Muay Thai is one of the most popular combat sports in the world, and if you are lucky enough to find a gym or health club that offers Muay Thai training, then you better take advantage of it! However, to train in Muay Thai, you must be equipped with the proper equipment. First and foremost, you would need to get yourself a pair of Muay Thai gloves, but not just any pair. You need to get the best Muay Thai gloves available!
If you are interested to know about the most popular pair of gloves in Muay Thai, and the reputable sports brands and models such as Twins Special, Top King, Venum Challenger 2.0, and Fairtex, then you found the right guide.
Read on to find out more about the world of Muay Thai and the most elite pair of gloves available.
The Difference Between Muay Thai Gloves and Boxing Gloves
People do not normally make a distinction between Muay Thai and boxing gloves, largely because from the perspective of a casual health enthusiast, both gloves look the same and serve the same purpose - to wear on your hands to strike someone or something.
However, if we get into the nitty-gritty, you would realize that there are a few important differences between the two types.
If you would really like to dedicate yourself to the sport of Muay Thai, or even if you feel like you will be training Muay Thai more than boxing, take a look at the differences listed below.
Padding (Placement and Volume)
The most important distinction between the two categories is the placement and volume of padding.
Boxing only involves jabs, straights, hooks, and uppercuts - which are essentially hand-related strikes or punches.
On the other hand, Muay Thai includes elbows, knees, kicking, spinning attacks, and punches, on top of clinch work and trips or takedowns.
With regard to distribution, gloves for Muay Thai are known for having padding all around the glove as opposed to just focusing on the knuckle area to provide greater overall protection to the sides and back of the fists.
With regard to volume, Muay Thai gloves typically have thicker, more dense padding for greater protection, which leads us to our next distinction - shape.
Shape (Box-type vs Round and "Fluffy")
You would identify a pair of gloves to be boxing gloves if you spot the shape or form of the gloves.
Boxing gloves are typically box-like or rectangular. This is because most of the foam padding is in the knuckle area of the glove.
Muay Thai gloves are round and fluffy, primarily because that padding is distributed evenly around the glove.
In addition to this, boxing gloves have a compressed or compact design because the shape of the hand inside the glove should resemble a closed fist.
In Muay Thai, however, there are offensive and defensive techniques or maneuvers that require a slightly open hand position to execute, hence the larger, puffier size.
Since boxing always involves the use of hands to punch or strike, wrist support on boxing gloves is significantly more important than wrist support on Muay Thai gloves.
As a result, the cuffs of boxing gloves are usually thicker and wider to provide much-needed wrist support.
Muay Thai gloves, on the other hand, have thinner cuffs around the wrist area. This is because Muay Thai fighters need to be more flexible and agile in regards to wrist movements to execute attacks and techniques properly.
The length of the glove is also a giveaway as to which sport it was designed for.
Boxing gloves typically have longer gloves in the wrist area largely due to what was already mentioned above - wrist support and protection.
Muay Thai style gloves come in shorter length because the wrist area is not a big priority. This is also to give clearance to techniques such as clinch work and trips or takedowns.
As also mentioned earlier, Muay Thai involves a varying degree of techniques, one of which is clinching.
Muay Thai style gloves need to be more flexible to allow for the proper execution of clinch moves and trips or takedowns.
Boxing gloves, on the other hand, have a thick, rigid, wrist area that helps in executing punches in a safe and proper manner.
Muay Thai practitioners also typically assume a position or stance that leaves the hands slightly open, to allow for an easier transition into clinch work or grapple maneuvers.
The palm area of a glove is also an important factor to consider and may vary between Muay Thai and boxing gloves.
In boxing, the palms are seldom used in offensive maneuvers, as they are primarily meant to parry incoming shots.
However, in Muay Thai, open-palm techniques are more regularly used with clinching techniques and trips or sweeps.
Boxing gloves have a more rigid palm area to promote the proper closed-fist position of the hands while Muay Thai gloves may have a more flexible palm area to allow for a better grip when clinching or taking down opponents.
Different Types of Muay Thai Gloves (According to Purpose)
Muay Thai training involves so many drills and exercises, and although there are gloves created to do the all-around training program, there are still specialized gloves offered that depend on the use case, purpose, or training type.
