I’ve completely updated this article for 2017 and added more selections and filled out the categories. This is by far the most comprehensive guide to boxing hand wraps you’ll find.
By the end of this article, you should know everything you need to know so you can choose the right pair of wraps the first time around without wasting money on crappy wraps.
Why Trust Me?
Over the dozen years I’ve been training MMA, Muay Thai, and Boxing, I’ve used seveal dozen different hand wraps from at least 12 different brands. I’ve used wraps in training and sparring — so for every kind of use.
I’ve also tried most of the old (and new) hand wraps brands that you can buy, so I have a pretty good idea what’s good and what’s not.
This list covers my best picks and gives you a detailed buyers guide on how to choose the right hand wraps.
Why Use Hand Wraps
A good pair of Boxing / Muay Thai hand wraps will ensure that your knuckles and wrists are protected when you punch.
You should never wear gloves without first wrapping your hands as you can sprain your wrist, bruise your knuckles and otherwise cause serious damage. Properly protecting your hands is key, especially if you train regularly. The impact of punch after punch, day after day, week after week can really take a toll on your hands.
While you might take your hands for granted when your hands are healthy, one small injury to the hand is all it takes to set you back months in your training. This is why it is important that you know how to wrap your hands properly before training.
A good pair (several pairs actually) of hand wraps is, besides your boxing gloves, your most important piece of Muay Thai gear. And as such, you want to buy the RIGHT hand wraps. A bad pair of wraps will waste your time, offer inferior protection, and chaff your knuckles.
The Best Muay Thai / Boxing Hands Wraps
If you are looking to purchase a new pair of hand wraps I suggest you have a look at Fairtex Elastic Cotton Hand wraps. These are the best hand wraps for both boxing and Muay Thai.
I have used a six or seven pairs of these handwraps for the last few years and they feel great when you put them on, the last long, and they really tighten up when you wrap up.
Even better, they are reasonably priced.
How do you put on hand wraps?
Before I talk about the different types of hand wraps that are available, it is important to know how to wrap your hands.
In my experience, there are two effective ways to put on hand wraps. The first way of wrapping hands is the traditional boxing method. Boxers will usually wrap their hands with extra support around the wrist to ensure that it is one solid fist.
The second way of wrapping hands is the traditional Muay Thai method that many Thais use. This way involves making a pre-made cushion around the knuckle of the wraps, and then wrapping the hand wraps around this cushion. While this way takes more time and requires you to pre-roll your hand wraps, it provides excellent support around the knuckles and is (in my opinion) the best way of wrapping your hands.
Instead of writing down step by step of how to put on your hand wraps, here are videos that demonstrate each way of wrapping your hands. Keep in mind that every fighter has their own variation of wrapping hands, so don’t get caught up with the exact number of loops etc. The length of your wrap will often determine how to wrap your hands.
Method #1 – The Boxing Method
You will notice that Johnny focuses on keeping the wrist, knuckles, and thumb secured in this hand wrap. This is one of the easiest ways to wrap your hand, but it is also very effective. This is the method that I use to wrap my hand because it is simply and effective.
Method #2 – The Muay Thai Method
The key to the Muay Thai way of wrapping hands is the initial padding that you create for your knuckles. When you create that padding, it provides you with an extra layer of protection when you are hitting the heavy bag or pads.
One of the reasons for the extra protection around the knuckles is because many Muay Thai fighters use small sized gloves (8-10oz gloves) to hit the heavy bag. Using small gloves to hit a hard heavy bags doesn’t provide a lot of protection in the knuckles. The extra padding at the start of this method helps keep the knuckles firmly secure and protects them from damage.
If you can learn to wrap your hands with this method, it feels the best when you do it right. With your knuckle and wrist properly secured, you won’t ever have any problems with your hands after training.
How do I know I am Wrapping My Hands Correctly?
If you put your hand wraps on correctly everything should feel snug and you won’t have any wraps coming loose. If you punch the heavy bag with only your hand wraps on, you shouldn’t feel your wrist buckle under the punch. It is important that everything is snug, but not too tight or you will lose circulation in your hands.
