The 9 Best MMA Gloves of 2020 [For Competition, Training and Sparring]

The right MMA gloves are important to not only train harder and smarter, but to stay injury free. You’re looking for the best MMA gloves, and we’ve listed the best of the best for each MMA discipline.

Take a look at our list of the 9 best MMA gloves for every aspect of your training.

How to Choose the Right MMA Gloves for You

Before you start practicing Conor McGregor’s Vince McMahon strut (1) into the cage, you’ll want to make sure you have the best MMA gloves for your needs. For example, if you’re looking to do heavy bag work with a pair of grappling MMA gloves, you’ll be in a world of pain pretty quickly.  If you are only going to be doing heavy bag workouts boxing gloves are designed to provide more protection for your firsts.

Let’s break down the things you need to know to pick the right gloves for you. 

2 men training MMA on the ground wearing MMA gloves.

Glove type

There are three main types of gloves for MMA, and they’re all used for different types of training. Picking the right kind will help you train harder, smarter, and stay injury free.

MMA Sparring Gloves

Okay Bruce Lee, you want to hit some stuff with your fists. If you want to focus on your punching technique while protecting yourself, you’ll need MMA sparring gloves. If you’re planing on sparing you’ll need a MMA mouth guard as well.

These types of gloves have more padding, and weigh a bit more, usually around 7 oz. to 10 oz.

They should also have some sort of grip bar that helps you make a tight fist around it which makes punching way easier. You probably won’t be able to grapple with them very well, but they are your best MMA glove for hitting pads and the heavy bag.

The MMA Training/Hybrid Gloves

Weighing between 7 oz. to 10 oz., these gloves are more of a jack of all trades rather than a specialist glove.

The fingers are separated so you can grapple, but they also have light padding for punching. You’ll most likely use these as your MMA gear for the majority of your training, as they cover all the bases well. To keep all your MMA gear organised you’ll need the best MMA gym bag.

MMA Competition Gloves

It’s time!

UFC fighter punches opponent in the face.

If you’re heading into the cage for a bout, MMA competition gloves are what you’re after. These are the lightweights of the MMA glove world, and these competition gloves generally weight 4oz, depending on the rules of your organisation, which may vary (2). If in doubt, check with your gym for your local state laws.

Competition gloves are much like your normal training/hybrid gloves, just with a lot less padding. So while you might find this means you won’t feel like you can hit as hard, you’ll actually be doing more damage with each strike landed.

Size/Weight

We went over the weights of each type of MMA glove; generally the heavier gloves are for striking, and the lighter gloves are for grappling, light striking, and competition. 

As for the size, it’s important to make sure your MMA gloves fit you well. This will help with not just your technique, but the lifespan of the gloves. 

To find the right size for you, get a measuring tape, and measure the circumference of your palm as shown here.

Hand being measured for size with measuring tape.
MMA Glove Size Chart

SizeHand Circumference 
incm
Small6.0” – 7.0”15 – 18 cm
Medium7.0” – 8.0”18 – 20 cm
Large8.0” – 9.0”20 – 23 cm
X-Large9.0” – 10.0” 23 – 26 cm

Be aware here, if you’re wearing hand wraps under your gloves (which you should be), increase the size of your gloves by one. For example, if you are a size medium, buy a size large glove. If you have huge hands like Stefan Struve you’ll need the largest size possible.

Glove sizes may vary too, depending on the manufacturer. 

Material

Padding

No matter the kind of MMA glove, it will most likely have foam padding in it. Cheaper gloves have regular foam, better designs will have layered foam or gel for better padding and durability. If you’re in doubt, check the reviews to see what other people think of the padding. Bag gloves/striking gloves will have the most padding, grappling MMA gloves will have less.

Where It’s Made

Thailand has a long reputation for MMA equipment, as they’ve been doing combat sports gear there for martial arts for a long time (3). Most MMA gear from Thailand, whether they are shin guards or MMA gloves can be a bit more expensive, but a lot more craftsmanship goes into them. Making them high quality products.

Cheaper gloves will come from the likes of Vietnam, Pakistan, and China. You get what you pay for here. If a glove doesn’t outright say where it was made, it may well come from one of these countries.

Velcro Wrist Strap

This is the part of the glove that has the most stress put on it, so make sure it’s large and sturdy. If this area of the glove is weak, you could risk the glove coming apart, or worse, cause a sidelining injury to your hands or wrists.

