The type of boxing gloves you need depends on your specific needs and preferences.

For example, when you are at the boxing gym, sometimes your coach will only want you to focus on hitting the heavy bag to improve your power so you will need boxing gloves specifically made for heavy bag use.

In other cases, you might only be sparring to improve your technique so you would only need sparring gloves.

Knowing the specific type of boxing gloves needed for each situation gives you the best possible chance of improving your boxing performance.

That is why we have created this guide about the different types of boxing gloves available in the market, giving you the boxing scenarios in which they are best suited based on our experience.

Training Gloves

A basic type of boxing gloves that should be part of every boxer's kit is a pair of Training gloves. They are usually recommended for beginners as they provide maximum protection and comfort.

Training gloves are usually made of leather, with thick padding to protect knuckles, wrist support, and Velcro closures (hook and loop). They will assist in intense practice sessions by absorbing shock and preventing injuries.

A reliable pair of training gloves with heavy padding can be used for bag work or sparring during practice sessions. Heavily padded training bags provide sufficient comfort and safety during intense bag work or sparring sessions.

We recommend having a pair of general training gloves as they can be used for sparring, heavy bag work, and mitt work, which provides the convenience of not having to change gloves every time you switch to a different boxing exercise in a training session.

We have also found that getting a pair of training gloves is cheaper as you only have one pair compared to a multitude of different types of boxing gloves.

For those of you who have just started boxing, this is an affordable way to improve your skillset and confidence, and as you improve and start competing, you may decide that purchasing different types of gloves would be more beneficial for you.

Bag Gloves

As a beginner or a boxer trying to master punching technique, you need a pair of bag gloves to hit heavy bags as they are specifically designed for this purpose.

Bag gloves are the type of boxing gloves that are not used for sparring because they are made with less padding around the knuckle area to allow you to hone your punch technique.

We found that the reduced padding around this area allows you to accurately identify when you have thrown a punch incorrectly at the punching bag because you didn’t land the punch correctly.

This allows you to adjust your punches, which will greatly improve your punching technique.

We also discovered during our testing of these gloves that focusing on power punches on the heavy bag where you strike it extremely hard can create pain in the knuckles over the years when bag gloves less than 10 oz are used.

Therefore, we recommend using bag gloves that are at least 12oz alongside boxing hand wraps to prevent any potential pain or injury.

Sparring Gloves

Sparring gloves usually have softer or more cushioning to absorb the impact of punches, which reduces the risk of injury for both you and your sparring partner.

Sparring gloves come in a variety of sizes but it is recommended to use at least 14oz gloves or above, depending on your body weight.

Former American heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson used heavy and thick 18 oz sparring gloves, for maximum protection. The 18 oz sparring gloves are used by professional boxers with bigger hands for added safety and weight.

We find that when sparring with heavy sparring gloves, it can make your punches faster and more accurate when in competition bouts with smaller boxing gloves as your arms have been conditioned to fight with heavier sparring gloves.

Therefore, using sparring gloves is a great way to improve the speed of your punches.

The main downside of sparring gloves is that they can only really be used for sparring, which means that you would have to spend money to buy a different pair of boxing gloves for different boxing exercises like bag work.

Amateur Competition Gloves

To participate in an amateur boxing competition, you need to buy a pair of amateur competition gloves, which are made with less padding, so the opponent receives the full power of the punches.

Generally, amateur competition gloves are blue or red with knuckle areas of the glove highlighted in white. These elements of amateur gloves make it much easier for the judges to score the contest.

You must be familiar with the regulations for boxing gloves before participating in any competition. The size and weight of gloves vary according to the level of the boxer but generally, for amateur boxing, it is 10 to 12oz gloves.

Professional Competition Gloves

Professional competition gloves are only required for professional matches.

We would not recommend using these gloves unless you are competing in a professional setting as they’re smaller and have compact padding to give maximum punch impact, which means safety can be compromised.

Professional competition gloves always have lace-up closures instead of Velcro closures that are typically used in boxing gloves for training.

The weight of professional competition gloves varies from 8 oz to 10 oz depending on the weight of the boxer. It is recommended for boxers weighing 152 lbs and under to use 8 oz gloves, and boxers weighing 154 lbs or more to use 10 oz gloves.         

Mexican Style Boxing Gloves

During the initial period of boxing, while traditional gloves resembled enormous cushions, Mexican gloves stood out with their sleek design and comfortable cushioning.

Mexican boxing gloves have a unique appearance such as extended cuffs and a more streamlined shape.

Mexican boxing gloves are known for their exceptional performance that assures robust strikes with every punch. This type of boxing gloves has thin padding and a compact shape that delivers more damage to opponents.