- Putting the wraps on too tightly – If you put on your wraps too tightly, you will notice your hand turning blue after a while. If your hand starts to change color it is a sign that your blood circulation is being cut off. Take the wraps off and reapply them so that you have circulation in your hands.
- Not Wrapping Tight Enough – If you do a loose wrap of your hands you will notice that the wraps will fall apart when you are training. If you have a hard time keeping your wraps on your hands you probably need to tighten up the wraps.
- Rolling the wraps with the wrong side down – Every wrap has a correct side up and side down that you need to start on. If the wrap doesn’t label which side is up or down, you might need to roll it once so you can tell by the loop which way it goes. If you start the wrap on the wrong side down you will notice the velcro is upside down at the end.
- Not making a fist (at certain times) during the wrapping process – If you watch the first boxing wrap video above you will notice the boxer making a fist when he loops the wraps through his fingers. This fist helps move the material snugly in place and ensures that you have a good fit.
- Failing to properly support your wrist – If you don’t give your wrist enough loops with your wraps you might not have the adequate support when you punch. If your wrist is not tight you may sprain your wrist if you hit a hard heavy bag.
- Forgetting to wrap around the thumb – It is important that you wrap around your thumb so that it keeps it in place.
- Choosing a cheap pair –– low-quality wraps that are made from rough material may chaff your knuckles to the point where they will rub off the skin, causing open wounds on your knuckles when they get wet. This can be avoided by using longer wraps and soft material hand wraps
How Many Pairs of Hand Wraps Should You Own?
The minimum number of hand wraps that you should have is at least 2 pairs, preferably 4 pairs if you have the money. The reason why you want to have a few sets of wraps is because you should always use a fresh pair of hand wraps whenever you train. Don’t reuse old hand wraps that stink because that will transfer the bad smell (sometimes mold) into your gloves.
As a rule of thumb, have the number of hand wraps for the days you train during the week. If you train 5 days a week, have 5 pairs of hand wraps. If you are in Thailand and train 6 days a week, 2 times a day, you’ll want 12 hand wraps.
Using fresh hand wraps for every training session will ensure that your gloves stay smelling clean and don’t have a spoiled smell after a few months of use. In addition to keeping your hands smelling fresh, it will prevent the spread of any bacteria you get from the gym.
I’ve gotten STAPH infection by reusing unwashed hand wraps between sessions in Thailand. So don’t do this!
If you don’t want to wash your hand wraps after every use, make sure you hang them out to air dry. This will prevent them from growing mold and will ensure that they last longer.
Wash Your Handwraps Separately!
Beware of handwraps that bleed dye. If your purchase darker color hand wraps, make sure you wash them with the same colors or on their own. Some hand wraps will bleed and can stain the rest of your clothes
The Curse of Bruised Knuckles & Skinned Knuckles
If you get shorter wraps or use a smaller glove to hit the heavy bag with or are breaking in a new pair of boxing gloves, you may find your knuckles will bruise.
If it’s really bad, you’ll skin your knuckles.
Skinned knuckles often happen because your wraps are not the thin, elastic material but the thick cotton material that chafes against your skin when your knuckles get wet. This happens to me sometimes in Thailand. It’s painful and it can take you out of training for a few days to a week (you can’t punch due to this).
Bruised knuckles are more manageable; there are some things you can do to mitigate bruised knuckles.
- use Mexican style wraps (long 180 inch ones) and making sure to fold over the knuckle area 5 to 7 times for extra padding; wearing 12 ounce gloves while hitting the heavy bag
- choose quality hand wraps that are soft and non-abrasive
- using a quality pair of boxing gloves known for their padding, such as Winning gloves or the IMF Pro Ringside gloves.
- use gel inserts beneath the wraps or a gel hand wrap
How to Choose the Best Hand Wraps for Training
When it comes to purchasing hand wraps there are two types that you will find on the market: non-elastic cotton and elastic cotton. The latter of the two options will provide flex when you put them on, which ensures that you have a good tight fit when you put them on.
