There’s a lot of gloves to choose from on the market, from some of the core Thai-style Muay Thai brands (TWINS, Top King, Fairtex, Yokkao, etc), to cheap ‘made for Amazon’ gloves, to the dozen or more established western boxing glove brands to choose.
Basically, it’s a galaxy of choice out there.
Boxing Gloves vs Muay Thai Gloves
We get this question a lot. The difference is minimal…and a lot, depending on what you want to do with the glove, how you train, and the type of sport.
However, for most people, it doesn’t matter whether you use regular boxing gloves or Muay Thai gloves. However, they are not exactly alike, and knowing the differences between the two is very important.
If you are a Muay Thai fighter that actively competes, you should primarily train using Muay Thai gloves. It is easy to understand why this is true. When you’re fighting in an actual Muay Thai fight, you will have to use Muay Thai gloves. Therefore, those are the gloves you should use in training most of the time.
So what is the difference between Muay Thai and Boxing gloves? To summarize, the main differences are that Muay Thai gloves are made to be more flexible so that you can clinch your opponent; they are manufactured with more padding in the wrist to block kicks, and their weight distribution is different. Because of these significant differences, there is a need to be educated on which Muay Thai gloves are best. That is the purpose of this article.
What Makes Me an Expert on Thai Gloves?
One reason is the considerable amount of time and effort I put into researching this article. More than that, I’ve lived and trained in Thailand, the home of Muay Thai for about five years, and before that, competing in Mixed Martial Arts and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I’ve had a number of Muay Thai fights, boxing matches, and fought in Canadian MMA and BJJ tourneys. In other words, I fight for a living.
In 10 years of training, I’ve used enough boxing gloves to become an expert on the subject. My experience with Muay Thai gloves is just as extensive. In the five years I’ve lived and trained in Thailand, I’ve sparred with every type of fighter there is: Russians, Thai fighters and from all over the world, professional kickboxers, MMA fighters, karate black belts, and even some Kung Fu fighters. Because of my considerable experience, I have a very practical understanding of which gloves are great, which ones are okay, and which ones should not be bought under any circumstances. This article is based on my personal experience with using Muay Thai gloves
Choosing the Best Muay Thai Gloves for You
The first step in learning which Muay Thai gloves are best is to know what kind of glove is best for you. There are such a large number of different weights, different styles, different materials, and specific use gloves on the market that it can be very confusing. If you buy the best pair of gloves money can buy, but they don’t fit correctly, weigh too much for training, or aren’t heavy enough when you spar, having the “best” pair of Muay Thai gloves makes no difference at all.
If you are already acquainted with how to choose the best kind of glove, skip ahead to the recommendations on the best types of Muay Thai gloves. This section will focus on choosing the right overall glove for your needs.
Let’s look at the various categories of Muay Thai gloves. All gloves are not created equal and for the same purpose. There are gloves that specific to one aspect of Muay Thai, but still others that are made to handle multiple types of training/fighting activities.
Muay Thai Training Gloves
Training gloves are general purpose gloves that can be used for most Muay Thai activities (assuming they are the correct size), including hitting the bags, hitting the pads, and sparring. These are your everyday use gloves, especially when using them with the heavy bag and the pads. Training gloves are usually the first pair gloves that a fighter buys. I recommend that Training Gloves are your first Muay Thai glove purchase because they are all-purpose and can be used for almost every fighting and training activity.
Standard Training Glove Weights: For most men, training gloves weighing 12 oz. are standard. This is a good starting point when buying trainers. Buy 14 oz. if you weigh 180 lbs. or more, or get 10 oz. gloves for ladies and men in the lighter weight classes (usually lighter than 130 lbs.).
Muay Thai Sparring Gloves
These gloves are made with corners and are thicker with padding at the knuckles and wrists. The lack of rounding and extra padding helps to protect the hands and face. These gloves are also fine to use when you are training. Sparring gloves can be used when hitting bags in the same way that some fighters use training gloves to spar. It is rare for a fighter to use a pair of gloves just for sparring. Typically, they spar with 16 oz. trainers. However, dedicated Muay Thai sparring gloves are made by the top Thai manufacturers. Frankly, it is a good idea to buy a pair of dedicated sparring gloves if you are going to spar often.
Standard Sparring Glove Weights: Most people will use 16 oz. gloves. Women and men in lighter weight classes should buy 14 oz. gloves. There are sparring gloves for heavyweights. The gloves weigh 18-20 oz.
Muay Thai Bag/Pad Gloves
These are specially designed gloves that are lightweight (weighing from 6 oz. to 12 oz.). They are made specifically to work with the heavy bag and pads. The fact is most bag gloves are made to absorb and pad the impact of your hand hitting the bag or pad. Therefore, these gloves are an optional purchase. If you wanted, you could use 8 to 10 oz. training gloves for hitting the bag or pad. The thinking is that the lighter gloves will allow you to go all out on the bags and pads. Personally, I think that they are a wasted purchase unless you really enjoy using a lighter glove.
Muay Thai Clinch Gloves
These gloves have very little padding and are Velcro lined so you can clinch and still have the punching protection of a glove. The gloves help to simulate an actual clinch and protect your opponent/training partner from nail scratches and finger pokes (a possibility with bare-handed clinching) and irritation from the Velcro (a hazard with regular boxing gloves when the Velcro is uncovered). Frankly, most people shouldn’t feel the need to buy these gloves. They should be bought only if you are really into clinching and it’s something that you will work on a lot. From what I have observed, native Thai fighters do not use clinching gloves, and if they don’t use them, you probably shouldn’t use them, either.
How Do You Find the Right Size Gloves?
This is one of the most important decisions you will make with your Muay Thai equipment. If you use a pair of gloves that are too light, you might damage your hands when you hit the heavy bag, or injure your training partners due to a lack of padding. On the other hand, buying gloves that are too heavy may lead to a lack of use because they are too cumbersome to use.
Sparring Gloves – 16 oz.
The ideal size (weight) for sparring gloves is 16 oz. These gloves are what most Muay Thai and boxers use for sparring. As always, there can be exceptions to the rule. Fighters weighing less than 140 lbs. can use 14 oz. gloves without a problem. Large fighters usually use 18 oz. gloves.
Bag/Pad Gloves – 12-14 oz.
If you are working a heavy bag or pads, you should use 12 or 14 oz. gloves. 16 oz. gloves will work on the heavy bag, but you may prefer the speed you gain from using a lighter glove. Overall, I suggest the use of 12 oz. gloves. The light weight will allow you to throw fast punches, but you will still get enough protection when hitting the heavy bag.
Fight Gloves – 8-10oz.
Professional Muay Thai fighters use 8 oz. gloves. Heavyweight fighters can use the 10 oz. gloves. The 8 oz. gloves work well for less than strenuous bag work and pad work, and particularly close to fight time when you want to simulate an actual fight. However, if you are going work a lot on the heavy bag, use the 10 oz. for maximum hand protection.
When choosing the best Muay Thai gloves, the two main criteria should be 1) the purpose of the gloves and 2) the amount of money you are willing to spend. The latter is answered by how you answer the question of importance. What is more important to you: buying the cheapest glove available or do you want the best glove regardless of price?
The following provides my ranking for the best Muay Thai gloves, preceded by gloves that fit certain categories. My hope is that this will help you select the right gloves for your training and fighting needs.
Best Muay Thai Gloves
Here’s our list of the best gloves for Muay Thai, broken down by categories to help you select the right glove.
The Best Muay Thai Glove: Fairtex BGV1
The Fairtex BGV1 Muay Thai glove is my pick for the best overall glove. This pick was decided on based on the follow criteria:
- Long Lasting
Only one product ranked at the top in all categories (particularly in the fabric, long lasting, and comfort categories), and it was Fairtex. If you could only afford to purchase a single set of Muay Thai gloves, this pair is the one to purchase.
Fairtex has been one of the world’s best combat equipment manufacturers since they began in 1971. Most authentic Thai brands produce quality merchandise, but Fairtex excels above other Thai brands with the quality and design of their products. Fairtex is the best Muay Thai glove maker (better than both Thai and foreign glove manufacturers) because of their outstanding quality. By way of comparison, if the Muay Thai brands Twins and Top King are Toyota Corollas, then Fairtex is a BMW.
