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The best boxing gloves in 2023, according to experts

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Selecting the right pair of boxing gloves can be a difficult task. Whether you're a seasoned pugilist or a total newcomer to fighting sports, the importance of high-quality equipment cannot be overstated. A good set of gloves is important for protecting your wrists and hands, but they also play an important role in the safety of your training partners. You must consider details like their overall weight, padding, material, and wrist support. With the explosion in popularity of casual boxing classes, a variety of options have flooded the market. Today, there are countless brands, styles, and materials to choose from, so I've assembled a list detailing some of my favorites to help you navigate. Plenty of quality brands exist beyond those discussed here, so shop around, try out different pairs, and find the best boxing gloves for you.

How we chose the best boxing gloves

I've been practicing martial arts on and off since I was eight years old. I picked up kickboxing in my teens MMA in my 20s, and Muay Thai in my 30s. I now train students at a handful of fight and fitness gyms around NYC, where students of every age and level come to sharpen their skills. After a few decades of training and teaching, I've gotten a handle on what to look for when finding just the right pair. You're going to prioritize the details that are most important to you. Still, I looked at overall construction, design, durability, price, and basically how each glove feels when I use it on the bag or when hitting pads. So, mix up some protein powder, strap on a pair, and get to punching.

The best boxing gloves: & Recommendations

You won't truly know how much you love a pair of boxing gloves until you hear them slap against a pad or a bag, but we fully recommend these pairs based on years of experience.

Best Overall: Twins Special


Specs

  • Material: Leather
  • weights: 10oz, 12oz, 14oz, or 16oz

Pros

  • Extremely durable
  • Stay firmly in place
  • Ample protection
  • Impeccable reputation

Cons

  • Some may prefer a longer cuff
  • Hard to buy online

Twins Specials is known for being a classic, high-quality, widely respected maker of boxing gloves. They're made in Thailand, with a long history of producing premium equipment. They top my list because of their fit, weight distribution, construction, and durability. Their standard models are generally round around the fist with more-than-sufficient padding over the knuckles and a short cuff over the wrist (I personally dislike a long wrist cuff that goes way up my forearm, and these do not have one, but that's a personal choice). They're really well balanced, too, with just the right amount of weight on the hand versus the wrist. They also last forever. You can beat the heck out of them on the bag or on the mitts (even with an old-school trainer with heavy hands), and these gloves will somehow still keep their shape and padding. They are a little more expensive, with authentic pairs rarely less than $100, but totally worth the price tag. I'm looking forward to seeing more faux leather options from them in the future. Bottom line, Twins Special has well-earned its excellent reputation. The only problem is buying them online. You can find limited models from online retailers, but a local shop is your best bet.

Best for beginners: Hayabusa T3

Hayabusa boxing gloves are great for beginners.

Specs

  • Material: Vylar
  • weights: 10oz, 12oz, 14oz, 16oz, or 18oz

Pros

  • Tough synthetic outer
  • Ample knuckle protection
  • Lots of wrist support
  • Tons of color and size options
  • Five layers of foam for impact absorption

Cons

  • Breaking-in process can take a while

The Hayabusa T3 is a really high-quality glove with great wrist support, making it my top pick for beginners. Many new boxers can struggle with hand and wrist pain because of the misalignment of their joints when striking. To help solve this, the T3 runs a semi-rigid "splint" across the wrist (from the cuff to the knuckles) that helps keep the arm straight and knuckles in place when throwing a punch. Additionally, the dual straps help support the wrist and fortify it on impact. Multiple layers of dense padding help, too, and the gloves just plain look cool in pretty much every color variation. They take a few more rounds on the bag to "break in" than other brands, but that's a good thing for newbies. 

