This is our ULTIMATE GUIDE to the Best Muay Thai Gloves (and updated for 2018). That means, it’s our best, highly detailed article about the topic.
Pure boxing gloves and Muay Thai gloves are interchangeable most of the time, but there are some not-so-subtle differences between the two.
If you are a competitive Muay Thai fighter, you should use Muay Thai gloves when you train most of the time. The reason is simple: you will fight under Muay Thai rules and while wearing Muay Thai gloves, therefore you should train with the same gloves you will fight with.
Our Own Pick
Since we’ve been testing out, writing about, and generally going nuts about Boxing gloves the past few years, we’ve decided to put everything we know about boxing gloves (and what we feel makes a good pair) into our very own brand of Muay Thai gloves.
Yes, that’s right, MTP Fight Gear is our very own brand of Muay Thai gear.
We wanted to make a glove that looks great, feels great, and is highly affordable. Our gloves are handcrafted from premium cow leather and made directly in Thailand at the same factory that produces some of the best (and well known) Thai glove brands in the world.
We’ve given our gloves a bit of an updated aesthetic that keep the feel and fit of the traditional Thai style while keeping up with a more modern aesthetic.
We feel these are some of (if not) the best Muay Thai gloves out there. They are the gloves I personally love wearing for Muay Thai training and they offer the best fit and feel out of any of the Muay Thai gloves.
Our gloves have a snug, tight fit that mold to your hands. They have more of tapered boxing glove feel (and shape) while still maintaining the traditional Thai style glove fit (more protection around the wrists and ability to grip when clinching).
Give our gloves a try – we’ve spent over a year testing, designing, and getting these made and we stand by them as our favorite pair of Muay Thai gloves. You can check out our store to see our gloves or follow our instagram to se some of the top stadium Thai fighters from Lumpinee (including the Lumpinee champion) and Rajaderneum training with our gear.
We are offering for a limited time 15% discount. Use this coupon code on the store: MTPGLOVESBM
We’ve already given a detailed breakdown of the differences between Muay Thai gloves and Boxing glove with a full article on its own. But in a single sentence here, the difference is that Muay Thai gloves have a more flexible grip (for clinching), have a thicker wrist area (to protect against kicks), and have a slightly different weight distribution. As such, there’s enough differences that we can make definitive best Muay Thai gloves list, which is why you are here now.
Make sure you read our Ultimate Guide to the Best Boxing Gloves which covers the broad range of ALL boxing gloves — both Muay Thai, Western Boxing, and MMA brands, So the list the one to look at if you want gloves for Boxing, Kickboxing, Karate, or MMA) or gloves that favor a pure punching style. This ‘Best Muay Thai glove list’, however, is dedicated completely to only Muay Thai gloves, so use this one if you are shopping around for Muay Thai gloves to use for Muay Thai.
Why Trust Me?
First off, besides the two weeks of pure research and writing I’ve done for this article, I’ve also been living and training in Thailand for almost five years now (and before that, trained and competed in MMA & BJJ for several years). I’ve had over 7 Muay Thai fights, multiple boxing fights, and competed in several Canadian national MMA and BJJ tournaments over the past years
You can see my profile here.
Over the past 10 years of training, I’ve owned, abused, and discarded dozens of different boxing glove brands. As such, I have a lot of hands on experience with every single one of the gloves mentioned here on this list. Over the 5 years I’ve lived in Thailand, I’ve sparred with thousands of different opponents: Russian boxers, Muay Thai fighters (from every country), Thai trainers, K1 kickboxers, UFC fighters, Karate fighters, and even a Kung Fu student or two. I know my gloves in and out– what makes a good glove, how to choose one, and what brand stands out and what’s not good about a glove. This is not some fantasy article I made up — it comes from my real world usage and testing of these gloves; I bring you this article with all I know about the best Muay Thai Gloves to the table.
With that out of the way, let’s start.
How to Choose the Best Muay Thai Gloves for You
Before we give a comprehensive breakdown of the best Muay Thai gloves, you should know exactly how to choose a good pair of gloves. There’s a large selection of glove weights, glove styles, glove materials, and activity-specific gloves to choose from. You can buy the best damn glove you can find, but if it doesn’t fit right, or it’s too heavy for general training, or the weight is too light for sparring, then you still don’t have ‘the best glove’ for what you need.
So make sure you read my comprehensive guide on How to Choose the Best Pair of Boxing Gloves. Yes, it also covers choosing Muay Thai gloves along with Boxing gloves. This article can save you a lot of wasted money and time.
If you know how to choose a good pair of Muay Thai boxing gloves, then continue on with this article for specific recommendations.
Types of Gloves
It’s important to know the different types of boxing gloves because there are some significant difference between each style of boxing / Muay Thai glove. Some of the gloves are made for specific usages while other are more general and can be used for any activity.
These are your standard gloves and can be used for bag work, pad work, and sparring (if the right size). They are your ‘workman’ gloves and designed to be used for everyday training — particularly the heavy punching bag and pad work. Training gloves are also the most popular gloves to buy and we recommend your first Muay Thai gloves you buy should be Training Gloves because you can use them for everything.
Suggested Training Glove Weights: 12 oz is the most popular. Start with that. 14 oz for 180lbs or heavier. 10 oz for women and lighter men (under 130lbs).
These tend to have a more angular shape (for sparring) with extra padding around the knuckle area and wrist area — to protect your hands and your opponents face. Think of sparring gloves are specialized training gloves. You can use them for regular bag work, just like you can use training gloves as sparring gloves. Most people don’t have dedicated sparring gloves and just use 16 oz training gloves for sparring sessions. BUT most of the major Muay Thai brands do offer a sparring version of their training glove — and it’s a good idea to buy a pair if you want to spar often.
Suggested Weights: The best size is 16oz for most weight classes. 14 oz for women and lighter men. 18-20 oz for heavy weight classes.
Special glove designed to be lightweight (usually 6 oz to 12 oz) so you can hit the heavy bag (or pads) with minimally weighted gloves. Modern bag glove designs have shock absorbing material and padding to protect your hand while you smash the bag. Note that these are optional — you can do just as well with regular Training Gloves that are 8 to 10 oz. The whole idea is that you can let your hands fly while still protecting them, but these should be the last gloves you buy. I feel they are entirely unnecessary for most unless you like the feeling of light gloves on the bag.
Very lightly padded gloves with special Velcro lining protection that allow you to clinch with while still wearing a boxing-like glove. It helps simulate real fight clinching while protecting your opponent from finger nail scratches and eye pokes (which happens when you clinch with bare hands) and Velcro scratches (happens when you clinch with standard boxing gloves with the Velcro area un-taped). These gloves are unnecessary for most people — only buy them if you are fighting or spending a lot of time in the clinch. It’s my observation that most Thai’s never use these gloves when clinching in Thailand.
What Size Muay Thai Gloves Do You Need?
The size (weight) of the gloves is very important. Purchase a pair of gloves that are too ‘light’ and you’ll hurt your hands when you hit the heavy bag… or hurt your sparring partners (or find you are not allowed to use them in sparring). Buy a pair of gloves that are too heavy and you’ll find you don’t want to use them.
16oz: Sparring Sizes
If you want a pair of gloves for sparring, get 16oz pair. 16 oz gloves are the golden standard for sparring — both in boxing and for Muay Thai. There are some exceptions. If you are under 140lbs, you can get by on 14oz. Heavy weights will often put on larger gloves (18oz) for sparring.
12-14oz: Bag/Pad work
12 or 14 oz gloves are great for pad work or heavy bag work. You can get by using 16 oz gloves for bag work, but you’ll find using lighter gloves means you can throw faster punches. In general, I recommend using 12oz — you’ll appreciate the lighter weight for pad work and a good quality pair of 12oz will still provide good protection for your hands when you hit the heavy bag.
8-10oz: Fight Size
Most Muay Thai matches in Thailand utilize 8oz gloves during fights. Heavy fighters may use 10oz gloves. You can use 8oz for LIGHT bag work and hitting pads — especially close to a fight to simulate as close to a ring experience as possible. But for long bag work durations, you are better off using a heavy glove to protect your hands from long term damage.