The other brands are unable to match them for durability and quality. I can get a year’s use of Fairtex gloves with hard training and the heat and humidity of Thailand. The other top brand of gloves – Twins, Top King, Raja, Windy, Boon – have only lasted a few months before they fall apart, sometimes literally.
Because Fairtex products are well-made, they are more expensive than the other Thai brands.
The BVG1 are Fairtex’s most basic glove product. It is also their best seller, and offers the most value for what you receive. This should be the first pair of Fairtex gloves that you buy. As with the other glove makers, there are many different styles, colors, and types of gloves available.
Fairtex gloves are not as fancy looking as the other glove brands. Most of their models feature a simple logo and one color. More expensive Fairtex gloves are fancier, but they are as colorful or gaudy as Top King or Yokkao gloves.
Fairtex gloves are well balanced, and the gloves are made smaller than the similar sized Twins or Top King manufactured gloves. I enjoy using these smaller gloves, especially how they feel when I hit pads. The smaller, tighter design is compact enough to not feel heavy or cumbersome.
The BVG1’s smaller design makes them ideal for sparring. When sparring, it’s important to not feel weighed down by your gloves. These gloves’ lightweight feel help you to feel in control during sparring, when it’s important to have speed to be able to react to your sparring partner’s attacks, and then penetrate their guard. The Fairtex BVG1 16 oz. are almost equivalent to Twins 12 oz. gloves. This combination of weight and light feel and design is one of the many reasons that I feel that Fairtex gloves are the best gloves for sparring.
A pair of 12 oz. Fairtex gloves will cost about $73 on Amazon. Comparatively, the 12 oz. Twins Special design will cost about $62. That cost difference may seem very significant, but it is worth it to pay $10 to $20 more for such a huge quality upgrade. When you consider that MMA and boxing gloves usually cost around $100 (and often over than $130), Fairtex gloves provide one of the best values in combat equipment. This is especially true when you consider that their gloves are made of genuine cow leather, and are handmade in Thailand.
As you read this, you might not relate to or agree with my rationale concerning lighter gloves or my preference of fit. However, it is indisputable that Fairtex gloves are the best overall Muay Thai gloves. These are the gloves that you should buy if you want to buy a pair of Muay Thai gloves, and can only purchase one pair.
Runner-Up Choice: Twins Special Muay Thai Gloves
A larger person with big hands might be more interested in my runner-up choice: Twins Special gloves. They are not as well-made as the Fairtex gloves, but are still solidly manufactured. They are made by hand in a factory in Thailand.
Among Muay Thai fighters, Twins are a favorite Muay Thai glove. The Twins gloves are different from the Fairtex in the fit and how they feel. To tell the truth, choosing between the two glove brands will be decided by how you feel about how your hands feel when you’re gloved up.
The Twins gloves are roomier inside, and more suitable for bigger hands than the Fairtex gloves. Fairtex gloves are somewhat narrower in width, and not as thick in the glove’s back. Because Fairtex are smaller in size, I prefer to spar in them to the Twins gloves of the same size (A pair of 16 oz. Fairtex gloves are equivalent to a pair of 12 oz. Twins gloves).
However, one advantage that the Twins gloves may offer over Fairtex gloves is that they provide slightly more kick protection than Fairtex because of their thicker wrist and puffier front.
If you are buying your first pair of gloves, or if you are just beginning Muay Thai training, Twins are a great pair of gloves to use to begin your training. If you don’t like them, you can always switch to another brand, but trying Twins may be a good idea. They are thought to be the standard Muay Thai glove.
The Best Value Muay Thai Glove
Muay Thai gloves are inexpensive. Most gloves made in Thailand cost around $60, which is much less money than the cost of boxing or MMA gloves.
But when the price of gloves drops below $50, you are considering the cheaper type of gloves. Budget gloves are usually your most basic gloves. They are gloves with no extra special features or attributes that protect your hands from injury. These gloves don’t have special designs, or come in lots of colors. These gloves are for those people who want the basics and nothing more. But be careful – the cheapest gloves are not always gloves that provide protection. The gloves that are listed here are cheaper priced gloves to be use for training if you have no other choice.
Keep in mind that these gloves are not your standard Muay Thai gloves, but have been chosen based on low cost, and low cost alone.
Venum Challenger 2.0
If you want to buy the cheapest pair of gloves and that’s your number one criteria, the most inexpensive Muay Thai gloves you can buy abroad are made by Venum. They are made in Thailand, and are available to buy on Amazon for $45, a ridiculously low price.
The Venum Challenger gloves are made from synthetic leather, but they are made well enough, and work fine for beginning Muay Thai training. These gloves are my recommendation for the most basic but safe budget Muay Thai gloves.
If you plan to participate in an actual Muay Thai fight or you are going to spar often, you should use one of the more regular Muay Thai gloves brands (keep in mind that the glove weights will be different) because you will be fighting in one of those glove brands (Twins, Top King, or Fairtex) in a professional fight. However, Venum gloves are the best priced Muay Thai gloves for beginning students or those on a limited budget.
(The Venum Challenger 2.0 gloves are sometimes on sale on Amazon for less than $40, which is a great deal).
Even though these gloves are not constructed with genuine leather, they are well-made and have a decent design. They are actual Muay Thai gloves that are suitable for use in training. Since they are much cheaper than a pair of standard Twins Special gloves, the Venum Challenger 2.0 are my pick for a basic, inexpensive Muay Thai starter glove.
Runner-Up Choice: Title Classic Hook-and-Loop Leather Training Gloves
These gloves provide the best value for gloves that cost under $40 and are genuine leather. Alternative boxing or Muay Thai gloves of similar price are not genuine leather. Other than buying these gloves, to buy a pair of real leather gloves, you must spend at least $70 for a Thai glove, or around $100 for standard boxing gloves.
These gloves are not traditional Muay Thai gloves. They are boxing gloves, but since you can pay $35 and get genuine leather boxing gloves, there is no reason to complain. If you are just starting training, and won’t need to spar or clinch, you can use these gloves in any training setting, including Muay Thai training.
Runner-Up Choice: RDX Maya Hide Leather Boxing Gloves
The RDX Maya Hide gloves are good beginner gloves at a discounted price perfect for Muay Thai and boxing training. They are much cheaper to buy on Amazon than a lot of the Thai manufactured gloves I recommend. These gloves are a fantastic buy for a budget level purchase. As with other low-cost Muay Thai equipment, the construction is man-made, not genuine leather. Be advised that the reference to “leather” means that they are trying to convince unknowing buyers that this is actual leather. If you want real, naturally-occurring leather, do not buy these gloves because these are not made from cows.
Understand that I am not recommending these for hard-core Muay Thai training. These gloves are not the right equipment for real training. But they will work okay for a start. As your training progresses, you will want to trade up to a more appropriate glove for sparring and clinching, but the RDXs will work for you as you get started.
If you prefer training in boxing instead of Muay Thai, you should purchase gloves like the Title Classic Pros. These are well-made leather gloves that have more of the look and feel of genuine boxing gloves. The RDX gloves feature authentic Muay Thai construction and feel, along with the color scheme of an MMA glove.
The Best Contemporary Muay Thai Gloves
Although the basic design of Muay Thai gloves has not changed in some time, there have been advances made in glove material and design. If you can afford it, and want to enjoy the latest technological advancement in combat gear, you will want to buy a pair of contemporary Muay Thai gloves. Contemporary gloves have a different performance level and feeling to then than traditional gloves.
Contemporary gloves usually feature an updated glove design (with features such as shock absorption, gel pads, made of longer lasting material, antibacterial, breathable mesh fabric, and other additions). The appearance, features, and structure are often different from traditional Muay Thai gloves.
In the end, you will decide if you prefer a contemporary or traditional Muay Thai glove. If you happen to choose a contemporary glove, Hayabusa is my choice for the optimal contemporary Muay Thai glove, and the best contemporary boxing and MMA glove.
Best Contemporary Glove: Hayabusa Tokushu Gloves
Hayabusa is a combat gear manufacturer that invests heavily in research and development. Hayabusa is usually thought of only as a MMA gear manufacturer.
They make great equipment for boxing as well, especially their clothing and boxing gloves (their gloves are great to use for all combat sports – Muay Thai, boxing, and MMA training).
