When you begin sparring or doing heavy bag or pad work, a good pair of kickboxing gloves is crucial — both for your protection and the protection of your training partners.
If possible, try a variety of kickboxing gloves for a round or so before you make your final purchase. Friends at your gym should have a selection of different brands and pairs that you can try.
Rival gloves were designed for boxers, but they work equally well for kickboxers. They are great for a heavy bag workout or sparring match. Made of durable synthetic leather with a preformed pro fit, it's a high-tech and very comfortable modern glove designed to optimally protect your fist and wrist. The gloves retail for $60 as of publication.
2. Everlast MMA
Everlast offers a pair of gloves to fit any budget, but you don't have to spend a lot to get a decent glove. The Everlast MMA kickboxing glove is minimal, without as much protection as a traditional glove. That will be a plus for some, and a drawback for others.
The glove features a full wrist strap for wrist support and a customizable fit. It also sports a full mesh palm for ultimate breathability — all for under $30 at the time of publication.
Windy is one of the original muay Thai sports equipment companies based in Thailand. The Thai kickboxing gloves are handmade in Thailand and feature an all-leather construction. Dense multilayered foam padding offers the ultimate protection. You can find them online for about $100.
4. Twins Special
Twins gloves are manufactured in Thailand, the home of muay Thai kickboxing. With an all-leather construction, they are some of the most durable gloves you can buy. The velcro closure makes it easy to get them on and off, which is particularly useful in training and sparring. They range in price from $75 to over $100 depending on size.
5. Hayabusa T3
Hayabusa T3 gloves are a great fit for athletes of all levels. Another minimal style, they are ideal for combat, sparring or striking training and are designed to minimize hand fatigue. Made of 100 percent full-grain leather, they feature a secure Dual-X closure system for hand and wrist stabilization. Pick up a pair for $90.
Fairtex is another Thailand-based manufacturer deeply rooted in muay Thai boxing. Winning the Best MMA Gloves award at the World MMA Awards in 2008, these gloves are fit for the pro and recreational kickboxer alike. Their all-purpose boxing design makes them perfect for sparring to bag training and everything in between. Constructed of premium leather with a tight fit and velcro straps, they list online for between $65 and $139 depending on size and color.
7. Century C-Gear
Century is a worldwide leader in martial arts equipment that started in 1976 as just a guy making gear in his garage. The C-Gear gloves were designed for the pro, but carry a price tag any amateur can afford. For $40, you'll get a solid glove with a built-in foam hand bar designed to reduce hand fatigue and build hand strength. The hook-and-loop wrist closure offers a secure and stable fit.
8. Combat Sports International Max Strike
For your striking and sparring needs, look no further than Combat Sports International's Max Strike MMA glove. With 2 inches of molded foam padding, it's one of the safest training gloves available.
A comfortable, ergonomic fit and hinged knuckle allow for full range of motion, while a wrap-around wrist strap provides support and stability where it counts. They retail on the manufacturer's website for $79.99.
9. Venum Challenger 2.0
Venum gloves look as cool as they sound. For some people, the look and the name will be a big selling point, but these are also high-performing gloves worth the $50 price tag. Made of high-quality PU leather, they feature triple-density foam for better shock protection, a fully attached thumb and a large velcro wrist strap with elastic for a refined fit.
10. American Stand Up
According the the brand's website, the team at American Stand Up is "absolutely obsessed with quality." That's good news if you're considering purchasing their gloves. The official American Stand Up training gloves were designed to provide the ultimate in punching power and hand protection.
With an already broken-in feel, they'll be comfortable from day one. Prices weren't listed on the American Stand Up website as of publication, so you'll need to contact the company for current pricing.