In this article I will show you the best affordable cheap boxing gloves in 2022.
I review over 60 brands, and hundreds of different gloves…explaining everything from materials, padding, and stitching to shape, comfort, and protection. I also cover the history of different brands and how they evolved or even copied one another over the years.
Of the hundreds of “boxing glove reviews” out there, most are either a vomit of self-serving Amazon links or sponsored
reviews advertisements hyping up gimmicky features. Even the honest reviews are written by guys who’ve tried only a few brands and never worn out a single glove in their entire life.
Some of you guys know my story. I’ve been boxing since 2004. Way back in 2008, I wrote a popular guide called the Boxing Gloves Buyer’s Review that circled the web a hundred times, spawning copycat review guides ripping off everything I said. Well…a lot has changed since then.
The current market for boxing/MMA/fighting gear is more confusing than ever for consumers. There used to be only a few brands to choose from and it was easy to tell who made the good stuff. But nowadays, you have more brands and more choices (design, color, price-range) with all claiming to be the highest quality. You hear conflicting reviews and you don’t know what’s good anymore.
I’ve tried out MANY gloves and seen them new, used, completely torn apart. I can look at a glove and tell you how it’s going to feel and how it’s going to fall apart later. I can tell you if the glove will harden quickly, be hot and sweaty, be hard to make a fist, where it will tear, those kinds of things.
This experience comes from being in a serious boxing gym—with dozens of champions training inside at any moment. I got to try out many different gloves and see what everyone else uses. I also get free gloves regularly because of my website. I’ve seen many brands and how they’ve changed over the years.
I hope to shine some light on the boxing glove industry (instead of confusing you with more pretty pictures and BS features). I’ll tell you how boxing gloves are made, which qualities are most important, and which ones to buy. I’ll also give you the background and history of many companies and how their gloves have risen or fallen in favor with boxers.
I will probably make enemies out of the boxing glove industry but here goes…
Let’s us begin the ULTIMATE BOXING GLOVE REVIEW GUIDE!
NOTE: I have affiliate links for many gloves below. Whatever you buy may earn me a small commission. I only promote gloves that I would personally use and NEVER because of commissions (although many companies have tried). In a sport like this, integrity IS safety.
Skip ahead if you’re too busy to read the entire article. Read the whole thing to see detailed glove reviews, company write-ups, and get a stronger understanding of how quality gloves are made.
What MOST boxers use? Best Affordable Cheap Boxing Gloves Review
Most pros (and amateurs) prefer Winning gloves for training because they have the best protection. Even if you don’t have a lot of money, it is still worth it to save up the $300 for Winning—they are THAT good! Older fighters or those with hand problems practically have no choice but to use Winning. An alternative to Winning is Grant but it’s only used by pros or rich kids (who can appreciate the customization) since it costs so much.
Fighters that like Winning/Grant gloves but can’t afford them will default to Rival or one of the Mexican glove brands (Reyes, Casanova), which are still very high quality but more affordable. Those wanting customization or flashy styling will go with customized Mexican gloves; ones with bigger budget will do Grant or Adidas MyGloves.
Boxers on average budget will default to Ring2Cage C17’s. Those on a tighter budget will get either Fighting Sports or Ringside IMF sparring gloves (which go on sale often). MMA guys or boxers venturing outside the traditional boxing brands will go for Hayabusa (which I don’t like), Ring 2 Cage’s C17 model (a respectable Winning clone) or one of the Thai brands (Fairtex, Twins, etc). The most budget conscious will go for Title, really cheap but functional.
First-timers, beginners, and especially MMA guys are known to walk into the gym with cheap Everlast, Fairtex, Hayabusa, or even Venum (whichever they find first at sporting stores)—many of which are not on my top 5 lists because of poor quality or overpriced. Some people will be lucky enough to have found Title, Fighting Sports, or Ringside, which go on sale often. Generally, MMA guys prefer the extreme-styling and high-tech look of Hayabusa/Rival whereas pure boxers prefer the classic old-school look of Mexican or Winning gloves.
In countries outside of the US, local brands are more common…such as Rival in Canada, TOP TEN in UK, Winning in Japan, Twins in Thailand, Mexican gloves in Mexico, etc. And then Winning is worn as the “status brand” to show off regardless of any country. Mexican gloves are also shown off outside of Mexico as “exotic gloves” (like in Europe) and fun to wear since they look different from typical Pakistan gloves and very hard to get or rarely seen.
Top criteria for training gloves are quality-of-construction and protection, then comfort. Gloves made for bag work have denser cushion to last longer and also prevent you from punching through the padding. Gloves made for sparring have softer cushion to minimize power transfer and protect sparring partners. There are also gloves that are made for both; ideally, they use multiple layers of foam of different densities. Because every hand is different, some gloves will fit and protect you better than others.
Serious fighters will have at least 2 pairs of gloves (both 16oz):
- SOFT pair of lace-up gloves for sparring.
- DENSE pair of velcro gloves for bagwork.
- Some fighters go lighter (14oz) for speed, or heavier (18oz) for protection/bagwork or conditiong.
- Bigger fighters spar with 18oz, 20oz, or even heavier for more protection.
- Some fighters spar in 14oz or 12oz to practice fighting in lower weight gloves closer to the actual competition weight (they don’t punch with full power, of course).
Having several pairs of gloves helps to preserve your soft sparring gloves, since they don’t last long when used on the heavy bag. The dense cushion in bag gloves can last a lot longer; but you
can’t shouldn’t use them on sparring partners.
If you could only buy one glove (16oz):
- Pick SOFT if you do more sparring, and DENSE if you do more bagwork.
- Those on a budget might buy only a soft pair for sparring, and then use community gloves for bagwork.
- Or you can buy a dense pair for bagwork, and then use community gloves for sparring.
- If you’re not sparring too hard, you can do what I do which is VELCRO gloves for sparring (more convenience), and LACE-UP gloves for bagwork (more support).
- Those with hand injuries may prefer softer/bigger gloves for bagwork. If you don’t know which weight you should get, pick the 16oz.
My personal preferences (FYI: I’m 140lbs):
- Don’t use any glove under $150. Winning, Casanova, and Rival are my favorite stock gloves. TopBoxer and Mexican gloves are my favorite custom gloves. Di Nardo is my guilty splurge.
- 16oz pair for sparring, and 16oz pair for training (bagwork/mitts).
- Quality all-leather exterior over cheap leather or fake leather – more durable, more comfortable, breathes better, looks better.
- Handmade gloves (better quality) over Pakistan factory clone-mold.
- Foam padding over gel padding.
- Simpler design with less seams, preferably with double-stitching (more durability).
- Laces over velcro – more support and authentic boxing look.
- Boxing brands over MMA/Thai glove brands – better shape and quality.
Top 5 Boxing Gloves for Training (Bagwork & Sparring)
- Winning MS-600 16oz Boxing Training Gloves ($290-450) – best choice, proven quality
- Di Nardo 16oz Boxing Training Gloves ($830) – best new glove on the market, premium luxury
- TopBoxer custom gloves ($150-250) – quality & customization
- Rival RS1-Pro Sparring Gloves 16oz ($139) or Rival RB10-Intelli-Shock Bag Gloves ($160) – quality & comfort
- Casanova Sparring/Training Boxing Gloves 16oz ($150) – support & comfort
1. Winning – the “Japanese Pillows” ($290-450)
The #1 brand for the past decade if not longer. Winning is the most protective glove ever created, with the best padding cushion (most pillow-ey) thanks to the marvel of Japanese engineering. Top quality materials and perfect construction.
Don’t be tempted by lesser brands, these gloves look and feel great! Comes with an expensive price tag to live up to and yet not a single person has ever called them over-priced. Many pros and amateurs refuse to wear anything else.
An absolute must for fighters with sensitive/injured hands. Due to its success, Winning’s glove design is the most imitated glove on the market today with every copycat claiming to be ALMOST as protective as the real thing.
Great for sparring and bagwork. The laces version has more support, also more popular (like 20- to-1). Their velcro glove, while not as supportive as the laces, is also the best velcro glove on the market! Quality leather, buttery smooth inner lining, perfect thumb position, protective pillow-ey padding, and total comfort all around! Standard A-level gear used by everyone.
2. Di Nardo – the “Ferrari of boxing gloves” ($830)
Di Nardo (custom-made from Italy) – best leather, best quality and craftsmanship, best support, best style, and VERY UNIQUE FEEL. Premium pricing for a premium glove. Yes, they are absolutely worth the price.
This glove sets the new standard for me in boxing gloves; they are far beyond anything I’ve ever seen. I want to call them the future of boxing gloves but I also know the industry will never catch up to this guy’s madness.
Filippo Di Nardo De Leccese (the sole-owner and maker) has combined his family’s heritage in leather-craftsmanship with his self-devoted passion for boxing. They are like nothing you’ve ever seen in a boxing glove. A completely redesigned glove from inside-out, and truly a piece of art!
