What is the Difference between Boxing, Muay Thai & MMA style boxing gloves?

Boxing Gloves vs Muay Thai Gloves vs MMA Boxing Gloves: Different?

With the different types of boxing styles, it is important to choose the best pair of gloves for Muay Thai, MMA, and (western) boxing as all boxing gloves come in various shapes and uses.

There are only two real styles though, two different enough to be separated. Those styles are the Muay Thai style and the Western Boxing style. When most people think, of “Boxing gloves,” they usually think of the more western style. Due to the growing popularity of MMA, there is also the new, “MMA Boxing glove,” style.

Boxing Style Gloves

Boxing gloves are probably the best option simply because they are made for boxing. They outperform any other sort of glove due to the way their weight is dispersed throughout the glove, cushioning, and considerably superior quality.

Boxing gloves usually have the same overall style with some slight changes. Some are more rounded than others, such as the Ringside IMF gloves, and some are more flat, like the Ring To Cage C17s. Some use a straight thumb like Winning and others used a more curved thumb like Reyes.

Practically any western Boxing glove though comes standard with a grip bar and either closure of lace or velcro, sometimes both. The materials used range from leather to synthetic to mesh, and the liners use all sorts.

Because Boxers use their knuckles and only their knuckles for striking, a Boxing gloves padding is heavily used for the knuckles. The foams used to go all over the glove but the greatest accumulation of padding will always be the knuckles to offer great protection.

Some gloves also have some thick padding on the palm side for things such as parrying but the majority is for the knuckles. Western Boxing gloves also aren’t as flexible as Thai gloves.

Muay Thai Style Gloves

Muay Thai gloves are likewise of excellent quality, although they are not identical to boxing gloves. They are designed in such a way that it is easy to open your hands and for your thumbs to clinch and grab opponents. They’re also better at blocking kicks, which is an important part of Thai martial arts. Because these gloves keep your hands open, making it difficult to make a fist, they slow down your punching combinations and rate.

Thai gloves usually have the same style. They aren’t as versatile as Boxing gloves when it comes to looks. The designs such as screen printing can be dramatic but the actual glove style is relatively the same. For example, the majority of Thai gloves are usually one solid shape from the back of the hand to the thumb. In boxing gloves, on the other hand, the thumb can be sewn on separately such as in Winning gloves. You frequently see a Boxing glove thumb split into two different colors such as Grant’s.

Thai gloves are also usually more compact than Boxing gloves. A lot of the padding is focused on the back of the hand for better blocking. The knuckle padding is noticeably thinner when compared to Boxing gloves. This is due to a Thai Boxer’s usage of other striking tools such as kicks, knees, and elbows. A Thai Boxer doesn’t need to rely on just their knuckles which means there’s no need to heavily load the knuckles with foam.

Thai gloves are also more flexible than Boxing gloves. Some Thai gloves also have no grip bar such as my Fairtex BGV1s. Both the flexibility and lack of grip bar serve the purpose of allowing the user more control of the hands during a clinch. The straight thumb implemented by Thai gloves also allows for a better grip which again aids in the clinch.

MMA Gloves

When compared to boxing and Thai gloves, MMA gloves are of lower quality. Their main focus is on designing the glove and making it look stylish and elegant, but they don’t offer much in terms of protection and durability.

Just to be clear I am referring to the Boxing MMA style gloves, not the hybrid open palm MMA gloves. Now, this is considered as a “new,” style but the gloves fall in either the Thai style or the Boxing style. For example, the Venum Challengers are primarily Thai gloves while the Hayabusa Tokushus are more Boxing.

The reason these gloves are considered a new style is mainly because of how awkward or unique they are. The Tokushus have dual velcro straps, a split backhand, and also a knuckle section that is split from the rest of the glove. Even the stitching is unique as it’s very close to the striking surface. All these qualities are things you don’t see in standard Boxing gloves. Winning, Ringside, Grant, they don’t use dual velcros, no sectioned backhand, no sectioned off knuckles. Standard Boxing gloves are traditionally one solid shape with few sections.

The MMA Boxing glove style again just falls into either Thai or Boxing. The reason these new gloves have sprouted their style is just on the looks. Another example would be Title’s new sculpted foam series. Title’s strange concoction would lead many to see these as, “MMA,” style just because of how strange they look.

Comparison: Ring to Cage C17 vs. Fairtex BGV1

As a quick comparison between the two styles, we will use the Ring to Cage C17s versus the Fairtex BGV1s. For starters, the foams of these gloves are vastly different. Complete opposites but that goes for any gloves no matter the style so we will disregard that. Instead, the comparison will focus predominantly on design.

