The 5 Best Muay Thai Boxing Gloves for 2017

Whether you’re getting kitted out for the first time or looking for some recommendations on your next pair while your old ones start getting tatty and maybe you’re fingers poking out the end, then this run down of the best Muay Thai boxing gloves is the first and last place to look for honest recommendations.

Our team here at combat-sports.com have combined 40+ years of experience training & fighting in Muay Thai and that includes slipping on hundreds of pairs of gloves, so all the advice given in this article comes from real experience.

The gloves recommended here are the best for training e.g. hitting the bag, hitting mitts and thai boxing gloves, sparring (depending on the weight you want), and light clinching/neck holding while you hit pads. Fighting gloves have a different purpose and therefore deserve a totally different ranking criteria but you shouldn’t need to worry about that since promoters provide fight gloves 99% of the time.

Just before we get in to the full run down of the 5 best Muay Thai gloves I want to let you all know that the links below to buy the gloves recommended will take you to complete the purchase on Amazon, and a small commission of each sale will be used to fund the development of combat-sports.com (The price you pay won’t be affected by this).

A lot of other websites recommending “the best” gloves will recommend cheaper much poorer quality gloves that you’re more likely to buy so they get more commissions but that’s not how it works here. These are real gloves from known brands that really are the best Muay Thai gloves right now for beginners to experienced trainers. So if you’re looking for cheap-low end gear then maybe it’s time to hit the back button…

What they’re judged on…

Fit- Fit is one of the most important things you want from any combat gloves but especially in Muay Thai when the hands need to do a lot more than just punch.

Fastening- Keeping your hand in place is a part of fit, and no one likes velcro that goes old quick and doesn’t stick anymore.

Impact- How well they take the impact and transfer it through to your hands depends a lot on the weight of gloves you get. It also depends on where the weight is placed e.g. if a lot of the padding is in the knuckle area then it’s probably going to let less of the final shock through to your knuckles.

Flexibility- The reason we’ve got flexibility as a ranking factor here is because Muay Thai gloves have some different requirements to boxing gloves and need to be slightly flexible to allow for clinching and catching teeps/kicks.

Durability- How long are they going to last and stay in a good enough state to train in while still protecting your hands properly. A major factor in making the final decision on which gloves to by next so I gave it some hard thought and testing.

Now let’s get in to it with the 5 best Muay Thai gloves (In order)

5. RDX Elite Boxing Gloves

A budget brand that’s been rising in the ranks

RDX

Fit- When I first slid my hands in to a pair of RDX elite gloves I was surprised by how well they seemed to fit, although slightly looser than I like but I do prefer a tight glove that I can wear in to the shape of my hand. They hug the knuckles well and the thumb wasn’t too short like you find with some gloves. The only real niggle I have with the RDX Elite is that wrist area could be slightly longer to support further up the arm.

Fastening- The velcro strap is obviously ideal for training so you can get your gloves on and off nice and easily either using your hand or your teeth if you like the taste of leather and sweat. As I mentioned before I prefer a longer wrist panel and the RDX Elites aren’t helped in the wrist support department by their thin strap when compared to other gloves in this list.

Impact-  With the RDX Elite being quite a bulky glove in general there is a lot of padding in the knuckles but it’s just not very tightly packed, which means when you’re hitting pads they do tend to ‘bounce’ a bit more than some of the other gloves in this list which doesn’t give the best feedback and feeling for your hands and wrists.

Flexibility- The RDX Elite gloves are definitely flexible enough for catching kicks and gripping in the clinch, but they do sort of feel a bit too flexible from the the first time you try them on. Most gloves need a breaking in period before becoming malleable enough to grip and curl but the Elites are pretty flexible right out the pack which is a good thing if you don’t like the slight pain that sometimes comes with breaking gloves in.

Durability- Like all the gloves on this list they’re made from a real leather (not synthetics like most cheap gloves). As they are slightly more tailored to boxing they won’t last as long as some real Muay Thai gloves because of all the different movements and stresses they go through in Thai Boxing like gripping and pulling but overall they’re durable enough to keep you going for atleast 6 months which at the price is great value.

