10 Best MMA Gloves of 2019: Options for Beginners to Pros

With the surge in popularity surrounding MMA and the regression of more traditional forms of combat such as wrestling and boxing, there is not much of a surprise to see that the want and need to know about and have the best materials possible is there.  People want to know what is the best and they want to do then get their hands on the equipment so that they can also get to work just like the men and women they see in the octagon every weekend.  Today, we are going to be taking a close look at the best and most popular MMA gloves.  From sparring to cardio work to getting in the ring and everything in between, we’ll make sure you are best served to make the best choice possible.  Let’s get it on!

Top MMA Gloves Comparison Chart

NameTypeMaterialPriceWhere to Buy?
RDX MMA Combat Training GlovesTrainingSynthetic$$Check Price on Amazon
Cheerwing Half Finger MMA GlovesTrainingSynthetic leather $Check Price on Amazon
Sanabul Essential 7 Ounce MMA Hybrid Sparring GlovesSparring Leather $Check Price on Amazon
FitsT4 Half Mitt MMA Training GlovesTraining Synthetic leather$Check Price on Amazon
Brace Master Heavy Bag Training GlovesTraining Leather $$Check Price on Amazon
Elite Sports Pro Style MMA GlovesTraining Leather $$Check Price on Amazon
Everlast Pro Style MMA Grappling GlovesTraining Synthetic leather$$$Check Price on Amazon
Everlast Train Advanced MMA Striking GlovesSparring $$$Check Price on Amazon
Venum Challenger MMA GlovesSparring $$$$Check Price on Amazon
UFC 5 Ounce MMA GlovesCompetition Synthetic leather$$Check Price on Amazon

MMA Gloves Buying Guide

What is MMA?

MMA, short for Mixed Martial Arts, is a form of combat in which all forms of combat are combined into one.  This sort of cross training has led to some of the most successful companies in the world, with UFC particularly leading the way.  Though they are not the only ones, they have been the forerunner to this whole trend.  Rather than just boxing or just wrestling, MMA combines both of them along with submissions and karate, jiu jitsu, and tae kwon do, just to name a few, to make it about finding out who the best overall person is in the octagon at a given time.  This bleeds over into gloves because you can have a number of different types, hinging on what type of activity you are going to be doing.

What’s Special About MMA Gloves?

MMA gloves are wholly different from those of boxing because they are constructed to give you maximum comfort and flexibility without going overboard and not protecting you.  Boxing gloves are restrictive to the hands, locking them into place and not allowing them to breathe well at all.  MMA gloves are in most cases, though, going to be open ended.  Because of that, they allow you to get air throughout your hands, which is a much bigger deal than you might give credit for, and allows you to have a lot of range of motion with your fingers.  If you ever watched the original UFC pay-per-view, you’d have seen that the boxer was at a massive advantage because he couldn’t have even grabbed someone if he had wanted to with his gloves.  This is where the dexterity of MMA gloves kick in.  With that being said, MMA gloves are also going to provide your hands, fingers, and wrists with protection as they have hard materials built in to ensure that you don’t get injuries frequently. 

The Three Types

There are three main types of MMA gloves that we will be examining today.  Each of them have a specific purpose and will be useful to you.  If you are only looking for one pair, then you will have to weigh the pros and cons of each and you should seek to pick the gloves that best suit your specific activity.  If you are more advanced, then you might just decide to go with one (or more) from all three categories. 

Competition

Competition MMA gloves, as you could guess, are best served for actual fights.  These gloves have much less padding than their counterparts and are not allowed to be but so large.  This lack of weight is going to make them less protective but they will also be lighter and more maneuverable as a result.  The weight is regulated by the association in which you are fighting and is strictly kept for all fighters’ protection.  This type of glove has open fingers that are separated to make it easier to grab and hold on to your opponent.  Because of the padding, or lack thereof rather, you will see fighters using tape and hand wraps to keep themselves protected as best as they can. 

Sparring

Sparring gloves are used in order to help the fighter practice their striking and punching skills.  These techniques take a lot of work, but you don’t want to continually use the minimal gloves you’d use in actual combat since it can be harmful to you.  It’s also kind of neat to practice with a heavier glove because it can make your punch stronger over time since you are having to swing a heavier weight.  Sparring gloves differ from the other two types because they wrap around the fingers fully so that you don’t jam them or do anything to them that’s just not going to be fruitful.  They might look a little like boxing gloves to the untrained eye, and while they are closer to that than their cousins, they still have a whole lot of differences to them.  These are not great for working on grappling skills, since the fingers are closed, meaning that it’s nigh on impossible to grab your workout partner. 

