Difference Between Boxing Gloves and Muay Thai Gloves

Both boxing and Muay Thai are stand-up striking styles with a strong emphasis on punches. While boxing is a pure pugilistic sport, Muay Thai incorporates different parts of the body for striking.

Many consider Muay Thai to be a more complete combat sport compared to pure boxing. Also known as the “art of 8 limbs”, the Thai martial art features a wide range of techniques utilizing punches, elbow strikes, knee strikes, kicks and even clinching. 

Thai boxing evolved from its predecessor, Muay Boran, refining the original moves for modern competitive purposes. However, it also incorporates punch techniques of western boxing due to its effectiveness. In fact, modern sportive Muay Thai as we know it, derives its rules and format from boxing including the usage of gloves for safety purposes. While they look almost identical, both boxing and Muay Thai gloves have advanced over time to provide optimal protection and performance in the respective sports.

With the increasing popularity of mixed martial arts, many gyms offer a variety of combat sports training. In fact, many enthusiasts and competitors train in different martial art styles. It is common to collectively refer to the gloves used in both sports as boxing gloves as they are often interchangeable for training. In this article, we explore the key differences between boxing gloves and Muay Thai gloves to help you make the best choice in your next purchase.

Features of Boxing Gloves

Bare knuckle boxing was prevalent in the UK until the mid-18th century when the first boxing gloves were introduced. Boxing gloves became mandatory under the Marquess of Queensberry rules in 1867. The earliest boxing gloves resembled oven mitts with minimal padding but became more padded over time. 

Modern boxing gloves as seen in boxing matches feature a more streamlined silhouette compared to Muay Thai gloves. The shape is “boxy” with added padding concentrated in the front (knuckles) to minimize impact of punches. The streamlined design also allows punches to pierce through defenses more easily. 

Due to the lack of overall protection, boxing gloves can be used for general Muay Thai training but not as recommended for Muay Thai sparring or competitions. 

Features of Muay Thai Gloves

Muay Thai’s history began with Muay Boran. The style was originally designed for unarmed combat on the battlefields. It was later promoted as a competitive sport during periods of peace in the early 18th century. Muay Thai competitors in this early era fought with hemp ropes wrapped around their hands and results were often bloody.

Fast forward to the early 20th century during the time of King Rama VII, huge steps were taken to modernize Thai boxing. Boxing rings were introduced and rules were added to ensure the safety of athletes including the use of boxing gloves. 

The design of Muay Thai gloves took on its current form based on changes to the western boxing gloves. Generally speaking, Muay Thai gloves feature a rounder silhouette with all-round foam padding for complete hand protection. The extra padding provides protection against punches, elbows and kicks. Muay Thai gloves also tend to be less stiff or rigid so as to allow for clinching. 

Boxing gloves are still the weapon of choice for professional boxers and boxing competitions. However, Muay Thai gloves are increasingly popular for boxing training due to their complete protection and versatility, making them especially ideal for beginners or non-competitive practitioners. For anyone training both Muay Thai and western boxing, Muay Thai gloves are versatile gear that is suitable for most occasions.

About YOKKAO Gloves

YOKKAO gloves are engineered and crafted to provide optimal protection and comfort for all levels in Muay Thai or boxing. They come in velcro closures as well as lace-ups for day-to-day training like bag work, padwork and sparring. Our gear is tried and tested daily on the grounds by our fight team and are used by professionals and enthusiasts alike. There are a variety of classic colorways and trendy designs to choose from. Shop now at our online store.

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