Choosing the ‘Best’ boxing gloves really comes down to what activity you intend to use the gloves for and how much you are willing to spend. Is money no limit? Are you trying to find the absolute cheapest pair? Or do you want to best value to quality ratio?
Before we give a ranked list of boxing gloves, are are our some of our specialized picks based on categories. This makes it a bit easier to pick out a boxing glove that fits a specific profile you are looking for.
The Best Muay Thai Glove. Period.
The best ‘must-have’ Muay Thai glove that we recommend is the much-loved Fairtex BGV1. We look at material quality, comfort, padding, design, durability and of course, price to determine our best pick. And the one glove that meets all of these (especially in the quality, durability and comfort aspects) are the Fairtex gloves. If you only buy ONE pair of gloves, THESE are the gloves you should buy.
Fairtex have been producing premium quality made-in-Thailand gloves since 1971. As a Thai brand, Fairtex produces authentic traditional Muay Thai gloves, yet does so with the utmost quality of materials and design.
Fairtex stands out over the other Muay Thai glove brands (both the Thai brands and non-Thai branded Muay Thai gloves) with the meticulous quality in every single glove. If TWINS or TOP KING are your Toyota Corolla, then Fairtex is your BMW.
You can literally feel the difference in quality…and comfort over the other Muay Thai glove brands. Fairtex gloves are also more durable than the other glove brands — In Thailand, a pair of Fairtex gloves typically will last me through a year of hard training in the humidity.
TWINS, TOP KING, RAJA, WINDY, BOON and the other brands so far have only made it between 4 to 8 months before falling apart — in some cases, literally falling to pieces. As Fairtex is a premium brand, they are more expensive to buy than the competing Thai brands.
The BVG1 are the basic Fairtex gloves, but also their most popular and best bang for the buck. So I recommend you start there when first buying Fairtex gloves. Like all the glove designs, there is a significant number of design, colors, and models to choose from.
Fairtex have a more classic, basic design aesthetic — usually a single monotone color, with a basic logo. The more expensive, premium designs have fancier patterns printed on the glove — however, you won’t find any aggressive patterns like Top King or over-the-top designs like Yokkao.
Fairtex have a nice balance to them — the gloves are sized significantly smaller than the equivalent sized TWINS or TOP KING gloves. I find the smaller, yet more dense design gives them a better feel when hitting pads.
The smaller design also makes them better to spar with — you don’t end up with two massive pillows on your hands which means it’s easier to punch through your opponents guard due to the smaller overall size. A pair of Fairtex 16oz are about the same ‘size’ as a pair of TWINS 12 oz — which is why I recommend these as the best Thai brand for sparring (see my Fairtex Muay Thai Boxing Gloves review).
A 12 oz pair will run you about $73 on Amazon while the same sized TWINS Special design will cost about $62. However, paying $10 to $20 more for a significant quality upgrade is absolutely worth it.
Considering that many other MMA brands or pure western boxing gloves easily run you over $100 (and often more than $130), Fairtex gloves are some of the best bang for buck gloves on the boxing glove market considering you get genuine cow leather, premium hand crafted gloves that are made in Thailand for what you might pay at the lower end for an entry level pair of EVERLAST boxing gloves.
Ultimately, whether or not you like the feel and fit of the gloves — and how they perform — is a personal choice to make. But in terms of the best quality Thai-style gloves, Fairtex easily takes the win. If you can only by a single pair of gloves, I recommend you choose this brand.
(Best Fitting Muay Thai Gloves / Bes Muay Thai Gloves for Punchers)
As an alternative choice to the classic Fairtex BVG1, I recommend our own glove brand, MTP Fight Gear Muay Thai Gloves, especially for those who want a snug fitting glove with a more tapered design than Top King, Twins, and Fairtex.
Now before you say, ‘wait a minute Ben’ you are shilling your own brand of gloves here on our best Muay Thai gloves list, let me just say that we’ve looked at what makes a good glove for Muay Thai — what we look for in a glove — and made a glove that does just that.
Are these gloves the best Muay Thai gloves?
This depends on WHAT you are looking for! There are some outstanding gloves on the market by other companies like Fairtex and Boon (and even Top King and Windy, my least favorite of the Thai gloves) make a great Muay Thai glove depending on who you talk to! So definitely keeping read this list for some other recommendations that might suit you.
So why MTP Fight Gear gloves? Well for one, we’ve designed our own Muay Thai gloves for maximum quality, comfort, durability, and fit. I especially wanted a glove that was a pleasure to use when using for punching AND clinch work.
I especially wanted a glove that was a pleasure to use when using for punching AND clinch work — something that’s often tricky to do as you either have the boxing glove design or the Muay Thai ‘boxy’ design which is great for clinching and absorbing kicks to the wrist, but horrible to punch with as they are too wide and boxy at the front area.
MTP Gloves have a tapered front area around the fist to make the gloves much better for punching with. Yet the gloves also offer thicker wrist protection (for kick absorbtion) and
We’ve specifically focused on making a glove that fits like a glove should — snug, tight, and like a second skin — a glove that feels awesome, offers good padding, excellent support, is highly durable and affordable.
These gloves feel seriously good on your hands and are especially well-suited for those who are more hand heavy. The gloves are made from real leather, hand made in Thailand, and are just as good as every other Thai brand in our opinion.
The gloves will take about a week or two to break in — so if you get a pair, use them hard for a week and the gloves will break in perfectly.
The gloves have a more tapered front area above the back of the hand, allowing for a less bulky glove fist and a better design for punching than Top King or Twins, both of which have a very square, very boxing design.
Glove design and preference varies from person to person, but we feel our gloves are especially well suited to those who like to punch or who love a tight fitting, snug glove fit. MTP Fight Gear gloves are made from real cow leather and produced right here in Thailand.
MTP Fight Gear gloves are made from real cow leather and produced right here in Thailand. We’ve tested our own gloves out for months and quite a few stadium Thai fighters regularly wear (and love) our gloves during their training.
The gloves come in 6 different colors in a number of sizes (8 oz, 10 oz, 12 oz, and 16 oz). I recommend starting out with a 12 ounce which is the best general size for training for most people.
If you have bigger hands, then you might want to look at our alternative choice: Twins Special gloves. They don’t feel as ‘premium’ as Fairtex with the craftsmanship, but they are certainly high quality gloves, handcrafted in Thailand at a local factory in Bangkok.
Twins are the most popular Muay Thai glove, and they have a very different fit and feel to Fairtex. Truth be told, choosing between Fairtex or Twins comes down to your preference of how you like the gloves to feel on your hands.
Twins are bigger inside and are better suited to bigger hands than Fairtex. Fairtex gloves are slightly more narrow in width and less ‘thick’ around the back of the glove area. Because Fairtex are smaller, I prefer sparring in them to Twins of the same size (a 16 ounce Fairtex is about the same size width as a 12 ounce Twins).
However, Twins may offer a bit more protection from kicks than Fairtex due to the thicker wrist area and puffier frontal area.
For many people, especially for first time Muay Thai glove buyers, Twins may be the best glove to start out with. You can always swap to another brand, but you should try Twins because they are considered the working glove of Muay Thai.
The Best ‘Budget’ Muay Thai Glove
Muay Thai gloves are all very well priced — with most of the made-in-Thailand brands hovering around 60 USD. Much better value than western boxing glove or MMA glove brands.
However, if you drop the price down below 50 dollars, you run into the ‘budget boxing glove’ category. Budget gloves are typically entry-level gloves: no frills gloves that will get the job done, and no more. Don’t expect fancy designs or extra features. The key is to get the best quality for the cheapest dollar. It’s possible to find cheap gloves, but not all cheap gloves are real gloves. I’ve selected here the best of the entry level gloves that you can actually train in, if you have to.
Note at the budget level, we are not really giving picks that are based on classic Muay Thai designs, but rather price here.
Note: If you are looking for budget boxing gloves specifically, then I recommend looking at our Best Budget Boxing Gloves Under $50 list — we walk you through the best of the cheap gloves that, in our opinion, are actually worth buying.
If absolute budget is your concern, the cheapest Muay Thai gloves available outside of Thailand are Venum gloves. These gloves are manufactured in Thailand but can be had for about $45 USD on Amazon — and outrageously cheap price. You will be hard pressed to even find a pair of TWINS gloves inside of Thailand for that price.
