Sandee Cool-Tec Lace-Up Pro Fight
Not the biggest name in Muay Thai, but one of the best!
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Sandee Cool-Tec Lace-Up Pro Fight
We recently were in the market for some lace-up leather boxing gloves for our fight night and, of course, this presented us a new opportunity to do a product review.
Virtually every set of gloves that we have in the gym are 12oz and 14oz gloves which are used for bag work, pads with the trainers and sparring. We have a couple of 10oz training (Velcro) gloves and a few 8oz pairs for smaller women and kids that come to train with us. But we don’t often deal with smaller gloves.
However, on fight nights most of the fighters go out with 8oz gloves here in Thailand. I can’t tell you if there is a specific standard that addresses this, but our trainers say that 8oz gloves are all they have ever used in fights. 10oz gloves are only used by the 70kg+ weight classes. And there aren’t that many Muay Thai fighters in Thailand that fit that body type.
When we had a few big guys scheduled to fight on a recent card, I realized that we quickly needed to source some lace-up leather gloves of the 10oz variety. I knew right away that Twins was out as they only start production when there are orders in. Fairtex similarly had been slow to deliver for us in Thailand and I was looking for alternatives.
Walking through the gym I glanced at some of the trainee gear that was on the racks and my eye was caught by a pair of Sandee Training gloves. I remembered the girl who had brought them and left them in the gym many months before. I had even commented at how well the gloves seemed to hold up to the rigors of being absorbed into the rental kit that we use for drop-in students. So I decided to take a flyer and contact Sandee to see if I could get some gloves from them on short notice.
So, my search started on the internet. And it was confusing. It was easy enough to find the website (sandeeboxing.com) But when I clicked on the link, I was presented with a big Sandee Thailand logo and an address in some place called Wrexham- which another search showed to be in Wales.
No offense to the Welsh, but I could not get my head around how a Muay Thai boxing gear manufacturer with quite some name recognition in Thailand could be headquartered in Wales. Admittedly, I have never been to Wales, but I envision a place of grey skies and green hills full of fat sheep.
I dove deeper, but everything kept pointing me back to this website. So, I wrote in. They quickly responded and told me to get in touch with a gym in Bangkok which is the sole Thailand distributor. As I wasn’t interested in the corporate structure, and just needed some gloves, I got in touch with them through their Facebook page. They were quick to respond and the gloves came to us in short order.
Unpacking the box (I ordered 4 pairs- 2 in red and 2 in a blue color scheme) and digging into the individually sealed plastic bags, each with a pair inside, the gloves immediately passed my first test. The smell test.
In pretty much all of these reviews, I tend to harp on about the superiority of genuine leather gloves as opposed to the myriad synthetic materials with deliberately misleading sounding names (Syntek, Maya Hide, PU Leather, etc). But the Sandee Cool-Tec lace Up Pro Fight gloves didn’t disappoint. They are made from 100% cowhide leather and you can’t mistake that smell when you rip open the plastic packaging. The rich leather scent gave me a quick sense that I would like these gloves.
Obviously, I wouldn’t be using them. They are strictly reserved for the fighters on fight nights and remain under lock and key in my little office. The leather scent still remains strong and is currently winning the fragrance war against the much older and harder used athletic cups also occupying the space. Our 4 cups get rotated through the fight card at each fight and only get a spritz of Bio Aid and a dose of sunlight in lieu of a cleaning. I don’t think the “new leather smell” will hold up for long.
So, back to the gloves… They look really nice. The layout of the design is good. The word ‘Unbreakable’ is written across the thumb. The colors are eye-catching. I was impressed. Normally, I judge a glove on two things- it’s durability trumps all other considerations. But I also want to know that if I buy a glove to add to retail, it will not take up space on my shelf for long. So, it does need to be somewhat sexy. And these Sandee gloves are sexy.
However, I won’t be selling these as they are lace-ups. Great for fighting, terrible for training. Lace-up gloves just suck for training- especially if you just want to hit a bag on your own. You need to either tie them loosely which defeats half the point of wearing a glove, or you need to go find someone to tie you up properly and then you can forego unscrewing the cap on your water bottle, easily inserting a mouthpiece or just scratching yourself until the end of your training session.
There is attention to detail on these gloves seems to be pretty good. The piping around the cuffs is not double-stitched. I found that disappointing. However, with real leather, there tends to be fewer problems. And as they will be in limited use, I suppose that won’t be an issue.
Inside on the sleeve of the glove there is some PVC or PU leather. It makes getting into the gloves a bit easier. And there is just a bit of it, so I doubt it would make any difference on the performance.
These gloves look legit.
Pulling the gloves on, I can feel that they are snug- very snug. My hands aren’t small and I wasn’t wearing wraps, and I still struggled to get them in. But that is to be expected. During a fight, you want that support. They are stiff around the wrist- again great for support, but there is enough flexibility to bend the wrists some, which is important in the clinch.
The upper palm area utilizes something they call Cool-Tec breathable mesh that is supposed to keep your hands from getting too hot. I doubt it will have much of an effect if you have your hands taped and wrapped for a fight- and I can’t imagine you would use these gloves for training. There’s a nylon inner lining that makes it easier to slide your hands into. The feel and fit of the gloves is legit.
This is a tough one to consider as I really haven’t had the gloves very long and they have limited use. Of the four sets that I bought, two pairs have been used for a total of 3 real fights.
There is a single pair of 10oz Sandee training gloves with Velcro rather than laces that has been left at the gym about 18 months ago. These gloves get almost daily use. And many days that equates to 3-4.5 hours a day. We have three sessions every day of the week. The gloves are noticeably dirty, but there is no structural damage to them yet. They probably will not make it another year at this rate. However,. It is safe to say, that pair of gloves is without a doubt the longest lasting pair of Muay Thai gloves I have come across in over 20 years as a gym owner. That single pair of gloves, left here by someone who trained with us for the better part of a year and then moved home, likely forgetting them, was the only reason that I decided to order Sandee Thailand gloves for our fight nights. I have no reason to think that I will need to replace these anytime in the next ten years. In fact, at that little usage, I would be disappointed. However, I’m sure that won’t be the case. I can only speculate, but I would also say that when it comes to durability, the Sandee lace ups are legit.
Value for Money
As I mentioned before, I purchased these lace up gloves partially because the supplier could meet the order in a quick timeframe which our fight schedule demanded. Previously, we used the Twins lace ups which I will review in a different article. The Sandee gloves were about 10 USD cheaper than the Twins. All these gloves made in Thailand retail for similar prices when they are similar products, i.e. size, materials, training/fighting… I was happy that the distributor didn’t make me jump through any hoops to get a wholesale price. He did ask for some photos of the fighters wearing the gloves if we had anything good. I’m posting a few of them here and sending them on to him. You can judge for yourself.
On the Sandee website, again it is based in the UK, the products range between 70-80GBP. That is fairly steep compared to what we pay for gloves here in Thailand. But I suppose there is shipping and import duties to consider. They are definitely in the same price category as other gloves. And I believe that the overall quality of the Sandee Cool-Tec Lace Up pro Fight gloves compares quite favorably for the competition.