If Hayabusa was only good at making technologically advanced gear, it wouldn’t matter that much. Most fighters could care less about gear with fancy accessories. All they are interested in is having equipment that fits well, provides hand protection, and feels good when you are hitting pads, bags, or people.
Hayabusa excels in all three categories, having designed their end-product after lots of investigation and testing. Their gloves are extremely well-made and have the look and feel of a modern product. Hayabusa Tokushu gloves are perfect when training exclusively in Muay Thai, or training in Thai boxing in addition to your MMA training.
The gloves’ design allows it to be used for clinching, but has the heft of a traditional boxing glove more than a typical pair of Muay Thai gloves. They are also flexible enough to accommodate large hands comfortably without tightness. The gloves contain insulation and padding that protects the hands so that prolonged contact with the bag won’t cause bruising or injury.
These gloves will also work if you are only training Muay Thai, whether it is sparring or bag contact. It is common to see fighters in Thailand use Hayabusa gloves while training Muay Thai, and they swear by them.
However, you will not be able to use them in a regulation fight. Because of this, you should plan on buying a pair of regulation Muay Thai gloves like the Twins brand. Even so, the Hayabusa gloves will work as an additional pair to rotate with the traditional Muay Thai gloves.
Be advised that the Hayabusa gloves will cost on the high end. They are less expensive that Western Boxing glove brands Winning and Grant, but cost more than the Thai brand Muay That gloves like Twins, Top King, and Fairtex. For what you would spend on Hayabusa gloves, you could buy several pairs of the Twins Special brand gloves. You must decide whether to spend the extra money on the high-tech Hayabusa gloves or stick with a less expensive pair of standard Muay Thai gloves.
I strongly recommend that you buy a pair of modern, advanced Hayabusa Tokushu gloves to use in addition to your regular Muay Thai gloves.
The Best Sparring Muay Thai Gloves
Sparring gloves are unique. These gloves are like standard training gloves, but created especially for sparring. They provide a greater level of hand protection and improved padding to prevent injuries. If you want to buy one of the many styles of popular glove manufacturers to spar, you can certainly do that. And most of the time, they will be sufficient for your needs.
However, some fighters will want to have an advantage and be better protected than they would be with a non-dedicated sparring glove. In true sparring gloves, the protection is thicker and plusher than in regular gloves and sometimes, glove construction is cornered to facilitate punching.
Sparring is one of the most important aspects of Muay Thai training, and having the right equipment is crucial. The best sparring gloves should have the following:
- Light feel on the hands for maximum punching speed
- Considerable padding for self and training partner protection
- Small and streamlined for increased punching power
In all the areas of Muay Thai training where you can try to save money, buying cheap training gloves is the wrong move. Trying to buy inexpensive gloves for sparring can lead to you or a training partner being injured. Since maximum quality is essential in this area, I am only recommending the best training gloves, regardless of price.
Best Sparring Gloves: Fairtex Angular Sparring Gloves
My recommended best sparring glove is Fairtex’s Angular Sparring Gloves. This glove’s length is greater than other gloves (including Fairtex’s Muay Thai Style glove, our pick for best Muay Thai gloves), and made with angles, making it an excellent punching glove during sparring sessions.
Having a small width and an angled construction promotes better punching mechanics (smaller area means less drag) and the added padding provides protection for your fingers and wrist. The Fairtex Angular gloves are not as big as a lot of the other brands like Twins, Top King, Raja, Windy and Sandee. Because of this, you go into sparring with an advantage. The smaller glove works well against the bigger and heavier gloves, helping you to split through your sparring partner’s gloves and scoring punches.
Keep in mind the fact that these 16 oz. gloves are comparable to a 12 oz. pair of gloves made by the other manufacturers. The angular shape of these gloves makes them a lot slimmer (despite being longer) then regular Fairtex training gloves.
The Fairtex Angular Sparring Gloves are extremely enjoyable to use. They are my favorite pair of Fairtex gloves. I also use them for heavy bag and pad work. Since all Fairtex’s equipment is designed for Muay Thai, they work well for any kind of Muay Thai training purposes (this despite the fact that they are fashioned more like boxing gloves than like the heavier, plusher design of most Muay Thai gloves).
Alternative Choice: Ringside IMF Tech Sparring Boxing Gloves
Some fighters don’t work on their clinch game when they spar. If you are one of these fighters, Ringside makes the IMF Tech Sparring Gloves for you. These gloves work very well, and they are reasonably priced. These gloves provide all the qualities you need for sparring loves for under $60.
They aren’t as flexible as standard Muay Thai gloves. However, most Muay Thai sparring sessions skip clinch and knee work, and concentrate on striking techniques, meaning that they will be very suitable for sparring.
The Top 10 Best Muay Thai Gloves
To reiterate, I’m qualified to write about Muay Thai gloves because of my experience using every kind of glove and brand. No matter which one you name, you can bet that I have used, abused, and destroyed in the five years that I have lived, trained, and fought in Thailand.
In the previous paragraphs, I have given my recommendations for best category gloves. Now, these are my rankings for the best overall Muay Thai gloves. These gloves are perfect for every aspect of Muay Thai training — sparring, bag work, and pads. Each of these gloves are all-purpose, but you can always choose to supplement these gloves with specialized gloves for each of the three main training disciplines.
#1. Fairtex (BGV1) Muay Thai Style Training Gloves
Without question, Fairtex makes the finest Muay Thai gloves, and not only that, they are one of the best combat sports brands around, including all Muay Thai, MMA, and Western Boxing brands. The Fairtex BGV1 glove is also my pick for one of the Best Western Boxing gloves because of their high quality and reasonable price. Therefore, keep in mind that they also work great as a regular boxing glove.
The Fairtex BGV1 provides the greatest amount of comfort, highest quality, most hand protection and support, and the best result from hitting the bag. Among a saturated and venerable marketplace of around a dozen popular Thai boxing glove brands and the numerous US MMA manufacturers vying for market share, Fairtex remains the clear leading maker of Muay Thai gear.
Fairtex has been making outstanding Muay Thai equipment since it began in 1971. It is an extremely popular brand in Thailand, and has also gained great popularity in Japan and in North America.
Because of their reputation and popularity, Fairtex gloves are not cheap, although they are not as expensive as the big name Western Boxing gloves that cost anywhere from $200 to $400. A standard set of Fairtex gloves will cost online around $80 to $100, or more like $50 to $60 from a Thai dealer.
All in all,Fairtex gloves provide a great bargain based on their construction and performance. My Fairtex gloves have lasted the longest of all the many pairs of gloves that I have owned since I have lived and trained in Thailand. To compare brands, a set of Twins gloves have lasted only five or six months, while a pair of Fairtex gloves will usually give me a year of use.
Being a Muay Thai fighter in such a humid place as Thailand presents some challenges. One of the biggest is maintaining a pair of gloves so that they won’t quickly disintegrate. The extreme humidity, in addition to having multiple training sessions a day, absolutely destroys gloves. This means that Fairtex gloves that only last a year here in Thailand will last several years in cooler and drier climates. And if you happen to be more of a casual Muay Thai student, Fairtex gloves will last even longer.
Fairtex gloves also provide a great result when you strike a heavy bag or pads. The feeling you want to get is a perfect balance between making contact that doesn’t feel too hard on your hands, and gloves that do not give in too much. It is difficult to describe the feedback that you get when you hit a bag or a pad, Fairtex is the industry lead when it comes to striking training.
Therefore, Fairtex are the first pair you should consider buying if you are beginning Muay Thai training. If you have already been training, and are not using Fairtex gloves, now is the time to switch brands.
Why Makes Fairtex Great
Fairtex is the premium Muay Thai glove brand for the following reasons:
- They are long lasting
- They have the best amount of padding
- They are made for maximum comfort
- They provide the best punching experience
- They are not as wide as most Muay Thai gloves
- They are handmade of real leather
- They are manufactured in Thailand by an old and established company
These are my preferred specialized Muay Thai gloves, and I have been using them exclusively for several years. This is the one and only brand of Muay Thai gloves you will need. The Fairtex BGV1 Muay Thai Style Training Gloves are exceptional, much better than the Twins Special gloves that are so popular with many Muay Thai fighters.