While the Venum Challenger is not made from genuine leather (but a synthetic leather), the gloves are still durable and are a good entry level glove for Muay Thai. I recommend these glove as my pick for the best entry level budget gloves.
If you intend to fight or do a lot of sparring, go with one on the more traditional gloves brands (the weight distribution is different) as you’ll likely be using one of the other brands (TWINS / TOP KING / Fairtex) when you fight. But for casual students, weekend warriors, new trainee’s, or the budget conscious, Venum are the best budget Muay Thai gloves.
For the best steal of a price, the Venum Challenger 2.0’s can be had for UNDER 40 USD on Amazon when they are on sale (about 45 if not on sale).
While these gloves are made from synthetic leather, they feature a modern design and are well crafted. These are NOT toy gloves, but legit Muay Thai gloves you can use in hard training. And at about 40 percent cheaper than a pair of basic TWINS SPECIAL gloves, the Venum are our glove pick of choice for an entry level, budget Muay Thai glove.
These are probably the best ‘value’ boxing gloves you can find anywhere that priced below $40 give you real leather. All the other boxing gloves / muay thai glove that are at this price range are not real leather. To get real leather, you either have to jump up to the $70 price range of the Thai glove brands, or about $100+ for western boxing glove brands.
These may not be ‘classic’ Muay Thai gloves in the design. They are in fact Boxing gloves in design (so no fat wrist padding or grip flexibility), but really, for $35 bucks for a real leather boxing glove, you can’t complain. For beginners who won’t be doing any real sparring or clinching with gloves on, these gloves are suitable for any sort of training, including pure Muay Thai training.
These are decent starter boxing gloves, suitable for those who just want a basic beginner’s boxing glove for training without spending much money. These gloves are less than half the cost (on Amazon) of many of our other Thai-brand recommendations which make the gloves a force to be reckoned with in the budget market. Like most budget gloves, they are made from a synthetic faux leather, not real cow leather. Note that ‘Maya Hide Leather’ is just a fancy marketing term for FAKE leather. So don’t fall into buying these on the premise that you are getting genuine cow leather, because you are not.
Do I recommend these for serious Muay Thai training? No. But if you are starting out with Muay Thai, these gloves will do you fine. You’ll need to upgrade to a better quality glove eventually, but for the first few months, these gloves will do the job. If you are more keen on doing boxing than Muay Thai, then you are better off looking at the TITLE Classic PROs which are a better-crafted glove, made from leather, but have a more classic boxing style design than the RDX which are closer to a Muay Thai design, but with flashy MMA style coloring.
The Best ‘Modern’ Muay Thai Glove
Sometimes you want a modern glove design — a glove that incorporates the latest research and uses the newest technology in the materials (and design) to produce a better glove. These gloves feel different and perform different than some of the more traditional gloves (the overall design of which has not significantly changed in decades). Modern gloves tend to put in new technologies into the glove design (special types of shock absorbing foam, the inclusion of gel padding, new synthetic materials that last longer, are antimicrobial, and allow the passage of air to pass between the gradient, and more). The look, shape, and overall design can be drastically different than the classic glove you are used to seeing. Ultimately, it comes down to a personal choice about whether you want to try a more modern glove for Muay Thai training. But should you do, Hayabusa is our pick for the best modern gloves you can use for Muay Thai (or Boxing or MMA).
Hayabusa, the company that puts a lot of science into their glove designs. Indeed, the best ‘research backed’ glove manufacturer is the North American MMA company Hayabusa — best known for their MMA brand of fight gear.
Well, Hayabusa delivers on all those fronts. And they even have a lot of scientificy things backing every little design choice. The gloves are made from premium materials and have a very modern aesthetic to them (read my full review of the Hayabusa Tokoshu).
If you are training Muay Thai as part of a MMA program, Hayabusa Tokushu are the gloves you should be using. The design is still flexible enough to be used while in the clinch with the hand grips, but are weighted better for boxing than the traditional Muay Thai glove design. The gloves are also friendly towards larger hands and fit nice and snug without being too tight when you put them on. And they feel comfortable as well. The special foam and materials used provide a lot of shock absorption — this means you can whale on the heavy bag without bruising up your hands.
If you are training pure Muay Thai, these gloves will also do you well for Sparring and Bag work. I’ve seen MANY people using Hayabusa gloves when coming down to train at Muay Thai camps in Thailand — so know that many people do effectively use these gloves for pure Muay Thai — and love them while doing it.
You won’t likely be using these gloves when you fight, though, so I do recommend you rotate in with a traditional Thai glove brand like TWINS one in a while though. As such they are a good SECOND PAIR OF GLOVES if you already have a Muay Thai brand glove.
The downside is Hayabusa tend to be quite expensive as gloves go — still much cheaper than the pro style boxing gloves like Winning or Grant — but significantly cheaper than the Thai brand Muay That gloves like TWINS, TOP KING, and Fairtex. For the price of a pair of Hayabusa’s, you could practically buy two pairs of Twins Special gloves — so it comes down to whether you want the modern design (with all the research backing the design choices) of the Hayabusa over the traditional glove design.
But certainly, IF you want to try a modern glove design and you want a second pair of gloves to rotate in with your more classic Muay Thai gloves, I highly recommend the Hayabusa.
The Best ‘Sparring’ Muay Thai Glove
Sparring gloves are a special sort of glove. They are like regular training gloves, but made specifically for sparring and offer better protection for your hands and better padding to protect your partners. You can pretty much get by one any 16 to 18 ounce Twins/Top King/Fairtex/Raja/Boon brand of gloves when you do Muay Thai sparring. And 9/10 out of ten, those gloves will be enough.
But. If you want a bit of an edge when you spar or you want more ‘protection’ then getting a dedicated sparring glove designed JUST for sparring is something you might want to think about. The padding is usually denser and softer than general training gloves and, in some cases, the gloves are designed to be more angular for better punching.
There are three basic requirements for Muay Thai sparring gloves:
1) they must be light
2) they must have sufficient padding to product your opponent as well as your hand
3) they should be lighter, smaller in size, and aerodynamic for punching
This is one area you don’t want to go cheap out and buy a crappy pair of gloves that don’t have enough
padding & support. You may injure your hand or your opponent during a sparring match. Because you want MINIMAL quality here, I only recommend the better gloves here.
This is our best sparring glove pick. It’s longer than some of the other sparring gloves (include Fairtex’s basic glove model that’s our best overall pick for a Muay Thai glove) but angular in shape to allow for better punching dynamics when sparring.
The smaller width and the angular design of the gloves make it much easier to throw punches (less surface area for air resistance) while providing extra padding support for your thumb and wrist. Fairtex gloves are much smaller in size than many of the other brands like TWINS and TOP KING, RAJA, WINDY and SANDEE. As such, the smaller size of the g
love give you a nice advantage when you spar compared to the thick and chunky gloves usually used — it’s easier to punch through your opponents guard and landing (uppercuts for example are easier to land).
Note that a pair of 16 oz Fairtex gloves are about the same ‘size’ as a 12oz pair of TWINS gloves. These Angular sparring gloves are even thinner (though longer in width) than the standard Fairtex training glove.
These gloves feel awesome when sparring with them. These gloves are my favorite Fairtex glove model and I love even using them on the heavy bag and for pads. As Fairtex is a MUAY THAI brand, you can use these just fine for regular Muay Thai training (though the gloves are designed more like boxing glove than a top-heavy, pillowy Muay Thai glove as in the standard design).
If you don’t mind a more general boxing style sparring glove then I point you to the Ringside IMF Tech Sparring gloves. These gloves cost roughly $55 USD and are specially padded for protected sparring. They don’t have the more flexible grip like Muay Thai gloves do, but considering that 99 percent of ‘Muay Thai sparring’ matches don’t include clinching and knees (even in Thailand) but are mostly boxing or kickboxing sparring (kicks and punches but no clinch or knees), these gloves will work just fine.
Top 10 Best Muay Thai Gloves (Updated 2018)
First off, this is an article that I’m writing with my own hands on experience (literally) with pretty much all the Muay Thai glove brands out there. You name it; I’ve probably owned, abused, then thrown it away over the past five years in Thailand.
