One of the first pieces of gear to invest in when starting your kickboxing journey are gloves. In this guide, we'll recommend some of the best kickboxing gloves and explain the factors to consider before picking a pair for your workouts.
If you would like to learn more about the technicalities, facts, and how a kickboxing glove is different compared to boxing and Muay Thai equipment, read on!
Different Types of Kickboxing Gloves
There are quite a few different types, that can be specific to your needs at any given time.
In this section, we'll explain the major categories and their corresponding features and sizes that vary depending on the type of drill or exercise.
Training gloves are like boxers gloves, the way kickboxing pads and gloves are identical to boxing mitts and gloves.
These gloves are the commonly used pair of gloves for almost all training scenarios. They are good for bag work, pad/mitt drills, and general sparring sessions.
These gloves are on the lighter end and usually run between 10 oz kickboxing gloves to 14 oz.
These gloves are perfect for beginners (see more of the best beginner boxing gloves) looking to enter into combat sports but are unsure of the type of training they will be doing.
Sparring gloves are usually heavier than training gloves to provide the user with more cushioning and protection.
As the name clearly suggests, these gloves are used for all kinds of sparring sessions (light, medium, or hard sparring) and provide the necessary amount and density of padding and impact absorption to significantly reduce, if not eliminate, the risk of injuring yourself or others.
For sparring sessions, larger gloves are better. The ideal size for this category is 16 ounces.
In kickboxing, competition gloves are used by amateurs and professionals in sanctioned or regulated matches.
They run smaller than the average boxing gloves and utilize the lace-up wrist system instead of the velcro wrist strap system.
These gloves are made to be small as smaller gloves tend to cause more damage to the opponent (which can also be treated as the reason why headgear is not used in professional bouts).
As for size, these gloves can range between 8 ounces and 12 ounces, but some promotions use fingerless gloves (described in detail further on) which can weigh up to 6 ounces.
These gloves are not recommended for beginners looking to engage in drills involving contact or impact.
Bag gloves are gloves for bag work that are relatively small, inexpensive products that offer a limited degree of cushioning and protection.
They are one of the lightest of all and are best used for drills involving the heavy bag, wall bag, speed bag, uppercut bag, or other bag configurations.
These gloves are not designed to take a beating, so more powerful punches are not advised when wearing these gloves.
Fingerless Kickboxing Gloves
There are two ways to look at fingerless boxing gloves (also identified as MMA gloves):
First, fingerless boxing gloves are the standard gloves used by certain promotions involving professional or amateur kickboxing athletes to generate more power and unleash quick punches.
These gloves are also commonly used as MMA gloves.
Second, fingerless boxing gloves are a frequent purchase by casual fitness enthusiasts as this is a convenient and efficient way to bring gloves to the gym and put them on (and take them off). Oftentimes, these are the gloves used in class-based kickboxing or boxing sessions, where minimal contact drills are involved.
These gloves are usually advertised for many people. They can be advertised as kids', beginners', women's, or ladies kickboxing gloves as they are super light and practical for individuals looking to engage in footwork drills and non-contact exercises only.
Unless practiced by your gym or health club, we recommend that you get the full-size training gloves for kickboxing training, especially if such training involves contact drills and exercises.
Regular Kickboxing Gloves vs Muay Thai Gloves vs Boxing Gloves
Casual fitness enthusiasts usually do not make a distinction between Kickboxing gloves, Muay Thai gloves, and boxing gloves. Even veteran fighters are unable to tell which is which, because of how most of today's gloves are marketed as hybrid or all-purpose training gloves.
However, if you would like to dive deep into the technical aspects of each kind of glove, there are key differences to identify between the three categories.
Below are a few of the distinctions you could make if you are really technical about the gloves you plan to acquire.
Padding (Placement and Volume)
Arguably the most important difference between the three gloves is the padding (latex padding or gel padding).
Boxing only involves punches (jabs, straights/crosses, hooks, and uppercuts). Kickboxing involves clinching, punches, and kicks (strikes to the lower body are also allowed). Muay Thai involves punches, kicks, knees, elbows, clinch work, and trips or takedowns.
Boxing gloves focus more on the cushioning in the knuckle area as that is where contact is usually made.
Kickboxing Muay Thai gloves have more padding all-around, as the cushioning has to be uniformly distributed. This is because of the variation of strikes allowed in these two combat sports as well as a defensive feature to allow for more protection against looping strikes and head kicks.
Shape (Box-type vs Round)
Boxing gloves are usually rectangular or boxy. These gloves look this way because most of the padding and impact are done in the knuckle area of the gloves.
Kickboxing gloves are similar to boxing gloves but are not as aerodynamic. These gloves are not used for quick boxing combinations and are slightly open compared to the close-fisted nature of boxing gloves.