Shop for RDX Elite Gloves

 

4. Boon Sport Training Lace Up Gloves

The brand for traditional Muay Thai gear

Fit- Probably the most snug fitting Muay Thai gloves I’ve ever worn. But with that tight fit does come a long breaking in period which isn’t the most comfortable but after that you’ve got a pair of gloves that hug your hand all across. Also the thumb is tucked in to the side nicely which makes all the difference.

Fastening- The gloves recommended here are the lace ups but they are also available in a velcro strap here. The laces on the Boon gloves go just far enough up the hand to keep them tight all the way across the palm and knuckles and all the way down the wrist. Perfect for all the pulling that happens when you catch a kick which sometimes pulls velcro gloves away from you.

Impact- Boons are traditional and that means they’re a bit old school in their design and build so the padding on the knuckles isn’t as absorbent as other more modern brands. But with that said, if you’re the type of person who likes to hear a snapping sound when you hit pads or the bag then these are the gloves for you. They also give really good feedback through the glove on impact.

Flexibility- As I mentioned before, they do take a while to break in but once they’re well worn they become an awesome pair of gloves to clinch and catch kicks with, especially with the thumb being close to the palm which makes gripping a lot easier. In the wrist area they loosen up well and bend well with your hand.

Durability- They’re made from a tough leather, like I said more old school than the rest on this list, so they do last a long while without pulling at the seams or a thumb poking through. Although because of that tougher leather they do start to look tired a bit quicker than other gloves but that sort of adds to the traditional Muay Thai feel of the Boon gloves.

Buy Boon Sport Lace up gloves here

 

3. Twins Special BGVL-3 Gloves

A favourite amongst a lot of fighters.

Fit- The inside fit of these Twins vary a lot depending on which weight you go for, with the lowest weights being tighter than the higher ones. I’ve had my current 14oz BGVL-3 for a year and they still fit well, not as tight as some other gloves around the knuckle area but they also don’t wear too much and leave you with tonnes of space inside like other gloves do.

Fastening- A great glove for bag work, sparring, and pads especially if you’re doing classes and need to swap the pad holder around regulary so the velcro is a saviour. Unlike cheaper gloves I’ve always found the Twins velcro to be a lot stronger and last longer than others without losing stickability (if that’s a word).

Impact- If you like a glove with a lot of protection or maybe you’re starting out and could do with extra padding then these are the gloves for you. Because of the extra padding they do come up bigger in size than other brands, but they absorb impacts so well that they make an awesome glove for heavier Nak Muay. (70kg +)

Flexibility- Again this depends which weight of glove you go for because the size does go up as the weight does which makes them harder to catch kicks and clinch securely. The leather used on the Twins does take a while to wear in so they’ll need some hard training before they become as flexible as you may like.

Durability – As I mentioned before, I’ve had my current pair for about a year and they are still going strong. The Twins BGVL-3 are possibly the most durable and long lasting gloves in this list so although you may find alternative gloves to be a bit cheaper, a pair of these are probably going to out live the cheaper gloves by 3x.

Shop for Twins Special BGVL-3 Gloves here

 

2. Top King TKBGSA Gloves

Less available outside of Thailand but worth finding.

Fit- Even the inside of these gloves are soft, and don’t take long to get broken in to your hand shape. I like the thicker ‘bar’ feature in the palm that you can sort of grip and helps the glove keep it’s shape as you squeeze tight.

Fastening- The soft build of the Top Kings makes doing them up with the velcro a lot easier since the two side panels can sit on top of eachother without making a big lump. Strap height is shorter which makes it grip around your wrist and not so much the palm which is pretty comfortable.

Impact- Like I mentioned these are softer than other gloves, especially if you go for over 12oz and after a wearing in period. So they make safe gloves for smashing pads or destroying the bag without worrying about hurting your hand. These are possibly the best sparring gloves out there (if you choose 14oz-16oz) mainly because of their softer feel so you’re less likely to cause damage to your hand or a partners face.

