If you are planning to take up boxing as a recreational activity or as a professional sport, then inevitably, you will have to buy your own boxing gear, of which the most often mentioned are the gloves. When it comes to buying gloves, you should be aware of a number of things, beginning with the fact that gloves cannot be used for all activities and are marketed separately according to their use. This means that there is a good chance that you will have to buy more than a single pair of gloves.
To begin with, when it comes to boxing, gloves are chiefly divided as follows:
Bag mitts or bag gloves – these boxing gloves are used when practising with punching gear, such as the punching bags or punching pads. They are usually lightweight, being below the fourteen ounces range (often somewhere around ten to twelve ounces). These traditionally used to have minimal or no wrist support whatsoever, and their padding was very thin. However, nowadays, you can find certain hybrid glove styles which have improved support and padding through combining the bag mitts with the competitive gloves. The reason as to why bag mitts generally have a lower amount of padding is so that the boxer can actually ‘feel’ his punches on the punching equipment – this can result in a boosting of their confidence. However, this very reason is also why these gloves should never be used on other humans – they can easily cause serious injuries.
Sparring gloves – these gloves are specially designed to be used in competitive matches and sparring sessions. They are accordingly heavier than your average bag mitts, always being above the fourteen ounces range (they usually come in variations of fourteen, sixteen and eighteen ounces). The added weight comes from the increased padding in the knuckle region as well as the wrist support. Unlike the bag mitts, which cannot be used in sparring, you can easily use the sparring mitts to punch punching bags or pads (though you won’t feel the punches as much). They are also ideal to use as bag mitts especially if you are recovering from an injury or need to support your wrist.
Besides the above main distinctions, you will find that sparring mitts are often divided once again as amateur boxing mitts and professional boxing mitts; the former can be used in amateur matches, whereas the latter is used for professional matches. Regardless of the divisions, always understand that all gloves can be used for training, but only sparring mitts can be used in sparring.