I’ve already given my category picks, but here’s also a ranked list of my picks for the best gloves to use for Muay Thai training — for sparring, bag work, and pads. Every one of these gloves can be used all activities, though you can opt for a more specialized glove for something specific like hitting the heavy bag, clinching, or pure sparring.
Note that I’ve completely updated this list here midway through 2018 with updated information and more specific details about each glove, and with links to my individual glove reviews.
Fairtex are the best pure Muay Thai gloves, period — and even more, are one of the best overall values period out of all the other brands — both Muay Thai, MMA, and Western Boxing brands. This model of Fairtex glove also made my Ultimate Guide to the Best Boxing Gloves list as well, due to the quality vs price ratio — so know they work very well for pure boxing as well (especially of you look at the angular design model).
The good old Fairtex BGV1 model proves the best comfort, the best quality, the best support for your hand, and the best feedback when you bang the bag. In a crowded and mature market with more than 10 major Muay Thai glove brands to choose from (not to mention the countless American MMA brands clamoring for attention), Fairtex still manages to stand out as the best of the best for pure Muay Thai.
Fairtex have been producing outstanding gloves since 1971 — so they are an established brand. Fairtex is popular in and out of Thailand, having gained wide acceptance in North America and Japan but less so outside of these countries.
However, expect to pay more for the premium, though as ‘boxing’ gloves go, Fairtex are still, dramatically cheaper than the top ‘pro’ level pure boxing glove brands which range from 200 to 400 USD. A pair of basic Fairtex glove will run you about 80 to 100 USD in the US (online) or if you find them at a wholesale dealer in Thailand, about 50-60 USD.
So as cost goes, Fairtex gloves are a remarkable deal considering the quality you get.
I’ve had a lot of gloves while in Thailand and Fairtex gloves have lasted me the longest. Typically, a brand new pair of Twins lasts me roughly 5 to 6 months before falling apart. Fairtex gloves last me about a year. Now, training in Thailand with the humidity (not to mention enduring extended training sessions multiple times a day) is particularly harsh on gloves, so gloves that last a year here will last for YEARS back in colder, less humid climates. For casual weekend warrior types, expect to get years of usages out of a pair. You can read my Fairtex Muay Thai gloves review for more details.
When it comes to hitting a heavy bag or pads, I find the Fairtex gloves give a good ‘feedback’ as you hit the bag. Not too bouncy, not to shock absorbing — the perfect amount. It’s hard to explain what this ‘feedback’ is unless you actually hit a bag with a pair of gloves. Whatever the term for this is, Fairtex gloves are money when it comes to hitting a bag.
So you want the best PURE Muay Thai gloves, do yourself a favor and go with Fairtex first. Or if you haven’t used Fairtex yet, then grab a pair as soon as possible.
Why Fairtex Is On This List
Because the gloves last the longest, offer the best padding, are the most comfortable and have the best feedback when you punch, are smaller in width than many of the other brands, are hand crafted from genuine leather, are made in Thailand by a trusted and long term Thai company. These are my favorite pure Muay Thai brand and I’ve been using them straight for a couple years now. If you can only buy ONE pair of gloves and you want a Muay Thai style, these Fairtex Training Gloves are the best. Yes, and I even recommend them over the sacred brand of Twins Special which many people are fawn over.
- Gloves FEEL serious quality. You really notice the difference in craftsmanship over the other Thai-made glove brands
- The gloves are REALLY comfortable to put on
- The padding is very good all round
- The weight distribution is better for punching
- The width of the gloves is smaller than rival brands. A 16 oz Fairtex glove is the same size as a 12 oz Twins or Yokkao glove and a 10 oz Top King! This makes the basic glove much better for sparring due to the smaller size!
- The gloves have the best durability. In Thailand I get about a year and change out of the gloves. All the other brands fall apart in 6 months or less with heavy training in the tropics.
- Fairtex gloves are more expensive then (most) of the other Manufactured in Thailand brands. They cost about 55-60 USD in Thailand (almost 40 percent more than competing brands like TWINS) and about 75 USD on Amazon.com However, compared to some of the non-Thai brands that cost between 100-200 USD, Fairtex are arguably one the best deals in a boxing glove period on the market.
- Some people may not like the smaller size of the gloves
Why Buy Them
That feeling when you put them on. And just about everything else. I absolutely recommend these as the top Muay Thai glove pick. Fairtex are superior to the other Muay Thai gloves on the market. There may be some specific reasons why you would choose the other brands (you like the aesthetics or the weight distribution or size of the other brands’ glove) but QUALITY will never be one of those reasons.
While Fairtex gloves may be my favorite in terms of the quality, the minimalist style, and the feel on your hands, the basic TWINS special BGVL3 is certainly an alternative choice for the best glove.
The fact that the quality of TWINS is pretty substantial (and they make all their gloves in their own factory in Bangkok Thailand) and the fact that they are a good 20-30 percent cheaper than Fairtex gloves, yet of somewhat similar quality, make them a better deal than Fairtex gloves. The gloves are also larger inside, making them, perhaps, a better choice — or a good alternative pick — than Fairtex. Keep in mind for sparring. However, they are substantially thicker than Fairtex, making them a worse glove to ‘box’ in.
If there is one name that is synonymous with Muay Thai, then that name would be ‘Twins.’ Twins Special gloves are by far the most popular Muay Thai gloves in the world, both in Thailand and outside of Thailand. In fact, Twins — unlike many of the other Thai-style gloves — are a global brand — you’ll even find these gloves in MMA gyms and Boxing gyms around the world.
Without a doubt, Twins BGVL3 offers good quality for the price. If Fairtex is your Lexus of Muay Thai Gloves, then Twins would be your Toyota Corolla — efficient, affordable, and reliable.
If you are starting out in Muay Thai or are looking for the best ‘bang’ for your buck, I recommend you go with a pair of TWINS as your ‘go to’ glove. After you’ve had a pair of TWINS, you can branch out and start experimenting with some of the other Thai-style glove brands, but start with TWINS.
Even if there are fancier, more luxurious Muay Thai gloves out there, you’ll still find a lot of fighters swear by their Twins.
However, the Twins ‘fit’ is not for everybody. Twins gloves tend to weight a bit ‘top heavy’ near the front of the glove and can feel a bit dense near the front of the glove. can affect how you throw your punches and how the glove feels on the heavy bag. Those who are hand heavy may find some of the other Muay Thai brands make for a better, more aerodynamic glove for punching. You can read my review of Twins Boxing Gloves here.
My suggestion is that you buy the basic pair (BGVL-3) which comes in a variety of different basic colors. If you want a fancier design, Twins Special offers pattern designs. If you are prepared to pay a bit more, you can upgrade to their ‘Air’ models which take the basic design and add a breathable mesh area on the underside area (under the thumb). The ‘Air’ models are suppose to allow your gloves to dry quicker and cool your hands down. However, I’ve used a pair of these in Thailand for a few months and I don’t really feel any difference over the standard pair — so unless you are dead set on having this feature, save the money and just get the basic pair — they will do you right.
Also note that Twins don’t tend to last as long as some of the other glove brands, especially in hot and humid countries — not unless you go to great lengths to dry them out and properly maintain them. In the five years I’ve lived in Thailand. Using a pair one to two times a day, 4-6 times a week in Thailand has had every pair of Twins I’ve had (about 4 pairs) fall to pieces. After about 6-8 months, you get holes near the thumb and inside areas. By about 10-12 months, the gloves are falling to pieces. However, in colder, less tropical climates or with casual use, you can expect a couple years out of them.
Why Twins Made This List
Because the Twins Special IS a brand that’s synonymous with Muay Thai. The company has been crafting quality Muay Thai gloves for decades and produce a good middle-of-the-range glove for everyone. Twins gloves are well padded, decently comfortable, and not very expensive to buy (70 or so USD). Twins are the best glove to ‘start out’ with if you are new to Muay Thai gloves. As such, I recommend them as your first set of gloves — you can branch out and try different brands (and how they feel on your hands) after your first pair of Twins.
- Twins are the most popular gloves in the world. If you have a Muay Thai fight anywhere, you will probably be using Twins in your match. Training in what you will fight in is always a good idea.
