Muay Thai gloves VS. Boxing gloves. THE FIVE KEY DIFFERENCES !

Muay Thai gloves VS. Boxing gloves

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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.

Table of content


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.

Of course, there are differences in the shape of different brands. For example, the Ringside and Cleto Rayes gloves have a rounded shape, while other brands are slightly flatter.

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.

Muay Thai gloves VS. Boxing gloves

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 a 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.

muyai thai gloves

· 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.

Boxing gloves suggestions

CLETO REYES Extra Padding Training Gloves


  • Goatskin leather.
  • Attached thumb.
  • Water-repellent lining.
  • Handmade in Mexico.
  • 2 inches of latex foam padding.
  • Hook & Loop closure.
  • Excellent for Training
  • Very Good for Sparring
  • Good for Bag workout
  • Unisex



  • The thumb area is very short (your thumb can wiggle).
  • Not good for injured hands and beginners.
  • Need time to get broken.

Price: $189.49

Buy Now


Necalli Professional Sparring/Training Boxing Gloves – Made in Mexico



  • Perfect for Bag work and good for sparring.
  • Best suited for big hands (Wide pocket).
  • All parts are made by top grain Mexican cow leather
  • Attached thumb
  • Pretty good single stitching.
  • Very good wrist support.
  • Latex foam padding.
  • Lace-up and/or Hook and Loop closure.
  • Wide range of colors, Customization,



  • The leather needs some time to break-in.
  • Don’t have ventilation holes
  • The padding is a little lumpy.
  • Some time lack of units because they are not mass-produced.

Price: $165.99

Buy Now




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.

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8 thoughts on “Muay Thai gloves VS. Boxing gloves. THE FIVE KEY DIFFERENCES !

  1. Hello, Paunov. Nice contrast between Muay and Thai gloves & Boxing gloves. I must commend you for taking your time to share this great recommendations. I can say I had heard about Mauy Thai boxing just  from a Thailand films that  I watched . Although I am not familiar with the boxing gloves. I am not a fighter but I have some  friends, who are  training every weekend with gloves base on their style.  Thanks for sharing this helpful post.

  2. A great laydown of the differences between regular boxing gloves and the more flexible Muay-Thai gloves. I had noticed that they looked somehow different but did not know that there were so many differences. It does make sense since the style of fighting is quite different.

    The solution you suggest is one that I concur with, and likely I would have the fighters who are into MMA get a set of both, as the focus of fights can be different. The Muay-Thai version will definitely work better where a variety of styles of fighting may be used.

    The difference in price is also quite a bit. I guess it comes down to where they are manufactured at since Thailand is still a fairly reasonable place when it comes to costs (from my experiences there). I have attended some great fight while in Thailand, and they all wore more flexible gloves.

    I learned a lot from this article, and I am thinking of picking up a pair of Muay-Thai gloves, so it was helpful as I know what to get now. Thanks much! 

  3. I’m not training martial art yet, but I will be going into boxing next month to start proper training and obviously I will have to choose boxing gloves.
    I was always thinking there is no difference between Muay Thai gloves and boxing gloves because they really look alike with the same texture and similar features. Now I know the differences.Thanks!

  4. OK, now I know the five differences between Muay Thai gloves and normal boxing gloves. 

    From a distance, they have so much similarities that it might be difficult to differentiate them. And ugh I is true, most especially for novices. 

    I now know the five differences between the two gloves, but the one I will find hard to forget, it’s that the Muay Thia glove is more square and less rounded than the normal boxing gloves. 

  5. First I wanna appreciate you for this awesome and informative post. I had a not too good experience choosing a flexible glove as I didn’t know how to get or the things to look out for so to know if it’s flexible and protective enough for me, I mistakenly went for boxing gloves and it was difficult using it for workout. I actually wanted a muay thai glove but made a mistake and went for something else. Now I know better on how to choose the best gloves and I can also sensitise others too as well. This post has sure been helpful to me. Thanks

  6. Great Content and Information!

    What a concise and thorough article. I found the post very detailed and Informative. So so many useful tips and tricks all on one page! Wonderful! I bookmarked to look further. This is an eye opener for me because I didn’t know the difference between these two products before now. I learnt alot from this lovely blog post. Thanks for sharing 

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Muay Thai gloves VS. Boxing gloves. THE FIVE KEY DIFFERENCES !

by Doychin Paunov time to read: 5 min
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