Raja are some of the most visually stunning of the Muay Thai glove brands and also offer the most comfort. When you put your hands in a pair of Raja’s, you’ll know what I’m talking about. In terms of sheer comfort, Raja’s are in my opinion the best feeling and best looking of the Muay Thai gloves.
They are a more premium Muay Thai glove brand than Top King or Twins and they feel like it. However, despite feeling premium, they don’t last at all. The quality feels great, but the lifespan is not. I’m not sure why this is.
Another problem is that Raja gloves are hard as hell to find stocked in any stores down in Thailand, even in 2016. I hardly ever see anyone with a pair of these. From what I’ve heard a couple years ago, they are now made to order from the factory, which is probably why you don’t see them stocked in most gear stores down in Thailand.
The official ‘Raja’ store is found right on/in the Rajadamnern stadium in Bangkok, though last time I checked over a year ago, the store was closed down. I don’t know the status as of 2016.
Raja is the brand of gloves that Rajadamnern stadium fighters wear when they fight.
I love the general look of the Raja gloves. The sleek color schemes, awesome logo, and compelling glove design just all work together. Personally, I feel Raja are the best looking of the Muay Thai gloves, beating out the other major 6 or 7 Muay Thai brands. The Raja Premium glove models are particularly good looking with many of them featuring a nice creamy gold colors merged with a black or white background. These gloves, just look money.
The regular Raja gloves have a number of color options from single color, double color, and triple color scheme options. Size wise, the gloves about the same size as Twins, maybe a bit smaller, but nearly there. Raja is not a common brand you see at gyms; if you want a pair of gloves that look awesome and will stand out from the hordes of Top King, Twins, and Windy gloves you see at gyms, Raja is the brand you want!
The Build and Feel
The quality of Raja gloves are top notch. They feel as premium as they cost (and they cost about the same as Fairtex, more expensive than both Twins and Top King). The leather is high quality, soft,subtle, yet firm. The stitching is quality, nice and even. I can’t rave enough about how good these gloves feel when you put them on. They are mint, by far the most comfortable Muay Thai gloves I’ve used — better than Fairtex, Top King, and the like. Once you out these gloves on, you won’t want to take them off. That feeling carries through too when you hit the bag — you get that nice ‘crack’ as you hit the bag.
Like all Muay Thai gloves, there is a lot more padding on the front and back of the glove than regular boxing gloves. This of course is because you sometimes take kicks on the gloves during Muay Thai fights. The gloves also have some flexibility so you can grip with for clinch work and to catch kicks. From what I could tell, about the same as Twins and Top King, maybe a bit more flexible since Raja gloves are a bit softer.
If you want to learn what to look for in the right pair of gloves read our Comprehensive Guide to Muay Thai Gloves. Also read our Best Muay Thai Gloves article we wrote which compares all the gloves against each other.
Protection and Padding
Raja gloves have some great padding. Perhaps the gloves are so comfortable in the way the weight is distributed along the whole glove, so very even you almost don’t notice the glove there on your hands. In terms of the padding density, Raja takes the middle road — it’s not too much, not too little. Just enough to do the job and no more. I don’t really have any complaints with the padding.
Finally we come to the Achilles heel of the Raja brand. The gloves look amazing, feel amazing, and offer a top notch experience when you use them (in my opinion), but they don’t seem to last a long time here in Thailand.
I don’t know why this is the case, but they just don’t seem as durable as some of the other glove brands FOR HEAVY MUAY THAI USE IN THAILAND. This is not a knock on their quality (the leather is clearly high quality), but the glove leather on my pair were nice and soft and when moisture from training in Thailand seeped into the leather, holes started to appear on key parts of the glove, after heavy bag usage. Granted, my pair of gloves were at least 4 or 5 months old (there were some holes in parts of the gloves when I inherited them from a gym buddy) at least, but more holes started appearing.
I’ve asked around and a number of the Thai trainers have also confirmed that Raja (and Windy incidentally) don’t seem to last as long as the other brands. This could be one of the reasons (besides the fact Raja are hard as hell to get a hold of) why you don’t see too many Raja gloves floating around the local Thai gyms.
For regular usage in the less humid climates (say North America / Europe), you likely won’t have an issue with the durability of the gloves. But in Thailand, you’ll probably get 6 months out of a pair if you don’t rotate them with other gloves and properly dry them out between uses.
Note that Raja actually has two options for their gloves: regular cow skin and special lamb skin gloves. The cowskin is pretty soft, softer than the leather you find on Twins and Top King but the lamb skin even softer than that. It goes without saying that the lambskin gloves will be even less durable (they even say so on their website!).
