Best MMA Gloves [Buying Guide]
Your hands are your money makers in MMA, so why not take good care of them and wear the best MMA gloves?
But before wearing gloves, you need to first buy them, right?
If that’s what you have been having trouble with, then we are here to help! To give you some good options, we picked and reviewed 6 great MMA gloves. Besides, we prepared a little buying guide to help you pick the right gloves.
Let’s now see what you could get for your strong fists!
Best Gloves For MMA Reviewed
If you are looking for good MMA grappling gloves, then Venum Challenger is a rather good choice for the money. Very similar to competition gloves in their build and weight, these gloves could allow you to comfortably practice both hits and grappling.
The protection in this gloves is delivered by the multi-layer foam over the knuckle area. The foam absorbs shocks good, but it definitely won’t have adequate protection for heavy bag works.
That isn’t a downside of these gloves: that’s just the way such gloves are.
To ensure a tight fit, Venum gloves employ a double Velcro strap system that allows you to re-position your hand before tightening the strap. The Velcro makes these gloves easy to put on.
In the end, Venum Challenger gloves really look like good mid-range MMA gloves. There is one thing you should bear in mind though.
You better wrap your hands before training in these gloves. The thing is that some people complained about the vinyl material irritating their knuckles. This isn’t a thing that you want, especially before competition.
So make sure to wear wraps with these gloves.
- Attractive price.
- Good protection.
- Require wearing wraps.
Being an inexpensive pair of MMA gloves, RDX gloves nonetheless have a couple of interesting features to offer.
First of all, when it comes to training, these gloves have almost the same purpose as the Venum Challenger gloves we’ve just reviewed.
The RDX MMA gloves are made from synthetic leather, which is the thing that makes them so inexpensive. On the other hand, the durability of these gloves is inferior to ones made from genuine leather, but you get what you pay for.
RDX equipped these gloves with their Tri-Slab PC3 curved padding over the knuckles, which allows good protection for sparring. Besides, the finger design of these gloves allows grappling training.
The synthetic fabric of these gloves is moisture-wicking, allowing more comfort during training. In addition, the open palm design increases the breathability of these gloves, so sweating won’t be an issue with them.
RDX MMA gloves are great gloves at the price point. Beginners or less experienced fighters will definitely appreciate its balance of price and quality.
- Breathable design.
- Lack of wrist protection.
Hayabusa T3 is the kind gloves that you would want to go for if you are competing. They have everything that you need: protection, comfort, and quality. But let’s not go ahead of ourselves and describe everything in detail.
First, protection. The T3 gloves boast a durable outer shell designed to be extremely resistant to cracks, abrasion, and tear: all to protect the foam complex located within.
The foam padding of these gloves is designed to both help you transfer max power into your punches and absorb and dissipate the energy of your opponent’s hits. The padding complex covers the entire hand, so you could both safely punch and block hits with the gloves.
To ensure comfort, Hayabusa equipped their T3 MMA gloves with their Y-volar palm design. The shape of the palm is constructed to deliver stability and control over the glove.
The inner material of the gloves is coated in XT2 antimicrobial to prevent odors. In addition, it is designed to keep the hands cool during training or meets.
The thumb design is also open: unlike the other gloves we examined, your thumbs stay free and mobile in these gloves. This actually is kind of a double-edged sword: you do have more freedom in grappling, but injuring the thumb will be easier.
Thereby, these gloves are for fighters who have strong finger positioning.
To ensure a tight fit, Hayabusa equipped the T3 gloves with a multi-directional dual Velcro closure system. This system makes putting the gloves easier and ensures that they stay tight on the hands.
In the end, if quality and performance are the things that you are looking for, then Hayabusa T3 may be the best MMA gloves for you.
- Excellent quality.
- Great for competition.
- No thumb protection.
For sparring with other fighters or heavy bag hitting, none of the previous gloves we reviewed are good enough. But Venum Elite MMA gloves definitely are!
And when you look at these gloves, you instantly understand why.
