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Best Heavy Bags For Boxing Training

It doesn’t matter if you are training just for cardio at home, practicing Muay Thai, or are preparing for an amateur MMA fight, the heavy bag is omnipresent in combat sports. However, if you try to get an intense training session in with the wrong pair of gloves your hands will let you know the error of your ways in a hurry!

You don’t just want the best boxing gloves – you want gloves for heavy bag training! The best heavy bag gloves let you hit harder, longer, and safer. If you’re interested in finding out which are the best heavy bag gloves for you, then keep on reading!

How to choose the best gloves for heavy bag training

man punching a heavy bag with gloves

Boxing gloves are for protection, however what, or more properly whom, is being protected varies on the glove. Sparring gloves are built to protect your partner while heavy bag gloves are built to protect you. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use sparring gloves on a heavy bag – just that if you choose to do so you’ll be exposing yourself to greater risk and discomfort.

The best choice is to select a glove designed for the task at hand because the expression “no pain, no gain” does not apply to boxing gloves! If you’re planning on doing heavy bag training, save yourself some suffering and get a pair of gloves that will let you train for years to come.

Here are some key features to keep an eye out for when you are selecting your next pair of bag gloves!

Material:

Boxing gloves exteriors are generally made out of leather, synthetic leather, or vinyl. Within each of these material types there is a relatively wide range of quality, but a rule of thumb is that leather is the most premium offering while vinyl is the least.

Leather: Generally considered to be the most durable, although due to differences in leather grade and thickness not all leather gloves are created equal. You’ll need leather gloves if you’re training with punching bags, as they need to last.

Synthetic Leather: Cheaper than real leather, synthetic gloves offer slightly less durability and may be less breathable. Like real leather, synthetic leather comes in many different grades.

Vinyl: The cheapest exterior material available for boxing gloves. Aside from their low cost and being easy to clean, these gloves offer few advantages and are not an ideal choice.

Related: how long do boxing gloves last?

Weight & Size

The ideal weight for bag gloves is subjective. Unlike sparring gloves and competition gloves where the weight is important for safety and fairness, it is perfectly fine for one person to use light bag gloves while you are using heavy bag gloves.

Some people prefer lighter gloves, as they believe they can work out longer, while others prefer heavier gloves so that they can get a harder workout in a shorter period of time. While it might not seem significant, even a small weight difference can make it much harder to keep your hands up after a long session on the bag.

To make matters more difficult, while sparring gloves sizes are listed by weight, heavy bag gloves are sometimes sized by weight and sometimes are simply given a small, medium, or large designation. Confusingly glove weight may vary with size or may be independent of size depending on brand and model.

Gloves that are only sold by weight are typically larger at higher weights. If you have larger hands, 8-ounce gloves may not fit while the same company’s 16 ounce will.

One more consideration: heavier gloves generally offer more padding. If you find your hands or knuckles are getting sore from bag work, a heavier glove may be a solution.

Closure

Boxing gloves are typically offered with two types of closure: hook and loop closures (like 3M’s Velcro) and lace-up.

The only kind of glove worth considering for heavy bag work is hook and loop. Lace-up gloves require the assistance of someone else to put on and take off, making them inconvenient for heavy bag use. Save the lace-up gloves for the ring and use the time you save to practice.

Other Features to Look For

Open-Thumb versus Closed Thumb?

One feature found in gloves for sparring is a fully enclosed, padded thumb. This feature keeps your partner safe from unintentional eye pokes and keeps your thumb safe from parried punches or even kicks in Thai boxing. However, heavy bags don’t have eyes and don’t punch back. This means that thumb protection is optional.

One advantage of having an open thumb is that you can still operate your phone’s touchscreen for changing songs or snapping a quick selfie for Instagram!

Some people find that the molded thumbs of boxing gloves puts their thumb in an awkward position – removing the thumb protection allow you to place your thumb naturally. Conversely, open thumbs introduce pinch points and can cause chaffing. Ideally try out each style to decide which you prefer.

If you are planning on fighting MMA, you may find that the open thumb lets you get a hand position more similar to the one you’ll be using while wearing MMA gloves.

