Yokkao Boxing Muay Thai Gloves Review
In my time training in the sport of Muay Thai, I have gone through a whole host of different brands from Thailand and abroad. You can find my gloves recommendations in a number of “top ten” articles on the website (see “Best Muay Thai Gloves for Beginners”) but it’s time for a more in-depth look at these brands individually. This article series has been a long time coming. For the first in the series, I spotlight on one of the most stylish and exciting Thai brands in the market: Yokkao. After 2 years of training with Yokkao gloves, it’s time for an unbiased, no-holds-barred review. Do Yokkao gloves live up to the brand’s name?
Yokkao translates to mean “White Jade” (หยกขาว) in Thai. The brand’s logo features a white tiger so there seems to be a recurring “white” theme. Beyond that, there is no background story on the origin of the name. Maybe it just sounds cool and unique.
The company started in 2010 and took off really fast because they gathered the biggest names in Muay Thai since their earliest events. Buakaw, Sudsakorn, Yoddecha Sityodtong, Kem Sitsongpeenong and Saenchai were some of the celebrities who were featured in some of their early seminars and promotions. The scale of those events were massive and honestly, no event has ever come close since. Yokkao continues to put out regular shows, most notably in UK where it has a very strong following.
The brand’s fast-rising success can also be attributed to a few things: contemporary designs, having Saenchai on its fight team, and a very well thought-out social media marketing effort. These 3 factors come together and make Yokkao undeniably, a very exciting, very fun Muay Thai brand unlike its more conservative competitors.
Yokkao Gloves Review
So, how about the actual quality of their products? I can’t speak for their complete product range, that’s for sure. I have a few of their Muay Thai shorts and I also own 2 pairs of Yokkao gloves (pictured above). I bought my first pair of Yokkao gloves in 2016, which were the lower end Synthex gloves (synthetic leather). I recently added a pair of the Matrix gloves (genuine leather) to my collection. Here’s what I honestly think about them and what you need to know if you are planning on getting a pair of Yokkao gloves yourself:
When it comes to fitting, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all. Different hand sizes, different individual preferences. Different strokes for different folks. Both of these 12oz fit my hands perfectly. In comparison to other brands, I find Yokkao gloves have a moderate fit that feels snug and stable, conforming to the hands over time. It did take a couple of sessions to break into the gloves but there on, they, well, “fit like a glove”.
Compared to other brands, I find the silhouette of Yokkao gloves closest to Twins gloves. Both Yokkao and Twins gloves are very well-padded to give the best possible protection. For general training purpose, I stick to 12oz as they are -marginally- light for uninhibited and better pad work. They also don’t look as bulky compared to 14 or 16oz. Not as streamlined as Fairtex but Yokkao offers more hand protection which I favor and recommend.
For me, this is one of the qualities that really shines with Yokkao gloves. The foam padding is very well-distributed, providing great cushioning for the knuckles to the back of the hand and even around the wrists. Both gloves provide some flexibility to allow for clinching but enough stability that you won’t overextend the wrists. Between the Synthex and Matrix, I find the latter to have a more comfortable padding. With either of these, I have never had any hand injuries.
The Synthex lasted me well over a year but I had to let them go due to a mounting odor. Synthex gloves are made using PU (vinyl) which is less breathable. Synthetic gloves tend to retain heat more easily so I would not recommend them if you have sweaty palms. As for the Matrix gloves, I have them for a little over 2 months now and they are holding up perfectly. But it’s only been 2 months so I can’t conclude at this point. In terms of ventilation, they definitely feel better compared to Synthex but there is certainly room for improvement in this aspect. As real leather gloves, I would expect them to last longer. (Check back again if you want to see how these hold up in due time).
There have been a few reported problems with regards to the velcro failing after a couple of months of usage. The issue has been resolved as reported in this Yokkao article. After further clarifications with the brand, they have confirmed this and assures that the modifications have been made on the new straps since 2016. The new wrist straps feature a newly designed, embroidered Yokkao logo patch compared to the older glossy, 3D embossed logo (see comparison above). Personally, I have not experienced the velcro problem even with the older Synthex model so it is most likely just a minor glitch in production before they had their own factory.
This is another outstanding quality of Yokkao gloves. Yokkao gear has a aesthetic sensibility that is a head above the rest. Even if you are looking for simple, solid-colored designs, they have really trendy colors that you won’t see elsewhere. Take my “Petroleum” Matrix for example. It’s a very unique tone that you won’t find anywhere and I have received a lot of compliments for them. Looks are subjective but as far as the consensus goes, Yokkao has the best looking gloves around.
Yokkao premium gloves prices are now inline with the other top Thai brands like Fairtex or Twins, who have adjusted their prices in recent years. The top-of-the-line gloves from these brands retail for around 80-90 USD. The Yokkao Matrix gloves go for 76USD but I had mine for lower as I bought them during sales. For premium leather gloves, these are the standard prices to expect so nothing much to shout about. If you are hoping to score a deal, they have great sales during Black Friday and also from time to time, where you can buy their gloves for up to 30% off.
Purchasing Yokkao Gloves
I feel this deserves a section of its own. There is a list of authorized Yokkao dealers that you can find here. They offer wholesale discounts so I figure the prices would probably be the same whether you buy from Yokkao directly (with the option of customization) or through a retailer. If you have a Yokkao stockist in your area, I recommend checking out the gloves in person.
As I pen this article, Yokkao products are now available through Amazon.com. So if you are based in the US, this is definitely the best marketplace to buy from. Amazon has the best returns policy and you can always expect the fastest and cheapest shipping.
If you happen to be reading this in Bangkok, there are 2 locations downtown you can buy Yokkao gloves from. The first is right at the Yokkao Training Center in downtown Sukhumvit. The second isn’t very far off either, at Super Export Shop which also stocks a wide array of brands.
As far as Thai brands go, Yokkao is in my opinion, right on top with the very best right now. They look great, the quality is amazing, if you want protection for your hands then that is what you will get. The all-round padding makes them ideal for sparring (get 14 or 16oz) and also suitable for beginners to pugilistic sports. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend the Yokkao Matrix gloves for all Muay Thai practitioners. If you prefer something a little more fancy, you can opt for the more premium Ready to Fight line. Whichever you pick, you will not be disappointed.