Boxing Gloves VS Muay Thai Gloves: Is There A Difference?

Deciding to get Muay Thai gloves or Boxing gloves is an important choice to make when starting Muay Thai or Boxing but is there much of a difference? I decided to find out.

The main difference between Muay Thai gloves and Boxing gloves is Thai Gloves have a shorter cuff increasing hand flexibility for the clinch. Muay Thai gloves have more padding at the back and top of the hand and the palm for more protection against kicks and elbows, whilst Boxing gloves have more padding at the knuckle and wrist.

I will discuss in detail the differences between the two, to help you understand the differences and which one you should get.

The Difference Between Muay Thai And Boxing Gloves

The differences between both Muay Thai and Boxing gloves come from the intended use. Boxing is a sport that calls for many quick strong punches . The knuckles of the hands are put under a lot of stress so they have to be protected well.

But Muay Thai is a martial art that involves, striking with all eight limbs(fists, legs, elbows.knees), together with clinching, catching, and blocking kicks. So the gloves need to have well-rounded padding with extra flexibility for the hands to catch kicks and clinch.

Muay Thai & Boxing Gloves Palm Differences

In boxing, the palm is used to parry punches but in Thai boxing, the fighters need the extra flexibility to grip for the clinch as well as to catch and hold kicks with either hand, this is very common in Muay Thai.

With boxing, you can only punch so the priority is making boxing gloves rounded to put your fist in a more natural position. If you want to know the main differences between Boxing and Muay Thai and if you should train them together check my post here.

With Muay Thai the glove’s padding is molded to allow the palm to be more open, this gives the Thai boxer more range of motion in the glove as with Muay Thai you need the extra flexibility to block kicks and elbows and also to grab your opponent in the clinch where you can trip him/her or take them down.

Muay Thai & Boxing Gloves Side Padding Differences

With boxing, the side of your hands doesn’t get hit so they have very little padding on either side of the hand and the palm itself. This isn’t the case with Thai gloves.

With Thai boxing, the sides of the palm will have some solid padding going down the side of each hand. This is due to the differences between the sports, as with Thai boxing you need that added protection whenever you block, knees, elbows, or kicks.

With boxing there is not a need for this, so Boxing gloves can afford to have little to no side padding compared to Muay Thai gloves and focus on keeping that round fist like shape for punching.

Muay Thai & Boxing Gloves Thumb Differences

With Boxing gloves, the thumb is kept very close to the fist protected by the more round knuckle padding. With Boxing, your fists are your only weapons so keeping the thumb out of the firing line is key to prevent the risk of getting hurt or injured.

The thumb is either attached with leather all across the thumb and hand or there’s a small strip of the material located at the end of the thumb to secure it.

With Muay Thai gloves, your fists are not your only weapon so having your thumb less close to the hand helps you with clinching and catching kicks; as it’s more awkward to grab or clinch with a boxing glove due to the smaller range of motion as the thumb is so close to the fist for added protection.

Muay Thai & Boxing Gloves Cuff Differences

The cuff is the way the glove attaches to the wrist. With lace-up gloves, the difference isn’t that noticeable, but with velcro gloves, it’s more obvious.

A common injury in both Muay Thai and Boxing is the wrist bending from a punch if you want to see other potential injuries you can get in Muay Thai click my post here.

To prevent the wrist bending, boxing gloves have a long fit to keep the wrist as close as possible to hand for increased wrist support that allows you to flex your hand if you want to.

With Muay Thai the approach is flipped upside down. In Muay Thai your wrist will be hit often whenever you block a kick so you need the space for your wrist. to bend; also it helps to get a nice firm grip on your opponent’s neck during the clinch.

Muay Thai gloves have a shorter fit, making the cuff thicker that balances out the reduced support of a short fit. With velcro, you can get solid support by pulling the strap stiff making the cuff feel more protective.

Should You Buy Boxing Or Muay Thai Gloves?

Generaly if you do Muay Thai buy Muay Thai gloves if your a Boxer buy boxing gloves, but there is no harm in having both especially if you do Muay Thai, as you can use your Boxing gloves when you spar Boxing and Muay Thai when you do Muay Thai.

