Last Updated on October 1, 2020
You might be wondering what the difference is between all the different kinds of exercise gloves on the market these days. Boxing gloves, kickboxing gloves, and MMA (mixed martial arts) gloves all have specifications that make them perfect for what they are made to do.
Not buying the right kind of gloves for MMA can even result in serious injury…
The best MMA gloves need to have thick padding to take on repeated use but balance this with being lightweight and breathable. They are designed specifically to protect your hands, fingers, and wrists – instead of protecting your partner from impact like the thicker padding in boxing gloves.
You’ll also need different MMA gloves depending on the type of training you are doing, whether it is grappling, sparring, or striking. Let’s take a look at the best MMA gloves for every aspect of your training.
- The 10 Best MMA Gloves Reviewed
- 1. RDX MMA Gloves
- 2. Venum Challenger MMA Gloves
- 3. RDX F12 MMA Gloves for Sparring and Punching Bag
- 4. Hayabusa Tokushu Regenesis MMA Gloves
- 5. Everlast Pro Style MMA Grappling Gloves
- 6. Hayabusa T3 MMA Gloves
- 7. Venum Undisputed 2.0 MMA Gloves
- 8. UFC MMA Gloves
- 9. Combat Sports Max Strike MMA Training Gloves
- 10. Sanabul Essential 7 oz MMA Hybrid Sparring Gloves
- MMA Gloves vs Boxing Gloves
- What Is The Best Material For MMA Gloves?
- Which Are The Best MMA Gloves For Me?
The 10 Best MMA Gloves Reviewed
1. RDX MMA Gloves
Our Verdict: Best Overall
The best MMA gloves for durability and the highest quality are the RDX MMA Gloves as they are made from 100% authentic cowhide leather instead of synthetic leather-like other options in this MMA gloves review.
The material means that they are sure to last you for years, even with heavy use.
As well as high-quality material, the padding on these MMA gloves is next level with extra-thick foam-based padding on the knuckles, a separate padded block on the wrist joints, and shock dissipating gel.
With all of this padding, these are great MMA gloves for sparring when a lot of clothes can’t take the continued pressure of this kind of training. They even have a full sleeve to keep your thumb protected.
The quick EZ hook and loop also makes them easy to put on with a Velcro closure that ensures a snug fit as well as proper wrist protection thanks to the double wrap-around strap. Sweat is not a problem with the wicking management system which draws sweat away from your skin.
Some customers have also found that the hard edges can also be a bit rough on your partner so watch out you’re not doing more damage than intended.
- Authentic cowhide leather
- Reinforced stitching
- Extra padding
- Quick EZ hook and loop
- Sweat-wicking management
- Wrist and thumb protection
- Great for sparring
- Can be a little bulky for grappling
- Hard edges can be rough on partner
The Nabla-Palm design also makes these a good option for grappling with more breathability and movability; however, they are still slightly bulky with all that extra padding.
2. Venum Challenger MMA Gloves
Our Verdict: Venum Challenger MMA Gloves
Made from Polyurethane leather, the Venum Challenger is relatively durable and the best grappling gloves. Thanks to their lightweight design.
With layered foam for greater protection on the knuckles, these are the best grappling gloves because they have reinforced finger and thumb openings and knuckle padding.
It is contoured to your fingers, instead of oval knuckle pads, which spread the padding over the whole hand.
This allows you to move your fingers in a way that provides greater freedom and movability so you can grapple with your opponent.
Their shock absorption is also relatively good but the padding is not strong enough for striking because of the lack of palm protection.
However, this means that the shock absorption is good enough to protect your knuckles from pain while still allowing you to feel the force of your contact, as long as you are not engaging in hardcore sparring.
- Best grappling gloves
- Contoured knuckle, thumb and finger protection
- Wrist strap
- Comfortable PU leather
- Lightweight and slim
- Not much palm padding
- Not great for striking
They are also great when it comes to wrist protection thanks to the double wrap around wrist strap. The lightweight material is perfect for training and, in addition, these MMA gloves come in a range of colors to suit you.
3. RDX F12 MMA Gloves for Sparring and Punching Bag
Our Verdict: Best for Heavy Bag
Another set from RDX is the RDX F12 which are the best MMA gloves for heavy bag as, unlike others in this MMA gloves review, they are designed with punching bag training in mind.
The resilient Maya Hide leather should be durable but some customers have had problems with the material scuffing after a while so you might want to make sure you are using them on a smooth surface or a high-quality punching bag.
The leather also offers tractability so you will be able to make contact with concentrated force.
