If Ringside evokes and image of boxing, it’s because they have been one of the more popular mid-range boxing glove companies of the past decade. Ringside has morphed from a boxing glove maker to spawn an entire category of products for MMA and boxing — from shirts to punching bags, to boxing gloves. You name it, and they produce it.
Ringside caters to the traditional boxing crowd, yet also straddles the MMA world. As such, they were one of the first companies to improve some of the classic glove designs with newer technology (such as their foam injection technology for better protection).
These days, adding new technology to boxing gloves has pretty standard fare now, with other companies like Hayabusa and Rival consistently innovate boxing gloves with new engineered technologies as a matter of fact between glove model upgrades. But Ringside was one of the first boxing glove companies to do so, way back in the early 2000’s.
My General Ringside Brand Review
Before I look at and review some of the individual and popular RINGSIDE models, let’s talk about RINGSIDE in general and how their products stack up.
Generally, the quality of Ringside products is pretty good. Not the best, but certainly not the worst.
While they don’t make the best boxing gloves, they do make pretty good mid-range boxing gloves for sparring and general training. I rate Ringside boxing gloves pretty similar in quality and features to TITLE gloves and close to RIVAL, though RIVAL caters more to MMA mass market while Ringside and TITLE are the more mass market boxing brands.
Ringside are a solid mid-range boxing glove company, which means they make products suitable for 90 percent of the people who need or want a pair of boxing gloves.
These days, Ringside has extended their reach into the premium boxing glove market by becoming the official distributor for Cleto Reyes in the US (though Ringside does NOT make or manufacturer Cleto gloves).
However, RINGSIDE are also guilty of flooding the market with cheap, sub-par quality toy boxing glove models aimed at the casual user/fitness crowd. As such, the RINGSIDE brand is becoming watered down and, in some ways, going the way of Everlast as a mass market, low-quality brand.
I generally rate RINGSIDE as a good, affordable boxing glove brand for boxing gloves that are about $50-$80 range. Below or above that price range, and you don’t get good value for money with RINGSIDE boxing gloves and are best off looking at another boxing glove company that offers a better product for the same price.
Ringside Glove Models
Ringside, frankly, has a ludicrous amount of glove options available. And many of the models offered by Ringside are cheap, low-quality gloves geared for casual people and fitness freaks, not real boxers. In this way, Ringside is going a bit of the way of Everlast, catering to the mass market by offering low quality, low priced products.
Put it this way, if a glove is less than $40, you are typically getting a bare bones, corner-cutting glove that won’t stand up to rigorous training and will certainly not offer you the same protection as a $60 to $80 glove. It also won’t last very long.
My recommendation is to stick to the bread and butter Ringside models.
Ringside IMF Tech Boxing Gloves
The IMF tech gloves are the most popular Ringside, and their best buy gloves. These include a special injection foam padding that offers better foam protection through this technology.
Ringside’s popular sparring glove model and, I would posit, their most popular glove of all. This is personally one of my favorite Ringside gloves and very reasonably priced for what you get.. For sparring work on a budget, these are the gloves to get.
Similar to the sparring gloves, these feature the same IMF (injection foam) padding; however, the gloved are tuned for bag work and pads rather than sparring.
For heavy bag work, if you feel you need a specialized glove for that.
Ringside Gel Boxing Gloves
If you are really concerned with protecting your sparring partner during sparring sessions, the Gel shock gloves swap out the foam for a special gel padding. This means the gloves absorb a lot more impact energy.
This takes some of the sting off when punching people, though ideally both parties should be wearing this or you are at a clear disadvantage when sparring with these on. These are a higher priced glove than the IMF Tech Sparring gloves.
A gel variant model for bag work. However, the Sparring Gel gloves are a better buy.
Ringside Apex Gloves
Ringside’s entry-level boxing gloves. This is the price point/model where you get real boxing gloves, not that cheap fitness crap they offer at a lower price point.
These are affordable (about 50 bucks) and geared for bag work/pads. They are not as durable or comfortable as the higher models, and they are synthetic leather. But for a basic starter boxing glove that’s affordable, these are decent. The key feature is these are synthetic leather and lack the better foam padding system of the IMF models.
These are the cheapest real sparring gloves offered by RINGSIDE with IMF
foam, but cheaper materials used (synthetic leather rather than real leather).
The budget entry level bag/training gloves by Ringside.
