As one of the most dangerous contact sports on the planet, Mixed Martial Arts requires careful training and selection of gear to be performed safely. Finding the best MMA gloves will reduce the risk of injury, increase performance, and ensure you get the most out of your training.
The actual gloves used by UFC fighters, it doesn’t get any closer to real. Made of leather and intended for serious practitioners of the sport.
A hybrid sparring/training glove meant to protect yourself and your training partner from injury. They can also be used to practice grappling thanks to the open palm design.
Competition style gloves made for use in actual fights, these Venum gloves offer a fair amount of protection for the fighter while still letting their opponent feel every punishing strike.
Another training glove meant for sparring or heavy-bag work, these make fantastic beginner gloves for those new to the sport. They are inexpensive and offer lots of padding to protect your fist.
Full regulation fight gloves, this Hayabusa product offers advanced padding and wrist closures to protect you while using them. They are competition grade gloves aimed at serious practitioners of the sport.
It would be hard to recommend the best MMA gloves without mentioning the only ones approved by the biggest name in the sport, the UFC.
As the actual gloves worn by fighters participating at the very top-end of MMA competition, these gloves are intended for use by professionals or those very serious about the sport. They are, of course, 4 oz. competition gloves with minimal padding and should only be used by experienced practitioners when training.
The gloves themselves are designed to maximize impact on your opponent and offer little to no protection. Even more so than other gloves, it’s as close to fighting bare knuckle as you can get.
They are made of real leather and are a bit more expensive than other gloves.
A sparring glove with plenty of padding that can also be used for grappling, the Sanabul 7 oz. Sparring Gloves are perfect for both new practitioners and experienced trainers.
The additional padding provided on this lightweight glove helps keep your hand and wrist safe from impact damage when striking a heavy bag.
When sparring the padding will help reduce the risk of injury to your opponent, while the open palm will still allow you to practice grappling and submissions.
The glove itself tends to run a little large in size so be sure to get one that fits well!
Venum is another big name in MMA sports, and of the gloves they offer these are our favorite. They use a high-density foam to protect your knuckles but ensure your opponent feels every strike to the fullest.
A lot of support is offered in the wrist to mitigate the chance of injury while being used. These are full regulation style 4 oz. gloves and, as such, care should be taken if you will be using them for training or sparring.
They offer little protection for your sparring partner and repeated heavy-bag use could lead to injury.
They’re in the middle of the high-end price range.
Designed to be inexpensive training gloves, these Everlast brand gloves won’t cost you much and are meant for sparring and heavy bag use.
If you’re looking for a cheap pair of workhorse gloves to start your MMA training, these will work well. At 7 oz., they simulate the reduced size of MMA gloves while still providing padding and wrist support.
Safety is key when training for MMA and these will help to ensure you don’t injure someone during your training.
As with most gloves, training or otherwise, it is smart to properly wrap your hands before doing any work with these.
Hayabusa is one of the top manufacturers in the MMA world, and there’s a good reason for that. Their gear incorporates some of the latest technology and fight science to create a high-quality product tailored for high-end fighters.
The Hayabusa Ikusa gloves are no exception to this, and while they may cost you a little more, you are getting your money’s worth. They’re used by professional fighters around the world both in competition and in training leading up to their fights.
It’s good to note that these are regulation fight gloves. That means they weigh 4 oz. and offer minimal protection for your hand as they are meant to deliver hard impacts to your opponent.
The amount of sparring or bag punching you should do with these should be limited or carefully regulated, or you will end up injuring yourself or others.
Picking the right MMA gloves is a lot like picking any other striking glove, with some key differences.
As multi-function gloves, the best MMA gloves will be a result of several factors. The most important of these is their intended use, and it’s critical to pick the right glove for the job.
Using a competition glove during sparring will result in serious injury to your or your opponent, and using it on a heavy bag will eventually end poorly for your hands and wrists. Gauge what you need to use your glove for and, as always, choose the right gloves for the job.
Gloves of a different weight will have a different amount of padding geared towards their purpose. Martial art training gloves will generally be heavier with more padding around the knuckles to protect against injury while competition or grappling gloves will be lighter and have less padding, but they allow more freedom of movement in the fingers.
If you intend to use these gloves for hitting a heavy bag or sparring, you want to go with a heavier glove or possibly even a Muay Thai glove. You really don’t want to injure yourself or your opponent during martial arts training, and the additional padding on a heavier glove will help make sure this doesn’t happen.
Most MMA gloves are either leather or synthetic leather. High-quality synthetic leather will generally last longer than a traditional leather glove but doesn’t offer the same grip or feel of actual leather.
Most of the expensive, high-range gloves are made of leather, as are most competition gloves including the official UFC gloves.
The padding in the glove itself can also differ. Gel and foam are the most common padding materials, and each one will offer a different feel when being used. Experiment to see which one works best for you.
Since MMA gloves, in general, tend to offer less protection, to begin with, it’s even more crucial to pick the right fit than with other fighting apparel. They need to fit snugly without squeezing the wrist while still offering support.
As with all striking sports, it’s wise to wrap your hands before they go into the glove, so be sure to take this into consideration when choosing a size.
There are specialty MMA hand wraps that are lighter than traditional boxing hand wraps to help ensure your hand fits into the glove properly.
The Hayabusa Ikusa MMA Gloves are by far our favorite pick for the best MMA gloves. Not only can they be used for careful martial arts training, they are 4 oz. competition gloves.
The advanced padding and wrist protection when compared to other gloves puts these a step above the rest and allows them to be safely used for training too.
The synthetic material they are made from will actually last longer than real leather and remains a durable material long after their first use. Because they come from Hayabusa, a well-known name in MMA fight gear, we know they’ll hold up after many sessions.
As an added bonus, they cost about the same as other high-end gloves, so it’s really hard for us to justify any other pick as the clear winner here.
Jason Maine is the founder of FullContactWay, a blog dedicated to provide best martial arts advice and information. Jason helps his readers with martial arts training by sharing personal tips and thorough research.
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