Whether a first time trainee, or a seasoned athlete, every MMA fighter requires proper gloves, both in the cage and the gym. The best gloves will prevent injury and compliment your strengths as a fighter, but it can be difficult to find the absolute best. There’s no shortage of brands and products to choose from out there. Thankfully, this round up of the best MMA gloves will help you find the best pair for you and your needs, and provide you with tips on how to spot a quality glove. Whether that be training or competition, grappling or sparring, we’ve got you covered.
The best regulation competition gloves:
Just about any guide you consult will point you to these gloves, and with good reason. As the name implies, the Undisputed 2.0 are currently the best gloves you can get your hands into. High wrist support and curved foam padding ensures safety, while the Nappa leather makes them durable. These gloves will likely last you through many fights and long training sessions. Plus, they’re designed and handcrafted in Thailand — what’s more authentic than that?
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The biggest selling point on the Tokusha Regenesis is the materials. These gloves are manufactured using Vylar-2 leather. This specially engineered leather is hardier and more rugged than normal leather, meaning it can take a beating and still maintain quality. These 4 ounce regulation gloves will cost more than most other pairs, but they’re also much stronger and more reliable, so that extra cash is justified.
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Best for striking/sparring:
These sparring gloves feature a few unique elements in their design. individual finger openings beneath the knuckle padding, and a unique double-wrist strap design allows for a customizable fit. The Elite are also constructed with Venum’s Skintex material, and weigh in at seven ounces — good news if you prefer dense padding for heavy bag work.
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These seven ounce leather sparring gloves are an easy pick for fighters who simply want a reliable, durable pair of gloves to hit things with. While their looks and design may be a step down from the Venum elite, The Combat Sports Max are still durable and properly designed for sparring and bag training thanks two solid inches of molded foam padding on the knuckles, which Combat Sports claims makes it the safest training glove available.
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Best for grappling and ground game training:
For grappling, you need freedom for you hands. The RDX T2GL have an open palm and knuckled finger openings, which allows the wearer a fuller range of motion when training. That doesn’t meant that they’re under-padded or can’t be used for other forms of training. In fact, beneath the genuine leather outer material are layers of gel padding for proper shock absorption, and longer finger coverage and deeper knuckle padding than you’d normally find on other gloves.
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And yet another set of Venum gloves graces our list. These four ounce gloves are constructed with high density foam padding under the polyurethane leather exterior, including thumb padding, and the long velcroed wrist strap can be double-wrapped, which affords support and security. However, like the TG2L, these gloves lack the ovaled finger openings you find on striking gloves, and instead use knuckled finger openings, which makes them better suited for grappling than striking when training. That said, they can also be a solid choice as a competition glove.
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So there’s a selection of some of the best gloves on the market. We’re confident you’ll find what you need from the picks above, but if you’re interested in doing further shopping and are just using these picks as a place to start, here are some buying tips to keep in mind when searching for new gloves.
Real talk: Gloves need to keep your wrist, fingers, and hands supported so you don’t wind up breaking or spraining something. Bare knuckles to face would suck, no doubt, but a proper fitting glove is less about making sure the other guy’s money maker stays intact; a glove’s true function is to keep the wearer safe, and they can’t do that if they don’t fit in the first place.
When finding the proper size for your hands, most sizing charts measure the circumference of your knuckles (not including your thumb). You may also find some that measure on wrist circumference, but the majority of brands base sizes off your knuckles. Here is general sizing in inches:
Make sure the size, fit, and padding of the glove is snug enough to support your particular training activity, but not tight enough that it’s restrictive. Remember: these are tools that need to compliment your strengths. If you’re trying to spar with gloves made from gappling, or vice versa, you’re not only putting your partners in danger, you’re putting your own hands and wrists at risk.
Small: 6.5 to 7.5 inches
Medium: 7.5 to 8 inches
Large: 8.1 to 9 inches
Extra Large: 9.1 to 10 inches.
The other method of measurement is by weight, but this will vary depending on the type of glove. Sparring and bag gloves will weigh more, averaging between seven and sixteen ounces, due to more padding than smaller competition gloves, which weigh four to six ounces. hybrid gloves will be somewhere in the middle, at between seven and ten ounces.
Glove weight is most important when it comes to competition gloves, which are heavily regulated. However, if you’re just starting out or have recently joined a new gym, be sure to ask around about what glove weight(s) are used in the gym, as it can vary between gyms, and it’s considered proper etiquette to use only the agreed upon weight when sparring.
Materials and safety
All the gloves we’ve recommended feature leather or leather-like material. In fact, most virtually every glove worth its weight will use some type of leather due to the material’s durability. That said, it’s important to examine every glove, and not just for quality. It’s not uncommon for some gloves to have spots that can bee needlessly uncomfortable for training partners or opponents. Sure, we’re punching, kicking, and grappling each other into submission, but the last thing any fighter needs is velcro burn or cuts from sharp edges complicating recovery and potentially jeopardizing your ability to compete. To this end, double check that any exposed velcro is soft enough to prevent irritation, and that all seams, stitching, and openings are smooth.