One of the advantages boxing has over other martial arts, is the frequent sparring sessions against fully resisting partners. It helps the boxer to improve his craft immensely, but one of the downsides is that it carries more risk of injuries to the boxer’s hands, wrists and shoulders.
This is why choosing quality sparring gear is vitally important, for the sake of you and your sparring partners.
In this article, I’ll go through the best boxing gloves for sparring, out of the countless sparring gloves I’ve tried over the years.
I’ll also talk about what to consider when buying boxing gloves for sparring, and answer some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to boxing gloves for sparring.
In a Hurry? Here’re Our Top Picks!
Ring to Cage Japanese Style Boxing Gloes
Winning Boxing Gloves MS600B
Rival Boxing RS1 Sparring Gloves
It’s worth pointing out, I will not include brands like Grant that can be customized to however you like. The gloves in my list are readily available in your local fight gear store or online.
Furthermore, I will not make a top 10 list for the sake of including every popular boxing gloves on Amazon, when I know most of them are not suited for sparring.
For example, the Hayabusa T3 gloves included in almost every top 10 sparring gloves list, are not suited for sparring due to its dense form in my opinion. It is however one of the best boxing gloves for heavy bag training though!
Now with that out of the way, let’s dive right into it.
Best Boxing Gloves for Sparring Reviews
If money wasn’t a concern, go with the Winning gloves, they are really that much better than the competition.
However, as good as they are, they do come with a hefty price tag.
Do I think they are worth the price tag?
Hell yes! If you can afford it.
The premium soft touch leather used on these gloves, and the top of the shelf quality triple layered foam, makes perfectly soft padding for the best protection.
The excellent foam factor and comfortable fit, which allows to make a proper fist, decent wrist support, plus the adequate thumb placement which prevents accidental thumb injuries.
Nick named “Japanese pillows on your hands”, these gloves are perfectly suited for sparring.
Your sparring partners will thank you and line up to spar with you!
At the time of writing this review, there’re over 55 reviews on Amazon, with majority being positive – click here to read them.
Be sure to check out our list of Best Boxing Gloves for Heavy Bag Training, for more great items like this.
- Optimal protection
- Premium quality and durability
- Comfortable fit
- Beautiful, classic design
- Status symbol
Ring To Cage started off by copying other famous boxing brands glove models the like Rival RS1 Pro Sparring Gloves.
They were pretty much unnoticed until they made the Japanese Style Boxing Gloves, which were meant to be a carbon copy of the Winning Boxing Gloves. This is the glove that really put Ring To Cage as a brand on the map.
They proved the doubters wrong with the Japanese style boxing gloves as they are excellent quality for less than half the price of the winnings. Of course they are still nowhere near as good, but you will probably not find another pair on the market as good if you want winning style boxing gloves.
In fact, I will go as far and say that, the Ring to Cage Japanese style gloves are the best bang for your buck if you are looking for good quality sparring gloves at affordable price range.
What’s to Like About the Ring to Cage Japanese Style Gloves
The 100% cow hide leather is of excellent quality and very durable, albeit not as pretty as the Cleto Reyes and Winning’s leather, but it doesn’t bother me in the slightest.
As mentioned the padding is super soft, which offers great protection for your hands and your sparring partners face. However, they are not suited for bag work as you will feel your knuckles coming through the foam while hitting the heavy bag.
The comfort and fit is excellent, with a slightly wider profile than the winnings, which I think is a plus especially for people with wider hands. You can almost make a perfect fist in these gloves out of the box, even better after they are a little more broken in.
One minor complain I have about these gloves is the lack of air ventilation holes, since the lining material used seem to make my hands sweat a lot. It’s not a deal breaker, just something worth to mention.
At the time of writing this review, there’re about 100 reviews on Amazon, with the majority being positive – click here to read them.
Also check out our list of the Best BJJ Gi’s for Beginners for more great items like this.