Flexibility- Because of that short in height velcro strap mentioned earlier, these Top Kings are super flexible which makes them perfect for clinching where some other gloves are just a bit too bulky and tough to slide through the positions of the clinch.

Durability- Being a traditional Muay Thai brand Top King always bring the quality and that means durability too. Although the logo is more than likely going to fade at the same rate as other gloves, the leather and all the stitching including the velcro will last years if you look after them.

Shop for Top King TKBGSA Gloves

 

1. Fairtex BGV14 Microfibre Gloves

The Ferrari of Muay Thai gloves.

Fairtex BGV14

Fit- I didn’t call them the Ferrari of Muay Thai gloves for nothing. As soon as I pulled my hand in to these I could see why they were at the top end of the price range, as they really do feel amazon on your hands. Nice and snug around the knuckles and tight but not restrictive on your thumbs.

Fastening- The velcro strap on these is shorter in height than some other gloves, and the gloves themselves are a lot smaller than most others when you compare the different weights side-by-side. But this shorter strap makes them less restrictive and easier to get on, although they aren’t ideal if you like a lot of rigidity in your wrists.

Impact- The team at Fairtex no doubt had the lighter Thai Boxers out there in mind when they designed these, because although there new ‘Micro-Fibre’ material that replaces the usual leather is a lot more lightweight and less saggy it does have an effect on the impact. They feel amazing to hit anything and sound awesome when they slap pads but I can imagine anyone experienced in punching and weighing over 75kg feeling a bit more impact on their knuckles than is comfortable.

Flexibility- That new Micro-Fibre technology Fairtex have used in these gloves makes them super flexible from the first wear and because they aren’t a natural leather material there isn’t much of a breaking in period ,except for the inner liner moulding to the shape of your hand. Also because of how slimline they are (the 10oz look like 8oz in size) they make a great pair of gloves to really practice clinching in as they can get through the gaps that a lot of other 14-16oz gloves can’t.

Durability- These gloves are pretty new for Fairtex especially the use of the Micro-Fibre material so there is still a lot of testing to be done over some years before we have a definitive answer on their durability compared to natural leather gloves. So far I haven’t heard of anyones breaking prematurely or bursting at the finger tips so that’s a good sign.

Shop for Fairtex BGV14 gloves here

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How To Pick The Right Muay Thai Gym For You in the UK

This is the post excerpt.

It’s time. You’re ready. You want to learn Muay Thai and kick banana trees.

Maybe you saw Buakaw chop the banana tree with kicks or watched some UFC fights and heard Joe Rogan go on about great “Muay Thai” skills and like the sound of it, so after some Googling you’re pumped to start training in what a lot of people call the most brutal combat sport out there. (Not to put you off).

I’ll never forget trying out my first Muay Thai gym here in the UK, coming from a kickboxing background at a good level I rocked up thinking it’s all the same game and pretty quickly worked out I was wrong. Funnily enough I didn’t stay at that first gym because of a lot of the reasons that helped me put together this guide on picking the right  Muay Thai gym for you in the UK*.

Decide what you’re looking for/what you want from the sport

You might have seen that motivational clip of Buster Douglas KOing Mike Tyson and the background speech about his ‘WHY’ and finding your ‘WHY’.

Well that’s pretty important in any competition sport, especially a combat sport; and you might be thinking ‘isn’t it a bit too early to think about knocking out the GOAT?’ Maybe it is, but when you’re starting out in Muay Thai you should have a good think about why you’re starting.

Want to get fit?

Want to expand your martial arts knowledge?

Want to compete?

If you walk in a gym with the vision of one day being the fighting poster boy of the gym or even the country, but then spend the next hour doing constant straight punch combos with berpees in between each set then you might get pretty fit but I doubt that’s the type of gym that focusses on building fighters.

Just the same as if you head in to a gym that calls the instructor Kru, and uses a belt grading system then you’re likely to learn a lot about technique and traditional Muay Boran (That’s a whole other post) but not progress as a fighter as quickly as other gyms.