Below are a few of the broad categories of training in Muay Thai and the corresponding glove configurations that are required for better performance and execution.
Training gloves are the standard pair of gloves used for all-around training. These gloves are generally okay for clinching, bag drills, and pad/mitt work. They are typically lightweight and run between 10 ounces to 14 ounces.
These gloves are what beginners and novices should aim for.
Sparring gloves are heavier gloves created to provide you with greater protection whenever you throw a punch (and even when strikes are thrown at you). These gloves are great for sparring in any intensity (light, medium, hard) and provide the much-needed cushioning and impact absorption to minimize the risk of self-injury and injury to sparring partners.
For this kind of glove, 16 ounces are usually the best.
Competition gloves, as the name clearly shows, are gloves used by amateurs and professionals in sanctioned bouts.
They are usually smaller (depending on weight division and the promotion's regulations) and use the lace-up closure system for a tighter fit.
These gloves range between 8 ounces and 12 ounces (with some even allowing 6-ounce gloves) and provide harder impact and damage to yourself and your competition.
We do not recommend these gloves to beginners or novices.
Bag gloves are usually an inexpensive form of gloves that offer minimal cushioning or protection.
They are not meant for any other type of drill or exercise and should only exclusively be used on bag workouts.
These gloves are similar to bag gloves in that they cannot really perform as well as the other gloves in terms of all-around workouts.
Clinching gloves offer a better grip when clinching, as if you are gripping someone with your bare hands. These are meant for clinching drills only as the absence of adequate cushioning may spell injury for yourself and others.
Size and Weight Guide
The size and weight you need for gloves highly depend on the type of drills or workouts you plan to do with the gloves.
As a general rule of thumb, go with the larger, heavier gloves if you want maximum cushioning, comfort, and protection. The downside to these gloves is that they are heavier than the average-sized gloves, leading you to fatigue rather quickly.
If you prefer getting lighter gloves, we recommend that you do not go lower than 12 ounces, as this size glove is perfect for beginners looking for all-around workouts.
These days, gloves can come in a variety of qualities. Listed below are a few of the more common types of materials used for gloves.
Of all the types of materials listed above, the majority of martial arts enthusiasts stand by 100% cowhide leather, as it offers excellent durability, sufficient flexibility, stellar comfort, and minimizes odor and build-up of moisture.
We recommend sticking to any form of real/genuine leather if your budget permits and if possible, avoid Vinyl-based gloves as they offer the least amount of longevity and protection.
Synthetic leather gloves are acceptable for those who cannot afford real/genuine leather gloves.
Other Important Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Gloves
Although we recommend that you set aside a decent amount of money, we would understand if your budget would not allow for some of the gloves we presented in our top 10 list gloves.
This is expected because aside from the gloves, you would need the appropriate shirt, shin guards, mouth guard (for sparring sessions), ankle wraps, hand wraps, Muay Thai shorts, and many more add-ons and accessories! Not to mention the fee you would have to pay to your gym or coach.
All-in-all, Muay Thai is a relatively expensive investment, but the rewards you will get both physically and psychologically are unmatched.
The brand of the gloves often dictates the quality, place of origin, durability, and aftersales services of the gloves.
Be sure to be thorough when purchasing a glove from a brand or retailer that is not as known as the more popular offerings (such as Twins, Fairtex, and Top King).
Use our top 10 list as a reference point when choosing the brand of your gloves. We are not saying to choose only the most popular brands, but we still want you to be careful should you decide to purchase a lesser-known brand and product.
Padding is also an important aspect.
Unlike boxing, where most of the padding efforts are placed into the knuckle area of the glove, Muay Thai requires a more evenly distributed padding configuration.
Muay Thai uses punches, kicks, elbows, knees, and spinning attacks. The sport also utilizes clinch techniques and allows strikes from the clinch. Takedowns to trips are also greatly involved in the sport. Headbutts are also an unfortunate consequence out of offensive and defensive maneuvers in Muay Thai.
To protect yourself from a vicious array of strikes, more padding is needed all around your gloves, especially if you want to save yourself from both short-term and long-term injuries.
If you do not plan to practice Muay Thai professionally, focus on securing gloves that offer the best safety and support features.
