Keep Your Guard Up: All You Need to Know about Boxing Gloves

As one of the most popular martial arts worldwide, boxing is a sport that has existed since ancient times. There are records of it dating to Ancient Greece and it was introduced to the ancient Olympic Games in the late 7th century BC. Even in those days the fighters’ hands were protected with leather straps, although they were used to actually inflict more damage to the opponent. The style of gloves that is recognised today comes from 18th century England, where boxing regained popularity and recognition as a sport.

Today, many people take up the sport to get in shape, stay fit and improve their endurance and strength. And the more persistent and talented ones take it to the next level and become professional boxers. Whichever of these categories you fit in, having the right boxing gloves can significantly improve the quality of your training sessions and prevent injuries. If you are new to martial arts, it’s good to know some facts before you get your new pair.

types of boxing gloves

The first thing you should know is that boxing gloves need to be rigid enough to provide wrist and hand stability but also smooth enough to not injure your opponent.

Size and Fit

When you are looking for the right size, you need to consider your body weight, the size of your hand and the purpose of the boxing gloves. Experienced boxers will tell you that what size you need depends on what you are using them for, and that what actually matters is the weight. 

The weight is measured in ounces, which generally ranges from 10 to 18oz and the sizing is determined by the padding inside the glove. More padding gives better protection but less power in the hit. It is recommended that you use different weights for different uses, but we will cover that next. 

The glove should be tight around your hand, but not to the point to cause you pain or discomfort. Your fingertips should touch the top of the inside and it should lace up or Velcro tight around your wrist. To make sure they fit well, try them on with hand wraps and see if you can easily make a fist. Once inside, your hand should feel secure and protected without being compressed and pinched. 

Remember, it might take some time to get used to wearing them or to ‘break’ a new pair, so try them for a few training sessions before you bring the final verdict.


These are usually 12oz and are suitable for everyday use at the gym for standard pad and heavy bag training. However, since they are basically all-round gloves for boxing, they can be worn in partner drills as well. Designed to provide the optimal balance between protection and performance, they are great for practicing accuracy and allow you to work on delivering punches with speed and power.

boxer training

If you think you need more protection when working on building speed and power with a heavy bag, then consider moving up to heavier ones for extra hand padding.


In sparring, the aim of the gloves is to protect both you and your partner, so depending on your body weight, using heavier pairs from 14oz, 16oz or above are a better choice. They are similar to the training ones, but the padding is slightly softer with better optimised distribution, which makes the impacts less sharp. The point of sparring is practising, not knocking the other person out, so it’s only fair to have the right equipment and not risk seriously injuring either one of you.

Amateur vs. Professional

In both amateur and professional fights, the weight of the boxing gloves will be determined by the rules, however, they will be with different heaviness. Amateur boxing competitions tend to use specific styles, coloured in red or blue with the knuckle area highlighted. This makes it easier for the referees to score the fight.

Professional boxing gloves are specifically built for professional fights and often have much firmer padding, making them smaller and more compact. Depending on the person’s weight they will usually be between 8oz and 10oz. 

Because they are designed to deliver sharp, powerful blows to maximise offense, they might sacrifice hand protection. This makes them not suitable for everyday training and they should not be used much outside competition. Pro models are always lace-up, as they provide locked wrist and forearm fit, whereas the hoop-and-loop ones are usually used for training.

professional boxing gear

Maintenance Tips

All that punching and throwing blows will result in a lot of sweating and the gloves can quickly become smelly. If you want to increase their durability some proper care will help.

  • Air them out – open them up as much as possible and put them in a place where they can dry out properly.
  • Wipe them down – even though leather dries off quickly, it’s a good idea to wipe the gloves when training, at least from time to time. They come into contact with other gloves when you are sparring and that means sweat and bacteria. Keeping them clean and hygienic by giving them a quick wipe with a damp cloth is not too hard.
  • Use deodorising inserts occasionally in between uses to eliminate moisture and keep them fresh. These are small inserts specifically aimed at resolving the problem. Many brands sell their own deodorisers nowadays, so you don’t have to stick newspapers or old socks with silica gels.
  • Washing the gloves with mild detergents is also an option, although in this case you should make sure the top layer doesn’t start to peel off and that you dry the inside thoroughly before wearing them again.

Ready to throw some punches? Make sure you keep your guard up, and don’t forget the footwork.