The polymax contoured tri slab PC3 padding offers improved shock absorption and impact resistance which also makes these gloves a great option for sparring.
The solid knuckle guard should keep your knuckles protected, but some customers have found it could use more inner padding to be comfortable on the knuckles.
With an improved EZ hook and loop closure, these gloves are easy to take on and off and the compact strap offers wrist support. The D cut palm is also great for airflow and ventilation so you won’t get too hot during heavy bag training. For excess sweat, there is a moisture-wicking synthetic micro-fabric inside the gloves which removes sweat and keeps you comfortable.
The only complaints are that some customers have also had problems with the fit and have found that the gloves can slip during heavy sparring.
- Contoured padding
- Maya Hide leather
- Solid knuckle guard
- Open palm
- 4 colors
- EZ hook and loop
- Wrist support
- Best for heavy bag
- Material can scuff
- Gloves can slip due to poor fit
The natural grip and flexible palm also give these gloves a more natural feel. With 4 color options and a few different sizes, you should be able to find a version of these MMA gloves to suit you.
4. Hayabusa Tokushu Regenesis MMA Gloves
Our Verdict: Best for Sweat & Odor Control
Made from a tougher, leather-like material called Vylar-2, the Hayabusa Tokushu Regenesis gloves are made to be more durable and are the best MMA gloves for sweat and odor control.
As well as the durable material, they feature open palms and AG anti-microbial fabric which absorbs sweat and diminishes odor. This should keep your hands comfortable inside the gloves during heavy training.
However, some customers have found the gloves to be too tight and that the stitching on the inside can rub because of this.
The open thumb provides some comfort and makes the gloves easy to put on at least.
They also feature a dual X wrist closure for maximum punching control and wrist support. However, some customers have also found this strap to be a little weak compared to wrap around wrist straps.
- Pre-curve to reduce hand stress
- Dual X wrist closure for wrist support
- Secure fit
- AG anti-microbial fabric
- Easy to put on
- Weak straps
- No thumb protection
- Can be tight
- Stitching can rub
The Y-Volar design is made to ensure an extremely secure fit for maximum stability, which is also helped by the slightly tight sizing. The 30% pre-curve is designed to reduce hand stress as well as prevent injury.
5. Everlast Pro Style MMA Grappling Gloves
Our Verdict: Best Training Gloves
These premium synthetic leather gloves are durable and designed to be similar to professional gloves. Everlast Pro Style is the best for MMA training gloves because of the broad protection but might not be quite professional quality.
Helpful features include the moisture-absorbing lining and EverDri Technology which keep the hands dry and sweat-free while you are training. They also have open palms that allow for more flexibility and breathability.
However, there is a full wrist wrap strap to provide some much-needed protection. This also makes the fit adjustable which is helpful as there are only two size options to choose from and they might not be the ideal fit for every hand size.
- Premium synthetic leather
- EverDri Technology
- Full wrist wrap strap for adjustability
- Large foam padding
- No thumb protection
- Only comes in two sizes
The large padding covers most of the hand and fingers but leaves the thumbs unprotected which can be dangerous if you are still learning how to form your punches correctly.
6. Hayabusa T3 MMA Gloves
Our Verdict: Best for Women
The best MMA gloves for women are the Hayabusa T3 which come in a range of sizes to suit smaller hands. They are also lightweight at just 4 oz which means they will feel more natural and suit both beginners and professionals.
The sizes are actually smaller than some customers expected which is great for users with smaller hands as they should fit tightly but others have found them to be a bit too tight. They can also be stiff until you’ve used them a few times.
In spite of these points, they are great all-round MMA gloves for sparring, grappling, and striking and the material is very durable. The curved design is made to reduce hand fatigue during sparring and at the professional level during competitions.
- Range of colors and sizes
- Curved design reduces hand fatigue
- Great all-round glove for MMA
- Dual strap closure for wrist support
- Can be smaller than expected
- Stiff to begin with
With a dual strap closure for the wrist, these MMA gloves also deliver unparalleled stabilization for the wrist which will make a big difference when you are striking and help you to focus all your force on your target.
7. Venum Undisputed 2.0 MMA Gloves
Our Verdict: Best for Sparring
Another offering from Venum, the Undisputed 2.0 MMA gloves are made from high-quality Napa leather and are the best MMA gloves for sparring thanks to the knuckle protection.
Despite their extra knuckle protection, some customers have found that these gloves do not provide enough padding for heavy bags so you might have to take it easy after a few rounds of training.