The only reason why I don’t have them as #1 is because of the pricing and also that I’ve only had them for 2 years (they still look and function great, btw). Some of you may still prefer the softer Winnings but there is no dispute, these are by far the better-made glove.
Great for sparring and bagwork. Highest quality gloves ever; unrivaled materials and craftmanship! Padding options are either TUTELALA (bagwork) or CAESTUS (slightly softer for bagwork & sparring). Customization available. Padding replacement options available!
3. TopBoxer – the “Custom Champ” from Pakistan ($150-250)
An amazing boutique glovemaker with limitless customization options and expert craftsmanship. First, create the ultimate glove design that looks exactly the way you imagined it, then pick the right padding combination to get the perfect protection and comfort for your hand.
He takes your hand measurements and walks you through every step of the process to create a truly customized glove. You can model yours after existing brands like Winning and Grant and add your own adjustments, or come up with a completely new design that hasn’t been done before.
Explore rare colors, exotic leathers, and unique padding specs. The limit is your imagination. He’s done custom work for many top fighters in boxing and MMA.
4. Rival – “the Canadian Techie” ($160-190)
A quality high tech brand—actually made in China—but with great padding, comfort, and durability. Rival is most known for their stylish aesthetic, innovative cuff designs (comfort), and d3o padding (shock absorption).
Unlike other companies that hype empty gimmicky features, Rival fans can actually feel the difference in comfort and support from their unique glove designs. As a testament to their ingenuity, their designs have also been imitated by other brands. It’s no surprise this Canadian brand has grown to be a worldwide favorite.
I love that Rival separates their gloves into sparring models and bag models; I recommend people buying only a SINGLE PAIR of all-purpose training gloves to pick their sparring models.
Perfect for sparring, and occasional bagwork. A great choice if you love Rival’s ergonomic wrist design. An incredible upgrade to the old-school favorite RS1-Pro (laces version) or RS2v-Pro (velcro version) which are still available at $149.
5. Necalli (formerly Casanova) – the “Forgotten Mexican” ($150)
A trusted glove hailing from a long tradition of boxing and excellent glove craftsmanship. “Hecho en Mexico” gloves authentically handmade in Mexico with quality leather and materials. Necalli gloves are known for their old-school aesthetic (UGLY), wide hand compartment, great knuckle padding, great wrist protection, and comfortable hand shape (although slightly rough inner lining).
They feel amazing and support my wrists like no other brand. A little-known trait of Mexican gloves is that the way they’re shaped helps you throw punches correctly. I’ve fallen in love with my Necalli’s and am now a convert for old-school Mexican brands. Diehards appreciate their no-nonsense design, fair pricing, and the way they smell! Unfortunately, Mexican gloves are hard to get outside of Mexico.
SPECIAL MENTION: Boxeo is another great Mexican brand with long-lasting durability, amazing protection and comfort (and also beautifully-ugly). Campeon and Classics are also similar quality. Or go with Zepol for customization (but slightly lower quality).
Good for sparring and bagwork. Great wrist protection. Boxy Mexican glove shape makes punches land very flat (it’s a good thing). Beautiful nolstagic old school vibe. Mexican leather is much better than usual cheap Pakistan leather.
Cleto Reyes is the best-known, highest craftsmanship, and best leather of all the Mexican brands. They make excellent quality gloves but aren’t recommended for training because they’re known as “puncher’s gloves”—designed for maximum power transfer rather than cushioning and hand protection. With that said, they are still favored by many fighters, especially competing fighters, and now offer models with extra padding.
And it seems very few “boxers” nowadays even need one. Back in your grandpa’s days, when someone said they “boxed a bit” it meant they actually trained twice a week for 6 months and maybe had 5 fights. Today, when someone says they “boxed a bit” it means they saw some Youtube videos and hit their friend’s heavy bag in the basement a few times.
The TOP 5 COUNTRIES for boxing gloves (and why)
The best boxing gloves are created by skilled craftsmen, who are found in 5 countries: America, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, and Thailand. There are a handful in Europe and other countries as well but I’ll leave those details out to keep this brief. America and Mexico are the most obvious for their rich boxing tradition.
American and Mexican boxing companies were typically started by former fighters or trainers and so they had the actual fighting experience to know how gloves should be made, and how to improve them. Thailand has this advantage too, but more specialized for Muay Thai kickboxing rather than boxing.
American boxing companies fell out of favor because all of them eventually prioritized profits over quality. Their glove production was outsourced to Pakistan and no longer made by hand craftsmen in-house, but by machine or low-level factory workers. Again, “profit over quality” was the main driving force…and the results reflected that. “Made in America” would never be heard again for boxing gloves, just like 99.99% of products you see today.
The best American gloves from the old days were made by true craftsman who spent an entire day making one pair, preparing the leather and padding in the most precise ways, and creating each glove with pride. Knowledge of the fight game was their greatest asset. Old-school American gloves were made to last.
But to pay a premium price today for quality leather and precise handicraft just to give boxing a try? No, the average kid just wants some cheap gloves with cool graphics to hit the bags with, and that’s exactly who the American brands cater to.
Mexico in the meanwhile, stayed cheap enough to produce their products locally. Their brands retained more of their original quality, passing on the knowledge of glove-making from one generation to the next. Mexico’s assets were not only knowledge of the fight game and access to cheaper hand labor, they also had higher quality leather and fighters that could push their gear to the limit.
You can trust all reputable Mexican brands to be tested by the toughest and most aggressive boxing style on the planet. The REAL SECRET, I think is in the shape of their gloves. Unlike other brands catering to the casual demographic with pretty designs, Mexican gloves are often ugly (and old-looking) but extremely functional.
Their glove shape supports your hand and wrist in a way that other gloves do not. I think their original methods of designs, stitching, padding, and glove-crafting have remained more intact than other countries over the years.
Unfortunately for consumers, their traditional way of hand-working and demand for quality meant a less industrialized process and smaller production runs. Many of Mexico’s top boxing brands never globalized or grew beyond their local markets. They do not have the marketing or capacity to handle the masses, nor do they have a glove to cater to that demographic.
Japan has not only a rich boxing tradition but also a culture for perfection and advanced technology. Not surprisingly, the most well-known Japanese boxing company (Winning) has the BEST boxing glove on the market, with THE MOST ADVANCED padding, and the highest price.
Expensive high-tech gloves from an expensive high-tech country—of course! Their special foam has been unmatched by anybody out there and believe me, many have tried. It’s the best cushion you can get for your hands. Their glove is beautifully designed in a no-nonsense traditional aesthetic respective of boxing’s rich history.
It doesn’t try to be anything more than a modernized take on the already quite-perfect boxing glove design. It feels like machine-made perfection rather than handmade craft. The overall construction and stitching look perfect; there is NEVER a bad model. Their padding alone and pride in perfect engineering is the reason why Winning is by far the #1 choice for fighters in training. Their marketing is also very humble, no bragging promotions or gimmicky features; the product speaks for itself.
Thailand, like Mexico, produces their gloves at home and also has a rich culture in fighting (Muay Thai & boxing) to stringently test their brands for quality. They too, have been able to pass down the art of glove-making from one generation to the next. But I think Thailand has 2 drawbacks. One is that their gloves are more often designed for Muay Thai kickboxing rather than boxing (using different padding distribution for clinching and blocking kicks).
The other drawback is because I think their country is generally poorer and has less demand for premium products. Their gloves are made cheaper in general and sold at lower price-points. When comparing gloves selling at lower price-points, those made in Thailand are a great deal especially if you can find one specifically designed for boxing rather than kickboxing. You can expect Thai boxing gloves to be reasonably priced and at least built well-enough for their local fighting community.
Pakistan, is the newcomer to the boxing glove market quickly replacing China as the default outsourcee of choice. The main reason is that its leather industry exploded in the past 30 years, benefitting from lower costs (materials/labor) as well as an expertise in leather. The other reasons (I think) are because there’s more English speakers in Pakistan than China (easier to do business with via email), and they don’t yet have the same stigma of being such inferior quality (like Chinese products).
Nowadays, Pakistan is the preferred choice for manufacturing cheap leather products. While they do have the advantage of a robust leather industry and extremely cheap labor, they lack a boxing culture and almost never use quality leather. All their glove designs were given to them or copied from others. I feel their gloves for the most part will always lack soul. The worst manufacturers will always invent ways to make a cheap glove even cheaper. And the best ones can only add more stitches or even use higher quality materials, but they’ll never know how to actually innovate a better glove.
Can you use MMA/Muay-Thai kickboxing gloves for boxing?
