The first and most important gear for anyone taking up Muay Thai is a pair of gloves. Finding the right pair, especially for a beginner, can be a daunting task. There are so many models available from different brands that it can be hard to make a decision.
Muay Thai gloves are designed to protect the hands by absorbing the impact of the blows. However, glove design is not simply an act of putting foam in leather. There are many factors to take into consideration in order to come up with boxing gloves that protect, feels comfortable and even look good.
How to choose the right boxing gloves? This is a question many people would find themselves asking when they start training in pugilistic sports such as Muay Thai, boxing or kickboxing. There are several key factors to consider:
Proper glove sizes are measured in ounces (oz). The choice of gloves weight depends on the weight of the user as well as the nature of the training. Beginners to the sport should rightly start with learning the techniques through shadow boxing, heavy bagwork and padwork. For training of this nature, gloves between 12-14oz are usually prescribed. Young children may use a lighter weight around 6-8oz while heavier folks can consider 16oz. Theoretically, the heavier the gloves, the more protection they offer due to having more padding. Sparring requires heavier gloves and most gyms recommend 16oz for safety purpose. 14oz sparring gloves may be used by thinner and smaller people. Most people own at least 2 pairs of gloves which are used separately for general training and sparring.
There is no standard in the industry and so gloves from different brands will fit differently. Likewise, different people have varying preferences in terms of glove fitting. In general, gloves should not fit too tightly as they may cut off blood circulation nor should they be too loose for adequate support. It is recommended to try a few different brands for fitting or read reviews to get a feel. Although some gloves may feel tight upon purchase, they will usually feel more comfortable after breaking-in with a couple of training sessions.
Boxing gloves are made with either real leather or synthetic leather (typically PVC or PU). Broadly speaking, real leather is a better option because it is more durable, more breathable, and feels better than synthetic leather but also more expensive. There is also the microfiber leather which offers better quality over traditional synthetic leather but costs less than real leather gloves.
Boxing gloves are available in either hook-and-loop (velcro) or lace-up closures. Velcro straps make it easier to secure whereas lace-ups require another person to help. Velcro gloves are more practical for training while lace-ups are more suitable for competitions.
For some people, style is as important as function. The days of solid colors are long gone and the market is now flooded with all kinds of designs imaginable. Traditional tribal designs are still common with more contemporary designs introduced over the last few years. Some brands have stuck to classic designs while some brands (like YOKKAO) continue to innovate and come up with modern styles every year.
This is a factor to consider especially for those with budget constraints. Even though cheaper brands can be found, they are made using lower quality materials which may not last. Top-tier Thai brands typically cost more due to the use of premium materials which translates to higher quality. For all-round comfort, protection and durability, it's definitely worth shelving out a bit more.
YOKKAO Muay Thai Boxing Gloves
YOKKAO offers over 100 different models of top-quality Muay Thai boxing gloves to choose from. Made using premium-quality leather and engineered foam padding, the gloves come in sizes from 4oz up to 20oz. Inspired by everything from pop culture to street art, and nature, YOKKAO bridges the world of Muay Thai and fashion for a collection of fightgear like no other. Shop now at the YOKKAO online store!
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