When it comes to Muay Thai gloves you have plenty of options to choose from. Dozens of options in fact, and maybe more than that if you look at all the new Muay Thai glove brands available on places like Amazon.com
Some people decide to train in 16 oz gloves to build up their arm strength, while others choose to go with lighter 10 oz gloves for speed. This is a guide designed to helping you find the perfect pair of Muay Thai specific gloves that will suit your training needs. We will explore in depth the different gloves sizes and explain the ideal situations that you should be using the gloves. This article will show you everything you need to know about how to choose the perfect pair of Muay Thai Gloves.
Note: We also have a similar article that covers How to Choose the Best Western Boxing Gloves, one that covers the more pure boxing gloves styles rather than Muay Thai gloves.
Top Pick at a Glance
If you are in the process of buying Muay Thai gloves and don’t want to read the full article below, here is an excellent brand that you should consider buying for you Muay Thai needs.
Overview (An Excellent Choice)
If you are looking to purchase a quality pair of Muay Thai gloves the first brand I always recommend is Twins Special. They are by far the most popular brand among Muay Thai enthusiasts because they offer a quality product that fits well and lasts long.
The Twins BGVL-3 gloves are by far the most popular model of Twins gloves because of the basic designs and comfortable fit of the gloves. The velcro straps of the gloves allow you to easily put on or take off the gloves without the help of a training partner.
I have probably owned about a dozen different Twins gloves and I have been happy with every one of them. Twins offers a huge selection of designs and colors so you will definitely find something that works for you.
Twins is by far the most popular Muay Thai brand in Thailand. I would guestimate that 50% of people at the gyms in Thailand train with Twins Special. These gloves are very durable and are designed to withstand hot humid climates like Thailand. You really can’t go wrong with Twins.
Muay Thai Gloves and Boxing Gloves – What is the Difference?
While the gloves are essentially made from the same fabrics and built for protection, Muay Thai gloves are designed for you to open your hand and engage in the clinch with your opponent. Besides the ability to open your hands, the other biggest difference is feel of the gloves. They both are designed to provide protection to your knuckles.
If you train Muay Thai with clinching, you definitely need to have Muay Thai gloves. However, if you are simply boxing sparring and not engaging in any clinching activities, then boxing gloves will work fine. Boxing gloves have a much stiffer feel and the professionals always lace up their gloves so that they are very tight.
If you want to find out more about some of the differences make sure you read this: Boxing Gloves vs Muay Thai Gloves
Hook and Loop (Velcro) vs Lace Up Muay Thai Gloves
When it comes to decided what style of glove you want — be it for western boxing or for Muay Thai — you are going to have to face the same choice: do you buy lace up gloves or Velcro Hook and Loop gloves.
Here are some of the differences:
Hook and Loop (Velcro) Gloves
- Easier to put on and take off
- Don’t need assistance when you are training
- Velcro can scratch sparring partners when you clinch
- Looser around the wrist area, can tape opening to make tighter
Lace Up Gloves
- Ideal for competition
- Longer to put on and take off (to properly tighten up the laces, you need someone else to do it for you)
- More support around the wrist
- Tighter, more snug fit
- Doesn’t scratch opponent when clinching
When you first look at Muay Thai gloves you will need to decide between Hook and Loop (Velcro) and Lace Up gloves. Lace up gloves are more commonly used for competition because you can tighten the gloves and get a very good fit. This ensures that when you are using the gloves they don’t move around.
While these gloves feel great when you have them on, lace up gloves require a lot more work putting them on and taking them off. For this reason, Velcro gloves are by far more popular for Muay Thai use.
Velcro gloves are a breeze to take off and put on, which means you don’t need to get assistance from someone else. This is a real pain and is enough to drive most people to use Velcro gloves over Lace gloves for most training sessions. The exception being, if you are doing serious sparring or some serious bag work, then Lace Gloves are better in every way, as long as you have people who can lace them up for you.
As such, if you are looking your first pair of Muay Thai gloves you should stick to Velcro gloves. However, if you already have a couple pairs of Velcro gloves, there is no harm in owning a pair of lace up gloves as well.