While an attached thumb may be an important design element for sparring, they are less significant for bag gloves. Some bag gloves include an attached thumb while some omit the thumb entirely; the right choice is whatever feels right on your hand.

Ventilated Palm

Sweat is a reality of boxing, and your hands are no exception. While a ventilated palm won’t completely mitigate sweaty glove syndrome, it will offer some relief.

This is more than just a matter of comfort as moisture is the enemy of boxing glove longevity. Gloves with ventilated palms will get less moisture build-up and will dry more quickly after training. The addition of holes to the palm of the glove may reduce its durability, but any durability loss is probably offset by your gloves staying drier.

The 7 best heavy bag gloves in 2020

Ok, lets get into the top 7 heavy bag gloves for 2020, staring with our absolute favorites:

1. TITLE Gel World Bag Gloves – Great Protection for Heavy Hitters

  • Material: Leather
  • Weight: 16-ounce
  • Size: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
  • Other Features: Padded Thumb

TITLE has been producing boxing gear since 1998 and their product lineup includes everything from the most basic entry level gear to high-end professional equipment (1). These gloves are situated squarely in the “high-end” spectrum and are extremely well built.

These gloves have a leather exterior for long-term durability. TITLE touts their gel-based foam padding, but in practice the type of foam is less meaningful than the feel of the glove. However, when it comes to feel, these gloves offer a tremendous amount of padding. If you have sensitive knuckles or punch extremely hard, then this is a great pair of gloves to consider.

When it comes to weight, TITLE claims that these gloves weigh 16 ounces. This number is generally regarded to be a low estimate – these are heavy gloves! Some users have reported that the gloves are nearly 19 ounces.

Offered in just three colors, these are not the most fashion-forward gloves. The gloves are built like traditional boxing gloves and include a padded thumb.

2. Sanabul Core Series Gel Boxing Kickboxing Bag Training Gloves – Best Budget Glove

  • Material: Engineered Leather
  • Weight: 8, 10, 12, 14, 16-ounce
  • Size: Sold by weight
  • Other Features: Padded Thumb, Ventilated Palm

Founded in 2015, Sanabul is a newcomer to fight sports equipment (2). Recently they launched a few different product lines for boxing and Muay Thai, including the Core Series bag gloves.

The Core Series is Sanabul’s mid-grade offering and is one step up from their Essentials line. The price difference between the two is not significant, but the Core Series offers a meaningful step up in materials and is a worthwhile investment.

These gloves are sold by weight like typical boxing gloves and include both a padded thumb and a ventilated palm. Sanabul offers these gloves in four colors with nicely subtle branding – a refreshing touch in a market dominated by huge logos.

Some users have reported that these gloves are on the snug side, so if you have bigger hands you’ll want to get a larger size or opt for a different pair.

3 .Fairtex Bag Gloves TGT7 & TGO3 – Simple and Superb

  • Material: Top Grain Leather
  • Weight: Unlisted
  • Size: Medium, Large, X-Large
  • Other Features: Unpadded and Enclosed Thumb (TGT7) or Open Thumb (TGO3)

Fairtex is one of the biggest names in Muay Thai equipment with a well-deserved reputation for excellence. These two models of bag glove are no exceptions. The TGT7 and the TGO3 are essentially identical, except that the TGT7 includes a fully enclosed leather thumb, while the TGO3 has an open thumb.

Not a Muay Thai practitioner? Don’t worry, bag gloves are perfect for bag work regardless of which sport you’re training.

Both of these gloves’ exterior are made from top grain leather. The gloves are hand made in Thailand and their build quality is bordering on perfection; or what you’ve probably come to expect from Fairtex.

While these gloves lack a ventilated palm, fancy foams, or high-tech polymer exteriors, they don’t sacrifice an iota of performance. These gloves are purpose built for heavy bag training and provide generous wrist support and impact absorption.

Fairtex does not list these gloves by weight, but users report that they fall on the lighter end of the spectrum. The open thumb TGO3’s are available in 10 colors, while the closed thumb TGT7’s are only available in black, blue, and yellow.