As a result of the padding distribution mentioned above, Muay Thai specific gloves typically take a unique shape, slightly different from the standard box-type boxing gloves you see in almost every gym or health club.
The shape of the gloves also affects your ability to catch strikes and enter into clinch positions, which is why most of these gloves are less rigid than their boxing glove counterparts.
If you feel like your training would entail the sport of Muay Thai in its entirety, then it would be best for you to choose gloves specifically built for Muay Thai training sessions.
Another important aspect is breathability or ventilation.
Muay Thai sessions usually last for an hour and in some cases, several hours. To allow your well-wrapped hands to breathe and receive the necessary amount of ventilation, look for gloves that are porous or have strategically situated holes in them.
This would allow for a better flow of air and prevent bacteria from growing inside your gloves.
Another factor that is shared with the boxing world is the closure system used to lock the gloves on and around your hands and wrists.
Generally, the closure system falls under two categories: lace-up and velcro strap closure.
Lace-up gloves are the best when trying to find the perfect fit and tightness. The downside, however, is the difficulty of putting them on and subsequently taking the gloves off. It would take a partner (or two) to tie up and remove the gloves and this would last for a few minutes.
The velcro strap closure gloves, on the other hand, are way better if you are looking for a convenient pair of gloves to put on and take off. You can even do it yourself and it would not take minutes, but only a few seconds to put the gloves on and remove them.
Brands have been innovative in creating closures that mimic lace-up, but still do not meet the fit and tightness that actual lace-up gloves provide.
Nevertheless, velcro strap closure systems these days are very effective at eliminating or reducing slippage of gloves in training and sparring sessions.
We ultimately recommend velcro strap closure systems to beginners and novices who will primarily engage in training sessions.
Top 10 Muay Thai Gloves
Muay Thai has really taken the spotlight in the past few years. It is a massive and growing sport in several regions in Asia and in a few countries around the globe.
As a result, a lot of Muay Thai glove brands have gone mainstream and a lot of mainstream boxing glove brands manufacturing training gloves are also establishing a market share in this sport.
Among other equipment, training gloves top the list as the essential piece of gear for Muay Thai training, boxing training, and also other combat sports training sessions.
We have prepared for you a comprehensive list of what we believe to be the top 10 best gloves.
These gloves are made to provide protection, boost performance, and also provide the necessary support in training and sparring sessions. Read on to see the top choices.
Fairtex is one of our all-time favorite brands when we are looking for a quality pair of gloves, whether it be Muay Thai or boxing gloves.
This is why we love one of their bestsellers, the Fairtex Boxing Gloves.
These gloves were manufactured in Thailand and have been used by professional athletes for decades.
This pair of gloves features micro-fiber technology, allowing for odorless equipment, even after the most grueling training sessions. The technology also makes the gloves soft, smooth, flexible, and long-lasting.
Other noteworthy highlights of these gloves are the amazing support, high-quality padding, genuine leather build, and excellent weight distribution.
If you are looking for a brand that excels in providing gloves that have multiple uses, then look no further, Twins Special is here for you.
Twins has created one of the best all-around boxing and Muay Thai gloves, the Twins Special Boxing Gloves.
These gloves can be used heavily on heavy bag training, light to medium-intensity sparring sessions, and pad/mitt work.
This Twins Special product line and gloves have been consistent in delivering quality materials and gold standard durability (the gloves are produced using 100% real leather).
If you are looking to jump between the two sports, then these Twins Muay Thai gloves would be perfect for your needs.
If you prefer to look stylish in training, without sacrificing the overall quality and durability, then Fairtex has the perfect gloves for you - the Fairtex Limited Edition Gloves.
These are practically the stand-outs in the training gloves division. Also, they come in 23 unique colorways and designs. If you have the budget, you can also buy multiple pairs to match your outfit or other Muay Thai equipment when training in the gym.
From a practicality standpoint, these gloves can also back up their price. They have fifteen holes that are for ventilation which are strategically placed around the glove and are handmade to ensure that the gloves are made with the best quality standards.
As you should expect from Fairtex, these gloves are also made of premium genuine leather.
If you need a pair of Muay Thai gloves that are as durable as they are stylish, then these are your best bet. Also, the Black Prism design looks amazing. Go check it out!
