Best MMA Training Gloves 2018 Complete Guide

MMA Gloves

Choosing the best MMA training gloves is a great investment for your workout gear. Not only are they essential if you want to practice the full range of MMA techniques, they also offer lots of new drills / training opportunities for other martial arts...  In this post we round up our shortlist of what we consider to be the best MMA gloves for training available right now.

We've divided the list into two main categories: The split finger "competition" style MMA gloves for all around training (typically 4 oz. weight) and the more padded MMA "Sparring" style gloves (usually 6-7 oz weight). 

We've included an MMA gloves "buyers guide" below. This shows what criteria we used to select the gloves that made it on to our shortlist and help you picking the best pair for you.

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Best MMA Gloves: "Competition Style"...

Hayabusa Kanpeki Elite 3. 4 oz. MMA Gloves

MMA Gloves Hayabusa Kanpeki Elite

"Hayabusa's flagship MMA training glove, constructed from 100% full grain leather"

Check out best price on Amazon:

Pros:

  • Latest split finger style MMA glove from Hayabusa and their top of the range model
  • Genuine 100% full grain leather build (most other gloves are synthetic / engineered leather)
  • Leather material means gloves become very comfortable and molded to your hands after they are worn in
  • 'Free' thumb design allows good grips to be made while grappling
  • Open palm design allows hands to breath while training and easy to make a fist
  • Gloves include Hayabusas double strap system for extra wrist protection and support
  • Hayabusa is an established brand with excellent customer reviews going back years

Cons:

  • Higher price than most other MMA gloves
  • Only one color available at this time
  • No additional thumb padding

Hayabusa Kanpeki Elite 3, 4 oz. MMA Gloves Review

This is Hayabusa's latest model of competition style MMA glove and its a beauty:

  • The first thing that strikes you with these gloves is their high quality natural leather look and feel. This is due to their 100% full grain leather build. Full grain leather is taken from the premium part of the hide where the grain pattern is very tight. This gives the leather excellent strength and moisture resistance qualities. 
  • The Kanpeki Elite 3 has all the usual design features that we love about the Hayabusa MMA Glove range (see below Ikusa review) including: The double wrist strap system provides extra support for your wrist whilst also being easy to take on/off. The "Y" style palm design keeps the glove firmly in place during training while still allowing your hands to "breath". 
  • Despite being fairly new, these gloves are already racking up excellent reviews on MMA forums / amazon.com etc. 
  • Although at the higher end of the pricing scale we think these are still excellent value and could be the best MMA Gloves right now: If you take care of these gloves as per our guidelines below, they will only get better with age and last for years. The high quality leather build means they will get more comfortable the more you wear them in, and develop that nice aged leather look and feel.  

We found a brief video review of the gloves here...

A good run down of Hayabusa's Kanpeki range by Justin Bruens youtube channel


Hayabusa Ikusa Charged 4 oz. MMA Gloves

Hayabusa Ikusa Charged MMA Gloves

"Close palm fit and free thumb design makes this glove best for MMA training that includes grappling drills"

Pros:

  • Updated version of the popular Hayabusa Ikusa glove available here
  • 'Free' thumb design allows good grips to be made while grappling
  • Open palm design allows hands to breath while training and easy to make a fist
  • Gloves include Hayabusas double strap system for extra wrist protection and support
  •  Hayabusa is an established brand with excellent customer reviews going back years
  • Top quality engineered leather build 

Cons:

  • No additional thumb padding
  • Sizes run fairly small so you have to allow some time to wear these gloves in

Hayabusa Ikusa Charged MMA Gloves Review

If you are looking for the best pure MMA training glove, focusing on both striking and grappling ranges, the Hayabusa Charged are our favourite.

  • Hayabusa has been producing quality MMA gear for years now from sports bags to BJJ Gi's. These gloves are no exception. They are very well made and super durable.
  • The top padding across the knuckles is a nice thickness and density for a 4 oz. glove. The padding stops just past the knuckles like a pro MMA glove. The Hayabusa Ikusa can be used for all your MMA drills due to the free fingers and lightweight design. 
  • The Ikusa's have a more minimal design as they have a free thumb and open palm design. We like this design as you can take very strong grips while grappling with full use of your thumb. You also get a similar feel with your palm when gripping due to the minimal coverage. 
  • This design also allows you to easily form a nice, tight fist when striking. easily keep your fingers and thumb tucked in correctly greatly helps reduce the risk of injuries.
  • The Ikusa's have a nice two strap wrist velcro system. This utilises a smaller strap first to really tighten the glove around your wrist, before a second strap secures it in place. This ensures a nice support structure is in place around your wrist.
  • These gloves are the updated model of Hayabusas classic Ikusa MMA glove. These are still available to purchase an amazon if you prefer their design. You can check them out here. 