We have tried and tested these gloves and find that they have longer cuffs and are more comfortable as they fit nicely on the hands.

These types of gloves can be purchased from brands like Cleto Reyes, Casanova, and Gil.

Mexican Style Boxing Gloves were used by stars of the sport like Muhammad Ali and Manny Pacquiao. According to Manny Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, Pacquiao simply doesn't feel at ease using any brand other than Cleto Reyes.

Muay Thai Gloves

Muay Thai gloves have been designed to combat not just punches but kicks as well due to the special design elements incorporated into the gloves.

Muay Thai Gloves are made with additional padding for palms and an even layer of padding throughout the gloves. This added padding to Muay Thai Gloves gives the fighter defense against the moves from its competitor.

Muay Thai Gloves are designed to combat a versatile boxing game allowing fighters more flexibility and grip to open hand and seize kicks. Some brands also add extra padding at the bottom of the palm to give full coverage.

We have used Muay Thai gloves to hit the heavy bag and they hold up very well. However, we would still recommend using gloves specifically for boxing.

Kickboxing Gloves

Kickboxing Gloves are made to intercept kicks with added padding on both sides. In comparison to boxing gloves, Kickboxing Gloves have more flexibility, evenly distributed thicker padding, and easier thumb movements.

Kickboxing gloves have lesser wrist mobility and clinching grip as compared to Muay Thai Gloves. Kickboxing types of boxing gloves are available in both leather and synthetic material.

The acclaimed kickboxer Saenchai prefers Yokkao, an admiringly respected brand for making boxing gloves. Beginners in Kickboxing can get gloves of 10 oz or 12 oz, however, Kickboxing gloves are available in the 8 to 16 ounces range.

MMA Gloves

The design of MMA gloves is different from boxing or Muay Thai as it is fingerless with open flexible palms. MMA gloves have thin padding for knuckles and open finger style making them look like weightlifting gloves.

The fingerless design supports flexibility, clutching and padding absorbs shock and protection from injuries.

MMA gloves usually have Velcro lace-up closures for more flexibility, ease, and minimizing strain. You should get a pair of MMA gloves that perfectly fit based on the circumference of your hands.

MMA gloves should not be used for boxing or Kickboxing as they lack features for safety and comfort. For boxers, MMA Gloves are not required unless they want to do training for another fighting sport.

Semi-Contact Gloves

The Semi-Contact Gloves are adaptable gear appropriate for various martial arts fields such as taekwondo and grappling. Particularly these types of gloves are made for bag work, semi-contact, or full-contact.

Semi-contact gloves have an open palm style and a flexible, elasticated Velcro waistband to secure a snug and relaxed fit providing comfort.

With abundant padding, they protect hands and knuckles during extreme sparring and workout sessions.

The elastic strap further enhances security, preventing slippage or shifting during use.

These types of boxing gloves are lightweight and permit unrestricted movement, enabling easy training sessions. Semi-contact gloves are manufactured from high-quality materials, they ensure durability and longevity, capable of resisting intense use over time.

Whether honing skillfulness or engaging in strict sparring, these Semi-Contact Gloves offer the required support and shield for martial artists of all grades.

Hybrid Gloves

These types of boxing gloves do not come under a specific category due to their advanced features and specifications.

These different types of boxing gloves are used for heavy bag work, pad work, MMA training, and partner training. Hybrid gloves are the type of boxing gloves with many features but they are not intrinsically boxing or Muay Thai specific.

Some of the popular Hybrid gloves are the Hayabusa T3 model, Venum models, Revgear S5, and Byakko gloves.

HayabusaT3 LX Hybrid Gloves are made with excellent quality leather, great fit, and a top-notch palm design that gives stability and control during training. They prevent slipping and use special foam to protect knuckles while reducing hand fatigue.

The patented Dual-X® closure system for secure and adjustable fit, and the silver-infused lining keeps them fresh for longer. Luxury and functionality go hand in hand with the Hayabusa T3 LX hybrid gloves.

Youth Boxing Gloves

There is a separate category for youth boxing gloves for youngsters from the ages of 6 to 14. These types of boxing gloves are specially made for kids, with 6 oz and 8 oz sizes.

Hayabusa youth boxing gloves offer exceptional support and defense for youth. There are many brands making youth boxing gloves but Hayabusa takes the lead in offering the best.

Hayabusa kids’ T3 boxing gloves have a striking dual-strap style that adapts to fit kids’ hands flawlessly as they mature over the years.

The specific characteristics of youth boxing gloves are Advanced Foam Core to defend youthful hands during extreme workout sessions. This helps in shock absorption, minimizing the impact, and preventing injuries.

Youth boxing gloves have built-in grip bars to promote proper fist shape for different fighting sports.