Training Gloves

Training gloves can end up being called a number of names, ranging from bag, grappling, and hybrid gloves.  It’s quite open ended, but at the end of the day this type of glove is going to be best for general training in the combat sports arena.  These gloves are going to be a lot like the ones you would use in competition but they will have more protection and padding and thus weigh more than those.  With that said, they don’t fully cover your fingers, so you can wiggle them around and be able to work on grappling as well as throwing punches, too. While it’s not recommended to just hit heavy bags over and over with them, it’s very doable to use them to practice punching and striking a little bit.  Despite the fact that they are heavier than competition gloves, you should not be worried that they will weigh you down and make it so that you can only lazily swing.  This is undoubtedly the type of gloves you want if you are a beginner or a more casual proponent of mixed martial arts.  Since you don’t need to prepare for fights, in all likelihood, you will be plenty fine to use these to help you reach your fitness and training goals.   

Leather or Synthetic

A lot of products in the sports industry have gone through changes in recent times.  Synthetic materials have become all the rage in shoes for certain sports and all other sorts of products since they basically are able to copy what regular old leather does while being cheaper and perhaps more durable.  With that said, MMA is an indoor sport, so you don’t need to worry as much about the elements, meaning that leather is going to hold up so much better in this sport.  That’s why leather is preferred by so many, since it’s tough and going to be very durable.  It is more expensive than synthetics, however, so that means that those have carved out a niche in the market simply because there is need for more affordable materials to be on offer.  Besides the materials used, you can also examine where the gloves were produced at.  The holy grail for MMA is in Thailand.  Gloves made there are likely to be much better than those produced elsewhere.  However, you can find them all over the place for cheaper prices in most cases. 

Padding

Without going too much into detail here unnecessarily, it has to be said that padding is important to your cause as a fighter.  The best padding found inside the glove is going to be used layered foam.  Others can use normal foam, but it the more layers available the longer they will last.  The cheaper the foam is, the less amount of time it will last.  That’s not really a surprise, but it’s worth pointing out nonetheless.  Reviews and research can generally give you an idea about how well foam holds up, and we’ll make sure to make mention of it if and when it comes up. 

Wrists

Like padding, you don’t need a whole lot of details.  The wrists are going to need to be secured with something that keeps the gloves on your hands.  Velcro is the obvious preference here.  That, however, doesn’t mean that it’s going to automatically be the best.  So, we’ll make sure to make a note of it if a particular glove does not do such a good job at staying on for an extended period of time. 

Weight and Size

We have talked a little bit about weight so far, but we should go into a bit more about it.  Weight is going to be determined, in a real fight, by the association or organization tasked with overseeing the fight.  This is to make sure that the outcome is fair to both parties instead of allowing one to have a clear advantage.  MMA gloves are intentionally designed to weigh less than boxing gloves because they don’t allow you to ‘damage’ your opponent nearly as badly.  Boxing gloves can range in size from between eight and 16 ounces, a full pound, while MMA gloves are usually seen between four and six inches.  That’s a very big difference to say the least, but it does cut down on concussions and blunt force trauma. 

As far as size goes, it’s important that you always pay close attention to any size charts that might be available to you online when you are considering purchasing a product.  Failure to do so might see you end up going with the wrong size and being left stuck with an item you can’t use properly.  Ideally, you would try them on in person, but this is just not always the case with the internet, so knowing how to measure and how it stacks up is the best we can do.  To get your measurement, take measuring tape and measure the circumference of your palm.  Once you have that number, look it up on their chart and go from there.  Be careful to not assume you are the same size from one brand to the next, either! 

Safety is #1

When you are training, you need to be mindful of your own safety and the safety of others as well.  Most instructors will not lead you in the wrong direction, but unfortunately a whole swath of people will not always be around a trained professional.  This is because of the rise in popularity of the sport, which has seen people take to all sorts of places to train.  Here are some things to do to make sure you are safe at all times. 

Don’t spar without sparring gloves.  Maybe it’s not cool, but it’s paramount that you don’t use open ended gloves to spar with.  Even pro fighters don’t do this, since they want to stay as protected as possible ahead of their next fight.  Being tough does not equate to being dumb!

Always match your training partner when you are sparring.  If you see that your partner isn’t up to your level, or that they are holding back, do the same.  This will cut down on the chances of you actually fighting and will keep you both as safe as possible.

Be smart with heavy bags.  It’s fun to punch them, sure, but if you are wearing open ended gloves, or even some lighter closed ones, you may just figure out that it’s too much on your hands, fingers, and wrists.  If you develop injuries, it will be your own fault, so don’t go overboard with this.

