Fairtex gloves don’t seem to be as popular as Twins or Top King up here in Thailand. However, Fairtex makes high-quality gloves, and I’ve been hankering to get my hands on a pair to try them out. Well, the time has come, and I’ve been using these gloves for the past couple of weeks. I figured it would be a good time to write a review about these gloves [edit – it’s been two years since this and I still LOVE these gloves – Ben].
Now, there is a number of different Fairtex style of gloves, depending on what you are looking for.
This specific style I reviewed here is called “TIGHT FIT UNIVERSAL MUAY THAI/BOXING GLOVES” and the model number is BGV1. However, this review covers ALL the models, as there is NOT very much variation between most of the models.
Over the years I’ve had some different style of Boxing and Muay Thai gloves, but this is the first time I’ve used a tighter fitting, more compressed glove. For a 16 ounce, these gloves are very compact indeed. There are some advantages to this — traveling, for one, is much easier to shove these into a bag along with your other stuff.
Compared to other glove brands; the Fairtex Tight Fit’s are literally about 70 percent of the length and 70 percent of the width of other gloves. My last pair of gloves, Twins 16 ounce, were monstrously big. The Fairtex, however, look to be about the same size as a pair of Twins 10 or 12 ounces. Despite the size difference, however, the top of the gloves still have a good amount of padding, which is the whole purpose for 16-ounce gloves.
Fairtex Boxing Glove Models (Updated 2017)
There’s dozens of different Muay Thai / Boxing Glove models in the Fairtex lineup. However, most of the differences are simply cosmetic — i.e. different color combinations. However, there are a few core models that are structurally different. I’ve listed them all here and give an explanation about that model. This should make it easier for you to pick out the right Fairtex glove model for your needs.
Tight Fit Universal (BVG1)
THE classic Muay Thai gloves by Fairtex. These are the BGV1’s, and their most popular and basic model is the black BGV1 Tight Fits. You can get these in all sizes up to 20 oz. Fairtex often makes fancy patterns and designs based on this model which offer the same features and core design, but just different cosmetically.
Pro Competition Model (BGL6)
Lace up OR Velcro gloves designed for full contact Muay Thai / Kickboxing competitions. These are used for K1, Strike Force, WBC Muay Thai, and so on. These are the Fairtex gloves you see on TV likely. I like the design for sparring Muay Thai, but it’s a bitch to use the Lace Up version (we use the lace up BGL6’s at the Gym I train at in Thailand).For sparring, I recommend the velcro.
Designed for clinching and bag work. There are a number of different models depending on the thumb (full and half cover) and Velcro design. However, I won’t list all the models here. These are good for clinching I feel, but as for actually hitting the heavy bag, I recommend you stick to standard gloves which will actually offer more protection.
Angular Sparring Boxing Gloves (BGV6)
My Favorite style of Fairtex boxing gloves, designed more like western boxing gloves.The design is tapered which allows for better punching. I even use these to hit the bag — or I did until someone made off with them (stolen) and I haven’t been able to replace them. Good for boxers or hand heavy Nak Muay. Note that these lack the thick wrist padding areas that Traditional Muay Thai gloves have, meaning they won’t protect against kicks and they are not designed for clinch work with the grips.
Pro Sparring Gloves (BG5)
These are a Muay Thai glove specifically designed for sparring. They include extra thick padding around the knuckle area with a contoured hand compartment for tighter fist grips. IF you are looking for Fairtex gloves for Muay Thai sparring, then THESE are the ones you want as they are designed JUST for that. Only come in 16 ounces.
Mexican Style Boxing Gloves (BGV8)
Mexican style boxing gloves which mean there is LESS padding in the design. If you like Cleto Reyes, well here’s the Fairtex take on that. The design is also more angular and as such these are BOXING gloves, not Muay Thai gloves. So good for boxing gyms or Nak Muay who want a pair of Boxing friendly gloves to beat on someone with or to hit the pads / heavy bag with (it feels RIGHT when you do). I have owned a pair of these, and I love this one for general bag work and pad work. However, if you want to spar Muay Thai with clinching, I recommend the Pro Sparring Glove model instead (BGV5)
Let’s talk a bit about the general aesthetics.
Note, this applies to the standard TIGHT FIT model as you see from my pictures. There are other designs and shapes you can look at, but I’m reviewing the standard BGV1 here.
There’s not much to complain about in the looks department. My review pair are a nice orange-brown color, a unique color. But you can select from the standard blue/yellow/green, etc.
There are of course a number of different colors to select from.
Generally speaking, these gloves are quite pleasing to look at — they are a brown-orange color with the generic Fairtex logo imprinted on the front. There’s nothing really too fancy with the logo (it’s the regular Fairtex imprint ), if you want a fancier logo or extra graphics on your glove, you can choose a different Fairtex glove model. This model of boxing/Muay Thai gloves are all about the functionality but still, manage to stand out as a good looking pair.
Most people at the gym I train at have Twins or Top King gloves; these Fairtex gloves really stood out, and I had a number of people ask about the gloves with a couple buying a pair afterward. So take this as a positive.