- The gloves are clearly superior in quality. The difference between them and other Thai-made brands is huge
- They are extremely comfortable
- The padding is thorough
- The lighter weight makes punching contact smoother
- The gloves are not as wide as the other major Muay Thai brands. The 16 oz. Fairtex glove is equivalent to the 12 oz. Twins and Yokkao gloves and the 10 oz. Top King gloves. The smaller size makes it ideal for sparring.
- They are the most durable glove on the market. They last a year or more in Thailand, while other brands will only last at most six months, and oftentimes not even that long.
- These gloves generally cost the most of all the Muay Thai gloves made in Thailand. They cost anywhere from $55 to $60 in Thailand (quite a bit more than the Twins brand gloves) and around $75 on Amazon. However, they are still cheaper than the foreign-made gloves costing $100 to $200. Even with their higher quality, Fairtex gloves are still one of the best glove values available.
- The smaller glove size is unpopular with some fighters
Why You Should Buy Them
The feel, the comfort, the punching experience, and every other factor recommends them as the best glove available. They are my unequivocal pick for best Muay Thai gloves. Fairtex gloves are easily the best gloves. While you might personal preferences that might be cause you to consider other gloves, none of the other gloves you could ever buy would be as good as the Fairtex BGV1 Muay Thai Style Training Gloves.
Even though Fairtex is my favorite Muay Thai glove because of its high quality, lightweight design, and hand comfort, the standard Twins special BGVL3 is a runner-up for the best glove.
Twins is a quality manufacturer, making their products in a Bangkok, Thailand factory. They are also significantly cheaper than Fairtex gloves, but comparable in quality. These facts make the Twins gloves a better financial value than the Fairtex gloves. Twins gloves also have more space inside the gloves, which makes them a great alternative, if not better in some ways, that the Fairtex gloves. As much as Twins has some advantages over Fairtex gloves, that does not include sparring. Because they are considerably thicker than the Fairtex gloves, they are not as good a glove to use for sparring and boxing.
When fighters and people connected with Muay Thai think of the sport’s equipment, Twins is the first name that comes to mind. In fact, Twins Special gloves are without a doubt the most popular Muay Thai gloves in the world. The Twins brand is so immensely popular that the gloves are used in MMA and boxing gyms worldwide.
The Twins BGVL3 Muay Thai gloves provide great quality for a reasonable price. A good way to look at the Fairtex and Twins brands is to think of them in terms of car brands. If Fairtex is the Muay Thai glove equivalent of a Cadillac, Twins would be more of a Ford Escort; not as fancy, but very good in ease of use, price, and reliability.
Beginning Muay Thai fighters or experienced fighters wanting to trade up to a better glove should try Twins gloves as their everyday glove. Once they have used the Twins gloves for a while, they can expand and begin using some of the other manufacturers’ Muay Thai gloves. However, starting off or switching to Twins is a smart strategy. Although there are Muay Thai gloves that are nicer and fancier, many fighters use Twins and only Twins as their gloves.
Even though they are extremely popular with fighters, Twins are always the favorite of gloves of fighters. This dislike is usually related to the way they fit. These gloves are weighted heavy and are thickly padded at the front of the glove. These factors can cause a fighter to feel constricted and weighed down while throwing punches at a training partner or the heavy bag. Fighters with big or heavy hands might prefer using another glove brand that provides a lighter, more streamlined punching feel.
I suggest that fighters get the Twins Special BGVL3, which is not a fancy glove, but comes in several different colors. If the color choices of the BGVL3 aren’t enough for you, the Twins Special makes gloves with several pattern choices. Fighters willing to spend more money can buy the more expensive Twins Air gloves. This glove model starts with the Special’s design, but also comes with a porous mesh on the bottom of the glove around the thumb.
Because of the mesh feature, the Twins Air gloves are meant to prevent the gloves from sweating in the inside and faster cooling of the hands. But having used these gloves in the humid Thai climate, I did not see a noticeable difference. Therefore, I would just buy the Special brand and save money on a feature that doesn’t seem to work as advertised.
Related to this is the fact that Twins don’t have a very good track record of use in warmer, more humid climates like Thailand unless you are very proactive in drying them out after using them and religiously maintaining them. I have lived in Thailand for five years, and after using them once or twice a day for four to six times a week, I have seen them tear apart from the combination of humidity and constant use.
After using them for six to eight months, my Twins gloves developed holes near the thumbs and the insides of gloves. After 10-12 months, the gloves are completely disintegrating. But using them in cooler, drier climates or using them more sporadically will allow them to last several years.
What Makes Twins Great
To recap, the Twins Special Muay Thai gloves are worth considering because:
- Twins are the most popular Muay Thai gloves in the world
- The manufacturer has been in business for many years and makes a solid, mid-range glove that most fighters can use
- Twins gloves have good padding, provide standard comfort, and costing about $70, they are reasonably priced
- These are the best starter gloves you can purchase
You should buy these gloves when you are beginning to train in Muay Thai. After getting used to them, and knowing what features are important to you, then you can buy other glove brands to suit your style, taste, and needs.
- Since Twins are the most used Muay Thai gloves in the world and are used in most Muay Thai matches, it makes sense to train in the gloves that you will be using at some point
- These gloves are bigger and have more inside room, making them better suited for big handed fighters than Fairtex gloves
- Their square shape provides extra wrist padding that protects from injuries from kicks
- They provide great grip flexibility so you can use them to clinch
- They provide a great deal of quality for the price and give you a lot more for your money than Western Boxing gloves
- Twins gloves are heavier on the hands and weighs them down from the top of the gloves
- They are not well-ventilated and allows sweat and moisture to build up, which will lead to them
- Twins gloves will not last very long in Thailand or any other warm, humid climate. If you train on a regular basis (once day five times a week), they will probably not make it to eight months. Training twice a day or more in a warm climate will lead to them falling apart in six months or less.
- The uneven weight distribution makes them unsuitable for Western boxing sparring or training
The Top King brand is one of Muay Thai’s oldest glove brands. You may not know that Top King and Twins are owned by two brothers. Both brothers originally worked together at Twins, but one brother left to work at Top King. The two brands feature similar quality products, but differ in style and fit.
After Twins, Top King is the most popular Muay Thai glove brands in Thailand. Moreover, Top King gloves are often used in major tournaments such as K1 and Showtime. This widespread use is proof that they are an internationally recognized and respected brand outside of Thailand.
While Twins gloves are made in a traditional fashion, Top King makes its gloves with a contemporary look and edge like many MMA gloves. These gloves have design patterns that are very tribal looking and have an embossed sheen. Some fighters love these designs while others hate them.
However, these gloves are not like MMA boxing gloves, which tend to be made just like Western Boxing gloves. In appearance and function, Top King gloves are very clearly Muay Thai gloves. That means better wrist padding, smaller wrist areas, and a cornered design instead of the usual rounded design of Western Boxing gloves.
Of all the Muay Thai gloves, I’ve used, Top King’s gloves have the largest fist space. Generally, Top King gloves feel puffier than the Twins gloves. The gloves design provides a large amount of space between the inner lining and outer cover, even more space than Twins, which are also bigger than Fairtex.
There will be lots of personal preference coming into play while using these gloves. My own opinion is that I don’t like Twins gloves because of how they feel when I’m wearing them. Again, I realize that this is my opinion, and everyone will not agree.
As I mentioned above, the build of the Top King’s glove is the same as the Twins gloves, but the fit and look are very different. If you are currently using Twins gloves, I suggest that you try Top King gloves. Once you try them, you may like them or dislike them. Just keep in mind that Twins and Top King are more alike to each other than they are with Fairtex.
Top King has several glove styles that you can try, but the differences between them are more cosmetic than substantial.
#4. Windy Thai Large Hands Training Gloves
Windy gloves are another classic Muay Thai glove brand. Windy was the first mass market Muay Thai glove, having been manufactured since 1951. Their existence predated the worldwide popularity that Muay Thai would achieve in later years
Windy gloves are not one of the trendy or popular gloves. They are one of the least popular brand of gloves (only Raja gloves may be less popular). They are an extremely rare sight at most Muay Thai gyms in Thailand. You might find a couple of stray pairs laying around, but nothing more than that.
Their gloves are very distinct from other gloves. The way that they feel on your hands and the way that they fit is different from other Muay Thai gloves on the market. The difference isn’t easy to articulate, but I will try to describe how they feel in comparison to other glove brands. I think that they have the outside puffiness of Top King gloves combined with the tight fit of Raja gloves, but with enough space inside to suit fighters with larger hands.
