The 10 Best Sparring Gloves
This wiki has been updated 17 times since it was first published in November of 2018. The goal behind sparring is to improve your skills without causing injury to anyone gracious enough to step into the ring with you. That's why there are gloves specifically designed for this purpose. They feature thicker padding than those used for hitting bags and are often a little heavier to help you build muscle and increase your endurance, so you perform better when competition time comes. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
August 19, 2020:
It was a fairly painless round of updates, with all of our previous selections still proving to be excellent, noteworthy picks for the category. Apart from some shuffling – aimed at bringing premium picks like the Fairtex Muay Thai-Style BGV1, Hayabusa T3 Kanpeki and Twins Special Signature closer to the top of our list – our only substantive change to our rankings this time around was removing the Ringside Apex Flash, recognizing that we were already including a superior offering from the company in the Ringside Gel Shock, and replacing them with the Everlast Elite Pro Style — a budget-friendly pair that we felt was worth including for the benefit of beginner boxers and martial artists.
A few things to think about for this category:
Size: You’ll notice right away that many options in this category are offered in many sizes. 12-, 14- and 16-ounce sizes are all common, but some models – including the Twins Special Signature, which is offered in six sizes – have smaller and larger options available, as well. Some companies do offer small/medium/large sizing, corresponding to their user's hand size, but gloves sorted by weight are generally considered to be one-size-fits-all options, meaning that their weight is directly proportional to the amount of padding they offer.
While there’s something to be said for bigger boxers using bigger gloves and smaller fighters using smaller gloves, we generally recommend 16-ounce gloves and up for sparring, as they’ll offer significantly more padding than 12- or 14-ounce options. Some fighters also prefer training in heavier gloves, as it makes them feel more dexterous when they wear lighter gloves inside the ring.
Design: While most of our picks for this category are traditional boxing gloves – that cover your whole hand like an industrious mitt and are suitable for disciplines like boxing, kickboxing and Muay Thai – we have included a couple open-finger options – namely the Combat Sports Safety and RDX Grappling – which are suitable for MMA training, as they allow for intermittent groundwork between your striking. If you’re not sure what type or size of gloves you need, talk to your trainer/teacher/kru/master before you buy, to make sure that you select a pair that’s well suited to your particular style of training.
Style: Sure, sparring might be primarily about improving your conditioning and strengthening your technique, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t look good while you’re doing it! The Combat Sports Safety and Ringside Gel Shock are offered in three colors, but other options have much more variety to pick from. While the Cleto Reyes Extra are offeredin 14 colors, the Fairtex Muay Thai-Style BGV1 are offered in 29 colors, and the Winning MS600 are offered in 30 colors.
Generally speaking, I’ll personally defend sparring as the best thing for anybody’s training, but nonstop sparring can be hard on the body, and it isn’t always easy to come across sparring partners. So, with that in mind, you might be interested in checking out some of our other martial-arts-related rankings, including categories like punching bags, speed bags, double-end bags and even Wing Chun dummies.
November 23, 2018:
Determining the best sparring gloves isn't easy considering the plethora of low-quality options and knockoffs available on the market. To do so, we spent an inordinate amount of time pouring over user and expert reviews. After doing so, we are confident we found the best options you can get. We included models suited to boxing, muay thai, and MMA, all of which are a good balance of price and performance.