4. RIVAL Boxing RB11 Evolution Bag Gloves – Best Wrist Support

  • Material: Microfiber Shell
  • Weight: 10, 12, 14-ounce
  • Size: Medium (10oz), Large (12oz), X-Large (14oz)
  • Other Features: Padded Thumb, Ventilated Palm

RIVAL Boxing is a manufacturer of high-end boxing gear and the RB11 is their take on a traditional bag glove. These gloves eschew leather in favor of a high quality microfiber exterior. These gloves are a tad lighter than similarly sized sparring gloves but offer the shape and feel of sparring gloves.

RIVAL is known for their impeccable construction and long-lasting equipment, and these gloves are no exception.

These gloves use RIVAL’s V-Strap Wrist-Lock 2 system which provides greater wrist support and protection. Rather than the typical single strap design, Wrist-Lock 2 uses two straps, one starting at the palm and the other at the wrist. Underneath the striking surface is 1.25” of closed cell foam and latex padding, offering enough protection for long sessions on the heavy bag.

While heavy bag training doesn’t generally expose your thumb to much risk, these gloves offer a padded, fully attached thumb.

The palm incorporates a mesh material which provides excellent airflow. This helps these gloves remain cool and dry during longer training sessions. A bonus effect of good airflow is these gloves will dry more quickly after training, lowering the likelihood of mold and glove-funk.

5. Ring to Cage C17 – Best All-Purpose Glove

  • Material: Leather
  • Weight: 12, 14, 16, 18-ounce
  • Size: Sold by weight
  • Other Features: Padded Thumb

Ring To Cage makes gear for all sorts of combat sports and their products include everything from budget offerings to super-premium. These gloves are definitely on the super-premium end of the scale, offering high quality materials and great construction.

The gloves are modeled after the highly successful (and expensive) Winnings Japanese style boxing gloves (3). At about a third the price of the Winnings gloves, the Ring To Cage C17’s offer great value.

These gloves are unique in this list as they are not purpose built for bag work. In fact, these gloves in their 16-ounce guise are soft enough for sparring. This usually means that the glove would be punishing for use on heavy bags, but these gloves offer plenty of padding.

Often boxing gloves are visually underwhelming – and in many colors the C17’s are no exception. However, in these gloves look particularly striking in Cracked Black, Cracked Brown, and Oil Spill.

One small detail that stands out is Ring To Cage has emblazoned the glove weight across the grip bar. This is a small touch that makes it easy to see what a glove weighs at a glance and its surprising to realize how few manufacturers make that information easily identifiable.

6. Ringside IMF Tech Bag Gloves – New Tech, Classic Durability

  • Material: Leather
  • Weight: 8, 12, 14-ounce
  • Size: Youth (8oz), Junior (12oz), Medium (12oz), Large (14oz), X-Large (14oz)
  • Other Features: Padded Thumb, Ventilated Palm

Ringside has been producing boxing gloves since 1979 so its reasonable to assume they know a thing or two about gloves. The IMF Tech Boxing gloves take their name from their use of Injected Molded Foam. This process injects a liquid which expands into a high density foam inside a mold to create shaped foam structures.

The result is the curve in these gloves is not derived from tension across its shell but instead follows the contours of the padding (4). Don’t be alarmed by the fancy tech in the padding, Ringside has stuck with classic, durable leather for the glove’s shell.

These gloves are available 5 sizes across 3 weights and seem to a run a bit small. The Ringside IMF’s aren’t the softest glove out there – allowing you to feel the bag a bit more than some plusher competitors. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you have sensitive knuckles you’ll be better off with the TITLE Gel’s.

The Ringside gloves are shaped like a traditional boxing glove and include a padded thumb. A nicely ventilated palm helps to keep your hands cool as well as speed the glove’s post-training drying time.

