I get this question a lot. It’s understandable as boxing gloves can be expensive and they take a serious beating! Let’s look at how long boxing gloves last, how you know when it’s time to replace them, and how you can increase their lifespan.
There are lots of variables that determine how long boxing gloves last but, so long as you have boxing gloves that are reasonably high quality, they should last a minimum of 1 year, even with frequent use. You can significantly prolong the life of your gloves by cleaning and storing them properly.
How long do boxing gloves last? 🕰️
If you have medium to high quality gloves and, crucially, take proper care of them then you could use them for up to 3 or 4 years, and at least 1 year. Some people in my gym have been using the same pair for 5+ years!
This will vary, however, depending on the following factors:
- Synthetic or leather gloves – leather gloves are generally more durable than gloves with synthetic external layers and so will last longer if maintained properly.
- Quality – price doesn’t always equal quality but, generally speaking, you get what you pay for with boxing gloves. Expect to spend a minimum of $40 for a decent pair of gloves. Anything less than that and the gloves probably wont last long (and may cause you injury). The highest quality gloves, which are usually made of leather, cost around $200.
- Frequency of use – obviously the more you use a glove, the quicker it will wear down.
- Type of training – using a glove on a heavy bag with a hard fill will take more of a toll on the glove than if you are using it for pad work or sparring.
- Glove maintenance – this is very important, particularly for leather gloves. Taking proper care of your gloves can double their lifespan. Keep reading to learn how best to maintain your gloves.
How do I prolong the life of my boxing gloves? 🥊
1. Proper maintenance
After a hard session down at the gym it can be tempting just to throw your gloves into your gym bag and go have a drink. Don’t do this! Your gloves won’t thank you for it. The number 1 thing you can do to add years, literally years, to your gloves is to take good care of them.
The issue is sweat, and our hands produce a lot of it when we box. The salty sweat and the bacteria that feeds off it will soak into our gloves, causing an awful smell and breaking down the materials that comprise the glove.
To prevent this, 1) thoroughly wipe down your gloves as soon after use as possible (ideally with an antibacterial spray but a dry cloth or towel is OK) to remove the sweat and 2) open the gloves up and store them in a dry, well-ventilated place to minimize the growth of bacteria.
This is particularly important for genuine leather gloves as natural leather is more vulnerable to the damaging effects of bacteria and salt in the sweat. Leather gloves need to be cared for like you would leather shoes or a leather handbag (and most people don’t fight with a handbag). As well as wiping them down thoroughly after use, I would strongly recommend using a leather conditioner like Leather Honey on your gloves once every month or so to prevent the leather from drying out and cracking.
2. Rotate gloves
If you box frequently then having two or more pairs of gloves is a good idea anyway as different weighted gloves can serve different training purposes. Having multiple pairs will also allow you to rotate your gloves and prolong their lifespans.
- How to Clean Boxing Gloves (Top Tips for Fresh Fists)
- How to Break in New Boxing Gloves (3 Easy Tips)
- Best Boxing Gloves for Heavy Bag Training
When do I know it’s time to replace my boxing gloves? ⌛
Smell – once a bad smell has set into your gloves, it’s very hard to get it out. If your gloves smell like moldy cheese then maybe it’s time to say goodbye. Clean them regularly to prevent this!
Soft or torn padding – the foam padding in the gloves will soften and break down over time. It can also tear. If you notice a tear in your padding or you can easily feel your knuckles through the glove then it’s probably a sign you need to get a new pair. Solid padding is important to prevent injury to your own hand and to your opponent in sparring.
Fraying, cracking exterior – the exterior of all gloves will eventually wear down, especially on the striking surface of the knuckle. You’ll notice wrinkles and peeling on the surface. This isn’t really a problem if the padding is still in tact, but it indicates that the gloves are getting on a little bit!
Other signs of wear and tear – is the Velcro loosing its strength? Maybe some of the stitching is starting to come undone? Or perhaps the hand mesh is tearing? There are lots of parts of the glove that will inevitably deteriorate over time, but don’t worry, this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to replace the gloves just yet. Remember, the key thing is the condition of the padding.
12th Round 🔔
You should expect a minimum of 1 year or frequent use out of your new gloves, and up to 3 or 4 years if you have a high-quality pair of leather gloves that you take good care of.
Over time gloves will deteriorate: colors will fade, exterior layers might peel, stitching might fray. But much of this is just aesthetics and doesn’t mean you have to replace the gloves. The important thing is to keep an eye on the padding as this is key to prevent injury to your hand. If the padding starts to feel really soft or is torn then sadly it’s time to say goodbye.
Happy fighting! 🥊🥊
“You can be free. You can be black. Look at me! I’m the Heavyweight Champion! Can’t nobody stop me.” – Muhammad Ali