RDX F7 Ego Muay Thai Gloves
RDX is a popular brand w/extensive line of Muay Thai gloves
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RDX F7 Ego Muay Thai Gloves
Before I start with this review, I should fairly disclose that I experienced a pair of some sort of RDX gloves years back and I was wholly disappointed with them. It would have been when the company was fairly new on the market- at least in SE Asia where I am based- and I had never heard of the brand before. A student came into our gym with a pair that he had purchased somewhere and left them behind when he returned home a few weeks later. I think he just couldn’t be bothered to carry these aromatic, bulky things back with him in his luggage. Within a few weeks I tossed them as they weren’t even useful as loaner gloves for our students.
Looking back, I can concede that it was a long time ago and I assume the company was new and probably just starting to get their shit sorted out. I get it, Sometimes it takes awhile when you just begin a project and you must go through some growing pains. However, as a result of those gloves and a few other ”knock-off” brands that I have come across, I formed the resolution that I will never purchase Boxing/Muay Thai gear made in Pakistan (where RDX products are manufactured). I know that’s not altogether fair, but when I get contacts from suppliers in Pakistan, particularly a place called Sialkot, Pakistan, I instantly cringe.
But time has passed and RDX is undeniably a popular brand with an extensive line of gloves, shorts and, well, really all things Muay Thai, Boxing or MMA related. So, I decided to revisit the brand and here are my thoughts.
But before I start…
I want to begin by trying to reset my expectations. In my many reviews of gloves and similar Muay Thai gear, I have stated that I would only ever purchase 100% cowhide leather gloves when possible for use in my gym, and would only recommend those to our students when they were looking to purchase their own. That said, virtually every manufacturer is making a cheaper glove constructed of some sort of synthetic leather with some fancy-sounding name which probably tricks some people into believing they are real leather.
I know. Real leather is expensive. Manufacturing costs are skyrocketing. And this industry is desperately looking for ways to produce products that people can afford. Synthetic leather for use in these kinds of products can drastically reduce their price and make them accessible to a growing number of users. Many people simply cannot afford a hundred, two hundred or sometimes even more dollars for a quality set of gloves. So they turn to products made with cheaper materials that they can afford.
In the case of the RDX F& Ego, the material is called Maya Hide Leather. Not leather. Not cowhide. Maya Hide, which incidentally is trademarked. To be fair, these days the synthetics are getting better than the old vinyl, crappy gloves that would split and tear at the slightest use.
But one of the nuanced pleasures for me of getting a new pair of gloves is when I first tear into the plastic packaging and take a big whiff of new leather. Sadly, Maya Hide doesn’t deliver that. However, for the price, I guess it can be forgiven.
The design, on the other hand cannot. I know that the RDX F7 Ego is an older and, according to various sites, the most popular model made by this brand. But the weird graphics on the glove with a two-toned stripe with the weird “dripping paint” effect looks like a reject from Design class 101. I don’t think I’m being harsh. The gloves come in various colors, but the design is the same and it looks a bit amateurish. I can forgive the lesser materials so that I can have an affordable glove amongst our retail gear, but that glove should at least be attractive so that I can move it off the shelves. Somehow I don’t see that happening here.
I tried the 14oz version in white with red and grey splashes. The black lines were the ones dripping on this model. They aren’t awful, but I don’t think they will be an eye-catcher if you are selling other moderately priced gloves from your place. The piping around the outside edges of the glove where it rests against your forearm was red and a nice design element. This piping also is on the edges of the Velcro strap. I like it. It does look good. There’s a fairly large patch on the outside of the Velcro strap along the outside with the RDX logo and some words that say ‘Giant Inside’ and below that ‘Fitness Gear’. It looks OK and doesn’t detract from the glove.
