As you well know, besides boxing, there are many types of martial arts in the world. One of the martial arts that have gained great popularity over the last two decades is the Muay Thai boxing. Unlike boxing, the Muay Thai boxers, in addition to the punches with hands, use their knees and elbows as weapons of superiority over the opponent.
The gloves in Muay Thai as well as in classic boxing are used for protection. So, Muay Thai gloves vs boxing gloves! Which are the five key differences? That, I will try to explain in the next article.
Differences come primarily because of the intended use. Boxing is a sport that requires fast, heavy punches for a prolonged time. The main stress is on the knuckles of the hands and therefore they must be well protected.
On the other side, Muay Thai is a martial art whose protective gear must be suitable both for striking, clinching, catching and blocking kicks and elbows.
That’s why the difference is:
FIRST: The Shape and the Style
- Boxing gloves
The main weapon of every boxer is his fist. The well-formed fist delivers a dense and powerful punch. That’s why most classic boxing gloves are rounded at the fingers, to help make a more natural fist.
Since wrist protection is of great importance, boxing gloves have a larger cuff area that is well attached to the hands with Velcro or lace. The idea is to make the gloves a natural extension of the forearms.
Some boxing gloves are more angled in the fist area and then thinner at the wrists. The overall goal of all boxing brands is to achieve a perfect position of clenched fists.
The weight distribution of boxing gloves is exclusively geared to rapid combinations of powerful hits that distinguishes them from muay Thai gloves.
- Thai gloves
The shape of Muay Thai gloves resembles that of boxing gloves, but there are some differences. Most muay Thai gloves are squarer in shape and less rounded. They are not as aerodynamic as boxing gloves and they are hard to make quick combinations with them. This is because the weight distribution for Thai gloves is slightly different.
Since the function of these gloves is slightly different from that of boxing, most of them are slightly open at the palm and with a cuff smaller zone with the common idea of greater flexibility.
Most of the Muay Thai gloves do not have a mesh area in the palms which is one of their distinctive features.
SECOND: The Padding
- Boxing gloves
Differences come again because of the purpose. As the boxers use the knuckles of the hand for punching, this area is best padded. Some gloves also have padding to protect the side of the palm, but this is not common.
Most boxing gloves have no padding around the wrists and the palms. Usually, lace-up gloves have a little more padding on the palm and down the wrist which makes up for the lack of natural support usually given by a Velcro strap.
Summary, boxing gloves are well padded in the area of the knuckle and thumb and do not have or have a very little padding in the area of the palms and wrists.
- Muay Thai gloves
Compared to boxing gloves, the padding of Muay Thai gloves is evenly distributed.
The knuckle and thumbs pad are less but the padding on the back of the hand is much more. That is because Thai fighters need to have better protection against the strong kicks that they use.
Almost all of Muay Thai gloves have thick padding on the sides for better protection against elbow strikes. The best models also have a pad at the bottom of the palm to protect against dangerous kicks with knees in the head.
Here’s a short video about Muay Thai gloves vs. Boxing gloves.
THIRD: The Flexibility
· Boxing gloves
The boxing gloves are rigid compared to Muay Thai gloves. They do not need to be more flexible because as I said they must be a natural extension of the hands.
The priority here is to prevent the wrist from flexing in a stroke. That’s why the cuff is bigger and the tightening around the wrists is stronger.
· Muay Thai gloves
The basic idea behind the design of the muay Thai gloves is flexibility. Muay Thai gloves are more flexible when clenching the fist and less rigid than boxing gloves.
Thai boxing is complexed martial art and the fighters need the ability to grip during the clinch, to catch and hold the kicks with their gloves. Because of that purpose, some Thai gloves don’t have a grip bar to allow the user more control during the clinch.
In Muay Thai, the clinch is part of the game, so gloves are designed to allow easy opening of a hand that is a distinctive feature compared to classic boxing gloves.
The best way to recognize a Muay Thai glove is by trying to open your hand in it. If it’s too rigid for that, you are dealing with a boxing glove.
FOURTH: The Thumb area
· Boxing gloves
In boxing gloves, the thumb is kept as close to the fist as possible. It is also very well protected sometimes with additional padding.
In boxing, the thumb must stay away to avoid injury when hitting. The thumb is usually attached with a strip at the glove or fully attached with leather all the way up between the thumb and hand.
· Muay Thai gloves
Thai gloves usually have a straight thumb to allow better grip and clinch. Often Muay Thai gloves have thumb area which is directly molded into the actual glove frame. Muay Thai glove, having the thumb a little less ‘tucked in’ to the hand can help a lot with grip when catching and clinching.
FIFTH: The Price
Muay Thai gloves are a winner when we talk about the quality you get at the price you pay. For example, to get real leather handmade boxing gloves like Cleto Reyes or Casanova you must pay at least $170.
Premium Muay Thai Brands (TWINS, Fairtex, Raja, etc.) you can buy for 60-70 $. For that price, you will get a handcrafted, made in Thailand, genuine leather glove.
Generally, the glove is a form of protection.
Choosing a glove should depend on the style you train, the way you train and the comfort you get by carrying them.
If you train Boxing alone, I think your choice is more than clear. If you are dealing with Muay Thai or mixed martial arts, it is normal to choose Muay Thai gloves.
If you are MMA or Thai fighter, the best option would be to have two separate pairs. Boxing gloves when you focus on pure punching and Thai gloves for general workout and sparring.