The Build and Feel
The gloves are made from real leather and have a quality feel to them. These gloves are a tight fit, meaning there is not a lot of room once you shove your hands in. The weight distribution of the gloves is good with more of the padding being in the front of the glove around the knuckle than other parts of the glove.
I’ve had problems in the past with other glove brands like Twins where the frame of the glove is positioned (with little cushioning) against my lead knuckle (specifically with the Twins 16 ounce and 8 ounces) and over time has caused serious abrasion of the knuckle (to the point of blood after a week or so of use). I can say after a couple of weeks using these
Fairtex gloves, this is not the case. So if you’ve had problems with other gloves rubbing your knuckles the wrong way, these gloves won’t do that.
The Fairtex Durability After Three Years Update
These were my first pair back in 2014. It’s been over 3 years since having these gloves. I’ve used them on and off over that period of time and they have still help up remarkably well. I’m not going to say I’ve trained twice a day with these for 2 years — I haven’t. But I’ve used them for months and months over the 2 or so years since I first wrote this review.
Generally though, ALL boxing gloves have about 6-8 months of life in them before they start falling apart in Thailand — I’ve yet to have a pair of gloves from ANY brand that have lasted a full year+ without pieces falling off.
Mind you, that’s enduring the worst conditions like constant sweat, constant humidity, sunlight (drying the gloves out), and heavy use (6 days a week, several hours a day). If you use your gloves in North America under less intense conditions, you’ll likely get 1-3 years of use out of them.
Having said that, these gloves still look pretty damn new and are, as of now, my oldest pair of gloves. Again, I have not been using them every day and I rotate them with other gloves. This is probably why they’ve lasted so long. Still, it’s impressive to see they’ve lasted so long while maintaining an almost new look, given factors like humidity and heat in Thailand.
Review of the Gloves During Muay Thai Training Use
Let’s talk about HOW these gloves function under daily Muay Thai training in Thailand.
I’ve used these gloves for quite a bit of heavy bag work (ideally, you want to hit the (heavy) bag with 14 or 16-ounce gloves which offer more protection for your hands, especially if you are hand heavy) and they are a pleasure to use. At no point have my hands become sore after heavy use. Of course, with heavier gloves on, you shouldn’t get bruised knuckles or sore hands from the bag.
Some may like gloves that are a bit longer or have the size of the glove distributed more evenly, higher and along the sides, rather than mostly hear the front. Personally, I do like wearing gloves that have a more distributed weight, as long as the sides are not too thick. Having said that, this is more of a personal choice than anything else.
The gloves are pretty solid without much ‘give’ when they impact. This means you get a nice snap back when you hit the bag. It’s a good feeling.
16 ounce gloves are a bit heavy to use with pads — I generally prefer to use the same size gloves you fight in (in Thailand, that’s usually 8-ounce gloves).
The Fairtex gloves work well enough for pad rounds, though I have found that if you’ve done heavy activity before hand (like sparring and bag work), the gloves absorb your sweat and get ‘heavier.’ This can make them a bit weightier when you start hitting pads. This won’t be as much of an issue if you used lighter gloves like 8, 10 or 12, but you do notice the weight when you are already hitting pads with 16-ounce gloves.
As these are Muay Thai style — shorter with the majority of the padding near the top — the gloves feel rock solid as you impact the pads — especially for the fully extended Thai-style power punches.
The weight on the end gives these gloves a nice ‘crack’ as you hit the pads. For other punches like hooks and uppercuts, I do prefer the feeling of a more boxing-style glove though. Again, for most Muay Thai purists, this probably won’t be an issue. I love boxing, however, so I tend to notice the weight distribution when you start throwing punches from angles like upper cuts, hooks, etc.
These gloves are SMALL. Sparring is usually done (and should be done) with 16 ounce (or 14 ounces for lighter guys who trust each other) gloves. However, the Fairtex Tight Fit Muay Thai gloves are so damn small they can pass for 12 ounces or even 10 ounce! This may raise some eyebrows with your sparring partners who likely have much bigger looking gloves.
On the other hand, you’ve got to have a tight guard yourself, or your opponent’s punches will slip through. Since the gloves are shorter than other brands, there is not as much padding past the wrists — this means you don’t have as much of a ‘Shell’ to hide behind when you spar.
I’ve usually fought Muay Thai fights with 8 ounce gloves — so I suppose this simulates how little protection you actually have when you fight which is a good thing — but if you are sparring with someone who just loves to head kick or throw power bomb shots to the face, you may not like how you have ‘less’ protection when you shell up.
Personally, I don’t care so much about this, but it’s important enough to bring up. The size of these gloves and how short they are do make a difference here — less defensive protection.
Also note the gloves have a nice touch leather exterior. If you are looking for as a set of pillow-style gloves, these won’t be it. The gloves are fairly hard and when you hit someone, they will feel it. During a sparring session, I hit my opponent with a straight right which resulted in a bloody nose.
Muay Thai gloves have a different padding distribution than do gloves made for pure boxing. The reason for this is that Muay Thai gloves allow for you to use your fist to grip a bit for clinch work. Pure boxing gloves don’t allow this — hence the designs are a bit different.
