Are you entertaining thoughts to be a professional MMA fighter? Well if you are, you’ll know how important the gloves are because if you have the best MMA gloves you’ll be able to make the most of your training.
The popularity of the MMA has made these gloves more accessible, but that doesn’t mean you can or should buy just any that you see. And you cannot substitute boxing gloves or sparring gloves if you want the best results. Having tried a good number of MMA gloves I know some are excellent and others are best avoided.
Maya hide leather
Premium synthetic leather
Performance Engineered Leather
Things To Consider
We’ll take a look at the major factors a bit later on, but for right now I can say the following. No matter what MMA gloves you choose, make sure that it is made for the sport. Second, the gloves should offer sufficient protection for your wrist, fingers and hand.
The gloves have to be comfortable but at the same time the material has to be durable and flexible. Look for gloves that are solidly built so you don’t get injured during training.
5 Best MMA Gloves
All right let’s go to the reviews of these five gloves and what sets them apart.
1. RDX MMA Gloves
The RDX MMA gloves are versatile and comfortable, plus they cover your hands well. They’re a snug fit and well suited for hand strikes, MMA and heavy bags. Padding is good and doesn’t go too far. They’re also durable and can withstand long term use.
The RDX are made of Maya hide so it lasts longer than the average gloves. The gloves also allow moisture to get out so it’s more comfortable even when worn for long stretches. A thumb sheath is included that promotes flexibility.
The synthetic microfabric is designed for moisture wicking and the gloves do the job. The material draws moisture off your skin so there’s room for your hands to breathe. The loop closure and hook have been enhanced, giving a more comfortable fit. The gloves also have extra wrist support.
Padding is one of the most important features of MMA gloves and this one does not disappoint. Its Tri – Slab PC3 polymax padding contours over your knuckles. What this means is your knuckles get protection from injury.
These MMA gloves are versatile but more than anything they’re suited for martial arts. The material and makeup are shock absorbent and well suited for fighting, sparring and training. The padding is just the right thickness and heaviness that MMA athletes need.
The grip is superb and allows you to punch better than most. These aren’t the thickest gloves and that’s a good thing in this case. The combination of comfort, power and versatility are excellent.
- Available in four colors
- D.Cut palm-side styling allows for moisture to break free
- Offers superior grip
- Synthetic microfabric promotes moisture wicking
- Quick-EZ hook and loop closure allows for a snug fit
- Polymax contoured Tri-Slab PC3 padding offers protection
- Maya Hide synthetic construction makes the gloves extra durable
2. RDX MMA Gloves Grappling Martial Arts
Available in black and gold/black, the RDX MMA gloves are designed specifically for MMA training and sparring. The gloves have infused shock dispersion sheet which serves as protection for shock impact. With this all the impact is spread out evenly across the surface.
The SpongeX padding serves as additional resistance when you encounter additional force and power. This feature is complemented by Max Shock Equilibrium Foam which acts as a shock absorber. What this does is spread out the force of impact across the gloves. When you put on these grappling gloves you’re protected from shock.
The triple layer and extra thick padding makes the gloves more comfortable to hold. While many use these for sparring, they’re just as efficient for MMA fighting. The gloves are more comfortable than the typical ones used at MMA so they don’t get cut.
These gloves do a good job of protecting your hand so it eliminates the need to use of hand wraps. You can use hand wraps and they fit nicely too. All gloves need time to break in but these are among the quickest in that department.
The support is good and your hands feel comfortable. As you might expect from high quality MMA gloves these will last a long time. They’re made of genuine leather so the gloves not only feel good in your hands but durable too.
- Nabla-Palm architecture provides extra grappling
- The thumb and finger apertures improves management of moisture
- Gloves have microfabric material that promotes moisture wicking
- The gloves’ design enhances comfort and gives your hands breathing room
- The RDX gloves fit the hands while providing wrist support
- The foam is extra thick and provides more knuckle padding
- The gloves are made of cowhide leather
3. Cheerwing Boxing Gloves
These MMA gloves from Cheerwing are built of multi layer foam which are thicker than the average. When you wear these gloves they provide stronger shock absorption and serves as protection for your hands. The padding is excellent and the combination of mesh, sponge and PU leather provides comfort and power.
These gloves are appropriate for MMA, UFC, working out, heavy bags and sparring. The gloves’ palm is made of high end green screen cloth. Even when worn over long periods the gloves are breathable, perspires quickly and comfortable to wear.
The gloves curve and hand back area is thoroughly attached for improved wrist flexibility. The fact that the gloves are made of high quality EVA sponge and PU leather provide greater shock absorption. The gloves are durable and shields your hand from shock impact.
