When you begin sparring or doing heavy bag or pad work, a good pair of kickboxing gloves is very important -- 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. Sixteen ounce gloves are fairly standard, although you may want a lighter or heavier pair depending on your size and strength.
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Other differences are primarily dependent on your own preferences. Lace-up gloves tend to be more secure on your hand, for example, although modern Velcro gloves are now quite secure as well -- not to mention much easier to get on and off. Gel padding tends to last longer than foam padding, although that is not true 100 percent of the time, either. The quality of the manufacturing is more important than the materials used. However, you will get much more use from leather gloves as opposed to vinyl, so stick with leather if you plan to use your gloves for a lot of hard contact.
Rival gloves were designed for boxers, but they work equally well for kickboxers. Featuring a double-strap design, they are a high-tech and very comfortable modern glove designed to optimally protect your fist and wrist. They are one of the pricier options at about $120 per pair, as of early 2011.
Everlast offers a pair of gloves to fit any budget. Of course, the $20 pairs at Kmart will not last as long as their $150 professional grade gloves, but they will still hold up to a reasonable amount of abuse.
Windy's kickboxing gloves are a simple, durable design. They only cost about $80 per pair, and you will get a long period of use from them.
Twins gloves are manufactured in Thailand, the home of Muay Thai kickboxing. They may be the most reasonably priced gloves for their quality that you can find -- price per pair is only about $55 each.
Hayabusa gloves are similar to Rival gloves in that they are are a modern, quality style of kickboxing gloves. Their design is somewhat less high-tech than Rival's, which some people may prefer, and they are somewhat cheaper at only about $90 per pair.
Fairtex gloves are more old-fashioned and traditional in their design than are Rivals or Hayabusa's, but they are still very durable and high quality. They cost about $90 per pair.
Century gloves work well for a beginning pair. They only cost about $50 each, and you will get at least $50 worth of use out of them, even though they probably will not last as long as some of the more expensive options.
Combat Sports International
The kickboxing gloves manufactured by Combat Sports International are well made in terms of quality and durability. However, for $80 a pair, they are one of the pricier options for the value.
Some people will want TapOut gloves simply because of the company's aggressive branding. Other people will not want them for the same reason. Either way, while the gloves are decent in terms of quality, you will definitely be paying for the logo. At about $120 per pair, TapOut gloves are the priciest on this list for their quality.
American Stand Up
American Stand Up gloves are a good mid-level pair. They offer a good balance of quality and price for about $64 per pair.