Working on the heavy bag is the staple of boxing training in gyms and homes all around the world. If you’re new to boxing, or even a seasoned fighter, looking to understand which are the best boxing gloves for heavy bag training, you’ve come to the right place.
The best gloves for you will depend on your training goals and your physique. But, if you had to choose one all-round glove for training with the heavy bag, then go for a comfortable, synthetic leather 12 oz glove.
Expect to pay at least $40 (£30) for good enough quality. This glove is a great multipurpose glove that will prepare you for both sparring and competition; give you enough protection to prevent injury; and is heavy enough for good muscular and stamina training.
The boring answer: it depends 👪
Some people box to get fit. Others are training for a fight. Some boxers are 14 year-old girls. Others are 250 lb goliaths. The needs of one boxer can be very different to the needs of another.
For the sake of this article, we’re going to assume you’re an amateur but enthusiastic boxer. Your training is varied and includes various bag work, fitness, sparring and possibly some competition. You’re an adult weighing in the region of 140-240 lbs.
Why is glove choice important? 💪
- It effects your workout. Simply put, the heavier the glove, the more strenuous the workout on your arms and shoulder. If your aim is to push your body as hard as possible, build muscle and stamina, then heavier gloves are for you. Bear in mind that with heavier gloves your punches will be slower.
- It can prevent injury. Different gloves have different thickness of padding to protect your hands (and your partner if you are sparring). The heavier the glove, the more padding it will usually have so the more protected your hands are.Also, good quality, comfortable gloves are very important to prevent injury. If you try and land big punches on the heavy bag with rubbish gloves, you’re going to hurt yourself.
- It prepares you for other boxing situations. In competition, 10oz gloves are usually always used. While, in sparring, heavier 14/16oz gloves are used. So, if for example you’re training for a competitive fight with 10 oz gloves, it wouldn’t be smart to train on the heavy bag with just 16 oz gloves as you are not simulating the competitive experience that you’re training for.
What weight/size glove is right for me? ⚖️
As we’ve mentioned, this depends on your training and goals.
But, the general rule is that you use heavier gloves if you are sparring than you do if you are training on the heavy bag to protect yourself and your partner from injury. The heavier the glove, the more padding it will have, the more protection your hands have.
For most people, 12-14 oz gloves are the best boxing gloves for heavy bag training because of their versatility. They offer enough padding and protection for your hands for both sparring and heavy bag work. They are also heavy enough to give you a thorough workout!
Of course if you want to focus on building muscle and stamina then by all means you can train on the heavy bag with heavier gloves. Pro boxers often do exactly that. Tyson Fury sometimes trains on the heavy bag with 20 oz gloves!
Or, maybe you want to simulate a competitive fight while using the heavy bag. In which case, training with 8 or 10 oz gloves makes more sense.
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How else do boxing gloves differ? ⚒️
- Leather: the classic style used by pros and boxing enthusiasts. Leather gloves are more expensive than synthetic leather but are high quality, very durable, and comfortable. Bear in mind that leather gloves can be stiff and uncomfortable when they are new so require some time and work to break them in.
- Synthetic leather / vinyl: these gloves are very popular with casual boxers as they are much more affordable than leather and easy to clean. They are not quite as durable as leather and can smell bad if not cleaned and stored properly!Honestly though, vinyl gloves these days are great. So, unless you are training very regularly and seriously or want to splash out, then vinyl gloves are a really solid cost-effective option.
- Velcro: most gloves you’ll see in the boxing gym have Velcro wrist fastening (aka hook and loop). They are much more convenient to take on and off but give less wrist support and protection to the wrists than lace-ups.
- Lace-up: usually found on high quality leather gloves used in competition. They offer great protection and support for the wrist but you’ll need help putting them on. Not recommended for day-to-day bag training.
- It helps to use gloves that allow your hands to breathe to reduce the amount of sweat and moisture that builds up in the glove. This causes bacteria to grow and results in bad smelling gloves. Nearly all gloves will come with a hole in the palm for ventilation and some also have mesh lining on the palm to improve air flow.
- Generally leather gloves are more breathable than synthetic leather.
- Some gloves are just better fitting than others. It’s important for safety reasons that your gloves feel comfortable to wear. If they don’t, then you run the risk of hurting your hands when you start punching.
Different types of gloves 🥊
- Training gloves – this can refer to any multipurpose boxing glove that can be used for all bags, partner work or light sparring. They are a great balance between protection and performance. Usually weigh 10-14 depending on the physique of the boxer.
- Sparring gloves – these are heavier gloves (usually 16 oz) that have more padding to minimize injuries for both the wearer and opponent.
- Bag gloves – these are thinner, lighter gloves (usually 8 oz) that can only really be used in boxing for training on bags and mitts. They have limited padding and are easily distinguishable from other boxing gloves by their open thumb design. Not recommended for beginners.
- Competition gloves – they have less padding and protection than most gloves used in training, resulting in more punch power and damage. Depending on the weight division and sanctioning body, they will weigh 6-10 oz. Usually have lace-up wrist closure.
The 4 best boxing gloves for heavy bag training
Ok, so now you know what sort of gloves you should look for and the different varieties on offer. If you’re ready to splash out and buy a pair, then here are some of our recommendations. We have picked some great options for every budget:
- Why we like them: Great value for money. Suitable for all types of training. These gloves have high protection and are made by a leading boxing brand.
- Key features: Synthetic leather, foam padding, mesh palm for ventilation.
- Cost: $50 / £35
- Suitable for: beginners wanting to get a solid multi-purpose glove without breaking the bank
- Why we like them: Besides looking awesome, Venum gloves are known for their high quality and durability
- Key features: Synthetic leather, triple density foam padding for better protection
- Cost: $70 / £50
- Suitable for: any boxer looking for high quality at good value
- Why we like them: Some of the best protected gloves you can get.
- Key features: Engineered leather, foam padding, microfiber thumb for wiping sweat
- Cost: $160 / £130
- Suitable for: regular boxers who want to know their hands are being taken care of
- Why we like them: These are some of the best training gloves on the market. Pure quality.
- Key features: Leather exterior, foam padding, handmade
- Cost: $210 / £180
- Suitable for: those who want the best and are happy to pay for it
(FYI, I don’t receive any commission for sales through this page. This is just my unbiased, honest opinion)
Is it worth having several sets of gloves? 🤔
If you can afford it and are passionate enough about boxing then the best approach would be to get a selection of different gloves to meet your varied training needs. Get some 8 oz gloves for when you want your fists to fly on the bags, some 12 oz gloves for multipurpose practice on the bags or mitts, and some 16 oz gloves for sparring and muscle training.
Should I use the heavy bag without gloves? 🙋
Sure, you could do, but I wouldn’t recommend you do it too often. If you are going to, then make sure to at least wear hand wraps to protect your knuckles from scrapes.
The pros: punching the bag without gloves will teach you how to make a proper fist when you are punching. When you wear gloves you want to punch in the same way that you do when you don’t have gloves on: tightly clenched fist with the impact focussed on your knuckles.
The cons: there is a higher risk of injury to your hands without the support and padding provided by gloves. Also, it doesn’t prepare you for all the normal conditions of boxing where gloves are used.
12th Round 🔔
We hope this guide has given you everything you need to know about the best boxing gloves for heavy bag training. There’s certainly lots of choice out there but don’t get overwhelmed. Follow our advice and your gloves will be the best training partner you could hope for .
Happy fighting! 🥊🥊