These MMA gloves also have thumb protection to further safeguard your hands. At the same time you get to hit at maximum striking capacity whether at training or fighting. There are also two Velcro layers for extra wrist protection. The gloves also provide protection for your wrists even with intense training.
The gloves come in different sizes so it won’t be difficult to find a pair that fits. The gloves break in quickly and the padding is sufficiently thick for intense training. These gloves are also notable for the built in Velcro strap that provides the support your wrist needs.
- Available in 5 colors
- Gloves contour to the shape of your fist for extra comfort
- The gloves’ thumb protection allows for maximum striking power
- Shape and built of gloves are suitable for MMA fighting and training
- The wrist strap has been increased for a better fit
- Fortified wrist support for intense use
- Made from heavy duty material
4. Harbinger Men's WristWrap Bag Glove
The Harbinger gloves are all around and ideal for mixed martial arts, boxing and kickboxing. These gloves make use of Harbinger’s proprietary WristWrap technology which applies a bit of wrist pressure. This pressure keeps your wrist stabilized and makes the gloves more comfortable.
The gloves loosen the more you wear them so after a couple of weeks it feels like you’ve been wearing them for a long time. They’re light and comfortable but don’t compromise your hitting power.
The foam is just the right level of lightness and durability. Even if you throw a hard punch the material absorbs the shock and spreads the effect uniformly. So even if you’re doing a pretty intense workout your hands will still be fully protected.
Comfort aside the gloves also allow your hands to move freely. You don’t have to compromise hand motion and there’s room for your hands to breathe. With its NoSweat lining moisture wicking is assured no matter how hard you work out. The material also has a leathery feel to it that makes them more comfortable.
The gloves are easy to put on and delivers as far as comfort, fit and feel are concerned. These gloves are also durable and can take pretty much whatever you throw at it. The padding and the wrist support are great so you can focus on your workouts. The wrist support in particular is good and fits in nicely.
- Gloves break in easily and stretch when used continuously
- Foam is ultra light and protects your hands
- Open finger design for greater comfort and flexibility
- Hinged thumb allows for greater hand movement
- Shock absorbing properties
- Moisture wicking available with its NoSweat lining
- WristWrap technology keeps wrists stabilized
5. Everlast Pro Style MMA Grappling Gloves
The Everlast Pro Style uses the patented EvenDri technology for superior moisture management, essential when working out. The gloves are also made of durable material and should last a long time.
The gloves also use a diverse range of technologies such as Closed Cell foam for superior hand technology. Protection for hands are a necessity if you’re into MMA and these gloves provide that.
With EverFresh antimicrobial treatment, these gloves won’t generate any unpleasant smells even with heavy use. This also cuts down on the amount of maintenance needed for these gloves. Breaking in is easy and the hook and loop makes adjustment intuitive.
The fingerless style only shows that these gloves are perfect for mixed martial arts. Flexibility is good and the padding is up there with the best of them. The padding and material feels just right for grappling and grips as well as kickboxing.
Wrist support is good and it provides finger protection as well. These are low maintenance gloves so they don’t need extensive cleaning. Even when it’s necessary you don’t have to wait long for it to dry.
These gloves are also durable and can withstand heavy hits and strikes. Shock impact protection is excellent and it delivers the kind of performance ordinary MMA gloves can’t match. Protection for strikes and punches are good but it really excels at grappling.
- EverDri Technology absorbs moisture efficiently so your hands remain dry
- Made from durable materials for a longer lifespan
- The wrist wrap strap offers full support and leads to a better fit
- Upgraded design is more ergonomic for greater flexibility
- Made from quality faux leather for improved functionality
- Uses closed cell foam technology to protect your hands
- Loop and hook are adjustable
Key Factors in Choosing Your MMA Gloves
If you’re serious about MMA gloves, don’t settle for anything less than the highest quality pair you can find. The most expensive isn’t the most important. What matters more is if the gloves meet the needs you need for training.
- Sparring – in bag and MMA workouts the emphasis is on strike and punch techniques and is reflected in the gloves. These gloves weigh about 7 ounces with extra padding on the front and top to protect your hands. Sparring gloves come with a grip bar that allows your hand to form a tight fist. They’re great for punches and strikes but not so much for grappling.
- Grappling/Training Bag/Hybrid – the segmented fingers on these gloves makes them suitable for grappling, training and other workouts. The gloves’ padding coverage is up to your second knuckle, offering a nice mixture of protection and power.
- Competition – MMA fighting gloves have little padding. On average they weigh 4 ounces and the fingers are separate so you can move them freely and grapple your opponent. You have to use inner gloves or wraps due to the lack of padding.
Let’s take a closer at each of these types.
MMA Grappling Gloves
These are made specifically for MMA style grappling. The goal is to provide a compromise between grappling and thumb mobility and also offer protection. These also provide a nice balance between the padding and power.
