The Basic Guide to Boxing Gloves

As you may have read in the History of Boxing, boxing gloves were first mandated by the Marquess of Queensberry rules in 1867. Prior to the inception of those rules, fights were conducted with bare knuckles or leather straps on the knuckles — pretty hardcore considering that some fights went on for hours.

Boxing gloves have come a long way since then. Today there are various types of gloves on the market. If you are thinking about purchasing a pair, you probably have some questions. This guide will clear up confusion about the various forms of boxing gloves on the market. It will also provide you with an idea of how different types of gloves cater to different routines and competitive levels.

Various Types of Gloves

Boxing gloves come in different sizes, styles, and colors. Fitness gloves, training/sparring gloves, bag gloves, and competition gloves all have their own distinct characteristics. The following sections will break down the uses and details of each type of glove.


The term “fitness boxing gloves” refers to the majority of gloves sold at your local sporting goods store. They are cheap and provide the novice boxer with a good point from which to start. If you are looking for gloves to use at your weekly boxing fitness class, then fitness gloves serve as a sufficient option. Fitness gloves sometimes come in small, medium and large sizes. Other times, they range from 12 to 16 ounces. As long as the gloves feel snug, then you can choose whatever weight you want. Realize that heavier gloves will make for a more difficult workout, as the added weight will cause your arms to tire more quickly.

Fitness gloves are not made for extensive boxing routines consisting of much more than some light pad or bag work. Durability is an issue with these gloves. If you know for sure that you will continue to use your gloves for a while, and possibly intensify your routines, then it would be smart to spend some more money and purchase gloves of higher-quality. The better the quality, the longer the gloves will last.


Most boxers who train frequently own a pair of training gloves. Training gloves are much more durable than fitness gloves. They provide enough support for heavy-bag work, and offer adequate padding for sparring sessions. Professional boxers usually have a pair of gloves for general training and a pair for sparring. The majority of boxers, however, use one pair for both.

Training gloves usually are secured by a Velcro strap; although, more expensive pairs are secured with laces. Gloves with Velcro straps are convenient, as they can easily slip on and off during training sessions. Training gloves usually range from 14 to 20 oz in weight. If you are looking for the standard weight used by most boxers, then buy yourself a pair of 16-oz gloves. Some beginners prefer to start out with 14-oz gloves. More experienced fighters and heavier fighters sometimes wear 18-oz gloves, while some professionals wear 20-oz gloves during training. As stated earlier, the heavier the glove, the harder the workout. Heavier gloves build up arm strength by requiring more effort in order to keep your hands up.

Training gloves have a wide price range: $30 to $200. A basic pair of long-lasting and supportive gloves will probably cost between $70 and $90.


Most boxers’ gym bags do not include bag gloves. However, in a perfect boxing world, every fighter would have a pair of bag gloves, training gloves, and sparring gloves. Bag gloves are small and compact. They do not hold the same amount of foam required for gloves that are deemed “safe” for sparring. Some versions of bag gloves leave the fingers unattended, and most provide minimal wrist support. However, if you want to practice quick, powerful punches on the heavy bag, then bag gloves are an effective tool.

Bag gloves range in weight, but generally fall between 6 and 16 oz. They are cheaper than most other types of gloves, with prices ranging from $20 to $100.

Amateur Competition

Gloves worn by amateur competitors are provided by the host of the event. One competitor wears a red pair of gloves, while the other competitor wears a blue pair. Both pairs of gloves include a white stripe across the knuckles of the gloves. These stripes come in handy in amateur bout scoring. Points are accumulated based on “clean punches landed,” referring to punches landed with the knuckle portion of the glove.

Different organizations follow different protocol for glove weights. The International Boxing Association, for example, calls for boxers of all weight classes to wear 10-oz gloves. USA boxing, on the other hand, calls for 10-oz gloves for weight classes from 106 to 152 pounds, and 12-oz gloves for higher weight classes. Competitors almost always train with training gloves that are heavier than competition gloves.

Professional Competition

Professional boxing allows tremendous flexibility when it comes to the rules regarding gloves. Boxers are allowed to choose a pair from any approved brand. The color of the glove does not matter in most circumstances. Gloves always weigh 8 oz or 10 oz in professional bouts. Managers and promoters discuss details concerning gloves prior to a fight so that both teams are on the same page.

Unlike in amateur competition, all professional boxers wear gloves with laces during competition. Gloves with laces are more expensive, because they usually are made of leather and ensure a secure fit. If you’ve never noticed the laces on professional boxing gloves during a fight, it is because the wrists of the gloves are taped so that the laces do not come undone.

The Right Fit

Choose gloves that are appropriate for the intensity and length of your training. If you only box once every couple of weeks, then you probably don’t need a training pair of gloves costing $150. If you are looking to compete at the amateur level and will be in the gym every day, then try to pass on the temptation to buy the cheaper fitness gloves. Moderately priced training gloves will last longer and prevent most hand and wrist injuries.

Manufacturers of boxing equipment are located throughout the world. Each brand tends to make gloves slightly different than the next in regard to padding structure and weight distribution. You need not worry about this too much unless you are a professional. Focus on purchasing gloves that fit your training routine and help protect your hands and wrists while you engage in your particular workout.

Share the knowledge