For starters, the overall shape of the BGV1s is more compact and rounded than the C17s. Due to them being Boxing gloves, the C17s also have more padding on the knuckles while the BGV1s are more padded on the back of the hand. The C17s have a grip bar, which helps to make an ideal fist, while the BGV1s lack one.

Both gloves implement a straight thumb but the design is different. The C17’s thumb is angled up slightly and more rectangular while the BGV1s are more like a rounded, flat needle angled down. The C17s also offer more overall support which is due to them not needing the flexibility of a Thai glove.

Boxing Gloves vs Muay Thai Gloves vs MMA Glove: Significant Differences

When you compare the lengths of these three styles of gloves, the first thing you’ll notice is the disparity. The MMA gloves are the shortest of the three, while the boxing gloves are the longest.

Because most of the padding is focused up top, Thai gloves will always be shorter but a little heavier. Boxing gloves, on the other hand, are substantially longer to provide the boxer with more wrist support. Wrist support holds you in place, supports your hands, and provides the extra protection you require.

Boxing, unlike the other two contact sports, allows you to solely utilize your hands, which is why they are heavily protected. From top to bottom, front to back, and sides to sides, the padding is uniformly spread. Because a boxer must both block and throw blows, all of the extra paddings are necessary for your safety.

Shorter gloves in Muay Thai have the advantage of being easier to manage because the fighter can grip the opponent from behind the neck and kick them. While Muay Thai fighters prefer to be up close and personal with their opponents, boxers prefer to remain a little more away to strike punches. They even wear padding on their hands to help them throw punches more smoothly and easily. The weight is dispersed evenly with balanced cushioning, making them feel lighter. The extra padding also allows the boxer to block and withstand the brunt of an opponent’s powerful strikes.

Another distinction is that the thumb of a boxing glove is situated just under the padding to keep your fist solid and perfectly locked in. Because the fighter must use his hands to maneuver and grab his opponent, as well as apply various locks and techniques, MMA gloves feature limited cushioning.


The type of boxing gloves you purchase is determined by your sport and personal preferences. The brand you choose is also crucial because each brand has a unique design and quality. So pick wisely. RDX is known for making high-quality boxing, MMA, and Muay Thai gloves that are both protective There are numerous varieties of boxing gloves for boxing, Muay Thai, and mixed martial arts, depending on the contact sport (MMA). In this piece, we’ll take a closer look at a few of them to see why they differ.

Boxing gloves are probably the best option simply because they are made for boxing. They outperform any other sort of glove due to the way their weight is dispersed throughout the glove, cushioning, and considerably superior quality.

The type of style you end up using depends on two things, first the sport you practice and secondly personal preference. I consider myself a Boxer, I’ve dedicated most of my training solely to Boxing. Because of that, I’ve used Boxing gloves for anything, whether it be a Boxing class or a Thai class.

I’ve even used Boxing gloves for MMA sparring because they provide more protection than hybrid gloves. I also just prefer the feel of a Boxing glove more than any other style. I’ve used over twenty, maybe even thirty different Boxing/Thai gloves and nothing ever beats the feeling of a Winning Boxing glove.

If your sport is Muay Thai though I would recommend using Thai gloves as they will be what you use during an amateur or pro match. While it’s fine to use a Boxing glove during Thai training, it’s best to get used to the real style.

I alternate between Everlast Powerlocks, Hayabusa Tokushus, Sabas trainers, R2C C17s, and Winning MS-400s for bag work or mitts. I use another pair of C17s or Sabas trainers for sparring because the protection they offer both the user and sparring partner is ideal. If I trained primarily in Muay Thai though I would be using those same gloves and alternating the BGV1s as well. Due to the stiff padding though I would have second thoughts about sparring in them.

Overall a glove is just a form of protection. No matter what your primary concern should be how well a glove can protect your hands and sparring partner. Like I said I use the “MMA,” style Tokushus and they’ve never hindered my Boxing. Using Boxing gloves for Thai also hasn’t affected my Muay Thai at all.

The purpose of a glove is protection so if a glove protects your hands and feels comfortable then I suggest you use it, no matter the style. As I mentioned though if you do train in Muay Thai or even MMA, then it would be wise to use a Thai style glove for that added flexibility to use to your advantage during a clinch and also to grow accustomed to.

Which gloves do you use for Muay Thai, MMA, and Western Boxing, let us know in the comments!

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