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Home » Boxing Gloves vs. MMA Gloves: What’s The Difference?

Boxing Gloves vs. MMA Gloves: What’s The Difference?

Many people are unaware that the original purpose of boxing gloves was to shield the fighter’s hands, not their head. Since the first cushioned gloves were produced in 1743 and only used for training, gloves have advanced significantly.

Modern fighting and sparring gloves are made with the safety of both players in mind. A different kind of glove, however, that is beneficial in the new and considerably wider ruleset was required with the advent of MMA in the 1990s.

The primary distinction between MMA gloves and boxing gloves is that the latter are designed specifically for grappling while the former are specifically made for striking. This explains why MMA gloves have open fingers and are much smaller than boxing gloves.

Boxing and MMA Gloves - inSPORTline

We’ll examine the main distinctions between boxing and MMA gloves in more detail before highlighting the various subtypes of each.

MMA gloves VS boxing gloves


Regular boxing gloves contain substantially more padding, which can be seen without having to look very closely. Every pair of gloves is weighed and measured in ounces (oz). And by continuously adding additional padding, this weight rises.

Different brands and models have different distributions of cushioning, but a larger glove will always have more padding. While sparring is typically done with the heavier and softer 16 oz gloves, typical boxing contests are contested with 10 oz gloves. The glove has padding on every side, making it safe and simple to block blows with it.

On the other hand, the MMA glove has a lot less cushioning. The only padding on the knuckles of the typical competition glove, which weighs only 4 oz, is located there. MMA gloves weighing 7 oz (or occasionally 8 oz) are used for sparring and amateur events.

The larger 7 ounce MMA gloves are equal to a boxing glove in terms of knuckle padding due to the open finger design that permits excellent grabbing and grappling. All of the cushioning is concentrated on the knuckles.

Finger Protection

The finger enclosure is a key distinction between gloves. Because grappling is permitted by the sport’s regulations, the mixed martial arts glove has an open finger design. Furthermore, using the mittens that double as boxing gloves to secure a kimura lock, for instance, will be quite difficult. The thumb is likewise totally unrestricted.

Boxing gloves, on the other hand, maintain the position of your complete hand. The only true motion you can make is tightening your fist or maintaining it open when no tension is required.

Hand slings

Under the gloves, almost all disciplines wear hand wraps. A properly applied wrap keeps the hand’s 27 bones and other tissues in close proximity and significantly lowers the risk of damage. The wraps secure the punch into a single, sturdy unit that is prepared to cause harm. Since the interior spaces of MMA and boxing gloves are quite different from one another, the identical wrapping method is obviously ineffective.

The boxing glove may typically accommodate extra wrapping, particularly around the knuckles. There have been boxers who used their knuckles as a hammer. However, there are restrictions on the types of wrapping that are permitted in professional fighting.

The glove used in MMA is too small to fit that much wrapping material. However, if you rehearse with standard fabric hand wraps, you shouldn’t have any trouble executing the same thing on both times.


The same materials are used to make gloves for boxing and mixed martial arts. Genuine leather is always the highest quality. If, however, you believe that your environmental convictions forbid you from using animal goods, synthetic leather is catching up in quality. Different varieties of vinyl are used to make less expensive models.

Manufacturers also experiment with different types of closures to see which ones work best for keeping gloves on your hands. All MMA gloves have Velcro fastenings.

While professional boxing gloves are fastened with laces rather than Velcro, they offer a far better fit for the hand. Most boxing gloves also contain Velcro. But because they are so difficult to put on properly on your own, they are typically only worn by fighters or by pros who work out with a personal trainer every day.

Boxing Gloves of Various Types

Boxing gloves are any gloves with the same basic design, although they vary in many shapes and sizes based on their intended purpose. As I mentioned earlier, bouts are fought with 10, or even 8 oz gloves, whereas many gyms only permit 16 oz for sparring.

