So you want to switch your fighting style and move from boxing to kickboxing. Keep in mind that training with Muay Thai ropes might help you gain muscle and speed, and you’ll definitely need that. But when you only own, for example, a pair of boxing gloves by Winning and some training bags you obviously ask yourself if it is okay to continue to use them or perhaps you have to acquire a different pair of gloves.
In the following lines, we are going to answer this question, but first, you need to understand the differences between these types of gloves. Just as the fighting styles are unique and different in their own way, so is the equipment fighters wear. Naturally, the gloves make no exception from this.
Fighting gloves, in general, are designed with varying shapes as they have multiple purposes. Although many fighting styles have evolved over the years, people use two main styles of gloves that are different enough to be classified individually. These are the Western Boxing and Muay Thai.
Boxing gloves can be easily distinguished as they generally keep their overall style regardless of the weight class. Some gloves are manufactured so that they look more rounded, others look more like a square, some are flatter, etc. This mainly depends on the brand that is producing them and many times it is used as a trademark.
Professional boxers who used many pairs will recognize the manufacturer just by looking at the overall shape. The thumb may be straight like is the case with Winning gloves, or it could be curved as we see in Reyes boxing gloves.
Getting past all these small differences, the general idea of a typical boxing glove is that it has a grip bar, padding over the knuckle area for impact absorption and a closure system that is based on laces, Velcro straps, or sometimes both.
The gloves are made from all sorts of materials, but the most common gloves are covered with synthetic leather, genuine leather, and the interior padding is made from foam. This inner protection is concentrated around the knuckle area and it’s supposed to absorb the impact forces that occur when a punch is delivered.
This protects the hands of the striker as well as the opponent from serious injuries. Although the foam is concentrated over the front part of the fist, it covers the entire hand as well. Some gloves feature a layer of thick foam padding on the interior of the palm as well. This is so that the fighter can parry incoming punches without taking damage.
The main thing to keep in mind is that a pair of Western Boxing fighting gloves is not going to be as flexible as a pair of gloves used in the Muay Thai fighting style. However, boxing gloves provide more protection for your knuckles than the gloves you use in kickboxing.
Muay Thai gloves
For inexperienced fighters, it may be difficult to distinguish at a glance a pair of Western Boxing gloves from a pair of Muay Thai gloves. Their design is extremely similar as far as the overall shape goes. This having been said, a pair of kickboxing gloves is less versatile than a pair of boxing gloves.
Most of the Muay Thai boxing gloves are manufactured from one single piece of solid foam that spans from the wrist to the fingertips, including the thumb. On the other hand, Western Boxing hand protection can be sown from multiple components.
One important thing to consider is that Thai gloves are often smaller and more compact compared to their boxing counterparts. The majority of the foam protective padding is, in this case, concentrated on the back of the hand in order for the fighter to better block incoming strikes.
The knuckle area is more exposed than the gloves used in boxing. This is because in Muay Thai and kickboxing in general, the fighter has many more options regarding attacks. He or she can use knees, kicks, and even elbows. Because they don’t have to solely rely on punching, the design of these gloves doesn’t focus as much on protecting the knuckles.
As a result, the hand is not as loaded with protective padding and many times the strikes and parries are faster.
As we mentioned above, another characteristic of these gloves is improved flexibility. In addition, compared to boxing gloves, these ones do not possess a grip bar. These two features give the fighter improved control over his or her hands. This comes in handy especially during clinches, where the fighters have to maneuver each other away while still defending.
The straight thumb is also designed to aid in this purpose as well. Unlike boxing gloves, where it is curved, Muay Thai boxing gloves allow fighters to achieve a better grip.
This is said to be a new style of MMA gloves, and supposedly you could wear them both when practicing boxing as well as when practicing Muay Thai. Keep in mind that they are not the same gloves used in the UFC type of MMA. This new type of gloves shares similarities with both of the above-mentioned types of gear and could really fall into both categories.
They look unique and are pretty awkward to use. They feature dual Velcro straps, a backhand that is split, and also a split knuckle area, separated from the rest of the glove. The stitching is located extremely close to the contact surface. These characteristics are not something that can be found in any standard boxing gear.
Brands like Winning, Ringside, and Grant follow the traditional design with only a couple of sections, no dual Velcro straps or separated knuckle area. These hybrid type of gloves can be worn both in boxing as well as in Muay Thai, although we wouldn’t recommend them. They seem to be bought based only on their looks and don’t have real functionality.
Such an example would be the peculiar design of the Title’s new sculpted foam series. The majority of the clients might see them as MMA fighting gloves mainly due to their strange looks, but in any case, if you are a serious fighter you should know what you want and go for the products that stood the test of time.
Western Boxing and Muay Thai gloves are similar but far from identical. If you are switching from boxing to kickboxing our recommendation is to switch the gloves as well. If you are saving some money for some professional pair of Muay Thai gloves or you just don’t have a pair at that moment, it’s still fine to use boxing gloves while training.
This will give you good protection as the gloves have thick padding. However, at the same time, they will also feel heavy and cumbersome. You will not be as fast as your properly equipped opponent and neither as versatile. If you want a genuine and complete kickboxing experience, then acquire the complete appropriate equipment, including some Muay Thai gloves.