The benefit of the non-stretch wraps, is they keep their form for much longer and don’t end up being stretched out after a lot of use. This means that you won’t have to replace them as often, however, this comes at a price of comfort and fit (two things that are very important in choosing your hand wraps).
Price vs Quality
Whenever you are buying anything online you can either go for the really cheap products that are made with low-quality materials or you can choose better quality products. I prefer to go with higher quality products over cheap ones, however, your budget will probably determine how much you are willing to spend on wraps.
A good pair of wraps should last you a few years of training if you take care of them and don’t stretch them out too much. Keep in mind if you are training twice a day for 6 times a week, you will probably go through a few more hand wraps than someone training 3 times a week in Thailand. The volume of training will affect the condition of the hand wraps.
Muay Thai Hand Wraps vs Boxing Hand Wraps vs MMA Handwraps?
Is there a difference?
Yes and no. You can pretty much use Muay Thai or Boxing hand wraps interchangeably.
Boxing hand wraps were basically THE only sort of hand wraps you wore. You basically had the Mexican and non-Mexican style hand wraps. The Mexican
The Mexican hand wraps are very long (180 inches) and offer more protection.
Muay Thai and MMA hand wraps are basically just boxing hand wraps with nothing changed.
The one exception is that some boxers — usually pro boxers with trainers — wear gauze bandage instead of a cloth hand wrap before training. It’s more time intensive to use these and requires another person to wrap your hands up. For boxing fights and actual matches, you won’t wear cloth but will have your hand taped up with gauze.
Some of the MMA brands have been producing specialized hand wraps with gel added to the cloth fabric. These are non-standard hand wraps though and for the most part feel pretty weird and add extra bulk and weight to the wrap. Only use these if you need to.
So the short of it is that you can use any hand wrap for all the martial arts.
Best Muay Thai Hand Wraps
Now that we have looked at how to wrap your hands and some of the different types of hand wraps that are available, we can look at our recommendations for the best hand wraps you can buy (depending on what you are looking for) and some recommended accessories that will save you a lot of time.
Fairtex is the leading Muay Thai brand because they offer quality products that are made to last. If you have ever used a Fairtex product you are probably aware of the quality and fine detail that goes into their equipment.
If you have ever used a Fairtex product you are probably aware of the quality and fine detail that goes into their equipment.
One thing you should look for in a good pair of hand wraps is the elastic cotton, which allows the wraps to stretch.These Fairtex
These Fairtex hand wraps feel great when you put them on and conform nicely to the shape of the hand. Really, don’t get a hand wrap that lacks this elastic.
With a wide selection of colors to choose from, there is no shortage of options that are available.
- Good Stretch material used in the wraps
- Nice snug fit when you put the wraps on correctly
The only downside to these elastic hand wraps is that if you don’t roll them up, the elastic gets very wrinkly.
If you need a new pair of hand wraps I suggest you give Fairtex a shot. I have used these handwraps the most over the years because they provide good stretch and fit nicely. By far, these are my favorite brand of hand wraps and the ones I buy if I can.
The Runner Up
In fact, when I first trained in Thailand I was told by one of the trainers that I should change my non-stretch cotton wraps to Top King wraps. He said that the Top King wraps were hands down the best ones on the market.
Since that day I have always been fond of the Top King hand wraps. These wraps fit nicely to your hands and have enough length to ensure that you don’t run out of wrap. These are essentially the same handwraps as the Fairtex elastic cotton stretch.
- Elastic cotton wraps that stretch to your hand – provides a very tight fit that ensures your fist his held strongly in place
- Good length of wrap – I always have a little bit of extra wrap that I can use to do a few extra loops
- Reasonable price
The Ringside are Mexican style hand wraps which mean they are long (180 inches).
I still prefer Fairtex, which feels more comfortable to the touch and has more elastic.
However, if you buy this bulk pack of five pairs (10 wraps) from Ringside, you get a better price with each wrap coming out to about 2.50. That’s pretty damn cheap for a good pair of handwraps. I’d also say this is the best overall deal, but you have to spend more up front (25 to 30).
