The Difference Between Muay Thai Gloves and Boxing Gloves
Muay Thai and boxing are two completely different fighting styles. Because of this, the gloves used in each sport are also very different. To an inexperienced eye, the two types of globes look alike and even seem interchangeable. An aspiring fighter or coach should be able to see the difference between the two different gloves at a glance.
Read this technical comparison of Muay Thai gloves vs. boxing gloves to understand why they are different and why you shouldn’t use them interchangeably.
Glove design and style
A boxer’s only weapon is his folded fist. Therefore, boxing gloves are made in such a way that they can form tight, rigid fists that deliver powerful punches. These gloves have rounded fingers that will allow for more rounded fists. The aerodynamic property of the boxing gloves is apparent when the fist is clenched. Good Muay Thai gloves, on the other hand, while they look a lot like the boxing gloves from the outset, are more squarely in shape when the fist is folded.
Related: do you need heavy bag gloves for Muay Thai?
Muay Thai gloves do not need the aerodynamic property that boxing gloves have because their weight is distributed differently. On the boxing gloves, weight is distributed with a focus on facilitating a combination of powerful punches while on Muay Thai gloves weight is distributed purposefully to improve the flexibility of the hand, even with palms open.
Thumb area design
The easiest way to differentiate a boxing glove from a Muay Thai glove is to examine the design of the thumb. The thumb is close to the fist as possible in the boxing glove and well-padded to minimize injuries when punching.
The thumb is typically straight in the Muay Thai glove to help the fighter get a better grip. You can identify this glove by examining whether the thumb area is stitched onto the frame of the glove directly. The best Muay Thai gloves in the market have thumbs that are more detached from the rest of the glove because the sport involves a lot of clinching and grabbing.
Unlike Muay Thai, boxing is a very rigid sport, and as such, requires firm gloves (and sometimes headgear too!) Since these gloves are practically extensions of the fist, they do not need to be any more flexible than a clenched fist. The only function of boxing gloves is to protect the wrist from damages resulting from punch impacts. This explains why the cuffs of boxing gloves are typically larger, and the fastening around the wrist is strong.
Muay Thai is a flexible sport that involves clenched fist punching as well as open-palm gripping and hitting. The gloves are supposed to be flexible but firm because fighters need to continually try to block kicks at one instance and clench the fist to deliver a punch in the next. Their design makes it easy to open the hand and clench the fist rapidly.
Another significant difference between boxing and Muay Thai fighting gloves is the padding on the glove. Boxing gloves have dense padding in the middle section for the simple reason that the most shock is on knuckles when a punch is delivered. The best boxing gloves in the market today have extra padding on the sides to minimize trauma to the fingers during a punch.
The padding on the Muay Thai gloves, on the other hand, is more evenly distributed, but less so on the knuckles and the thumb pads. Its backside usually has a little more padding than other areas to protect the fighters’ hands better when they are fending off high kicks. Many Muay Thai gloves today have noticeably thick padding on both sides to provide better protection from elbow strikes and knee kicks.
Traditional western-style boxing gloves are significantly larger compared to Muay Thai gloves of the same hand size, primarily because of the extra padding that provides better protection to the hand bones. When shopping for either type of gloves, it is essential to know that their differences go beyond the things we’ve covered. Familiarize yourself with them to avoid buying the wrong kind of gloves.
Hi, I’m Brandon, editor here at MMA-Today. Mixed Martial Arts has been my life long obsession as long as I can remember. I was introduced to Muay Thai at a young age, but ultimately fell in love with BJJ and grappling in my teenage years, and have never looked back. My goal with MMA today is to inspire people to train and enjoy mixed martial arts more every day.