Caring For Your Gloves

How you use your gloves is going to be just as important as how they are made when it comes to durability.  They will not last very long if you mistreat them.  Never wear them in situations, like we have discussed above, when you are not fully protected.  Also, make sure you don’t bend them back too much.  It’s going to be a temptation, but if you throw your gloves around or just yank on them constantly then they will not hold up as well.  When it comes to washing them, always use wipes and small amounts (never too much) water.  And never put them in the washer, unless you want them to come apart. 

Brands

Like the materials the gloves use, the company that made them is also a big factor in deciding what to get.  Gloves that come from companies that aren’t as well known are probably not going to be quite as good as those that are more recognized.  With that being said, you can find some great deals from unsung companies, so it’s not always a bad thing to give a new group a chance to get in the fight! 

The Top Ten MMA Gloves Reviews

1. RDX MMA Combat Training Gloves

Made out of Maya synthetic leather, these gloves are going to be about as durable and resilient as they come for a moderate price point.  With three layers of foam in the knuckles, not only are your fingers and hands protected but they also are able to deliver good shock absorption as well to the user.  Including a micro fabric that helps wick away sweat, they won’t even smell as badly as others that you encounter, a real problem that a lot of people have.  With a bit more space built into the palm, they will give you more thumb room and breathability as well.  These training gloves are going to be ideal for someone that is fairly serious about MMA but doesn’t want to spend a ton of money and wants something that is going to hold up a very long time. 

Pros:

  • Extremely durable materials
  • Absorbs shocks very well
  • Wicks away sweat and is breathable

2. Cheerwing Half Finger MMA Gloves

If you want a good, low price pair of gloves for training with and want to pick from a lot of colors, then this is the way you might want to go.  These are very low priced, but you still get quite a lot of quality despite the savings you might get thanks to their design. They use synthetic leather along with a sponge like foam inside to provide you with a soft, fairly durable glove.  Just be aware that they aren’t going to last as long, simply due to the price, if you put them under immense pressure and really rack up the miles with them.  The palms even have perforations built in to allow the hands to breathe out even more, a real bonus that wasn’t previously seen in very many MMA glove offerings at all.  They are not the best for the heavy bag, either, since they are cheaper made.

Pros:

  • Very low price
  • Lots of style options
  • Breathable gloves

Cons:

  • Not great for heavy bags

3. Sanabul Essential 7 Ounce MMA Hybrid Sparring Gloves

These gloves from Sanabul represent the first on the list that are for sparring.  Dubbed as hybrid gloves, however, these can also be used for regular training, too, making them ideal for someone that is going to be crossing between the two.  This means you can work on your striking and your grappling without having to change gloves, and you can do so at a very affordable price, making them one of the most sought after pairs on the market.  With what is called ‘durasoft’ foam around the outside, it is soft and protective during punches while keeping the fingers surrounded.  The only thing that they recommend is to not use them with a heavy bag, since it can cause damage to your hands and fingers, as well as the gloves, too.  They are versatile, but you shouldn’t take this too far!

Pros:

  • Good price
  • Very, very versatile gloves
  • No need to change gloves

Cons:

  • Not for use with a heavy bag

4. FitsT4 Half Mitt MMA Training Gloves

This is a different looking kind of glove, but it’s still one that is sure to draw you attention because of it.  With a very low price, comparable to our second selection, and a grippy outer as well as palm area, they bring a whole new element to the table to help you hold on much better to whatever it is you are facing.  This also helps prevents abrasions and peeling from happening, too, which is a major helper.  With EVA pads that line the knuckles, they are able to absorb shocks and to prevent injuries to the hands, just as you’d expect from any pair that has made this list.  Despite how they look, they are very breathable as well, making them a good choice for all sorts of different training regimens.  The biggest issue with them is that they are cheaply made, so they will naturally have some durability issues.

Pros:

  • Great low price
  • Awesome grip level
  • Absorbs shocks and breathes

Cons:

  • Cheaper materials used

5. Brace Master Heavy Bag Training Gloves

A lot of people are very interested in working with heavy bags since they don’t have a training partner, and this pair of gloves is going to be geared toward that sort of crowd.  These gloves still you give the chance to have your fingers fit on the outside, but they are rounded more like the Gunn pattern to allow more placement and protection when you do hit the bag over and over again.  The backing is made to be thicker than most as well, once again helping to ensure that you are able to take on the heavy bag.  With that said, these can be used for other forms of general training, too, so you don’t have to be confined to just working with the bag all of the time. They do a good job of absorbing shocks, so you will not have to worry there, while still being durable and easy to maintain.  They even have a 30 day warranty to help increase your level of trust, too.

