The primary role of your boxing equipment is not to make you look cool – although it helps on that as well sometimes. Your gear must protect you, prevent injuries, and increase the efficiency of your training. It’s not enough to have a good sparring partner or a great trainer. You better not waste your money on the bad stuff.
The good news is you don’t need to spend a lot of money to start any martial art. Boxing is one of the cheapest sports you could ever get into.
This guide will lead you through choosing your boxing gear and help you not fall into traps. There are many of them out there, and after finishing this article, you will be able to spot some on your own.
Don’t fool yourself: even if you are an experienced boxer; they might still catch you. Experience, in this case, is not only a matter of living the sport but of being fooled. And I had my share of mistakes throughout these 16 years of boxing training, and that’s the hard way of learning it. We now offer you the easy way: read this article.
Our Best Boxing Gear Reviews
- Best Boxing Gloves: Training and Sparring Gloves that are worth your money (2023)
- Best Speed Bag that is worth your money – 2023 [even for beginners]
- Best Kickboxing and Boxing Hand Wraps 2023: Protect your hand to Conquer the ring
A great pair of gloves must provide wrist support, protect your knuckles, and cushion some impacts on your opponent. These are the features that make a long career feasible.
It looks like a paradox sometimes, but it’s more a matter of balance: youhave toa cause some damage, but not enough to seriously injure yourself or your opponent. If boxing were not safe, it wouldn’t be the vast sport it’s today.
Even those who advocate for bare-knuckle fighting must understand thatwalking this path is impossibleh without a gear that allows you to train.
That’s the first thing youhave toa have in mind: boxing gloves are made for different purposes. Some favor training with outstanding protection, others aim to create accurate war weapons, and many try to find the balance between these two extremes.
Cleto Reyes, Everlast, Top King, Venum, Hayabusa… there are so many brands and models that it’s hard to choose wisely.
There was a time when you could buy the gear your heroes were using, but you might fall into a trap doing it nowadays. Famous brands sponsor many professionals, and they may use their gear in fights. However, the custom-made ones they wear are usually not the ones you can buy online.
So, you can consider this a potential of quality, but mind your purpose and read good reviews by people who have tested them for making your decision.
Training gloves must provide excellent wrist support and great padding. It’s not just a matter of tieing a pillow to your hands and starting boxin, and there’ss a limit to that. Excessive volume might increase the probability of wrist sprains, and no cuffs will be able to stop them altogether.
The perfect training gloves will have a dense multilayer foam to dissipate punching energy. They will also have firm and padded cuffs, preferably with a velcro strap for practicality.
You will have different needs according to your weight as well. The heavier the athlete, the more need for protection.
With that in mind, for middleweight or lighter boxers, it’s hard to find something better than the Hayabusa T3. Their double-strap system provides uncanny wrist support and the padding is enough for this category. They may be a little uncomfortable for the heavier athletes though.
Top King training gloves are just perfect for people above this weight category. The wrist support is not as good as Hayabusa’s, but it’s amazing. Combined with good hand wraps, it will be enough. More importantly, they have the best padding I’ve ever seen for training boxing gloves: not too voluminous, but very protective.
What would you say is your main concern with boxing gloves for fighting? They must be protective as well, but you’re certainly looking for damage.
For that, you need a pair of gloves with great wrist support so you can go nuts not worrying about yourself. They also need a good design with which you can use all your speed with powerful punches. They must protect your knuckles enough, but should not cushion the blow so much that they would reduce efficiency.
There is no better than Cleto Reyes for that. Not practical since they are lace-up gloves, it’s true. But that doesn’t matter for a fight. And it’s exactly for using laces they protect your wrists so much. No wonder these were the gloves worn by Muhammad Ali for so many years. These are, indeed, destruction machines.
For choosing the best bag gloves, you gotta look for two features: padding and wrist support. Punching bags is a full body workout and, if you want to do it right, you must go crazy and have the right gear for that.
Obviously, there are a few exercises in which the technique prevails, but it’s at the heavy bag where you can release the beast inside you with no regrets.