Best for Boxing
Ringside is a well-established boxing brand. For pure boxing and hard training sessions, forget using hand wraps; you’ll want to use elastic gauze to wrap your hands up.
Some boxers use reusable cloth gauze while others use the throwaway one-time elastic gauze. It’s a bit on the expensive side AND you need to have your trainer or coach wrap (or more like ‘tape up’) your hands for you.
I personally prefer the throw-away gauze which just wraps a bit tighter. Once your hands are properly wrapped with gauze, you’ll never willingly go back to using cloth wraps again if you can help it. The gauze feels like a second skin while providing superior support for your knuckles and wrist area.
Note, using this type of tape is the ‘wrap’ used to wrap hands before boxing fights.
Most Popular in Thailand
Twins Cotton Wraps (Not Recommended)
Another popular Muay Thai wrap that you will find on the market is the Twins wraps. While these wraps are made to last, they don’t offer the same comfort and fit that they other elastic cotton wraps provide.
These wraps feel very stiff and don’t flex at all when you pull them tight. As a result, the wraps often come loose when you use them during training. I have had a few pairs of Twin wraps and I didn’t like the fit of any of them that I used.
However, I should point out that some people prefer the non-stretch cotton wraps because of the durability that they provide.
These are by far the most popular Muay Thai hand wraps you’ll see in Thai gyms, but they are certainly not the best in my opinion.
- These cotton wraps last a long time – If you want wraps that last longer these are your best bet
- The wraps keep their shape – Because they don’t use stretch material they don’t lose their form after time
Ok in a pinch, but there are better hand wraps.
The only product that I don’t like made from Twins Special is their hand wraps. Without the elastic cotton they do not feel great when you put them on. The only benefit to the non-stretch cotton is that it lasts longer and holds its shape. This is not a reason to buy it.
Best Budget Handwraps
You can probably find dozens of different no-name hand wraps available if you look around. The truth is that once you’ve wrapped your hand up properly, you can get buy just fine on a cheap budget pair or a premium pair of handwraps. The main difference is how the material feels on your skin, how tight the wraps pull against your skin, and how durable they are after a few washes.
These hand wraps are decent — some elastic to them while still being fairly durable. For under 15 bucks you get 3 pairs (6 hand wraps) which is pretty damn cheap. Usually, you pay between $6 to $10 per wrap so these are are a half or a third of the cost.
So if you want budget, no-frills hand wraps that will do the job, these are a good buy. They are certainly not my favorite hand wraps (the elastic Fairtex wraps are or, even better, boxing tape used for hand wraps), but they’ll do fine for most people.
If you want a cheaper handwrap that still provides a cotton elastic stretch the Pro IMPACT boxing handwraps are a good option. These are Mexican style handwraps that provide a lot of length to ensure that your hands can get adequate protection and support when they are wrapped.
These are one of the highest rated hand wraps on Amazon.com because they offer great value for the price.
If you don’t have access to Fairtex or Top King wraps then you can’t go wrong with a pair of these wraps.
- 180″ length provides enough length for every hand size and wrap style.
- Highest rated wraps on Amazon
- Cheap Price compared to other wraps
- Elastic Cotton Fit
For the price you really can’t go wrong with these hand wraps. You should buy a few pairs so that you have a couple back up wraps for training. At under $10, you really can’t lose with these wraps.
Best Handwrap Accessories
Good non-essential wrap-related items to have that can save you a lot of time & pain. I own every single one of these and do recommend buying (some) of them if you can swing it. You will find a use for most of these and some of the items will save you a lot of time each day.
Wrapping up a 180 inch hand wrap can be time-consuming. Best case, it will take you 1-2 minutes. If your wrap is tangled up, 5 minutes per wrap.
A HUGE timesaver is to invest in a wrap roller. This is basically a little device that lets you insert one of the ends of your wrap then roll up the wrap by turning a handle.
The end result is that you can wrap up each roll in less than 20 seconds, compared to the 2 to 5 minutes it may normally take.