Best for heavy bags: Ringside Apex

Ringside boxing gloves have a more traditional shape

Specs

  • Material: Leather
  • weights: 14oz or 16oz

Pros

  • Round shape provides extra padding at the knuckles
  • Good bounce off the bag
  • Good for high-volume training
  • Flashy colors
  • Protect joints

Cons

Ringside makes great equipment all around, and the Apex Flash line of boxing gloves is no exception. I find Ringside gloves to be well "rounded" around the knuckles, giving a bit more of a padded feel when landing heavy strikes. This is beneficial when you're going deep in rounds on a densely packed heavy bag that doesn't have much give. You want the slight “bounce” off the glove the Apex Flash will give you every time you throw a jab or a cross so that a high-volume training session doesn't have a high-volume impact on your knuckles, elbows, or other joints. 

Best for sparring: Fairtex BGV1

Fairtex boxing gloves are great for sparring because of their shape

Specs

  • Material: synthetic leather
  • weights: 14oz, 16oz, 18oz, or 20oz

Pros

  • Another brand with an impeccable reputation from a long tradition
  • Plush cushioning for protection
  • Durable despite softness
  • Hook shape is ideal for kickboxing
  • Available up to 20 ounces in some colors

Cons

  • Graphics may not match everyone's style

Fairtex is one of the most well-respected names in boxing, kickboxing, and especially Muay Thai training equipment. Their gloves are superbly made, and they offer a wide variety of styles and colors. I've probably owned more pairs of Fairtex gloves, shinpads, and shorts than any other brand. The BGV1 is a great standard-issue glove evenly weighted around the fist with a short cuff around the wrist. I chose them for sparring because the padding is strong enough to protect your knuckles but cushy enough not to thud too heavily on your training partner and because the material doesn't easily degrade (which could scratch your training partner's face). Additionally, if you're working on the inside or doing clinch work, they have a classic "hook" shape to the palm side of the glove that helps maintain a grip on your opponent. Fairtex also makes it easy to find heavier pairs, like 18 oz and 20 oz gloves, for bigger fighters.

Best for sparring (runner up): Yokkao

Yokkao boxing gloves are great for sparring

Specs

  • Material: Leather
  • weights: 8oz, 10oz, 12oz, 14oz, 16oz, or 18oz

Pros

  • Extra-long cuff for wrist support
  • Soft-but-durable leather outer
  • Hook shape for clinching
  • Tons of color and size options

Cons

  • Some users don't love the smell of the leather (which eventually goes away)

Best : RDX

RDX makes some of the best boxing gloves on a budget

Specs

  • Material: synthetic leather
  • weights: 8oz, 10oz, 12oz, 14oz, or 16oz

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Simple, sturdy closure
  • Solid ventilation
  • Durable
  • Very attached thumb to encourage beginners to make the correct fist shape

Cons

  • Not as plush as expensive models

These days, you can get a pretty good pair of boxing gloves without burning through your wallet. RDX makes great high-level gear but also some of the sturdiest affordable gloves on the market. At about $30, this pair hits all the marks—solid construction, balanced weighting, dense padding through the knuckles, and they just look cool. I'm also a fan of the faux-leather material, which is just as durable as its more expensive real-leather cousin. It used to be that you couldn't find a solid pair of boxing gloves for less than $75, and then it dropped to $50, but these RDX really do the trick for anyone just getting into striking who doesn't want to make a big investment yet. 

Here are some essential terms to know and variables to consider when you set out to find the perfect pair of boxing gloves:

Style

Most boxing gloves are constructed relatively similarly in terms of shape and “style.” Some Muay Thai gloves will have a bit of a "hook" design to them that aids in clinching, but overall, the differences are pretty subtle for most users. When considering how they fasten, you can typically choose between velcro and laces. Most gloves on the market open and close using velcro straps because it's quick and easy. You can usually get a pretty tight grip, too, unless it starts to wear out (less common with the more expensive pairs). Laced-up gloves are great for getting a more snug fit around the hand, but they're not really necessary below a certain level of training. In most scenarios, velcro gloves are completely appropriate, especially if you don't have a trainer to help you get in and out of them. 

