. And their Venum Challenger 3.0 Boxing Gloves are among their most popular products. 

Their multi-layered, natural foam padding makes them great for sparring. They’ve also very compact and really well balanced. Their compact size means they won’t block your vision during sparring sessions, and their light weight will help you move faster.

They also have very thick padding in the palm area. This makes them amazing for blocking punches and 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.

To me, their biggest downside 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. And 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 if you want to use them for bagwork as well, you will definitely feel it when you hit the heavy bag. And if you don’t have good, proper form, it could lead to injury.

But if you’re only going to spar with them, then they’ve definitely a solid choice.

Pros:

  • High-quality padding. Great for sparring
  • 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 recognizable products. 

They’ve got really good padding, made out of 4 foam layers. This makes them a great fit for the heavy bag, pads, and sparring in particular. 

Speaking of sparring, the Hayabusa T3 have four foam splints on the back of the hand. These splints help you two ways. First, they’re very useful in blocking kicks. And two, they give you great 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 parry or clinch.

Another feature that helps with wrist support are the tightening straps. Most gloves use only one tightening strap, but the Hayabusa T3 have 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.

Another unique feature of the T3 is the fabric on the thumb. The idea is that you can use it to wipe sweat from your face during training. This can be especially useful during sparring, when you don’t have the time to wipe the sweat from your eyes using your T-shirt.

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 with odour. While they do have a special lining to help deal with the smell after a long, sweaty, sparring 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, fighters report them lasting about as long as leather gloves. So I don’t think the trade-off is worth it… 

Still, 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 for sparring gloves. 

But for this price, I’d recommend getting the Ringside IMF Tech Hook and Loop Boxing Gloves or the Twins Special Boxing Gloves, both of which are made of leather, and are great for sparring.

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

3. What type of Boxing Gloves do I need for Sparring?

The best sparring gloves have soft padding that minimize the damage you do to your partner. They help in preventing injuries during training, and they make sure that your sparring partner will want to train with you again.

This is also why it’s a good idea to buy heavier sparring gloves – 16 ounces or more. I know that sounds excessive, but heavier gloves have more padding, which makes them softer. This is why professional tournament gloves only weigh 8 – 10 ounces – because unlike sparring, in a tournament you really want your opponent to feel your punches!

You should also bear in mind that as you keep using your sparring gloves, their padding will gradually wear out. And as it wears out, it will harden and make your strikes more painful. This is also why it’s not a good idea to use your sparring gloves for bag work. Because punching the heavy bag will roughen up the gloves’ punching surface, and gradually wear down the padding, making your strikes hit harder.

4. How Sparring Can Be Beneficial

Sparring is one of the best training methods. It lets you see if the skills you’ve gained during training hold up against someone else, and it really puts your willpower to the test. You can be amazed at how exhilarating and eye-opening a simple sparring session can be.

It lets you try out the techniques and combinations you’ve been working on during training, and it lets you see where your weaknesses are. Do you get tired too quickly? Are your parries too slow? Maybe you get easily fooled by fakes? All these problems can be hard to see during normal training, but they shine through once you start sparring.

And, at the end of the day, sparring is just fun! As long as you’ve got a good partner, and neither of you get worked up too easily, sparring can be a lot of fun, in addition to greatly improving your skills!

two men sparring, one kicking the other

5. How to Prevent Injuries from Sparring

Now, sparring can be extremely fun and helpful, but it can also be very dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Especially for beginners, you should always do it with the supervision of your coach or a more experienced fighter. And if you’re never done any sparring drills, you definitely shouldn’t jump into full-contact sparring right away.

A good idea is to take it step-by-step with some sparring drills. For example, start off with a drill where you only throw jabs at each other. After you feel comfortable with that, Then, have a drill where you can only throw jabs and straights. After that, have it so you can only throw hooks at each other. 

If you’re doing kickboxing or Muay Thai, do a similar drill progression where you’re only allowed to kick each other – start off only with straight kicks, then only side- and low kicks, and then combine them. 

Like with everything, start slowly, and gradually work your way up in speed. The idea of these drills is to get a feel for the speed and timing of the real thing.

Do this for as many training sessions as you need. Once you feel more comfortable, do some sparring where all types of punches are allowed, but don’t throw them as strong as you can.

If any one of you starts feeling like it’s going too far, just stop. Yes, it’s true that in a competition, you need to go all out. But this isn’t a competition. This is a training session. Your aim isn’t to knock your partner unconscious. It’s to train, and learn how to become better.

Spread the process out a little. If you start going at it full-force in your first week of training, you’re bound to injure yourself or someone else. Full-contact sparring is something you do after you’ve become extremely comfortable with the lighter sparring drills. And even then, you should always do it under the supervision of your coach or trainer, to make sure things don’t go too far.

You should also always do it with protective equipment – headgear and a mouthpiece, if you’re boxing, as well as shin guards and knee pads if you’re doing kickboxing or Muay Thai.

6. What to Look for in a Good Pair of Sparring Gloves

There are quite a few things to consider when it comes to the best sparring boxing gloves:

  • Construction quality. It’s the most important factor for longevity. The best ones are made of leather. But if you’re a beginner, synthetic leather will do just fine.
  • Padding. For sparring gloves, you want soft padding. To ensure that you get padding that’s soft enough, it’s a good idea to buy at least 16-Ounce gloves. 
  • Glove Fit. Some gloves are better for people with larger hands, while others are made for people with smaller hands. You need to see what’s best for you. So don’t hesitate to return a pair of gloves if the fit doesn’t feel right. This is actually really common, especially when you’re new, and don’t know what you like yet.
  • Closure Type. Most gloves today use velcro. It’s very convenient to put on and off, but can sometimes get undone easily. However, the best sparring gloves usually use laces, because they’re much more secure. They’re kinda hard to get on if you’re on your own, but you can just tape them or use Lace Converters.
  • Breathability. No matter what gloves you use, your hands are bound to get sweaty. Still, the best sparring gloves will have good breathability, so that your sweaty hands won’t be distracting you during sparring.

For a more detailed look into these factors, check out my review for the best boxing gloves.

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