- Larger, more spacious interior make them better (than Fairtex) for the bigger handed
- The boxy design offers very good padding in the wrist area to protect them against kicks
- The gloves are very flexible when you grip which make them very good for clinching in
- Good quality for the price you pay and a much better deal than western glove brands for what you get
- Twins tend to be quite ‘puffy’ when you put them on. The gloves are very top heavy with a lot of the weight and ‘size’ in the front of the glove
- The gloves tend to be very warm inside and in the heat, little air passes through and the gloves soak up your sweat
- Twins gloves don’t last very long in Thailand proper with heavy training. If you train once a day 5 times a week, you will be hard pressed to find them lasting for more than 6-7 months. If you train twice a day in the tropics, good luck at getting 6 months out of them!
- The weight is not well distributed for boxing-style training/sparring
Top King — another cornerstone glove brand in the Muay Thai world. Fact you might not know: Twins and Top King are actually owed by two brothers. Twins by one brother and Top King by the other brother (who left Twins to found his own company). Because things are kept in the family, the two gloves are virtually the same quality, though the style and fit is quite a bit different.
Along with Twins, Top King is probably the second most popular Muay Thai glove brand in Thailand, though Fairtex is more popular outside of Thailand. However, you’ll see Top King gloves used in major tournaments like K1, Show Time, and more. So these are not some small, unknown local Thai brand; they are a global brand at this point.
While the company may be owned by the brother to the owner of Twins, the gloves are no simple copycat. Top King gloves feel different than Twins, and they look very different.
If Twins has gone the way of the traditionalist, Top King is trying for the more modern, more edgy look (see my Top King Muay Thai Gloves review here) that the MMA glove brand tend to go for. The designs patterns on each glove are all aggressively tribal in nature — and often with a glossy sheen embedded into the look. You may love the design or completely hate it. However, unlike MMA boxing glove brands which are more similar to pure boxing gloves, Top King gloves are solidly and most definitely Muay Thai gloves.
That means more padding around the wrist area, shorter wrist guards, a square frontal face rather than a more tapered design that Boxing gloves go for.
In fact, Top King gloves have the widest fist area of all the Muay Thai gloves I’ve tried. The general feel when you put them on is that Top King gloves feel far more ‘puffy’ than do Twins. The design is such that there is a lot of space between the inside of the glove and the outside exterior — even more so than Twins, which themselves are bigger than Fairtex.
You may like or dislike how they feel, and I suppose it depends on your preference in a boxing / Muay Thai glove. I personally do not like the feel of Twin gloves when I put them on, but many people will disagree with me here.
The build quality is about the same as Twins, but the fit and look are quite a bit different. If you’ve tried a pair of Twins, my next recommendation is to give Top King a go — you may find you love them or hate them. Twins and Top King are more similar in feel than either glove is to Fairtex.
There’s a few different models you can buy, though the difference between each is mostly aesthetic rather than functional (you can read my review where I look at the various models).
Windy gloves are another older Thai glove brand that have been around for a while. In fact, this glove pre-dates even the classic Thai brands like TWINS SPECIAL, having first been produced way back in 1951. You might say they are the original Muay Thai glove, back before Muay Thai was a global thing.
However, the brand has been left behind by some of the newer brands; they are less popular than the other brands (maybe excepting RAJA), and you might only see one or two pairs of old, beaten up WINDY gloves at a Thai boxing gym.
Windy gloves do have their own ‘fit’ and ‘feel’ distinct from the other glove brands. If I could put it into words, I would say they have the puffy density of the Top King gloves with a bit of the snug comfort of the RAJA gloves, but ideally sized for larger hands with more expansive interiors.
Windy gloves sport the classic ‘old school’ Muay Thai glove look. If you want something more modern and aggressive looking, Windy is firmly in the classic territory. Which is fine — I’m not a fan of the flashy visual noise that companies like Top King seem to be embracing.
When it comes to the feel of the gloves when you use them, Windy is very top heavy and springy when you hit the heavy bag. You may like how this feels — however, as someone who is a puncher, I don’t. As such, I don’t feel these are the best gloves for boxers, punchers, and those who want to spar.
As a boxer, Windy are my least favorite of the Thai-made boxing gloves. They are very top heavy around the knuckle area and most importantly, do not give good feedback when hitting the heavy bag I find. When you hit the heavy bag, I find there is a lot of ‘bounce’ but not a lot of ‘crack.’ And for me, it’s the ‘crack’ I look for in a good pair of boxing gloves.
But, if you are a kicker or clincher, and don’t put that much emphasis on the boxing aspect, or you just have monstrously big hands. WINDY are a great classic Muay Thai glove — if you can find them, which can be difficult outside of Thailand.
One issue with WINDY gloves (read our Windy Boxing Gloves review) is they don’t tend to be durable. Of all my glove brands, WINDY seem to fall apart to quickest (after 4 months of Training in Thailand). You’ll get more usage out of them in drier climates like in the US, but keep this in mind — these gloves might not last as long as some of the other brands.
Why Windy Made The List
Windy are my least favorite of the Muay Thai brand of gloves. I don’t like how springy and puffy they feel on your hand, I don’t like how much bigger the gloves are (10 oz Windy are the same size as a Fairtex 16 oz or a Twins 12 oz). However, the brand has been around for a long, long time and are not a bad deal for the price you pay. They make as solid, no-frills traditional glove which is better suited for traditional Muay Thai over some of the modern, non-thai brands (though I don’t recommend these gloves for people who want to do boxing or are heavy hand strikers).
- a decent, no-frills traditional looking glove
- good value if you manage to find a pair
- feel similar to TWINS in construction
- great for big hands
- Too springy when punching: If you are the type of Nak Muay who loves to punish someone with your punches or you throw a lot of punches on the heavy bag, you may find you dislike Windy gloves with how the feel.
- Not durable or long lasting: Windy gloves also don’t last as long as the other brands. If I can get 7 or 8 months with a pair of TWINS in Thailand, WINDY have lasted me under 6 months.
Why Buy Windy
Those looking for a traditional, Muay Thai style of glove can do worse than Windy. I recommend this glove ONLY if you can’t find any of the other Muay Thai brands above and need a glove. It’s not a bad glove, but it’s not a glove that offers anything better than any of the other gloves above. If however, you do have big hands or long fingers, WINDY may be a better fitting glove than some of the other Thai brands, which seem to cater better to smaller hands.
In the pure Muay Thai world, there is a lot of resistance to the idea of MMA which extends down even to the many MMA products that are on the market. The feeling is that Muay Thai is Muay Thai and MMA is MMA and there is little cross over between the two sports (at least in Thailand proper).
Because of this, many Nak Muay refuse to wear any glove that’s not a classic Muay Thai brand (such as TWINS). However, there are some fantastic MMA brands out there producing some great products that can compete hand-in-hand with the Muay Thai brands — even when it comes to Muay Thai gloves.
This is, as of 2016, starting to change now with some of the established Muay Thai fighters moving into some of the south-east Asian MMA circuits. The bottom line is that Muay Thai fighters from Thailand have the best overall stand-up in the world, leaps and bounds better than pure MMA guys have. They don’t yet have the ground or wrestling skills, though I suspect this may change over the years as they begin to cross train. MMA is where the money is, and being an Muay Thai fighter is a low paying job these days.
The best MMA brand, in my opinion, is Hayabusa which is quite well known for incorporating a scientific approach to their product creation. Tons of research and testing and engineering goes into each and every one of their products to produce the best, most optimized product. This is fully realized in some of their glove models.
Hayabusa throws in a lot of hyp-ey sounding tag lines such as ‘world leading university research’ and ‘Patented Dual-X Wrist Close and Fusion-Zone Wrist Splinting Designs’ and ‘energy leak removal.’ Frankly, all these terms sound like you are talking about an electric car design.
But fancy wording aside, you are getting top materials that offer better performance.
Now, I’m not going to claim that the Hayabusa hype train is always correct. There are more than a few stinkers in the Hayabusa line; so fancy tech claims don’t always make for a better glove over the more traditional gloves. However, the one glove where it all comes together to work is the Tokushu model, which is by far their best glove so far.
The gloves feel great, offers some serious shock absorption, and an nice snap on the bag. Wrist support is also ideal as well (wrist support is one of the key areas that Hayabusa has worked on improving over traditional designs).
