How Many Boxing Gloves Should You Have

How many boxing gloves should you have? Most people think that having a single pair is enough. But with over 18 years of martial arts experience, I can definitely say that you need at least two pairs – one for sparring and one for the heavy bag. Why? Read on to find out!

Table of Contents
1. How Many Boxing Gloves Should You Own?
2. Can you Use Sparring Gloves for the Heavy Bag?
3. How To Care for Your Boxing Gloves
3.1. Clean Your Gloves After Each Use
3.2. Use a Deodorizer When Necessary
3.3. Store Your Gloves Separately
3.4. Don’t Use Leather Foods
4. How Often Should You Change Boxing Gloves
5. What to Look for in a Good Pair of Boxing Gloves
6. Final Word

1. How Many Boxing Gloves Should You Own?

Ideally, you should own two pairs of boxing gloves – one pair of bag gloves and one pair of sparring gloves.

If you can only afford one pair, then that should definitely be a pair of heavy bag gloves. These bad boys are specifically designed to withstand the intense impact of hitting the heavy bag. They provide extra padding and support to protect your hands from getting all banged up. Trust me, you don’t want to end up with bruised knuckles or sprained wrists after a hard-hitting session with the bag. And you especially don’t want your hands to develop injuries due to not being protected. So, investing in a pair of heavy bag gloves is a no-brainer.

Next up, you’ll need a pair of gloves for sparring. These gloves are designed to provide both protection for your hands and your sparring partner. They have extra padding to cushion the impact of your punches and reduce the risk of injury. Plus, they usually have a larger surface area, which helps you land cleaner shots without accidentally poking someone in the eye.

Even if you don’t plan on stepping into the ring for some friendly (or not-so-friendly) sparring sessions, it’s still good to have a spare pair of boxing gloves in case your main pair gets damaged or they’re still airing out after your previous workout.  

If you plan on competing, then you’ll also need a pair of competition gloves. But those are usually provided by the tournament organizers.

2. Can you Use Sparring Gloves for the Heavy Bag?

Yes, you can use sparring gloves for the heavy bag. But I wouldn’t recommend it. You see, 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 for your sparring partner. This is also why it’s not a good idea to use your bag gloves for sparring. Because punching the heavy bag will roughen up the gloves’ punching surface, and gradually wear down the padding, making your strikes hit harder.

Most modern boxing gloves are marketed as “Training Gloves”. The idea is that you can use them both for the heavy bag and for sparring. And while there are a lot of good gloves that are marketed as training gloves, they have the same problem as any heavy bag glove used for sparring – using them on the punching bag makes wears down the padding and makes them more painful for your training partners.

Are Everlast Boxing Gloves Good Featured Image

3. How To Care for Your Boxing Gloves

Regardless of how cheap or expensive your boxing gloves are, you need to take good care of your gear. Here’s how:

3.1. Clean Your Gloves After Each Use

First things first, you’ll want to clean your gloves after you’re done with them for the day. After intense training sessions, sweat and bacteria can build up inside the gloves, leading to unpleasant smells and potential infections. Simply wipe down the gloves with a damp cloth to remove any sweat. If they’re really dirty or grimy, use an anti-bacterial wet wipe.

Avoid using harsh chemicals or cleaners as they can damage the material, especially if they’re made of real leather. Once wiped down, let them air dry completely. Avoid using any heating sources to dry them, as this can also harm the material.

Just leave them open and let them air out.

3.2. Use a Deodorizer When Necessary

If your gloves have developed an unpleasant odor, consider using a deodorizer specifically designed for boxing gloves. There are lots of products that get rid of odors and keep your gloves smelling fresh. A good example is this one from Meister, or this one from Vapor Fresh.

Alternatively, you can sprinkle a small amount of baking soda or cornstarch inside each glove and let it sit overnight. They’ll absorb any moisture and help eliminate any unwanted smells.

When it comes to storage, choose a well-ventilated area. Avoid damp or humid environments as they can encourage the growth of bacteria and mold. Also, keep your gloves away from direct sunlight or heat sources, as this can damage the material. Opt for a dry, cool place with good air circulation to store your boxing gloves.

To maintain the shape of your gloves, consider using a glove insert. If you don’t have one, just fill them with something dry and soft, like a towel. This is a great option if you’ve just finished your workout and you need to put your gloves in your gear bag where they aren’t able to air out (this goes for your other protective gear, as well).

Using an insert will also prevent them from getting misshapen or flattened over time. If you don’t have a glove insert, you can use a rolled-up towel or even a pair of clean socks to fill the gloves and help them maintain their shape.

3.3. Store Your Gloves Separately

Lastly, store your boxing gloves separately. Don’t just toss them in a bag or cram them in a locker with other equipment. This can cause them to become compressed and lose their shape. And if you’ve just had your workout and your gloves are sweaty, this can promote the development of mold and bacteria.

Instead, invest in a suitable rack or designate a specific spot where your gloves can hang and have proper ventilation. This will protect them from any damage or wear and tear. 

3.4. Don’t Use Leather Foods

For boxing gloves made of leather, lots of forums advise using so-called “leather foods” – special creams, lotions, and conditioners that keep leather in shape.

However, what people don’t realize is that leather foods are intended for leathers made using traditional tanning methods. There, leathers aren’t chemically fixed and need nourishing. But the majority of modern leather boxing gloves simply don’t need this kind of nourishment. 

Just wipe them with a damp cloth and make sure they air out!

Lace-Up vs Velcro Boxing Gloves Featured Image

4. How Often Should You Change Boxing Gloves

Professional boxers change their gloves regularly, but for normal people, it varies. A big factor is the quality of your boxing gloves and how intense your workouts are. It also depends on how well you maintain them.

Assuming you train regularly, a cheap pair of boxing gloves won’t last you more than 6 months to a year at most.

If your boxing gloves are made of genuine leather, they can last up to 2 or 3 years, or even more, if they’re very high quality.

5. What to Look for in a Good Pair of Boxing 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 14 Oz gloves. As you get more advanced, you can go for lighter gloves. For the punching bag, you’ll want heavier gloves – at least 16 Oz
  • 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.
  • Comfort. Regardless of how expensive your gloves are, if you don’t find them comfortable, you won’t be able to get the most out of them. Boxing glove size plays a big part in this – if it’s a larger glove than you’re used to, you may find it uncomfortable. But you should bear that this is definitely something you can get used to.

Related: The Best Boxing Gloves for Beginners

6. Final Word

If your workout incorporates sparring, then it’s a good idea to have at least two pairs of boxing gloves. Not only is that going to ensure that your gloves last a long time, but it’s also going to make sure that you don’t hurt your training partners during sparring and partner drills.

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