Windy gloves have a throwback look that harkens back to the earliest days of modern Muay Thai competition. If you are looking for flashy and contemporary designs and fancy colors, these are the wrong gloves for you. Personally, I don’t like the fancy designs that Top King and other manufacturers are using. I’m a lot more interested in how gloves perform than I am how they look. I understand that there are many people who feel differently than I do, and that’s fine.
The way that a glove feels when you use it goes a long way in telling you if the glove is one you will like and want to use. When I have used Windy gloves, they have felt extremely cumbersome and bouncy as I was hitting the heavy bag. Some fighters will prefer this feeling when they are training. But I am a puncher, and this feeling doesn’t work for me. Because of this, I don’t recommend Windy gloves for punchers, boxers, and people who regularly spar.
As boxing gloves, Windy gloves are the last ones made in Thailand that I would use. They weigh very heavy around the knuckles, and when you hit the heavy bag, you don’t get the feedback that you want to hear. When hitting the heavy bag using Windy gloves, I’ve gotten a bounce, but not the cracking feedback. I always look for the cracking feedback when I use boxing gloves, and Windy does not give me what I want.
However, Windy gloves are a standard, solid Muay Thai gloves that may work for you if you concentrate on kicking and clinching without concentrating much on boxing. They may also be the gloves for you if have extremely large hands. If you fit one of these categories, Windy gloves might be right for you. The problem you may have is finding a pair to purchase. Unless you live in Thailand, Windy gloves are notoriously hard to find.
Besides the ones already mentioned, another problem users find with Windy gloves is their inability to last long. Windy gloves have disintegrated faster than any other glove I have used (they were useless after only four months of Thai training). While they may last longer in drier, less humid climates, remember that they may still wear out faster than you would like.
Should You Consider Buying Windy Gloves?
Windy gloves are my most disliked Muay Thai gloves. The gloves don’t feel fast and seem to lack power. I think that the gloves are too big. (For example, a pair of Windy’s 10 oz. gloves are equivalent to a pair of Fairtex 16 oz. and a pair of Twins 12 oz. gloves). But they are a very old and established brand and they are reasonably priced. They make a basic, simple glove that will please old-school Muay Thai fighters. These traditionalists will prefer Windy to the Muay Thai gloves made outside of Thailand. That said, I cannot recommend these gloves to boxers or dedicated strikers who throw heavy punches.
- A plain, solid, old-fashioned glove
- Reasonably priced
- Similar in manufacture to Twins
- A great glove for large handed fighters
- Punches feel too light when they are thrown. A dedicated boxer who prides themselves on getting the best of exchanges in sparring, or someone who trains a lot using the heavy bag may not want to try these gloves.
- They don’t last long. Windy gloves break apart faster than the other brands of gloves. A pair of Windy gloves will only last less than 6 months, while Twins gloves will last 7 or 8 months in Thailand.
Why You Should Buy Windy
Windy gloves may work very well for fighters looking for an old-fashioned Muay Thai glove. The only reason to buy these gloves is if you need gloves and can’t find any of the other brands to buy. It is not completely useless, but it has no advantages over any of the other brands of gloves. An exception is that big handed or long-fingered fighters may find Windy more suitable than other Muay Thai gloves, which are made for fighters with smaller hands.
#5. Hayabusa Tokushu Gloves
In Muay Thai circles, MMA is a very unpopular sport, and using anything related to MMA, including equipment, is considered off-limits. The prevailing opinion is that these sports are separate and should remain that way. These feelings are particularly strong in Thailand.
Because of these opinions, many Thai fighters won’t use a glove that’s not made by one of the established Muay Thai manufacturers (like Top King or Twins). In truth, that’s very shortsighted because some of the MMA brands are making gear that is very competitive, if not beating, the top Thai manufacturers. This includes gloves.
Fortunately, many Thai fighters are crossing over into MMA, and beginning to fight for southeast Asia MMA organizations. This is because everyone knows that Nak Muay coming into MMA have a huge advantage over their opponents. Legitimate Nak Muay training in Thailand are going to be much better at striking than any of their opponents. Most MMA fighters train in so many fighting disciplines that they do not become as good at striking as dedicated stand-up fighters.
Of course, Muay Thai fighters are missing ground and wrestling training, but they will begin hybrid training so they can be proficient in all MMA disciplines. Let’s be honest. There will be more and more Nak Muays transitioning to MMA in the future. MMA is the best paying combat sport gig now, and Muay Thai is one of the lowest.
Since Muay Thai fighters are moving over to MMA, they might as well embrace some of the excellent MMA equipment that can benefit them in Muay Thai. I believe that Hayabusa is the top MMA equipment manufacturer. Hayabusa is renowned for using scientific methods to develop their merchandise. They spend lots of money on research, development, and testing to develop products that are world class regardless of the combat sport. This is why they make some of the best fighting gloves on the market.
Be warned, though. Hayabusa uses a great deal of overhyped terminology that either doesn’t mean much or makes little sense. They use phrases like ‘world leading university research’ and ‘energy leak removal.’ What these words mean concerning combat gear is beyond me. However, don’t let the high-sounding marketing talk put you off. Hayabusa makes excellent equipment that allows fighters to enjoy peak performance.
That doesn’t mean that everything they make. Some of their products don’t work as well as advertised. One of their products that works very well is their Tokushu gloves, and this is their finest pair of gloves.
The gloves fit comfortably, provide considerable excellent hand protection, and produce great feedback when hitting the bag. The gloves’ wrist protection is fantastic. This is because Hayabusa has devoted lots of time to develop gloves with improved wrist protection, which puts this glove ahead of most older gloves’ design.
At this point, you may want to remind me that these gloves for MMA. This is true, but they also work great for Thai fighting. Traditional Muay Thai gloves feature finger flexibility and increased wrist protection for blocking kicks. Because it is an MMA manufacturer, Hayabusa has developed grip freedom so the thumb is flexible enough to use for clinching. This feature is usually absent in traditional Muay Thai gloves.
These gloves are awesome, but they are not perfect. They retain heat intensely, keeping your hands wet with sweat. Hayabusa claims that the gloves have thermal dampening properties. Maybe that works in drier climates, but here in moist, tropical Thailand, not so much.
Even with faulty advertising, the Hayabusa Tokushu works great as a modern, updated Muay Thai glove and as an all-purpose Muay Thai/MMA/Western Boxing glove.
All that design, testing, and engineering is going to cost at some point, and Hayabusa gloves are not cheap. They cost from $110 to $120. Occasionally, the gloves are on sale for $90. If you do, don’t hesitate. Buy them immediately! That’s a great deal for a great pair of gloves.
You should also buy Hayabusa gloves if you are interested in using an MMA-hybrid glove. The gloves have a very appealing visual design, which is quite different from your plain looking, old-fashioned Muay Thai gloves.
Another Choice: Hayabusa Muay Thai Gloves
The Hayabusa Tokushu gloves are versatile training gloves suitable for all four main combat sports. On the other hand, Hayabusa’s Muay Thai gloves work especially for Muay Thai, and resemble the traditional design of Muay Thai gloves. These gloves are Hayabusa’s best regular Muay Thai gloves, constructed to facilitate clinching and sparring.
These are suitably padded gloves, featuring a relaxed grip, and looking like standard, Thai-made Muay Thai gloves. The biggest difference is that they aren’t genuine leather like traditional Thai gloves. But these gloves have the previously mentioned features, plus extra wrist support. These gloves are known for their excellent wrist support. Fighters who have experienced wrist injuries and want extra protection should buy these gloves.
#6. Boon Thai Style Training Gloves
Boon is a brand whose popularity is mostly inside Thailand and Australia. Even so, this newer glove manufacturer is garnering attention in Muay Thai circles. Boon is currently known as a lower cost alternative to Twins and Top King gloves without sacrificing quality.
The company was started by an Australian expatriate who moved to Thailand. He decided he wanted to go into the glove manufacturing business. His startup process took a very novel approach. He got his wife to learn how to sew with the goal of hand sewing boxing gloves! Incredibly, it worked! She took sewing lessons, and the company went into business. Because Boon got off to such an unorthodox start, it may have initially caused people not to take them seriously. However, Boon is making a name for itself in Muay Thai. Their gloves are well made and work well. Many fighters have come to believe that they are better than Twins or Top King. I agree with that for the most part.
