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When you launch your kickboxing journey, “starter” gloves are a smart way to get you through the first phase of the new workout format. They’re cost-effective and offer you enough hand protection, plus they allow you to take them on and off with relative ease. Additionally, the smaller size (about 6 oz. per glove) makes gripping a water bottle easier than if you were sporting a 14 oz. glove on each hand.

But something tells us you’re going to love it, so purchasing a next-phase set of gloves is essential for a killer kickboxing experience. Starter gloves will only get you so far. Once you become a kickboxing enthusiast, you’ll find, similar to athletic shoes, the materials break down with wear and will give you less and less cushion to distribute the force of your punches.

Depending on which brand and style you turn to, you will find boxing/sparring, MMA and grappling gloves come in various colors, sizes and materials. They may include nylon mesh and vents for airflow, boast technology-enhancing features, offer varying degrees of wrist support, and may be machine washable. You can find a decent pair between $30 and $60, but costs rise to a few hundred dollars.

Here are some of our suggestions for different types of gloves.


Fitness Boxing Gloves

These are best for if you plan to do kickboxing and kickboxing only. They’re versatile and light, which is perfect for the cardio-based kickboxing we do at CKO. Tough and durable, these gloves absorb shock well to effectively protect your knuckles and wrists. Basic sets can be found virtually anywhere, like Walmart and general sporting goods stores.

MMA or Grappling Gloves

Unlike typical boxing gloves, MMA-style gloves are less bulky and have open fingers. A decent pair should offer adequate padding to the middle knuckles in order to absorb the shock of your strike and protect your hand. The contour of the glove puts your hand in a natural fighting position. Some people enjoy these types of gloves because they are lightweight. Note that the force distribution is much less compared to a traditional boxing glove so strike intensity should be adjusted accordingly.

Heavy Bag Sparring Gloves

These are perfect for the heavy bags we have at CKO. They are form-fitting and can take the most grueling hits, thanks to layers of padding where you need it most. These gloves also provide the wrist support in the form of a wraparound wrist strap closing system, which will benefit your workout if you notice you’re adding power as you gain strength and improve technique over time.

Boxing Competition Gloves

We don’t recommend these types of gloves for our CKO classes, but they are helpful if you want to take your training to the next level. Boxing competition gloves are ideal for enthusiasts who go one-on-one with someone in the ring. These styles lace up from mid-palm to wrist to offer maximum support.

MMA Competition Gloves

Just like the MMA gloves, the MMA competition gloves offer a sleek design with open fingers and thick padding. These gloves, however, are built tough for competition and may be best for someone who is seeking a top-of-the-line grappling style. They are durable and give your hand more than enough protection from the hundreds and thousands of strikes you deliver over time.


The great thing about gloves is that choosing a pair is an extremely personal choice. One pair might be perfect for one person but not work for another. Our advice is to research the different types, read up on the technology offered by style and brand, preferably try them on, then choose the one which feels just right.