Hayabusa has created one of the best wrist strap systems among velcro gloves. The Hayabusa T3 uses a double strap that makes the wrist support almost as good as the ones in lace-up gloves. However, the padding might not be enough if you are above the middleweight category.
Although they present a slightly less efficient wrist strap system, Top King gloves are amazing for the bag. The padding is perfect for punching like a juggernaut. A good pair on your hands and you’re ready to show all your power.
Besides that, Top King is the best cost-benefit among all gloves in the market.
People looking for sparring gloves usually face a tough trade-off: protection vs efficiency. The reason why Cleto Reyes are so good for fighting is because they help you to cause damage and they protect your wrist at the same time. But it’s important to protect your partner during sparring as well. You’re not looking for damage.
You cannot just tie some pillows to your hands all the same. I mean, there are some equipment with such voluminous foam that you may increase the pressure over your wrist due to the instability of your punches.
And there’s something else: as the fight gets closer, it’s a smart call to use the gear that best emulates the one you’ll wear inside the arena (if not the same).
Top King is protective without being too voluminous. It’s a matter of balance. The ones that cushion better the strikes than Top King are also bigger, reducing your speed and precision, and increasing the risk of injuries.
It’s never an easy task to define the best gear for beginners. It must have good padding, excellent wrist protection, and a fair price.
With that said, the truth is that most gear made for this public is actually stylish garbage. If you’re not an experienced person, most often than not you’re gonna choose appearance over quality: it’s only natural. The brands know that and this is why is so hard to find good stuff for beginners.
Everlast used to be the most usual choice with their “Pro Style” (ironic, isn’t it?!) training gloves. But the quality started to decline a while ago and it became a terrible choice. However, the brand has recently redeemed itself with the ultimate gear for this public: Everlast Powerlock2. It checks all the boxes we presented.
Would I rather spend a little bit more and buy a Top King? Most definitely. But it’s undeniable that they did a great work with this model. For that, they do deserve the label of best boxing gloves for beginners.
How to choose the weight of the gloves?
The weight or size of the gloves is measured in ounces (oz). The heavier the glove, the more padding it has. The ideal weight of the gloves will vary based on two things: their purpose and your own weight.
If you’re working hard on the punching bag or if you’re sparring, you gotta use heavier boxing gloves – at least 2 oz over your fighting gloves. For training, the best gear is the one that protects your hands the most without compromising much of your movements or bringing any hazards.
Muay Thai fighters in Thailand usually wear 16 oz for training no matter their weight. Many boxers do the same. If you’re too heavy, you might even consider a pair of 18 oz.
Nevertheless, fighting is different. You will still need minimal protection, but you would rather not pad your hands too much or you can waste your potential.
For fighting, you can define the weight of your gloves based on this table:
Differences between man’s and women’s gloves
Most brands make unisex boxing gloves nowadays. When there’s a difference, it’s usually limited only to the internal space. On average, women present smaller hands than men and this is reflected by the glove design.
However, unless a boxer has an atypically small hand, this difference may be easily knocked off by using hand wraps.
The easiest way to tell apart amateur from professional boxers is by analyzing the footwork. This is a feature that tends to be underrated by novice boxers but it’s of utmost importance to fighting. Precision is essential here and, for having it, you better wear proper boxing shoes.
It’s on clothes that most brands forget about quality and favor style to sell more. This makes it very hard to find good equipment.
How do choose proper boxing shoes?
The best shoes must be light, perfectly fitted to your feet, with good traction (but not sticky) even on damp surfaces, made out of good material that won’t fail you, and, at least, mid-cut to prevent ankle injuries.
There are no right answers here. Boxing shoes are extremely personal when it comes to design.
Nevertheless, we need to highlight the great work Hayabusa has done with its “Pro Boxing Shoes”. The flexible soles and angled grooves provide adequate grip, but the toe creases are what make the difference here. They increase traction for pivots and guarantee maximum power transfer to your punch.
Don’t be a hero: if you can cushion some blows to your head, do it. It’s a known fact that damage accumulates and can lead to sequela. By using the best headgear, you’re basically reassuring you’ll be fit for fighting for a longer time.
