Anytime a person undertakes a new hobby, it can be overwhelming to figure out what kinds of equipment you will need. Boxing is a time-honored sport the world round and attracts a number of rookie sluggers year after year. All of these new boxers have one thing in common: the need for the best boxing gloves.
About Boxing Gloves
The first documented pair of boxing gloves was used in Ancient Greece. At that time, they were made from only rawhide. They didn’t provide much padding and were, in fact, used to inflict further pain on an opponent. Sometimes, the rawhide gloves would include sharpened metal pieces to further damage.
Because of the brutality of the sport, it was banned in 393 A.D. when a diplomat’s son decided to join the arena. The young man’s mother urged the father to put a stop to the sport, fearing that her son would suffer grave injury.
By the 12th Century, the sport was revived, but without the use of gloves. Bare-knuckled brawls led to a multitude of hand and face injuries.
In the 18th Century, a boxer named Jack Broughton was approached to help develop an official rule-set for the sport. At that time, Broughton insisted that gloves be used while practicing for sporting events to reduce the injuries before entering the ring for the official fight. However, over time, boxers grew savvy to the benefits of wearing the gloves and the official rules were changed to incorporate gloves into the competition, as well.
Today, gloves are built not only to decrease the risk of injury for all parties involved, but also to increase the comfort and stamina of the boxer.
Factors when considering the best boxing gloves
The factors are:
- Lace-close or Velcro
Factor #1: Lace-close or Velcro
When wearing the gloves, it is important that they don’t slip. To help, the gloves are built to tighten around the wrists during wear. Typically, the straps will tighten by lace-up design or Velcro. There are benefits and downfalls to each, although for a beginner boxer, there is a clear preference.
Lace-up gloves are best for hard competition because laces are less likely to come undone in the heat of a difficult fight. A seasoned boxer will know when the laces are one properly and will benefit from the steadfast hold of the closure.
Velcro gloves are a better option for beginner boxers. Learning to properly lace a competitive glove can take time and practice, so for a boxer who wants to gain the physical exercise benefits of the sport right away, Velcro is an easy and fast option. Velcro will offer a snug fit, but can of course come undone easily and the “stickiness” of the material can wear out over time.
Factor #2: Materials
When purchasing a good set of boxing gloves, you always want to go with true leather. A lot of gloves come with vinyl or fake leather and this can be an attractive and cost-effective option. Unfortunately, synthetic materials just don’t provide the support or durability needed for the sport.
Leather is a heavier material type and can work as a protective shell around the hand and wrist. In a sport where your hands and wrists take on a lot of pressure, it is important to look at the protective quality of your equipment ahead of just the overall appearance or affordability of the product. Money saved on a lesser material will cost more in physical therapy and hospital bills later if you aren’t careful.
Factor #3: Durability
Boxing gloves have a hard life. There is no “taking it easy” in the world of boxing. Hard hits, sweat, blood, and overuse can have a lasting, negative effect on the lifelong quality of your gloves. You want to be sure that you buy a set that is designed to withstand their purpose.
Always look for a glove that is well-stitched, built from strong materials, and implements quality padding. You will also want a pair of gloves that is easy to clean as sweat and blood are breeding properties for bacteria which can cause gloves to smell or even harbor harmful infection.
Factor #4: Price
Because you will likely have to replace your gloves time and time again over the years, you want to pick a brand that is not only durable but also affordable. Some gloves can retail for hundreds of dollars while others are down in the $10-20 range.
A more expensive pair of gloves does not necessarily mean that they will be the best quality. Sometimes, you pay for a brand name or an aesthetic design. Remember that the name and the design won’t save you in the boxing ring from your opponent or yourself. Make a wise choice when purchasing your equipment.
Top 3 Boxing Gloves
Below, we will review three of the best beginning Boxing Gloves on the market to help determine which rates highest based on our determining factors. The gloves are:
- Venum Challenger 2.0 Boxing Gloves
- RDX Maya Hide Leather Boxing Gloves
- Everlast Pro Style Training Gloves
Let’s take a look.
Venum Challenger 2.0 Boxing Gloves
Feature #1: Premium Synthetic Leather
Despite warnings about synthetic materials, Venum touts their choice of material as “premium-quality” synthetic leather. They market this material as durable and breathable with a breathable mesh interior. Their advertising claims that these gloves reduce sweating and increase protection above what you would expect from other gloves of the same price range on the market.
They also claim that their glove is as durable as real leather, despite being made of a synthetic material. While this is a hard claim to believe for some seasoned boxers, it can be an attractive claim for rookie boxers who are looking for an inexpensive starter-glove option.
Feature #2: Curved Anatomical Shape
These gloves are built to support the hand at a curve. The shape reinforces the palm of the hand, making the crushing blows of a heavy hit less devastating to the joints and tendons of the hand, overall.