Ringside has, regrettably, started catering to the mass market by offering dirt cheap boxing gloves for the fitness enthusiast. Some of these are not real boxing gloves and should not be worn for real training. They are for absolutely beginners and fitness workouts, not hard boxing training.
The cheapest ringside model and under $30 bucks. These are for beginners and fitness and have decent foam padding. Can you use them for real training? In a pinch, yes. But the quality is pretty meh, and they are made from vinyl. Recommended only for rank beginners or fitness. For real boxing, you are better off investing in twice this for a better glove.
As the title suggests, these are ‘fitness boxing gloves. This means, don’t use these for real training. For light bag work or rank beginners or cardio boxing class, these are fine. But for real hard bag work, sparring, and such, no.
The cheapest gloves you can buy with Ringside, at about $17 bucks. What can I say — you are not getting a real glove here. Can you punch a heavy bag with these without breaking your hands? Yes. Should you? No. Don’t buy these for real training. They are only for fitness.
Ringside Boxing Glove Reviews
I give a mini review of each of the major Ringside boxing glove models below.
I don’t cover every single model Ringside creates, but only their most popular models, well-known models.
Also, note that Ringside often puts out special limited edition glove models which are usually just the same glove but fancy logos or colors with the core feature exactly the same as the standard models.
Ringside IMF Tech Boxing Gloves Review
If you buy one pair of Ringside gloves, make it one of the IMF tech gloves. These are the cornerstone boxing gloves of the Ringside brand and by fair their best value to quality model from the entire lineup. The IMF gloves were one of the first boxing glove designs to feature a new way of building boxing gloves with a better sort of padding. Now, hype aside, the IMF, while quite padding, is not going to make up the 200 dollar difference for a pair of Windy or Grant glove padding, but still, it’s a better sort of padding than you’ll find over the standard foam most boxing gloves have. So I do recommend you select, if you do want Ringside boxing gloves, from the IMF Tech lineup.
The key difference here with the IMF foam is that the whole glove is made from a single piece of foam rather than layers of foam glued to each other. Because the whole glove is made from a single foam piece (much like a canoe is carved from a single tree log), it’s a much stronger glove and the glove keeps it’s original shape much longer.
IMF Tech Sparring Gloves Review
I’ve had my Ringside IMF Tech Sparring Gloves for something like ten years now. Granted, I haven’t been using them everyday. But the point is, I had them for nearly 7 years until I finally threw them away. The gloves really did last for years. The nice feature about the Sparring gloves is that they have a nice springy feel to them. The padding is quite absorptive though it’s more of a ‘bounce’ rather than a soft dampening (say winnings which seem to suck up the energy). You may or may not like that bouncy springiness.
The IMF tech, because of the single glove shape, seems to take longer to break in. The gloves are not immediately molded to your hands.
This is made even more so by an issue with the sparring gloves because, well, ideally you only spar in them which means it takes even longer to break these gloves in than bag/pad gloves — unless you want to use your sparring gloves on the bag, which you shouldn’t be doing anyways.
The overall design of the gloves is an attractive one. As stated, the shape of the IMF gloves is strong due to the IMF foam, and the actual shape of the gloves is rounded and tapered. These are not square gloves but start of with an ovalish head which tapers down to a skinnier wrist. It’s a good shape for punching with and cuts down on wind resistance.
IMF Tech Training Gloves Review
These are much like the sparring gloves but geared for bag and general training. Unlike the ‘Pro’ model, these feature Hook and Loop Velcro, which frankly, are better than the Pro’s Quick Tie gimmick.
Like all the IMF Ringside gloves, you get the advantages and disadvantages of the IMF tech. They are very durable and last long while keeping a solid ‘glove’ like shape (unlike some gloves that after a year of use, tend to melt like chocolate into some proto-shape rather than the sharply defined shape you started out with) However, the IMF padding makes the glove shape rigid and inflexible.
This can make it hard to squeeze your fists and require a long break in period. And while the IMF tech is supposed to absorb more punching energy, I do find it’s rather hard and rigid when you punch. This may cause some bruising on your two middle knuckles if you punch very hard bags.
IMF Tech Pro Boxing Gloves Review
These gloves feature the same tech as the IMF Tech Sparring Gloves but feature the Quick Tie, which is supposed to be a solution to the problem of Lace boxing gloves (which are impossible to put on properly by yourself).