5 Types of Muay Thai Gloves
Training Gloves – Standard Muay Thai training gloves are used in all aspects of Muay Thai training such as clinching, pad work, bag work and sparring. Usually people keep a pair of lighter training gloves like 10-12oz and have separate pair of sparring gloves. However, if you want to save money you can buy a pair of 16 oz gloves and use it for your general training.
While you can spar with lighter gloves on, it can be dangerous because some people don’t know how to control their power. This is the reason why most gyms require students to have gloves that are minimum 16oz in weight.
Sparring Gloves – Sparring gloves are bigger in size and are designed to give you more protection when you punch. This is ideal for sparring because the glove will absorb some of the impact in sparring to help protect your training partners.
Sparring gloves will usually range between 14-18oz. Women and smaller men tend to stick with 14oz, while bigger guys use 16-18oz gloves.
16 oz gloves are the standard size that most gyms require students to have for sparring. This size provides an adequate amount of protection for your sparring partners. While you can use smaller gloves for technical sparring, any hard sparring done with strong punches should be used with bigger gloves.
Sparring gloves are much better suited for harder sparring, as they are bigger and designed for shock absorption. Most people choose their sparring gloves based on the size, instead of the model.
Keep in mind that Muay Thai Sparring gloves can get pretty big and bulky. Normal boxing gloves are more angular and designed to allow for rapid punching. Muay Thai style gloves, however, tend to be thicker, more boxy and square in shape. This can mean that larger sparring sized gloves (16 ounces to 20 ounces) can be very big on your hands, looking and feeling a bit like pillows.
Competition Gloves – Competition gloves are smaller and are used in amateur and professional fights. In professional Muay Thai fights fighters always use lace up gloves. You don’t have to worry about owning a pair because most venues will provide the gloves for their fighters. These gloves have a very tight fit and are stiffer than regular Muay Thai gloves.
If you own a pair of 8-12 oz lace up gloves, these are essentially what you will be using when you fight in the ring. These are not necessary gloves to own, but if you already have a few pairs of training gloves, another one can’t hurt.
Bag Gloves – The last type of glove you will see in Muay Thai is the bag gloves. Bag gloves are extremely light and are designed for hitting the bag or pads. These gloves are not designed for heavy punches on a hard bag because there is not much padding to protect your knuckles. They should never be used for sparring because there is absolutely no protection.
These gloves can be used effectively for clinch sparring because you are able to use more of an open palm in the glove. If you are looking for a third or fourth pair of Muay Thai gloves, these would be a good choice.
Clinching Gloves – You can use the standard velcro sparring gloves for Muay Thai clinching, however, you may find that the velcro scratches your sparring partner on the neck. Ideally you should use lace up gloves for clinching to prevent scratching, but most people don’t have access to lace up gloves in training. Clinching
These are a lot like bag gloves (you can use bag gloves as such) but are designed for Clinching. They offer less grip than your bare hands but more grip than regular Muay Thai gloves so you can focus on clinching technique. They are also are designed so the velcro closures don’t scratch your opponent. Wearing these also has the added benefit (besides simulating a real fight clinch round with gloves on) of not scratching your opponent with your nails during the clinch. If you are serious about clinching, these can help. Note that bag gloves (or in a pinch MMA gloves) can work as well.
What Kind of Gloves Should You Own?
As a general rule of thumb, two pairs of gloves is the perfect amount. Ideally you would have one set of 16 oz sparring gloves and a smaller 10-12 oz pair of training gloves. If you train with heavier sparring gloves for a while, when you switch to smaller gloves they will feel like feathers. This is great for increasing your punching power in training.
If you want to go all out then you should own a third pair of bag gloves. These gloves are perfect for clinching and hitting a round of pads (you will hit much harder with these smaller gloves). Clinching with bag gloves provides more control during grappling sessions with various opponents.
Choosing the Right Glove Weight & Size
When it comes to choosing the right size of gloves it depends on the brand and make of the glove. You will commonly find that the size of the gloves will come in 3 sizes: small, medium and large. However, this is not always the case.
When it comes to certain brands the size of glove will be bigger the larger the weight. So if you have big hands, you might not fit into the 8-10oz gloves. It is important for you to try on the glove size before you decide to purchase one.