Knowing what you want from the sport and for yourself, within the sport is the best way to start picking a gym. With Muay Thai/Thai Boxing gaining a lot more interest in the past couple of years theres a lot of kickboxing gyms now offering ‘Muay Thai’ classes that are focussed on fitness and not fighting so working out if your gym suits your vision is the a great place to start.

Look locally

Now that we’ve covered off the most important part of picking the right gym for you, you can start looking at the location of the gym. It might make sense to you to have looked at where the gym is first… but here in the UK there aren’t loads of good Thai boxing gyms in each city like other places in the world.

Personally I’ve met fighters, fans, and even just fitness bods who travel well over an hour 2-3 times a week just to train at their gym. Once you find a gym that you like, and like the people at it, plus fits with your vision, then you’ll understand that the distance between you and your gym doesn’t matter. Without getting in to a whole other topic about the ‘families’ in gyms, once you click in your favourite gym you won’t care about travelling over an hour to get the best training for you.

Start you’re search locally but don’t just settle at the closest gym to you, making that you’re regular, and settling for something that doesn’t suit you. If your aim is to fight in the UK or across the world at some point then you’ll quickly find that good ‘fighting’ gyms are few and far between so if you’re ‘WHY’ is strong enough then be prepared to hit the Motorway if need be. Not all Sunday League teams produce Premiership players!

Speak to people doing it

Although this article’s flawless and will give you 100% everything you need to pick the right gym – you might also want to speak to other people about it. Preferably people who are doing what you want to do e.g. fighting or keeping fit or studying the art.

The UK Thai Boxing scene isn’t massive right now and everyone is pretty well connected which means even as an outsider it’s easy to pick up on who the top guys in the fight scene are and even reach out to them online; so take the leap and drop them a message to ask about the gym they train at.

If you’d rather start small then just go to a gyms Facebook page, find someone who trains there and message them to see what the trainings like. Here’s a few questions you might want to ask someone:

How long have you been training at (that gym)?

Who runs the classes there? (A lot of UK gyms are run by past fighters and personalities in the sport)

How do the classes work? Is there a beginners class?

Don’t hesitate to reach out to people, either before or after you’ve been to a class to find out more about the gym and it’s history so you know what you’re future there could look like.

Test/Taste

Testing classes is an obvious way to pick the right gym for you. Try out a class or two and get the feel for the training, the type of people in the gym and the atmosphere. Plus after a couple of lessons you should be able to work out the aims of the gym for example if there are a lot of posters on the walls with guys faces who you see in the class then you’re probably in a gym that focusses on training fighters aswell as fitness.

If you’re reading this before ever stepping in to a Muay Thai gym anywhere in the world then you won’t understand the ‘Taste’ part… until you step foot into your first class and literally consume the essence of Boxing Linament AKA Thai Oil. We’ll get in to that in another post, but if you walk in to a gym and don’t smell something resembling strong Deep Heat then your probably not in a serious Thai Boxing gym.

Keep an open mind

Might sound like it’s going back on everything else in this article but keeping an open mind when your picking a gym is key to finding the right one for you.

Your first class at a gym might have been boring because they worked on technique, or too hard for your fitness because they were preparing fighters for fights. But don’t go making a decision too early, sometimes you have keep an open mind and stick it out until you get a bit fitter, or make some friends in the gym, or catch your rhythm.

Just like I mentioned about the distance, travelling miles to training might be a pain in the arse at first but if you’re training at a gym that you enjoy and can take you to where you want to go in the sport then the trip is worth it; and that might not be obvious at first so don’t go elsewhere straight away.

Conclusion

Muay Thai no matter what, is going to challenge you; the fitness is harder than most sports, injuries are sometimes more frequent, and getting hit repeatedly can tough aswell so picking the right gym for you won’t just make progressing easier but by having the right people around you in the gym you’ll keep the passion alive that you so badly need in Muay Thai.

 

*I’ve also trained in the US and Thailand where there’s a lot of different factors to choosing a gym

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