Besides being an utmost exciting & effective workout, mixed martial arts is one of the most aggressive full-contact combat sports. To be able to enjoy your training to the fullest and gain better results, you should carefully select your equipment.
Especially when it comes to gloves that protect not only the bones of your hands but also those of your opponent’s face and skull during sparring matches. Unless you’re into MMA to crush your enemies AND your body rather than have fun, read this guide carefully.
High-quality MMA gloves are durable, moisture-wicking, and comfortable. They provide reliable wrist support as well as protection for fingers and knuckles without hindering their movement.
Best MMA Gloves Reviewed
I have compiled a list of products that boast all these features and more, each meeting different MMA enthusiasts’ need:
Combat Sports Max Strike Training Gloves – Best MMA Gloves
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Combat Sports is one of the leading domestic brands for MMA training gear. Their Max Strike MMA Training gloves, in particular, have two inches of solid padding on the knuckles- perfect for strikers and those who engage in ground and pound fighting styles. The construction allows users to make a tight fist without resistance, and the leather finger holes are both durable and comfortable- which is critical since this usually wears down first over time with other glove models.
Combat Sports MMA gloves are smooth and relatively easy to slip into tight spaces. They have one protruding edge on the bottom side of the top surface that tends to get caught as you pull your arm out of things. The gloves are durable and high quality. They are especially great for fighters who like to strike. The weak link here is the Velcro straps, but you can always tape those down.
- Thick 2-inch knuckle padding for striking.
- Comfortable feel.
- Durable finger strap design.
- Hook and loop closure.
- Velcro strap has been known to deteriorate over time.
- A bit bulky for grappling.
Everlast Train Advanced 7-Ounce – Best Gloves for MMA
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Everlast is a world-known brand, offering fight gloves professional athletes endorse. If you are looking for the best MMA gloves that won’t cost you a fortune, consider this Striking/Training model.
These MMA gloves are great for sparring sessions of newcomers and advanced fighters alike. They are crafted from synthetic leather with foam padding for better knuckle protection. The pair works for hard bag punching and grappling, as fingers are not entirely covered.
- Ergonomic inner design and materials ensure comfort during long training sessions;
- Padding is dense enough to provide decent protection to knuckles;
- Natural finger position.
- The outer layer of material lacks quality
- Only one color available
- You may experience the smell of its materials.
RDX MMA Gloves – Best MMA Gloves for Training
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RDX MMA Grappling Gloves Martial Arts are also suitable for cage fighting and speedball training, Muay Thai, kickboxing, etc.
They are made of cowhide leather and have a smart foam padding design. The well-made stitches make them sturdy against substantial impacts. Gloves have separate padding sections, which provides more durability and comfort.
In addition to the design, the palm is open, and gloves cover only half of the fingers. It makes RDX gloves better suited for grappling.
- Correctly measured sizes;
- Natural & quality materials;
- Excellently wick away sweat.
- Loose material in the palm section hinders proper grabbing;
- The padding is too thick;
- An intense leather smell may be unpleasant.
Venum Challenger – Best MMA Gloves for Heavy Bag Work
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If you want to get a pair of the best MMA gloves that will last, consider Venum Challenger. The materials used are robust enough to withstand prolonged training and sparring. Thanks to clever design, they easily fit the palm and do not restrain movement.
The key feature of these gloves is ventilation. If you take a look at the bottom, you will find a small hole. It keeps your fingers dry longer and quickly wicks away sweat buildup.
The padding is somewhat hard, which makes it a better match for sparing than a punching bag. Padding has multiple layers, allowing Venum MMA gloves to stay in proper shape for longer.
- Impressive durability even with frequent training and MMA sparring sessions;
- Unique breathable design that prevents sweating;
- Affordable price for high quality.
- Due to hard padding, they are less suitable for MMA training with heavy bags;
- Stitches near fingers are of poor quality;
Everlast Grappling Gloves – Best MMA Gloves for Sparring
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Everlast has been in the sports goods market for more than a century, so it’s safe to say they create some of the best fingerless MMA gloves.
Everlast Mixed Martial Arts gloves for grappling are made of durable synthetic leather. They boast a comfortable design that provides proper support for your wrists.
The materials have no unpleasant odor due to advanced lining. These gloves may feel a tad uncomfortable at first, but they will loosen up eventually. The padding is focused on protecting knuckles and fingers, which makes them excellent sparring gloves.