If you are looking for a glove that’s more modern in it’s design backed by a lot of scientific research, Hayabusa are the top brand on the market.
But wait! These are for MMA you say. Yes, but the gloves also do well for Muay Thai (especially if you are hand heavy). The more pure Muay Thai glove brands have more flexible fingers and more wrist padding to block kicks, but Hayabusa being an MMA brand (a sport where there is a lot of hand to hand grappling) means the thumb area has some grip flexibility so you can grab your opponent in the clinch. This is something some of the pure boxing glove brands don’t have.
So for a modern approach to Muay Thai gloves and a sort of MMA-Boxing-Muay Thai hybrid glove, this is a brand and Hayabusa glove model to pick.
The downside is Hayabusa are quite expensive (about 110-120), and they do not distribute heat very well, so your hands do get warm and sweaty, regardless of how they claim the material is thermal dampening. If you can find these gloves on sale (under 90 bucks) though, you get a sick steal on a good glove. You can read my full Hayabusa Tokushu review if you want even more detailed information about the glove.
But if you want to try a more MMA orientated brand, my number one recommendation is to give Hayabusa a shot. The gloves also look pretty stunning visually, so you get quite a different visual look over any of the traditional Muay Thai glove designs.
While the Hayabusa Tokushu or more of a general ‘everything’ training glove suitable for Boxing, MMA, Muay Thai and Kickboxing, the Hayabusa Muay Thai gloves are designed specifically for Muay Thai, mimicking the classic Muay Thai glove designs.
These are the best Hayabusa option for pure Muay Thai work for clinching and Muay Thai sparring.
The gloves are well padded and have a flexible grip and look like a visual design you might find in the Top King lineup. However, these gloves are not made from pure leather, like the Thai brands. However, this is sort of made up by the excellent wrist support offered by the Hayabusa design (something Hayabusa gloves are famous for). For those who want a more supportive wrist Muay Thai glove, this is the glove to get.
Boon is less well known outside of Thailand, but this newer glove startup has been making some big waves the past few years both in and out of Thailand. The Boon brand is particularly popular in Australia. Boon offers an affordable alternative to the TWINS or Top King brand with gloves at about equal the quality.
Boon was started by an Australian who came down to Thailand a few years ago and had his wife take up sewing lessons so she could learn how to make boxing gloves from scratch. She learned and Boon was born. Boon are a bit like the snappy underdog that’s not taken seriously…at first.
However, to ignore BOON just because you’ve never heard of them is to make a mistake. The gloves are very good, and many people feel they are a better choice over Twins or Top King — something I generally agree with, IF you fit them.
Boon are made to order directly from the Boon factor in Thailand. So if you order a pair, you may need to wait a couple weeks, depending on stock levels. The gloves are made from premium cow leather — and they feel money when you put your hands on them — and in them.
I would actually rank these higher, if for the fact that it’s very hard to buy them outside of Thailand.
If you want a more ergonomic Muay Thai glove that’s less top heavy than Twins or Top King, Boon is a better glove.
When you put them on and hit the heavy bag or pads, Boon gloves feel less pillowy and more aerodynamic when you throw your hands. As such, they are a better ‘pure punchers’ glove than some of the other brands. I’d say the design and feel is right in the middle between a western boxing glove and a traditional Muay Thai style glove.
The gloves also have a very balanced feel to them. Since they are not ‘top heavy’ but have a more even weight distribution throughout the entire glove, they feel a bit lighter on your hands when you punch. Boon 16 ounce or 14 ounce make for good sparring gloves, though they also do just as well on the heavy bag or pads.
You may or may not like the aesthetics. Boon opts for the more classic Thai glove look — basic colors with a basic logo. The emphasis is not on flashy colors (Yokkao), aggressive patterns (I’m looking at you Top King), or extensive two tone color shades. Simple one tone colors with a logo is the default look.
However, Boon is about the business of fighting, not showing off and if you want a glove that does this right, Boon is a brand to be reckoned with.
Overall, I recommend Boon as one of the better (though less popular and well known) Muay Thai glove brands, especially if you like a glove for sparring or heavy punching. They feel a lot less springy when you punch the bag, which is something you want in a good boxing glove that you intend to use for heavy punching.
The downside is the gloves tend to fit pretty tight, so if you have longer hands and / or bigger hands, you might find them a bit on the tighter side, especially with long hand wraps one. If they are too small, or you want a glove sized for big hands, look at Twins or Windy which tend to have bigger interiors.
I find I do like Boon. It’s a good replacement for TWINS, though it’s harder to get a hold of. It’s priced around the same as the other gloves. Read our review of Boon muay thai gloves for more info about how Boon stacks up.
Raja is another top Thailand made boxing glove you’ll occasionally see scattered about Thailand gyms. The main Raja store used to be outside of the Rajadernem stadium, in their official store. However, it seem the store has stopped selling Raja, and you are unable to order from their website.
It’s hard to find them and even harder to get your hands on them. But if you do, you are in for a real treat as RAJA gloves feel incredible once you put them on and start swinging.
If these gloves were available…anywhere, I’d put them in the top three. But due to the difficulty in finding them and the wait you endure if you try to order them, I’ve put them way down the list.
I call these a puncher’s glove because the design is more tapered and contoured to the flow of your wrist, opting for a more boxing glove style design rather than the square, flat, puffy Muay Thai designs of Twins, Fairtex, and Top Kings’ standard models.
For power punchers, boxers cross-training with Muay Thai, and the hand-heavy Nak Muay, these are the best gloves for you as they have a better, more narrow boxing glove design, yet still offer the padded wrist protection and flexible grip that defines Muay Thai Gloves.
There’s also less padding around the knuckle area, so you may suffer from bruised knuckles when hitting the heavy bag with anything less than 12 oz.
Why Raja Made This List
I’ve put these gloves on this best list because of how good they feel on your hands while wearing them and while hitting the bag, but I’ve put them on the low end of the list because Raja gloves are a) hard to find b) have less padding c) are bit more expensive than the other brands.
- I love the feeling of Raja gloves on the hand. Inch-per-inch, I feel Raja are the most comfortable of all the Thailand glove brands — even more comfortable than Fairtex. A pair of RAJA gloves practically mold to your hands and fit like a quality glove should. They have a cracking feel and nice snappy feedback when you hit the heavy bag or pads with them.
- More tapered, aerodynamic design which makes them much better for punching and boxing in
- Raja also have some pretty good aesthetic designs — especially their two tone gold or black varieties. Simple, yet not overstated in the way that say in the way of the Yokkao brand. It’s a design choice that works and stands out. If you own a pair of RAJA’s, you’ll also probably be the ONLY one in your gym (even in Thailand) with a pair in the sea of TWINS and TOP KING gloves.
- Raja gloves also offer Lamb Skin leather. To this date, I’ve not seen any of the other glove brands — TWINS, TOP KING, BOON, YOKKAO, etc — offer a lamb skin leather. The result is a comfortable glove made even MORE comfortable and soft on your hands. Raja Lamb Skins are more expensive than their vanilla versions, but twice as comfortable. However, the lamb skin gloves are not as durable, so you’ll want to rotate them up with OTHER gloves often, or your gloves will fall apart fast.
- The major problem with RAJA gloves (beside the fact that it’s nearly impossible to easily find them in Thailand) is they are not durable. RAJA gloves tend to fall apart, fast. I’m not sure why — the gloves feel solidly constructed, look great, and are comfortable. However, it’s been my experience that they don’t seem to last as long as the other brands like TWINS or Fairtex. I had a pair of RAJA’s that lasted for 4 months in Thailand before pretty much disintegrating. I’ve heard other people talk about the same issue — so if you buy RAJA, I recommend you rotate their usage with another brand every other day.
- It’s also a bitch to find Raja gloves both inside of Thailand and outside of Thailand. You used to be able to find them in the official Rachadermnem stadium store, but last time I checked in late 2015, they were not for sale there. This could be changed now, however.
- Less padding in frontal knuckle area which can lead to bruises when hitting the heavy bag or pads in lighter glove weights.
- More expensive
Why Buy Raja
Why? Because they have a unique feel on your hands, are superbly comfortable (the most comfortable I’ve found so far of the Muay Thai glove brands), and in the right color design, looks pretty sweet.