However, they are designed for MMA competition and should be able to hold up against your opponent with their durable material.
Layered foam offers greater protection and the high wrist wrap offers adjustable support which helps to keep the gloves tight to the hand. The exclusive Velcro strap system makes it easy to use as you can tighten them with one hand.
The foam also conforms to the natural curve of the hand for maximum comfort and to keep the glove in place while you train. What’s more, this contouring is great for making sparring feel more natural.
- Napa leather
- Layered foam protection
- Wrist support and adjustable strap
- Easy to use and adjust
- High-density stitching
- Natural curve
- color options
- Not enough padding for heavy bag
- Some customers have found them to be uncomfortable
There are a few size options so you can get the fit that’s right for you. Some customers have found that the inside of the gloves leaves a little to be desired in terms of comfort but this is a small downside compared to all their great qualities.
8. UFC MMA Gloves
Our Verdict: Best for Professionals
The best UFC gloves for professionals, whilst still being affordable, are the UFC MMA Gloves. These gloves have been used by professional UFC fighters and are a great option for MMA because of the lightweight design.
The open thumb and palm make them a solid option for grappling as you have the freedom to move, use your hands, and grab on to your opponent. The multi-layered foam also provides decent protection for the knuckles and the pre-formed curves are ideal for shock absorption.
Made from durable synthetic leather and with an easy hook and loop closure, these MMA gloves won’t let you down. They also have comfortable finger compartments to add to the comfort of the contoured design.
- Open palm design for grappling
- Easy hook and loop closure
- Pre-formed curves for shock absorption
- Velcro could be more secure
- Not many size options
The only problems customers have found are the lack of sizing options and that the Velcro strap could be more secure. Other than this, these gloves make a solid option for MMA competing and training and even come in 4 different color options.
9. Combat Sports Max Strike MMA Training Gloves
Our Verdict: Best for Beginners
These are the best MMA gloves for beginners; thanks to the added protection. The Combat Sports Max Strike has 2 inches of molded foam padding which is firm yet soft so it won’t feel too stiff or rub on your hands but will provide the right level of protection.
Whilst providing padding, the hinged knuckle still allows for a range of movement which is integral to MMA training. The open palm also lets the skin breathe and release more sweat while you train. You’ll be grateful for the breathability during a hardcore training session.
The synthetic leather material makes these gloves relatively durable but some people have found that they can’t take on a lot of heavy use, for example, if you are using a punching bag.
They are still great for striking as long as you are not wearing them out.
The Velcro strap is also relatively weak but it does make these gloves easy to slip on and off. This can be good if you want to move quickly between exercises but isn’t ideal for keeping the gloves firmly in place during MMA.
- Extra padding
- Hinged knuckle for movement
- Breathable palm
- Synthetic leather
- Not very durable
- Weak Velcro strap
- Not many color options
Lastly, they come in a few sizes and color options but could definitely do with offering a few more choices.
10. Sanabul Essential 7 oz MMA Hybrid Sparring Gloves
Our Verdict: Best Hybrid Option
These MMA gloves are called hybrid because they can also be used for kickboxing and cardio workouts. However, the Sanabul Essential isn’t as super versatile as the word ‘hybrid’ suggests because it can’t be used with a training bag due to the lack of protection.
Designed for striking and sparring, these MMA gloves offer modest dexterity during grappling and are fitted to protect the hands.
The hook and loop closure should keep them tight to the hand making them feel like part of your body and keeping them locked in place throughout your workout. This also makes them easy to put on and adjust alongside the Velcro strap and wrist protection.
They are also the best MMA gloves for anyone on a budget as they are a cheap option that doesn’t skip out too much on the quality.
- Fitted to protect the hand during striking
- Good for grappling
- Hook and loop closure
- Velcro wrist strap
- Can’t use them with a punching bag
- Not as durable
The material is easy to clean and maintain but some customers have found that the stitching starts to come away which means they might not last as long as the more expensive options in this MMA gloves review.
MMA Gloves vs Boxing Gloves
With MMA you need the freedom to grapple with your opponent that just isn’t possible with a bulky pair of boxing gloves. If you already have a pair of boxing gloves or gloves for Muay Thai, you might be thinking about saving money by using them for different combat sports.
I always try to get the most out of my equipment too, but for MMA you will need a specific type of glove. Here are a few of the major differences between MMA gloves and boxing gloves.
There are some differences in the weight and size of gloves depending on what you want to use them for. Generally, MMA gloves are lighter than boxing gloves at around 4-8 ounces, whereas boxing gloves can be 8-16 ounces.
