Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to welcome you on the exhilarating, heart-pumping (literally) and adrenaline packed journey of Muay Thai. The time is 11:39am (as I write this). If the weather cooperates, you should be sweating your ass off, punching heavy bags and kicking pads at your gym without much delay. If you are new to Muay Thai, all you will need, is a pair of the best Muay Thai gloves for beginners. BUT! There are sooooo many glove models available that it can result in analysis paralysis! We all want to make the best purchase possible and make each purchase count. One of my first pair of gloves brought me a good deal of agony (wrist injuries) due to the inadequate wrist support so I know fully well the importance of having the right gloves for Muay Thai training. Through my own experience, mistakes and research, as well as advice handed to me from my Krus and gym mates, I have found what works, what to look for when it comes to buying gloves. So I’m here to lend a hand and make your next purchase your best. I sincerely hope the information here will come in handy.
How to Choose the Best Gloves for Muay Thai Training
Your very first purchase when you start Muay Thai, will be a pair of training gloves. While many gyms allow their members to loan their on-site gloves to use for free, they usually stink after so much punching mileage over time. The padding would have thinned out too and may not offer enough protection for your hands.
You will eventually own a second, third, or even more pairs of gloves as you travel down this path. Be it for sparring, amassing your gloves collection, an alternate pair for rotation or simply to match your workout attire. But as your very first pair of gloves training this pugilistic sport, it is worth investing a little time to pick the right pair. Here are some essential factors to take note of when it comes to choosing your first pair of training gloves:
Punching gloves sizing are measured in terms of weight and for general-purpose training, they run from 8 to 18 oz. The heavier the gloves, the thicker the padding and theoretically speaking, the better the protection. Averagely speaking, 12 or 14 oz is the norm and either is acceptable so long as they fit right and provide adequate padding for protection. If you are on the heavyweight scale, you can also consider a heavier 16-18 oz. Here’s a training gloves general (not definitive) size chart -based on body weight- for a quick reference:
|Body Weight||Recommended Gloves Size|
|100lbs & below||8oz – 10oz|
|100lbs – 120lbs||10oz – 12oz|
|120lbs – 150lbs||12oz – 14oz|
|150lbs – 180lbs||14oz – 16oz|
|180lbs & above||16oz – 18oz|
Size matters. Some believe that training with heavy gloves (16 or 18 oz) is good for conditioning but the drawback is that it can also retard your movements and hence techniques. However, when you eventually progress to sparring, heavier gloves (14 to 18 oz) are actually mandatory. The reason for using heavier gloves is because gloves of these weights offers more padding which protects your hands and minimizes the impact when it lands on your sparring partner.
For non-sparring training -which is what you will go through when you start out-, I personally use 12 oz as they allow me to focus on perfecting my techniques and flow while providing adequate protection for my hands. Anything lighter and you can really feel the raw impact of your punches. My gym recommends beginners to start with heavier 14oz-16oz (12oz-14oz for women) for proper protection and to let your still-tender hands and wrists get conditioned to the sport.
The budget-conscious will be happy to know that punching gloves are priced very affordably. Not just the brand-less generics from a general sporting goods store. Good quality, made-in-Thailand, pure leather gloves can be had for around $50-$100. The price tag will be on the lower end of the price range if you have contacts to buy them directly in Thailand.
Muay Thai is a high impact sports and right from the start, you will be hitting a lot of tough pads and dense heavy bags. If you want them to last, you are going to need reasonably durable gloves with good padding to withstand the constant and regular punishment. Genuine leather lasts longer and has always been favored over the comparably stiffer synthetic leather. However, the quality of synthetic material has improved tremendously over the years. Just like real leather, there are varying quality of synthetic leather with high quality ones rivaling some genuine leather. The ethically-inclined will also favor animal-free synthetics over real leather. Whichever your preference is, you will be able to find good hardy gloves in either material.
One thing I have experienced and learned is that genuine leather is a more breathable material. Synthetic leather tends to be less so and feels markedly warmer to train in. This causes hands to sweat more and tougher to dry up due to poorer ventilation, resulting in the easy build-up of odor-causing bacteria. If you have sweaty hands, I highly recommend more breathable gloves typically constructed using genuine leather and/or mesh panels on the palms.