You will also be the only one in your gym with a pair of Raja gloves, so you’ll be getting a lot of questions about them. For the punchers who love punching, Raja are the best of the Muay Thai style gloves and are a pleasure to let your hands fly with.
You can also make comfortable even more comfortable by buying their premium lambskin gloves. Once you put THOSE babies on, you won’t want to take the gloves off, even after training is done!
The downside is that Raja gloves are more expensive than some of other brands and the gloves doe NOT last. Raja gloves have fallen apart FASTER than any of the other glove brands for me while training in Thailand. You can read my full review of RAJA boxing gloves here.
#8. Sandee Gloves
Here’s the secret: Sandee gloves are one of the best value buys in the Muay Thai glove market!
I’ve heard of Sandee referred to as the ‘Everlast’ of Muay Thai gloves, and I think this is an apt description. Sandee gloves have been around since 1977 and are along with TWINS and WINDY, one of the oldest most established Muay Thai glove brands in Thailand.
However, they don’t seem to have found the mass market appeal that TWINS or WINDY have (both inside and outside of Thailand), and as such, most people probably have not heard of this brand. But rest assured, Sandee is no new kid on the block.
Sandee gloves are in the middle of the road Thai gloves when it comes to quality I feel. They are not as popular as TWINS and TOP KING but offer nearly about the same quality.
It’s very difficult to find Sandee gloves OUTSIDE of Thailand, so if you want a pair, you’ll have to either order from a vendor based in Thailand or buy them while in Thailand in Bangkok.
Why Sandee Made This List
I put them on the list because Sandee is an old authentic made-in-Thailand brand that’s been around for decades, and they make a very good, very quality classic Muay Thai glove. They are also a better value than some of the more popular brands like TWINS or Top King, IF you buy them inside of Thailand. But I’ve put the gloves low on the list because it’s a) hard to actually find them in Thailand and b) hard to find them outside of Thailand and c) you pay MORE for the gloves when you buy them outside of Thailand than Twins.
- Like all the Thai-made gloves, Sandee gloves are made from genuine cow leather and the construction of the gloves is pretty good. The stitching is strong, the leather feels nice and stiff, and the padding is strong. Overall, Sandee’s feel pretty solid when you put your hands on them and in them. If you like the feeling of Twins Special gloves on your hands, Sandee are a good alternative.
- They are also a pretty good value if you buy them INSIDE Thailand — they are priced cheaper than TWINS and TOP KING. However, outside of Thailand, it’s hard to find them, and if you do, they are MORE expensive than the more popular brands.
- The cuff area tends to have limited padding which means wrist support is mediocre at best. The Velcro area under the strap is strong, and the gloves lock on tight (something that not all gloves do well). Thai gloves is that although the cuff is stiff, there’s actually very little or no padding there, which is the case with Sandee gloves, and that this makes the wrist support quite poor.
- Sandee gloves can get kind of hot — there are no vent holes which means if you are training somewhere like Thailand, you can feel the heat trapped inside.
- Hard to find the gloves outside of Thailand — and more expensive than similar brands outside of Thailand. Only a good deal IF YOU BUY THEM IN THAILAND.
- Did I mention these are HARD TO FIND!
Why Buy Them?
As far as bang for buck goes, Sandee’s basic glove model is priced pretty damn right (cheaper, if you can find them) than the more popular brands like TWINS, TOP KING and Fairtex. For the quality of materials, comfort, and performance, I would rate them close to Twins, but CHEAPER if you go with the basic, no frills model.
As such, I recommend Sandee gloves as one of the best bang for buck authentic Muay Thai gloves made in Thailand by an established old-school brand. However, this is mitigated somewhat by the fact that you can’t easily find the gloves — both inside and outside of Thailand. You can pick them up from sandeeboxing.com, but the prices are in the Europe, and there is 20 percent VAT on them, which means they are in fact more expensive than the other brands.
Yokkao gloves are lookers — with a very snazzy design that shrieks out for attention when you wear them. If you want a glove with an over-the-top art design printed on them, Yokkao gloves take the win. They are some of the best looking of the flashy complicated designs you’ll find in the Muay Thai glove world.
It’s not surprising that the owner is an Italian designer who puts a lot of focus on the ‘look’ of the gloves. Yokkao are also the most widely advertised of the glove brands with Yokkao sponsoring some of the big fight names (such as Saenchai) and big fight promotions.
So the brand is certainly visible — more so than the other brands which don’t advertise a fraction as much.
However, the downside to Yokkao is the quality tends to be shitty. Yokkao gloves don’t last as long as some of the other brands and, after only a few months of hard usage, have a tendency to fall to pieces. So if you are buying a pair of gloves based on how long they will last, and not bling, Yokkao will disappoint you.
I feel Yokkao make a good looking pair of gloves, with a few of the styles they make, but in terms of durability and performance, I recommend many of the other Thai glove brands first and Yokkao as a second or third choice. Yokkao gloves are best had AFTER you own a pair of the other gloves and want a glove that looks flashy. The company would do better to focus on quality just as much as they do design and advertising. If so, they would be a better glove than they are.
Yokkao gloves are best had AFTER you own a pair of the other gloves and want a glove that looks flashy. The company would do better to focus on quality just as much as they do design and advertising. If so, they would be a better glove than they are.
The basic Yokkao gloves will run you just about $70 which is about the average cost. But frankly, if you are going to spend that same money, you are better off with one of the other gloves higher up on the list. The basic design is pretty plain and looks like your basic TWINS SPECIAL glove which I recommend over the Yokkao basic glove.
No, if you do go with Yokkao, then you are likely going for the flashy aesthetics which are the main reason you’d want to consider buying Yokkao. The fancier gloves are about $90. making them one of the more expensive Thai gloves on the market — so you’ll have to decide whether the look of the glove is worth the extra cost.
Why Yokkao Made This List
Yokkao gives you a flashy, bling version of the classic Muay Thai glove, which is a unique look in that non of the other brands offer.
Because the quality of Yokkao tends to be suspect, I recommend trying a pair of Yokkao’s AFTER you’ve already gone with Fairtex, Twins, or Top King first. It’s a good second (or third) pair of gloves to try. You can read our Yokkao boxing gloves review if you want a bit more info about Yokkao gloves.
- Comfortable fit
- Some of the fanciest designs merged with the classic Muay Thai glove look
- Fancy looking logo
- Sizewise, fill the middle ground between TWINS and Top King
- More expensive than the main brands
- Less widely available
- Less durable (gloves have a reputation for falling apart sooner than later)
- Poorer quality
Why Buy Them
Because you’ve tried TWINS and Top King and you want a different looking glove. Or you love the fancier design offered by Yokkao. Or you want to buy the gloves you always see Saenchai wearing in advertisements. If you go with Yokkao though, get one of the flashy designs; you get Yokkao to show off, and that means you need to get one of the fancy designs. For functionality, go with another brand.
Venum is a brand not as well associated with Muay Thai as some of the other brands (it’s an MMA brand at this point), yet some of the gloves are handcrafted in Thailand factories.
Venum is well known in the world of MMA and worn by some of the top UFC fighters including the likes of Machida and Wanderlei Silva. Venum has official been approved of by the UFC.
You won’t find Venum at too many pure Muay Thai gyms, but you won’t find an MMA gym without any Venum gloves.
The thing is, while Venum gloves are made for MMA gloves, the actual design and shape is more inspired by the Muay Thai style of gloves. Perhaps this is because many of the gloves are made inside Thai factories by the same people making Thai-branded gloves (rumors are that WINDY factories make some of the Venum gloves, though I can’t verify this for certain).
Because the shape and style is more similar to Thai gloves than Pure Boxing gloves, Venum can work just fine for Muay Thai.
If anything, the gloves are sort of a hybrid between Boxing and Muay Thai gloves with the design, with the back area just below the knuckle thick and arched just like say a pair of Twins or Top King, though the design, padding, and weight is in the more western boxing design rather than the Top Heavy, thickly padded wrist design of pure Muay Thai gloves.
Overall, the gloves are well padded, comfortable, and feel seriously good when you put them on, hit the bag, smash pads, or hit someone’s face.
One thing that Venum Challenger 2 offers that some of the more traditional Muay Thai glove brands don’t is modern technology merged with a modern design style. And with triple density molded foam, the gloves provide good hand protection from shock.
