Kickboxing isn’t just a high-intensity workout that burns calories and gets your heart pumping, it’s also fun. Unfortunately, you can be at risk for injury if you don’t wear the right gear when you train. To keep your hands safe during your workout, you need a pair of high-quality kickboxing gloves.
Kickboxing gloves are similar to boxing gloves, but they’re available in a few different types that affect how much protection they offer. Some have minimal padding and aren’t suitable for sparring, while others are designed for at least partial contact. However, the best gloves don’t just provide protection: they also offer traction and support to protect you and your opponent when you throw punches.
If you’re looking for a great pair of kickboxing gloves, we’ve got plenty of tips in our buying guide to help you decide on the best type, weight, size, material, and other features, so you can find the best gloves for your next workout. We’ve also included several specific product recommendations to help make your shopping even easier.
Kickboxing gloves don’t just offer protection for your hands when you’re sparring; they also protect your partner from getting seriously injured.
When shopping for kickboxing gloves, it’s important to understand the different types available to ensure you have proper protection.
Bag gloves offer the least amount of protection of any kickboxing glove type because they’re not intended for impact with another person. Instead, they’re used for practicing or training with a punching bag.
Semi-contact or training gloves provide more protection than bag gloves, so they can be used with both training pads and punching bags.
Sparring gloves offer the most protection because they’re designed to withstand impact with a training partner.
Mixed martial arts (MMA) gloves are often used for kickboxing. They offer some padding, but they’re fingerless and may have an open palm for a less restrictive design.
Getting the glove weight right is essential if you want to be successful in your training. For beginners, lightweight gloves are usually your best bet.
Training: Look for 10- or 12-ounce gloves for training with a punching bag and pads. If you’re more experienced, weigh more, or have a harder punch, opt for 14-ounce or heavier gloves for training.
Sparring: You’ll usually want 16-, 18-, or 20-ounce gloves for sparring, depending on your weight. However, if you’re a lightweight, 14-ounce gloves might be a better option. Keep in mind that lightweight gloves aren’t suitable for sparring because they don’t offer enough padding for your hands.
Finding the right size in kickboxing gloves is extremely important, but it can be tricky when shopping online. Your weight is a good indicator for the size of gloves you should use. Some basic weight and size guidelines for kickboxing gloves used for training are as follows:
- 90 to 119 pounds: 8-ounce gloves
- 120 to 149 pounds: 10-ounce gloves
- 150 to 185 pounds: 12-ounce gloves
- 185 pounds and up: 14-ounce gloves
Depending on how often you kickbox, you might have to replace your gloves every couple years. The padding can break down over time, and the gloves may develop odors.
The material that kickboxing gloves are made of goes a long way in determining the amount of protection they offer, how comfortable they are, and even how durable they’ll be. The most common options are vinyl, leather, and a combination of the two.
Vinyl gloves are the most affordable, so they’re usually the best choice if you’re new to kickboxing or practicing it as a fitness activity, but these gloves aren't necessarily the most durable or comfortable. Because they don’t breathe well, they can cause your hands to sweat, so they shouldn’t be worn for extended periods.
Leather gloves are highly durable, typically more comfortable, and breathe well because they’re made of a natural material, but you’ll pay more for them. If you’re an experienced or competitive kickboxer, leather gloves are an ideal option.
Combination gloves that include vinyl and leather are less expensive and lighter than leather gloves, but they breathe better than vinyl gloves. These are a good option if you occasionally spar and want more durable, protective gloves that won’t break the bank or leave you with sweaty hands.
Kickboxing gloves have two types of closures: loop and lace.
Loop closures use hook-and-loop fasteners, so they’re extremely easy to put on, take off, tighten, and loosen. They work well for beginners or those who are kickboxing as a fitness activity.
Lace closures allow for a tighter fit and provide greater wrist support, but you’ll need someone to help you put them on and take them off. These are a better option for sparring and competitive kickboxing.
To ensure that you have adequate protection for your hands, it’s essential to consider the type and placement of the padding in kickboxing gloves. Some pairs use traditional foam padding, while newer designs have gel padding. Both types can effectively protect your hands, but gel padding is usually more durable. Kickboxing gloves with gel padding typically cost more as a result.