The right headgear is the one that protects your head, doesn’t create any blind spots, and stays in place. There’s nothing more annoying than a headgear that turns on your head after each punch. If you cannot concentrate, you cannot fight properly.
The biggest trade-off here is that more cushioning normally means more volume, which might create blind spots and decrease the stability due to torque. For this reason, your headgear for fighting should not be the same as the one worn for sparring.
There are great options out there: Hayabusa, Fairtex, Venum, Sting, and Contender are some of the best examples.
Difference between sparring and competition headgear
For protecting yourself from the repetitive punching of an exhausting training routine, you gotta wear the most protective headgear available. The Fairtex Super Sparring is great for sparring. Even though it’s very padded and kind of voluminous, it does not create many blind spots. But they are not adequate for most competition.
The first thing you must consider for buying headgear for competing is if they are approved by the association you’re fighting for. The Fairtex we mentioned, for instance, is not AIBA-approved.
For this purpose, Sting is one of the best options. They were made specifically for AIBA competition, following all requirements. They present great quality and almost no blind spots. They are not super protective, but they are just enough for fighting once in a while.
Headgear for beginners
For a beginner, the more protective a headgear is, the better. However, the Fairtex Super Sparring might be too pricey for this public. A good option is the Venum Challenger Headgear 2.0. It’s a quite bulky gear, I must say, but they managed to design it in a way that still preserves great visibility.
Among all boxing equipment, clothing is where we see the biggest variability. There are so many brands it’s hard to pick only a few.
There is a golden rule on martial arts clothing: the best ones are those you forget about during a fight.
The first characteristic of boxing shorts you should consider is the fabric. Nothing beats silk. However, this natural fiber is among the most expensive ones. A great alternative is satin.
Satin has breathability and durability almost as good as silk and it’s much cheaper. It’s also a very light material.
You must also choose the size very carefully. Tight shorts can hold your movements and impair your performance. Besides, they are less breathable, which is a huge problem in long fights. This is why professional boxers usually wear shorts that look oversized. Nevertheless, there is a limitation to how loose your shorts can be without becoming an issue to your footwork. The best thing you can do is to try them before buying.
There are a couple of myths about the high waistband on boxing shorts. The truth is that it helps to keep the shorts in place all the time and this is important for following the golden rule. And, besides, they look pretty cool, don’t they?
Even the best gloves are not enough when it comes to wrist and knuckle protection.
The first reason is that even a custom-made pair won’t follow perfectly each peculiarity of your hand. Hand wraps do.
The second is that the knuckles are actually quite narrow, which makes it harder to design a gear that will protect them perfectly and, at the same time, keep enough stability for the wrists. With the combination of a hand wrap and a glove, you can increase the protection for both parts without compromising stability.
The best fabric will be protective and somewhat elastic, but not much. A mixture of cotton and spandex will provide this combination greatly.
Length is also important, but there’s no general rule here. Hand wraps may be an ally to fill the extra space in your gloves helping them to fit perfectly. The looser they are, the more hand wraps you will need. Also, the bigger your hands, the longer your hand wraps must be.
When I’m training with my 16 oz Top King, I usually wear two 4.5 m hand wraps on each hand. This is impossible to do when I’m wearing my 16 oz Cleto Reyes. In fact, even a 4.5 m on each feels kind of cumbersome. But that’s the limit for my average-sized male hands. I could never wear less than 4.5 m and have enough protection. A 3 m hand wrap could be enough for an average woman or a man with small hands.
It’s important to mention that there are also options for quick wraps. They might be practical, but they will never fit as perfectly as the classic wraps. If you need outstanding protection for your wrists, they are not a good choice.
We can apply to groin guards the same golden rule of clothing: the best ones are those you forget about.
But this is no picnic. This is boxing! You gotta be smart and protect yourself. So, here’s a truth bomb: you will never find a groin protector that won’t bother you at all. The trick here is to find one that it’s highly protective and just comfortable enough.
Keep in mind that no groin guard will eliminate the pain of being hit in this area. At best, it will slightly reduce it. The actual role of this gear is to prevent serious injuries and permanent consequences.
