Top Things to Consider When Choosing Kickboxing Gloves

If you’re growing tired of the same old fitness routine, why not add a little variety and try out kickboxing? It’s a fun and exciting way to get that full-body workout, burn stubborn calories, and release pent-up stress. Adding one kickboxing session a week is all it takes to spice up your training schedule. To begin, all you have to do is choose from dozens of kickboxing gyms and get the basic gear.

What is Kickboxing?

Kickboxing is a full-contact martial art first developed as a form of self-defence, to eventually evolve into an organised combat sport around the 1960s. It draws its origins from medieval Muay Thai, and a number of other martial arts with which it shares similar striking moves and techniques. There are some differences though. While Muay Thai allows the use of elbows and knees, as well as clinching and sweeping, kickboxing focuses more on various kicking and punching techniques.


The Gear

Reaching competitive bouts requires high levels of fitness, stamina, and coordination. Basic gear that will get you there includes kickbox gloves and hand wraps, as well as head, mouth and shin guards. Sparring partners will have focus mitts or Thai pads to cushion blows. Speed and agility are best built around a punching bag, but any aspiring kickboxer will also put effort into regular cardio, weight, and strength training with the usual gym necessities.

Can I Use Boxing Gloves?

While gyms do have all the basic kickboxing gear, sharing gloves or guards isn’t exactly everyone’s idea of fun. After a few lessons, you’ll want your own stuff and something that will inspire the confidence to hone and build skills and technique.

Kickboxing draws in crowds from different combat sports, and boxers in this regard are no different. If you already have a pair of decent bag or training boxing gloves, then these will be fine in pad training or sparring but for competitive bouts, this is where the similarities end. There are differences in size, shape, and amount of padding between boxing and kickbox gloves. Kickboxing and Muay Thai fighting gloves tend to be bulkier and squarer, have wider palm sections, and have less support for the wrist in the cuffs. In addition, thumb sections are more flexible and moulded into the glove frame.


How Designs Differ

Glove Padding

The padding is what will protect hands and fingers when throwing punches. And since landing blows to your opponents is done differently, padding is different in kickboxing gloves. There’s more of an even spread of padding, not just in the knuckle and thumb areas, but also the palms and the back of the hands to shield kickboxers from oncoming kicks.

Thumb Sections

Since gripping and clinching are more of a feature in kickboxing, thumb sections are differently designed as well. In boxing gloves, these tend to be more in a tucked-in position, whereas kickbox gloves have thumb areas that allow for more movement when attempting grabs and catches. Thumb sections are straighter and often less padded.

How Flexible are Kickboxing Gloves?

This is one of the major differences between the two types of gloves. Boxing gloves err more on a tighter feel, while Muay Thai and kick box gloves ensure easier opening and closing of the hands. There’s more leeway in moving the hand within the gloves as there’s often no grip bar. In addition, wrist support is leaner. Lace-up designs here are rare, and typical kickboxing gloves will have a Velcro hook-and-loop wrist section. To get a fair amount of wrist protection, pair gloves with decent hand wraps.


Choosing Your Next Pair of Gloves

Getting the right gloves all depends on the type of activity you’ll be doing most often. Size is the most crucial factor here as this determines the amount of padding and hence protection to the hands. It also affects weight, something that can build punching speed and stamina. Most boxers tend to go with heavier and better-padded gloves when doing the rounds on a punching bag or sparring and lighter gloves when engaging in a bout.

Glove Sizes

Sizes are determined by body weight and are in ounces (Oz.) Smaller boxers will need lighter gloves, anywhere between 10 to 12Oz, and taller, heavier boxers can choose between 14, 16 or 18-ounce gloves. This is for competition use. Heavier gloves are recommended in bag and pad workouts, both to avoid injury and build punching strength.


As with boxing gloves, materials in the kickboxing variants will impact overall durability and comfort. They also determine the price. Leather is the best option if you want gloves to last and you’re serious about your training intentions. Synthetic leather and microfibre warrant most of the benefits of genuine cowhide leather gloves, including optimal comfort, breathability, and fit, but tend to be cheaper. Basic beginner gloves are often optioned in PU plastic though are best avoided as you’ll soon be swapping these out for something more worthwhile.


Internal padding consists of multi-layered foam in just the right amount to offer the needed protection. Also, pay attention to the quality of the stitching as well as the Velcro straps. A decent pair of leather gloves should see you through the better part of a couple of years before rips and tears start appearing.