In one of its latest offerings, Hayabusa delivered one of the best boxing gloves in its history - the Hayabusa T3 Boxing Gloves.
If you are looking for a unique brand with different styles and designs, then these gloves will do you good.
These Muay Thai bag gloves are primarily created for intensive bag workouts and sparring sessions.
They sport the Dual-X closure system, a unique take on the traditional velcro strap closure system, that allows for a better fit, similar to a lace-up boxing glove. This is why we consider this product to be one of the best Muay Thai gloves for wrist support.
The extra padding makes this pair of boxing gloves suitable for Muay Thai training sessions also.
The gloves are made with Vylar engineered leather, a type of synthetic leather that Hayabusa claims to outperform regular genuine leather in terms of toughness and durability.
If you are looking for a Hayabusa pair of boxing gloves that can double as gloves for Muay Thai training, then this pair would be your best bet.
For Muay Thai and Boxing beginners not looking to spend a premium on their initial glove investment, the Venum Challenger 2.0 Boxing Gloves are one of the best entry-level boxing gloves that can be used for Muay Thai in the market today.
Each glove is made of high-quality synthetic leather, providing a firm yet forgiving padding with acceptable shock absorption capabilities.
Another good feature is the use of a special thermal-regulating mesh which allows for greater ventilation and breathability which beginners would definitely need in each glove for those extended training sessions in boxing or Muay Thai.
As for fit, these gloves have large cuffs, which is best recommended for individuals with medium to large-sized fists.
There are a few flaws with longevity and wrist support, but for the price, the Venum Challenger 2.0 Boxing Gloves are well worth the initial investment into the world of Muay Thai.
Venum has always created the best products for those new to combat sports. We consider this particular pair to be the best Muay Thai gloves for beginners.
Another good glove manufacturer that does not get as much buzz as the other reputable brands is Top King. With its relatively recent entrance into the boxing glove and Muay Thai glove market (2009), Top King offers a wide range of products, most notable of which are the Top King Muay Thai Gloves.
Here is a cool piece of information: the founder of Top King also worked at Twins. Not only that, but he was also the brother of the Twins owner!
Each glove from Top King is made with the same level of care and quality that you would expect out of a glove manufactured by Twins.
This model in particular sports a different, more edgy design but is still effective at getting the job done in boxing and Muay Thai training sessions.
The foam padding all around helps minimize the likelihood of injury and greatly increases the shock absorption properties of each glove.
If you are a fan of Twins, you should give Top King a shot also.
Yet another solid pair of gloves for novice boxers and Muay Thai beginners, Hayabusa presents the Hayabusa S4 Boxing Gloves. An affordable pair of gloves fit for training sessions in Muay Thai and boxing.
This pair of gloves checks all the essentials. Each pair is made of synthetic leather (polyurethane), offering decent quality, feel, and durability. Take note that for the price point, synthetic leather boxing gloves are the best that they can be.
The nylon lining and good-quality mesh also contribute to making each glove comfortable and fit to the drills and exercises in boxing and Muay Thai.
Unlike other beginner gloves, Hayabusa promises that these gloves come with the needed wrist support and cushioning foam to provide protection for sparring, bag workouts, and pad/mitt work.
If you do not want to break the bank with your first glove purchase, these Hayabusa Muay Thai gloves are meant for you.
Fairtex secures yet another spot in our list of top 10 boxing gloves. The Fairtex Angular Sparring Gloves are one of the best gloves designed with sparring sessions in mind.
As mentioned in the name, the angular or contoured design of each sparring glove allows for a unique fit and hand position to cater to those nasty strikes that you need to catch with either glove.
The leather quality of this model is also top-notch. Made of genuine leather and triple-layer latex foam, these bad boys are meant to stay with you for years to come, no matter how often you use them.
For a relatively inexpensive, specialized pair of gloves that sport leather materials and thick, dense latex foam padding, you will not go wrong with these.
One of our more notable entries in this list comes from a reputable Western MMA brand that offers quality gear at reasonable price points. RDX offers the RDX Boxing Gloves for training, which the company describes as a product of superior craftsmanship.
RDX can back up such a claim since they used real leather (Maya Hide Leather) to create these gloves.
Just based on the material alone, you would know that this product would last for several years.