Pros:

  • Designed to hit heavy bags
  • Thick, durable backing
  • 30 day warranty

Cons:

  • Leaves room for injury

6. Elite Sports Pro Style MMA Gloves

With a lot of pomp and circumstance to them, these look great. And when you look good, you feel good and perform well, so that is always a positive contributor worth showcasing.  These gloves are made with training in mind, letting you go from one discipline to the next fairly easy, making them excellent for general purposes.  They do a great job at preventing hand injuries through their use of strong, durable foam that holds up well and absorbs blows to the hands.  The thumb even has a modicum of protection built in, something that is no seen all that often with other pairs on the marketplace.  These are also very light at four ounces, so they would even be good for fighting.  In fact, that might be their best purpose really, since you don’t want to do too much and get injured with them!

Pros:

  • Very light and freeing
  • Classy and flashy looks
  • Very absorbent

Cons:

  • Lightness makes them dangerous to newbies

7. Everlast Pro Style MMA Grappling Gloves

These gloves are extremely popular, and it’s for a good reason.  They are easy to find in stores and online, of course, and they come at a price that is very reasonable.  They have been around a long time without much development, close to a decade even, showing just how good and trusted they are for training.  These are best for grappling and can even do some light sparring work or bag work as well.  They offer a decent amount of protection, with a curved finger built in but won’t keep you protected to the umpteenth degree if you take it too far.  They do an exceptional job at keeping your hands dry while you are doing all sorts of training, wicking it away and keeping your mind firmly on the task ahead.  They do run a little large, so be mindful and make adjustments accordingly.

Pros:

  • Trusted design has been around a long time
  • Very versatile
  • Keeps hands dry at all times

Cons:

  • Runs large so sizing can be tough

8. Everlast Train Advanced MMA Striking Gloves

If you are looking for something from Everlast that is comparable to the grapplers above but for striking, then these will do the trick for you.  Unlike with boxing gloves, you fingers are free to move around yet are still protected thanks to a curved wrap over the top of them.  Along with an anatomical thumb padding that fits your thumb and pads it without decreasing your range of motion, these are going to make you able to move yet still be supported as you train on the bag and develop those lightning fast hands and thunderous punches.  Like their brothers above, they do an excellent job at making sure you do not get sweaty hands, which can cause you to think about other things and to throw poor punches.  The one thing that is a negative is that the material around the wrist isn’t as durable as that of the upper, so that may keep hold you back ever so slightly.

Pros:

  • Wicks away sweat
  • Freedom for fingers
  • Still protective despite freedom

Cons:

  • Wrist material wears out

9. Venum Challenger MMA Gloves

Venum never lets down with style in the combat sports arena, and they certainly didn’t do so here with these gloves, either.  Not only are they great looking, but they also are of great quality.  They do cost quite a lot more, depending on size and color, so that is one reason they have slid down to number nine.  With layered foam, they will last longer and provide more shock absorption and thus protection as a result.  Despite that, they are comfortable thanks to a high wrist that is able to be adjusted far better than most available.  They have two closures to them as well, which make them such a better fit and also helps to prevent injury since they are wider in nature than many others.  You still need to wrap to hit heavy bags, but it is very possible to train in a bevy of ways with these.

Pros:

  • Multiple layers for absorbing
  • Very comfortable
  • Two closures make the perfect fit possible

Cons:

  • Not great for heavy bags

10. UFC 5 Ounce MMA Gloves

If you just really love the UFC and want something that is as close to the authentic thing as you can get, then this is a good direction to go in.  These gloves are rather small at five ounces, so hitting bags and sparring wouldn’t be the best decision.  These are very much like the gloves you’d see worn in the octagon on TV, and you can have them for a nice, low price to make you look and feel like your heroes.  They are good for working on your grappling because they have an open palm that allows holding on to opponents much easier and effective.  They do use synthetic leather, as most on the list have done, but it is durable and will not let you down provided you take care of them and treat them well.  The thumb doesn’t have any padding and they aren’t as comfy or soft as others, so look out for those facts.

Pros:

  • Looks very official
  • More of a fighter glove
  • Great for grappling

Cons:

  • A little rough on the inside
  • No thumb padding

Conclusion And Final MMA Gloves Recommendations

With specialization being so common today, even in the world of MMA training, it can be tough to narrow down what it is you want.  Do you want something that is closed or open?  Is it best for sparring, training with a bag, or just in general?  All of these questions tend to confound and confuse new proponents of mixed martial arts, and that that makes it tougher for them to find a pair of gloves that they really love.  Instead of just settling on any old pair, though, you can now rest assured and have confidence in the fact that you have something that you will really enjoy after today’s guide and our reviews.  So, get to the gym or dojo and get to work! 

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