Leather/Vinyl

Just like a good jacket, leather construction will always be the way to go for comfort, quality, and durability(4).

If the price is a concern, go with synthetic leather/vinyl. You can always upgrade later.

Do be aware though, because genuine leather is a bit stiffer than synthetic leather, genuine leather gloves will take a bit longer to break in. Over time though, the genuine leather gloves will be the more comfortable and durable option. 

The Reviews of The Best MMA Gloves  

Okay, hopefully you now know what you’re looking for when choosing the right MMA glove.

To save you the time and effort of trawling through online forums and Amazon, we’ve picked out our favourite MMA gloves that are the best of the bunch for their disciplines.

1. Combat Sports Max Strike  — Best MMA Sparring Gloves

Combat Sports Max Strike MMA Training Gloves

The Specs

  • Type: Striking/sparring.
  • Weight: Approx 7 oz.
  • Padding: 2 inch foam.
  • Where it’s made: Not listed.
  • Leather/Vinyl: Partial leather.

See On Amazon

The Good

  • Excellent padding.
  • Good striking support.
  • Quality construction.
  • Still has okay range of finger motion.

The Not so Good

  • Sometimes catches during grappling.

When you’re blasting pads and bags with your fists, you want to make sure you have some decent protection, and these bag gloves fit the bill.

With a massive 2” of padding, you can strike with total confidence, knowing you can give it your all. The Combat Sports Max Strike MMA gloves are designed in a way that you can make a tight fist easily, but when you strike, they feel extremely solid and supportive, similar to boxing gloves. This is awesome for boxing and Muay Thai training.

The finger holes are made of durable leather, so you won’t have to worry about that part of the glove coming apart, which can sometimes be the case with striking gloves. 

One thing we did notice though was that there is an edge on the bottom of the top surface that sticks out, so sometimes your glove might get stuck pulling out of a Jiu Jitsu submission attempt.

2. Venum Challenger  —  Best MMA Training Gloves

Venum Challenger MMA Gloves

The Specs

  • Type: Training/Hybrid.
  • Weight: 4 oz.
  • Padding: Layered foam.
  • Where it’s made: Handmade in Thailand.
  • Leather/Vinyl: Partial leather.

See On Amazon

The Good

  • Layered foam protection.
  • Quality construction.
  • Positions well on hand for safety and comfort.

The Not so Good

  • Not a lot of palm protection.

If grappling and some light ground and pound are what you spend most of your time training, these are a great option.

The Venum Challenger MMA gloves feature layered foam, as to not bust up your knuckles, and they’re made in Thailand so you know they’re decent quality.

They also have a double closure system that helps position the glove to fit snug and secure. 

The only downsides we found were that they weren’t genuine leather construction, and there wasn’t much protection for your palms. 

All in all though, these are really good value, high quality gloves suitable for all aspects of MMA from Muay Thai to Jiu Jitsu.

3. Hayabusa Tokushu Regenesis  — Best MMA Gloves for Competition

Hayabusa Tokushu Regenesis 4oz Pro Style MMA Gloves

The Specs

  • Type: Competition.
  • Weight: 4 oz.
  • Padding: Layered foam.
  • Where it’s made: Not listed.
  • Leather/Vinyl: Vylar-2 leather.

See On Amazon

The Good

  • Unquestionable quality.
  • Antimicrobial material to resist odor.
  • Excellent wrist support.

The Not so Good

  • They are expensive

When you step into the cage, you can’t ask for better fist pillows than the Tokushu Rengenisis MMA gloves.

These aren’t real leather gloves, but in this case, that’s actually a good thing. They’re made of something Hayabusa call “Vylar-2” leather, which while synthetic leather, is claimed to be much stronger and more durable than regular leather gloves. 

Weighing in at a regulation 4 oz, the upper knuckles are curved in their padding, but the thumb is open for flexibility. And if you have a problem with your gloves smelling bad after training, they even have an odor reducing material in the lining so you don’t gross yourself out when you take them off after a few rounds. 

There aren’t really any bad points we can make about these gloves, other than they are relatively expensive. But if you’re looking for the best (and in the cage you should be), these are the ones to go for.

4. RDX MMA Gloves – Best Value for Money

RDX MMA Gloves for Grappling Martial Arts Training

The Specs

  • Type: Training/Hybrid.
  • Weight: 4 oz.
  • Padding: Layered foam and gel.
  • Where it’s made: Not listed.
  • Leather/Vinyl: Leather.