These gloves have a lot of padding, much more than competition gloves. And that’s exactly what you would need to protect your hands while hitting a heavy bag. And to also protect your sparring partner.
So yeah, Elite MMA gloves feature multi-layered, thick, and heavy padding over the knuckle area to absorb the harmful shocks that would occur when hitting a firm bag. The padding extends over the fingers and keeps them close together to help you with maintaining a tight fist when hitting a heavy bag.
Venum Elite MMA gloves are also great in terms of comfort. While these gloves may seem like regular boxing gloves, they offer more comfort thanks to their light and open design, just like competition MMA gloves.
Yet again, you get a Velcro hook-and-loop strap to allow secure fit during sparring. Interestingly, the straps are rather narrow on these gloves. If you really dislike bulky straps, then you’d probably appreciate the ones of the Elite gloves.
Needless to say, these gloves aren’t suitable for grappling. They noticeably limit the movement of the fingers, which makes performing grappling and throwing rather difficult.
That’s just how things are with sparring gloves.
- Great protection.
- Suitable for sparring and heavy bag punching.
- Don’t allow grappling.
Sanabul Essential MMA gloves are very similar to the RDX MMA gloves we reviewed earlier. They are priced around the same and have about the same level of protection and comfort.
These gloves are again essentially competition gloves, but we’d actually recommend them for training. For competition, you’d want more expensive gloves with better comfort and protection.
These MMA gloves ensure fist protection thanks to the Durasoft Impact Protection foam. This foam is good for light bag work, but definitely not protective enough for heavy bag training.
Unlike the RDX gloves, the wrists in these gloves are protected rather good, so taking hits to them is safer with them.
To ensure a good & tight fit, these gloves are equipped with double hook-and-loop closures to make putting them on with easier, even if you are wearing wraps. The strap is also designed long to make sure that the glove stays on during your training sessions.
- Good all-around protection.
Closing off our reviews with yet another sparring MMA glove! Fairtex FGV15 is very similar to the Venum Elite we examined earlier, but it has some differences that may interest you.
First off, the outer shell of these gloves is made from genuine leather, whereas the Elite gloves were made from synthetic leather. What this means for the FGV15 gloves is that they are very durable, possibly much more durable than the Elite gloves.
The second difference is the Velcro strap. Remember how narrow it was in the Elite gloves? Well, in the FGV15 gloves, the straps are as wide as on regular competition gloves.
Lastly, the thumb of these gloves looks better padded and protected. If you feel that your thumb gets strained a lot, then you will probably appreciate the additional thumb protection in the FGV15 gloves.
As for the rest of the features, the Elite and FGV15 gloves are pretty much identical. FGV15 gloves have a tight fit and excellent fist protection, which would allow you to use them in a wide range or training activities like sparring and heavy bag punching.
However, as it usually is with sparring gloves, Fairtex FGV15 can’t be used for grappling.
- Excellent fist protection.
- Can be used for heavy bag hitting and sparring.
- Genuine leather shell.
- Can’t be used for grappling.
How To Choose The Best MMA Gloves?
Now that we know what each of the reviewed MMA gloves has to offer, it’s time to find out how to choose those best MMA gloves.
First off, we are going to describe the main types of gloves so you can easily distinguish between them. And then, we’ll have a look at a couple of features that you should look for in MMA gloves.
Types of MMA gloves
Competition gloves can vary widely depending on competition rules and regulation. However, competition gloves commonly are those that weigh about 4 ounces.
This kind of gloves is mostly focused on speed and power delivery rather than protection. Because of that, they have very little padding.
They still offer some protection, but you definitely need to wear hand wraps beneath.
Competition gloves also have separated fingers to allow grappling the opponents.
The lack of padding puts some limitations on what kind of training you could use competition gloves in. You shouldn’t do sparring in them since you could injure your sparring partner.
And besides, heavy bag hitting is also a bad idea since competition gloves don’t have adequate protection for them.
Having two pairs of competition gloves – one for training and one for competition – is generally a good idea. That’s because you want to keep the gloves you’ll be competing in as fresh as possible.
You just don’t want to go out fighting with beat-up gloves that could die on you at any moment.