Most competitions will use 8-12oz gloves depending on the size of the fighters involved.
Here is a summary of boxing glove sizes and their uses:
- 8 oz. – for training in light weight classes/women
- 10 oz. – for training in lighter weight classes/women
- 12 oz. – for training in medium weight classes
- 14 oz. – for sparring/training in lighter weight classes
- 16 oz. – for sparring/training in medium weight classes
- 18 oz. – for sparring/training in heavy weight classes
- 20 oz – you have russian heavy weight boxers showing up to spar at your Muay Thai gym
Ideal for Lighter Weight Classes – 8 or 10oz gloves are commonly used by many Thai fighters for hitting pads and their bag work. Because you are likely to fight in 8-10oz gloves while you are here, you should definitely get used to the size and feel of these light gloves. While you should avoid sparring with these gloves because you can injure your sparring partners, you should get used to the feel of light technical sparring with these gloves. Many people use these gloves on the bag; however, if you are hitting a heavy bag it won’t provide you much protection on your knuckles.
A lot of women also prefer to stick with the 8oz – 10oz boxing gloves because they are smaller and provide a more comfortable fit. If you do own a pair of smaller gloves, you need to purchase a larger pair that you can use for sparring. These gloves can only be used for technical sparring because they can hurt your sparring partners.
Ideal Training Gloves for Medium Weight Classes – The 12-14oz gloves are larger in size than 8-10oz gloves and provide more protection for your knuckles. Smaller fighters can use these gloves for lighter sparring and when they are training. These are the ideal gloves for smaller trainees because they will provide protection and they aren’t too heavy which can cause fatigue. You should consult your trainer before you decide to spar in these gloves because they still don’t provide as much protection as the larger gloves.
Ideal Training gloves for Heavier Weight classes and for Sparring – Most gyms won’t allow people to spar in gloves that are less than 16oz. This is to ensure there aren’t any major injuries or damage that occurs when people are sparring. In fact, some gyms in Thailand actually make students spar with 20oz gloves. This also ensures full protection and builds arm strength from the size of the glove. Typically boxers will use the larger 16oz gloves when they are hitting the bag. This provides extra protection to their knuckles to prevent any type of injuries to their hands.
It is important to know that not all of the Muay Thai glove brands offer all of these sizes. Some offer a free size that is designed to fit more people. It is important to know how a glove fits on your hand if you want to find the right one for you.
You will find that the most common material used to make the outside cover of a glove is either genuine leather or vinyl (synthetic leather). The padding inside of the gloves are usually made from foam padding that is stuffed inside the leather. Every brand has their own technique they use to produce Muay Thai gloves which can provide a different end result to the user.
Some of the premium Muay Thai gloves like Raja are made from Lamb skin, which provides a very nice feel when you use the gloves. The materials range depending on how much you pay for the gloves. Generally speaking, the cheaper the gloves are, the cheaper materials used in the manufacturing process.
Maintaining your Gloves
The environment of your training will usually determine how long your gloves will last. If you are training in Thailand with very hot weather and humidity, you might find that your gloves only last a few months if you are using them every day. People who are training in North America will probably find that the cooler, dryer weather will allow their gloves to keep longer.
The key to prolonging the life of your Muay Thai training gloves is to ensure they are dry. This means after training you need to put them in the sun or a place where they will dry out. After you have dried the gloves you can also spread Dettol or another disinfectant in the glove to prevent fungus and bacteria growing inside the gloves. This can go a long way in extending the life of your gloves.
Determining the Price of Muay Thai Gloves
The price of Muay Thai gloves varies depending on a number of factors. The following are the list of factors that will determine how much you pay for your gloves:
Retail Store vs Online – Products will always cost more in a retail store vs online. Retail stores need to cover their high costs associated with running a physical location, so the prices will reflect that. The benefits of buying from a retail store is you get to try them on, however, expect to pay more money than if you order it on the web. Most people buy equipment from their gym, which often charge a premium for the convenience.
