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Boxing gloves & Muay Thai gloves: What’s the difference

We are going to explore the differences between the gloves used in Boxing vs Muay Thai. There are some subtle...

We are going to explore the differences between the gloves used in Boxing vs Muay Thai. There are some subtle differences between the two, and it is important to understand them, although it is not the end of the world if you use the wrong glove in either sport if you are just training or sparring. 

The gloves may be similar, however the two sports are a world apart. Boxing utilizes only the fists, whereas Muay Thai, which is known as the ‘science of eight limbs,’ includes the use of elbows, kicks and knees. 


Muay Thai Combat:

Muay thai originated as a form of unarmed combat used during warfare, whereas boxing has always been a competitive sport.

History Behind the Boxing & Muay Thai Gloves:

Boxing gloves were first introduced as a mandatory requirement in 1867, under Queensbury rules, and later adapted in muay thai in the 1090s, before which time the muay thai fighters used hemp rope. 


fighters sparring in muay thai gloves

Here are Muay Thai Gear fighters use to get over their competition.


Differences between Muay Thai Gloves and Boxing Gloves:

The main reason that there needs to be some differences between the gloves of their respective sports is due to the fact that muay thai has a lot more variety, therefore the gloves need to have a greater level of utility in order to cope with it. 

  1. Function: A boxing gloves only job is to punch and parry opposition punches, whereas a muay thai glove has to also be ready for clinching, blocking kicks, elbows and knees etc. The muay thai glove therefore has a lot more flexibility and free movement. Typical boxing gloves are usually more rounded at the fingers, in order to help make a perfect fist. 
  2. Material: In terms of the material used for both there is actually no difference, with either cowhide or synthetic leather being used in manufacturing. Cheaper, low quality gloves are made from vinyl. Boxing gloves often feature a breathable mesh around the palm area for ventilation. The thumb area is also one that has a few differences between the two types of gloves. With boxing gloves, the thumb is usually kept as close to the fist as possible, protected behind the knuckle padding of the glove. 
  3. Uniqueness of Shape: In boxing you want to keep the thumb out of the way to avoid injury as much as possible, as it is a vulnerable part of the hand.  The thumb is normally fully attached to the body of the glove. With muay thai gloves, the thumb has a little more room to maneuver, this helps with catching and clinching, both of which are an integral part of the muay thai.
  4. Padding: Boxing gloves do not tend to have a lot of padding on the side, as this part of the hand is not in much danger in boxing, and it is safe from major impact. Boxing gloves also don’t have a lot of padding on the palm of the hand area for similar reasons. Muay thai gloves similarly do not tend to have padding on the palm, but will feature a good amount of impact reducing padding down the side of each hand.  Muay thai fighters need to block a lot of kicks, knees and elbows, and especially with kicks the side of the hand is a vulnerable area so protection is important. The bones in the side of the hand are especially susceptible to injury.
  5. Size of the Gloves: Another area of difference between the two styles of gloves is the cuff. With boxing gloves the cuff is longer, with its main purpose being to steady the wrist, and prevent too much bending of the wrist when throwing punches. Over extending the wrist can lead to injury of a sprain. Boxing gloves try to fit the wrist as closely as possible. The wrists don’t take much punishment in boxing, unlike in muay thai, where again due to the need to block kicks, elbows and knees, so the cuff in muay thai gloves is thicker, with a shorter fit. With a muay thai glove, the cuff feels a lot more protective, but you don’t get the same form fitted feel, but it is a small price to pay for the extra practicality.
  6. Sizes and Price: In terms of the different sizes, boxing gloves most commonly come in sizes of 10oz, 12oz, 14oz and 16 oz. There are also 18oz and 20oz gloves for sparring. With regards to Muay thai gloves, in Thailand most Muay thai bouts are fought with 8zo gloves, with heavier fighters sometimes using 10oz gloves. 12 and 14oz gloves are used for sparring and 18oz gloves for very heavy sparring sessions.
  7. Pricing: Prices range from $20 to $500 for boxing gloves depending on quality, with the average price about $100. And for Muay thai gloves they will set you back on average between $70 and $100. is a great place to get high quality gloves for a very reasonable price


Types of Gloves:

In both boxing and Muay Thai, there are four different types of gloves. 

  • Training gloves, 
  • Bag gloves, 
  • Sparring gloves
  • Competition gloves. 

Training Gloves:

Training gloves are made for convenience, with a velcro strap for ease of removal. 

The training glove is an all round glove that can be used for pad work, heavy bag, partner drills etc. Bag gloves are smaller and thinner, which is good for conditioning and strengthening the hands while doing bag work, but it does, however, increase the chance of injury, so not all fighters use these gloves. 

Sparring Gloves:

Sparring gloves are always bigger, usually 16oz. The main idea is to offer maximum protection to both sparring partners while allowing for power shots to be thrown. These gloves have more padding and it is also softer, cushioning the blows more effectively. 

The knuckle padding is especially cushioned. Competition gloves are designed to do maximum damage to the opponent, whilst protecting the fighters hands as much as possible. The padding is stiffer and the gloves are usually lace up gloves. 

Muay thai specific gloves can tend to be harder to find and more expensive to buy and if you are just going to be striking then a normal boxing glove will work just fine. 

Competition Gloves

Mixed martial arts MMA fighters often train their striking with boxing gloves. It is important to select a good glove manufacturer for boxing or muay thai gloves, as you do not want to be purchasing poor quality gloves that may cause you injury as well as not potentially falling apart after a few pad sessions. 

XMartial is an industry leader when it comes to gloves, with high quality pairs available for affordable prices. 



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