They can also have different weights depending on whether they are designed for grappling and sparring or competition. Typically, competition gloves will be the lightest whereas grappling and sparring gloves for training are heavier to accommodate the extra padding.
Generally, MMA gloves are thinner and less padded than boxing gloves. Boxing gloves have a mitt design that covers the whole hand and the extra room for padding is what makes them heavier.
During boxing, all the pressure is focused on using the hands so this extra padding is necessary. But with MMA, you will also need to move your hands and grapple.
Thus, the lightweight design comes in handy and you won’t find that you need quite as much padding, although a little knuckle protection is always appreciated.
With both sparring and heavy bag training, you will need gloves with more padding. Sparring MMA gloves still allows a little freedom for grappling but if you are focusing solely on punches and making repeated contact with your opponent, boxing gloves might be safer.
For grappling, you will need lighter gloves with the padding focused more on the knuckles so that you have minimal padding but enough where you need it most.
You will need more breathable and flexible options to be able to use your hand as if you weren’t wearing gloves at all as typically you will be getting up off the ground or grabbing your partner.
You will also want to make sure that the edges of the clothes are smooth to avoid scraping your partner and causing unnecessary damage.
What Is The Best Material For MMA Gloves?
With some different material options in this MMA gloves review, you are probably wondering which is the best material to look for when buying. There are upsides and downsides to using each material so here are a few things you should keep in mind.
Leather is typically the most durable material for gloves but it is more expensive and can be harder to maintain. If you want your leather gloves to last for years the material will need regular conditioning.
You also can’t chuck them in a machine to wash them when they get sweaty. So, with this high-quality material, you’ll have to dedicate some time to high-quality care but it will definitely be worth it if you manage to keep the same gloves going for years to come.
Synthetic leathers, like Polyurethane, are the next best thing when it comes to durable material.
If you are a professional MMA fighter, you might notice the difference between synthetic and real leather but for most training, this material can hold up to the pressure.
What’s more, polyurethane is easier to clean and can come in a range of colors, giving your gloves that unique design offered by many of the options in this MMA glove review.
Which Are The Best MMA Gloves For Me?
The MMA gloves in this review are designed for different purposes and, because their designs can make a real difference to your training, this might push you towards one or the other.
Also, if you are looking for a specific size or weight, you might want to take this into consideration.
But before all that, here’s a cool video on how to punch properly using MMA gloves:
Best For Heavy Bag
If you are thinking about using a heavy punching bag in your training, the best MMA bag gloves are the RDX F12 MMA Gloves. Made from authentic Maya Hide leather, they have the durability to hold up to this heavy usage.
They also have contoured padding for improved shock absorption which you will need when facing a heavy opponent or a punching bag.
Best For Sparring
There is some debate about whether MMA gloves should be used for sparring because of the repeated pressure on the hands which really requires extra padding. For this reason, we have included some gloves in this review that are made for sparring such as the Venum Undisputed 2.0 MMA Gloves.
The extra knuckle padding in these gloves makes them safer for your hands but bear in mind that it doesn’t offer your partner as much protection as heavily padded boxing gloves.
Best For Women
Although men and women generally need the same specifications when it comes to finding the perfect pair of MMA gloves, it can help to have a pair which are more tightly fitted if you are a woman and have smaller hands.
With the lack of sizing options when it comes to most MMA gloves, the Hayabusa T3 MMA Gloves offer smaller sizes which will still feel secure on smaller hands. They are also lighter which makes them easier to move with and feel more natural.
After tackling all of the above, what else could be beneficial information about MMA gears? There are actually a lot more, but you can find the best MMA shorts in one of our reviews on this site, too.
Added to that of the above, by the way, check out this review of the best types of bjj gis we have compiled. It will make you realize a lot of stuff about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Although it is difficult to pick an overall winner when there are so many great points about each set of MMA gloves in this review, the best I have seen is the RDX MMA Gloves. Made from real cowhide leather, these are the most durable option and the best for professionals.
As discussed, this does mean that they are harder to clean and care for but if you are serious about your MMA training, they are made from the highest quality material you can find. The separate padding areas also provide superior protection without making the gloves too bulky like boxing gloves.
All the protection and weight are concentrated on the parts of the hand that need it most, leaving you free to move and offering ventilation.
If you are looking for something specific depending on your training and fighting style, try the best sparring or grappling gloves in this review. Or, for an all-round option, go for the RDX MMA Gloves and you won’t be disappointed.