Yo, Adrian: The 8 Best Boxing Gloves

To the naked eye, boxing gloves all look alike. Some have pretty colors or interesting designs, but it’s tough to tell from afar what sets these mitts apart. That is, until you have to swing them around for twelve rounds. Then you’ll know the difference between a quality set of gloves and ones that leave your hands in bruised shambles.

Even if you’ve never laced up a pair of gloves, starting out with the right equipment is essential. Bad gloves will cause injuries that could put you out of the ring for life. They won’t be comfortable over time and will often affect your form, making you a worse boxer from the time the first bell rings. You want gloves that are constructed well so they’ll last, suit your fighting style, support your wrist, prevent damage to your digits, and feel comfortable. While we can’t tell you what is going to feel best when you’re out there throwing haymakers, we can tell you what the 8 best boxing gloves are.

Everlast Pro Style 0

Everlast Pro Style

Pro: Multiple closing options available
Con: Break down quickly

Back to Basics: Everlast was ubiquitous for making boxing gloves, headgear, bags, and anything else related to the sport. Their quality has degraded, but they still offer a decent way for the broke amateur and the weekend warrior a way to get a glove that will prevent injury while also not breaking the bank. Dual interior layers of padding help promote proper form when jabbing or hooking which helps the newbie avoid shattering a bone or jamming a finger. These err on the “pillow” side of the spectrum, but you can also head for their true pro line if you intend on using them outside of the gym. A polyurethane and polyester build makes them passable, but they’re going to fall apart under strenuous duress. [Purchase: $23]

Hayabusa Tokushu

Hayabusa Tokushu

Pro: Ergonomic wrist splint system
Con: Tight fit

MMA Darling: The Hayabusa Tokushu brand has found a lot of fans in the mixed martial-arts world, and with good reason. On the outside they have a variety of styles that all look incredible so that other gym rats won’t mock you. Inside they have the Ecta activated carbonized bamboo lining that distributes heat evenly to keep your hands cool during a rough bout, so you don’t need to slather them in deodorant. For padding you get their Delta EG inner core technology that includes force transducer construction. The padding actually transfers force to allow you to recover from each punch more quickly. Couple that with their light weight and you’ll get blurringly fast hand speed. [Purchase: $74]

Venum Elite

Venum Elite

Pro: Mesh wrist guard regulates heat
Con: Heavy use will cause faster compacting and breakdown

Completely Casual: You won’t see these on the hands of a pro in the ring. They are a pumped up set of beginner’s gloves that are great for enthusiasts but not nearly enough for someone serious about taking Apollo Creed down a peg. That being said, they’re still a very good set of jumped up beginner’s gloves. An attached thumb and severely reinforced palm add to both the protection and comfort of these gloves. With hand wraps, you can easily get a pain-free workout using the Elite that will never leave your fingers looking like you belong to a club you can’t talk about. The striking portion are made with SkinTex imitation leather that reduces friction for less troubles sparring or beating up the bag who was looking at your lady. [Purchase: $75+]

Fairtex Muay Thai

Fairtex Muay Thai

Pro: Limited bulk for better hand speed
Con: Reduced wrist support

Better Balance: Cross trainers who pump their striking game with a little Muay Thai will be right at home with these Fairfax beauties. The padding has one of the most balanced distributions around for better movement to the fore, back, and helps give you enhanced punch recovery. The wraparound padding is better suited to a defensive mode of fighting since it absorbs more blows to the side than just protecting the knuckles for striking. This is great for branching out, but for strictly western boxing you might find the balance degrades the emphasis on frontal force and skimps a bit on wrist reinforcement in favor of flexibility. [Purchase: $67]

Title Gel Bag Gloves

Title Gel Bag Gloves

Pro: High impact protection
Con: Slower hand speed

Bag Man: Title makes some good mid-range gear and we love these gloves for anyone who prefers getting his frustration out on the heavy or solid bag. When hitting a bag you’re connecting a lot of kinetic energy with a lot of potential energy right at your knuckles. If you aren’t guarded where the blow falls, it’s going to come back to haunt you. The Gel gloves are padded across the knuckles in a single layer to spread the impact over a larger area so it isn’t concentrated and won’t send as heavy a jolt into your wrist. When it comes to heavy protection for guys who hit like a hammer, the Gel clears the bar with room to spare. Full-grain leather also means they can go the distance. [Purchase: $94+]

Rival High Performance

Rival High Performance

Pro: Good balance of padding and weight
Con: Long cuff

Spar-tan: Rival is a relatively new name in the world of boxing gloves, but it’s clear they came for the belt. You can get them in a nice hook-and-loop design that tops velcro, but the double-strap construction turned us off. Instead, we suggest the lacing variety for more wrist support and a tighter fit. These make such a fine sparring weapon because they have plenty of protection for you and your partner without feeling clumsy or uncomfortable. They’ll still ring his bell and knock the mustache wax right off him, but that will teach him not to get hit. The full-grain leather outside is tough to scruff, scratch, or break, though it can be a little rough on your partner’s face. These look like killers and protect like angry mama bears. [Purchase: $100]

Cleto Reyes Training Gloves

Cleto Reyes Training Gloves

Pro: Long-lasting
Con: Minimal front padding

Flat Front: You’re either going to instantly love Cleto Reyes gloves or hate them forever thanks to their Mexican-style padding distribution. You don’t have a lot up front even at the higher weights, so expect to get much more feel for your punches but also less padding. Instead your thumb and finger support is increased so you can feel the pop in each impact while keeping your digits rigid to prevent sprains and breaks. Leather on the exterior and sweat-resistant nylon on the interior means these can be with you for ages but will also take a solid 6 months to pound the stiff out. [Purchase: $127]

Winning Boxing Gloves

Winning Boxing Gloves

Pro: Unbeatable padding
Con: Expensive

Simply the Best: Go ahead and call us biased, we’ll happily strap these on and meet you in the square circle to discuss whether or not these deserve the King of the Ring award. Winning’s pillow-like gloves offer superior protection for your hands when compared with anything else. Combined with a wrist wrap, the lace-up bottom lets you go all day without fatigue or damage. True, for actually stepping into the ring you’ll probably want something that doesn’t reduce your power quite so much, but for hard-core training these can’t be beat. They’ll last forever thanks to the 100% cow leather and “secret formula” Winning puts into the padding that doesn’t flatten or shift after years of abuse. [Purchase: $399]

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