Sparring is essential to the success of a fighter. Simply put, one can hit pads, run on a treadmill, and shadow box until they’re blue in the face. Nothing will ever replicate showcasing your skills against a live opponent who has something to prove as well. In order to prepare to spar, there needs to be a host of things that occur before the bell rings and a strike is even thrown. Part of that is making sure the correct equipment is worn by both opponents.
Preparing to Spar
For starters, both opponents need to enter the ring with good intentions. Martial arts has always been a lifestyle built on discipline and respect. So, knowing that the sparring session is to showcase the skillset and not damage the opponent is the very first step.
Next, both opponents need to make sure they’re properly protected. A good pair of sparring gloves not only protect yourself, but they also protect your opponent. Old gloves or ones without proper padding could cause serious injury to your hand or your opponent’s face.
An obvious fact that isn’t so obvious to people outside of combat sports is the huge difference between sparring gloves, and gloves to compete in. In fact, there a variety of diverse gloves for different aspects of training. Some gloves are specifically designed for hitting heavy bags. Others are sanction by commissions around the world for official use in competition. Then you have gloves that are designed for sparring, and that’s what this guide will be all about.
Sparring gloves should be at least 16oz in weight. Heavy padding is also a must. With these combined elements, an athlete should be able to train techniques against live opponents safely. That is, of course, if other sparring equipments such as headgear and a mouth guard are present.
The following guide will provide both hopeful and elite athletes with the best gloves that can be used to spar. All of the gloves featured in this list will give athletes the confidence in knowing that they will be protected, as well as their opponents. Additionally, the gloves featured here are all built to last and will feature the proper padding to help avoid injury as much as possible. And remember, fighting is always dangerous. There is no way to 100% prevents injury, but the gloves featured here will reduce that risk exponentially.
Best Gloves for Sparring in 2019
Sanabul Essential Gel Gloves
Sanabul is a brand that sponsors familiar names in MMA such as former UFC Middleweight champion Michael “The Count” Bisping. Their essential gel gloves stand out because of the gel impact protection foam designed to protect your hand and the opponent.
The gloves are durable and built to last with leather upholstery. The mesh featured in the palm allows for breathability which helps wicks away sweat. In most cases, sweat and moisture are the leading components of bad smells and deterioration of the gloves.
Sanabul Essential Gel Gloves also feature a durable strap and come in many different colors to showcase style as well as athletes’ skills. Plus the price is going to be as fair as it gets when it comes to sparring gloves that are worth it.
- Great price
- Can feel bulky
- Long break-in time
Hayabusa S4 Sparring Gloves
The S4’s are constructed with foam that contours to the natural curvature of your hand. This allows for proper fist closure and shock absorption. Its single splint design supports and aligns your wrists, helping you throw proper, powerful punches.
PU leather construction, nylon lining, and its mesh palm ensure the S4 will endure high-intensity workouts with high volume. Plus, the gloves come with hand wraps which further support and protect a fighter. Especially if they don’t already have their own wraps.
The gloves come in 9 different colors in their 16oz variation and are very comfortable.
- Trusted brand
- Amazing protection
- Prevents hand fatigue
- Not real leather
- Takes long to break-in
Fairtex Microfibre Sparring Gloves
By far, the Fairtex gloves are some of the most expensive gloves on the market. However, they’re also unlike any other pair that you’ll try on.
The premium leather with the Fairtex foam system is excellent for hand and knuckle protection and shock disbursement. And of course, like more Fairtex products, the gloves are handmade to perfection from Thailand.
The gloves feature a lengthy cuff and wrist strap for maximum protection and come in 22 different colors. Personally, my favorite design is the “Minimalism Art Red” colorway. However, with so many options to choose from, we’re sure you’ll find your own.
- Excellent protection
- Incredible design
- Handmade in Thailand
- Very expensive
Ringside Apex Flash Sparring Gloves
These gloves are the ultimate pair on the list in regards to athletes that are newer to training. They feature 2 1/4 inches of IMF (Injected Molded Foam) Tech that is ideal for sparring. Once the stitching process is nearly complete, Ringside injects the foam into the glove. This process allows for even protection throughout the entire glove.
The mesh palm and anti-microbial inner liner combine to keep the hands cool and comfortable. The downside to these gloves is that they don’t last nearly as long as the rest on the list. And, the overall design, in my opinion, make them look very cheap.
The gloves come in 9 different color variations, so finding a pair that you like should come easily.