Boon gloves are available only by ordering directly from their Thai factory. That means that ordering a pair of their gloves may mean waiting several weeks for the order to either be filled from stock or made to order. The gloves are made of genuine cow leather. You can feel the quality on your hands when you put them on your hands.
Boon would rank higher on my list, except that it is extremely difficult to buy them outside of Thailand.
Boon gloves are more ergonomic. They don’t feel as heavy on the hands as Twins or Top King. Boon gloves are not as bulky and feel lighter when you throw punches, or when you use the heavy bag or pads. Because of this, I think they are better for punching than many of the other gloves on the market. If I had to describe them where they fit among Western Boxing, Muay Thai, and MMA gloves, I would say that Boon gloves fall somewhere between a traditional Western Boxing glove and a traditional Muay Thai glove.
Boon gloves are nicely balanced. While a lot of gloves feel heavy at the top or bottom, Boon gloves are more evenly distributed, and have a lighter feel when you are wearing them and punching. Boon makes 16 and 14 oz. gloves that are excellent sparring gloves, and they also are fine to use with heavy bags and pads.
Boon gloves look may or may not appeal to you. Their gloves follow the standard Muay Thai look. Both the color and appearance are simple. This is unlike most of the big Thai brands, which feature bright colors (Yokkao), sharp patterns (Top King), and dual-tone color palettes. Boon’s look consists of a single color and a straightforward logo.
This basic look reflects Boon’s no-nonsense philosophy. Many sports equipment brands are as much about flash as they are about protecting fighters. Their motivation seems to be that the best-selling gear must be colorful, fancy, and visually striking. Boon, on the other hand, is more focused on the utility and mechanics of fighting equipment, and less so on the appearance of the equipment. Boon’s commitment to quality is sincere, and if a simple but straightforward Muay Thai glove is what you’re looking for, this may be a glove you want to purchase.
To sum it up, I think that Boon gloves are a great buy. They are very good gloves that are not as publicized as the other Thai glove brands. You get a good pop when you hit the bag, a great sign of a solid punching glove. A problem with Boon gloves are that they are a tight fit on your hands. If you are a big fighter with large or long hands, these gloves will probably fit extra tight, and they will be even tighter with large-size hand wraps. Your best alternatives for larger hand gloves are Twins or Windy. These brands are the best suited for big-handed fighters because of their roomier insides.
I’m a fan of Boon gloves. They make great replacement gloves for Twins gloves, and they cost about the same price as the other Thai-made gloves.
#7. Raja Boxing Gloves
Raja is a Thai-made glove that is locally popular in Muay Thai gyms here in Thailand. The best place to buy them used to be the store outside of famous Rajadamnern stadium. But the store no longer sells them and neither does the store’s website. So, they are very hard to find and buy. If you are fortunate enough to find and buy them, you will enjoy them! They are extremely comfortable and have a special feel when you hit the bags and pads.
If Raja gloves were readily available, they would have ranked higher up on the list. They probably would have landed in the top three. However, they are so difficult to obtain that I had to drop them further down the list. Even if you find a place that sells them, you would have to wait so long for the order to be filled that you would likely buy another pair of gloves while you’re waiting on the Raja gloves.
These gloves are punchers gloves due to a construction that is slim-shaped and conforms to your wrist and hand. This design of the Raja gloves gives them a look more like boxing gloves than the cornered, smooth, and bulging of standard Muay Thai gloves models.
Raja gloves are perfect for hard hitters, Muay Thai/boxing cross trainers, and dedicated Muay Thai fighters (Nak Muay). These gloves provide a traditional Western Boxing glove look, but they also have the extra padding and grip ability that comes with Muay Thai gloves. Keep in mind that Raja gloves don’t include knuckle padding, leading to potential bruising or worse if you don’t use the correct weight. In this case, hand protection is best when using at least 12 oz. gloves.
Why Makes Raja Great?
Raja makes the best glove list because they wear great on your hands and make punching easy, but they are lower on the list because a) the difficulty in finding and buying them, b) the lack of padding, and c) they cost more than the other brands of Muay Thai gloves.
- Raja gloves have a great, natural feel. I believe that Raja provide the most comfort of any Muay Thai gloves manufactured in Thailand, and that also includes Fairtex. They fit so comfortably and easily. They crack the bag and pads well and give great feedback.
- Their sleek, streamlined design makes them a great choice for Western Boxing or Muay Thai striking.
- Raja gloves are well designed and they are pleasing to the eye. I particularly like the dual-tone gold or black designs. These designs are understated, unlike other brands’ like Yokkao, and they help them to stand out in the right way.
- Raja offers leather gloves made of Lamb Skin. I am not aware of any of the other Muay Thai brands selling Lamb Skin gloves. These gloves make a comfortable glove even more so, and provides a soft, pleasurable fit. Raja Lamb Skins cost more than their other gloves, but the comfort they provide is worth the cost. The drawback of using the Lamb Skin gloves is that they don’t have the durability of regular leather gloves. If you use these Raja gloves, you’ll will need to rotate them regularly with other gloves, or you will quickly wear them out.
- The biggest issue I have with Raja gloves (besides trying to find and buy them), is that they do not last long. They usually disintegrate quickly. Why they fall apart is a mystery. But it is well-known that they do not last like the other Thai-made brands. I owned a pair of Raja gloves, but they only lasted four months before they were destroyed. Other fighters have had the same complaints. This means that you must switch them out with other gloves to maximize their lifespan.
- It is extremely difficult to find and buy Raja gloves. Once, a fighter could buy Rajas from the equipment store at Rajadamnern stadium. I checked some time ago to see if they were available, but they were not. This might have changed recently, but even if they are on sale there, they are still too hard to get.
- Raja gloves offer only slight padding around the knuckles. This lack of padding may cause bruising or other injuries if you use lighter gloves to hit the bag or pads.
- They cost more money than other Muay Thai glove brands.
Why You Should Buy Them
You should buy these gloves because they feel great on your hands, wear more comfortably than any of the other Thai gloves, are made in pleasant colors, and look awesome. Because they are so difficult to buy, it is very likely that you will be the only fighter you know that owns a pair of Raja. Expect to get asked about them a lot.
If you are a puncher, you will love using Raja gloves. Raja gloves are such great Muay Thai gloves that you won’t want to stop sparring and training. Hitting the bags and pads will feel better than ever before.
And how does comfort become even more comfortable? By buying Raja’s Lamb Skins gloves. They feel like you aren’t even wearing fighting gloves, but wearing slippers for your hands!
The biggest drawback to buying Raja gloves is their high cost and their inability to last. My Raja gloves lasted the least amount of time of all the gloves I have used for Muay Thai training in Thailand.
#8. Sandee Gloves
Let me give you a huge Muay Thai fighting and training tip. Sandee gloves can provide a fantastic value to Thai fighters who are looking for a basic, dependable pair of gloves.
Sandee is sometimes called the “Everlast” of Thai fighting gloves, and that nickname is altogether fitting. Sandee started making gloves in 1977, and they are one of the three elder glove manufacturers in Thailand, including the Twins and Windy brands. For some reason, they have not achieved the popularity and appeal of Twins and Windy either in Thailand or outside of the country. Consequently, the brand is mostly unknown. This should not dissuade you from trying them. Even though they may not have the recognition of other brands, Sandee has earned a solid reputation among fighters who have used them.
Sandee’s level of quality is good, but not remarkable. They are sturdy without providing a wow factor. To me, this puts them on an equal footing with Twins and Top King.
Finding Sandee gloves internationally is extremely difficult. To buy a pair, you will need to buy them during a trip to Thailand, or order them from a Thai-based seller.
What Makes Sandee Great?
I included Sandee on this list because it is a classic, legitimate Thailand-manufactured brand in existence for almost forty years. I also included because they produce a very traditional and reliable Thai glove. They are also a greater deal than some of the more popular brands like Twins or Top King, provided they are bought in Thailand. They are lower on my rankings due to these issues:
- It’s extremely difficult to buy them in their native land
- It’s even worse trying to purchase them internationally
- They are more expensive to buy internationally than other comparable brands like Twins
- As with all gloves manufactured in Thailand, Sandee makes its gloves from authentic cow leather and with good construction. These gloves have rugged stitching, comfortable and flexible leather, and durable padding. Sandee gloves feel great when you’re engaged in bag or pad training. They are a great pair of gloves to switch to or to rotate with other high-quality Thai gloves like Twin Specials.