See On Amazon

The Good

  • 100% leather
  • Both layered foam padding and gel padding.
  • Wicks moisture away from your skin.
  • Excellent value for money.

The Not so Good

  • It will take you time to break them in.

Bargain hunters, your new MMA gloves are here.

The value you get with the RDX MMA Gloves is quite remarkable. They have a triple layer of padding made of foam and gel, so you know you can punch with absolute confidence. 

The good news continues, because even at this low price point, they are made of genuine cowhide leather, so you know they’ll take whatever your throw at them. Even the wrists are padded, so you can throw up blocks all day long knowing you’ll be okay even if they’re not wearing shin guards. 

Grappling, striking, or fighting, you’ll feel like a beast training in these gloves.

5. Combat Sports Pro Style  — Best for Beginners/Newbies

Combat Sports Pro Style MMA Muay Thai Grappling Training Sparring Half Mitts Gloves

The Specs

  • Type: Training/Hybrid.
  • Weight: 5 oz.
  • Padding: Foam.
  • Where it’s made: Not listed.
  • Leather/Vinyl: Vinyl. 

See On Amazon

The Good

  • Affordable but still meets regulations.
  • Great choice for kids and beginners.

The Not so Good

  • Not the best materials all around.

If you’re just starting out, you probably don’t want to gut your bank account for a pair of MMA gloves. So with that in mind, we’ve chosen the Combat Sports Pro Style MMA gloves for the newbies out there. 

When you’re looking at the best beginner MMA gloves, you want something that will do the job, but still be affordable. And despite their low price, these 5 oz. gloves meet all state regulations, right up to the professional level.

We wouldn’t call them spectacular, as they had to cut costs in some places, for example using synthetic leather instead of genuine leather. They still have decent foam padding though, so you’ll stay safe. 

In saying that, they are a solid choice if you’re just starting out your MMA journey.

Remember, it’s not the gear that makes you better, it’s your training. You can always upgrade to a more expensive glove later.

6. RDX F12 Training Gloves — Best Gloves for Beginners/Newbies Runner-Up

RDX MMA Gloves for Grappling Martial Arts Training

The Specs

  • Type: Training/Hybrid.
  • Weight: 6 oz.
  • Padding: Layered foam.
  • Where it’s made: Not listed.
  • Leather/Vinyl: Vinyl. 

See On Amazon

The Good

  • Triple layered padding.
  • Reinforced double stitching.
  • Cheaper alternative to the excellent RDX MMA Gloves.

The Not so Good

  • Padding is foam not gel.
  • Not genuine leather.
  • A little bit more expensive than the Combat Sports Pro MMA Style Gloves.

The RDX F12 Training gloves are basically modelled after the RDM MMA Gloves, which is our pick for best value MMA glove.

To cut costs though, they’ve cut a few corners — they’ve used foam instead of gel and synthetic leather instead of genuine leather.

Despite these lower grade materials however, they still make an excellent choice as a beginner’s glove due to the advantages they still share with their more expensive big brother gloves.

They still feature a triple layer of padding, double reinforced stitching and handle the heat of your hands well.

The only reason these are the runner up in our beginner/newbie category, is that they are a bit more expensive than the Combat Sports Pro Style MMA Gloves.

7. Hayabusa T3 MMA Pro Style MMA Gloves — Best Overall

Hayabusa T3 4oz Pro Style MMA Gloves

The Specs

  • Type: Training/Hybrid/Competition
  • Weight: 4 oz.
  • Padding: Layered foam.
  • Where it’s made: Not listed.
  • Leather/Vinyl: Leather. 

See On Amazon

The Good

  • Precurved to reduce fatigue.
  • Antimicrobial material to resist odor.
  • Stays in place well.

The Not so Good

  • A longish break in period.
  • Foam padding, not gel.
  • Relatively expensive.

And the winner, by unanimous decision, is the Hayabusa T3 Pro Style gloves!

The great thing about these fight gloves are that not only are they great all-around MMA training gloves, but they’re suitable for both beginners and professionals. So potentially, these could be the only ones you need, for a long time. They are both great for grappling and striking. They have all of the bells and whistles, with curved padding on the knuckles to reduce fatigue, and industry leading wrist protection. 

One unique thing about these gloves is what they call the “Y palm design” which helps with a more comfortable and effective fit. 

One complaint we do have though, is that they can take a little bit of time and effort to break in.