Additionally, the thumb is usually the most vulnerable part of the hand during boxing, because it is the only appendage from the hand that is not enclosed with the other fingers. With the thumb sticking out alone, it is often broken during the blocking process of a strike. Because of the curved design of this glove, the thumb is held closer to the hand, reducing the vulnerability.
Feature #3: Secure Velcro Enclosure
This glove features a strong Velcro grip at the enclosure. This makes it harder for the glove to come unstrapped and fall off or wiggle loose from its place on the hand. A glove that comes loose is not supporting the hand in the proper places and can lead to broken bones or sprains.
Because the enclosure is made with Velcro, a beginning boxer can begin honing their skills in the ring without first learning how to properly lace shut a glove.
Real Users Feedback
There are over 450 reviews on Amazon for this glove with an overall rating of 4.4 of 5 stars. The reviews are overwhelmingly positive and are singing praises for the glove’s great fit and feel. The curved hand design was a big hit for a lot of buyers who found that the glove was comfortable and supportive in all of the best places. Support is everything for a beginning boxer who has not yet built up the hand strength to withstand the first hard blows of competition.
Other reviewers did voice concerns for the “plastic” odor of the gloves and possible chemical treatment of the material. Some reviews claimed that the gloves were unusable because they smelled so strongly that they caused headaches and nausea. Others say that after wearing the gloves for a short while, they developed rashes and other skin abrasions. Some might disregard this complaint as a potential allergy or sensitive skin on the part of the reviewer, but any time a glove is believed to have caused physical damage to a user instead of protecting them, it is a claim worth taking into consideration.
It was also disappointing to find that the durability of the inside of the glove didn’t hold up to user expectations. The breathable mesh fabric fell out of the glove after only a few uses. Additionally, the gloves were difficult to clean and dry properly and the plastic odor was soon replaced with a “dirty” smell.
There were other complaints that the stuffing was coming out of the glove’s padded areas through the inside following the loss of the mesh. When a glove can’t stay stuffed or hold onto its lining, it becomes completely unusable and useless. The cost benefits of the synthetic materials didn’t seem to be worth the durability exchange when it came down to overall quality.
Pros of the Venum Gloves
- Has an overall great fit and feel
- Great comfort overall
Cons of the Venum Gloves
- Holds strong odors
- Lacks durability
- Potentially harsh chemicals create skin issues
RDX Maya Hide Leather Boxing Gloves
Feature #1: Maya Hide Leather
Maya Hide is a new buzz-term in the sports equipment manufacturing industry. It refers to a type of real leather that has been well broken in prior to making its way to the manufacturing warehouse.
Leather that is well broken in is softer without sacrificing durability. A softer glove provides more comfort for the person wearing the glove and also is a safer option when considering the opponent.
Maya Hide is a merely a new term for an old gimmick, however. Previously, “vintage leather” or “worn leather” were words meaning the same thing. So, while the benefits of the leather are great, don’t be too quick to sell yourself on a “new” technology that is actually as old as the industry, itself.
Feature #2: Supremo-Shock Foam
RDX has cornered the market on “Supremo-Shock Foam.” This is an attribute of their own design and is comprised of an extra strong and durable foam type that wraps around the knuckles and joints of the hand to offer an advanced level of protection.
The wrists and knuckles are particularly vulnerable parts of the hand and are easily broken in the sport of boxing. Even without being broken, the pain associated with hard impacts can reduce the stamina of the boxer and lessen their odds of winning.
When these vulnerable parts of the hand are better protected, the boxer’s odds in the ring change entirely for the better.
Feature #3: RDX Quadro-Dome Technology
Another uniquely RDX feature is Quadro-Dome Technology. This refers to the design of the glove and how it helps to disperse the impact of a blow throughout the entire hand, reducing the risks associated with focused impact.
When the impact is distributed throughout the hand, it reduces the force of the blow. This allows a boxer to hit harder and block punches more without using as much strength or enduring as much pain as with other types of gloves.
When a boxer is able to use less energy and suffer less pain, they can last longer against their opponents in the ring. Endurance is everything in boxing and these gloves are definitely designed to enhance endurance.
Real Users Feedback
There are over 190 reviews for this product on Amazon with an overall average of 4.6 of 5 stars.
The aesthetic appeal of this glove was a big winner among the reviews. RDX is known for creating flashy and attractive designs, and these gloves are no different. For a boxer that wants to stand out above their opponents, RDX is an easy choice.
Aside from aesthetic appeal, there were reviews that the glove fit snugly, but not uncomfortably. Most reviewers said that the glove offered great protection and support and was, in fact, very comfortable. The Quadro-Dome technology seems to pay off with a lot of reviewers claiming that they were able to last longer and hit harder while wearing this set.