- Sandee is a very good buy if bought in Thailand because they cost less than brands like Twins and Top King. But buying them outside of Thailand is extremely difficult, and when bought out of the country, they are quite costly, in fact, costlier than the other established Thai brands.
- The wrist cuff is not well padded, meaning that the amount of support available isn’t as good as it is in other gloves. The wrist construction has its strong points. Because of Velcro around the strap, the gloves fasten tightly and the strap holds the glove in place. The problem here is one that is extremely common to all Thai gloves. The issue is that while the cuff is rigid, there isn’t much padding in that area, which means that wrist support is almost non-existent. This lack of support can lead to bruising or injury when punching or blocking a punch or kick. Unfortunately, Sandee gloves match their Thai counterparts in this shortcoming.
- Sandee gloves do not have a heat releasing mechanism. There is no venting in them. That’s a problem if you are training and fighting in a hot, humid climate, your hands will sweat and get very hot. Not only will your hands be wet and uncomfortable inside of the gloves, eventually the moisture from the heat and sweat will break down and destroy the gloves.
- Sandee gloves are difficult to get outside of Thailand, and if you do buy them outside of Thailand, you will pay a premium price that is likely to be more than the gloves will be worth to you. It is only feasible to buy them in the country, or from a Thai-based source.
Why You Should Buy Them
Sandee gloves give you lot for your money. If you find the basic gloves on sale, you will get more than you get with Twins, Top King, and Fairtex – all brands that are more popular and have better name recognition.
Considering the combination of manufacturing and performance excellence, I think that they are like Twins, except that that the basic model of Sandee is much cheaper.
I endorse Sandee as a great, authentic Thailand-made Muay Thai glove that provides genuine value. The biggest caveat is the difficulty of buying them in Thailand and internationally. They are available at sandeeboxing.com. The problem is that they are sold under European pricing, plus there is a 20% VAT in effect, which makes them cost more than comparable gloves.
#9. Yokkao Boxing Gloves
Yokkao gloves will get your attention right away. They feature an extremely eye-catching design that will keep other fighters and bystanders asking questions. In a sport where there are lots of artsy looking equipment, Yokkao has created a brand that is considered to have some of the best-looking sharpest gloves on the market.
The focus on design is not surprising considering that the brand is owned by a designer from Italy who places great emphasis on the appearance of the product. Yokkao gloves are heavily marketed, with the brand acting as a sponsor to well-known fighters like Saenchai and Muay Thai and kickboxing promotions. It seems that Yokkao should be one of the most successful glove brands around because of the high level of promotion and attention.
Unfortunately, in spite of all the hype, Yokkao is a crappy product. Their gloves fall apart at a much faster rate than the other manufacturers. They will only last a few months before they need to be replaced. Therefore, Yokkao is great if you’re interested in gloves that look sharp, but if you want a reliable, long lasting product, well…
I think that this brand makes stylish gloves that are some of the better-looking gloves you will find in Muay Thai. Yet, their appearance doesn’t matter as much how they feel on your hands, how well they protect your hands, and ultimately, how long they last. My opinion is that you should buy all the other brands first, and then buy Yokkao as a short-term or transitional pair.
Yokkao gloves should be owned when you have tried the other gloves for sparring and training, and you’re interested in a pair of gloves just for looks. The company would do better to focus on quality just as much as they do design and advertising. If so, they would be a better glove than they are.
Yokkao’s basic gloves costs around $70, which is the average price. Honestly, being willing to spend any amount of money means that you will want to receive something worth the expense. You will be better off buying one of the other gloves on this list rather than buying the Yokkao gloves. Yokkao’s basic gloves are like the Twins Special gloves. Buy those instead of the Yokkao basic gloves.
If you decide to buy a pair of Yokkao gloves, you should buy one of the fancy styles. This is the best thing about their gloves, and the only legitimate reason to buy them. The snazzy Yokkaos cost about $90, making them extremely expensive compared to the other Thai-made gloves. You must decide if it is worth it to you to spend that much money on gloves because they look nice.
Why Should You Consider Buying Yokkao?
Yokkao offers uniquely eye-catching gloves that look great and are better looking than almost every other Muay Thai glove on the market.
Buy Yokkao to use as replacement or transition gloves. Their quality is so low that you will regret buying them and making them your primary gloves. If you buy them, use your Fairtex, Twins, or Top King gloves first. Then, buy the Yokkao gloves as an alternative.
- Fits comfortably
- Merges the traditional Muay Thai look with a modern design
- Eye-catching logo
- Has a mid-range size that lies between Twins and Top King
- Costs more than other Muay Thai brands
- Hard to source and purchase
- Lasts much less time than comparable Muay Thai gloves
- Much less quality than most gloves
Why You Should Buy Yokkao
You should buy these gloves when you have owned a pair of the other Muay Thai gloves such as Twins and Top King, and you must change or want to change gloves or brands. You should buy them if you want a nicer looking pair of gloves. You should buy them if you are a big fan of Saenchai, and you want to wear the gloves he uses (or at least advertises). Basically, if you want to own gloves based on how they look, buy a pair of Yokkao gloves. If you want a pair of Muay Thai gloves that are dependable and will last for a while, buy almost any brand except Yokkao.
#10. Venum Challenger 2.0 Gloves
You may be wondering why I’ve included Venum in this list. You may know that Venum is an MMA brand, not a Muay Thai brand like the other brands on the list, even though there a Venum factory in Thailand. On the flip side, Venum is an acclaimed brand in MMA. Their gloves have been worn by such well-known UFC fighters like Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida and Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva. Venum has enough of a reputation and esteem that they have been officially approved by the UFC.
In short, Venum gloves may be uncommon at dedicated Muay Thai gyms, but every MMA gym will have Venum gloves present.
The reason I’ve included Venum in this list is that even though they are manufactured for MMA, they are designed and function as if they were made for Muay Thai, or at least for cross-training and multi-discipline fighting. This could be true because Venum is made by Thai factories that also make Muay Thai gloves.
There are rumors that some of the Thai-made Venum gloves are made by Windy in their Thai factories, but I can’t confirm that this is true. Regardless of whether these rumors are true, or the reasons for the similarities, the fact is Venum gloves are perfectly acceptable to use in Muay Thai. These gloves’ design and construction makes them closer to Muay Thai gloves than Western Boxing gloves.
More specifically, Venum gloves are a combination of Muay Thai and Western Boxing gloves. They are like Muay Thai gloves because their design is typical of those gloves, having a padded area that is curved and reinforced like you would find on a pair of Twins or Top King gloves. However, Venum gloves are like Western Boxing gloves due to their weight, pad content, and overall construction.
Generally, they are adequately padded, fit well, and wear and feel comfortable whether you are hitting the bag, pads, or your training partner.
An advantage to wearing and training with the Venum Challenger 2.0 gloves is that they feature contemporary design and technology that you can’t find in pure Thai-style gloves. They also feature molded foam construction that offers shock absorption.
The gloves fit snuggly unlike traditional Muay Thai gloves like Raja or Boon. Another difference with Venum is that they have a strong, unforgiving feel on the outside instead of feeling softer and having some give. This is a distinction that will probably appeal to some fighters and be disliked by other fighters.
The Venum Challenger 2.0 are low-cost gloves, ranging in price from $35 to $40 dollars. One of the reasons that they cost so much less is that they are constructed of man-made, not genuine leather.
This is a factor to keep in mind because most fighters strongly prefer real leather over the synthetic variety. One of the reasons for this preference is that real leather gloves last longer than faux leather. This holds true of the Venum Challenger gloves. They do not last as long as their genuine leather counterparts.
Note, if you want a better version of this glove, one that’s more similar in style to a proper Muay Thai glove, then go with the Venum Giant model, which costs about $90, but offers nothing more than the Thai-brand gloves in terms of quality (though again, it has a different visual style over that classic Thai look).
What Makes Venum Challenger 2.0’s Great?
