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Which Style of Glove is Best for You?

Posted by Mike Gales on

So, you have decided that you going to take up some Boxing or some MMA to get yourself in phenomenal shape and that my friend is a wise move. Even if you never intend on fighting, training like a fighter will get you into remarkable shape in no time. Yet, one must be conscious that these are still contact sports. Realize that even if you are only planning on hitting the bag, that your hands and wrists will still be absorbing impacts. Like anything else in life, the true key to becoming successful is to remain consistent. To do that, you will want to avoid any sort of injuries by properly protecting both your wrists and hands. As such, you will want to invest in a proper pair of gloves. The only problem is that when you go to the store to purchase a pair, you quickly notice that the choice can be a little overwhelming. There are different styles, sizes, and weights that you never knew even existed. My hope is that after reading this article, you will be able to decipher which style of glove would be best for you and for your fitness goals.

Before you shell out a dime on gloves, I suggest that you invest in a good pair of hand wraps. They are often overlooked by beginners but the hand wraps are just as important as the gloves when it comes to the protection of your hands. The great news is that they are relatively inexpensive.


If you are unsure how to wrap your hands then you can check out the article in the link here.

When it comes to purchasing your first pair of gloves, then my first suggestion would be …Specificity.

What I mean by specificity is that is if you will be competing in a certain discipline and you plan on buying only one pair of gloves, then it should be specific to the sport or discipline that you will partake in. For example; if you plan on boxing then your main gloves should be a boxing glove whereas if you will be competing in MMA then your main gloves should be an MMA style of glove.

If you are not interested in any sort of competition and are simply looking to train like a fighter to get into tremendous shape, then let’s take a look some different styles of gloves to see which is best suited for you. Below we will review some things to consider for each of the main styles.

The MMA Glove

MMA gloves are the smallest of this group and are typically about 7ouces. They can provide adequate protection for the heavy bag, the double-ended bag, the speed bag and the focus mitts. This style of glove also has an added wrap around wrist support for extra protection. That support is held in place by Velcro attachments and that means that you can put these gloves on and take them off by yourself. (That is definitely a factor to consider if you will be training alone)

What really separates the MMA style of glove from the herd is that these gloves still allow you to use the dexterity of your fingers to grasp objects. That is a huge consideration as you can use these gloves to hit the bag, pads etc. and then transition right into some grappling or wrestling. Likewise, you can create circuits of hitting the bag and then transition right into certain body weight exercises like push-ups or pull-ups. You can also work the pads, the heavy bag or double-ended bag and still have the dexterity to grasp weights and transition right into lifting which is great for circuit training, cross fit and that style of training.

If you are planning on doing any type of sparring that involves punching then I would suggest going with a different style of glove. The light weight and exposed fingers can easily lead to an injury to you or to your training partners. I supposed that you could use them for sparring but I definitely would not recommend that for a beginner.

The Pros

  • Ability to use your grip.
  • You can put them on by yourself.
  • Not expensive.
  • Very durable.

The Cons

  • Moderate hand protection. (good but not the greatest for the heavy bag)
  • Light weight for intense workouts. (you could get a better workout with a heavier glove)
  • Not preferable for sparring. (their light weight and open fingers can easily lead to the injury of sparring partners)

The Bag Glove

Unlike the MMA glove that allows you to use the dexterity of your fingers, the Bag Glove is actually a mitt that encases your fingers entirely. Thus you will need to remove them if you plan on grasping objects for circuit training. They are also much heavier and can be found anywhere for 8 to 16 ounces. That extra weight means that it will take just a little extra effort to throw each and every one of your punches, thus increasing the intensity of your bag workouts. This is a perfect all-around training glove that can be used for the double-ended bag, focus mitt training and it is tailor made to bang away on the heavy bag. This style of glove also has an added wrist support with a Velcro attachment. That means that you can put them on and remove them by yourself. I personally always like to recommend going with a heavier glove to really burn those shoulders during your workouts. The Bag Glove is an all-around training glove and you can use it for sparring but... in a perfect world, I would not recommend that. The problem is that the Velcro attachments can scratch you or your partner while you guys are jockeying for position in close quarters. The Bag Gloves are often made from synthetic leather with is very durable but it doesn’t glide as well on an opponent’s face during sparring. You definitely could use it for sparring but if you are looking to spar often then I would recommend the next glove on the list.

The Pros

  • Great overall training glove.
  • You can put them on by yourself.
  • Very durable.
  • Not very expensive.

The Cons

  • You still need to remove them for circuit training.
  • A Good glove but not the best for sparring.

The Sparring Glove

Finally, let’s take a look at what I would consider to be a Sparing Glove. They are also great all-around training gloves as they can be used for the double-ended bag, the focus mitts and the heavy bag but for me, they are primarily sparring gloves. They are the most expensive type of glove on this list and that is because they are made from the highest quality of leather. That higher quality leather is smoother which will lead to fewer scratches on the faces of your sparring partners.

Notice that this style of glove also has laces. The laces will provide the ultimate support for your wrist and hand which can come in handy if you land a punch on a super hard target like some one’s elbow. You will usually place some tape over the laces when you spar to guard against any abrasions from the laces.

The sparring gloves typically range from 10 to 20 ounces. Remember that during sparring, you will be hitting another individual. Using a heavier glove will not only proving you with a more intense sparring session but will it also soften the blows on your partners head and ribs as well. (I personally use an 18 oz. glove to spar as I’m a heavier guy and I am not looking to harm my partners)

A main drawback to the sparring glove is that you will need another person to help you put them on and take them off. Another thing to consider is that the sparring gloves are by far the most expensive. You definitely could use them to hit the heavy bag but you will be going through gloves fairly quickly. I would recommend saving these gloves for sparring only and buying a cheaper bag glove for all of your other training needs.

The Pros

  • The best for sparring.
  • The highest quality.
  • The best hand protection.
  • The best protection for your sparring partners.

The Cons

  • The most expensive.
  • You cannot put them on by yourself.

The bottom line

In a perfect world, if you were only going to choose one pair of gloves then I would choose the MMA glove if you plan on doing circuit training. I would choose the Bag Glove if your primary focus will be the heavy bag, the double-ended bag or the focus mitts. Finally, I would choose the laced gloves if I were planning on doing a lot of sparring

For all the style of gloves, there are different sizes. Your hand should fit snugly in the glove while wearing the hand wraps but not so tight that it can cut circulation or become uncomfortable. As far as the weight goes, heavier gloves will give you a better workout out, but they will also slow you down and limit the impact of your punches on an opponent. Thus to optimize your effectiveness, lighter people (150lbs and under) should use 12oz. gloves for the bag and 14oz. gloves sparring. Heavier people should use at least 14oz for bag and minimum of 16oz. for sparring.

If you still have any questions then perhaps a video demonstration may help.

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