One of the best things about boxing is that it is simple.  You only really need a few pieces of gear – the most important are boxing gloves.  But, manufacturers make choosing one really complicated.

  • Bag Gloves
  • Heavy Bag Gloves
  • Sparing Gloves
  • Fitness Gloves
  • Training Gloves
  • Lace or Velcro
  • Leather or Faux Leather or Neoprene or Polyurethane or Vinyl
  • Foam or Gel or Foam Gel

This is when most people give up.  They have no idea what most of that even means because the glove manufacturers made it up.  Let me help you sort this out.

If you will only be hitting mitts and heavy bags, you want gloves that fit, are comfortable and look cool.   THAT IS IT.

Buy or Borrow

Boxing gloves are like shoes.  You can borrow them a few times but it is best to get your own so that they form fit and smell like you.  Gloves can get nasty.  It might as well be your nasty.

Buying your gloves

Wear your wraps when you try on your gloves.   Just like wearing socks when you try on shoes.

Throw a few punches when you try them on.  Just like walking around when you try on shoes.  If they won’t let you hit a punching bag, don’t buy them or at least make sure you can return them.


The weight of the glove represents the amount of padding – NOT SIZE.  

I have tried 18-ounce gloves that were too small and 8-ounce gloves that were like wearing shoe boxes on my hands.

Get gloves that fit and are comfortable first, then worry about the weight.  Ignore the sizing charts and big-box sales people.  They are often wrong and/or only apply to one brand or even one model.

For sparring, you will usually need at least 18 oz gloves.   More on that later.


Your gloves should feel good.  Maybe a little firm with a new glove but still comfortable. There is nothing special about how boxing gloves fit.  They will form to fit you but they don’t stretch.

Make sure your hand does not slide around in it, it does not shift when you punch, your fingers aren’t poking against the ends, your thumb feels natural, your hand is not getting squeezed across your knuckles), the cuff holds your glove securely and it gives some wrist support.

Make sure when you are wearing your gloves, your punch lands on the flat part of your fist (the proximal phalanges).  Not your knuckles. 

To reduce any risk of injury your fist needs to land flat to the surface.

Kinds of Gloves

Boxing gloves 

Boxing gloves are padded gloves that boxers wear on their hands during boxing matches and training. Boxing gloves are not supposed to be lethal or dangerous. Their primary purpose is to protect your opponent’s body and your hands. Boxing gloves also protect your face and body during defense.

 Boxing gloves are mittens – the fingers are totally contained and the thumb is separate but attached to the glove.   The gloves also provide some wrist support.

MMA and Muay Thai Gloves

MMA and Muay Thai Gloves have less padding and an open palm and thumb for grappling.   For boxing training, you want boxing gloves.  We do more punching so you need more padding.  And you don’t need your fingers sticking out. More on that later.

Bag Gloves

Bag Gloves often leave the thumb free.  I do not recommend these.  With your thumb out it could get caught or jam on the bag or mitts when you punch.  That REALLY hurts and can break your thumb.  Bad.  Really bad.  You may not need a heavily padded thumb, but I recommend that the thumb is attached to the glove.

Speed Bag Gloves

Usually, you will work the speed bag with just wraps.   If this hurts you can get speed bag gloves.

Fitness, Training and Heavy Bag Gloves

There is very little difference between fitness and heavy bag gloves.  Fitness gloves are usually more decorative. Manufacturers define their own differences.  They are all gloves you use for fitness training on heavy bags or mits.

Sparring Gloves

If you are going to spar, keep a pair of gloves just for sparing.   You want them to be smooth, clean and well-padded (at least 18 oz) to protect your sparring partner.  You don’t want to be sparring with thin, crusty old gloves that could hurt your partner.


Leather, Pleather, Neoprene or Vinyl

This is usually a price or comfort decision.   Leather will last longer but often the padding of a glove wears out before the cover.  This is your call.  My leather gloves have lasted for years of training but the padding is wearing out and they smell like a goat colon.

Again, If you are sparing, you want a smooth cover of vinyl or leather.

Laces, Velcro or Elastic

Elastic wears out quickly.  I don’t recommend it.  Even elastic on the Velcro strap isn’t good.  The Velcro picks away at the elastic until it starts to fray.  The elastic is usually the first thing to fail.

Unless you have someone available to lace up your gloves, you want Velcro closures.


Ventilation on the glove (e.g. a mesh palm, etc) is great if you can get it but it isn’t a reason to buy or not buy an otherwise good glove… unless you have weirdly sweaty hands.


I personally have yet to see a set of boxing gloves that do well after being washed.  They tend to get lumpy after being washed.


The primary purpose of a boxing glove is the padding.  This is where most of the money is spent.  Big, hand-made, fancy padding will be more expensive.  But, when the padding breaks down, the glove is done. 

In a new glove, make sure the padding is consistent and even across your hand.  It also should be resilient and not crunchy.  Get the amount of padding that fits your style.  If you are a heavy hitter, get thick padding.  If you go for speed over power, go lighter.  For sparring, get heavily padded.  Get what fits you and feels good for your speed.

Stuff like gel, air pockets, memory foam, “polygonal fusion foam” and “infused shock dispersion sheets” are minor marketing features that have not shown much promise yet.


You can get boxing gloves with anything from just different colors to graphics, embroidery and glitter.   It is up to you and your budget.

Comfort and Fit

That is it.

There are tons of options and gimmicks but it comes down to comfort and fit.   The only exception is sparring glove.   Then you want a good pair of sparing gloves that are comfortable and fit