- The cuff is made of elastic material that fits tightly;
- Optimal price-quality ratio;
- Comfortable for sparring.
- Depending on the size, the finger padding may be too short;
- The size chart differs from other brands.
Hayabusa T3 4 oz Pro Style – Best Hybrid MMA Gloves
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It may be wise to spend a bit more to get UFC training gloves of excellent quality. Hayabusa T3 gloves are suitable for gripping, punching, and bag work. It makes them useful not only for sparring, but also for competitions.
They are made of Vylar, a synthetic material that feels much more comfortable than leather. Long practice sessions are in order with this pair. The “Y-Volar” design delivers superior stability and control compared to the standard MMA glove.
- High-quality materials guarantee significant durability;
- Due to the product’s light weight, hands won’t get tired from sequences of punches;
- The gloves guarantee incredible wrist support.
- They require more time to break in;
- The size chart differs from actual gloves’ dimensions;
Sanabul Essential 7 oz – Cheap MMA Gloves
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Sanabul Essential is the best budget option that you can get without compromising quality. They are heavier than average models, which makes them suitable for sparring.
These MMA gloves have a hybrid design with open fingers and plenty of foam padding on the backside of the palm to protect your knuckles.
Also, your palms won’t sweat much as they’re open and have proper ventilation. Note that this model is not recommended for punching heavy bags.
- Open fingers for easy grappling;
- Provides excellent knuckle protection.
- The material isn’t particularly durable;
- The size chart does not represent the real dimension of the gloves.
Venum Undisputed 2.0 – Best MMA Gloves for Beginners
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This is for those that are ready to spend more to get something special. The unique design grants your fingers and knuckles unmatched damage protection.
These gloves are made of Napa leather and have a layered foam padding. Moreover, the wrist strap is adjustable, which makes them comfortable to wear. The inside part is open, making it easier to grip and letting your palms breathe.
- Finger loop closure is too tight;
- The price is quite high;
- Padding between fingers feels uncomfortable.
- Adjustable and comfortable fit;
- Handmade product of top-notch quality;
- Suitable for bag work.
Things to Consider When Buying MMA Gloves?
MMA gloves come in three types:
- MMA Sparring Gloves are designed to leave the thumb free. This makes throwing techniques easier and more comfortable to perform. Many fighters spar without striking techniques, honing wrestling only. This is also true for the work on the paws.
- MMA Training Gloves are shaped more like projectile MMA gloves (with a large impact part). There is a thicker impact layer of foam and a special pad with foam or other material that protects the thumb.
- MMA Competition Gloves have an open palm or have it covered with mesh to allow a comfortable grip. Thumb protection is mediocre. The padding is minimal to ensure increased stamina and flexibility.
All types of MMA gloves absorb impact energy well, protecting the hands of both the athlete-fighter and their sparring partner.
The critical advantage of leather is its durability. Leather equipment will last much longer than synthetic products. Another advantage of leather is that it “breathes,” so hands sweat less in leather MMA gloves.
Another crucial upside of fake leather gloves for MMA is their low cost. Therefore, leatherette is a good option for a beginner athlete taking the first steps in MMA.
Today, MMA gloves with a gel filler are becoming more popular among fans of mixed martial arts. They have an inner lining with a special absorbent and antibacterial materials, making the equipment safe & comfy.
For MMA gloves, there’s mostly a double-sized concept, such as L/XL or M/S. However, each manufacturer is different when it comes to sizes, there are no universal criteria to determine the size.
In general, L/XL MMA gloves are suitable for adults who weigh more than 75 kilograms. For lighter adults, S/M sizes are the right choice. There’s also a separate size chart for youth.
If you plan to use boxing bandages, it is recommended that you choose palm design MMA gloves that are half a size larger. It is better to use a slightly elastic polyester bandage up to 4 meters long.
Usually, training gloves have a maximum degree of protection. It includes reinforced padding, thumb protection, and, in some cases, palm protection. As the degree of protection increases, so does the weight of the gloves. MMA training gloves weigh about 8-9 ounces.
MMA sparring gloves often don’t have additional protection. However, the protection of the thumb is mandatory even in amateur competitions. Competition gloves’ weight ranges from 4 to 7 ounces.
The heavier the MMA gloves are, the more difficult it is to keep your hands up. For those who want to give their best during training, it’s recommended to buy heavier models.