Yes, and no. I say “yes” because it’ll work just fine for many beginners and they won’t even notice the difference. I say “no” because I wouldn’t do it myself. I don’t like how MMA/kickboxing gloves are padded differently from Western boxing gloves. There’s more wrist flexibility (for clinching purposes) and also more padding on the back of the glove (for blocking kicks). This means less wrist support for punching and less padding on the palm side of the glove for blocking/parrying punches. Muay Thai gloves are also shorter (I’m guessing for elbow attacks) and their thumb can stick out more (maybe for clinching purposes). And then their knuckle cushion is also too soft or too hard at times. I personally don’t like these differences but if you like how these gloves feel, that’s all that matters, right?
I also feel that MMA brands are Pakistan clones and Muay Thai brands are Thailand clones. Their quality is usually no better and no different from the clone-brands in boxing. If anything, I feel MMA brands charge more for the same product simply because their sport caters to a more affluent demographic (middle-class whites vs urban ghetto).
What if you didn’t see a brand in my review?
Real simple, compare their glove designs to the other brands I review. See if it’s a Pakistan clone design and go from there. Most gloves nowadays are copying Winning, Grant, Title or Hayabusa. If it’s not a clone design, then start comparing the quality and materials with other gloves. There are so many brands I have never heard of and never tried (especially brands from other countries). Despite not having tried them all, I can say without a doubt many of them are clone designs cheaply made in Pakistan.
Glove buying tips
I think you should always get a second opinion. Boxing (or fighting) is a serious sport and can permanently injure your hands no matter how good your gloves are, or how perfect your technique. There is also a good chance that the model you’re seeing may not be the same model I or others have reviewed.
Here are some places where you can get some opinions on boxing gear:
- VISIT a real boxing gym – Find a boxing gym with REAL fighters, competing amateurs and competing pros. See what they use. Check out their community gloves so you can see different brands and how they hold up. How’s the padding? Is the outside leather or inside lining tearing apart? Does the closure strap still work? If you see gloves with a faded logo and beat-up leather and yet the cushion is still good, that’s probably a good brand right there. Ask the pros what they think of different brands.
- GOOGLE search – type in “[pro fighter name] sparring” or “[pro fighter name] heavy bag” on Google images or Youtube and see what brand they use in training. Many pro boxers deal with the same hand issues you have (big hands/wrists, hand injuries, etc). If you’re from another country, try searching up a local boxer from your country. Beware that many famous boxers are sponsored (PAID) to wear certain brands.
- SHERDOG forums – popular MMA website forum where you can read discussions on many different brands and models of gloves. I think Sherdog reviews are great to compare first impressions of quality, fit, and cushioning. But I would be cautious of grandiose claims about performance and durability. I don’t think anybody is truly qualified to review boxing gloves until they’ve PERSONALLY worn out a few pairs of standard boxing brands like Winning, Grant, Reyes, Rival, Ringside, and Title.
- BE CAUTIOUS of glove review articles – they’re often written by guys who haven’t trained seriously for long, don’t focus on boxing (e.g. MMA, Muay Thai), and have never worn out any of the gloves they review. I also think many of them are written purely for commissions or freebies. They receive free gear or payment from companies in exchange for writing glowing reviews. I especially do not trust the articles that say “Top 10 Boxing Gloves”, list a few gimmicky highlights for each glove, and then vomit Amazon links all over the page.
- Be CAUTIOUS of popular Amazon reviews – I’ve seen enough horrible gloves with 5-star reviews to know the majority of them don’t know what they’re talking about. Many of them are total beginners who just started and can’t tell a good glove from a bad glove. 5-star reviews are sometimes a reflection of good marketing (to easily-appeased casual users) rather than actual product quality. Also, many merchants also give freebies in exchange for a positive review.
Boxing Glove Review Criteria
My hands are more sensitive now.
Being around the sport of boxing for 15 years now, I’ve developed hand problems from the constant punching. It hurts to throw the same punches that years ago felt like nothing. You cannot punch dense objects year after year and think nothing will happen to your hands.
It doesn’t matter how well-conditioned or incredible your genetics are, wear-and-tear is inevitable in a grueling sport like this. It’s made me sensitive to different boxing gloves and able to perceive differences in padding whereas I couldn’t before. This is why pros don’t mess around. Many of them have hand damage and can’t afford to use lesser quality gloves that may shorten their career.
So what do I care about the most? HAND PROTECTION and QUALITY. The worst gloves offer little hand protection and break down quickly. The best gloves offer incredible protection and seem to last forever. There’s also the security that only a quality pair of gloves can give you. If you’ve ever hurt your hand before throwing a punch, it will scare you from throwing hard punches again—yes, PUNCHER’S TRAUMA. But with a quality glove, you have all the confidence in the world and get to enjoy punching hard again.
Hand pain isn’t something most beginners are even aware of because:
- they don’t have the technique to punch that hard anyways.
- they lack the conditioning to have long-enough training sessions.
- they are too excited (adrenaline) to notice the damage.
Looking back now in hindsight…I’d like to warn all potential fighters of the following things:
- You are not invincible. All young bodies will eventually deteriorate. If you take care of yourself, you get to last longer.
- Once you hurt your hands, they’re prone to getting hurt again. You may feel hand pain or hand weakness in everything else that you do in life.
- Don’t buy cheap gloves. They don’t last long and end up costing you more if you have to keep buying new gloves.
- Back when I first started boxing, I thought $50 gloves were ok. Now, I don’t. Spend the best you can afford and save your hands for the rest of your life. Even if the $50 gloves feel fine to you, please get something better.
How boxing gloves are made
The process of making a boxing glove can be simplified into a few materials and a few steps. First, the outer materials are cut from hopefully high quality leather (more durable than cheap leather or synthetic materials), and then designs are printed or embroidered on while the material is still flat.
Next the glove shape is formed by stitching the outer pieces together; meshes and grip bars are also stitched in during this step. The padding is cut from foam or molded with a machine.
The foam padding is then stuffed into the glove at the back of hand and knuckle areas, and another foam or even cotton in the wrist and palm areas. Finally, the glove is finished by punching out the holes for laces or stitching on a velcro strap.
The quality of leather, foam design, precision of stitching, and shape of the glove will ultimately affect how the glove fits, cushions, and performs over time for you.
In theory, you would be able to just buy any quality glove out there and that would be the end of that, right? (If it only it were that easy!) Boxing gloves come in many different shapes and designs that can affect how you feel, attack and defend in a fight. After all, you can’t feel comfortable in the ring if you can’t feel comfortable in your gloves.
Hand fit & comfort
Some gloves will fit better for those with bigger hands/wrists, others fit more snug and secure for smaller hands/wrists. Too wide and your hand has all this space to wiggle around, making your wrist less secure. Too narrow, and it’s choking the blood circulation in your hands. Gloves that are too big or too small can be difficult to make a tight fist.
Gloves can also fit differently on longer fingers vs shorter fingers. Ideally, your fingers fit comfortably (not too long or too short) and the glove curls easily with your hand when you make a fist. A glove not curling properly with your hand can impact the back of your fingers or even your middle knuckles while punching (painful and awkward feeling).
There’s also the matter of stiffness. Some fighters prefer a soft feel that molds to your hand. Others like a stiff shape that feels more structurally supportive. It’s personal preference.
Some gloves have a thumb that sticks out more whereas others have the thumb hidden and out of the way. Most fighters prefer a straight-thumb design like Winning (more comfortable) over the curved-thumb design like Reyes (known for many complaints). Most thumb design problems are when the thumb is too small, curves uncomfortably, too stiff (trapped feeling), or doesn’t let you make a comfortable fist.
You should also beware of glove models that don’t have an attached thumb, it’s easier to injure your thumb or poke an opponent’s eye out using them. Unattached thumbs are not common anymore but do exist in some old-school models or MMA/kickboxing gloves (for clinching purposes).
Hand control (ease of opening and closing the hand)
Being able to close your hand easily is important for making a tight fist (for solid punches). Being able to open your hand easily is useful for relaxing the hand, blocking or parrying punches, or clinching (MMA/kickboxing). Stiff-padded gloves tend to lock you into one position (fully closed or semi-closed) whereas softer-padded gloves let you open and close effortlessly. The glove’s design and also breaking in the glove can help with this.
The grip bar design can also affect how you make a fist. A perfectly-placed grab bar will be the right size (not too thick or too thin), and lets you make a tight fist with that solid “roll-of-quarters” feeling inside. It’s annoying when the bar is non-existent, too soft, or too close to your fingertips.
The boxing glove’s most important function—which is to protect your hand—will be most supported by the glove padding. Proper knuckle padding protects your hands from injury when punching dense objects (like heavy bag or opponent’s skull). The backside and palm-side padding helps you defend against attacks when blocking or parrying. You’ll find out soon enough that the padding design not only gives you protection but also affects your fighting style.