If you buy Thai branded Muay Thai gloves while in Thailand in Bangkok (in a non-tourist-ed area and not from a gym), you can get the cheapest prices compared to what you might pay picking up the gloves from your local MMA / Muay Thai gym. So if you are hunting for a pair of Muay Thai gloves, buy them while you are in Thailand in Bangkok from a walk in wholesale store for the best price. If you don’t have the luxury of traveling to Bangkok then Amazon is the next best option.
Quality of Materials Used – Some gloves are made out of synthetic materials, while others are made from real leather. The quality and feel of the glove with depend on what kind of material is being used to make the gloves. The boxing gloves made from Thai leather are noticeably better than the cheap ones you buy in sports stores.
Brand Name – Another factor that will determine the cost of your gloves is the brand name you purchase. If you purchase a low quality brand like Thaismai, you will get a lower quality product at a cheaper price. Brands like Fairtex charge more because they offer better products. Most North American brands are going to charge more for lesser products simply because customers are willing to pay that amount.
As a general rule of thumb, never buy your gloves from the sports stores that sell brand names like Everlast. These gloves are absolutely terrible and should be avoided like the plague. Try to find gloves made in Thailand to ensure you are getting the best quality product on the market.
Size of the Glove – The bigger the glove, the more money it will costs you. This means that there are variations in price based on the specific model of the glove. So a 8oz glove is going to be a lot cheaper than the 16oz glove because of the size difference. When you search online at a retailer like Amazon, the advertised price for the glove you see is usually the absolute smallest size (usually about 8oz), so expect to pay more than the minimum price you see UNLESS you are looking for 8oz or 10oz at that price.
Color and Style – Most Muay Thai manufacturers offer fancy designs and colors that cost more than the regular gloves. The glove might be exactly the same as the cheaper models, you are essentially paying for the look of the glove, rather than the function. The most common colors of gloves are red, blue, and black, but you can find all kinds of fancy colors available. TOP KING, TWINS, and FAIRTEX all offer a variety of fancier colors over their basic color design — all for more money of course.
Premium Models – Pretty much every glove brand offer different glove models, from the entry level model to the more advanced model which may include fancier logos & colors as well as extra design features (more shock absorbing padding, the addition of breathable mesh in the glove, better Velcro staps, more angular design, etc). For example, TWINS Special have their basic black/red/blue glove (their cheapest) but they also offer a more expensive model called ‘Air’ which includes a breathable mesh area on the underside of the glove. You’ll see most of the glove brands do offer more expensive gloves with extra features, more padding, or various improvements. The key here is that you’ll have to pay more.
Country of Origin – If a glove is manufactured and produced in a place like China or Pakistan, you can expect the price to be cheaper, but the quality to suffer. Typically, the best Muay Thai gloves are often manufactured in Thailand (the source of Muay Thai). Due to the lower cost of labor and materials in Thailand, it’s possible to buy the best Muay Thai gloves from a Thai company like Fairtex, Twins, Top King, Boon, Windy, Sandee (and more) for a lower price than a North American glove brand. This is why you can find the gloves priced cheaper on Amazon (or if you are in Thailand, you can buy the gloves for half the cost even on Amazon) than north american brands. Also note that some companies are great at keeping their costs low, but they don’t offer the best product as a result. So you’ll need to do your research on the glove brand and glove model to get the best bang for your buck. Typically, you can expect quality from the popular Thai glove brands, but some of the north american companies that specialize in MMA or Boxing gloves (TITLE, Hyabusa, Venum, Cleto, Grant, etc) also make outstanding gloves. Keep in mind they may be pure boxing gloves though and NOT Muay Thai style gloves.