Muay Thai gloves are rounder and puffier, largely due to the amount and density of padding distributed along the knuckle area and back of the hand.
Kickboxing and Muay Thai gloves usually do not have much padding or mesh material in the palm area to facilitate better clinch work and clinch techniques.
Since boxing only relies on strikes with the hands, wrist support is a big factor in the creation of boxing gloves, even more so than kickboxing and Muay Thai gloves.
Boxing gloves have larger, thicker, and wider cuffs to provide the needed wrist support.
On the other hand, kickboxing and Muay Thai gloves have thinner and shorter cuffs. This is because these two combat sports require more flexibility and agility to execute grabs, clinch techniques, and trips or takedowns.
Kickboxing gloves and Muay Thai gloves involve a wide array of techniques and offensive maneuvers, the most distinctive of which is clinch work.
Kickboxing and Muay Thai gloves need to offer more flexibility around the wrist for better execution of clinch techniques and takedowns.
Boxing gloves, as mentioned earlier, present a thick, heavy, and lengthy cuff area that aids in supporting proper alignment of the upper arm and fist when striking.
This is very important for beginners as this helps strengthen their muscles and muscle memory to execute punches correctly.
Important Factors to Consider When Choosing Kickboxing Gloves
Most martial arts training gloves demand quite a lot of money, but there are a variety of affordable options out there that are still worth considering. Check out our top kickboxing gloves below to find out more.
In any case, we recommend having a bigger budget for kickboxing gloves as this piece of equipment significantly affects the likelihood of hand, wrist, and arm injuries. Hand wraps with a hook and loop feature, shorts with cuts, and other accessories or apparel are of great importance.
Rather than buying the fanciest, most expensive pair of hand wraps with exemplary hook and loop technology, we advise you to get the best kickboxing gloves first.
The more premium the item, the higher the price point will be. The lower the price point, the more difficult it will be to distinguish between quality gloves and not-so-good kickboxing gloves.
Like with any product in the market, the company or brand is a key indicator of the place of origin, level of quality, longevity, and warranty support of the kickboxing gloves.
Even if we have a list of preferred brands and gloves below, you may find lesser-known brands and models to be readily available in your location or nearby sports retailer.
If this is the case, we can only recommend that you do a background check on the company before sealing the deal. It is best if you are a well-informed consumer of the product than an ill-informed buyer.
Material Used & Durability
Nowadays, gloves are for the most part made out of some form or variety of leather that serves as a shell to the latex or gel padding inside. A few of the more common types of material used for manufacturing are vinyl, genuine leather, cowhide leather, polyurethane synthetic leather, and buffalo leather.
The top-quality kickboxing gloves are typically made with genuine leather, specifically 100% cowhide leather, as this kind of leather provides longevity, comfort, and reduced odor and bacteria build-up.
For beginners, we recommend going for genuine leather kickboxing gloves if they are within your budget. If not, synthetic leather gloves these days provide the same quality and performance, but might not last as long as leather gloves.
In general, kickboxing gloves either have the velcro wrist strap closure or the lace-up closure system.
Lace-up gloves are used in amateur and professional bouts to ensure that the gloves have a sufficiently tight and snug fit.
For gym use, however, lace-up gloves are inconvenient and time-consuming. Tying up a lace-up kickboxing or boxing glove requires a partner or coach and may take several minutes.
This is why we recommend velcro wrist strap kickboxing gloves. These gloves rely on velcro technology and usually come in a single-strap mechanism.
You can slap on the gloves as easily as you can take them off, and it would only take you or your coach a few seconds. This also applies to MMA gloves or fingerless gloves.
For gym training and regular kickboxing use, wrist strap closure kickboxing gloves are the way to go.
The 5 Best Kickboxing Gloves for Every Need
All the way from Thailand, we have one of the most legendary Muay Thai, Boxing, and Kickboxing brands, Venum, providing us with one of its best-selling items, the Venum Challenger 2.0 Boxing Gloves.
The Venum Challenger gloves are made with high-quality PU (polyurethane) synthetic leather and provide an interior mesh that provides breathability and airflow for those extended training sessions at the gym.
The gloves utilize a velcro strap closure system that have elastic technology that securely wraps the gloves around the hands of the user, even during intense training exercises.
These gloves are available in several sizes (8-ounce, 10-ounce, 12-ounce, 14-ounce, and 16-ounce) and come in a massive amount of different colorways.
If you are looking for a great entry-level pair of kickboxing gloves, these are one of the best offerings in the market for almost all Martial Arts. This is our pick for the best kickboxing gloves for beginners.
Another strong challenger to the throne of best glove manufacturer, we have Fairtex coming up with the Fairtex Muay Thai Boxing Gloves BGV-1.