7. Cleto Reyes Leather Boxing Bag Gloves – Your Grandfather’s Boxing Gloves

  • Material: Leather
  • Weight: 6, 7, 8, 10-ounce
  • Size: Small (6oz), Medium (7oz), Large (8oz), X-Large (10oz)
  • Other Features: Open Thumb

Cleto Reyes has been producing gloves for 92 years and both the company and its eponymous founder were inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008 (5). If these gloves were made by anyone else, it wouldn’t be unfair to accuse the manufacturer of generating artificial nostalgia. But, Cleto Reyes has the pedigree and these gloves are truly a throwback to a bygone era.

As spartan as gloves can come, these offer an elastic cuff, an open thumb, leather construction, and not much else. While you’re probably used to gloves with long cuffs and hook and loop closures, these gloves are counting on you wearing wraps for wrist support.

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that these gloves are extremely light – after all there is hardly any glove to weigh them down.

This glove is only available in two colors: black and red. While some may bemoan the lack of customization, the two choices really fit the vintage look and feel of this glove.

The Verdict

So what do we like the best?

Best ValueFairtex Bag Gloves TGT7 & TGO3

The Fairtex Bag Gloves are a tremendous value. This glove combines Fairtex’s legendary quality, a sleek, no-nonsense design, and yet manages to undercut most of its competitors on price. As a result these are not only a great value, but are some of the best punching bag gloves out there. The only downsides: no ventilated palm and if you want a padded thumb you’re out of luck.

Best OverallRIVAL Boxing RB11 Evolution Bag Gloves

RIVAL’s RB11 Evolution Bag gloves offer an amazing combination of impact absorption, wrist support, and comfort. If you’re looking for the best boxing gloves for heavy bag use, then you won’t be disappointed here.

FAQs

Can I use my heavy bag gloves for sparring?

No, you generally should not use heavy bag gloves for sparring! Gloves for sparring have padding that protects your target while gloves for heavy bag training protect your hands.

Not only that, but you’ll want to ensure you’re using heavier gloves for sparring. Many bag gloves are far lighter than the 16-ounces required by most gyms. Use normal boxing gloves for sparring.

Can I use my sparring or MMA gloves for heavy bag use?

You may be able to use your sparring gloves for heavy bag use, but MMA gloves are not recommended.

Any decent pair of sparring gloves will keep your hand safe enough for light bag work. However, their padding is not designed for prolonged sessions on the bag and it may not be a pleasant experience.

MMA gloves are a bad idea for use on heavy bags. They do not offer much support to the small bones of your hand and wrist so you are exposing yourself to an elevated risk of injury. If you are training for the cage your best bet is to get a pair of dedicated, open-thumb bag gloves.

Do I need to wear hand wraps under my heavy bag gloves?

Yes, you should always wear hand wraps under boxing gloves. The gloves are designed to work in concert with hand wraps and by themselves should not be expected to offer enough support for the small bones in your hand and wrist.

For short and light sessions, you may be able to get away with training sans-wraps; but if you have any intention of throwing heavy shots put on your wraps!

How do I clean my heavy bag gloves?

To keep your gloves clean, wipe down the exterior with a damp cloth and do whatever you can to ensure the interior dries as quickly as possible.

Don’t leave your gloves in your gym bag overnight! Instead place them somewhere with good ventilation so they can dry fully.

Over time your gloves will probably develop a bit of a funk regardless of your drying regime. When this happens using a deodorizing or disinfecting spray can help cut down on the smell.

Do not put your gloves in the washing machine! The detergents will quickly breakdown the leather and cause your gloves to deteriorate more rapidly. More boxing guides here.

References

  1. About TITLE Boxing. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.titleboxing.com/about-title-boxing
  2. Sanabul. (2015, February 10). SANABUL 2015 PRESS RELEASE. Retrieved from https://sanabulsports.com/blogs/news/sanabul-korea-press-release
  3. csquaredboxing. (2014, April 5). Ring to Cage 16oz C17 2.0 Japanese/Winning Glove REVIEW. Retrieved April 7, 2020, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bEHVIDl7_Q
  4. Brand Technologies. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ringside.com/brand-technology
  5. About Cleto Reyes. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://cletoreyesshop.com/about-cleto-reyes/

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