I have this and man is it worth it. Best $20 bucks I ever spent. I was spending about 10 minutes per session fucking around with my wraps — either trying to untangle unwrapped ones or trying to roll up washed ones to straighten them out. Not I simply use the device to wrap up my washed wrap and in 30 seconds, it’s completely rolled up.
You can get a portable hand one or a mounted one. The mounted one is faster, but it’s not portable. It’s good to put in a gym or install in your home.
The portable one though you can just carry around in your bag or keep by your washing machine / dryer. As long as you have it at hand when you need it, you WILL use it.
Another option is the Mounted Hand wrap roller. It does the same thing, but since you don’t need to hold it in one hand, it’s easier to roll up your wraps with vs the portable one. Still, you can function just fine with the portable roller. If you have a gym or some area in your house to install this though, it’s absolutely worth it.
Ever throw your hand wraps into the washing machine, only to have them wrapped tightly around various articles of clothing , each other, and the washing rotor?
This can get especially bad if you throw in half a dozen hand wraps. You’ll find you may spend five to ten minutes trying to untangle and untie the wraps from your other laundry items and each other.
It’s a pain in the ass and time waster.
But this doesn’t have to happen if you use a washing wrap bag. This is basically a wash-friendly mesh bag that holds all your dirt wraps. You simply fill it with the wraps you want to wash, tie it with the draw strings, and turn on your washing machine. The wraps will wash just fine but won’t get tangled around your other laundry items.
This helps keep your wraps tangle free and prevents them from stretching out (and damaging other clothing). You’ll also get a longer lifetime out of your wraps because of this.
This is not necessary to have, but man does it save time. Worth buying for sure.
If you suffer from sore knuckles when hitting the heavy bag or pads, these gel hand wraps can come in handy. I do NOT recommend them as a replacement over regular wraps, but more of an accessory you can use once in a while if your knuckles start to take a beating. This can happen with brand new gloves or if you use a 8-10 ounce glove on a heavy bag (or if you are a real power puncher).
If this happens, try using the gel hand wraps which have about 1/3 of the first length of the wraps with an extra gel coating. They feel weird (and I don’t like the extra thickness that results), but they do protect your knuckles.
I won’t wear them for more than a few days though — only long enough to let my bruised knuckles heel up.
If you really, really have problems with sore knuckles or suffer from hand issues, wearing a pair of gel under-gloves is an option. Hands down, this is the last option I’d choose. While they do give a bit more protection of your knuckles over the r regular cloth wrap, they don’t tighten around your hands as much and provide inferior protection to your wrist area.
And they just look and feel weird.
But they have their place if your knuckles are taking a beating and get bruised up from heavy bag use. It’s worth having a pair in your gym bag just in case.
When it comes to using hand wraps, you are only as good as your wrapping skills. You can have the best hand wraps on the market, but if you don’t know how to properly wrap your hands they won’t provide the necessary protection and coverage that you need.
It doesn’t matter how you wrap your hands, what is important is that you have your wrists and knuckles properly secured. When you make a fist it should also feel very secure and stable.
If you don’t know how to wrap your hands correctly, take the time to rewatch those videos links I posted above. Slow down the videos and watch them frame by frame so that you can mimic the exact way that they wrap their hands. Once you repeat this process a few times, you will be able to wrap your hands without every having to think about it.
As far as the actual hand wraps are concerned, most people prefer using hand wraps that are made with elastic cotton so that they can form nicely to your hands when you put them on. This is a personal choice, so if you are used to the regular non-stretch cotton wraps that isn’t a big deal either.
Read more of our Ultimate Guides Below:
- A guide to Muay Thai Gloves
- A guide to the Best Skipping Ropes
- A guide to Muay Thai Heavy Bags
- A guide to the Best Boxing Gloves
- A guide to Muay Thai Shorts
- A guide to Muay Thai Shin Guards
- A guide to Muay Thai Kick Pads
- A guide to Muay Thai Head Gear
- A guide to Muay Thai MouthGuards