These gloves are one of the most popular gloves today, especially in America.
Fairtex has done a massive marketing push for this particular model and fortunately for the end-users, the product can back up the claims.
Each glove is crafted from genuine leather, giving the gloves the expected premium longevity and durability.
Padding is very dense and thick and is properly allocated along strategic portions of the glove.
The product also looks compact, giving it a more sleek and stylish appearance.
There are an astounding 24 unique designs to choose from and they come in several sizes (4-ounce, 6-ounce, 8-ounce, 10-ounce, 12-ounce, 14-ounce, and 16-ounce). This is a versatile product and what we would pick as one of the best kickboxing gloves for small hands.
If you are looking for a Western brand that offers quality products at affordable rates, then RDX is one of the best brands available. This brand offers the RDX Boxing Gloves for Training, described as a pair of gloves made of superior craftsmanship.
The gloves are constructed from Maya Hide leather, giving this product exemplary durability and weight distribution.
Its triple-padded cushioning technology gives you the assurance that when you throw those knockout strikes, you will not be hurting your knuckles or wrists.
The hook and loop closure is also very unique as it promotes better punching form through adequate support but gives you enough mobility to throw punches from different angles.
We recommend this pair made by RDX as the best kickboxing gloves for kids due to its safety and cushioning properties.
If you know the brand, you know the caliber of the products they offer.
Twins introduced the Twins Special Boxing Gloves earlier on, and to this day, it still provides massive sales for the brand.
This product is your all-around piece of equipment. They can be used for bag training, sparring sessions, and pad/mitt workouts. These are one of the best kickboxing gloves for heavy bag training.
If you are looking for a consistent and reputable pair of gloves for multiple combat sports and workouts, then these should be heavily considered.
This product is offered in six unique colorways and comes in 8-ounce, 10-ounce, 12-ounce, 14-ounce, and 16-ounce configurations.
This classic will never go out of style. The Everlast Pro Style Training Gloves are just what you need if you are looking for a brand and product that have been there and done that.
Made from 80% polyurethane and 20% polyester, this product comes with superior comfort and durability for its price point, and the extended fabric feature helps give support all the way up to the wrist.
If you are a Martial Arts or Kickboxing beginner looking for a no-frills kind of product that will get the job done in almost every training aspect, check these out. You will not regret this purchase.
These gloves come in black and are available in 12-ounce, 14-ounce, and 16-ounce configurations.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What kind of gloves do you use for kickboxing?
For kickboxing, you can use kickboxing gloves, but boxing gloves and Muay Thai gloves are acceptable options. There are so many brands that offer a bunch of specialized gloves, but nowadays, online and physical retailers offer multi-purpose gloves that are not meant for a singular combat sport. This is okay as long as the build quality is good and the brand is reputable.
2. Which brand of boxing gloves is the best?
No single brand of boxing gloves can be considered the best, but there are a lot of reputable brands you can count on such as Venum, Everlast, Fairtex, Twins, and many others. Although the brand of the product is an important factor, do not make this your only indicator. Use our list of factors above to choose the best pair of gloves for your needs (heavy bag use, mitt/pad work, sparring).
3. Is there a difference between boxing and kickboxing gloves?
There are slight differences between boxing and kickboxing gloves, but for the casual fitness enthusiast, either type will do fine and fulfill your requirements. You do not need a highly specific product to ensure that you are safe and effective in training sessions. Refer to one of the sections above to review the technicalities between boxing, kickboxing, and Muay Thai gloves.
4. How long do kickboxing gloves last?
A good pair of gloves can last for several years, even decades, if they are well-maintained. If you invest in a premium pair of gloves, you can be assured that it will last for several years, assuming it is well-maintained and kept in a safe area.
Our Overall Favorite
With regard to our favorite gloves, we have to go with none other than the Venum Challenger 2.0. We find this product to be better than its pricepoint competitors in every way imaginable.
Venum has produced a lot of stellar gloves as of late and this product is one of the best when it comes to premium, entry-level gloves for combat sports.
If you get a chance to try this pair, expect maximum comfort, superior cushioning, adequate wrist support, and a stylish design. This product checks all the boxes in our book.
If you have read through the entire guide and made it this far, congratulations! You are a kickboxing glove expert! You can now be confident enough to go out and choose the best pair of gloves, be it a kickboxing, Muay Thai, or boxing glove design.
We have run through all the important facts and details you need to know before finalizing the purchase, so take this knowledge and choose a pair that would best fit your purpose and fitness requirements.
The bottom line is to just choose the best kickboxing gloves that fall within your criteria (budget, brand preferences, combat sport, and others). If you need a comprehensive guide when visiting your nearby physical sports store, then print this out and bring it with you. You can also share this guide with friends and family looking for the best options in the market today.