For US-based fighters and trainees, the Venum Challenger 2.0 provides a great value for a beginning glove. The Challenger can be used for Western Boxing, MMA, or Muay Thai at an extremely affordable price. I recommend the 16 oz. Challenger gloves for providing a great value. These Venum gloves cost around $35 on Amazon. This price is half of what you would pay for traditional Muay Thai gloves. But be advised that the Challenger 2.0 does not have the quality of some of the other gloves on this list. That’s because they are made from synthetic leather, not genuine leather.
- Great value at a great cost
- Features a contemporary design
- Feel good and comfortably padded
- Very reasonably priced around $30 on Amazon
- The Venum Challenger 2.0 are not made from genuine leather. If you prefer real leather as opposed to synthetic leather, these gloves aren’t suited for you. Personally, I believe that genuine leather gloves last longer, are more durable, and wear better and more comfortably. This is a big reason not to buy these gloves. You should keep in mind that these gloves don’t have any type of ventilation system. They get hot and sweaty during training and stay that way. This is not only uncomfortable, but in hot, humid climates like Thailand, it will lead to a much shorter lifespan than gloves with proper ventilation.
- The Challenger gloves fit extremely tight, and particularly the index finger. A fighter with larger hands, longer hands, or one who wears longer hand wraps will find these gloves to be very uncomfortable. Also important is that it will be difficult for these fighters to move their fingers to grab their training partners or opponents in the clinch. It would be better for fighters such as these to use other gloves.
Why You Should Buy Venum
The best reason to buy these gloves is because you don’t want to pay for higher priced gloves. The Venum Challenger are the best gIoves to buy if you are wanting a pair of Muay Thai-friendly hand covers. They provide great value and solid hand protection. If you live in Thailand, my advice is to buy a pair of inexpensive Thai-made gloves like Boon, Twins, or Top King. These will cost around $40 or $45. However, if you live in the US, buying Venum gloves online from Amazon or another vendor is a cheaper and better choice.
I believe that it is best to start your Muay Thai glove buying by shopping the traditional brands like Twins, Top King, Raja, or the other brands if you want an old-school glove. If you are limited in funds, buying Venum is a good choice and a solid glove for less than $40.
Other Muay Thai Gloves to Consider
- FBT– A bargain basement glove manufactured by a soccer gear company. Do not buy under any circumstances.
- Muay Thai – Nondescript Muay Thai brand sold in non-sporting stores
- Fighter– A new and okay brand, but not on the same level as the established brands. Reminiscent of Top King, but not as good.
- Lumpinee– Another inexpensive brand you can buy in tourist traps and legendary Muay Thai palace, Lumpinee stadium. They range from okay to not so much.
- Thaismai– A Thailand local, used by native Thais brand
Muay Thai Boxing Gloves F&Q
How Are Muay Thai and Boxing Gloves Different?
There are large and small differences between the two kind of gloves. In brief, the main difference is that Western Boxing gloves have corners, have better weight distribution that facilitates better punching, and doesn’t have thumb flexibility to allow clinching in Muay Thai.
Can You Use Pure Boxing Gloves for Muay Thai?
Yes, you can. Heavy-handed fighters should buy a pair of Western Boxing gloves to use in conjunction with their Muay Thai gloves. The Boxing gloves can be used for sparring, hitting the pads and the heavy bag. There is no comparison between how it feels to hit something with Muay Thai gloves versus how it feels to do so with Western Boxing gloves. The boxing gloves feel much better than the Muay Thai gloves.
However, if you’re a Muay Thai fighter or a fighter in training, you may still want to exclusively use Muay Thai gloves. Whether you’re training to fight, an active fighter, or just want to spar consistently, you should use Muay Thai gloves more often than Western Boxing gloves. Consistency is key, and since you will use Muay Thai gloves in the ring, (probably Twins or Top King gloves), you should use those at least most of the time.
Can Muay Thai Gloves Be Used in Boxing?
If necessary, but as I said above about Muay Thai, if you are primarily a boxer, you should primarily use boxing gloves. The weight balance, the protection, the way it feels, and punching feedback is better if you use a Western boxing glove such as Cleto, Winning, Grant, or Title. Generally speaking, if you are primarily a boxer, you should primarily use Western Boxing gloves.
Do I Need Special Sparring Gloves for Muay Thai?
It depends. The right size for sparring gloves is 16 oz. If you are using these gloves, any of the regular Thai manufactured gloves will work. Traditional Muay Thai brands like Windy, Sandee, Raja, and Twins don’t distinguish between regular and sparring gloves. Thai fighters use these gloves for sparring, and have been for decades.
But there are good reasons to own specified sparring gloves. The main difference between the two is that standard gloves come with more padding than sparring gloves (these gloves have lighter padding to facilitate punching and absorbing impact). There are sparring gloves that have less padding, allowing fighters to punch faster and penetrate their opponents guard.
A disadvantage of not having a dedicated sparring glove is that the everyday glove’s padding will wear out faster. This means you risk hurting your sparring partner and possibly your hand. If you choose not to buy dedicated sparring gloves, you should own an extra pair of gloves to spare yourself and your training partners. You will wear out the padding quickly using a regular glove, so another alternative is to purchase Western Boxing sparring gloves to provide yourself and your partners with additional security from injury.
Are Men and Women’s Gloves the Same?
There is no difference between the two genders’ gloves. Women’s gloves are sometimes pink. That is the only potential difference. However, it may benefit women to buy lighter gloves so that their punching power is maximized. In choosing a lighter glove, I would recommend buying a glove ranging from 2 to 4 ounces lighter than a man’s glove. Also note that a woman’s hands (and wrists) tend to be smaller than a man’s, so women may want to have a smaller glove than an equivalently sized man’s.
How Do I Decide What Size Glove I Need to Buy?
There are several points to consider. Below is a guide to help you pick the correct size. These suggestions are only that – suggestions. You may be more comfortable using a heavier glove. My main point is that if you are going to spar regularly, you should use a pair of 16 oz. dedicated sparring gloves for yours and your partner’s sake. If you fight as a heavyweight, you will probably want to use 18 oz. gloves. Ladies, kids, and lighter weight class men can spar with as light a glove as 14 oz.
A Man Weighing Less Than 140lbs Should Use the Following Glove Weights
- 12 ounces for hitting the bag and pad
- 14-16 ounces to spar
A Woman Should Use
- 8-12 ounces for hitting the bag and pad
- 14 ounces to spar
Children and Early Teens Should Use
- 6-8 ounces for hitting the bag and pad
- 10 –12 ounces to spar
If You Weigh 140lbs to 170lbs
- 12 ounces for hitting the bag and pad
- 16 ounces to spar
If You Weigh 180lbs or Over (Heavyweight)
- 14 ounces for hitting the bag and pad
- 18 ounces to spar
The Final Word About Gloves
I have shared my extensive knowledge about Muay Thai gloves so that you can make the most informed glove purchase. My hope is that whether you are a beginning fighter, or an experienced fighter who has only used one or two brands of gloves, that you will benefit from my experience. Having lived and fought in Thailand, I have used the majority of these gloves and have carefully weighed the pros and cons of each.
As Muay Thai fighters, we learn quickly that there are much fewer Muay Thai glove choices than there are Western Boxing glove choices. This is because boxing has been a more popular sport worldwide for much longer than Muay Thai, and manufacturers have spent money and design technology on boxing gloves.
In compiling this list, I chose Muay Thai style gloves. While there are situations discussed above where you can use Thai and Western Boxing gloves interchangeably, the designs of Muay Thai gloves versus Boxing and MMA gloves is distinct enough that it made since to focus this article accordingly.
Muay Thai fighters can use Western Boxing gloves. But keep in mind that if you are primarily training in Muay Thai, or if you are an actual Muay Thai fighter in live competition, it is important to mostly use the gloves you must use in formal fights.
The good news is that Muay Thai gloves are generally reasonably priced. The majority of Muay Thai gloves are manufactured in Thailand by local companies, and are priced from $60 to $80. These prices are much more competitive than Western Boxing glove prices. Because of this, buying Muay Thai gloves has nothing to do with price comparison, but finding gloves that fit well, feel good on your hands, and respond properly when you hit a pad, bag, or a person.
My final advice is to buy several pairs from different glove brands to discover which glove brand is best suited to you. This will not be a financial hardship because a purchase of two Thai-made, Muay Thai gloves equals the cost of one pair of Western Boxing gloves.