The padding can also act as a training aid or handicap. Two fighters of equal weight will choose lighter gloves for a faster sparring match, and heavier gloves for a harder-punching sparring match. Two fighters of uneven weight or uneven skill may offset their disparity with differently-weighted gloves. Alone on the heavy bag, a fighter can use lighter gloves to work on speed or heavier gloves for more protection and/or to condition his arms.
LARGE-SHAPE (American, European, some Mexican and MMA/Thai brands.) – has more padding for cushioning punches and larger shield area to block punches. Having more padding everywhere (knuckles/wrist/forearm) simply feels more supportive and for that reason, it’s the standard shape for training gloves. Other fighters don’t like large-shape gloves because they feel heavier, make their punchers easier to see and block, and also cover their vision when they’re blocking.
LONG-SHAPE (usually Mexican gloves) – feels thinner, lighter, and more streamlined for punching. The longer design distributes the weight more along the arm, making the glove feel less bulky. Many fighters feel long gloves make a smaller/tighter fist, penetrate an opponent’s defense easier, help throw straighter punches, and also don’t obstruct their vision as much when they hold their hands up.
Longer-tighter gloves actually offer better wrist support since there’s less room for your wrist to wiggle around inside. Some fighters don’t like the long-shape because they feel it’s not padded enough and their hands hurt when they punch.
COMPACT-SHAPE (mostly Muay Thai and some MMA gloves) – feels smaller and can squeeze through defenses easier. In boxing gloves, a compact shape is created by using denser cushion and packing everything in tighter (usually bag gloves). In Muay Thai and MMA gloves, a compact shape is created by having less padding around the wrist and more on the back of the hand which offers more wrist mobility and back-padding for blocking kicks.
As expected, traditional boxers may not like this design because of the “top-heavy” feel, less wrist support, and less palm padding (for blocking/parrying punches). Some fighters don’t like compact gloves in general because they feel too small to offer enough blocking coverage.
Some popular labels today are “Mexican gloves” or “puncher’s gloves”. They are both long-shape, streamlined with great wrist support and usually less padding around the fist area. The difference is that “puncher’s gloves” are padded in a way that’s meant to do damage (expect less hand protection), whereas a Mexican-style training glove can have long-shape but be padded in a way still protects the hands well.
Mexican boxers are known to fight in a more exciting fan-friendly style because of their high aggression and ability to throw as well as take hard punches. It’s a stark contrast to boxing styles from other countries where you see fighters thinking, running around more, and being more defensive-minded overall. And not surprisingly, pretty much all the “puncher’s gloves” that you see nowadays are made in Mexico or “Mexican-style” (long shape).
Boxing gloves nowadays are filled with either foam, gel, horsehair or even a special blend of foam/horsehair. Training gloves use foam (or sometimes gel), pro fight gloves use horsehair or blend. Each come with their advantages and disadvantages. Just know that foam is the standard and even within that distinction, there are many different types of foam out there.
Horsehair was the standard type of padding used several decades ago. Nowadays, it’s only used in professional fighting gloves because it transfers the most power. It’s the least protective padding out there and breaks down quickly, making it impractical for everyday training. Some brands use a combination of horsehair and foam to make their pro gloves more protective.
Foam, specifically latex foam, is the standard type of padding for 99.99% of the boxing gloves made today. There are different kinds of foam used and the way it’s cut and layered inside your glove greatly affects your glove’s performance and durability. Good foam feels great and last a long time. Bad foam hurts your hands and goes flat or falls apart quickly.
Gel padding is the same type of “gel” that you see in shoe inserts or computer wrist support pads. I personally don’t like it at all and think it’s a crime that it’s being sold as this supportive long-lasting “new padding technology”. The gel maintains the glove shape/padding for longer but feels un-supportive when you punch with it.
I think the problem is that gel doesn’t compress when you put pressure on it. It simply wiggles around and doesn’t secure your fist upon impact. When I punch with a foam-padded glove, it feels like the foam compresses in place, solidifying my punch into one place giving better support and power transfer during impact.
When I punch with a gel-padded glove, it feels like the gel wiggles or squeezes around during impact, causing my fist to move slightly and de-stabilize (WHICH ACTUALLY HURTS MY WRIST). If you want another visual: imagine you had a wall covered with foam and another wall covered with gel. If you hit the foam wall, your hand hits one place solidly. If you punch the gel wall, your hand wiggles during impact and causes wrist pain. I’m not 100% sure this is what’s going on but it’s my best scientific guess.
Other complaints you may hear about gel gloves from others is that the gel doesn’t flatten (the fist area stays round) causing your wrist to bend during impact. Also, that gel gloves are heavy and 16oz gel gloves end up weighing 20oz (I agree with this one).
By “punch cushion”, I am referring to the amount of PERCEIVED knuckle protection. Some gloves appear to have lots of knuckle padding but feel stiff as hell and it hurts to punch. Also vice versa, some gloves seem slim from the outside but feel like pillows when you punch. Your glove’s punch-cushioning qualities have a lot to do with the glove’s construction and foam design.
Most punch cushioning issues result from the knuckle padding being made of only a single-layer foam (single density). The gloves will likely either be too soft or too hard. Soft foam hurts because it doesn’t stop your knuckles from impacting the target and also wears out the quickest (especially when used for bagwork).
Dense foam hurts because it don’t mold to your knuckles when you punch. You might think dense foam will wear in and soften a little but it often goes straight from SUPER STIFF to SUPER SOFT. One cheap solution is to use soft foam but A LOT of it. However, this makes the gloves too bulky and also not ideal for bagwork because you can’t feel the impact (no feedback) when you punch.
Another cheap solution is to use a medium-density foam that is just barely dense enough for the heavy bag and almost soft enough for sparring. Single-layer foam gloves are at best, only suitable for one purpose (either sparring or bagwork).
The ideal cushion feeling is created using multi-layer foam of different densities, combining the cushioning of soft foam with the responsiveness of dense foam. There is also the addition of “orthopedic foam” a.k.a. memory foam which molds to you better than latex or EVA foam (which holds its shape). A multi-layer bag glove will probably have a soft foam (or orthopedic foam) on the inside and dense foam on the outside. A multi-layer training or sparring glove will add another soft layer on the outside to protect your sparring partner. The best brands have their own special foam “formulas” and use anywhere from 3-5 layers of foam.
I like to call it a “dense softness”. The foam inside should cushion your knuckles, but the foam outside lets you feel the power transfer. You should be able to transfer power and feel the strength of your punch without pain in your hands. Basically: good power transfer, good impact feedback, and zero pain.
From what I know about the punch foam: aside from differences in quality, durability, and how they react under different conditions, they come in varying degrees of hardness and softness. Hard foam is good for absorbing impact and soft foam is good for feeling good.
Hard foam for example is great for bag gloves and absorbing the impact of hard punches however the punches would still feel hard to you as well as the target (bag/mitts/person). Soft foam would be great for sparring gloves because the punches feel soft to your opponent’s face however your knuckles might actually go through the glove (hurting you as well as the target).
To make a more well-rounded glove, boxing glove manufacturers will use multiple layers of hard and soft foam so that the glove absorbs the impact AND feels soft your hands as well as your target. The tricky part is not only to protect your hand, but to also make a glove that gives some feedback (so you feel like you’re hitting hard/solidly), as well as to make it long-lasting.
The thickness of the padding can also bother some people. Thicker gloves will feel like you’re punching into a pillow and not give you that nice impact feedback. You might hear that gloves with thinner padding hit with a nice pop and gloves with thicker padding hit a thud.
I’m guessing the padding, as well as the labor and leather, are the most expensive parts of the glove as I noticed lighter weight gloves will cost a lot less in higher-end models. For example, a Winning 8oz glove costs $200 compared to $300 for a 16oz version. That’s some expensive padding right there!
Power transfer is more important when fighting a live opponent. In sparring, you’ll want less power transfer to protect your sparring partner. But in competition, you’ll want as much as possible to cause maximum damage! On the heavy bag or mitts, it’s a matter of preference. Many fighters enjoy having more power transfer because it feels great but some fighters (like me) prefer maximum hand protection. Generally, gloves with more protection transfer less power.
Closure type (laces vs velcro)
There are 2 common types of closures for boxing gloves, and a few variations of them:
- LACES – old-school style, the best fit and most supportive, and most common in the best gloves.
- VELCRO – also called “hook and look”, convenient, less supportive than laces, common in cheap gloves and bag gloves (since you’re training alone).
- HYBRID – has both laces and velcro, so you can choose one or use both. Theoretically could be more supportive than laces. Very uncommon and only available with certain brands (usually Mexican).
- ELASTIC VELCRO – this is a cheaper version of velcro using a stretchy fabric for the strap instead of leather. Doesn’t last long (tears easily) and not as supportive. Can sometimes be more annoying than usual velcro strap.
- ELASTIC LACES – also called “speed laces”, not as supportive as laces or velcro, and can be more annoying than velcro.