The biggest difference between MMA grappling gloves and other types of MMA gloves is there is greater finger mobility so you’ll have an easier time grappling.
MMA grappling gloves are the ideal choice if your focus is on your ground work than standing up. Bear in mind that grappling gloves will not be the ones you’ll use during competition, so don’t get too comfortable with them.
As the name suggests these gloves are for sparring. Their most noticeable feature is they have thicker padding, and this explains why they’re 7 ounces compared to the regular 4 ounces for other gloves.
The extra padding is used too soften the blows when you spar with someone. To avoid injury without compromising your ability to hit, get the highest quality sparring gloves as possible. There is more to these than just the extra padding as you also need to consider the other features and the materials used to make it.
MMA Fighting Gloves
These are the gloves you’ll use when in competition. These weigh 4 ounces and designed to protect your hand from injury. However these gloves are meant to protect the face of your opponent. In fact it’s safe to say the purpose of these gloves is to maximize your hitting power.
Because the pads are thin they’re dangerous to use against a sparring partner. If you do go for one of these you’ve got to hold back. When it comes to power and range these competition gloves are the only choice. In fact the MMA organization you’re competing in will tell you what type of gloves you can wear.
Muay Thai / Regular Boxing Gloves
These are your standard boxing gloves and no different from those that boxers use. If you don’t have MMA sparring gloves you’ll find these gloves more suitable. Muay Thai gloves and boxing gloves are often used interchangeably, but the fact is they have differences.
It is best if you choose get MMA sparring gloves, but if you have to go with regular boxing gloves or Muay Thai, I suggest you try Muay Thai gloves as they offer greater flexibility, essential if you want to cinch.
- Wrist Strap – Look for gloves that have a Velcro strap so they don’t slip off your wrist.
- Padding – most MMA gloves use foam though the number of layers vary. Some use regular foam while those sparring are layered. The rule with padding is the higher the foam quality the longer the gloves will hold up. High quality foam is essential for competition and sparring where punches matter.
- Leather – 100% leather is the highest quality option, though they’re also the most costly. The advantage is leather is durable, natural and for long term use. Properly taken care of, leather gloves will last for years.
- Synthetic leather – faux leather has improved greatly and is suitable for MMA related activities. It doesn’t always feel like real leather but they also hold up to heavy use.
MMA Glove Size and Weight Guide
The finest MMA gloves are useless if they’re not fit. Don’t confuse a tight fit with breaking in. Once you’ve broken the gloves in they’ll fit in nicely, but ill fitting gloves won’t feel right no matter what. Bottom line – you’ve got to get the size right.
MMA glove size charts will have you measure your wrist size and the circumference of four of your fingers. The nice thing about MMA gloves is the sizes are mostly standardized even among different brands. The sizes in general are as follows:
- X-Large: 9”-10”
- Large: 8” – 9”
- Medium: 7 ½” – 8”
- Small: 6 ½” -7 ½”
Some glove manufacturers have their own size chart, and it’’s a good idea to use those if you’re not sure. These measurements also assume you’ll not be using hand wraps. If you do wear them you’ve got to take that into consideration. For thick hand wraps, go one bigger than your regular size.
When it comes to size you need to take in account a number of other factors. First, think of the kind of MMA activity you’ll be doing. Second, the sizing conventions and guides are just that, guidelines. If you feel more comfortable with a certain size, go for it. The point is you need to goo with the size that you are happy with and not the one that you’re supposed to wear.
When choosing gloves, keep in mind that these gloves will be a bit tight when you first put them on. Give it some time to loosen up.
MMA gloves have different weights as it is dependent on their function. Competition gloves weigh less than bag gloves because they have less padding. The heavier the padding the more protection for your hands and the less powerful. Sparring gloves have thick padding so to avoid injuries.
Some MMA gloves are of the hybrid version as they offer a compromise between the thin padding on competition gloves and the thick padded bag gloves. The ones to use depends entirely on what you need.
Due to this there is more variance when it comes to glove weight. In general however you can expect them to be along these lines.
- Bag Gloves: 10, 12, 14 and 16 oz
- MMA Sparring: 7-10 oz
- Boxing Sparring: 14-16 oz
- Hybrid: 7-10 oz
- Competition: 4 oz
While there are a lot of choices, 4 ounces is the one you’ll use for a professional MMA fight. For sparring and hybrid MMA activities you’ll find some go with 7 ounces.
How Do MMA Gloves Differ From Other Gloves?
MMA gloves are smaller than boxing or Muay Thai gloves, and they’re also lighter and have less padding. Because they’re so light there is less protection for your hand, and it also means your strikes carry more power and strength.
MMA gloves are open so your hand and fingers can move freely. Mobility and flexibility are musts when it comes to MMA so the gloves have been designed for optimum performance.
