One of the most important things you need to get started in boxing.....you guessed it. Boxing Gloves. Why are they so important? There are obvious reasons but the not so obvious reason is because it protects your hands and allows you to use them as weapons.
What people don't realize is how well protected you are. Most casual boxers and controlled training sessions where preparation for competition is taking place, they are likely using 14-16 ounce gloves with a lot of padding. Along with using hand wraps properly it allows the boxer to hit harder. Think about it like this. If you were to use gloves and punch a wall instead of the heavy bag. No real difference from the perspective of damaging your hand, all things being equal. Now take those gloves off and punch the wall. Big Difference.
The human hand is not made to throw punches and be used as an offensive tool. It was made to grab things. Punches are really unnatural to the human physique and the many bones in the hand are very fragile. In all honesty palm strikes would be a much safer self defense move but that is beyond the scope of what I'm discussing here.
So back to the topic. What should you be looking for in a boxing glove?
Does the glove feel good when you put it on. Although each glove may be the same size (i,e 12, 14, or 16 ounces) the fit may be completely difference. Some manufacturers, brands, or models may concentrate the padding in difference places. Could be more in the knuckle or in the wrist.
2. Shape of the Glove
One of the most overlooked aspects of the glove. I personally look for gloves that have a flat response when you punch. Some gloves have a more rounded shape at the top whereas others have a "flatness" across. I like the flat response because there is no wiggle room for your wrist to adjust when you punch. In my opinion this is safer for your wrist. When you have a more rounded glove it will move when you punch and affect your wrist integrity.
3. Wrist closure / Hook and Loop
A good glove should always have a good hook and loop closure to it. Some cheaper gloves will have a very short elastic closure on the inside of the glove or even worse have no secure closure at all but instead use an elastic scrunch around the wrist area. Please do not ever use these type of gloves except for decoration. A good hook and loop closure will wrap completely around to secure the wrist.
Leather vs synthetic? Doesn't matter. Whichever option you choose make sure it isn't too stiff. You want the glove to move and flex in a way that is going feel good as well as last a while. The cheaper hard material will eventually chip away.
5. Can you take the glove off yourself
Another overlooked area with the casual boxer is being able to put on and take off the gloves yourself without any help. Unless you are a serious pro boxer, there is no need to have laced up gloves. The average casual boxer needs to be able to get in and out their gloves while training since you will be doing a multitude of activities in a given time frame. You can quickly go from heavy bag work to jumping rope, push ups, sit ups, etc without having someone un-lace and re-lace your gloves.
Don't be cheap but also don't overpay either. The reality is your gloves won't last forever, but could last a long time if taken care of properly. So you will need to decide what kind of investment you would like to make. A good tip is to start with inexpensive but still good quality glove and eventually purchase a second pair to alternate with. That way you will always have at least one pair that is fresh.
So what do you look for in a glove? Let me know in the comments.
My name is Coach Jason. I'm a boxing coach and personal trainer from Jersey City, NJ. My boxing cohort is Team Hazardous. Find out more at my website www.teamhazardous.com