- DOUBLE VELCRO – using two velcro straps instead of one. In some instances, it adds support and comfort. Other times, it doubles the annoyance of velcro (catching onto your handwraps) and you might still need a person to help you with it.
NOTE: many people feel the lace-up version of gloves are usually made with higher quality than the velcro version.
Velcro gloves can be put on and off in 10 seconds by yourself without any help. Great for training alone or when you use the bathroom, check your phone, or do anything that requires fingers. Just BEWARE of super-thin velcro straps that are really hard to peel off (often found in cheap gloves).
Lace-up gloves can be a hassle. They fit so much better for your wrists (more support) but take 5 minutes to put on and you always need help. And then there’s that annoying distraction in sparring when your laces get loose and you have to stop the action to re-tie. However, laces are great when you have friends or want to make some in the gym. You can ask other fighters or trainers to tie you up and even get a few tips in the process.
If you’re training alone with lace-up gloves, tie them loose enough to shove your hands into the gloves by yourself. It’s less support but doable for light sparring or light bagwork. For better support: buy Lace N Loop converters (only $20), tape your laces, or use lace converters.
Wrist support & mobility
Most boxers like their wrists secured in a straight position for more support and punching power (also reducing chance of hand/wrist injury). But some fighters like a little wrist freedom because of how it feels, to bend their wrist (slightly) for hooks, or for clinching (MMA/Muay Thai). Beware of gloves that force your wrist into an angled position! (Some angle your wrist slightly forwards or backwards upon impact).
Aside from the glove’s intended use (boxing vs MMA/Muay Thai), much of the wrist support and mobility is affected by how it’s built and the closure strap. A well-built LONG-shape glove using laces, is better than a poorly constructed SHORT-shape glove using velcro.
A tightly-secured wrist area is more beneficial than just having more wrist padding. Velcro straps can decrease wrist support when they’re too long, too thin, too flimsy, or too far away from the wrist. Fighters with small wrists will get much better support with lace-up gloves than velcro gloves. The last thing you want is your wrist wriggling around in open space when you punch.
Many fighters (usually pros) will even put tape around their wrist directly on the skin itself as well as around the glove (after they tie up) for extra wrist support. You can do this if you want even more support (power) than what the glove and hand-wraps provide.
Breathable gloves are far more comfortable when your hands get hot and sweaty in training. They’ll smell better and also last longer since your acidic sweat dries faster instead of breaking down the padding. Breathability has to do with the materials used (outer & inner) and how the palm area is designed. Leather outer is far more breathable than synthetic leather (plastic) gloves. Having a nice hole in the palm and a few holes around the fingers will ventilate better than a completely sealed-up glove.
Don’t be fooled by synthetic gloves with mesh or “mesh ventilation technology”; they’re low quality and still not very breathable! Some people feel mesh is actually HOTTER; it’s because manufacturers put a lining to protect the mesh which defeats the purpose of mesh breathability anyway.
Quality of construction
It’s sad that I even have to talk about this but it’s the current reality of most boxing equipment. Tons of crappy products and a very uninformed public too easily impressed by high-tech looking designs and flashy colors. The weakest link in boxing glove construction could be anywhere. It could be the exterior tearing apart, cushion going flat quickly, stitching coming undone (exposing the padding), or inside lining falling apart (allowing fingernails and sweat to break down the padding).
Natural high-quality leather is the most ideal outer material because it’s strong, durable, breathable, and looks good. What you don’t want is vinyl, polyurethane, plastic, or any other synthetic materials.Those materials are non-breatheable (hands get hot and sweaty), and leave your acidic sweat longer inside the glove (breaking it down faster). Non-leather also smells much worse than leather, probably because of chemicals.
Back in the days, all gloves were made of leather. But thanks to technology and unscrupulous brands trying to fool the public, all that has changed now. Many brands use fancy designs to hide the fact that it isn’t real leather. They’ll even list “features” of fake leather material to make it sound as if it’s better than leather. Their gloves may appear more high-tech and innovative but they really aren’t. ALL LEATHER is still the best!
It’s also best if the glove is made using as few pieces of leather as possible. This creates fewer seams and fewer places for your glove to tear apart from over time. So why would manufacturers use many pieces? One reason is to make use of smaller pieces of leather (like scrap leather leftover from other projects), saving money because there’s less waste.
Another reason is to mix materials, using only a little bit of real leather and the rest is cheaper materials (vinyl, plastic, mesh). And lastly, using many pieces allows them to create a fancier-looking glove to sell for a higher price.
Now leather does vary greatly in quality. The best leather is “full grain leather”, with the next best being “top grain leather”—both made from the outer layers. Anything that isn’t any of those 2 options is probably going to be far inferior/weaker. The outer layers of leather will have denser/stronger fibers and the outermost layer has the rich leather texture (the “patina”). Generally, textured leather will be stronger than smooth leather. Suede or any fuzzy/nappy texture is actually created from the weaker inside layer and sanded to create its surface.
Don’t be fooled by misleading terms like “GENUINE LEATHER”, “HIGH QUALITY LEATHER”, “COWHIDE LEATHER”, “SPLIT LEATHER”, or “SYNTHETIC LEATHER”. Also beware of the description, “made with full grain leather” which usually means only part of the glove is full-grain leather while the rest is made of cheaper material. There’s more to leather than just being “full grain”, such as how they tan it, but this isn’t the place for that explanation right now.
“Genuine leather” IS real leather, but it’s probably the weakest layer of the layer. “Bonded leather” is even weaker than that, made from discarded scraps of leather glued together. Bonded leather is similar in concept to “particle board” which is made up of small wood scraps and tiny chips and vastly inferior to “solid wood”.
Bonded leather is the weakest leather (lowest grade) and often painted over and textured to look like higher grade leather. “Nappa leather” is a silly industry term used to imply soft/supple leather but the term is ambiguous and doesn’t actually have any distinction from just plain leather.
Stitching is often the weakest link, with many gloves coming apart at the seams (as opposed to the leather). I suspect many companies take shortcuts in the stitching because it saves labor costs and hardly anyone notices the difference. I’m no expert, either.
All I know is: nylon thread is better than cotton thread, cotton thread better than polyester thread, thick thread is better than thin thread, double-stitching is better than single-stitching, and welted seams are better than non-welted seams. I’ve also heard of sneaky tricks in leather products such as using thick thread on the outside but thin thread on the inside where you can’t see it. Tight-stitching is better than having big gaps.
You can inspect a glove’s stitching in these key areas: palm, wrist, thumb, back of the hand, and velcro strap (if it has one). Beware of protruding seams, loose stitching, and excess material around the velcro strap.
These things can cut or scrape a fighter’s face in sparring. (It happens even with headgear!) It’s especially common when the stitching comes apart around the palm, wrist, and velcro areas. I especially hate when companies print their logo on a plastic material instead of using a fabric label (like Mexican gloves).
Another detail of stitching is how neat it is. Whenever you have double-stitching, you can look closely at the two rows of stitching to see if they maintain the same distance from each other. Usually when it’s done by hand, you will see them not look so even and slightly messy. Whereas a machine obviously will look perfect. You can take machine-stitching as a pro or a con. It can be a pro because it looks good.
But can be a con if you wanted something more “hand-made”. There are many arguments among manufacturers that these machines are so expensive and if your gloves are made that way, it’s probably being made by a big factory doing mass production.
The inside lining is one of the most important and yet most overlooked aspects of a boxing glove. It’s greatly responsible for the glove’s comfort and durability.
- Prevents your sweat from reaching the padding (breaking it down faster).
- The lining should also stay in place and not flop around inside the glove. It’s especially annoying it feels like a loose plastic bag inside your glove.
- Feels comfortable – smooth and not too grippy (which can cause blisters). This can also be a matter of personal taste. Some like smooth thin inside lining that isn’t noticeable. Others prefer a little more texture to have more “grip” inside the glove.
- Easy to slide the hand in – some annoying lining (partly due to both material and glove design) makes you have to really loosen the glove to get your hand in/out or else they always catch on your handwraps and push the knuckle padding out of place.
Should glove color even matter? It’s all fun and games to me. Sometimes you want to stand out and be noticeable. Other times, you want to scout your competition or train at another gym without drawing attention. I used to swear that certain colors made it harder to see punches. I do feel like it’s harder to see black gloves in a dark-lit gym at night.
In the US, I’d say the most common colors I see in the gym are in this order: black (70%), red (20%), blue (5%), white (2%), green (1%), yellow (1%), other (1%). And then for legit fighters only…it’s probably something like: blue (30%), black (15%), red (15%), green (15%), white/silver (15%), gold/yellow (5%), orange (2%), other (3%). And then for pro fighters…you can in throw pink and neon colors. Pros have a stronger sense of identity, pride and self-expression, so it’s more common to see fancy colors on them. Amateurs are usually broke kids or college students so you won’t see as many fancy colors (unless TitleBoxing has a sale, haha).