The only complaints I could find were those of seam rips. Many reviewers said that the seams ripped easily and there was not an option for re-stitching without further damaging the glove. Other reviews complained about the lack of elasticity in the Velcro strap, making the straps wear out faster.
Overall, reviews were great, but not without some minor durability issues.
Pros of the RDX Gloves
Cons of the RDX Gloves
- Durability concerns
Everlast Pro-Style Training Gloves
Feature #1: Warranty
Everlast offers a 120-day warranty on these gloves, which means they will replace or refund any gloves that are found to be of less-than-acceptable quality in the first few months of use.
A warranty speaks volumes for a company’s quality control and durability promises. When you purchase a product that is held under warranty, you know that the company is sure their product will stand up to the test.
This is a great and immediate comfort to many buyers who are taking their first foray into the boxing world.
Feature #2: Double-Layer Sandwich Foam & Thumb Lock Feature
The Double-Layer Sandwich foam offers padding around the full wrist and hand. Not only is this great news in terms of overall protection of the hand, but it also helps promote proper technique. The foam actually holds the hand in place in the safest and most effective position possible for the sport.
The thumb lock feature actually attaches the thumb to the rest of the hand making it less vulnerable to hits and strikes. Previously, we discussed the risks to the thumb in the sport and a thumb-lock feature is a guaranteed way to eliminate that concern entirely.
Feature #3: Everfresh Antimicrobial Treatment
Let’s be honest- Boxing gloves stink. Literally. The sweat and blood of the sport often soaks into the padding and, because the gloves don’t allow much air into them, bacteria collects and smells are born.
The antimicrobial treatment to these gloves helps to break down that bacteria as it grows, actually killing the smell (literally) at its conception.
Real Users Feedback
There are a higher number of reviews for this product than for its counterparts. Reviews total over 1,800 and average at 4.1 of 5 stars. While most reviews are overwhelmingly positive, there are quite a few concerns.
While the warranty guarantees the durability of the gloves for about four months, many reviewers found that the gloves wore out fast starting at about the six-month mark. This is twice as disappointing because, not only does the durability of the gloves fall short of what is expected, many reviewers felt that the warranty was kept intentionally short because Everlast knows the products are only made to last for a short amount of time. This can be very off-putting when people are considering where they spend their hard-earned money.
The antimicrobial treatment, itself, seems to have a slightly gasoline-like smell which made some reviewers sick when the gloves first came out of the packaging. Some reviewers were unable to use their gloves at all because the smell was so strong they immediately returned or replaced them with a different pair.
The good news is that the gloves do seem to air out quite well and dry well with minimum “funky” smells that are normally associated with this type of equipment.
Pros of the Everlast Gloves
- Great Protection
- Easy to Clean/Air Out
Cons of the Everlast Gloves
- Synthetic Materials- 80% Polyurethane, 20% Polyester
- Not durable enough
Comparison between All 3 Models
So, which of these three gloves wins out overall? Let’s decide.
Factor #1: Lace or Velcro Closure
All three of these gloves feature Velcro enclosures. The only downfall associated with any of the Velcro enclosures would be the RDX enclosures, which failed to provide any elasticity along with the Velcro.
While Velcro is built for an easy and steadfast grasp, it can also be too rigid without the use of elastic to help the wrist and hand maneuver inside of the glove. Straining the wrist with the glove set too firmly in place can cause the Velcro to come loose and, if the Velcro comes loose too many times, the fibers wear out and the ability to hold can be compromised.
Factor #2: Materials
The RDX does redeem itself here by being the only glove to offer a real leather material. The Maya Hide leather is marketed as a new technology, which is a bit of a false representation, but it doesn’t compromise the overall effectiveness of the material.
The Venum brand gloves are honest in their advertising when they say that their strong synthetic leather is not real leather, but they claim it to be stronger than other synthetics which reviews failed to prove beyond a doubt.
The Everlast gloves were not so open about the materials used to create their glove. It took some digging to find out that they are actually an 80/20 poly blend, which likely accounts for many of their overall durability concerns.
Factor #3: Durability
Speaking of which; the durability of the Everlast gloves did not quite stand up to the confidence that was implied by their guarantee.
The Venum gloves were our other synthetic material gloves. Like the Everlast gloves, they failed in the durability test. Stuffing came out, the mesh lining ripped from its place, and the gloves proved to be an overall disaster for some reviewers.
The RDX gloves win the durability category with only some stitching and elasticity concerns clouding durability perfection.
Factor #4: Price
All three sets were very close in price range. The Everlast model markets at $39.99, the RDX model markets at $46.49, and the Venum gloves market at $49.99.
Once we have weighed all factors, there is a clear winner. The RDX Maya Hide Leather Boxing Gloves win out thanks to their quality, design, overall attractiveness, and a reasonable mid-range price.