- Injected molded foam
- 9 different colors
- Looks very cheap
Fairtex BGV1-BR Sparring Gloves
Fairtex returns to the list once again and for good reasons. These Fairtex gloves feature some of the same technology in the ones listed before them. However, these ones cost a bit less.
There is some trade-off though. The gloves are still handmade in Thailand. However, they fit a bit tighter and only come in 4 different colors. For anyone into the Fairtex brand but don’t want to spend almost $100.00, these are the perfect alternative.
Title Pro Training Gloves 3.0
Title is a name that has been around combat sports for years. Any athlete who has ever watched a professional boxing match has seen or heard about Title. Their reputation in the sport is outstanding and so are their gloves.
The Title 3.0 gloves are a re-creation of their pro-style sanctioned gloves. With an identical look, they simply feature a multi-layer shock absorbing high and low-density foams throughout the entire knuckle area.
These gloves are also one of the best options for anyone who is on a budget. With Amazon Prime, these gloves should be attainable for less than $50.00. Although they only come in four colors, they’re an amazing option for anyone looking to train right away without making a huge investment.
Anthem is one of the newer brands on the scene in combat sports. I like to compare them to the likes of a company like Under Armour. Although they are new, they still have top tier quality, and will soon be recognized as one of the best brands in the entire combat sports world.
The Anthem Stormbringers have an incredible design. Furthermore, they come in nearly 30 different colors. If you couldn’t tell already, these are by far my favorite pair of gloves on the entire list. And for many different reasons.
They feature the highest-grade full-grain buffalo leather. Triple density, high-impact foam make them one of the safest options on our list. The velcro closure, breathable mesh panel, and reinforced stitching make them super durable.
Lastly, the gloves are designed in the USA. They are then handcrafted overseas. I can’t say enough good things about these gloves. Personally, I own two pairs and they’re by far my favorite.
- Designed in the USA
- Full-grain buffalo leather
- Amazing protection
- New brand
Venom Contender Boxing Gloves
The Venom Contender gloves offer the most bang for your buck. Simply put, gloves of this quality simply shouldn’t be available for such a good price. The 100% high-quality synthetic leather offers extended service life.
Venom has pretty much trademarked having a thumb panel that stays connected to the rest of the gloves. For people who don’t wrap their hands, it’s nice to see Venom reduce the risk of glove twisting.
While these gloves aren’t are great as the Venom “Elite” series, these gloves can be yours for less than $40.00. The “black/purple” colorway is my favorite of the 12 available, however, when reading reviews, fans seem to gravitate towards the “blue” color.
- Lots of colors
- Great protection
- Synthetic leather
- Not built to last
Cleo Reyes Sparring Gloves
Skip over these gloves if you aren’t in the market for buying a pair that are considered an investment. These gloves feature the heftiest price tag of all on the list. However, premium materials and build come along with the premium price.
The gloves feature 2 in thick padding throughout the entire punching surface which is unimaginable. They are also waterproof, handmade in Mexico, and made out of 100% goatskin leather.
There are 18 different colors to choose from including the trademark Cleto Reyes citrus green color. However, most fans love the pearlescent look of the purple option. For me, the silver colorway is the best of the pack but the consumers can be the judge of that.
- Pristine quality
- Built to last
- Amazing design
- Superior padding
- Lots of colorways
- Super expensive
Twins is another respected brand within combat sports. Their sparring gloves are 100% premium leather. While that is amazing for longevity, this particular pair fits a bit snug. Especially in its 16oz variation. So make sure to break them in with excessive use.
Not only do the Twins sparring gloves come in many color variations, but they also have a plethora of patterns. Some of the gloves have country flags on them while others feature stars, stripes, and even dragons.
Comfort will always be one of the most important factors in deciding what pair of gloves is the perfect match for an athlete. It’s also important to note that good gloves more than likely won’t be cheap. So, if you’re going to spend the money, lookout for a few important features.
- Material = The higher quality material will come at a high price. However, the gloves will last you a decent amount of years before they wear out.
- Moisture-Wick Technology = Moisture kills gloves. The wetness severely lessens the shelf life of the gloves and also makes them smell awful. So, search for a pair that is anti-microbial and sweat proof.
- 16oz = No matter the hand size, this is the ideal size glove for sparring. The extra padding is there to protect both your hands and your opponent. Respect them and yourself at all times.
With that information, choose the gloves that are right for you. All of the gloves mentioned above have great quality. So, consumers can’t go wrong here.