When it comes to sparring, the best Muay Thai sparring gloves will offer far more than just being a fashion statement – they’re crucial for protecting your hands and protecting your partner, all while accommodating proper form to help you advance as a Muay Thai practitioner.
What Makes A Good Pair Of Gloves For Muay Thai Sparring?
Learning what makes a pair of gloves perfect for Muay Thai sparring is a great way to begin. First, it’s important to note that a lot of wonderful Thai-style gloves are marketed as boxing gear – very few brands make the distinction, but there’s still a significant difference. Good gloves for Muay Thai are more flexible than ordinary boxing gloves, allowing more movement for clinching. They also include more padding on the edges for blocking.
Experienced Muay Thai enthusiasts often invest in different gloves for different needs. Competition gloves, for example, are often lighter weight and the padding inside is much more firm for a harder hit. But those features aren’t great for sparring. Good sparring gloves should be as soft and cushioned as possible to protect your hands and your sparring partner. While regulation fights often require 10 oz gloves or lighter, 16 ox is the most popular size for sparring matches.
The gloves reviewed below fit all of these requirements – soft, flexible, and available in 16 oz sizes. When you’re shopping for your next pair of Muay Thai sparring gloves, consider using the following models as a baseline.
Best Muay Thai Sparring Gloves Review
Twins Special Muay Thai Gloves
As one of the best-known names in Muay Thai gloves, the Twins brand comes highly recommended by amateurs and professionals at every level. These gloves are handmade in Thailand from real leather for dependable durability. Twins Special Muay Thai gloves are available in a wide range of sizes ranging from 8 to 16 ounces. A few colors are even available in 18 ounces to accommodate even the heaviest hitters during sparring matches and general training.
On the 16 to 18 ounce gloves, the thick soft padding offers superior protection for both the user and the user’s sparring partner. The thick padding isn’t just limited to the knuckle area – these gloves also feature thick foam on the pinky side of the palm to protect while blocking kicks, with thick padding on the back of the hand as well. The wrist area allows plenty of room for movement while performing clinches.
Although opinions about comfort and fit always varies from person to person (and one person’s “con” might be another person’s “pro”, buyers with larger hands report these gloves tend to run with a snug fit, especially in the thumb area. Other owners of Twins gloves note that the durability of the leather and foam means that the gloves take a little while to break in to achieve the excellent softness that makes them so well-suited to sparring, but once they’re broken in, customers tend to use words like “pillow-like” to describe the feel of each punch.
- Real leather construction
- Handmade in Thailand
- Soft padding
- Dependable knuckle protection
- Flexible for Muay Thai clinching
- Available in bright colors
- Durable and hard-wearing
- Long break-in period
- Fit runs snug
Venum Elite Muay Thai Sparring Gloves
Although many retailers don’t market these as Muay Thai sparring gloves, they’re designed in Thailand with all the right features for Thai-style martial arts. While some of the other Venum models tend to run very stiff, gloves from the Elite series are soft and fluffy enough for intensive sparring without worrying about injury. They’re also flexible – ideal for working on clinching techniques. Reinforced palms absorb blows and kicks with ease, while the extra long cuffs keep wrists braced safely.
Venum Elite sparring gloves are available in a wide range of colors from eye-catching neon hues to patriotic flag colors. While these budget-friendly gloves are not crafted from real leather, Venum’s premium Skintex material offers an authentic look and feel. Reinforced seams ensure these gloves will stand up to the most rigorous training schedules.
People who have used Venum Elite gloves report this model to be comfortable, very easy to put on and take off, and many find that they feel more agile than other gloves of the same weight. Many buyers enjoy the compliments the bright colors draw at the gym. While the exterior of the gloves gets good reviews for durability, some buyers complain that the inner lining doesn’t last quite as long.
- Soft protective padding
- Reinforced palm area
- Durable synthetic leather
- Increased wrist protection
- Fragile interior lining
- Not real leather
Sanabul Essential GEL Sparring Gloves
While the Sanabul brand isn’t as recognized in the Muay Thai scene, the Essential GEL line is one of the most popular budget-friendly glove models suitable for sparring practice. At almost half the price of other brands, these sparring gloves provide a surprisingly robust feature set – the gel infused foam is exceptionally soft to protect you and your sparring partner.
The specially-engineered faux leather material is easy to clean between uses. The palm features ventilated mesh to keep hands cool during practice, while allowing the gloves to dry quickly so they won’t start to smell like a locker room. The velcro closure system keeps the gloves secure while allowing for a versatile fit.
These gloves are especially popular with beginners who don’t want to invest too much money in a new sport, and many parents choose this brand for their young children. They’re also a popular “back-up” brand for at-home training. While they provide all the protection a person could need for light sparring, many long-time owners find the durability a little lacking – some choose take advantage of the low cost to replace them, while others choose to upgrade to a more professional grade brand. Thumb fit is another common complaint.
- Breathable mesh palm
- Extra-soft gel infused foam
- Colorful detailing
- Not as durable as other brands
- Uncomfortable thumbs
Regardless of price range or brand name, you’ll be sure to find yourself happy with your glove purchase as long as the chosen pair fits well, flexes enough for grabs and clinches, and offers soft enough padding to protect both parties in a sparring match. But once you find a great pair, that doesn’t mean you have to stop looking or trying out new things – every Muay Thai enthusiast has different preferences, and you just might find yourself growing into new requirements as your style evolves.