It depends on how serious you take Muay Thai training, whether you want to fight and HOW you actually fight. Every brand will be unique as the size, look, padding, the weight will all differ so you need to find the one that speaks to you. Check my personal glove buyers guide here.

If you start your training in Thailand you likely will be using Muay Thai gloves as since they are all made in Thailand which makes Muay Thai gloves easily accessible in Thailand. Pure boxing brands like Everlast and TITLE are harder to find in Thailand as Boxing isn’t super popular.

I will list how your individual goals in Muay Thai or Boxing will change what type of glove you should get.

If You Are Casually Training Muay Thai

If you don’t have any intention competing and you just do Muay Thai for the social & fitness aspect, the glove type doesn’t matter. The differences between the gloves will not affect you so much.

In my gym after class, we always do around 10 minutes of clinching but it is only people who want to do the extra work. If your not the type of person to clinch after training pick whatever glove you like.

If You’re On A Budget

If you’re anything like me and was on a budget when buying Muay Thai gear, then Boxing gloves are the best option. They are cheaper than Muay Thai gloves as the quality Thai brands like Fairtex/Twins are made in Thailand with genuine leather and have. tobe imported.

Boxing is more popular in the west with brands like TITLE(US) and RDX(UK) make boxing gloves in house so they are not as expensive compared to the Thai brands that always have to be imported.

The Title gloves I mention are around$30-$40 dollars so roughly half the price of a Thai glove. I still recommend buying a Muay Thai glove if your serious about the sport but if your first pair is cheaper Boxing gloves like the Title that’s fine too as having different pairs of gloves have their own benefits which is mentioned further down this post.

If You Take Your Muay Thai Training Seriously Use Muay Thai Gloves

The more serious you take either sport the more you need to wear the right gear. Whilst you CAN clinch and catch kicks with boxing gloves, the added range of motion Muay Thai gloves give you makes everything just that more natural.

I made the mistake of initially buying Boxing gloves instead of Muay Thai gloves and despite. me liking the gloves themselves, I really should have bought Muay Thai gloves instead.

If you think there’s even a small chance of you competing in Muay Thai or you just want the best Muay Thai experience possible, start with Muay Thai gloves.

If You Mainly Punch Consider Boxing Gloves

If you find yourself mainly punching in sparring or you come from a Boxing background, then Boxing gloves for Muay Thai does make sense as Boxing gloves offer the best weight distribution for punching; since they are custom designed for just punching.

The best entry-level Boxing gloves are the TITLE leather training gloves(check them out here). When you want to work on pure boxing or if your hitting a Boxing bag, having pure Boxing gloves just makes sense.

If You Want The Best Possible Results of Your Muay Thai Training

Nothing is stopping you from buying both types of gloves as it isn’t too expensive to do so. Just like with shoes, having two pairs allows you to rotate the gloves and reduce the general wear and tear.

Both gloves do different things, you could use your 16 oz Muay Thai gloves for sparring and pad work, and use your 12 oz Boxing gloves for Boxing pad work and hitting the Aqua bag, or buy a 16 oz Boxing glove for Boxing sparring.

Ultimately having both Boxing and Muay Thai gloves is the best scenario as you get the best of both worlds and would only cost around $110-$120 USD if you buy the two gloves in my recommendation for Muay Thai gloves which you can find here.

How To Choose The Best Muay Thai Glove For You?

You need to know exactly what kind of gloves you should buy for your training. There are numerous factors to consider.

  • Glove weight
  • Glove aesthetics
  • Glove style
  • Glove material
  • The glove type

Muay Thai Gloves Sizing Chart

Body Weight Recommended Gloves Size

Body WeightRecommended Gloves Size
100lbs & below8oz – 10oz
100lbs – 125lbs8oz – 12oz
125lbs – 150lbs10oz – 14oz
150lbs – 180lbs10oz – 14oz
180lbs & above12oz – 16oz

Different gloves can have different uses so it’s important to understand the differences before you make your purchase.

Training Gloves

RDX Gloves (which you can view on Amazon here).

