What to look for when buying Muay Thai Gloves
Updated: Sep 9, 2021
We will be looking at the most important things when buying gloves.
This is the most important thing when buying gloves, hands down. The weight determines how large and heavy your gloves are.
For those who are purchasing gloves exclusively for bag work, smaller gloves (8-10 oz) and bag gloves would be your go-to. This is to ensure that one gets as much speed and power as possible without the risk of tiring your arms out with the weight.
If you are the type who does a lot of pad work or partner drills, it is highly recommended to get gloves according to your weight for maximum comfort. Usually, for those under 60kg’s, 10 to 12 oz gloves would be the most comfortable. For those under 80kg’s, 12 to 14oz would be the way to go, and 16oz would be suitable for anyone above 80kg’s or those wanting to spar.
Your gloves should always be slightly larger than those exclusive for bag work as there is a higher chance for injury. When partners hold pads for you, no matter if they are champions or complete beginners, if there is a mishit on the pads, there is always a chance to receive a wrist injury or bruised knuckles. With larger gloves, wrist support is almost always superior, and the extra foam ensures your knuckles get better protection.
Get a glove size that matches your size. If you are sparring, get a 16oz pair unless you want to piss off your gym.
Most gloves come either in genuine leather or PU leather. I recommend both of these and nothing else.
More relevant than ever, companies nowadays find ways to lessen their expenses while charging higher prices. A good example would be new gloves coming onto the scene.
Don’t be fooled by words like “microfiber”, “Vylar” or “PU leather”, these are just fancy or created terms for synthetic leather.
Synthetic leather is much cheaper to manufacture and therefore will be found as the material used for many of the low-end gloves in the market. They do not last as long since they have a tendency to crack and tear earlier and easier than genuine leather. Synthetic leather is also less porous, which is double edged. On one hand, because it does not absorb water, it is easier to clean. But this also causes the gloves to be less breathable, making them stink faster and easier. For those who are eco-conscious, synthetic leather is usually made from a form of plastic, which means that it is non-recyclable.
Genuine leather is more durable than its synthetic counterpart, and usually lasts much longer. But maintaining it will be more difficult. Leather tends to dry out easier, meaning that oiling it may be necessary. Because Leather can only be dyed and printed on, the choices of design will be less than that of PU leather.
Genuine leather gloves are better but are more expensive.
PU leather is much cheaper but does not last as long.
Cheaper gloves are commonly made in Pakistan or Bangladesh. But the best gloves are from where you'd expect - Thailand. Other locations for manufacturers include: Mexico and Japan.
Don’t be fooled by brands advertising gloves as “handmade”. Almost ALL gloves are handmade, and thus, these brands are just stating what all companies already do.
Big brands like Nike, Adidas, Everlast, and Lonsdale make most of their standard/low-end gloves in Pakistan or Bangladesh.
Gloves from Thailand are more often a hit rather than a miss. They're on top of their game in regards to quality control, so their gloves can be trusted to be high-quality.
Those from the US and Mexico are also durable and stitching lasts for a long time.
HOWEVER - the best pairs of gloves come from not Thailand, but Japan. Although, your wallet will take a massive hit.
Pakistan and Bangladesh are usually the places where most low-end gloves are made.
Those made in Thailand and Mexico are good, if not great quality.
The fit of the glove is dependent on the density of the foam and how compact the hand area is, as well as the design
Gloves may be the same weight, but will look bigger or smaller depending on the brand. For instance, Twins gloves tend to look more pillow-y since the foam is not as compact making it softer on impact. This would be better for those interested in sparring and making sure their opponents do not get injured too much. Top king gloves on the other hand, are very tight, so it may be good for those who do a lot of bagwork and padwork, and like to get a lot of feedback from your punches.
For example, if a large 100kg person wanted to browse at gloves, he might realise that although he could barely fit into a pair of 16oz Fairtex gloves, his hands felt comfortable inside the spacious insides of a 14oz pair of twins gloves.
This is why it is extremely important to not just have a look at the glove, but to try and feel as to whether your hands fit nicely and if it is right for you.
Try gloves out before buying them as the fit may not be the same for all brands.
Design is probably the most important thing for everybody when buying gloves.
It doesn’t matter if the glove is made with leather and is known to last 100 years if it's ugly.
Most gloves will come in common colours that can appeal to everyone, but more and more brands are coming up with modern designs to let people show off their personalities in trainings and in the ring.
Old brands such as Twins special and Cleto reyes usually stick to basic colours and designs, but have been known to have one or two more flashy designs.
Newer, modern companies like Fairtex, Sanabul and Yokkao plaster their websites with funky monsters or eagles on their gloves, and drive home the fact that you will be able to find a glove you will like in their catalogue of 100's of different glove models.
Forming collaborations are the most popular form of design nowadays. With the added knowledge big brands/personalities bring to the table, Fighters nowadays are spoilt for choice in terms of design and most beginners tend to gravitate towards big names or heavily advertised brands.
With a wide array of choices, you will be able to find a glove which you like and is comfortable.
While there are many factors to look for when it comes to purchasing your first pair of gloves, the most important thing is that you have to like it. With the huge selection available to browse through online, you may be spoilt for choice, but then again, it's always better to have more rather than less.