8. Venum Undisputed 2.0 — Best MMA Gloves Overall Runner-Up

Venum Undisputed 2.0 MMA Gloves

The Specs

  • Type: Training/Hybrid/Competition
  • Weight: 4.5 oz.
  • Padding: Layered foam.
  • Where it’s made: Thailand.
  • Leather/Vinyl: Leather.

See On Amazon

The Good

  • Napa leather for comfort.
  • High wrist support.
  • Layered padding.
  • Great overall quality.

The Not so Good

  • Relatively expensive.
  • Foam padding, not gel.

These Venum gloves are of a glorious quality, and you’ll definitely feel like your training has gone up a notch once you put them on for the first time.

This 2.0 version has been redesigned for more comfort and quality, and we can definitely feel the difference in the hand and on the bags. The Napa leather means it’s a bit softer than other leather too, so the break in period shouldn’t be as long as other leather gloves. 

We also noticed that while they feel tight and secure on the hand, they are still comfortable and flexible for grappling. There is also a new closure system that lets your do up the gloves with just one hand, which is… handy. 

It’s a close race on both specs and price between the Venums and the Hayabusas for our top pick for best overall MMA gloves, so we’ll let you be the judge of what suits you best. You really can’t go wrong with either glove though.

9. UFC Official Fight Glove – Best MMA Gloves to Feel like a Baller

UFC Official Fight Glove

The Specs

  • Type: Competition.
  • Weight: 4 oz.
  • Padding: Gel.
  • Where it’s made: Not listed.
  • Leather/Vinyl: Leather. 

See On Amazon

The Good

  • Excellent Craftsmanship
  • Genuine Leather
  • The real deal
  • You’ll feel like you’ve made it all the way to red panty night

The Not so Good

  • Don’t mess around with these gloves if you’re sparring
  • Risk of injury if you’re reckless
  • Expensive

You didn’t think we’d leave out the real deal did you? These are the official UFC fight gloves, as in the actual gloves the pros use in the Octagon.

These bad boys should come with a parental advisory warning, because they aren’t messing around. You won’t want to be using these in training, only when your competing for real. They offer minimum padding so your opponent will feel everything. But then again, so will your knuckles — we found that it feels about as close as you can get to fighting bare knuckle.

In saying that though, because they are built for fighting, they do have a natural curve on the knuckles to reduce hand fatigue. 

The upside of that tiny amount of padding is that the gloves are open palmed and open thumbed, so you’ll have the maximum amount of freedom for grappling.

If you’re a pro fighter or want to become a UFC fighter, go get some. Or, if you’d like some cool memorabilia for your favorite fighter to sign, these are your MMA gloves. Otherwise, you’ve been warned!

The Verdict: What Are the Best MMA Gloves?

It’s a tough one, because it really does depend on what you’re after. It would be easy for us to pick the Hayabusa T3 MMA Pro Style, but they are expensive, and not everyone can justify that.

Mixed martial arts should be accessible for everyone, not just those people who can afford to flex the best gear.

So for that reason we’re going to say the best MMA gloves are… the RDX.

The RDX MMA Gloves are affordable fight gloves and still manage to tick all of the boxes for effective and safe MMA training:

  • 100% authentic full grain leather.
  • Reinforced stitching.
  • Amazing padding everywhere.
  • Great wrist support.
  • Open palm design.
  • Strike as well as grapple with ease.

You really can’t go wrong with any of the MMA gloves we’ve reviewed here, but if you have any doubts, check out the reviews in the links we’ve provided, and talk to your training partners and see what they like.

Happy training!

References

  1. Bumpus, D. (2017). Conor McGregor expresses his love for Vince McMahon at open workouts- FanSided.com. Retrieved from https://fansided.com/2017/08/11/conor-mcgregor-loves-vince-mcmahon-wwe-strut/
  2. Raimondi, M. (2019, April 16). ABC survey: At least 10 different MMA rulesets being used in North America – MMAFighting.com. Retrieved from https://www.mmafighting.com/2019/4/16/18358920/abc-survey-at-least-10-different-mma-rulesets-being-used-in-north-america
  3. (2016, May 24). History of Muay Thai – KombatGroup.com. Retrieved from https://www.kombatgroup.com/history-of-muay-thai/
  4. Varkaris, L. (2018, January 13). Synthetic Or Leather Boxing Gloves – How To Choose – DynamicBoxingFitness.com.au. Retrieved from https://dynamicboxingfitness.com.au/fitness/synthetic-or-leather-boxing-gloves-how-to-choose

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