Hey there, fellow boxing enthusiasts! As someone who's been training boxing (with a healthy amount of wrestling), I'm here to share some knowledge about the unsung hero of our beloved sport: leather boxing gloves.
I'm a picky designer that's very specific about having minimal, well-designed training gear. Here, I'll be showing off my new 12oz. Modest Vintage Player Boxing Gloves I decided on after going deep into research on which leather gloves I should buy.
What are the different kinds of leather?
When it comes to leather boxing gloves, there's a whole world of materials out there. Let me break it down for you:
- Full-grain leather: This bad boy is the crème de la crème of leathers. It's like the heavyweight champ of glove materials, durable and aging like fine wine.
- Top-grain leather: It's the younger sibling of full-grain leather, still packing a punch but with a few imperfections smoothed out.
- Genuine leather: The scrappy underdog of the leather family. It may not last as many rounds, but it's got heart and has a great value for the money.
- Synthetic leather (PU or microfiber leather): The eco-friendly contender, perfect for those who love animals as much as they love throwing punches.
These gloves are going to be getting pretty beat up (no pun intended), so I'd stick with something on the lower end of the range, like the genuine leather on mine.
The anatomy of a leather boxing glove
There's more to a leather boxing glove than meets the eye. One of the essential components of a glove is the outer shell. The leather exterior is not only responsible for looking great but also plays a crucial role in protecting your hands. Leather gloves are a perfect blend of style and functionality.
Next, let's talk about the padding and liner of the gloves. The padding is the key component here, providing that essential cushion between your knuckles and your opponent's face. It's what keeps your hands safe during those intense sparring sessions, so you're going to want to look for something with a decent amount. My leather gloves have 3 layers, and it feels perfect.
Lastly, let's discuss the closure system and ventilation. Whether it's laces or Velcro, the closure system ensures your gloves stay snug and secure on your hands. This feature is essential for maintaining stability and control during your training or bouts.
Personally, I'm a fan of the velcro because they are just so much easier to take on and off, but if you're fighting professionally, you'll obviously want to lace them up.
Finding the right gloves for your hands
When shopping for leather boxing gloves, size matters. Here are some things to consider before making your purchase:
- Measure your hand: Grab a tape measure and wrap it around the widest part of your hand, just below the knuckles. Don't include your thumb!
- Check the manufacturer's size chart: Each brand may have slightly different sizing, so always refer to their guidelines.
- Consider glove weight: Boxing gloves come in different weights (8oz, 10oz, 12oz, 14oz, 16oz, etc.) depending on the type of training or competition. Lighter gloves offer more speed, while heavier gloves provide extra protection (more on this below).
- Test the fit: Your gloves should be snug but not too tight. You should be able to make a fist and have some wiggle room for hand wraps.
My hands are about 20cm (7.5") around the widest part of my palm, so after looking at the size chart, it recommended the Large-XL.
When they arrived, they were a perfect fit.
Understanding glove weights: which one is right for you?
Boxing gloves come in various weights, measured in ounces (oz).
Each weight is designed for specific training purposes and levels of protection. Let's break down the common glove weights and what they're best for:
- 8oz and 10oz: These lighter gloves are perfect for professional bouts and fast-paced training sessions. They provide less padding but allow for greater speed and agility. Keep in mind that they may not be suitable for heavy bag work or sparring due to the reduced padding.
- 12oz: A great all-around glove weight, 12oz gloves provide a good balance between protection and speed. They can be used for pad work, light sparring, and general training. These gloves are often recommended for beginners or those looking for a versatile glove option. These are typically what I go with while training, and are what I opted for.
- 14oz: These gloves provide more padding and are suitable for both heavy bag work and sparring. They are a popular choice for intermediate and advanced boxers, offering a balance between protection and agility.
- 16oz: The go-to weight for sparring and heavy bag work, 16oz gloves offer maximum protection for your hands and your sparring partner. They may feel a bit heavier, but the extra padding is worth it to keep you and your opponent safe during intense training sessions.
- 18oz and above: These heavyweight gloves are ideal for heavy hitters and those who require extra protection due to previous injuries or concerns. They're not as common, but they can be a lifesaver for boxers who need that extra cushion.
Keep in mind that the recommended glove weight may vary depending on your body weight, skill level, and training goals. When in doubt, consult with your coach or an experienced professional to help you choose the right glove weight for your needs.
The benefits of leather over other boxing glove materials
When it comes to boxing gloves, leather has some clear advantages over other materials. Here are the main benefits of leather boxing gloves compared to synthetic alternatives:
1. Durability and longevity
Leather is a highly durable material that can withstand repeated impacts and stress from intense training sessions. This natural toughness makes leather gloves last longer compared to their synthetic counterparts, which may wear out or degrade more quickly over time.
2. Comfort and fit
One of the most significant advantages of leather gloves is the way they conform to the shape of your hand over time. As you use the gloves, the leather will gradually mold to your hand, providing a customized and comfortable fit that is hard to achieve with synthetic materials.
Leather is a natural material that allows for better air circulation than synthetic materials, keeping your hands cool and dry during workouts. Synthetic gloves may cause your hands to sweat more and become uncomfortable, especially during long training sessions.
4. Quality and craftsmanship
Leather boxing gloves are often associated with higher quality and craftsmanship. Many premium boxing glove brands use genuine leather for their products, as it provides an excellent balance between performance, comfort, and durability. Synthetic gloves, on the other hand, may lack the same level of attention to detail and quality construction.
5. Aesthetic appeal
Leather gloves have a timeless and classic appearance that many boxers find appealing. The natural look and feel of leather gloves can evoke a sense of tradition and history, connecting you to the generations of fighters who have come before you.
In conclusion, while synthetic boxing gloves may be more affordable and suitable for beginners or casual training, leather gloves offer superior durability, comfort, breathability, and craftsmanship for those who are serious about their boxing journey. Investing in a quality pair of leather boxing gloves is a wise decision for any dedicated athlete.
How To clean leather boxing gloves
Step 1: Wipe them down
To keep your gloves fresh and free from odor, wipe them down with a damp cloth after every session to remove sweat and dirt. No one wants to train with someone whose gloves smell like they came out of a dumpster.
Step 2: Conditioning the leather
Maintain the softness and suppleness of your gloves by regularly applying a good quality leather conditioner. Think of it as a spa day for your gloves.
Step 3: Proper drying techniques
After each use, air dry your gloves, but keep them away from direct sunlight or heat sources. They may be tough, but they don't need to fade under the sun all day!
Step 4: Storing your gloves
Store your gloves in a cool, dry place, and avoid cramming them into a gym bag with sweaty gear. Treat them like the champs they are!
My leather glove recommendation
Like I mentioned at the start, I'm a designer by trade, so having great looking gear plays a pretty big part in what I buy.
I want something minimal, with simple natural colors, and definitely not a lot of big branding. It turns out that finding these qualities in a glove took a little more time than I liked.
The Modest Vintage player 12oz glove checked all of my boxes, and was a great value considering the build quality and materials used.
Plus, I love how leather looks better over time, which why you'll always see me rocking this leather wallet as well.
There you have it, folks! Leather boxing gloves are more than just a piece of gear; they're your trusty partners in the ring. So, take care of them, and they'll take care of you.
And remember, in the world of boxing, it's not just about the gloves, but the heart and passion of the person wearing them. Happy punching!