Lace-up vs Velcro
Punching gloves come in either lace-up or hook-and-loop (velcro) versions. Lace-ups offer a secure fit and will not shift easily when tightly laced. However, they inconveniently require assistance from another person to tighten up which is impractical for gym training. In a typical training session, there will be a myriad of exercises done with or without gloves. So straight up, no competition, velcros are the way to go since they can be taken on/off easily by yourself.
Muay Thai vs Boxing Gloves
For general Muay Thai training involving bagwork and padwork, you can use either Muay Thai or pure boxing gloves. There are subtle differences in the aerodynamics construct but won’t affect the casual fighter. Muay Thai gloves are constructed such that they allow you to open your hands more easily, unlike the more rigid construct of boxing gloves. This feature is made to allow for clinching. So if you aren’t expecting to do any serious clinching with your gloves on during training, both types of gloves will work equally well.
|A Quick Tip
If you have a chance to try out gloves for fitting, -whether it’s with your gym mates’ gloves or at the local fight store- make sure that you have your handwraps on. Having your handwraps on makes a whole lot of difference. If you try on a gloves without your handwraps and it feels just right, it could end up a tad too tight with your handwraps on. Some brands are a little more snug than others, and even within the brand, there might be a little variance among different models. So bear that in mind. If it’s a little too tight without handwraps, it’s most likely not the right pair for you.
Best Muay Thai Gloves for Beginners (2017)
There is a good selection of affordable, high quality gloves available in the market but honestly, you don’t even have to go beyond my top 3 below. But if you are looking for something beyond the first recommendations, there are many decent options available too. Here are my top recommendations for your consideration:
|Buying Gloves from Online Stores
Due to heavier operating costs, brick and mortar stores tend to price their gloves higher than the online stores. The price difference can be quite considerable and so many people make their purchase off the web. There are several options available when it comes to shopping Muay Thai goods online, a few of these are based in Thailand and they often offer the best prices even with the shipping costs factored in. However, I personally recommend buying from Amazon for a few reasons. Firstly, Thai web stores are slow in shipping their goods. It’s not unusual to wait a month or longer to have something shipped over. Second, customer service can be lacking due to language. Thirdly, Amazon has a great return policy with no questions asked and ships fast. For me, the choice is clear. Go with Amazon.
Twins Special is arguably the most popular Muay Thai brand right now. These premium cowhide leather gloves are favored by everyone from casual gym goers to trainers to professional fighters alike. As a high impact sport, you want gloves that can give you good wrist support and provide sufficient protection for your knuckles and Twins gloves will offer that. The great overall padding -from the knuckles to the back of the hand- offers ideal protection while you work on your techniques and strengthen your hands to withstand the impact of your punches. Very soft, very easy on the hands while offering adequate protection and wrist support. Definitely the best buddy for any beginner to the sport.
The hand compartments are slightly roomy than snug compared to the other Thai brands, making them a favored choice for Western hands. Good quality leather gloves giving you good mileage at reasonable prices. This is a real working class hero. The designs for the flagship BGVL-3 are basic, no-frills single-colored, so if you want something a littler fancier, you can consider the Twins FBGV for fancier looks.
|– “they have more cushioning than other gloves I have used for Muay Thai and I highly recommend getting them.“
– “Comfy gloves for punching people in the face. Training partners almost enjoy getting hit as much as hit them, just kidding“
|Rating: (4.8 / 5)|
Another popular Muay Thai choice that you will see often in the gym is Top King. Offering comparative protection to Twins gloves, it is interesting to note that the 2 brands are actually owned by 2 brothers. One reason why they are well-liked is the bold and distinct aesthetics of their gear and they are certainly one of my personal favorites. For cool looking gloves, the quality of the craftsmanship and the cowhide leather used is exceptional.
These sturdy gloves are well construct and have good foam padding to protect the knuckles and wrists. One thing to note is that the cuffs extend almost halfway up your forearms and would make very support for your wrists. Top King gloves have a really snug hand compartment and so if you have small- or medium-sized hands, you will love them. With such great qualities, you might not be switching brands ever after.
|– “Been using these for a year. No signs of damage. Great gloves.“
– “They’re durable as a train.”
|Rating: (4.4 / 5)|
Rounding up the holy trinity of Muay Thai brands is the top-of-the-hierarchy Fairtex. This is definitely the most popular and best-selling option outside of Thailand, and especially in USA. This may be due in part to the brand’s successful publicity campaign back in the 90s, but Fairtex gloves are favored for more practical reasons. Among its many selling points, these real leather gloves are made with the intention to last. The padding and leather are of high quality, and they boast a streamlined design, making them look smaller and less pillowy than other brands.