Really nice review of Hayabusa's latest Ikusa glove on Gaetan Boutins youtube channel


RDX Leather Tech MMA Gloves

RDX MMA Gloves

Pros:

  • 100% leather & high build quality
  • Excellent value at around the $40-50 price point
  • Full padding coverage over knuckles and finger (more than other split finger designs)
  • Comfy, sweat dispersant inner lining
  • Established brand over last two years+ and one of the highest rated on Amazon.com right now

Cons:

  • There is a high density bar sewn into the palm of these gloves as a gripping feature. Some people find this uncomfortable for their hand size. It is also not ideal for grips during grappling sparring.

RDX Leather Tech MMA Gloves Review

RDX Leather Tech MMA Training Glove: If you are training lots of different MMA drills / exercises and you want one glove that you can use for everything, this is the glove for you:

  • This RDX glove is quite unique in that it offers a split finger design for gripping, combined with more padding and coverage than similar gloves. This makes it the kind of glove you could easily use for multiple stations without ever having to take them off or switch gloves e.g. you could do bag work, then press ups, then move to a grappling drill, then ground and pound on the heavy bag, all using these gloves.
  • The gloves really are well made for the price and tick all the quality boxes we look for (see our buyers guide above). They also receive many positive reviews for being a comfortable glove that is easy on the hands.
  • The only potential down side to these gloves is they have a high density plastic 'bar' sewn into the palm. The idea of this feature it to provide support and a 'grip' for when you close your fist. It's really a matter of personal taste whether you like this addition. We feel it is slightly detrimental to the grappling qualities of the glove as it inhibits a natural grip and gives your partner extra material to hold on to if he is hand-fighting you during grappling.
    Some reviewers have commented that they have actually cut this bar out of their gloves, so that is one solution if it turns out to bother you too much!
  • RDX is becoming a very well established MMA brand with hundreds of positive reviews across different sites / products. They also appear to give excellent customer service and money back guarantee's. 

We recommend you pick these up if you are looking for a great all round high quality glove for many different types of MMA cross training!


Best MMA Gloves: For Sparring

Revgear MMA Training Gloves

"Added padding and close fit to knuckles = No.1 choice for MMA striking / ground and pound training"

Check out best price on Amazon:

Pros:

  • The best fitting MMA Sparring Glove (in our opinion!)
  • Excellent padding coverage curves nicely around the whole fist
  • Tubing reinforcement is stitched inside the knuckle padding - therefore no protruding material
  • High quality leather construction
  • Higher weight (6-7 oz.) offers more protection for heavier MMA sparring
  • Open palm, free thumb design allows free use of grips for MMA grappling / wrestling
  • Well established MMA brand with strong track record of quality products

Cons:

  • As with all sparring style MMA gloves; the thicker padding does get in the way for some grappling positions (e.g. finishing the RNC)

Revgear MMA Sparring Gloves Review

Revgear MMA Training Gloves: For incorporating more striking into your MMA training both stand up and ground and pound drills, this is our favorite glove. 

  • These gloves offer more protection than the traditional split finger MMA gloves above. They have a couple of ounces more padding to form a thicker barrier around your knuckles. The padding also extends all the way around your full fist when closed.
  • These gloves are a great choice if you want to throw slightly heavier strikes while sparring but still have enough freedom in your grips to grapple as well. For example, they are perfect if you and your opponent want to practice kickboxing combined with wrestling or striking in the clinch etc.
  • We chose these gloves as our favorite due to the excellent fit of the padding around the fist. The slightly curved shape tucks the padding neatly around your knuckles and there are no protruding edges like on other gloves. Your knuckles and partner will thank you for this!
  • These gloves also have a nice compact and high quality feel. The loose thumb allows you to both grip well and keep your thumb safely tucked in while punching. 