What Kind of Gloves Do MMA Fighters Use?
MMA athletes have several pairs of gloves for different purposes. They use the most affordable MMA gloves with basic design during their regular bag work. They protect the knuckles with a larger amount of padding at the top and the front parts of the fighter’s hands. Many athletes also opt for boxing gloves during bag training.
Then there is a training pair designed to provide supreme hand and wrist protection as well as shock absorption to protect the sparring partner. There’s more padding and sturdier materials involved. The design is more versatile too, with segmented fingers, giving MMA athletes more freedom of movement while grappling.
The MMA gloves for competition is a whole other story. The fit should be perfectly tight, with a band that must wrap around the wrist at least one full time. The padding tends to be minimal to make MMA gloves lighter (around 4 oz). They have an open palm design, the fingers are separated to achieve maximum flexibility.
Are MMA Gloves Good for Punching Bags?
If you want to focus your training on striking techniques, basic boxing gloves are a much better fit for you than any MMA gloves because of their thickness.
Choosing boxing gloves for bag work spare your hands unnecessary damage and protect the bag from wearing off too soon.
How Should MMA Gloves Fit?
To try on the glove, put your fingers in the loops, and wrap the straps around your wrist. Now give the glove a sharp tug, holding it by the padding on the top. If the glove slips – it’s probably too large for you.
Now, attempt to make a fist. If you can’t clench it properly – the glove is too small. In other words, if the glove stays put after the tug and allows you to make a fist comfortably – it’s a perfect fit.
What Is The Difference Between MMA and Boxing Gloves?
- Weight. Boxing gloves are heavier, weighing 16 ounces, while Mixed Martial Arts Gloves weight 10 ounces on average;
- Form. Boxing gloves resemble mittens. MMA resemble fingerless gloves;
- Boxing gloves are covered with a sturdier material and have more padding inside;
- Boxing gloves can be fixated with laces (less often) or Velcro (more often). MMA gloves come with Velcro only.
- MMA gloves are more flexible and less dense. Boxing gloves are more robust. Both are usually crafted from synthetic leather.
What Is The Best Brand Of MMA Gloves?
With any famous brands, there’s usually a good reason for their fame. While many boxing glove legacy brands have operated for decades, MMA is still a young sport. However, Hayabusa has made the most significant impact with their equipment so far. Additionally, Venum is also great and provides more variety in price levels than other similar brands do.
What Gloves Do MMA Fighters Train With?
MMA fighters spar with gloves that have either more or less protection for the thumb, depending on their preference.
Do MMA Gloves Hurt More Than Boxing Gloves?
MMA gloves hurt more than boxing gloves. The padding on the MMA gloves is thinner, which makes them less protective. And the padding is only on the knuckles, which leaves the rest of the hand open to damage. The overall impact on the head is the same for both types of gloves, but superficial damage like cuts and bruises is significantly greater with MMA gloves.
Can You Spar With MMA Gloves?
To efficiently train for an MMA match, you need to spar with gloves that are made specifically for MMA fighting. Training and pro-style gloves will not work properly for those who are inexperienced, as they will not be able to control their power output.
Why Are MMA Gloves Fingerless?
MMA gloves were specifically designed to help reduce injury during grappling and allow fighters to grab their opponents more easily. This is why MMA gloves don’t have fingers and have open palms.
Should MMA Gloves Be Tight?
There is a delicate balance to be had when choosing the right MMA glove size. The gloves should be tight enough so that the hand won’t move inside during a punch or while grappling, but not so tight that it obstructs blood flow. If the gloves are too small and tight, they can prevent the flexing of the fingers, which also gets in the way of grappling.
Can You Use MMA Gloves On A Heavy Bag?
Most MMA gloves will damage the surface of a heavy bag because of their open finger design. However, there are MMA gloves with features designed specifically for use on a heavy bag which will protect both the glove and the bag from wear and tear.
What MMA Gloves Does Conor McGregor Use?
The brand that McGregor decided to use is Everlast. This brand is renowned for some of the best quality boxing gloves on the market. As Conor is a heavier puncher based on his track record in the MMA scene, the Everlast custom boxing gloves he used for this fight were lighter and less padded over the knuckles.
What Boxing Gloves Does Joe Rogan Use?
Joe Rogan and many others (like Georges St Pierre) choose to wear Hayabusa boxing gloves.