Fairtex gloves feel less soft compared to Twins or Top King, but the protection is still more than adequate. The BGV1 is also produced in so many colors and printed designs, you will surely find a pair that catches your eyes. What’s there to be said about the quality of Fairtex gloves that hasn’t already been said? As your very first Muay Thai gloves, these will live up to all expectations.
|– “I’m in love with these gloves! They’re less bulky feeling than others I’ve tried.“
– “They provide ample wrist support and keep a smaller profile than a lot of other gloves, which is perfect for muay thai.“
|Rating: (4.6 / 5)|
They say you never forget your first love. And when your first gloves happen to be Raja gloves, it can be even more unforgettable. I have personally tried many of the gloves that I have recommended here in the article and after all this time, these remain one of my favorite gloves to date.
No one makes gloves the way Raja does. They are the softest, most luxuriously comfortable Muay Thai gloves I’ve ever experienced. The premium leather gloves break in fast and my 14oz Rajas offered excellent padding for protection, whether against, heavy bags, pads or even sparring. The wrist support is great and feels secured. However, the fit is not as snug as I want and the cuffs don’t extend entirely around your wrists especially if you are on the thin side. But they will fit great for average and large-sized hands.
Aesthetically, they don’t appeal to me as much as Top Kings but taste is subjective. I took good care of my gloves and they served me well over a year even though I was training about 4 days a week. No stench either, as the genuine leather breathes very well. (Note: My gym is air-conditioned) Raja gloves are tough to find even in Bangkok and they are now mostly made to order. If you make up your mind to get them, there’s a chance that it will take a bit longer to reach you, but rest assured you will not be disappointed.
|– “Extremely well made, very comfortable gloves.”
|Rating: (4.6 / 5) (Based on 1 review)|
If you are in the mood to splurge a bit more for your first gloves, you’ll not be disappointed with the Tokushu Regenesis boxing gloves from this top MMA brand.
Like many modern fight brands, Hayabusa prides themselves on extensive research and innovation in the design of their products. The Tokushu Regenesis is their most popular gloves model. It boasts an engineered (synthetic) leather tested and proven to outlast regular leather. But the really outstanding feature of these gloves is the dual wrist wrap, which firmly secures them on your wrist and provides ample padding for protection.
Another outstanding feature is the inner fabric which incorporates an anti-microbial technology that delivers anti-odor properties, improved ventilation, enhanced breathability and thermo-regulating properties. What that means, is that they will keep your hands cool and will dry up fast, a boon for sweaty hands. The only downside is that these gloves don’t open up as well as traditional Muay Thai gloves so will not suit clinch work. But other than that, these are the perfect training gloves.
While these are not pure Muay Thai gloves, the combination of high quality materials, good protection and wrist support, makes it a constant model on our gloves recommendation articles.
|– “The wrist support is second to none.”
– “Every awesome thing you’ve read is true.”
|Rating: (4.6 / 5)|
Best Budget Muay Thai Gloves Under $50
On a budget? No worries. Here are great value gloves that you can have for under $50:
The Challenger is Venum’s best selling punching gloves catering to the entry-level market. Made of synthetic leather but not skimping on the overall quality, these gloves have firm padding with fantastic shock absorption and thick wide cuffs for secured fastening. A highlight is the clever use of thermal-regulating mesh helps to improve the breathability and comfort.
These gloves fit great for most average hand sizes after breaking in. The low price point is certainly one of the most attractive features, as is the sharp aesthetic design. The main compromise made on this low-cost model is the use of a less durable PU leather compared to the more premium synthetic Skintex leather use on their Elite model. I find the wrist support somewhat lacking as they seem to feel a little too flimsy. Good for clinching as they are really flexible around the wrists but also means less stability for support. I suppose you can’t have it all, especially at this price point. But if you are looking for affordable beginner gloves that looks good, this will be an ideal choice.
|– “I get so many compliments on my gloves, it’s insane.“
– “Highly recommended. I can’t believe I have spent all these years without them.“
|Rating: (4.5 / 5)|
For a pair of genuine leather gloves at under $50, these are a real steal. You will find it a real challenge to find another pure leather gloves at this price point. These gloves have firm padding, and are durable enough to hold up to the stress of regular bag punching. The velcro straps are also really wide and will provide a nice secure fit that won’t shift much when you train.