What You can Expect to Pay: The price of general boxing gloves will range anywhere from $35 to $350 depending on the brand and design of glove. However, Muay Thai gloves, especially the Thai brands are quite a bit cheaper than boxing gloves (and the non-Thai brands). For the top Muay Thai brands you can usually get a quality pair of gloves for under $100. The sweet spot is to buy your gloves online from Amazon — you can pick up a basic TWINS, TOP KING or Fairtex glove for about 60-70 USD while a more budget offering like Venom Challenger’s for about $35. If you buy a Muay Thai glove in Thailand from one of the Thai brands from a whole sale type store (not a tourist store and not a Muay Thai gym) in Bangkok, you may be able to pick up a Thai brands (handcrafted leather gloves) for around $30 USD — half or less than half the price you’d pay online in north america for the same glove (this includes the Twins, Fairtex, Boon, Top King, Windy, Sandee, Yokkao). So if you can, come to Thailand and buy your gloves 😀
Note that we feel Thai brand Muay Thai gloves are some of the best value boxing gloves you can buy (check our list of the best budget boxing gloves under $50 to see). You are not going to find a handcrafted, genuine leather, made in Thailand glove for $50-65 dollars from any western boxing glove brand, that’s for sure!
Best Muay Thai Glove Brands
Everyone has their own preference when it comes to Muay Thai gloves. Their are dozens of brands that offer different types of gloves, so it can be difficult to choose something that works for you. The key to finding a quality glove is to find something that suits your needs. There are a number of different brands that you can choose from so it often comes down to availability and preference in size and fitting.
As mentioned above, what sets Muay Thai gloves apart from traditional boxing gloves is the ability to open up the hands to grab on in the clinch. This is why you need specific Muay Thai gloves when you train Muay Thai.
As a general rule of thumb, you want to purchase Muay Thai gloves that are made in Thailand. I have tried other North American brands before and they don’t have the seem quality and feel as the Thai manufacturers. Most of these other companies get their gloves made over in Pakistan for cheap, which you can tell when you use them.
My Top 3 Recommended Brands
They have a pair of gloves that can suit the needs of pretty much anyone. Whether you want a simple looking glove or a fancy design, Twins Special has a huge selection. You can’t go wrong with Twins Muay Thai Gloves (see our Twins Boxing glove review)
As I mentioned at the start of this article, Twins are by far the most popular Muay Thai brand in Thailand. They have good prices and offer an excellent product.
Top King is similar to the Twins gloves, but they have a slightly different design. I have used both Twins and Top King and each one feels slightly different. It comes down to personal taste and how you like the feel of the gloves.
Twins are more popular overall, but some people love Top King. I have owned a few pairs of Top King gloves and I have always been happy with them. Top King tends to offer fancier patterns on the outside of their gloves. See our Top King Muay Thai glove review.
Like Twins and Fairtex gloves, Top King had a huge selection of different styles and options available. The owners of Top King and Twins are related, which is why they both do a good job of producing gloves.
If you want to own a set of premium Muay Thai gloves then Fairtex is your choice. They make a great product that has a quality look and feel. For an extra 10 bucks you can end up getting some extremely nice fitting gloves that feel great. See our Fairtex Muay Thai glove review.
My last 5 pairs of gloves have all been Fairtex simply because I love the designs and the feel of these gloves. The designs tend to be more basic than they other brands, but it gives the gloves a more premium feel. The leather and general craftsmanship feel better than the other glove brands as well, though truth be told, as of 2016, Top King and Twins seem to have upped their quality significantly and their gloves have a very polished, very sleek feel to them when you buy them.
Fairtex, vs the other Thai brands, tend to have by far one of the biggest selections of gloves in terms of style and functionality. While say Twins or Top King between different models mostly have the same basic glove prototype but just with different colors and patterns, Fairtex offers significant designs that include glove shapes, glove engineering, and more. Basically, you can find variations of boxing glove designs in their lineup (pure boxing gloves, mexican style boxing gloves, classic muay thai gloves, etc).
In my opinion Fairtex has the best designers and produces the overall best designed gloves on the market. As I mentioned before, they are a premium glove so be prepared to spend slightly more money.
Other Quality Brands (Harder to Find Online)
Windy Muay Thai Gloves
Windy is available at different online retailers and produce quality gloves that are available at affordable prices. I have used a few pairs of Windy gloves and they are made with the same quality as all the other major Muay Thai glove brands from Thailand. They don’t offer many styles and selections so you won’t have too many options when it comes to choosing the right glove for you. if you don’t want to choose a less popular Muay Thai brand then Windy is your choice.