Why it is Necessary to Buy MMA Gloves?
One of the questions that you’re probably asking is, is it even necessary to buy MMA gloves? Can’t you just use any type of glove and learn the sport that way?The answer is no. You cannot use other types of gloves for MMA. Doing that makes you vulnerable to injury and you won’t learn anything at all. By investing in quality MMA gloves you’ll be able to do the following.
The gloves’ weight and design allows you to hit with greater precision. Greater accuracy leads to more powerful strikes.
Freedom of Movement
Compared to boxing gloves, MMA gloves allow for greater dexterity, flexibility and freedom of movement. These gloves also offer more flexibility necessary to strike with power and accuracy.
Furthermore these gloves also make it easy to adapt and switch from grappling to striking. With these gloves you’ll be able to do all of these without hurting your hands or your injuring your sparring partner.
The finger loops or fingerless design frees your hand for grappling. The padding also varies so you can pick and choose the one that is most suited for what you want to do.
These gloves have specially designed wrist support for intense training. Combined with the padding for knuckle protection and you’ve got the right combination. Velcro is commonly used, but there are other types of support that may be used. Some manufacturers use proprietary materials.
What MMA Gloves are Not Meant For?
MMA gloves are designed for very specific functions like those mentioned in this guide. They are not meant for the following.
- Heavy bag work - although some people use the gloves for heavy bag work, most experts don’t recommend it. Even if you wear those with extra padding it’s still not a good idea.
- MMA gloves cannot provide the kind of wrist and hand protection needed for punching heavy material.
- Heavy sparring - the thin padding on MMA gloves makes them unsuited for heavy sparring. Some wouldn’t even use these gloves for light sparring.
Where to Buy These Products?
MMA gloves are available in sporting goods stores and online. The popularity of MMA and the UFC means there are now stores that specialize in these products. While they’re widely available there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
Buy from Reputable Companies
Buy only from those that have a solid reputation such as those in these reviews. It’s hard to stress this point enough since poorly made gloves could cause an injury. When it comes to quality, the brand name and reputation are of paramount importance.
Read the Fine Print
No matter where you buy, always read the fine print. Know the cost including shipping, the return policy, warranty and so on. A lot of potential problems can be avoided if you read the fine print and what you’re getting into.
The process of buying MMA gloves is simple enough, but you need to take certain steps to ensure the gloves are the ones you ordered.The simplest method is to read the reviews I’ve posted here and use that as a guide. Make a list of features you’re looking for like weight, padding thickness, material and so on. Be as specific as possible and use this as reference to get the gloves you’re looking for.
A few more reminders -
- There are a lot of online vendors, but between a dubious, unknown site and a well established one, go with the latter. You may pay a bit more, but it’s worth it as you’re assured of the quality.
- Try the gloves right away to find out if they fit, if there is damage etc. Do this as early as possible so you can have it replaced while still under warranty.
Finally, avoid MMA gloves that are suspiciously cheap. Gloves made from cheap materials won’t last and not worth the trouble.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q – Can I use MMA gloves for boxing?
A – MMA gloves do not have the same amount of padding as regular boxing gloves so it is not advisable. If you’re practicing MMA punching then these gloves will suffice, but for professional boxing you need boxing gloves.
Q – Can I use competition and sparring gloves interchangeably?
A – Due to the difference in padding – competition gloves have less – it is not a good idea to use competition gloves for sparring..
Q – Should I wear hand wraps?
A – This is a matter of personal preference. Most MMA gloves offer decent amount of knuckle protection, but if it’s not sufficient you can always wear hand wraps.
Q – Can I punch light bags with these gloves?
A - Advanced MMA fighters can do that, but if you’re new to this it’s best to start with thick padding. Once your hands and knuckles have hardened you can use lighter gloves.
Q – How long does it take to break in these gloves?
A – It won’t take more than a couple of weeks at most. The more you wear the gloves the faster they’ll break in faster. They’re no different from shoes or baseball gloves.
Q - Can you use MMA gloves on a speed bag?
A – Yes it’s possible but the 7 ounce gloves may be too heavy. Try something lighter or use the heavier gloves on heavy bags.
Q – Are these gloves washable?
A - Most of them are not. There are specific instructions for each type of glove and you need to follow the instructions on the label.
Q – I can’t decide what type of MMA gloves to use. What is the best option?
A - There is no single best option as it boils down to what you’re trying to do. For competition and fighting, the 4 ounce gloves are the best. For grappling and training you’ll want to go with 7 ounce gloves as they have more protection.
The best place to learn MMA is at fitness club. There are a lot of fitness clubs that offer MMA and you can learn from the other people there. But you will only learn if you’ve got a good set of MMA gloves. With the products I’ve presented here, you can pick any and be confident about their fit.