It’s also important to consider where the padding is located in the gloves. If you’re going to be training with a punching bag, you’ll want a pair with a great deal of padding at the front of the gloves.
DID YOU KNOW?
Don’t leave your kickboxing gloves in your gym bag. That’s the surest way to wind up with a stinky pair. After each use, air out the gloves and occasionally wipe them down with antibacterial wipes.
Kickboxing glove prices
Kickboxing gloves vary in place based on the type, weight, material, and other features. Most gloves cost between $15 and $225.
Inexpensive: The most affordable kickboxing gloves are MMA-style gloves or youth-size bag gloves. They’re usually made of vinyl and have loop closures. These gloves generally cost between $15 and $45.
Mid-range: These kickboxing gloves are usually adult-size bag gloves, higher-quality MMA gloves, or training gloves. They’re typically made of vinyl and have loop closures. They offer fairly substantial padding to protect the hands, but they’re not suitable for sparring. These gloves generally cost between $40 and $100.
Expensive: The most expensive kickboxing gloves are adult-size bag gloves, training gloves, or sparring gloves. They’re typically made of leather or a combination of leather and vinyl and can feature either loop or lace closures. They offer the most significant padding to protect your hands, and many pairs can be worn for sparring. These gloves generally cost between $100 and $225.
Weighted gloves are a good option for cardio kickboxing. They can help boost your workout and increase the number of calories you burn.
- Consider your punching speed. When choosing a size for your kickboxing gloves, consider both the protection they offer and how they affect your speed. Heavier gloves offer more padding to protect your hands, but their weight can slow down your punching speed and affect your performance when sparring.
- Check the fit. Test a new pair of kickboxing gloves by taking several swings while wearing them. If the gloves fit correctly, they’ll stay completely snug during the punching motion.
- Freeze smelly gloves. If you find that your kickboxing gloves are starting to smell, place them in a plastic bag and store them in the freezer for a couple hours. The cold helps stop the growth of bacteria that causes odors.
- Wrap your hands. Beginners or those practicing kickboxing as a fitness activity don’t necessarily need to wear hand wraps under their gloves. However, if you’re training with a partner or sparring, it’s a good idea to wrap your hands to give added support to your hands and wrists.
- Know when to replace your gloves. You can usually tell when it’s time for a new pair of kickboxing gloves by inspecting the seams. If you notice signs of wear and tear, such as cuts or rips, it’s time for a new pair. Gloves that are starting to break down can’t provide enough protection, which may result in an injury during training or sparring. Referees usually inspect each fighter’s gloves during kickboxing sparring events. If your gloves aren’t in good condition, you may not be permitted to fight.
- Invest in quality gloves. If you’re new to kickboxing and don’t train that often, an affordable pair of gloves is usually sufficient. However, if you spar or train regularly, you’ll want to invest in a more expensive, higher-quality pair. That can prevent you from having to replace them too often.
Besides offering extra protection for your hands, hand wraps also absorb sweat, reducing the risk of your gloves developing an odor.
Q. Do I really need gloves for kickboxing?
A. If you’re assuming that kickboxing is all about kicking, think again. You need gloves because it also involves throwing punches. If you’re sparring or training with a partner, you obviously need to protect your hands, as well as your partner, from injury. However, even in cardio kickboxing classes, you’re throwing punches at a bag or pads. Gloves protect your hands from injuries that might derail your training.
Q. How are kickboxing gloves different from boxing gloves?
A. Boxing gloves are designed to protect the hands while you throw heavy punches over an extended period. Kickboxing gloves offer protection not just when you throw punches but for catching and blocking kicks too. The two types of gloves can be similar in shape, but kickboxing gloves usually have a square shape, while boxing gloves are rounded. The padding in kickboxing gloves is more evenly distributed around the entire glove, while boxing gloves generally have more padding across the knuckles. Kickboxing gloves are less rigid than boxing gloves too, so you’re able to grasp your partner when defending yourself.
Q. What’s the best way to clean kickboxing gloves?
A. After letting the gloves air out and dry for at least an hour, use a cloth to wipe out any remaining moisture. Clean the gloves with some salt water on a cloth to remove any residue without damaging their texture. Finally, treat the gloves with an antibacterial spray to ensure your gloves won’t smell the next day.