If you’re new to boxing, you might find yourself Googling the best boxing gloves for beginners.
There’s no one correct answer to this. Rather, there are a number of factors that determine which gloves should work for you, including the size of your hands, the level of your training, your budget, and more.
Our guide helps you understand what you should look for and which features are beneficial for the beginner boxer.
It may seem intimidating to shop for gloves when there are so many types available on the market.
What boxing gloves should a beginner use? Your choices mainly boil down to three. Ultimately, what you choose depends on what kind of training you plan on doing:
Training gloves cover all your bases: these can be used for training, sparring and bag work. They’re the preferred type of beginners glove due to their versatility. When you’re starting out, you shouldn’t have to get new gloves for every situation. Once you get to a level where you’re fighting against opponents on a regular basis, you can invest in sparring gloves based on your coach’s recommendation. Some training gloves can go the extra mile and be used for sparring, and these in particular are recommended for beginners.
Meant to be used on a heavy bag, bag gloves are packed full with padding, and this is what differentiates them from training gloves. They also focus on supporting your wrist against injury from continual blows. While bag gloves are generally flatter around the knuckles, newer designs feature a rounded front. These give more protection when you make contact with the bag. Flatter gloves have their own advantages, such as better understanding of precision with which you’ve hit your target.
Sparring gloves take both you and your partner or opponent into consideration: they’re designed to protect. They tend to be slightly lighter than training gloves or bag gloves, so that you can really see how you’re hitting. This helps improve on technique in the long run. Sparring gloves tend to have a longer cuff as well, and this is often laced up. A good feature for sparring gloves is shock absorbance so that they can handle punches in the ring. However, they’re not made to be worn when using a bag.
Most brands offer two main textiles for gloves: genuine leather and a leather alternative such vinyl. Vinyl can be great to start out with due to its more affordable price point. If you’re still wondering whether boxing is for you, these are a starter investment that won’t break the bank. They’re also good for people who don’t prefer using animal products. The issue with vinyl or leather alternatives is that time and use can make them break and flake.
Leather is a classic: it’s durable and can take long term wear without any problems, as long as you maintain aftercare. However, leather generally hikes up the price of the gloves, so it may not be the best to start out with unless you know for sure you’ll be using it.
Extra features might not be a big deal for a beginner, so let’s get down to basics: wrist fastenings. Options for closures are generally Velcro and laces. Laces are old-school and provide a tighter, more customized fit. But if you don’t have access to someone to tie those laces properly for you, the gloves essentially become useless. As a beginner, it’s best to go for Velcro, especially if you’re training alone. Velcro is an easier option that you can tighten by yourself, and it can be pulled on and off quickly. Laces are usually preferred during sparring, when a coach or partner is available to help, hence why they are a feature of many sparring gloves.
Other features may include in-house technology that companies offer as a bonus. These vary between dry-fit technologies to keep your hands from sweating, to extra wrist support, to specific types of padding. These might be something you want to consider when making the purchase because they are value addition features made to give you a better and more comfortable experience.
The size and weight of gloves are two separate numbers. Size corresponds to the measurements of your wrists and hands, while the weight reflects the padding in the glove.
12oz is a balanced weight that works well for situations such as heavy bag training. It’s the usual weight for a lightweight training glove. As the weight increases, the padding increases. A 14oz boxing glove is a heavier training glove which can also be used for light bouts of sparring. 16oz gloves are the general sparring gloves of choice, while going up to 18oz the gloves become more appropriate for the heavyweight class.
Sizing for gloves is done with two numbers: one is the measurement around the wrist, while the other is around the knuckles as they lay flat. Typically, companies manufacture gloves with sizes S through XL.
This basic guide to getting your first pair of gloves should demystify the process and help you pick what’s right for your circumstances, budget, preferences, and types of training. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to the right boxing gloves: ultimately, it comes down to trying different pairs and working your way through them until you hit the sweet spot.