In truth, it’s more of a gimmick than anything else and you even fully tightened up, they don’t offer nearly the squeeze that proper lace gloves have. I feel they are no better than regular velcro.
Part of the problem here may be the actual IMF tech. Since the entire glove is made from a single foam, rather than layers of individual foam pieces, the glove body is quite rigid. This means it’s hard to ‘squeeze’ the glove into the shape that hugs your fist and forearm.
There is also a rather uncomfortable inner tag that can chaff up against your skin. I recommend you cut the damn thing off to prevent this.
These gloves are basically the general training glove. You are supposed to be able to use them for bag work and sparring. However, they are a bit too rigid for sparring and are better for bag work. The IMF foam, while padded, can still be on the harder side.
I have had some issues with bruising my knuckles when using these for long periods on a really hard bag. So keep this in mind. IMF tech doesn’t mean they are necessary going to be any softer on your knuckles.
Finally, the IMF foam, once it gets old, gets very very rigid to the point where it’s difficult to make a proper fist. So while you maybe use these gloves for years, using them for years might not be the best idea.
Ringside Apex Gloves Review
I’m covering all the Apex models here with this general review. The Apex models include:
- Apex Flash Sparring Gloves
- Apex Bag Gloves
These are a lower model than the IMF tech gloves. You can get these in training and sparring versions, with the sparring models designed to absorb more impact and lighter than the bag gloves.
My feeling with these are that they are a decent entry level glove for someone who wants to pay around $50. There are some alternatives at this price point, however, that you should consider. For beginners, these gloves are not a bad buy: you get a nice looking glove, decent padding, and an affordable price.
Keep in mind that while they do have the IMF technology, I’m not sure if it’s just a layer of IMF or the full IMF padding (I think just as an addition rather than the full IMF molded glove). The Apex gloves also made from synthetic leather, NOT real leather like the IMF Tech series. So don’t think you are getting durable leather boxing gloves here because you are not. These are entry level gloves.
Overall, the Apex models are decent for cheaper beginner gloves. But unless you are really hurting to save thirty bucks or so, move up the model chain and buy the IMF which are a hell of a lot better.
The actual glove weight doesn’t seem to be very accurate, however, and can be off by as much as 2 ounces! This is a deal breaker when it comes to sparring. So if you do buy a pair, make sure you weight your gloves to see they are the what they are claiming to be in weight.
Usually, boxing gloves don’t count the velcro straps as part of the glove weight; but this makes gloves a bit ‘heavier’ than their advertised weight. In the case of Ringside Apex glove models, the gloves come in LIGHTER, which means there is less padding then you think. Maybe not a killer for bag or pad work, but for sparring, this is not a good thing.
Apex Bag Glove vs. Sparring Gloves?
Between the Apex Bag Gloves and the Apex Sparring Gloves, the bag gloves are much better. The sparring gloves are a bit too cheap, in my opinion, to be decent for sparring.
If you want to spar, do yourself a favor and go with the IMF Tech Sparring glove model. For basic bag work, though, the Apex Bag Gloves are not bad and will do the job, though they won’t last as long as the better leather glove models.
Ringside Gel Boxing Gloves Review
If you have a problem with sore knuckles when hitting the bag or you want even more protection during sparring, then look at the Gel Boxing glove variants. These are a bit similar to the Title Gel Boxing gloves in that they include a gel technology stuffed into the padding which helps break down the impact even more.
Ringside offers two “Gel” glove models.
- Ringside Gel Super Bag Gloves
- Ringside Gel Shock Safety Sparring Boxing Gloves
So are the Gel gloves better than the regular IMF or non-IMF gloves?
Yes and No.
The are more expensive, generally, than the other glove models (though sometimes about the same, so the pricing is a bit weird).
Ringside Gel Bag Glove Review
For the general bag training, the gel does absorb more of the shock, so it works. But I also find this ruins some of the wonderful feedback you get when hitting. The gel, at least to me, seems to absorb your punches. Good for protecting your hands, bad for getting a real crack when you hit the bag.
If you’ve got bad hands or knuckle problems, then these are a decent option though you’ll pay a bit more for them over the regular IMF tech bags.
I’m really not that much of a fan here of the gel bag glove and do prefer the regular IMF glove over it.