Nice breakdown of how well fitted the RevGear MMA gloves are by FightStorePro

Hayabusa Ikusa Charged MMA Training Gloves

Hayabusa Fully Charged MMA Gloves

"7 oz. sparring version of the classic Hayabusa Ikusa MMA Glove"

Pros:

  • Includes all the design features of the Hayabusa Ikusa MMA glove range (see above)
  • Higher weight (7 oz.) full padding offers more protection for MMA sparring with strikes
  • High quality engineered leather construction
  • Slick black / grey design with modern updated graphics and logo 
  • Open palm, free thumb design allows free use of grips for MMA grappling / wrestling
  • Well established MMA brand with strong track record of quality products, many Hayabusa users report the older MMA Gloves lasting for 3-4 years of consistent use!

Cons:

  • As with all sparring style MMA gloves; the thicker padding does get in the way for some grappling positions (e.g. finishing the RNC)

Best MMA Gloves: Best of the rest

Venum Attack MMA Gloves

  • Made in Thailand
  • ​Quality Leather Build
  • Venum is a very well established MMA brand
  • Many other styles / models of glove available
  • Tend to be tight fitting so require breaking in

Rating:

Price: $$

Weight: 4 oz.

Revgear Deluxe MMA Gloves

  • Excellent Padding Coverage
  • 6-7 oz weight offers Extra Padding whilst keeping 'split finger' design 
  • ​Quality Leather Build
  • Sizing runs a bit small 

Rating:

Price: $$

Hayabusa Ikusa 4 oz. MMA Gloves

  • Excellent Padding Coverage
  • ​Quality Leather Build
  • Well established MMA brand
  • Sizing runs a bit small 

Rating:

Price: $$

Sanabul Essentials MMA Gloves

  • Excellent value
  • More padded 'Sparring' Version also available 
  • If you do want to go for a "budget' MMA glove, these are excellent value at the current price
  • Fairly thin padding

Rating:

Price: $

How to Choose the Best MMA Gloves: Buyers Guide

What Type of MMA Training Will You Be Doing?

The first thing to ask yourself is: what will you be using your new MMA gloves for? Sounds obvious but this is probably the most important thing to consider:

  • Stand up Striking Sparring / Takedowns
  • Wrestling + Striking Against the Cage
  • Grappling + Ground and Pound
  • Heavy Bag / Focus Mitt Work 
  • Striking / Grappling Dummy Work
  • Other Martial Arts: Krav Maga, BJJ in the Gi, Self Defence etc.

Generally speaking, two types of MMA glove will cover you for all the options above:

  • Split finger traditional MMA Gloves (typically lighter 4 oz gloves)
  • Padded Sparring MMA Gloves (typically 6-7oz with single added padding)

How Much do MMA Gloves Cost?

It's possible to get a basic pair of MMA training gloves for as little as 15 bucks. Trust us this is not what you want to do! You will end up with a pair of uncomfortable, synthetic gloves that wont last.

The sweet spot for the best MMA training gloves is between 40 - 80 USD. At this price point you get a dramatic improvement in quality and design. All our recommendations fall into this price bracket.   

MMA Glove Size Chart:

After deciding which style of glove to go for the next most important factor is choosing a good fit. Most manufacturers size their gloves based on either the width of your hand from knuckle to knuckle or the circumference of your hand measured just behind your knuckles:

MMA Glove Sizes Chart Venum

Venum has a handy sizing guide to help you choose the correct fit 

Be sure to check the sizing chart for the brand of glove you are buying. Their sizes can vary significantly from each other, so a medium in Venum wont be the same as a medium in Hayabusa for example.

How Should MMA Gloves Fit?

When considering the fit of your glove, as well as being comfortable to wear, we considered some other important details:

  • Padding coverage - if you are using the gloves for any kind of sparring its important that the padding is well rounded over the knuckles. You also want to make sure the stitching tubes and any other rough / stiff edges do not protrude as these can cut your opponent / tweak your fingers if they get caught.
  • Making a Fist / Grip - If you want to hit the heavy bag* / mitts with your MMA gloves then being able to easily form a neatly closed fist is essential. Some brands off MMA glove have so much material / padding that it can actually be hard to form a correct fully formed fist. This is especially dangerous when throwing heavy strikes as it greatly increases the risks of injuring your fingers an/or wrists.
    This fit of glove is also important if you want to grapple with the gloves. If you have a glove that allows you to grip properly, you will get a more realistic grappling session with both you and your opponent able to practise grip fighting properly.
    *We recommend using proper heavy bag gloves with well wrapped hands for heavy bag work
  • Do You Use Hand Wraps Under MMA Gloves? The answer should be "yes". Whenever you are training striking, hand wraps will help to protect your knuckles and wrists from injury. If you plan on using hand wraps under your MMA Gloves, wrap your hands first and then take the measurements for the MMA Glove Sizing chart shown above. You can then use this to select the correct size of glove for wrapped hands. 