If you can, choose leather as the outer layer. PU will also be comfortable and effective, but it won’t last much. The cup can be metal or plastic. For boxing, plastic is good enough. If your thing is Muay Thai, you better favor metal. This is a way more reliable material if you consider you might get hit by kicks and knee strikes.
The most important thing here, though, is the size. It must fit perfectly, with no room for roaming. A misplaced cup might actually increase the damage you would take with a hit.
This is the case, however, in which we have a golden brand: Winning’s protective cup is the best groin protector in the market. It’s safe, resistant, and comfortable for most people. The obstacle here is the cost: it’s four to ten times more expensive than most brands.
Ringside No Foul Boxing Groin Protector is a good option if you’re looking for something cheaper. It will cost you four times less and work fine.
The mouthguard is, simply put, the equipment that will reduce cuts and prevent you from breaking your teeth. It does that by dividing the entire energy among all your teeth. This way, each takes a small portion of the impact instead of a couple taking the whole blow.
With that said, it’s all about fitness. The ideal mouthguard will keep contact with all your teeth. You can buy a standard mouthguard and shape it after soaking it in hot water or buy a custom-designed item that is supposed to fit perfectly to your mouth.
The second is way more expensive, but it does allow you to breathe better during intense workouts or fighting. Besides, it stays in place for longer than the first option.
There is something you must consider though: the shape of your teeth changes with time. For some people, this happens really quickly. People with bruxism are the extreme, but very common, example. Bruxism is a sleep disturbance that affects about 10% of adults, making them grind their teeth. This will be an issue for both kinds of mouthguards and it can make them useless in no time.
If you need to replace your mouthguard constantly, it would be incredibly expensive to wear only custom-made options.
A mouthguard can also be double or single. Except if you got a lower jaw protrusion or braces to your lower teeth, a single mouthguard will be enough to protect you against any punch. It will also be much more comfortable because it will allow you to breathe better.
The kind of jump rope you should look for is completely dependent on your skipping skills. The best item is the one that helps you to prevent mistakes.
A good rope for a beginner is thick and made of low-density material, such as PVC. This favors continuity because it’s easier to control the speed, reducing errors.
As you level up, a thin and dense rope will help will to speed up accordingly.
A good intermediate gear is the leather rope, used by many boxers until this day. They are thick, but heavy, allowing good speed and control.
Many modern ropes use ball bearings to reduce resistance, allowing greater speed and durability. This is not a requirement, but, if you can, choosing a rope with ball bearings will be better.
Choosing the right speed bag depends on your goals. Basically, what differs is the size and, consequently, the weight.
Smaller bags are better for improving coordination and reflexes. Bigger bags will do the same at a slower pace, but they will help you develop your shoulder muscles better.
Because it’s always moving fast, these bags become worn out very easily. Leather will last for a long time. It’s a bigger investment, yes, but be smart about it: in the long term, it’s actually cheaper.
Meister and Cleto Reyes are excellent brands for speed bags.
Heavy bags are incredibly variable. Traditional, teardrop, wrecking ball, banana, angled… each of them has its advantages and disadvantages and some are required for specific training.
For classic boxing training, the traditional and the angled punching bags are the most used. The latter has the advantage of allowing the safe use of uppercuts. This can be better achieved with the teardrop or the wrecking ball. These are limited though when it comes to change of level. For those who can buy only one, the traditional style or the angled bag are smart choices.
The punching bag is a great ally to training and it’s very versatile for boxing workouts. First of all, it’s an excellent cardio gear. It will burn calories like hell, being used for fast continuous punching or for power punches.
By the way, this is something that only the punching bag allows you to do: deliver all your power without having to worry about others. Besides being a great cardio exercise, it will help you to improve the muscles responsible for punching.
Heavy bags are also great for footwork, precision, and combo training. Simply put: this is a must-have gear!
Again, leather is the way to go. But it’s really expensive. It’s usually in heavy bags that you find the biggest difference in price between leather and synthetic material. One of the reasons is the size.
Outslayer and Fairtex are among the best cost-benefit in the market. They are both made of good-quality synthetic leather. The high-quality sewing helps them to last as long as the main material allows. Ringside is made of genuine leather and has greater durability. All three of them are amazing choices.