It also offers the best impact absorption capabilities with its triple-padding cushioning system. You do not have to worry when throwing powerful strikes as these gloves will provide cushioning and protection.
The product also has a unique hook and loop closure that promotes proper wrist-to-fist formation but allows for a bit of flexibility when throwing different punches like overhands or uppercuts.
This pair is offered in various sizes and because of its innovative cuff technology and superior padding, we can say that this is one of the best kids Muay Thai gloves in the market today.
As far as Muay Thai brands are concerned, Yokkao has established itself squarely among the top competition with its wide array of products and beautiful designs. The Yokkao Matrix Breathable Muay Thai Boxing Gloves, however, is a no-frills approach to the Muay Thai gloves segment, as its core focus is cushioning, safety, and durability.
Made of cowhide leather, these gloves are meant as an investment that could last you years, if not decades. On top of this, each glove is handcrafted by glove experts in Thailand, assuring you that each glove is made with top-notch standards and precision craftsmanship.
The double-stitching technique also offers additional fortification to the glove as a whole, and its compact (yet strongly padded) design makes it a good pair of gloves for a variety of hand sizes.
We consider this product to be one of the best Muay Thai gloves for small hands due to its compact size and balanced weight distribution.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What gloves are used in Muay Thai?
In official Muay Thai bouts, the Muay Thai regulation glove weight varies from 6-ounce to 10-ounce, depending on the competitors' weight division. For beginners, casual Muay Thai practitioners, and in-gym or personal use, the gloves used in Muay Thai can either be boxing gloves or Muay Thai gloves in any size or brand.
2. What is the best Muay Thai brand?
Choosing the best Muay Thai brand is very difficult as there are several reputable brands in the market today, but we personally prefer Fairtex over all the other brands (Windy, Venum, Twins, and others). Each Muay Thai glove Fairtex produces is made with premium quality materials and assembled with the top industry standards. The Fairtex company has been in existence since 1958 and has received numerous awards for the Muay Thai glove designs they have produced.
3. Are Muay Thai and boxing gloves the same?
Muay Thai gloves and boxing training gloves are not the same, but they can be used in substitution of one another. There are a few key differences between these training gloves, but what must be noted is how each Muay Thai glove is designed in a way to be less rigid and more flexible to be able to catch strikes (as opposed to parrying strikes in boxing). Also, Muay Thai glove design has more padding all around the glove area (not just focused on the knuckle area in boxing gloves) to give additional protection from non-boxing strikes (elbows, knees, and kicks).
4. Are 14 oz gloves good for sparring?
14 oz Muay Thai gloves are a good pick for sparring, but if you can handle 16 oz Muay Thai gloves, those would be better. As a general rule of thumb, in both boxing and Muay Thai, the best training gloves are also the best sparring gloves. Both these gloves are made to offer a great degree of protection. Without them, people would easily break their bones and also damage their muscles. These gloves are also worn to provide adequate wrist support for safer training sessions.
The Winner is... Our Favorite Muay Thai Gloves
As for our favorite Muay Thai gloves, we have to go with a brand that is well-known and reliable. This brand is one of the top brands in Thailand and is utilized by professionals and beginners alike. It boasts over 50 years of quality service and craftsmanship, and there is no doubt in our minds that this company will continue to create and innovate more gloves in the future.
Our favorite, go-to brand for gloves is Fairtex. As for the product, we choose none other than the Fairtex Muay Thai Boxing Gloves BGV-1!
We love the straightforward type of gloves that offer comfort, wrist support, padding, and quality leather material. We feel that Fairtex has been offering stellar gloves, but based on experience, the BGV-1 gloves are just a hair above the rest.
If you have reached this point, then you are now practically a savant when it comes to choosing the best Muay Thai gloves! In addition to learning the top 10 Muay Thai gloves in the market today, you also got acquainted with the different materials (genuine leather, synthetic leather, and others) as well as the difference between boxing gloves and Muay Thai gloves (and how they can be used interchangeably).
At the end of the day, however, just choose the best Muay Thai gloves that fit your budget, preference, exercises, and overall purpose. We may have made things a bit more sophisticated than needed, but we want to ensure that you will not regret whichever purchase you make by being well-informed and well-researched.