Youth boxing gloves are designed with mesh palms to ensure breathability, comfort, and performance. All youth boxing gloves are manufactured for shorter hands, delivering a secure and snug touch for confident punches.

Women Boxing Gloves

Women also need boxing gloves that are comfortable and safeguarded from injuries during practice sessions and matches in the ring.

As we know boxing gloves provide a safe environment for both sparring partners. Although many brands offer unisex gloves, the type of boxing gloves suitable for women might differ in size.

This means the type of boxing gloves made for women should have a slimmer internal hand compartment with additional padding.

The main difference is female anatomy and the lower bone density, making it intrinsically prone to injury. The extra padding layers secured hook and loop closure, and added wrist support provide good shock absorption, support, and stability.

The type of boxing gloves women need should fit nicely but not too tight. Women should also wear wraps under gloves to get extra protection, so select the size keeping this in mind.

If you are interested, check out our other guide on the best boxing gloves for women.

Leather and Synthetic Boxing Gloves

Boxing gloves are made of leather or synthetic material, both having respective pros and cons.

The type of boxing gloves made from genuine leather, usually from top-grain leather or full-grain leather are known for their comfort and longevity.

Authentic leather is sourced from cowhide which is lightweight with exceptional breathability. Leather boxing gloves offer odor resistance and ensure minimal sweat absorption.

Leather boxing gloves give a premium quality boxing experience, but it comes with a higher cost.

Synthetic boxing gloves are an alternative to leather boxing gloves, available at a relatively low price.

Synthetic boxing gloves are usually made of polyurethane and vinyl, however different quality synthetic gloves are available in the market.

Synthetic boxing gloves can be heavier and less flexible than leather gloves, but good-quality synthetic gloves are also available in the market. Synthetic boxing gloves are a good alternative for people who can't afford leather gloves.

They are also suitable for new boxers and light workout sessions. Synthetic gloves are cost-effective, but they might not withstand frequent and intense training sessions for the long term.  

Lace and Velcro Strap Boxing Gloves

Lace-up gloves offer a secure fit by binding with a single lace, guaranteeing both sides are pulled tight and tied around the hand. These gloves have a flat or padded back wrist for additional comfort.

Benefits of lace-up gloves include a compact fit around the wrist, padded support for improved comfort, and longer cuffs for more arm coverage. These gloves have a smarter, less bulky feel compared to Velcro boxing gloves. Lace-up gloves eradicate the risk of scratching competitors.

However, we find that you will often need help with lacing, making them slightly inconvenient for solo workout sessions.

Aaron McLeish suggests lace-ups for sparring and Velcro boxing gloves for bag work. His pro tip is to tape up gloves at wrists to prevent accidents during sparring.

Velcro boxing gloves employ one or multiple Velcro straps to wrap the glove, fastening it together securely. Velcro straps are available in elasticated Velcro or dual overlapping Velcro straps for adjustable fits.

The benefit of Velcro boxing gloves is their convenience to wear and remove during a workout without help. Velcro boxing glove extensions are available presenting various levels of fit and support.

Drawbacks of Velcro boxing gloves include the possibility for Velcro to render scratches during contact. Cheaper or low-quality Velcro boxing gloves may lose effectiveness over time, resulting in decreased grasp.

What Type of Boxing Gloves Do You Need as a Beginner?

As a newcomer in the boxing field, you need comfortable and well-padded boxing gloves to protect yourself from injury. Start with training gloves and develop basic skills and punching techniques.

Once you start regular training sessions for sparring and hitting heavy bags get a pair of bag gloves and sparring gloves.  Check out this guide for choosing perfect boxing gloves, for more understanding before buying a pair of boxing gloves.

What are the Best Types of Boxing Gloves?

The best types of boxing gloves certainly depend on the purpose of their use. For instance, for a sparring session, it's essential to use sparring gloves made specifically to protect both partners during practice.

Similarly, for other boxing-related activities like bag work and mitt drills a pair of training gloves would be ideal. Practicing mixed martial arts (MMA) demands MMA gloves, their fingerless design, and lighter padding, permitting grappling maneuvers. So, choosing the perfect type of boxing gloves for specific activities is essential for comfort, safety, and performance.

The top brands you should consider for getting the best type of boxing gloves are Hayabusa, Venum, Everlast (Muhammad Ali used 8 oz horse-hair Everlast gloves), Byakko, and RDX.

We have created a list of the best boxing gloves based on extensive testing, research, and customer reviews so check it out if you need help finding the best for you.

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Finlay Short

Finlay Short has been a boxer for over a decade and is now a writer for Official Things sharing his boxing knowledge, expertise, and experience.