When you train MMA, high quality gloves are vital.
Not only do they improve your performance in training and competition, they also offer important protection for your hands.
With so many gloves on the market however, it’s difficult to make the right choice.
So, I’ve created this detailed list of the best MMA gloves on the market, reviewing everything from style and comfort, to durability and cost.
This guide has everything you need to make an informed decision on which MMA gloves are the best for you and your needs.
RDX F12 MMA gloves
The RDX F12 Gloves are a mid-range glove. Constructed from Maya hide leather, they are resistant to a lot of wear and tear common with MMA gloves. Protection to the hands is afforded by tri-slab padding, designed to spread punch impact across the hands. The thick Velcro strap offers both solid closure of the glove and additional wrist stabilisation.
- Great RDX build quality, resistant to wear and tear through regular use
- Comfortable to wear and versatile for both grappling and striking
- Nice design, great looking gloves
- Lightweight, but tough and protective
- Tight fitting, but enough give to allow user to make a fist
- Sizes tend to be on the snug size – lots of people need to order a size up
- If you’re using the gloves predominantly for bag work, you may need thicker padding
RDX T6U MMA gloves
The RDX T6U gloves are an open-palm design and constructed from the tough and durable Maya hide leather. They boast a thicker than normal shock dispensing padded front, offering extra protection to the hands. The wrist strap is extra long to improve wrist stability and protection during sparring and bag work.
- Maya hide leather construction makes the T6Us durable
- Open design keeps sweat and bacteria growth low
- Extra flexibility from open palm design helps transition from striking to grappling
- High quality construction – much better than expected at the price point
- Leather quick to break in and become flexible
- Finger loops can be uncomfortable at first
- Some users believe the little finger loop is poorly placed, so can irritate the fingers
Venum Challenger MMA Gloves
The Venum Challenger Gloves are some of the more premium gloves I’m reviewing in this article. They’re designed in Thailand for use in training and in the ring. The gloves are constructed from PU leather and boast high quality stitching throughout. They have a double closure system for comfort and wrist support in the form of the wide strap. Their build quality and versatility make them a popular choice amongst fighters.
- Thick, dense padding for hand protection whilst striking
- High quality stitching throughout the construction
- Versatile enough to use on the bag or in the ring
- Solid wrist support with the strap
- Double closure system maintains comfort throughout use
- The thick padding means this glove is more suited to striking rather than grappling
- Some find the double closure system a little too cumbersome
Emrah MMA gloves
The Emrah MMA Gloves are a budget glove, ideally suited to a beginner in the sport. Despite the entry level price, they rank far above their price range in terms of quality and performance. They’re constructed from synthetic leather designed to withstand a lot of punishment. The glove has a thick wrist strap for added support and articulated ridges to allow the hands to move easily and freely.
- Good padding across the front, meaning they’re well suited to bag and ring work
- Tough and long lasting thanks to good build quality
- Comfortable to wear and allows excellent hand movement
- Thick wrist strap helps to further prevent injury
- Sizing can be a little small – be aware of this and perhaps order a size up
- Tough materials can be a little abrasive at first, until they’re broken in
- Thumb padding and support is a little light for some users
Valour strike MMA gloves
The Valour Strike MMA Gloves are a product that certainly defies expectations. At a lower-mid range price point, you’d be forgiven for expecting a lower quality product, but the Valour Strike gloves are anything but. With 3cm injected foam padding, they offer fantastic hand protection. The wide wrist strap helps to support the joint and the open palm design keeps the hand cool and provides flexibility, allowing the user to grapple. They are a simple, clean design.
- Excellent hand protection whether using the bag or sparring
- Extra wide (5cm) wrist strap to offer excellent wrist support
- Excellent build quality – great stitching
- Able to withstand a lot of use and punishment
- Open palm design to enable grappling or striking
- Some users say the material takes a while to break in
- Sizing can be difficult – measure your hands and use their size chart before purchase
RDX EX1 MMA gloves
The RDX EX1 MMA gloves are a lower mid priced glove designed for sparring and grappling. Made from the tough Maya hide leather, they are lightweight, easy to use and offer decent level of protection. Complete with a shell shock gel and foam padding layer, they are suitable for beginner and intermediate users. They are lined with sweat-wicking material for comfort.
