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Boxing Gloves vs. MMA Gloves: What’s the Difference?

boxing gloves

Did you know that boxing gloves and MMA gloves are not quite the same? As someone who’s ventured into both worlds (however briefly), I’ve had my fair share of love-hate relationships with these leather-clad hand protectors. Tell you what, the difference is not subtle, yet I feel it has to be described in a little more detail than what’s obvious to the eye.

The Padding Predicament

Let’s start with the basic and obvious differences:

Boxing gloves: Enter the padding kings. These godfathers of fighting gloves have cushioning for days, and I felt like I could go 12 rounds with Mike Tyson (okay, maybe just one round, for like 2 seconds).

MMA gloves: They are like the rebellious younger sibling – less padding, but a whole lot more freedom.

The Great Strap Debate

Strap enthusiasts, rejoice! Boxing gloves come with either Velcro straps or laces to ensure a secure fit. The laces, while stylish and classic, can be a bit of a hassle – and they do take time. The Velcro straps, however, make it easy to strap ’em on and start swinging.

MMA gloves, on the other hand, tend to have a simpler design with a single strap or no strap at all. It’s like the difference between wearing high-tops and flip-flops. Convenience, thy name is MMA gloves.

Fingers or Fist? MMA Freedom vs. Boxing Enclosure

Freedom for your fingers is a key difference between these two glove types. It’s actually the most obvious visual difference.

While boxing gloves hold your hand in a constant fist, MMA gloves let your fingers breathe, allowing for more versatile combat techniques.

mma gloves

Why though?

Well, as we know, MMA and classic boxing are two very different sports and since MMA allows grappling, hooking and chokes, your fingers need to be free – none of these mentioned things could be done with boxing gloves.

The Weight of the World

Heavy is the hand that wears the boxing glove – or so the saying goes. Boxing gloves can range from 8 oz to 16 oz, with heavier gloves offering more protection. I’ve found that this extra weight can be both a blessing and a curse: sure, my hands feel safer, but I sometimes feel like I’m swinging two bags of potatoes. Right now, I’m somewhere at 150-160 lbs, which basically brings me between two categories, but I found out that 16 OZs suit me the best at the moment.

MMA gloves, weighing in at a mere 4-6 oz, are the featherweights of the glove world. If you prefer a lighter touch, you might just fall in love with MMA gloves, but then again, if you decide to go with either of the sport, it’s not like you have a choice…

Versatility vs Specialization

So, do you want to be a jack-of-all-trades or a master of one?

Boxing gloves are perfect for, well, boxing and they can also be used for Muay Thai (mostly) and kickboxing.

If you want to dip your toes into the wild world of mixed martial arts, MMA gloves are a must-have. They offer the flexibility and versatility needed to grapple, strike, and submit your opponents – basically a must in this sport.

Comparison Table

CategoryBoxing GlovesMMA Gloves
PaddingHeavier padding for increased protectionLighter padding for greater speed and flexibility
StrapsVelcro straps or laces for a secure fitSingle strap or no strap for convenience and ease of use
Finger FreedomEnclosed fingers in a constant fistOpen fingers for versatile combat techniques
WeightHeavier, ranging from 8 oz to 16 ozLighter, typically 4-6 oz
VersatilitySpecialized for boxingDesigned for mixed martial arts, allowing for striking, grappling, and submissions


There you have it. As you can see, the two types clearly differ in design, style, padding, weight, well basically everything. With that being said, if you already own a pair of boxing gloves, you can’t really use them for MMA and vice versa.

I hope my little guide on boxing gloves vs. MMA gloves was somewhat helpful and I will see you on the other side.

Peace out.

Jake Dennon

I am an avid sports enthusiast who has been fortunate enough to train with some of the best athletes and coaches in the world.

As a child, I had a keen interest in martial arts (karate). I've trained with one of the best trainers in my home country.

Moving into my teenage years I tried everything from calisthenics to weight lifting to Taekwondo and everything in between. While I do love all kinds of sports, my passion still lies in martial arts.

The combat sport coaches I have been trained by have also trained some of the top fighters in the industry. All of these brilliant trainers (and all the ones in between) have shown me just how rewarding keeping fit and healthy can be.

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