For a competition, you should get the best gloves you can, while for training, you could have cheaper gloves. But your training gloves shouldn’t be too cheap: they just will not be very durable.
For sparring, heavy bag workouts, and any training where you need to protect either your hands or your opponent, you would need to opt for sparring gloves. Usually weighing about 7 ounces, these gloves have thicker protection layers than competition gloves.
If you are sparring or punching heavy bags a lot in competition gloves, you should stop and go get yourself some good sparring gloves. You’ll either injure your partner or hurt your fists when training in thin competition MMA gloves.
Some people can actually punch heavy bags in competition gloves just fine, but most people should opt for sparring gloves.
What you can’t do in sparring is grapple. They have a design resembling boxing gloves which limits the fingers’ freedom of movement.
This, on one hand, helps you with keeping your fist tight and on the other doesn’t allow you to do grappling and throwing.
Because of such limitations, you should have both competition and sparring gloves for training. If you restrict yourself to just one type, you will not be able to do certain types of training.
Some people even use proper boxing gloves for bag workouts, so you could do that as well. For sparring, you’d still want to use MMA sparring gloves to get used to the more open design of MMA gloves.
Hybrid MMA gloves combine the finger mobility and protection of sparring and competition gloves. If you aren’t very serious about MMA training or don’t have the budget, hybrid gloves would be perfect to allow you to train everything.
However, keep in mind that hybrid MMA gloves can’t fully replace competition or sparring gloves. If you are serious about your bag or grappling workouts, then you’d need to have separate gloves for each type of training.
Due to their heavier weight, hybrid MMA gloves would limit your performance in training. And they, on the other hand, don’t have enough protection to allow you to safely work out on heavy bags.
Things to look for in MMA gloves
MMA gloves are usually made from either genuine or synthetic leather. Which one is better?
Well, this depends on your budget and what you need from MMA gloves.
Since genuine leather is the more durable material, you would want to opt for it if you want your MMA gloves to serve for a long time. Genuine leather gloves are more expensive, so you need to be ready to pay the price for them.
The feel of genuine leather may also play a role for some people: it feels premium and luxurious, after all.
Synthetic leather is all the other way around: it is cheaper, less durable, and it also feels inexpensive. This doesn’t mean that synthetic leather gloves are bad: casual fighters or those on a budget will certainly appreciate their cheapness and quality.
But if you are a pro, then you’d need to go for the best gloves you could afford. And those would probably be made from genuine leather.
The majority of MMA gloves you can find use synthetic foam filling as padding. Others have multi-layer padding filling.
The latter is usually cheaper, but such gloves don’t tend to last very long.
Nowadays, almost any MMA glove will have Velcro wrist straps, and that’s the thing that you would want to go for. Some also have double straps that allow you to first position the glove on the hand properly and only then wrap the strap around the wrist.
Breathability and wicking
The leather isn’t breathable, so you’d want to get MMA gloves that are breathable and moisture-wicking. Since all the reviewed models have an open palm, they are very breathable.
Some gloves on the market have closed design though, which wouldn’t allow as good air circulation within the gloves. If you don’t need the additional protection of a palm material, then go for open-palm gloves.
How do you choose the right glove size?
Manufacturers provide sizing charts on their product pages. You should check them to pick the right size.
Do you have to use wraps in MMA gloves?
You should wrap your hands because it will protect them from any friction between the skin and the glove. You don’t want to go to a competition with irritated or bleeding knuckles, do you?
Do you really need sparring MMA gloves for heavy bag work?
Some people can work out on heavy bags in lighter gloves just fine. However, if you want your hands and knuckles to be absolutely fine and pain-free, then you should use sparring gloves on heavy bags.
You may not harm your knuckles necessarily, but you should probably be extra careful with them and go for sparring gloves.
So what, did you find the best MMA gloves to protect your fists and deliver powerful punches with? If so, then go get them!
Otherwise, don’t be afraid to spend the time looking. In the end, it won’t be in vain, and you’ll surely find the MMA gloves that are right for you!