Boxing Gloves vs Muay Thai Gloves: The Ultimate Guide 2023

Practicing any kind of sports activity can be expensive and required specific gear and accessories. If you’re wondering whether or not there is any significant difference between boxing and Muay Thai gloves, here’re some of the things you need to read first:

Boxing Gloves vs Muay Thai Gloves: 7 Key Differences

Boxing gloves are primarily used to protect your hands and knuckles, as well as your opponent’s face from getting excessive damage.

Although Muay Thai gloves also serve the purpose of protection and support but they are specifically designed to accommodate the striking techniques used in Muay Thai, which involves punches, kicks, elbows, and knee strikes.

With that being said, let’s breakdown both these gloves and try to understand how exactly they are different from each other:

1. Amount of Padding

After trying out both boxing gloves and Muay Thai gloves, the first difference I notice is in terms of the level and placement of the padding.

Boxing gloves typically come with thick padding concentrated around their knuckle areas because as a boxer, you’re almost completely dependent on your knuckle area for both offensive and defensive techniques.

On the other hand:

Muay Thai gloves feature a more evenly distributed padding around knuckles as well as the back of the hand.

This allows you to be more flexible in the ring and defend against a broader range of techniques, including kicks, knees. elbows, and spinning back fists.

This discrepancy caters to the specific needs of each sport, ensuring optimal protection and sufficient flexibility for the different techniques involved.

2. Support System

In boxing, where the focus is primarily on punches, the risk of wrist injuries while delivering powerful punches is significant. And that’s boxing gloves are designed with wider and longer padded cuffs, offering enhanced stability, support, and protection to your wrist area.

Conversely, Muay Thai gloves prioritize flexibility and mobility, especially during clinching and grappling situations. That’s why Muay Thai gloves typically come with shorter cuffs which facilitate better movement of your wrist.

In addition to this:

I also like how narrower and tighter velcro straps on the boxing gloves further contribute to maintaining a rigid wrist position during heavy punches and provide nice wrist support as compared to the traditional Muay Thai gloves.

What others are Reading: Best Boxing Gloves for Wrist Support

3. Design of Gloves

While comparing these two gloves, the dissimilarity in shape is quite apparent to me. Boxing gloves typically boast a square shape, while Muay Thai gloves exhibit a softer and more round appearance. This difference majorly arises from the varying distribution of padding material.

The square shape of boxing gloves aligns with the sport’s specific attack techniques while enhancing the delivery of powerful punches.

On the other hand, Muay Thai gloves feature a rounder and puffier shape, owing to their padding distribution. This shape complements different versatile striking techniques such as open-palm strikes.

muay thai

4. Differences in Palm

The difference in palm structure between boxing gloves and Muay Thai gloves is significant. In boxing, the palm is primarily used for parrying punches, that’s why boxing gloves are designed to maintain a tightly closed fist.

Muay Thai gloves, on the other hand, demand more flexibility in the palm due to various clinching techniques and catch-n-hold kicks. That’s why these gloves are designed to allow an open and relaxed palm for better grip during clinching.

In addition to this: I also found some variations in the finger bends, the presence of grip bars, mesh-palm ventilation, and the overall emphasis on providing hand mobility.

5. Material Used

While examining a bunch of gloves for their build quality, I did not find any significant difference between the material used for boxing and Muay Thai gloves.

In both sports, higher-quality options are typically crafted from genuine leather, obviously due to its durability, strength, and premium feel. Whereas, mid-range pairs mostly come with synthetic leather material to provide a balance between cost and performance.

I understand that the choice of material does influence the overall quality, longevity, and performance of the gloves but if you’re a relatively beginner player, I would highly recommend you to stick with renowned brands like Fairtex, Twins, Venum, Everlast, etc.

This automatically ensures quality checks about factors like the durability of the material used and craftsmanship.

6. Maintenance Required

Both types of gloves require regular cleaning to maintain hygiene but from my experience, I think boxing gloves generally need to be cleaned more frequently as compared to Muay Thai gloves.

Their overall round-shaped design results in excess sweat accumulation which might even lead to a bad odour.

That’s why it is strongly recommended to wipe boxing gloves with a clean cloth after your training and use deodorizers inside the gloves.

On the flip side:

Muay Thai gloves tend to accumulate relatively less sweat and unpleasant smell due to the versatile nature of the sport. However, I still suggest you do regular wiping and cleaning, especially after intense training sessions.

Also Read: Can you put boxing gloves in the Washing Machine?

7. Price Range

While researching this article, I found a wide range of options in terms of price for boxing gloves, while Muay Thai gloves tend to have a more limited price range.

At the higher end, you can find premium boxing gloves that can cost several hundred dollars. These high-end options often use top-quality materials, feature advanced technologies, and are manufactured by renowned brands.

However, there are also more affordable options available, with prices ranging from around $30 to $100, depending on the brand, materials, and craftsmanship.

boxing ring

In comparison: While there are mid-range options available online, Muay Thai gloves generally lean toward the higher end of the price spectrum.

Most of the high-quality Muay Thai gloves from reputable brands that I found are in the range of $80 to $200 or more. This is partly due to the fact that Muay Thai gloves are often handmade, imported, and made with genuine leather, which adds to their overall cost.

How to Choose between Boxing Gloves and Muay Thai Gloves?

Now that we have examined the characteristics of boxing gloves and Muay Thai gloves, let’s see how you can choose the right gloves for as per your needs.

1. Personal Preference

No doubt, this is going to be my first point. Even though both boxing gloves and Muay Thai gloves provide adequate protection, personal preference still plays a significant role in selecting the right type of gloves.

If you’re engaging in full-contact sparring or intense bag workouts, you may opt for gloves with thicker padding to minimize the risk of hand injuries.

Finally, it completely depends upon you whether you like the compact and snug fit of boxing gloves or the flexibility and dexterity of Muay Thai gloves.

2. Training Objectives

If you focus mainly on your punching techniques, boxing gloves are the ideal option. But, if you want to explore a wide range of strikes, clinching, and grappling techniques throughout your training, Muay Thai gloves are more suitable for you.

3. Fighting Styles

If you’re an aggressive puncher who relies on heavy punches and combinations and prefers protection and support over flexibility, boxing gloves provide better padding for your hands as compared to Muay Thai gloves.

Can you Use Boxing Gloves for Muay Thai?

As a general rule, boxing gloves should not be used for Muay Thai because they usually lack certain features like flexible open-thumb and distributed padding which are essential for Muay Thai training. Using boxing gloves may hinder your performance and leaves you vulnerable to potential injury.

That’s why it’s always recommended to invest in a good pair of gloves that are suitable for the sports you want to pursue.

My Final Thoughts: Boxing Gloves vs Muay Thai Gloves

Choosing the right type of gloves for combat sports like boxing and Muay Thai is the first and most crucial step for your performance, comfort, and safety.

boxing gloves typically offer more extra layers of padding and wrist support than Muay Thai gloves, making them ideal for boxing-specific training. On the other hand, muay Thai gloves prioritize flexibility and clinching techniques.

Consider your personal preferences, training objectives, fighting style, and safety considerations when making your decision.

And most importantly, don’t hesitate to experiment a little. See what suits you and which gloves connect with your own fighting style.

Have a nice day 🙂


Priya Dorge | Cargofighter

Priya Dorge

Priya Dorge is a passionate boxer and author, dedicated to sharing her expertise in the world of combat sports. With her deep knowledge and experience in empowering individuals in their journey has garnered a loyal following, making her a trusted resource in the martial arts community.