As far as I am aware of, the only complaint is that the colors bleed a little when you start using them. The aesthetics are simple and maybe a little dull for some. But if you are looking for durable gloves that can give you good mileage and protection, these boxing gloves are the best that money can buy at this price range. Real leather gloves do breathe better than synthetics so you may want to take that into consideration too.
|– “ they’re protecting my hands very well. I’ve sustained no injuries with these gloves (and wraps) on.“
– “I’ve had them for almost 8 months and they show very little wear and still offer the same protection as day one.“
|Rating: (4.3 / 5)|
The Ringside IMF is the brand’s flagship line of gloves made with their proprietary technology. Basically, the gloves are made using a molded foam system that contours the shape of the fist and offers excellent protection. Synthetic gloves are less breathable and will usually stink in a shorter time than genuine leather. Ringside works around this problem by using a mesh palm panel, and the anti-microbial liner combines to reduce odor-causing bacteria.
The long cuffs and extra wide velcro straps offer incredible wrist support, and the padding is springy enough for extra protection of your knuckles. The one snag of these gloves is that they are a little too stiff for clinching or sparring. These synthetic leather are also less durable and of lower quality compared to the other entries on this list, but this is compensated with a more affordable price tag. As beginner gloves, these will get the job done.
|– “ I do recommend the Gloves to Beginners that want to take the Sport serious and training serious.“
– “ They’re for training. Heavy bag, light sparring – they’re perfect.“
|Rating: (4.2 / 5)|
RDX is a renowned fight gear company from the UK. They are used by both professionals and amateurs, and in boxing, muay thai to MMA arenas. For gloves that retail below $50 (as of writing), these RDXs pack decent quality from good padding, comfort to wrist support. There’s also moisture-wicking inner fabric to keep your hands cool and dry while you work up a sweat.
In case you were wondering, Maya hide leather is a fully synthetic leather with reasonable durability and resilience. It’s more breathable compared to vinyl and are softer too. I see this as a good alternative to Ringside Apex if you are looking for gloves at the same price point.
|– ” Fit good and can’t feel anything when you punch plenty of cushion“
– “the comfort is top notch considering how sturdy they are and how solid the wrist support/hand protection is“
|Rating: (4.6 / 5)|
Sanabul is a mma brand that also offers the whole shebang of mma-related training gear and equipment for BJJ to Muay Thai and more. The Essential Gel gloves is one of their bestsellers and actually one of the top selling training gloves on Amazon. The number one reason is the affordability but they are actually pretty decent gloves at their price point. It’s tough to find gloves cheaper than these at such quality.
The use of synthetic leather is expected at this price tag and frankly, these certainly aren’t the most durable gloves. But they hold up reasonably well and offer better breathability over many other gloves via the mesh panels. The use of gel padding seem to be rather effective in terms of shock absorption compared to the more traditional foam padding.
If you have plans to take Muay Thai more seriously, this will not be not the best option. But as the cheapest gloves on the list, I would readily recommend these as beginner’s gloves especially if you train casually (e.g. once a week). If you looking for something hardier, consider the other options on the list or Sanabul’s higher-tier but also affordable BattleForged Muay Thai Gloves.
|– “For the price, you can’t beat it. Nice material in and out“
– “ I do muay thai and go hard 4 days a week and they are holding up well.“
|Rating: (4.6 / 5)|
A good pair of gloves need to be able to provide appropriate support and protection for your hands. You may have to buy and try out a few pairs before you eventually find a pair that fits you the way you like. As your first pair of Muay Thai training gloves, the recommendations here are some of the best and most popular options.
With the information and recommendations that is presented here, I hope you can soon find the right pair of gloves to get you going on your Muay Thai journey. On behalf of Muay Thai Citizen and the entire crew, I’d like to thank you for joining us on this article and we look forward to seeing you here browsing the site again in the near future. Keep fighting and as always,