MMA-Today is reader-supported. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Whats the difference: Boxing Gloves vs. MMA Gloves?

For the untrained eye or amateur, distinguishing between boxing gloves and Muay Thai gloves isn’t easy. Both types of gloves may appear somewhat similar to each other; however, they’re different in many respects.

Before we go deeper, it is essential to note that boxing gloves do come in two distinctive styles. The first is the Muay Thai boxing style, and the second is the Western Boxing Style. With the emergence and the rise of both UFC and MMA, a new open-finger glove design came about, and it’s becoming popular. 

Let’s look at the main features and differences of these gloves.


As the purpose of these gloves differs, so do their materials. Boxing gloves are designed explicitly for boxing while Muay Thai gloves are for defense.

Related: how long do boxing gloves last?

The skin of the best boxing gloves’ is designed using tanned leather. But the surface of cheaper quality gloves is mainly vinyl. For the padding materials, all boxing gloves use either PVC foam or latex. Back in the days, cotton was the primary material in padding. However, cotton has proven very expensive in recent times, prompting for a shift in more modernized, easy to fabricate materials.

Muay Thai gloves are nowhere near the quality of other premium boxing gloves, so they can’t substitute gloves for boxing. Even though the padding of Muay Thai boxing gloves comprises similar materials as the other boxing gloves, they are much more flexible and designed with utility mind. Boxers also train with heavy bag gloves, which last a lot longer.

A significant difference in MMA gloves compared with Muay Thai gloves and other boxing gloves is the use of breathable material. This breathable material absorbs moisture giving fighters a better grip. MMA gloves also incorporate antimicrobial treatment, which helps prevent odor giving your opponent a gust of fresh punches.

Also, most premium MMA gloves tend to have water-repellent nylon that improves on the grip. A built-in mesh further ensures that your hands are dry. It is tough to win in a sparring and warding sport when your hands are soaked and slippery. For the padding, most MMA gloves use the Fairtex foam system.


The same was ha padding is essential in boxing headgear; padding is a vital feature in any glove. It not only protects the fighter from the direct force of a punch, but it also minimizes the risk of hand damage.

As boxers use their knuckles when punching, it is the most padded area. Some boxing gloves do have padding on the wrist and the palm, though most boxers do prefer padless gloves.

Boxing gloves also have subcategories, such as the laced gloves and the Velcro gloves. Unlike the Velcro gloves, laced gloves do have substantial padding on the palm, and aren’t designed to offer natural support. Regardless of the subcategories, the best boxing gloves tend to be well padded in the thumb area and the knuckle. Also, they are almost padless around the palm and wrist areas.

The best Muay Thai gloves tend to have evenly distributed padding. Unlike boxing gloves, Muay Thai gloves have more padding on the back of the hand and less padding on the knuckles. The reason for this is that fighters do need to have more shielding from the impact of the kicks. Another key difference that the Muay Thai gloves tend to have over the standard boxing gloves is the side padding, which helps prevent the impact from the elbows. They also have significant padding at the lower section of the palm, and this protects the fighter from spinning kicks.

MMA gloves have much stiffer padding than Muay Thai or Boxing gloves. Recently, MMA gloves feature gel rather than foam for their padding. Foam padding did offer excellent protection back in the days, but the gel has the additional advantage of making the gloves more durable. Because of this, gel-padded gloves tend to be pricier.

MMA gloves are padded to provide protection emphasis to the fingers. Their Velcro straps around the wrist ensure that the weight moves with you.

Whether you’re into boxing or MMA, it’s essential to choose the right gloves before you walk into the ring or if you are doing an MMA workout at home. The right gloves will ensure maximum performance at the same time offer protection. Read more boxing articles here.

Leave a Comment