RDX Gloves

These gloves can be used for everything you do in Muay Thai from pad work, sparring, and bag work. The majority of any bag/ pad work you do will be with training gloves hence the name training!

Training gloves are the most popular I recommend your first pair of gloves to be training gloves as they are so versatile you use them for everything!

What Glove Weight? Check my post here for a recommend glove sizing chart but 12 oz will be most popular. If your a person under 130 lbs/59 Kg gets 10 oz.

Sparring Gloves

Fairtex Sparring Gloves (which you can see here on Amazon).

Fairtex Sparring Gloves

Sparring gloves are designed for sparring so they have a more pointed shape for Sparring with more protection around the knuckle to protect both your hands and your opponent.

You can hit the bag with sparring gloves as most people that aren’t Muay Thai loco won’t have a dedicated pair of sparring gloves and they use 16 oz gloves for Sparring; 16 Oz gloves also are a requirement to Spar in certain competitions.

The majority of Muay Thai brands will offer a sparring version of their training gloves and it’s a smart idea if you spar often to buy a pair.

What Glove Weight? 16 oz is ideal for most weight classes, with 14 oz for women and men who are lighter. If your a heavyweight 18-20 oz is the best choice.

Clinch Gloves

Everlast Clinch Gloves (check them out on Amazon here).

Everlast Clinch Gloves

Gloves designed for clinching that are lightly padded with unique velcro protection. You wear this to practice clinching wearing gloves whilst stopping any potential eye poke and fingernail scratches that can happen when clinching without gloves.

Unless your someone who is a professional fighter or Muay Thai crazy and love to clinch I wouldn’t recommend buying them. A nice pair of training and Sparring gloves is all you need.

Bag Glove

FairTex Muay Thai Bag Gloves (check them out here on Amazon).

This bag will be lightweight around 6 to 12 oz allowing you to hit the heavy bag and deliver some devastating quick combinations whilst having padded gloves to absorb the force when punching and protect your hand.

I don’t recommend buying them unless you want to be quick on the heavy bag, a pair of training and sparring gloves should be first over bag gloves.

What Glove Weight?. Anything between 6 to 12 oz.

What Gloves Do Muay Thai Fighters Use?

Muay Thai fighters across the world will all use the same main brands just like normal Muay Thai gymgoers across the world. Fairtex is the most popular outside of Thailand with Twins being Thai fighter’s most popular brand and the main brand. inThailand.However different Muay Thai promotions have different rules and regulations on glove sizes.

  • Fairtex. The Fairtex training gloves(amazon link) get my recommendation, as Fairtex gloves are all made with genuine leather and are the most popular Muay Thai brand outside of Thailand
  • Yokkao. This brand only started in 2010 but has made crazy improvements in design and quality, and are the most stylish gloves you can buy
  • Twins. Twins are the most popular Muay Thai brand in Thailand, and they offer good wrist support and protection ideal for any beginner to Muay Thai.
  • King. King is common in Thailand and is owned by the brother who owns Twins. King gloves look cool and have excellent cowhide leather craftsmanship.
  • Windy. Windy has been selling gloves since 1951 and prides itself on simple simplicity and genuine leather with excellent workmanship
  • Hayabusa. Now, these are a little more expensive but Hayabusa prides itself on constant innovation in their products like moisture-absorbent fabrics.

The highest level of Muay Thai is fighters who fight in the prestigious Lumpinee Stadium in Bangkok if you view this Lumpinee rules PDF you see you cannot wear gloves larger than 6oz.

With promotions like Thai fight or max Muay Thai, the gloves are around 10z and with western promotions like Glory or Lion fight, the gloves are 10 oz.

With one championship Chinas the answer to the UFC Muay Thai fighters uses super small 4 oz gloves! I believe this is to cause more cuts and knockouts and make Muay Thai more exciting.

Interested in Boxing? Check Out My Recommendations

Looking For Gear To Use When You Train?
If you are interested in training Boxing, here is some of the gear I recommend:
Best Mouth Guard
Best Gloves
Best Headgear
Best Hand Wraps
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