The Current State of Boxing Glove Manufacturing
Almost all boxing gloves you see today are made in Pakistan; probably like 90% of them. The rest are made in Mexico, Japan, Thailand, and even China. Now, if you’re in a gym with many high level pro fighters, you’ll probably see a distribution more like: Pakistan (25%), Mexico (25%), Japan (25%), all others (25%). This isn’t to say that Mexico and Japan produce higher quality gloves and other countries do not, it’s just that the better brands (and the ones chosen by pro boxers) tend to come from these countries.
Back in the day, all companies did their own manufacturing. But now almost all of them outsource to Pakistan or China for cheaper labor and material costs. Boxing as a sport has also experienced a decline in popularity as well as average skill. Most “boxers” you see in the gym today are a bunch of young guys trying to be tough or older men trying to get back in shape. Without as many serious fighters around anymore, it’s more profitable to sell cheap gloves (albeit fancy-looking) than it is to sell high quality gloves. Many of these casual boxers don’t last that long enough in the sport to notice the difference, anyway. Most people quit boxing within 6 months (if not less).
Quality gloves used to be $50-80 and would last at least 2-3 years of serious abuse. For $125-150, you could get a really nice pair that would easily last more than 5 years. Nowadays, a $150 glove might not even last 6 months of regular training.
Ringside – “hardcore American brand that went soft” ($30-200; avg $80)
Ringside was the quality American boxing brand when I started boxing in 2004. I remembered them as the “mid-price glove”; the best gloves in the $85 range. Anybody not wanting to pay over $100 for the pro stuff like Grant, Reyes, and Winning would get Ringside. They were cheaper than the pro gloves but better than the average $50 gloves. Many good boxers and competing amateurs wore Ringside. And anybody NOT wearing Ringside was probably wearing Title (who made cheaper, but still functional gear.)
Unfortunately, Ringside soon decided to stop manufacturing their gloves in the USA and started outsourcing to one of those Pakistan clone companies. The new gloves were a total letdown and they lost their fanbase almost overnight. There used to be so many people who swore by Ringside but now they all say, “I’ll never buy Ringside again. They’re not quality gloves like they used to make. Their new gloves are overpriced pieces of junk!”
Ringside’s overnight decline left many fighters searching for a new mid-price glove, creating the perfect opportunity for other boxing and MMA companies to flood the market. You had generic companies like Title and Everlast now creating a luxury line of consumer-grade gloves.
Canadian brand, Rival’s quality gloves at around $85 were becoming more popular in America. MMA brands like Hayabusa and Venum came in with flashy glove designs that appealed to the younger fight audience but not the boxing purists. Kickboxing/martial-arts brands like RingtoCage/TOP TEN and Twins/Fairtex also crept into the boxing glove market a little bit. There were also people who had the older [good] Ringside gloves defending them as “still the best around”.
Ringside has since been reduced to nothing more than a generic company. It’s another American-labelled Pakistan clone glove. What’s even more sad is that another generic company (Title) supposedly started by their former employees, has outgrown them over the past 10 years and now sells more models at more price points than they do.
Ringside is pretty much now the same as Everlast except only that they don’t have ANY redeeming models, not a single unique model. Around 2012 Ringside was bought by another brand, “Combat Sports International“, that I’m guessing was targeted at the martial arts market. Anyway, I highly recommend against Ringside as you’re paying American brand-name prices for Pakistan clone quality. It’s a shame they flushed their unique product value down the toilet.
Ringside IMF Tech Bag Gloves ($69) – super cheap looking glove, tons of different materials and textures used in the design. I don’t think it’s real leather and the velcro strap construction looks flimsy as hell. Here’s the first red flag for the whole brand: this pair uses the same special “IMF” padding as their other more expensive models. That pretty much tells me you’re going to get crappy padding no matter how much you pay.
In case you thought IMF actually meant something special, it actually stands for “Injected Molded Foam”, which means it’s a single-layer machine-molded foam and completely inferior to a multi-layer foam. Paying for a more expensive Ringside glove only improves the exterior quality of the glove in how much real leather they use.
Ringside IMF Sparring Gloves ($79) – this was the model they used to be known for. They were a classic favorite despite the annoying elastic that you had to peel back to shove your hands in. Every gym had at least a few pairs of these. Unfortunately, the quality isn’t the same anymore in the newer versions and also the supposedly “new and improved” IMF padding is stiffer than the original (although promised as longer-lasting). I do agree this is a good buy if you want some “cheap gloves”. They’re a great bargain when they go on sale.
Ringside Pro Style IMF Tech Training Gloves ($129) – the new “pro” model of the IMF. A few things you should know: one is that the label “IMF” is hated by many boxers because it’s stiff, padding doesn’t last long, and actually no better than their cheaper “IMF” models. Their IMF “sparring” models are stiff, too. I also don’t like the cheap-looking thinner strap (it looks and feels even cheaper in person). The thinner strap also provides less wrist support, by the way. You’ll see this glove design copied numerous times throughout different brands (like Fighting Sports S2 Gel Power and Adidas Super Pro Sparring Gloves).
Ringside Heritage Sparring Gloves ($199) – Other than the leather being dyed instead of painted (higher quality finish), I have absolutely no idea why they did this. I think the faux-vintage design makes it look cheap. If Ringside’s reputation wasn’t already at the bottom of the barrel, they just buried themselves a little deeper with this series.
I’m guessing their idea was to produce a high-end line to raise the respect for their brand. Everybody else was offering crappy models for the casual/fitness market and pro models for the serious fighters, and they followed suit with this as their equivalent of a pro model. Except only, no pro would ever buy this.
From what I’ve heard, this is basically the same IMF-padded gloves but with better leather and stitching. While some may like the look and feel of the leather, there are many who complain the glove is stiff, requires a bit of break-in time, doesn’t hold a natural fist, and doesn’t cushion your hands any better than a $50-pair of gloves. Read around online and you’ll find complaints about their other Heritage models as well.
TITLE Boxing / Fighting / Promex – “the name-brand generic” ($30-$200; avg $130)
TITLE Boxing was supposedly started by former Ringside employees that created their own company and started by copying Ringside’s products. When I first started boxing, Title was this online store that sold a ton of boxing gear from many brands at reasonable prices.
They had lots of sales and many great deals could be found if you visited their website regularly. They have great service and many happy customers/fans in the US. I am still a fan of Title after over 10 years. And I would say they are now a bigger company than Ringside but still considered a “generic company” by the old school dudes.
Title sells the big boxing brands (like Rival, Reyes, Adidas) and MMA/Thai brands (like Hayabusa, Venum, Boon, Fairtex, Windy) alongside their house brands (Title, Fighting Sports, and Promex). Back then, their own house brand Title gloves were priced cheaper than the brand name gloves and people who couldn’t afford the big brands like Reyes would buy Title gloves. Their gloves actually performed pretty well and you may have noticed that I wear a pair of classic red Title gloves in my Youtube videos. They also gave “gym discount pricing” which helped them get into many boxing gyms.
I’m guessing Title gear started catching on as this “cheap but still good” brand of gear and their name actually grew into being seen as a legitimate brand. It’s funny because Title actually uses all the same Pakistan clone molds and yet they are seen as this completely new and innovative boxing gear company.
On top of that, Title started producing their luxury brand called “Fighting” which featured flashier-looking gloves at higher prices. Their idea was to copy the success of the ultra-premium Japanese brand “Winning” but at more affordable price-points. The thing is “Fighting” also too, uses the same Pakistan clone molds so I wonder if it’s really any better than even their regular stuff.
Just as how the “Title” brand was inspired by the Ringside (American), and “Fighting” was inspired by “Winning” (Japanese), “Pro Mex” was inspired by “Cleto Reyes” (Mexico). It’s a pretty smart business idea when you think about it.
Many people did not have money for the legit brands in Ringside, Winning, and Reyes so Title created generic imitations of all their qualities and sold them for cheaper. They tried to copy the sleek protective glove design of Ringside, the high quality super-cushioned glove design of Winning, and the slim aggressive Mexican-style glove design of Cleto Reyes. The quality was nothing close to the originals but good enough to sell.
I still like the company for it’s great customer service, large selection, and bargain sales, but I wouldn’t use any of their gloves…even if you gave it to me for free.
Promex Pro Training Gloves ($99) – Title’s attempt at copying Reyes (compact fist, long cuffs, weight more towards the wrist, latex memory foam padding). It looks cheap in the image and even cheaper in person. Here it is for a “bargain” at only $100. I would spend the extra money on the real Reyes considering it’s only another $45.
In case you were tempted, here’s an Amazon review saying “Promex sucks”. The old models were known for being really bad quality, too stiff for sparring, terrible thumb position, and also too tight on the hand. The newer version (released in 2018) promises to be closer to real Mexican gloves, better construction quality and latex padding. I wouldn’t take it seriously considering it’s priced at only $99.