You can use one in place of the other, but generally, if you do clinch work, you are going to want a Muay Thai style of glove on, NOT a pure boxing glove, so you have more possibilities for controlling your opponent with your grip.
Note: If you do want to work especially on your boxing or your hands during Muay Thai Sparring, you might also want to look at RAJA, which have a superior shape that just feels better for hand work or you will want to go with Fairtex’s angular boxing sparring gloves which have the best shape and feel for your hands.
The Fairtex Sparring Glove Guide
In case you want to use Fairtex for sparring, here’s my brief look at which of their glove models are best suited for that.
Pro Competition Model (BGL6)
This is great for real world sparring, especially the lace up ones. Fighters do fight in these, especially on some of the bigger promotions on TV like K1.
These work good (in 16oz) for sparring. I’ve used the lace version for years at my gym here in Thailand which are the default sparring gloves they make you use (in 18oz). My complaint though is that without someone to lace up your lacing, the gloves are not tight and the laces may come undone and flap around. As such, GO with the Velcro version for sparring and the laced version you save for actual serious competitions or matches.
Angular Sparring Boxing Gloves (BGV6)
These are good for BOXING sparring due to the design. Not so good for Muay Thai sparring which includes clinching. And due to the shape, you don’t want to take a lot of kicks to the wrist with these. For sparring with a lot of hands, these are great. But not so much for sparring with clinching and power kicks. I LOVE these though for boxing sparring.
Tight Fit Universal (BVG1)
These work for sparring in 16 oz, though they are a more general training bag (and a heavy one at the 16 ounces). I find they are very top heavy, though, which means it’s a bit awkward to throw punches with in sparring. But having said that, I have used the pair shown on the images to spar with for a least two years at my gym, so they certainly can work. But I prefer the OTHER more specialized sparring models first. They are much smaller looking than the equivalent TWINS or Top King at the 16-ounce size.
My thoughts on these Fairtex gloves, summarized as bullet points.
- The smaller size of these gloves (the width and the height) make these 16-ounce gloves quite a bit smaller than other brands. This makes the gloves easier to smash through your opponent’s guard when you spar
- Tight fit that just feels snug on your hands without being TOO tight or too firm
- Great for clinching, there is a lot of flexibility to the glove when you grip with them
- Good padding along the knuckles and side of the fist — the weight distribution around the knuckles is very even and balanced
- Very High-Quality Build — once you see these in person and feel them, you KNOW they are of the highest quality
- More one complaint here is that the tighter fit of the gloves while offering your hand a nice firm fit, seem to absorb your sweat a lot more than gloves that are a bit looser. I’m not sure if this is because of the foam material used in the construction, but if you train in a place like Thailand with a lot of humidity and heat, the gloves DO absorb a lot of your sweat and progressively get heavier
- The gloves are attractive but don’t have any fancy logo or imprints or colors on them.
- The smaller width and height of the gloves do offer less protection when you shell up during sparring — this may or may not be a good thing, depending on your point of view.
- The tight fit may cause you problems if you have massive hands and/or you wear very long wraps (they are pretty tight with normal sized wraps and my small hands!)
- The gloves are a bit more expensive than their Twins and Top King counterparts. These gloves retail about $100 USD in the states and in Thailand they are around 30-40 percent more expensive than Twins or Top King brands. However, the gloves are of a higher quality build, so you are getting more for your money here.
The Final Word
I’m a fan of these Fairtex gloves, and these are the gloves I use now use primarily for heaver glove bag work and Muay Thai sparring. Note that for sparring, you’ll probably want one of the Sparring models listed in the section above rather than the Tight Fit standard model which are quite boxy (though you can certainly spar in them, especially the 16 oz version).
TIP: If you buy a pair of Fairtex Tight Fits, I recommend you stick with the 10 or 12 oz version because you can use them as your primary bag and pad gloves at this size. Only pick up the 16oz if you want to spar with them, otherwise, the 16oz versions are going to be on the heavier side for bag and pad work (and you won’t use them too much if you can’t spar with em).
I personally do prefer the more ‘boxing/sparring’ style gloves for sparring which have a longer shape and a more contoured, angled head, but that’s for pure boxing sparing.
Again, I recommend the BGV6 (Pro Sparring Glove Model) or the T Having said that these gloves work perfectly fine for sparring and the smaller size really makes a difference for smashing your hands through the high Muay Thai guard with straight punches. So these gloves are well suited to Muay Thai sparring.
Ideally, I’d use these for bag work and for sparring. I would supplement pad work with a different set of gloves, either the same style but 8 or 10 ounces or a different style.
My biggest complaint with these gloves is they can really soak up the sweat and get heavy — so if you are a heavy sweater, you may want to think twice about using the gloves. And if you have very big hands or wear very long boxing hand wraps, you might find these gloves a bit TOO tight of a fit.
As for durability, in the two years since I’ve written this review (it’s now 2016), I still have these gloves and they still look new — no holes, no wear. I’ve substituted them out often for other gloves, so they are NOT my primary gloves I use at the moment (my gym won’t let me spar in this 16 oz, and I find them too heavy for pad work or bag work usually).