- Tough and durable construction – will last a long time
- Nice and lightweight, ideal for training and sparring
- Good build quality throughout the glove
- Comfortable to wear and use
- Padding is a little too lightweight for heavy-hitting fighters
- If you are looking to progress in MMA, they may need to upgrade these gloves quickly
RDX CGR MMA gloves
The RDX CGR MMA Gloves are another mid-priced glove from RDX. The gloves are constructed from the same long-lasting Maya hide leather that a lot of the RDX range are made from. They also offer good hand protection by way of their Polymax contoured Tri-Slab PC3 padding. The moisture wicking microfabric expels moisture away from skin on the inside of the glove, allowing for ventilation and odour prevention.
- Good RDX build quality
- Fantastic user comfort whether sparring or hitting bags and pads
- Excellent impact protection from the padding layers
- Versatile glove for most beginner and intermediate users
- On rare occasions there are stitching issues on the strap
- The gloves can ‘slip’ out of place unless the fist is tightly clenched on impact
RDX CGR F15 MMA gloves
The RDX CGR F16 MMA gloves are a well-regarded and versatile glove. Made from Convex Skin Combat Leather, the gloves are tough and long lasting yet still sell at a very competitive price. With a generous layer of PC-3 padding, the gloves offer excellent hand protection for even the heaviest hitters. These gloves secure tightly around the wrist and offer a security and protection that goes beyond their price.
- Excellent RDX build quality
- Thick padding provides fantastic hand protection
- Versatile glove, ideal for grappling and striking
- Open palm design to allow for more natural and unaffected hand movement
- Accurate and comfortable fitting
- Wrist strap isn’t as thick as some as others, so not as comfortable
- Plain black design may not be to everyone’s taste
How to choose the best MMA gloves for your training
In this section I’ll talk more about the variables of the different products and how these will affect your training. It’ll further help you to make decisions about which are the best gloves to suit your needs.
No two gloves are exactly alike and what may seem like a small difference in styles, materials, manufacture etc could have a large effect on your training and performance.
Competition? Sparring? Or both?
If you are new to MMA, you may not know there are differences in the gloves required.
For competition, MMA gloves are around 4oz or less, depending on the competition rules. They have minimal padding and therefore an inner glove or wrist wraps should be worn for additional protection. The fingers are separated to allow for the most natural movement during grappling and wrestling.
The sparring gloves are heavier at around 7oz. These gloves offer significantly more protection to the hands and knuckles, because they are used to hit a heavy bag or opponent regularly (and hard!) These gloves aren’t allowed in competition.
Training gloves are a hybrid of both – they have segmented fingers and padding to the second knuckle. They’re designed to be a versatile glove, with a decent level of protection for striking whilst still allowing enough movement of the hands for grappling. Again, these gloves aren’t allowed in competition.
The materials used in the construction of the gloves will determine their performance and longevity. Some of the man-made materials are cheaper and more lightweight, but they’re unlikely to last as long as genuine leather.
From a padding perspective, you need to consider impact protection and weight. Entry level gloves are likely to have lower quality foam which offers less protection. In more expensive gloves the protection is likely to be multi-layered and a higher density foam. If you’re a big hitter or competing at a high level, impact protection really needs to be considered.
The wrist straps are an important feature too. A thicker, tighter wrist strap offers more protection to the user and can help to limit and in some cases, prevent injury. A high quality Velcro and good stitching will keep the glove in place during use.
There are a lot of brands making good quality gloves, so a lot of it is down to factors such as personal preference, budget and whether they make a product that suits your needs. Popular mid-range brands include Venum and RDX. At the higher price points, Fairtex and Hayabusa are big favourites.
Making sure you wear the correct glove size is crucial from comfort, safety and performance viewpoints. Take the time to measure your hands in accordance to the instructions from the brand. You may assume that you know your hand size, but make sure you’ve measured properly in the spot the manufacturers suggest – sizes vary from brand to brand. One simple job can prevent a lot of messing around.
Best MMA gloves for you
I hope that having read this guide you’ve learned a lot about MMA gloves and what you may need from a pair. There’s a lot to consider and armed with this new information, you can make a more reasoned assessment of what you need for your training.
You won’t be using guesswork and risk wasting your hard-earned cash on a pair of gloves that just aren’t suitable.