Adidas – “the European Everlast” ($40-150; avg $80)
Adidas is a German company, and a household sports brand in Europe (I hear also common in Australia). They’re in many sports as I’m sure you already know; soccer “aka futbol”, basketball, football, etc. Adidas boxing gear is respected in a similar way to Everlast. It’s found in many stores but the quality is not the best.
If you pay attention only to their pro-level products, you might find some better stuff. I haven’t been to boxing gyms in Europe but from what I saw in the stores there and Youtube videos, there appears to be a lot of Adidas boxing gear throughout Europe, especially if you’re around Germany.
Here in America, Adidas boxing gloves are almost non-existent or seldom seen. I’ve heard of some fighters wearing them but never seen it with my own eyes. I do wonder if the pros actually use them by choice or because they were sponsored. For the most part, their gear is yet another one of those beautifully-designed Pakistan clone brands.
And I really wanted to like their gear because they sent me several models for free. But I couldn’t use it—their gloves were so stiff and painful to punch with. There was one pro model that I did fall in love with. It was a 10oz pro fighting glove that felt amazing but you can’t train in it. For regular training purposes, Adidas has nothing for you.
Additional thoughts about Adidas:
- Their gear is well-designed (aesthetics-wise), but really bad quality and over-priced. You should go with Titleboxing or Ringside to get a much better deal and product.
- Many people say Adidas only makes one good boxing product and that’s boxing shoes. I would say some of their headgear is ok too but lately people have been complaining abut that as well.
- Adidas has many different models and many variations of those models. I would say be careful with Adidas because they cater heavily to the fitness and youth market. If you see weird models out there with strange names and fancy designs, they are probably meant for fitness or kids (toys).
Adidas Hybrid 300 Boxing Gloves ($129) – and here goes the latest flagship model. Just like the Hybrid 200 it has real leather, multi-layered foam, more comfortable inner lining…and unlike the Hybrid 200 it has more padding around the wrist (notice the raised ridges on the velcro), extra elastic on the palm-side (unnecessary IMO).
I’ve heard some complaints about it being uncomfortable at the fingertips, hot lining, and also broken padding. To be honest, this is the type of crap that only happens when a company is so busy “innovating” new gimmicks for marketing purposes instead of perfecting their product.
Anyway, I personally wouldn’t use it. I never liked Adidas padding, never liked their previous flagship “Adistar” model, and there are better options at this price point. But hey, it’s a nice-looking glove!
Lonsdale – “the Everlast of the UK, but cheaper” ($15-100; avg $30)
Lonsdale is like the Everlast of the UK in that they sell all kinds of things. It started as a boxing company but now sell sports apparel and MMA stuff, too. They can be found in many different types of stores.
To make it short, it’s a crappy Pakistan clone brand. Really cheap stuff at really cheap prices. It’s all low quality stuff. They use many of the older Pakistan clone molds, too. I can’t imagine that anybody in Europe takes them seriously.
Lonsdale also sells many of the same sports/clothing items as Everlast. Like almost exactly identical. In case you’ve wondered, both companies are now owned by the same company in UK, called “Sports Direct”. Originally, Everlast was started in New York 1910, Lonsdale in London 1960.
TOP TEN – “the UK/Canadian martial artist” ($39-125; avg $85)
The first time I had ever seen TOP TEN was through one of those online martial arts stores that sold all kinds of equipment for many different fighting styles. Swords, sticks, daggers, shoes, pads, gloves, helmets, uniforms, 90’s instructional tapes, and other random stuff I don’t know how to describe.
I was looking for boxing gloves and pretty much just laughed when I saw only TOP TEN boxing gloves on there. If you’ve known TOP TEN for a while, then you know exactly why I laughed!
TOP TEN boxing gloves look like those karate gloves with the super perfectly-round padding around the knuckles. Looks like a round little missile with the thumb tucked away (as if you didn’t have one). Very different from the usual boxing gloves which have more of a human fist shape and prominent thumb sticking out on the side. Naturally, I laughed at them, never ordered, and never tried them. TOP TEN is definitely not a respected brand in the USA and hardly ever seen.
It wasn’t until a few years later that I was boxing in Canada (2010) when I first saw TOP TEN gloves in a boxing gym. Nobody was using them by the way, they were just old beat-up community gloves that you gave to little kids or that “old beginner guy” who only came to lose weight.
Even in Canada, despite being commonly found in stores and gyms, TOP TEN is still not the preferred brand. Everybody in Canada seemed to like Rival (a well-respected Canadian brand). What was nice though was that I got a chance to see TOP TEN gloves in person and try them out.
Unfortunately for the brand, the gloves I tried were absolutely crap and after my experience, was determined to write them off forever. I also wasn’t the only one that thought TOP TEN gloves are bad. Not surprising considering they are made in Pakistan and while their gloves don’t have the typical clone design, they are still clone quality (which is pretty bad).
My understanding of TOP TEN has changed a bit since 2010. There are many misconceptions about the brand and what they offer. In fact…I’m still not sure I understand the brand. I think they’re a UK company that got popular in Europe, then expanded to North America with a headquarters in Canada. So depending on where you’re from, you will guess their origin differently. Here in the USA, Americans probably think TOP TEN is a Canadian company. And in Europe, I imagine European fighters look at TOP TEN as a British company. Who the heck knows?
I’m also aware that they seem to be the official gear for many different sports. If I had to guess, I think they started by making karate gloves. I’m not sure which is which, but looking up the internet I see karate gloves come in an “open hand gloves” design which looks something like a thong/slipper/sandal equivalent of a boxing glove. Your hand is open and the padding only covers the knuckles and back area of your hand. The padding is strapped to your hand in various ways: maybe some thin strap, or a thin fingerless glove (like a motorcycle glove), or a thin piece some finger holes. I don’t know how to describe; just look it up, ok?
So I think they started with the typical round karate/tae-kwon-do gloves (and other martial arts gear) and then decided “OH HEY, WE SHOULD MAKE BOXING GLOVES, TOO!”. Except only, instead of designing their glove with the usual boxing glove shape, they simply adapted their existing karate glove design into boxing gloves by extending the padding all around the glove. They also started making MMA gloves as well, furthering their appearance as one of those “all martial arts” gear companies (which doesn’t appeal to diehard boxers).
That brings us to today’s confusion. People don’t know if TOP TEN is really a boxing brand, where it’s originated from, and whether or not it makes good gloves. TOP TEN is indeed an official boxing brand in some places. For example, their gear is AIBA approved (which isn’t saying much, btw) so that means it at least meets some minimum standard.
TOP TEN is also very common in Canada and Europe so at least they’re respected by at least the minimum level. You can say they’re at least on the level of Titleboxing and better than Everlast (which I think has almost completely fallen out of favor with boxers, even for fitness purposes).
There are fighters who think TOP TEN is good, and also fighters who think TOP TEN is bad. For sure, their glove shape doesn’t do them any favors. Lucky for them, a distributor has sent me a recent pair that I enjoyed so much, I decided to renew my opinion of the brand.
RDX – “the UK TitleBoxing clone” ($25-70; avg $55)
I remember a time, maybe around 2010 when RDX was seen as a total generic ripoff of TitleBoxing. Their gloves were sold only on Ebay and Amazon, direct to [un-informed] consumers, instead of through boxing equipment dealers/retailers. I think they started as a generic company, and were never at any point a respected quality brand or had their own unique glove mold. They sold all the same Pakistan clone gloves as TitleBoxing, with similar colors, glove design, and overall vibe (some designs were almost identical).
Years had passed and then one day…I noticed their site was totally re-designed and people (from the UK) actually spoke about them in forums like they were a real brand. There were pictures of people wearing their gear and videos of fighters sparring in them. RDX probably realized it was better in the long-run to come up with their own designs and they’ve done a good job of it lately. Their gloves appear entirely different from the usual designs, making it harder to see which clone mold they’re using. Kudos to them for finally establishing their brand.
I don’t know how they pulled it off but there you go. Unfortunately, they’ll always be a cheap Pakistan clone company to me. So I’ll keep ignoring their review requests until I see something truly innovative from them (other than design). For those wondering: yes, I did try their gloves a couple times and they felt just like any other Pakistan clone company. You can search Google to hear reviews about their poor quality and stitching.
Additional thoughts about RDX:
- RDX is a typical “marketed-brand” that is loved by newbies and hated by legit fighters. The newbs find them to be great value for the money, cool designs, “feels like high quality”, good padding, comfortable and lasts long enough. The legit fighters all say “RDX sucks”, really stiff padding (never use for sparring), looks like crap, and that it’s still a crappy knockoff brand relying on good marketing and fancy designs to make money (like Ringside, Hayabusa, Venum). I’ve even heard fighters insult other brands by calling them “worse than RDX”.