Review During Muay Thai Training
I owned my pair of Raja’s for about 4-5 months. I basically inherited a pair that was already 4 or so months old (at least) and I used them till they fell completely apart. So I have a pretty good hands-on experience with this brand.
I used my Raja 16 ounce gloves for sparring, and they worked great, minus the fact there were some holes in the skin of the gloves around this time (by the thumbs). I particularly liked the weight distribution and the padding of the gloves for sparring. The gloves are about the same size as Twins and Top King. The density of the foam padding is not super soft however, so keep in mind these are not pillows.
They are great for throwing punches, but not as good when you get hit by them. I certainly wouldn’t spar in anything less than a 16 ounce Raja. Overall, Raja’s are a pleasure to spar with — they are comfy and you can really throw a fast set of combos with them with the excellent weight distribution. Next to a pair of pure boxing gloves (Cleto Reyes, Winning, or Grant) Raja are the best I’ve found of the Muay Thai brands for a pure ‘puncher’s glove. The only other Muay Thai brand of glove I loved so much for punching being Fairtex’s Angular Sparring Boxing gloves.
Another area the Raja’s are a pure pleasure to use. The weight distribution and the comfort make using these gloves on the heavy bag a pleasure. The gloves give you a nice amount of feedback on the bag — that crack when you hit the bag and a bit of a spongy bounce. I’ve only ever had 16 ounce Raja’s, so I can’t comment directly on what it’s like to use lighter gloves on the bag.
I’ve had a number of issues with my knuckles getting bruised in my gloves after heavy bag work (twice a day training). This issue was particularly pronounced when wearing Twins gloves. I never had this problem though when using my Raja gloves on the heavy bag.
Granted, how a glove feels on a bag is a deeply personal experience; as someone who loves to punch and actually prefers pure boxing over Muay Thai (even though I’ve been training nearly full time at a Muay Thai gym for years now in Thailand!), the Raja gloves just deliver the experience I’m looking for when hitting the heavy bag. I’d definitely say there are my favorite pure Muay Thai brand for hitting the bag.
Much like bag work, these gloves are great for hitting pads — you get that crack when you hit the pads and the gloves have a nice bounce. There is enough padding to adequately protect your hands but the weight distribution is excellent making them great for punching.
I used 16 ounce Raja Premiums for pad work; these did work, but I personally would have preferred Raja’s that were maybe 10-12 ounce for gloves. 16 were a bit big and heavy for it. Keep in mind 16 ounce Raja gloves are big gloves which can make hitting pads a bit awkward.
PROS and CONS
- Superior comfort and fit (my favorite ‘fit’ of all the Muay Thai brands)
- Fantastic Looking Designs (the logo + colors really stand out visually)
- Choice of cow or lamb leather
- Gloves are very soft
- Great on heavy bag and for sparring
- More expensive (Premium Collection, which in my opinion has the best looking and best fitting of their products)
- Not widely available (very hard to buy them. They are made to order)
- Not Very Durable (the softer leather gloves don’t last nearly as long as the cheaper brands like Twins and Top King)
The Final Word
Raja are one of my favorite pure Muay Thai gloves. Only Fairtex, the ‘champagne’ of the Muay Thai brands, offers something around the comfort and fit that Raja does, and even then Raja still does it better in terms of the size, comfort, and feel.
I can’t describe just how comfortable Raja gloves are. They are a real pleasure to hit pads, gloves, and spar with. If you can get a pair of RAJA’s, I absolutely recommend you do, if you can find them, that is. Just don’t make it your only pair of gloves as heavy usage will wear these babies out. If you want a work horse pair of (cheaper) gloves, go with Twins or Top King or better yet, Fairtex; but if you want something that looks stunning and feels money on your hands, get Raja. Just don’t make them your ONLY pair of gloves.\
Now, I’ve only used their premium gloves (RJB models), I don’t know how their regular Muay Thai gloves (RBGV-1) are. I’ve actually heard Raja may not even be manufacturing any more — their website is old and outdated and a number of their product links don’t even work. Their official store is right at the doorstep of the famous Rajadamnern Stadium, but last time I checked (about a year ago) when I wanted to buy a pair of lambskin gloves they were nearly out of stock.
They are lovely gloves, yes.
But I don’t recommend these as your first or ONLY pair of Muay Thai gloves. I feel for most casual Muay Thai students probably won’t get the best bang for buck from Raja.
What makes me hesitate to recommend these unconditionally are the fact they wear out faster than rival glove brands and how difficult it is to get them. They are priced a bit more expensive than TWINS and TOP KING as well. I don’t recommend these as your primary glove. However, I DO recommend them as a secondary pair of gloves to supplement your primary gloves.
Some of the best feeling gloves - snug, tight, and super comfortable. And some slick designs. They don't last as long with heavy usage as rival brands in Thailand, however.