Ringside Gel Safety Sparring Glove Review
For sparring, the Gel Shock Safety Sparring model offers more padding. And they feature a suede thumb (which is of different material) so you can wipe away sweat (which surprisingly turns out to be pretty useful).
The wrist area features a bit more stability than the regular sparring gloves with a more rigid wrist area that offers a bit of flexibility near the upper part of the wrist. I thought this was a gimmick, but it actually does add comfortable wrist stability — more so than the regular IMF sparring mode.
But it seems to me the gel gloves feel a bit more weighty than the non-gen versions. I can recommend the gloves as good for protected sparring, but only if both parties are wearing the same gloves. If you are the only guy in the sparring ring with a pair of Ringside Gel gloves, you are definitely at an advantage. However, if you have hand problems, then you might want to consider these just for the extra protection they do provide.
Overall, I’m not that big of a fan of the Gel models — either the Gel Bag Gloves or the Gel Safety Sparring Gloves model. They do offer slightly more protection but at the cost of a slightly heavier glove and less ‘feedback’ when you punch with them. You’ll have to decide if this is a trade-off you are willing to make for more protected hands.
Like the IMF gloves, these don’t break in very easily either, which means you are going to live with a pair of badly fitting gloves for a few weeks to few months. Keep this in mind.
And there are some reports of quality issues with the gloves falling apart around some of the seams or thumb area after a couple of months. This never happened to my pair of gloves, truth be told, but people have reported this.
Ringside Fitness Glove Reviews
Also known as the (the avoid if you want to really train models)
At the lower end of the price spectrum, Ringside offers three cheap models that range from $15 to $40 bucks.
- Ringside Striker Training Gloves ($16)
- Ringside Extreme Fitness Boxing Gloves ($30)
- Ringside Pro Style Training Gloves ($23)
The Striker model is about $16 bucks on Amazon. And unless you hate your hands, don’t even consider it. Trust me, you are not getting a proper glove for $16, regardless if RINGSIDE has stamped it’s name. This is a toy boxing glove, suitable for waving your hands around in cardio boxing and slapping some pads with. But not real training. If you want gloves for a gym workout, fine, but nothing more.
The Pro Style Training Glove looks like more of a serious boxing glove than the other two and is a bit longer than the Fitness or Striker models, but it’s still a bottom of the barrel budget entry glove and costs about $23. Again, I’m loath to even class it as a real boxing glove. It does not have the IMF foam of the Fitness glove.
The Extreme Fitness Boxing gloves are slightly better material quality than the Striker, but still, a cheap glove that’s on the border between a toy glove and a real glove. It costs about $30 bucks. This glove has IMF foam and front side air ventilation but the quality is pretty mediocre. Pure beginners might be ok with this glove, but it’s not a glove you want to do any real hard training in.
If you have to get one of these low budget Ringside gloves, the Extreme fitness glove with the IMF foam is the best one to get. But it’s poorly constructed and of low quality. Only consider this if you are an absolute beginner or you want a fitness glove for the gym (not for boxing!).
The real boxing gloves start with the Apex model and will cost you about $50 bucks. You don’t get real boxing gloves with RINGSIDE until you pay that much.
The Final Word
I’ve given a pretty good breakdown of the RINGSIDE boxing glove models. Overall, I’m a fan of RINGSIDE as a quality mid-range boxing glove supplier. They are mucking around a bit, ruining their reputation, by producing subpar budget gloves to cater to the fitness crowd.
The problem is that people buy these cheap gloves thinking they are getting a real boxing glove for $16 bucks, which simply is not the case. In my opinion, RINGSIDE is abusing their brand and logo by slapping it onto this shoddily made crap.
However, when you look at the mid-range gloves (not the bottom budget level gloves) that are about $70-$90, you do get some pretty outstanding gloves from RINGSIDE.
Now keep in mind that RINGSIDE, in my opinion, don’t make the best gloves out there, but they do make some great mid-range affordable boxing gloves that offer a lot of value for what you pay.
If I had to choose a single ‘best RINGSIDE boxing glove’ that would be the IMF Tech Sparring glove which is just a really good, really comfortable, really long lasting sparring glove.
A second pick would be their general IMF training glove which is also a pretty good general training glove that’s under $80 bucks.
I’m not a big fan of the other glove models by RINGSIDE and would suggest you look at picking a similarly priced glove from one of the other glove brands — you’ll get a better glove for the same money.