How to buy Muay Thai gloves

How to buy Muay Thai gloves
In the past, traditional Muay Thai did not use gloves to protect boxers from injuries. The traditional fist binding, called “Kad Chuek” (คาดเชือก) is the way that commonly used. Kad Chuek is a traditional style of fist binding method that boxers in the past use to protect their fists from hand sprain and other injuries. By using soft string wrapping both on hands.

Today, Kad Chuek fist biding is rarely seen. We can see traditional one only in festival and performance that occasionally organized during the year (in Thailand).

Muay Thai formal competition today, boxers are required to use boxing gloves. The Muay Thai gloves used in formal competition are not different from the type of gloves used in western boxing, which they have different weight and classification.

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.

Punching gloves sizing are measured in terms of weight and for general-purpose training, they typically run from 8 to 18 oz. The heavier the gloves, the thicker the padding and theoretically speaking, the better the protection. Generally speaking, 12 or 14 oz is the norm for training and either is acceptable so long as they fit right and provide adequate padding for protection. If you are on the heavyweight scale, you can also consider a heavier 16-18 oz. 

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. Heavyweights will often put on larger gloves (18oz) for sparring. The 16oz has bigger padding which means it can absorb more impact both for the fist and the target. 

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.

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.

multiple layer padding is a must to effectively protect your hands. Cheaper gloves may have only 2 layers while quality gloves will offer 3 or even more layers of protective foam. Thinly padded gloves increase a chance wrist of an injury not only for you but also for your sparring partner. In general, sparring gloves have to be softer than heavy bag gloves.

Thumbs must be well protected to eliminate the risk of any injuries. And don't buy open thumb gloves - those are not for Muay Thai. Leave them for mixed martial artists and grapplers.

Gloves should be stiff around the wrist to prevent it from bending and to protect it from an injury. A wrist sprain is very painful and may put you off training for months.

Dense padding around the edge of the glove to protect your hand when blocking and checking kicks. This is very important since kicks in Muay Thai are very powerful and do a lot of damage.

Thai boxing gloves should fit well and have easy to use fastening straps. Gloves must fit tight without restricting blood flow and also offer extra space for hand wraps. If you don't always use hand wraps stiff wrist support is necessary.

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 for your first pair of Muay Thai gloves you should stick to Velcro gloves. However, if you already have a couple of pairs of Velcro gloves, there is no harm in owning a pair of lace-up gloves as well.

Lace-Up Gloves Pros:

  • They provide a close, secure fit around the wrist
  • The wrists are usually padded which improves comfort
  • They often have a longer cuff to fit the arm better
  • The wrists usually feel more streamlined and less bulky compared to Velcro gloves
  • With Laces there is no risk of Velcro scratching opponents

Lace-Up Gloves Cons:

  • They usually require the help of another person to lace up for you. This is usually fine in a gym or before a fight, but can be a pain when training alone
  • They’re slower to put on and take off, so not ideal for shorter bursts of training
  • Lace ends could cut opponents, so the gloves are usually taped up at the wrist when fighting

Velcro Gloves Pros:

  • They’re are quick to put on and take off during training
  • You can put on and take off the gloves without help
  • There are a number of different fastening styles of velcro attachment, all of which have different levels of fit and support
  • The strap itself can add an amount of support and protection

Velcro Gloves Cons:

  • The Velcro can sometimes scratch opponents
  • Straps can sometimes be too long and leave velcro exposed
  • Cheap Velcro can lose effectiveness over time and lose grip
  • Wrist support and fit can vary dramatically
  • Velcro Gloves usually have less padding around the wrist

Muay Thai is a high impact sports and right from the start, you will be hitting a lot of tough pads and dense heavy bags. If you want them to last, you are going to need reasonably durable gloves with good padding to withstand the constant and regular punishment.

Genuine leather lasts longer and has always been favored over the comparably stiffer synthetic leather. However, the quality of synthetic material has improved tremendously over the years. Just like real leather, there is a varying quality of synthetic leather with high-quality ones rivaling some genuine leather.

Synthetic leather and Microfiber leather are becoming a popular and great alternative to real leather. The ethically-inclined will also favor animal-free synthetics over real leather. Whichever your preference is, you will be able to find good hardy gloves in either material.

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