Many times neglected, the towel is actually an essential item for any boxer.
Firstly, you gotta think about the fighting community and act like a member. Hygiene has always been important. After the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become even more. Not that you can transmit this virus through sweat specifically, but these hard times have been a huge wake-up call.
Sweat can create conditions for the proliferation of some microorganisms, spreading diseases, such as ringworm (which is actually caused by a Funghi), Herpes Simplex, Staph/MRSA, and impetigo. There is even evidence suggesting that hepatitis B and SARS might be transmitted through sweat.
And you’re not the only one who might be impacted by low hygiene. Excessive moisture can damage your gear and reduce its durability.
Having, at least, a towel always with you it’s a way for preventing these issues. It’s also recommended to carry a pack of disinfectant wipes to clean surfaces that might be infected.
Frequently Asked Questions about the boxing equipment
What do I need for first-time boxing training?
To start boxing, the minimum equipment is a pair of hand wraps, gloves, a mouthguard, and appropriate shoes. Training with anything less than that is a risk you shouldn’t take. You can postpone acquiring some of the other stuff, but this is basic.
As you level up, you should consider buying a groin protector, proper clothes, and your own headgear.
What equipment is needed for a boxing gym?
Any gym must have, at least, a punching bag, a first aid kit, some focus mitts, skipping ropes, and an area with a mat to avoid the bad consequences of an accidental knock-out. A controlled workout is relatively safe, but sparring requires precaution.
Ideally, a gym will also have a ring, not one but a variety of punching bags, spare gloves, and headgear, mirrors, and weights.
What equipment do you need to spar in boxing?
Honestly, many people spar having no more than hand wraps, gloves, and a mouthguard. However, this is not ideal.
To spar safely in boxing, you also need groin protection and headgear. A good pair of non-slip shoes will be of great help as well.
Can I train like a boxer at home?
You can train like a boxer at home, however, it will never be the same without a partner. Many home workouts are great for boxing, but it’s at the sparring and at the pad work that you will improve the most.
The Covid-19 pandemic required from us, trainers, to develop workout routines and methods to keep up the good work at home. There are many videos on YouTube with great options for exercises. However, keep in mind that you should train in a proper gym if you wanna fight.
What equipment is needed for boxing at home?
For boxing at home, besides the personal gear, you will need some kind of bag and a jumping rope. A few free weights would also be great.
There is also a great ally most people forget about: your camera. Every single smartphone has a decent camera nowadays. You can spot your own flaws by making videos and analyzing them.
How can I train for boxing without equipment?
After many years of teaching martial arts, I can spot a beginner only by talking to him about shadow boxing. Nothing is so underestimated among amateurs as this kind of training. In fact, they usually hate it.
I simply love shadowboxing. It improves your cardio, footwork, control, balance, and versatility. And the best part is that you need absolutely no equipment for doing it.
Besides that, there are also complementary workouts, exercises that are not necessarily “for boxing”, but make a big difference to your final game. Running is the most important of them. It’s not easy to endure long fights. Professional boxing today can have up to 12 three-minute rounds. Exceptional stamina is fundamental for that.
What is the best boxing equipment brand?
There is not a “best boxing equipment brand”. Some are better for gloves, others for shoes, and so on. In addition, from time to time, a new model can overthrow a reigning gear and shake the whole scenario with some innovation.
Nevertheless, a few brands are known for their excellence over the years. Just to name some of them, Cleto Reyes, Hayabusa, Winning, and Top King are brands you can always trust on.
What is the cost of boxing equipment for a beginner?
For the basic gear, including a pair of gloves, hand wraps, mouthguard, and shoes, you can expect to pay from US$92 to US$145, depending on the quality (prices calculated on Amazon).
What equipment boxing gym usually offer to practice boxing and what is personal equipment?
The concept of “personal equipment” differs depending on who’s defining it. I consider gloves and headgear personal. Some people believe only gloves are. A few don’t see any issue with sharing everything.
Straight to the point: it’s basic hygiene. Anything that is “glued” to your body during the intense parts of training should be labeled personal. Therefore, a gym must provide mitts, ropes, and bags. Everything else is yours only.