Padding & durability are the two primary differences between gloves meant for boxing and those for Muay Thai. Read this beginner’s guide to choosing appropriate Muay Thai gloves. . .
BEGINNER TIPS FOR CHOOSING YOUR 1ST GLOVES
The first thing you need to understand is that boxing gloves and Muay Thai gloves are different. Really different.
Most of the time, people refer to all gloves that have the fingers covered in a mitten style construction as “boxing gloves.” This is generally accepted because they appear identical and it’s just easier to say.
In reality, there are key subtle differences between the types of gloves that may make the difference in your training. Those differences are the things to consider when buying your first Muay Thai gloves.
Here’s some advice for the novice nak muay looking to pick up his or her first pair of gloves for the gym.
Be able to tell the differences between Muay Thai gloves and boxing gloves.
To do that, you can consider the demands of each of the sports. In boxing, the fights are far longer and the only weapons available are fists. That’s up to 12 rounds of primary impact on your knuckles alone.
Consequently, the padding on the knuckles of boxing gloves is normally thicker and placed in a more advantageous position to protect the hand.
Furthermore, the gloves that are better suited for boxers are typically made in two parts when it comes to padding: the thumb and the knuckles. Depending on the brand, the thumb’s curve can vary widely in its dimensions of curvature, and you can impact the feel and comfort of the glove when striking. I personally like the middle ground between too straight and too curved. Right now, I’m currently crushing on the black and gold Everlast Powerlock lace ups.
Is it a Muay Thai glove? Check the distribution of padding in the glove.
You’ll find that while there is sufficient padding on the knuckles, the best Muay Thai gloves have more padding throughout the entire glove. Because a Muay Thai fighter can throw elbows, knees, and kicks in addition to punches, the emphasis on punching is greatly diminished.
Despite that, there is still plenty of padding on the knuckles, but in addition to that, there is also padding added to the wrist and lower surface of the hand to aid in defense of kicks and elbows.
You’ll notice the difference between the Everlast Powerlocks I mentioned above and the Fairtex BVG1 (on the left). The Powerlock’s have that front-loaded padding structure designed solely around protecting the knuckles. The Fairtex, on the other hand, has a much more complete padding structure providing that support to the outside of the hand and wrist to help primarily with blocking kicks.
Another obligation to the sport that Muay Thai gloves fulfill is for the clinch. This adds a dimension of durability in your search for Muay Thai gloves. In Muay Thai, the clinch is a big part of the fight and requires you to open up your hand and use your palm to control arms and heads.
In boxing gloves, there is sometimes a lightly padded bar in the palm to squeeze on contact. This gets in the way for the clinch and makes it harder to open the hand and that’s why you won’t see that in most Muay Thai gloves. The absence of that bar also makes it easier to catch teep kicks and to sweep legs on forearm blocks. It’s important to note that there are tons of high level boxing gloves that don’t have that bar and work fine in both sports.
Gloves meant for combat are designed for different combat situations.
The two primary things you will want to consider are the padding and durability. You’ll want to make sure the padding is sufficiently spread around the entire glove adding support to your wrist and the outside of your hand so you can take kicks without injury.
For durability, you’ll want to look at the stitching. Double stitching is the industry standard for the most durable gloves out there but don’t write off a pair from a reputable brand that doesn’t seem to have it. If the padding is high quality and stitching seems sound, you should then check the Velcro strap and the wrist/hand intersection for support. If all those things check out, you’ve got a solid Muay Thai glove.
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- Joe Miller is a professional fighter, who has been training for around 15 years and coaching fighters for over half that time. He is currently living in Brooklyn, NY, together with his girlfriend Amy, where they both train and fight regularly at as high a level as they can. Joe is also a writer and fight gear reviewer at MMAGearAddict.com.