Boon Muay Thai Gloves
Boon is a smaller Muay Thai brand that is not as readily available as the other brands listed above. Boon makes a quality product, but they don’t have as many fancy designs and the availability is limited. There are a few big Thai fighters they sponsor like Petchboonchu, but they are relatively smaller than the other brands. They produce a good pair of gloves so you can’t go wrong if you buy Boon gloves.
Raja Muay Thai Gloves
Raja is another quality brand that doesn’t have a big distribution. If you want to wear Raja gloves then you will pay a higher amount than the other brands listed. At the higher end of their gloves they have a Lamb Skin glove that looks and feels extremely comfortable. See our review of RAJA boxing gloves.
The Worst Muay Thai Brands (Do Not Buy)
Thai Fighting – This is a low end brand that has the cheapest prices for Muay Thai equipment. They are the cheapest gloves you will buy, but the quality is terrible and I would not recommend purchasing anything from this brand. You get what you pay for when it comes to buying these cheap gloves. ***NOT RECOMMENDED***
FBT – FBT is a Thai sports store that also produces Muay Thai equipment. They are over priced in many places and the quality is lacking. Don’t trust a sports store to make Muay Thai equipment, as they do a terrible job at it. Stick to brands like Twins or Fairtex over these guys because they are overpriced and have a terrible feel. I would probably rate FBT as the worst Muay Thai brand out there, on par with those low grade products you find made in pakistan etc.
Summary – What to Choose and Where to Go from Here
If you are planning on purchasing a some new Muay Thai gloves for Muay Thai training make sure you should stick with the standard Muay Thai training gloves over a pair of Western Boxing gloves. Muay Thai has clinching and kicks which Muay Thai gloves are better suited for than the more generic boxing glove style.
However, as a second pair of gloves, I do recommend you look at a non-muay thai glove which are much better for boxing sparring and bag/pad work for your hands over Muay Thai gloves. There is room enough in your bag for TWO pairs of gloves, so don’t feel limited to only Muay Thai gloves or boxing gloves.
Ideally you want one pair of gloves and a smaller pair of training gloves. If you can only afford to purchase one pair of gloves, stick with 12-14oz gloves so you can use them for bag and padwork.
If you want a single pair of gloves for everything, including sparring, go with a pair of 16oz glolves. Keep in mind though that hitting pads and the heavy bag with 16oz is not so comfortable as the gloves are a bit heavy and you will probably find yourself buying a lighter pair of gloves for those activities after a couple weeks!
The brand of glove you choose doesn’t matter, as long as it is made in Thailand. Stick to anyone of the brands on our list above (or read our ultimate guides to muay thai or boxing gloves) and you won’t be disappointed with your purchase.
If you are looking to learn more about the different Muay Thai gloves on the market, read our 10,000 word Ultimate Guide to the Best Muay Thai gloves. This is packed with all the information (and our reviews and picks) for the best PURE Muay Thai gloves. These are gloves you will want to use if you want to train Muay Thai.
For MMA, Kickboxing, and Boxing however, you may want to look at more general boxing gloves rather than PURE Muay Thai gloves. We’ve also cooked up a comprehensive list for boxing gloves. Read our Ultimate Guide to the Best Boxing Gloves article for a detailed best list of the western boxing glove brands to help you pick out the right glove brand and model.
We feel this is by far the most comprehensive article about boxing gloves on the web, so definitely check it out for specific recommendations (we give our Top 15 Best Boxing Glove picks). We’ll also be cooking up a list of the best MUAY THAI boxing gloves (the aforementioned link given applies to pure boxing gloves, not necessary Muay Thai gloves of which there is a difference).
We have a number of Muay Thai gear guides to help you guys pick the best stuff so you don’t wast your money. DO READ them please before spending money on new gear!
- For our picks for the best boxing gloves – read our Ultimate Guide to the Best Boxing Gloves (6000 words)
- For our picks for the best Muay Thai gloves — read our Ultimate Guide to the Best Muay Thai Gloves (10,000 words).
- Need handwraps? Then check out our Ultimate Guide to the Best Handwraps
- Need shinguards? Check out our Ultimate Guide to the Best Shin Guards
- Need Thai Kickpads? Check out our Ultimate Guide to the Best Kickpads