- Excellent value for money
- Durable 100% genuine leather
- Soft padding perfect for sparring
- Comfortable fit which allows to make a good fist
- Some QC issues
Rival has been making quality boxing gloves for many years. One thing makes them stand out from other brands, is that they always try to bring new design, technology and innovation to their boxing gloves.
One of the best of those innovations is the X lace track system on the cuff of their RS1 Pro Sparring gloves. It’s a great idea that helps with perfect lacing every time, which in turn offers optimal wrist support along with their long but slim and snug fitting cuff design.
These gloves are high quality full leather construction, with thick (1 ¾ inch) layered foam padding, which is perfect softness for sparring.
They come in semi-broken in out of the box, but a couple of training sessions on mitts and punching bags (try to pick a softer bag) should do the trick.
One of the best boxing heavyweight champions Anthony Joshua is seen sparring in these gloves, which is another indication of how excellent they are for protection.
The RS1s are extremely comfortable, they really do fit like a pair of perfectly made gloves for your hands.
Another thing worth mentioning is these do have slightly longer glove box, which is great for someone lanky with long fingers.
In my opinion the RS1s are the best sparring gloves Rival has to offer.
However, if you do not like lace up gloves, or don’t want to ask someone to help with lacing every time you go sparring, then take a look at Rival RS2V Pro Sparring Gloves or the Rival RS11V Evolution Sparring Gloves, both are excellent gloves although not as good as the RS1s.
Be sure to check out our list of Best BJJ Rash Guards, for more great items like this.
- Stylish design and distinct look
- Thick layered soft foam padding perfect for sparring
- X lace track design for perfect lacing
- Excellent wrist support
- Very comfortable
- Long glove box
- Design may not be everyone’s cup of tea
- Need to ask someone to help with lacing
What to Consider When Buying Boxing Gloves for Sparring
The main function of sparring gloves should be protection for your hands and your sparring partners.
With that in mind, the first thing you should look at in a sparring glove is the Knuckle Padding. You want the padding to be thick but soft at the same time.
The traditional layered foam is still the best in this area. Don’t buy into the so called new tech “injected moulded foam” or “machine injected foam”, they are basically injected single layer foam in a mould for mass production. OK for bag gloves, but too stiff and dense for sparring.
Good wrist support and thumb placement are also things you need to consider but they apply to all boxing gloves not just sparring gloves.
Comfort and fit
As mentioned in my other article about the best boxing gloves for heavy bag training, comfort and fit of the glove is equally as important as the quality of padding.
If you are not able to make a proper fist, or your thumb is in an awkward position, you are more likely to injure your hands or your sparring partners.
This is self-explanatory really, if you are spending 100+ dollars on a pair gloves, they’d better last a couple of years.
I tend to favor real leather gloves because of the breathability they offer, but I’ve heard some good things about high quality synthetic leather gloves as well when it comes to durability.
Cheaper is not always better when it comes to sparring gloves. You only have one pair of hands, they cannot be upgraded or replaced, gloves can. Generally, good quality sparring gloves cost 100 dollars and up.
Best Boxing Gloves for Sparring FAQ’s:
1. What size gloves should I use for sparring?
I recommend minimum 16oz gloves. In fact, most of decent gyms probably won’t allow you to spar with gloves less than 16oz. If you are around 180lbs and up, 18oz or even 20oz is recommended.
2. Should I use sparring gloves for heavy bag and mitts?
No. Sparring gloves are made with softer padding that are designed to protect you and your sparring partners. You will ruin the padding very quickly by hitting heavy bags and mitts.
3. What’s the difference between sparring gloves and bag gloves?
The main difference between sparring gloves and bag gloves, is the use of different density padding.
Sparring gloves tend to have thicker, softer padding, which is designed to mainly protect your sparring partners.
Bag gloves tend to have denser foam, designed to protect your knuckles against the heavy bag whilst giving great feedback for your punches.
As mentioned in the beginning of this guide, if money was not a concern, go for the Winning Boxing Gloves. If you are on a budget, go for the Ring To Cage Japanese Style Boxing Gloves. That said, you can’t go wrong with the Rival RS1s either.