Muay Thai Gloves
What gloves do you use for Muay Thai?
For Muay Thai training and fighting you should consider wearing Muay Thai specific gloves. Regular boxing gloves aren’t as well suited to Muay Thai, and it should be noted that Muay Thai gloves and regular boxing gloves are not the same.
A wide range of brands produce specialized Muay Thai boxing gloves (Twins Special, Windy, Fighter, Fairtex etc).
What is the difference between boxing and Muay Thai gloves?
Muay Thai boxing-specific gloves are different from regular (Western) boxing gloves.
Muay Thai and Western-style boxing are completely different sports. So to meet the demands of each, gloves are adapted to best fit the intended purpose.
Differences in glove design and construction fall into two main areas: Protection and Dexterity.
Protection; Muay Thai combines many more types of striking versus regular boxing. As such, padding is spread more widely throughout the glove to lessen the blow of heavy impacts. This is true for both striking and defense. In Muay Thai, you need to be able to use your hands to defend against fierce kicks, knees, and elbow strikes. A good example is that on most Muay Thai gloves you’ll find significant padding along the bottom edge of the hand. This is absent in normal boxing gloves.
Dexterity; Muay Thai contains a much greater element of holding and grappling than regular Western boxing. For this reason, Muay Thai gloves must allow greater flexibility, dexterity, range of motion of the hands, and better grip for grappling situations. In Muay Thai gloves you’ll often observe more open palms, less protected thumb positioning, and greater deviation from the curved ‘clenched fist’ type configuration you’ll find with regular boxing gloves.
What weight gloves are used in Muay Thai?
For Muay Thai training and sparring, most athletes will wear gloves in a weight range between 12-16oz depending on the size of the fighter.
The weight of gloves worn in Muay Thai competition will depend on the individual tournament regulations. Again, glove weight usually depends on the size of the competing fighters. Typical Muay Thai glove weights for professional bouts are:
- 100-126 lbs fighters → 6 oz gloves
- 126-147 lbs fighters → 8 oz gloves
- 147 lbs and greater → 10 oz gloves
What are Muay Thai gloves made from?
Muay Thai gloves are constructed using several parts:
- Glove Covering Material
- Padding material
- Lining Material
Let’s take a look at each:
Muay Thai Glove Material
Materials used to cover Muay Thai gloves fall into two categories. Real Leather or Synthetic (such as PU, polyurethane).
The best glove covering material for Thai Boxing is real leather.
Leather Muay Thai gloves tend to last significantly longer than synthetic alternatives and usually offer better protection for your hands.
Glove Padding Material
Shock-absorbing padding is distributed around the hand. The padding material stuffed within the glove is usually latex/foam. Synthetic latex is a good option for glove longevity and protection.
Inside the glove will be a thin, breathable liner material, most often nylon.
Muay Thai gloves can be found in both Velcro and lace-up type.
Can you spar with 14 oz gloves?
For normal-sized adults, 14 oz gloves are a good glove weight to use for Muay Thai training and sparring. Very strong or bulky athletes may benefit from selecting heavier 16 oz gloves for Muay Thai training and sparring, for extra padding and protection.
In competition, it is probable that you’ll be required to wear lighter 8 oz or 10 oz gloves. But for training and sparring, scaling up to a 14 oz glove is usually the most sensible option.
How many Muay Thai gloves should I have?
One for each hand! (joking).
If you are serious about Muay Thai boxing and plan on fighting competitively, at some point you’ll want to own at least two pairs of gloves. One for training and another for competition.
For Muay Thai training and sparring you’ll usually need a 14 oz glove. Meanwhile, in competition, you’ll probably be required to wear a lighter 10 oz glove (depending on the bodyweight you are fighting at).
If you are training every day (or more than once each day), especially in a hot and humid climate such as Thailand, you’ll want to consider hygiene too. It’s important to take good care of your hands to prevent odors, irritation, infection, and injury which could keep you out of the gym.
You should (really!) put on fresh, clean hand wraps before each session. The hand wraps absorb most of the sweat and dirt and are easy to wash between sessions.
But periodically, you’ll want to clean your gloves too to make sure they stay tip-top and hygienic. For this reason, you may decide to own more than one pair of training gloves.
And of course, some people end up owning a pair of ‘lucky’ Muay Thai gloves which are reserved for special occasions.