Material

Boxing gloves are typically made out of leather, but faux-leather options are on the rise and totally viable. As recently as 10 years ago, you didn't want to buy the non-leather options because the material would quickly break down after a handful of workouts. Today, it seems most companies have mastered the manufacturing process, and you can get inexpensive versions of both leather and faux-leather boxing gloves that will last you a while. On the inner part of the glove, you'll typically find some kind of nylon lining, whereas some gloves will feature foam. I tend to favor lining because it's easier to slide your hand in and out and because it helps stop sweat from absorbing into the deeper parts of the glove. 

FAQ

Q: How do I clean boxing gloves?

Cleaning boxing gloves is as simple as wiping them down with a wet rag or disinfectant wipes after use. But that won't get rid of the notoriously sour sweat smell. That is best accomplished by keeping them dry, which I learned to do with a small fan and some newspaper. This basic trick has served me and many other fighters very well for a long, long time. Bacteria are the major culprit in stinky boxing gear and thrive in the moist environment inside the glove. Desiccating bacteria (ie, drying it out) keeps it from proliferating and producing that foul smell we've all come in contact with.

I usually open the gloves as much as possible, folding the velcro in the opposite direction, and then sit them on top of a small, adjustable desktop fan (you can get them at CVS or on Amazon for $15–$25 usually). Leave them there for 15 minutes on the highest setting, which usually does the trick. After they've dried, you can shove some old newspaper in towards the fingertips (usually the stinkiest part) to absorb any remaining moisture. You can also do this with paper towels or other materials, but what's nice about newspaper (besides recycling it) is that the carbon-based ink is great for drying out the bacteria and neutralizing odors. This has been more effective for me than fancy sprays, inserts, or any other expensive product my Instagram feed tried to push on me. Do not put them in the washing machine.

Q: What weight glove should I get?

Your boxing gloves' weight (in ounces) depends on your weight and what you're doing with them. There are some standards (like 16 oz. gloves for sparring in most boxing, kickboxing, and Muay Thai gyms), but it also comes down to personal preference. A very loose stratification of glove weights according to body weight might look something like this:

– If you're around 110 lbs, consider 10 oz. gloves
– If you're around 120 lbs, consider 12 oz. gloves
– If you're around 140 lbs, consider 14 oz. gloves
– If you're around 160 lbs+, consider 16 oz. gloves

Other factors might include how big your hands are and how well they fit in each size glove after your hands are wrapped. Or you might want a heavier glove with more padding because you're hitting a stiff heavy bag frequently in your training regimen (heavier gloves will also provide a bit more of an upper-body workout). Try different weights and see what works best for you. 

Q: How much do boxing gloves cost?

The cost of boxing gloves and other fighting gear has decreased considerably in the last decade. You can now find a pretty decent introductory pair for anywhere from $25–$50. For most practitioners, you can get by pretty well on a pair in the $40-$75 range. I regularly buy gloves for around $60, which me just fine. If you're training hard and often, though, gloves around or over $100 will often last longer, but price and exclusivity are not always proxies for professionalism. I've watched gear-snobs on Instagram talk about this or that being the only gloves and protective gear they'll use and proclaim that suggesting anything within X or Y brand shows that you're clueless in the sport. It's hard to take that seriously when plenty of pro fighters can be seen wearing the same generic, low-cost gear these wannabe influencers deem unworthy. In 2023, we've got lots of options.   

Final thoughts on the best boxing gloves

At the end of the day, buying the right pair of boxing gloves is a personal decision. A strong case can be made for any of the gloves above, as well as a host of other great brands out there, but you have to find the glove that fits your needs and physiology best. Figure out your training routine and goals, then pick a pair and go! For the vast majority of us, any glove is better than no glove or no training at all. Take into consideration some of the specifics we mentioned above—weight, material, training methods, etc.—and then talk to your coach and training partners and see what they say. Try a few pairs out, and don't be afraid to switch them up if you feel they aren't what you're looking for. "Protect your tools" is one of the most important things I remember from my first MMA coach, and a good pair of boxing gloves is part of that. Luckily, there are plenty on this list to choose from. Good luck and happy hitting!

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VIA: popsci.com

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