MMA, Boxing, Muay Thai Gear Guide

Posted on 26 March, 2022

What equipment do I need to get started? What brands are recommended? How do I determine what's best for me? Skip through to the gear section that interests you to find out. Note that this article is focused on training gear and not necessarily on gear that MMA fighters use during competition.



Gloves vary based on an individual's needs, size, and preferences. A smaller Muay Thai practioner with brittle hands will want a very different pair of gloves compared to a large boxer who wants to maximize their devastating punching power. By reading below to understand the different ways gloves differ, you will be able to determine which glove is best for you.

(In my opinion, the best way to figure out what glove is best is by trying out a bunch at a store or by asking training partners, but that's not always feasible).

Boxing vs Muay Thai Gloves

Boxing and Muay Thai gloves look very similar, however there are slight differences between the two.

Muay Thai Gloves have More cushion on the back of the gloves: to cushion the hand from blocked kicks More flex in the wrist: to make it easier to clinch and catch kicks/teeps A looser thumb connection: to make it easier to catch kicks/teeps A shorter, but thicker cuff: to give more flexibility for clinching/catching while protecting the wrist from kicks

At a beginner level, the differences are probably too subtle to matter, but if you're only interested in one striking sport, you might as well get the best tool suited for the job.

The quintessential pillow. Protects your hands well. Very pricey.
The quintessential pillow. Protects your hands well. Very pricey.

Pillows vs Punchers

Gloves range from Pillows to Punchers

Pillows Extremely soft gloves designed to protect the user's hands. The pillowiest of pillows: "Winning". A Japanese glove known for their elite craftsmanship. A very popular training glove for boxing, Muay Thai, and MMA pros. Despite what you may think, some boxers will even choose to use these gloves during competition. Punchers Hard gloves designed to deliver the maximum blow to an opponent. There's less padding on the knuckles which means more punching power, but less protection. The punchies of punchers: Cleto Reyes. A Mexican hand-stitched glove. Uses horse-hair which supposedly gets compacted during the fight to feel harder as the fight goes on.


Size depends on if you want to buy more than 1 pair of gloves and your body weight. Most gyms require 16oz gloves for sparring no matter how big you are. Some people have a pair of 16oz gloves for sparring, and pair of lighter gloves (generally 12oz) for bag/padwork. The advantage of having dedicated sparring gloves is that the padding will be less worn which will better protect your sparring partners. Depending on your body weight, you can scale your bag/padwork glove weight. The lighter you are the smaller oz glove you can get. There are no hard rules, but generally people will get be around this range < 140lbs: 10oz-12oz 140-170lbs : 12oz-14oz 170lbs +: 16oz

If you only want to buy 1 pair of gloves and you want to spar, get a pair of 16oz gloves.

Best Brands

As for all equipment, "best" depends on your needs and your personal preference. If you are a beginner, I wouldn't bother springing for the most expensive options until you're sure you want to do the sport for a long time.

Fairtex Gloves
Fairtex Gloves

Muay Thai Gloves

Fairtex The most popular glove brand. Made from genuine leather. A safe, great bet. If you're unsure, I would highly consider getting this brand.

Twins Very popular in Thailand.

Yokkao The most stylish gloves I've seen

King Windy Hayabusa A more expensive high-tech brand.

Boxing Gloves

ONX Gloves Expensive, the only glove that I know of that doesn't require wraps. Created by ONX Sports Head Coach Trevor Wittman to prevent hand injuries during camp and used by many MMA pros. Easily the most unique gloves I've worn. Winning Very expensive, used by many boxing and MMA pros to protect their hands.

Someone putting on wraps with tape. (FYI you don't need tape for regular practice)
Someone putting on wraps with tape. (FYI you don't need tape for regular practice)


You must wear wraps when you wear gloves (with some very rare exceptions depending on the glove). If you don't, you risk damage to all the small bones in your hand. Wraps help bind the small bones in your hand together, straighten the wrist, and pad the knuckles. There are many ways to wrap your hands. Here are some common ways.

Here is how a few pros/coaches teach it: Tiger Muay Thai Boxing Olympic Medalist Tony Jeffries Watch these videos and practice how to wrap your hands to save you time when you go to your training sessions. Purchase multiple pairs of wraps and wash them after every use. Wearing fresh wraps will also help keep the inside of your gloves clean, thus extending their life.

Shinguards (Required for Sparring)

Cups / Groin Protector (Required for Sparring)


Headgear (Sometimes Required for Sparring)

Despite what many believe, headgear doesn't protect the brain from headshots. A study shown by the Olympic boxing committee found that headgear had no effect mitigating head trauma. Imagine that your head is a spray can and your brain is the ball within it. Having cushion surrounding the spray can won't prevent the ball from rattling around within it.

Headgear makes your head a bigger target, makes it harder to see punches coming, and gives the wearer a false sense of security.

However, it does help prevent cuts, particularly from a clash of heads. It's still common, particularly for boxers, to wear headgear during sparring.

MMA Specific Gear