- Their pricing has gone up. Before, their gloves were really low-priced ($25-40) but nicely designed and functioned well enough that it could rival $60-75 gloves on the market. It’s still cheap stuff competing with other cheap stuff but the point is their gloves were great value for the dollar. That’s change a bit lately. They’re looking to grow into the mid-range soon and I’m guessing we’ll see $99 model within a year.
- Their hand fit is not uniform across the brand. Some models are “too small”, others too “too big” or “too wide”, “uncomfortable thumb” or “squeezes the pinky”, “small on inside, but huge on outside”, and so forth. There are also complaints about too much padding in the palm area that some people couldn’t make a fist as easily. If you’re particular about hand fit, I suggest reading up the reviews on the specific model before buying.
- Aside from some quality control complaints about stitching, I’ve also heard that the fancy colors rub off and also that velcro comes off easily (really annoying!). The good thing though is that I hear the padding holds up well. Between you and I, this probably means the padding is stiff.
You can get a great deal on Thai gloves if you buy them in person in Thailand. The weird thing is that while all the Thai brands are made in Thailand, some of their models are identical to the usual Pakistan glove molds (I call them “Thai clones”). Who’s copying who? I’ve used several over the years but for the rest, I had to ask friends and read online.
- Fairtex ($70-150) – the priciest Thai brand. Fairtex and Twins are the top 2 Thai brands with Fairtex costing even more. There are many people who say Fairtex is clearly better but you’ll also find others who feel the opposite (like me). I compare them to Ringside because they used to be a good brand but have now fallen in quality. And similarly, they’re all about marketing and brand name. They’re known for softer cushion and more comfort but less durability.
- Twins ($50-100) – very good leather, good padding, lots of crazy designs (if you’re in to that), and generally a smaller hand fit.
- Windy ($35-100) – the ORIGINAL Thai brand that was copied and now out-marketed over the past several decades. They’re known for being classic-styled, reasonably priced, well-made, large size (good for big hands but harder to clinch), STIFF knuckle padding, and wrist support not as good as others. I feel their quality is not what it was when I used it over 10 years ago.
- Boon ($70-100) – small company only known by elitists/enthusiasts, but very high quality for relatively cheap price. Some say it’s clearly better than the highly-regarded Fairtex and Twins. High quality, good stitching, great padding that doesn’t hurt.
- Sandee ($50-100) – standard clone, cheapest padding, too. Considered over-priced.
- King Professional – old brand that was known making the best pads, mitts and gloves. Easily distinguishable by their longer/curved outer cuff. Unfortunately, I tried a recent model and they’re total crap. Honestly, they feel like toys; not made for serious use at all. Their synthetic leather is awful, your hand starts sweating within seconds of putting them into the glove. Read my review (coming soon).
- Raja – highly regarded brand with some small issues. I hear they feel great and are made well but somehow don’t last long. They have issues like the velcro falling apart quickly.
- ThaiSmai – stitching looks to be on-par or slightly below Twins, but the padding and fitting is really bad.
- Top King – cheap clone but at least the padding isn’t as stiff. These gloves are very big size in external appearance, which some fighters don’t like.
- Yokkao – I have a pair of them myself. AWFUL QUALITY, has many sharp protuding seems and annoying plastic badge that can cut sparring partners. Feels like $30 toy gloves (on par with cheap Everlast/Lonsdale gloves you see in sports stores); seriously, they’re a joke. Maybe you like their crazy style but they’re really cheap clones (kind of like a Thai Venum). Read my review (coming soon).
Hayabusa – “the MMA posterboy” ($90-160; avg $130)
I had never heard of Hayabusa until an MMA friend walked into the gym with a pair of them about 10 years ago. They had a really cool modern design, very artistic graphics unlike any other brand. Rival boxing gear had cool-looking designs too but it was more diagonal lines and neon colors.
Hayabusa gloves, on the other hand, looked like something out of a Japanese anime cartoon (rich colors, Asian lettering). I think Hayabusa set the tone for MMA gear design; that you had to be extremely cool-looking or else you seemed boring, inferior, and less innovative compared to other fighting brands.
Hayabusa’s popularity continues to surge among MMA fighters today. Walk into any MMA or kickboxing gym and you’re bound to find all levels of fighters sporting Hayabusa gloves.
Hayabusa, however, failed to capture any real respect in the boxing market and I suspect it’s for the all the reasons that I don’t like that brand. As a boxing purist, like other boxing purists, we already had a history and a tradition. I don’t know how to say it, but we respect the “old”.
We respect the “old school guys”, the “old school knowledge”, the “old school training”. Boxing has a culture of being “time-tested” and so you were very skeptic of anything new. Our gear was plain and designed to remind us of the old days when times were tough and fighters were tougher. A fancy pretty glove like Hayabusa looked like a toy to us. It looked like something made for children, not for real men, not for real fighters.
From the very first time that I threw a punch with a Hayabusa glove on, I was thinking HELLLLLLLL NO! The gloves were stiff as hell. This might be ok if you’re hitting a heavy bag but you’re going to make enemies real quick in the ring sparring with these rocks on. Way too stiff for boxing sparring (maybe MMA guys don’t mind?).
They also weren’t made with leather. It was unheard of for a boxer to use a non-leather glove. Back then, being made with leather was the most basic way you would tell if a glove was good or not.
And then you hear the price…and it’s WHAT?! $85-160?! That’s a joke, right? You see back then, boxers had like maybe 5 choices. If you were broke or poor, you bought Title ($35-60). If you had any money, you would get Ringside ($85). If you were a pro or had some more money, you got Winning ($250-300).
And then if you liked Mexican-style gloves, maybe you went Reyes ($80-125) and if you were Canadian, you went Rival ($80). Ringside was the default quality glove back then for Americans. It was like the Mercedes of boxing gloves. If you had more money, you could get the Ferrari (Winning) and if you had less, you went Title.
Hayabusa was always premium-priced but they weren’t seen as a premium brand by boxers. At the time, their $85 (now $130) gloves were much worse than the Title gloves at $60. And nowadays, anytime you see Hayabusa gloves in the boxing gym, it’s most likely worn by a guy who either just started boxing or a guy who doesn’t even spar much.
Experienced boxers with $125-150 are probably going to go with a much better brand like Rival, Reyes, and others. Many boxers prefer to wear real boxing brands that are worn by the pros, instead of cartoonish gloves worn only by MMA guys and “newbies”.
This brand is a complete turn-off for me and it’s no surprise that I don’t see any professional boxers training in Hayabusa gloves either. They’ve been trying to send me a free pair for review but I warned them I would be honest and that’s the last I heard of them.
Ring To Cage – “the boxing brand for kickboxers & martial artists” ($40-100; avg $75)
I’m guessing “Ring To Cage” is one of the older brands in the MMA/kickboxing world. And the only reason why I think that is because their designs aren’t as crazy-looking as say Hayabusa, Venom, and other MMA gear companies. They have a more traditional look and even the name itself, “Ring To Cage”, speaks of an evolution from boxing to cage-fighting.
I think this brand did well because it appealed to an older demographic of martial artists just starting to try on boxing gloves. This brand “feels” like it’s legit and priced attractively. For that reason, you can find them in many MMA and traditional martial arts gyms and sometimes even in boxing gyms.
The first time I was introduced to it was from a few kickboxing buddies at a local martial arts school. The gloves LOOK big and well-padded. But to me, they felt like any other MMA glove—too stiff for my taste. (Certainly makes you wonder if martial artists ever spar hard.) They are another Pakistan clone company but I do appreciate that you can get some traditional-looking designs, and they don’t try to pretend their gear is worth over $100. It’s a refreshing break from all the companies pretending to be “premium”. For the most part, they are a GENERIC company that doesn’t pretend to be unique.
R2C’s reputation in the MMA world actually wins me over. I hear they are well-made, have soft-padded sparring models, are a great deal (especially at discounted prices online), and do have unique models aside from their clone designs. I also like that even the negative reviews had something nice to say about them and that their brand stayed away from being obnoxiously designed, over-hyped, and over-priced. I would respect them more if they got rid of the clone models.
Many people say they are a far better glove than many of the bigger name and higher-priced brands out there and I agree. From the reviews I’ve heard, they are something just below the respected boxing brands and one of the better brands you can buy under $100.
The only thing keeping me from buying a pair (until recently) was that I didn’t hear much praise from PURE boxers and also because I doubted the glove could outperform the top boxing brands. I’m guessing the brand wasn’t marketed to my demographic (hardcore purist boxer) but that won’t keep me from suggesting it to newbies with a budget of $100 and under.
So, I know that you may know all about the best affordable cheap boxing gloves that can change your life in 2022. If you have any such question about the today’s topic then do let me know. I will be more than happy to help you in this regard.
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