These gloves are bigger than comparable gloves from other manufacturers. The cuffs extend up your forearm a bit further- more like a boxing glove than a Muay Thai glove. Usually, the Muay Thai gloves don’t reach that far up to allow a bit more movement and flexibility when clinching. However, I believe a lot of people would like this feature. It offers that little bit more protection when blocking strikes and theoretically should cut down on some bruises.
I miss the leather smell and this glove will not when any fashion shows.
I first tried on these gloves without wristwraps. They feel good. I liked the internal materials. I have large palms with short, chubby fingers often likened to a bunch of bananas! These gloves fit well. I’ve read other reviews that have said they felt that the F7Ego is better for narrower hands. That’s not my impression. I felt that there was plenty of room for my bear-like paws.
Still other people have said that they are not great for people with long fingers. I can’t attest to that one way or another. It seems to me that for it to be a problem, you would have to have exceptionally long fingers for them to feel crowded. But I have no reference point. The longer cuffs are comfortable, no doubt about it. There are some breathing holes in the palm of these gloves, but I feel like the less breathable synthetic material mitigates that.
I then tried on the gloves with my hands wrapped. I use 2m elasticated wraps from Twins. They are older and not so stretchy and somehow these seem to get thicker over time rather than thinner. Getting the gloves on was easy enough. I felt they fit a bit snug, but again, the gloves are comfortable. New gloves are almost always comfortable. These were no exception.
Working the heavy bag, I liked the feel of the gloves. The padding is good and maybe even more comfortable than my main bag gloves. There’s a nice pop back when you land your strikes. The padding is legit. The wrist protection is great with the longer cuff and also the Velcro strap is longer than most, giving the wrist more stability.. Maybe even a touch too much stability. I did notice that I wasn’t able to turn the wrist over so much to deliver some shots, like the American left hook with the same sting, but it was subtle.
I asked one of the trainers to clinch for a round just to feel how that extra cuff length would handle it. This is definitely where I felt it the most. Here you probably want to have a bit more flexibility in the wrist. Not a major problem and if this is your everyday glove you will definitely forget about it, adapt and move on with your training.
Surprisingly, I would rate this glove highly for fit.
I’ll admit, this glove is not the same quality as the first RDX glove that I tried all those years ago. The manufacturers in Pakistan have stepped up their game. The materials- the misleadingly named Maya Hide Leather- is much better than whatever they used before. Even though they are still synthetic and will never match up to a genuine leather glove, I have to give them credit. In my opinion they are comparable to even some of the top brands’ budget gloves (Fairtex has some decent synthetic leather gloves).
But even after just a single use, I noticed some slight fraying around the outside piping. For a complete beginner who may use these gloves 2 or 3 times a week with ample time to allow them to dry out between uses, the RDX F7 Ego is likely a good glove that you can expect to get a year or so out of.
But if you come to a hot place like Thailand for 2-a-day training, serious sparring, clinching and heavy bag work, I think you’ll eat up the F7 Ego up inside of a month. There’s nothing particularly wrong with this glove, but there’s just a big step down in quality from leather to any of these synthetic, vegan-friendly gloves.
All that being said, I am trying to rate this glove for what it is- an entry-level, inexpensive glove accessible to promote the sport amongst beginners and those who would balk at the price of high quality gear. Keeping that in mind, understand I am not comparing it to top-end models.
Value for Money
When it comes to legitimate brand-name gloves, meaning that I am taking all the Twits Special, Fartex, Top Kink and other knock-offs out of the equation, the RDX F7 Ego is definitely one of the better gloves in its price range. I don’t need to belabor the point that synthetic is inferior to leather any longer.
You should be able to find these gloves retail for anywhere between 35-45 USD. That’s a good price if you will just keep in mind their limitations. Again, if you are using these gloves recreationally 2-4 times a week and can manage to allow them to dry in between uses, it will help extend their life dramatically.
As skeptical as I was about trying the RDX gloves out again after that first bitter experience awhile ago, I must say that they have far surpassed my expectations. Though I won’t be selling them in my gym, I can with good conscience say that they are great value for money.