Boxing Gloves for Muay Thai: What You Need to Know

Practicing martial arts has been one of the best ways to get in shape and learn self-defense. Over 2.3 million Americans tried mixed martial arts for fitness in 2021. Many people who practice martial arts learn more than one discipline at the same time.

The best part about that is that people can carry out what they've learned through various disciplines. But what about equipment? Boxing and Muay Thai are two disciplines that incorporate punches and strikes.

So, does that mean you can use boxing gloves for Muay Thai? Are Muay Thai and boxing gloves the same? You might be surprised.

Read on to find out more!

Boxing Gloves vs. Muay Thai Gloves

Muay Thai and boxing share similar fundamentals in terms of punching and striking techniques. However, there are distinct differences in the mechanics. These subtle nuances also apply to the equipment used.

Padding and Flexibility

Padding distribution is the most obvious difference between Muay Thai and boxing gloves. Boxing's main focus is punching, which puts most of the impact on your knuckles. You'll notice that boxing gloves have extra padding around the knuckles.

Muay Thai has more striking techniques with different points of attack.

Muay Thai fighters also have to defend against blows from the elbows, knees, and feet with their hands. Muay Thai gloves have more padding distributed along the sides. The padding is also more uniform around the back of the hand and knuckles.

This gives Muay Thai gloves more flexibility than boxing gloves. Muay Thai gloves also discourage fighters from closing their hands like in boxing. These gloves allow enable them to spread out their hands for other movements like clinching.


The palm structure is also different for Muay Thai and boxing gloves. In boxing, you only need to use your palm to parry attacks. However, in Muay Thai, you need to clinch your opponent and catch kicks to the torso.

Boxing gloves help the fighter maintain a closed fist with little effort. That's why these gloves tend to be more rigid. Muay Thai gloves have more of an open palm to encourage a player's hand flexibility.

Wrist Support and Thumb

The wrist is fragile, especially when you're trying to land a heavy punch. Hand wraps can help, but the gloves play a crucial role in protecting the wrist. Boxing gloves can reach up to half of a fighter's forearm.

This allows the glove to provide better wrist support and minimize damage. Muay Thai gloves, on the other hand, are much shorter. As mentioned prior, Muay Thai gloves prioritize flexibility.

Boxing gloves keep the thumb out of the way to keep a rounded fist. Muay Thai gloves follow the same principle of flexibility.


Muay Thai and boxing gloves do not differ much in terms of material. High-quality gloves for both disciplines come in cowhide. Mid-tier variants consist of synthetic leather, while the cheapest ones come from vinyl.

Despite the lack of disparity in material, it can be a little more difficult to find Muay Thai gloves in a lower price range. Many of the best Muay Thai gloves are handmade and consist of genuine leather. These gloves are often imported, which is what makes them more expensive.

Boxing gloves are more widely available in the US. You'll find a ton of variety in price and quality.


Boxing gloves keep the fists rounded and tight, which gives them a square shape. Boxing gloves have a more compact form due to the type of attacks used in this discipline. Muay Thai gloves are rounder and softer due to the distribution of padding.

Thai gloves have a softer shape to cater to the different types of attacks. Punching in Muay Thai requires a more relaxed hand.

How to Find the Best Muay Thai Gloves

As you can see, there are many differences between Muay Thai and boxing gloves. Using one in the opposite discipline can put you at risk of injury. That's why it's best to practice with the right equipment.

Gloves are the first thing you'll need if you want to keep practicing Muay Thai. If you want to try Muay Thai, here's what you need to find the best gloves.


Fit is the most important thing to consider when choosing a quality pair of Muay Thai gloves. You may have your own preference for gloves, but make sure they're not too tight. Tight gloves can prevent proper blood circulation.

However, they should also not be too loose. Loose-fitting gloves will not be able to provide adequate support. Take your time when shopping for gloves.

Gloves vary between brands, so it's best to shop around. Some gloves may also feel tight at first, but you can break them into a more comfortable fit after a few sessions.


The weight of the gloves determines how heavy and big your gloves will be. Muay Thai fighters like having smaller gloves for bag work. This allows them to perform at top power and speed without weighing down their arms.

If you're getting gloves for pad work or partner drills, you want gloves that suit your weight class.

Junior lightweight, or below 130 lbs, and below must use 10 to 12 oz gloves. 12 to 14 oz gloves would be better for those under 170 lbs. If you weigh above 170 lbs, use 16 oz gloves.

Gloves for sparring should always be bigger than gloves for bag work. Using the wrong gloves can result in bruised knuckles or a wrist injury.


If you're committing to practicing Muay Thai, you want to invest in a quality pair of gloves. The best Thai gloves come in PU leather or genuine leather.

Synthetic leather gloves do not last long and are prone to cracks and tears. These gloves are also more porous, which makes them less breathable. Your gloves will stink up quickly, even with regular cleaning.

Can I Use Boxing Gloves for Muay Thai?

The short answer is yes, but with a few exceptions. Muay Thai gloves have more padding distribution, which gives your hands more flexibility. If you really want to use boxing gloves for muay thai, you absolutely could, but your flexibility will be limited.

Thinking of enrolling in a Muay Thai class? We got you. Check out these beginner boxing gloves for muay thai at ATL Fight Shop.

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