Boxing is a high contact sport and can very often lead to injuries.
One of the easiest ways to protect yourself from injury is to choose a well-fitting boxing glove.
This will provide your wrist with support and use padding to protect your knuckles.
What are you going to use them for?
This may seem like a silly question - obviously, you’re going to use them to hit something or someone. It is important to know whether your training mainly focuses on sparring (boxing with a partner) or using a punchbag.
These activities are not the same and will require something different out of your boxing gloves. Hitting a bag or focus pad will put much less strain on your wrist and fists than punching another human.
There are 2 main types of gloves: training (also known as all-purpose) and bag. Training gloves tend to be best for beginners and are very multifunctional. They are well-suited to both sparring and punchbags.
Bag gloves are designed to be used with a punching bag rather than a sparring partner. They have slightly more padding than training gloves and tend to be better suited to heavy punching bags.
Sparring gloves have extra padding included and are designed to protect you and your partner during a sparring session. They are the same size as training gloves but are heavier due to the extra padding.
Professional boxers will have competition gloves too. These have less knuckle padding so that your opponent will be more impacted by your hits. There are amateur and professional gloves within this category and the size is determined based on your weight.
What size do you need?
Sizing of boxing gloves is done in ounces (oz). There are a lot of factors that impact the size you need, but your weight and height are the most important. Due to this, you should only use gloves that are the correct size for you and not swap with friends or training partners.
If you and your sparring partner are of similar sizes, it is okay to occasionally swap gloves. If you are training regularly, we would always advise getting your own pair of gloves where possible.
Boxing gloves that are too small will not have enough padding to protect your bones. Restricted movement could also cause the bones (metatarsals) and soft tissues in your hand to deform in shape. If this happens repeatedly, it could cause serious long term damage to your hand and may be the end of your boxing career.
If your gloves are too big then your hand will be able to move around as you punch. This increases your risk of injury massively and limits the control you have over your punches.
For sparring, you should generally opt for a 12-16 oz glove. This will have enough padding that you do not seriously injure your sparring partner. This is important as if you knock them out every time you train, they will no longer be a worthy opponent. The padding will also help to protect your fists from angular bones and joints that could hurt you.
Weight (kg) Weight (lbs) Weight (stones) Glove size
40 - 54 88 - 119 6.3 - 8.5 12 oz.
54 - 68 119 - 150 8.5 - 10.7 14 oz.
68 - 84 150 - 185 10.7 - 13.2 16 oz.
84 + 185 + 13.2 + 16 oz. +
Training using a punching bag or pads offers a more consistent and stable surface to punch. It is also a padded target and as such, you do not require as much padding in your gloves.
Weight (kg) Weight (lbs) Weight (stones) Glove size
40 - 54 88 - 119 6.3 - 8.5 8 oz.
54 - 68 119 - 150 8.5 - 10.7 10 oz.
68 - 84 150 - 185 10.7 - 13.2 12 oz.
84 + 185 + 13.2 + 14 oz.
You can also use a tape measure to measure your hand circumference for more accurate fittings. Take a fabric tape measure and wrap it around your dominant hand. It should be open while you are measuring, and the tape measure should rest just below your knuckles.
Hand circumference (inches) Glove size
5.5 - 6.5 8 oz.
6.5 - 7.5 10 oz.
7.5 - 8.5 12 oz.
8.5 - 9.5 14 oz.
9.5 + 16 oz. +
The main materials that boxing gloves are made from are leather and vinyl.
Vinyl gloves are often cheaper and are best suited to beginners for this reason. It is not as breathable as leather which means that your hands are likely to become sweatier.
Leather is much more durable and often more comfortable. Over time, with regular use, the leather will mold to the shape of your hand, providing you with a customized fit.
Laces or velcro?
There are 2 ways that boxing gloves will fasten - laces and velcro. Both have pros and cons, and ultimately you should base your decision on personal preference.
Laces can be done up more tightly and will provide your wrist with more support. You will need someone to tie them up for you, which can be very inconvenient. Lace-up gloves tend to be worn most commonly by professional boxers.
Velcro can be done up tightly, but there is more risk of the glove coming undone during your match. They can be done up by yourself and are the choice of most boxers.
Type of padding
There are 3 main types of padding used in boxing gloves. These are horsehair, foam, or a mixture of them both.
The foam padding is made from a mixture of latex and PVC foam for shock absorption. Horsehair gloves are more durable and are more kind to the environment, however, they offer less shock absorption than foam.
We hope that you now feel confident in how to go about choosing the correct boxing gloves.
It is vital to choose gloves that fit perfectly to reduce the risk of injuries being sustained during matches.
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