In addition, there are bag gloves that are even more thin. And then there are the vintage bag gloves with a free thumb. They are not boxing gloves in the strictest sense, but they are nonetheless important to mention because they help you develop good punching form and condition your knuckles. You ought to follow suit, if the greatest boxers from the heyday of the sport did.

In the past century, Muay Thai has adapted western-style boxing gloves. Even yet, there are minute variations amongst them that are not immediately obvious. Clinching is a crucial part of Muay Thai fighting and scoring.

Because of this, the gloves must permit the palm to be more open. Kicks may also be caught and held like this. Because the palm is solely used for parrying in boxing, the glove’s fingers are more rounded to make it simpler to maintain a natural fist.

The thumb is frequently positioned straight with a curvature in Muay Thai gloves. In order to further liberate the palm for gripping, some well-known Thai brands even do away with the grip bar on the palm.

Different MMA Glove Types

Competition gloves and sparring gloves are the two categories of MMA gloves. The competition gloves only have knuckle cushioning and only weigh 4 oz. MMA training and sparring gloves exist in a variety of styles, but they are all about twice as large and at least partially cushion the thumb.

The majority of amateur MMA competitions employ them, and while they still permit unrestricted grappling, they offer much greater safety.

Do MMA or Boxing Gloves Cause More Damage?

The harm caused by firing a gun can take many different forms. Because MMA gloves are more stiff and thinner, cuts and bruises are more frequent. In MMA matches, the visible damage is typically greater, and the bloody scenes give the impression that the glove is doing a lot more harm. But this problem is much more complex than first appears.

Boxing gloves soften the strike, but they also disperse the force of the blow, increasing brain damage. According to studies, a punch made with bare hands has more force than one made with an MMA or boxing glove.

However, the boxing glove offers far more hand protection and enables punches to be delivered with greater force and less concern for where they will fall. The combat will also last longer if there is less force and obvious damage. And in a multi-round fight, this causes more harm to the brain, the most important organ in the body.

Therefore, boxing gloves have the potential to cause considerably more harm to the bran than MMA gloves do to scrapes and bruises.

Boxing gloves versus MMA gloves: which is safer?

With the aforementioned distinction in mind, working out in the gym is very different from fighting. All fighters engage in striking sparring utilizing hefty boxing gloves for this reason. Some people think it’s cool to walk around with black eyes and facial bruises, but most of society doesn’t think much of it. Additionally, training is about developing all facets of your martial arts over time, not just brawling with your gym buddies.

Boxing gloves are, thus, inherently safer for the gym. They will lessen the overall impact of the punches, protect your hands while striking and defending, and lessen any minor facial injuries.

Should I Use MMA Gloves or Boxing Gloves to Hit the Heavy Bag?

If you ask ten different trainers about what they recommend using on the heavy bag, you might get ten different responses. And each of them might be right. Most individuals use medium-sized boxing gloves when striking the heavy bag, which is totally acceptable.

However, the less conditioning your hands receive the bigger the gloves are. Big gloves are also more tolerant of poor technique, which can be damaging in MMA or self-defense. My recommendation for the majority of martial arts practitioners is to utilize thin bag gloves, contrary to the efforts of many pure boxers to minimize any needless stress on their hands.

Along with toughening them, you will learn how to punch with greater alignment and land with the first two knuckles. The secret to using them successfully and safely is to go slowly. Only once you are sure in your technique should you increase the punches’ force.

Because the middle finger joint on MMA gloves is open and will become bruised and peeled after just a few rounds on the bags, these gloves are typically not very useful for bag training. Although MMA sparring gloves are superior, using them to train on a heavy bag is not particularly beneficial unless you are getting ready for a fight and want to practice punching with them.


In order to sum up the boxing vs. MMA glove comparison, I can say that if you practice MMA, you will unavoidably employ both. It’s even preferable to have various models in the gym for partner exercises, bag work, grappling, and sparring.

No matter what you require, it is always advisable to choose the higher quality option because it might mean the difference between harm to you or your training partners and effective training.