The gloves have a nice tight fit — unlike say the RAJA or BOON — are quite stiff on the outside rather than subtle and soft when you clench them or put pressure on the the surface. You may or may not like this.
This model, however, is solidly in the budget price zone at about $35 to $40. They are NOT made from real leather, but synthetic leather, so keep this in mind. As such, the gloves are far less durable than leather gloves.
Note, if you want a better version of this glove, one that’s more similar in style to a proper Muay Thai glove, then go with the Venum Giant model, which costs about $90, but offers nothing more than the Thai-brand gloves in terms of quality (though again, it has a different visual style over that classic Tha look).
Why Venum Challenger 2.0’s Made this List
If you are in the United States, Venum gloves offer some of the best bang for your buck for a starter glove — you can use the gloves for boxing, MMA, or pure Muay Thai and the price is very affordable. We recommend the 16oz Venum Challenger 2.0 as the best bang for the buck in the Venum line up at only $35ish USD on Amazon. This is cheaper than most of the pure Muay Thai branded Muay Thai gloves which will cost you about double this. However, quality wise, these gloves are not as good, made from fake leather. You can read my review of Venum Boxing gloves for more info about the various models and how they stack up.
- Good quality for the price you pay
- Modern design
- Comfortable and decently padded
- Cheap, cheap at $30 or so USD on Amazon
- The Venum Challenger 2 gloves are made from synthetic leather — so if you want the classic pure leather style, these gloves won’t have that construction. I find real leather provides longer lasting gloves, better durability over time, and just feel better on your hands. So keep in mind these gloves are not real leather. Also, note that gloves also get hot — there is very little to no breath-ability inside the glove — so keep this in mind.
- The gloves also fit quite tight (especially around the index finger area) — if you have large hands, long hands or wear long hand wraps under the gloves, it might be hard to squeeze your hands into the glove. So keep this in mind.
Why Buy Them
Because you are too cheap to buy the more expensive gloves. If you are looking for the most affordable pair of ‘Muay Thai’ friendly gloves on our list, the nod goes to the Venum Challenger. The gloves offer some serious value for what you get. If you are in Thailand, my recommendation is to pick up a pair of cheap Boons / Twins / Top King which will come out to about $40 or $45 USD, but if you are outside of the US, ordering Venom gloves online will be a much cheaper alternative.
I still recommend you look at the classic gloves like TWINS, Top King, Raja, or the other brands if you want a more traditional looking glove. But if budget is your biggest concern, buy these ones as they are a decent under $40 glove.
Other Muay Thai Glove Brands
- FBT (cheaply made gloves from a Thai soccer gear company – AVOID)
- Muay Thai (a generic brand of gloves/gear sold in Thai tourist shops)
- Fighter (a newer brand that’s decent, though nothing better than the other brands yet. Seems to be a Top King clone at this point)
- Lumpinee (a cheaper brand you see sold in tourist shops and the Lumpinee stadium. Overall, it’s at best so so).
- Thaismai (a real Thailand local, hardcore Thai-style glove brand)
Questions & Answers
What’s the Difference Between Muay Thai and Boxing gloves?
A little and a lot. I’ve written an entire post explaining the main differences. The short version is that Boxing gloves are more angular in shape, weighted better for punching dynamics, and lack the dexterity in the thumb area that lets you grab onto to your opponent in the clinch.
Can You Use Pure Boxing Gloves for Muay Thai?
Sure. If you are a hand heavy fighter, I do recommend you have a nice pair of pure western boxing glove to supplement your Muay Thai gloves. Use them on the heavy bag or when hitting pads or during boxing sparring. Boxing gloves really do feel a lot different when you hit the heavy bag or pads with them (and in a good way).
But, the difference may not be enough of a deal for most Muay Thai practitioners. If you train Muay Thai and you intent to fight, are a fighter, or want to partake in a lot of sparring, I recommend using Muay Thai gloves over Boxing Gloves most of the time. It’s better to train mostly in the gloves you will be using to fight — and that’s likely to be TWINS or TOP KING gloves in the ring.
Can You use Muay Thai Gloves for Boxing
Yes in a pinch, but if you are a boxer or you train pure boxing, you are much better off using a boxing-style glove over Muay Thai gloves. The weighting, the padding areas, the feel, and the feedback as you punch will be better if you use a boxing glove like Cleto, Winning, Grant, or TITLE. So no, stick to a western boxing glove if you do pure boxing.
Do I really Need Sparring Gloves for Muay Thai Sparring?
Yes and no. If you have the right size (16oz), you can spar with regular Muay That gloves from any of the Thai brands. Some of the more classic brands like Windy, Sandee, Raja, and Twins don’t even offer ‘sparring’ versions of the gloves. Thais have been using these regular gloves for hard sparring for decades.
However, that’s not to say there is no benefit from getting a dedicated sparring glove designed for sparring. The problem is that regular training gloves have harder padding than sparring gloves (which have softer, more energy absorbing padding). Some sparring gloves may be less ‘thick’ as well, giving you better speed and the ability to punch through your opponent’s guard.
Using a training glove to spar also means that the padding is more worn out, meaning you deal more damage to your opponent — which is not a good thing. If you want to spar with regular gloves, be a nice sparring partner and buy a second pair of gloves ONLY to use during sparring. Using your regular gloves mean the padding will be more worn out. Or, buy a sparring boxing glove for even better protection.
Is there a difference in gloves for Men and for Women?
No, the design is the same. The only difference might be in the color (some gloves can be pink). Other than that, women may want to look at buying a lighter glove than men. I suggest 2 to 4 oz lighter than what a man might use.
What Size Glove to Buy?
This depends on a lot of factors — I’ve already talked about this extensively at the top of this article and in our Muay Thai Gloves: A Buyer’s Guide article. Here are some general guidelines to help you pick the right size. These are just rule-of-thumb guides — you can certainly use lighter or heavier gloves if you wish. The only point I make is that IF you want to spar, you should use 16 oz gloves (specifically, Sparring Gloves) to protect your partner and your hands. If you are heavyweight, you may want to use 18oz. Children and women and featherweight / bantam weight males can spar with LESS than 16 oz (14 oz).
If you are under 140lbs as a male
- 12 oz for heavy bag and padwork
- 14-16 oz for sparring
If you are a woman
- 8-12 oz for heavy bag and padwork
- 14 oz for sparring
If for younger teens/children
- 6-8 oz for bag and padwork
- 10 – 12 oz for sparring
if you are 140 to 170lbs
- 12 oz for heavy bag and padwork
- 16 oz for sparring
if you are a heavyweight (180lbs and up)
- 14 oz for bag and pads
- 18 oz for sparring
The Final Word
We’ve given you everything we know about Muay Thai gloves to help you pick out the best glove choice.
There are ‘less’ Muay Thai glove choices than pure boxing glove choice because there are, frankly, a lot more choices for boxing gloves and boxing glove designs. For this list, I’ve specifically chosen Muay Thai style gloves, which have quite a different design than MMA / Boxing gloves.
You can, of course still use regular boxing gloves just fine, but if you engage in Muay Thai sparring or you plan to complete in Muay Thai, either at the professional or amateur level, then I highly suggest you train MOSTLY in the type of gloves you will be fighting in, rather than pure boxing gloves.
The fact is that budget is not that big of a factor when considering your Muay Thai glove buy. Most Muay Thai gloves are made in Thailand by Thai companies, and they are priced between $60 to $80 which are considerably cheaper than the western boxing glove designs. As such, they are a remarkably good buy. Picking the best Muay Thai glove often comes down not to price but the fit of the glove and how they feel when you hit the pads.
I do recommend you buy a couple of different pairs from a few of the different brands to test out which glove brand you like the best. You can pretty much buy two Muay Thai gloves from Thai brands for the cost of one western boxing glove.
Read more of our Ultimate Guides Below:
- Muay Thai Heavy Bags
- Best Boxing Gloves
- Muay Thai Boxing Shorts
- Muay Thai Shin Guards
- Best Muay Thai Pads
- Best Skipping Ropes
- Muay Thai Shorts Guide
- Best Muay Thai Handwraps
- Muay Thai Head Gear
- Muay Thai MouthGuards
- Best Punching Bags