How Much do MMA Gloves Weigh?

MMA Gloves generally weigh between 4 - 7 oz depending on the size of the glove and design.

Professional MMA bouts usually require fighters to wear at least 4 oz gloves. UFC gloves for example must be between 4 - 6 oz with the exception of the 2 XL and 4 XL sizes which may exceed that limit.

Best MMA Training Gloves Build Quality

When it comes to the quality of your MMA training gloves there are a few things to look out for:

  • Genuine Leather over Synthetic. While it is possible to find very high quality synthetic materials these days, for MMA gloves, at this price point, we have found the genuine leather products to provide the best quality. We find leather provides the following benefits:
    - More breathable material
    - More durable and hard wearing gloves that last longer that synthetic (when cared for correctly)
    - Better fitting as can be "worn in" (just like a pair of leather shoes will stretch slightly to fit your foot)
    - Nicer look and feel than synthetic material
  • Stitching - A good quality glove will have neat, strong stitching that lasts. It should be reinforced and double stitched in the high stress areas also. Its hard to assess this just by looking at a pair of new gloves. That's why all our top picks are established gloves that have stood the test of time, without falling apart under heavy usage.
  • The Velcro - This is another big indicator of an MMA gloves build quality. The velcro fasteners should be strong enough to provide a good wrist support and stay attached throughout the life time of the glove. Also we check that the velcro is well stitched in place and neat. Protruding corners of the velcro patch can be quite sharp and cut your training partner.

After You've Bought your MMA Training Gloves

So you've chosen the best MMA training gloves for you. When your gloves arrive bear in mind the following:

  • Check the fit: Make sure the gloves are approximately the correct size straight out of the box. If you can't even get them on your hand, obviously there's been a mistake in selecting the size and you should contact the seller immediately. Most will be happy to send an alternative size if the gloves are unused.
  • The gloves will take time to 'wear in': Don't be too concerned if your MMA gloves feel a little stiff and the padding too hard at first. Most genuine leather gloves will soften up considerably once you have used them a few times. Also, just like a new pair of shoes, the leather will stretch slightly to fit better the more you use them.  

Training with MMA Gloves

There's some fundamental differences between using Boxing Gloves vs MMA Gloves for your training. Don't take our word for it though, check out Duke Roufus excellent video series about the topic. There's some great training drills using MMA gloves included!..

*Courtesy of McBride Mats Youtube channel

How to Clean MMA Gloves 

    • MOST IMPORTANT: Dry out your MMA Gloves after training! The best way to keep your gloves clean is by ensuring they don't get to gross in the first place. Never leave your gloves in your gym bag after using them, this provides a lovely warm damp environment for bacteria to spread like wildfire and make your gloves un-hygenic and foul smelling.
    • Always hang your gloves up and allow to dry after training. To prevent the above happening make sure you air dry your gloves thoroughly immediately after use. I like to use the velcro strap to connect the gloves together and then hang them over the back of a chair outside.
      • Use a deodorizer. Another good preventative measure is to stuff a deodorizer inside your gloves while leaving them to dry. We like the Meister deodorizers shown opposite. While better suited for bag / boxing gloves, you can still fasten your MMA gloves around them and we have found them to be very effective. 
      • Use anti bacterial wipes to clean your gloves. Wipe off any excess sweat (or blood!) from your gloves after use. Using an anti-bac wipe will ensure you are also killing the bacteria left on the surface of your MMA gloves.
      • Freezing MMA Gloves Overnight. If you have been lazy and your MMA Gloves already smell freezing them overnight is a good last resort! The freezing temperature will kill any bacteria in the fabric. Put each glove in a zip lock freezer bag overnight. Make sure you allow plenty of time for them to thaw out before training! 
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