This is a review guide to the best MMA gloves available to buy in 2023.
MMA gloves have open fingers that allow for grappling while still providing padding to protect hands and heads. As such, they need to be flexible while still being strong.
They should fit the hands well, be comfortable to wear, and be durable enough that you won’t have to keep going out and buying a new pair every few months. If you’re serious about MMA, you will also want at least one pair each for training and for competition.
The surge in popularity of MMA in recent years has seen a much larger number of gloves on the market, including those designed specifically for certain types of fighter and in specific circumstances.
Below, we’ve included reviews of 8 of the best MMA gloves available as well as a guide to choosing the right pair for you.
Table of Contents
8 Best MMA Gloves
The Venum Challenger 2.0 MMA Gloves are made from synthetic leather and can be used for training or competition, making them a good all-round glove. They have a double-closure system which makes them easy to put on and take off while staying securely on the hand. The gloves use high density foam for protection and they come in three sizes and a choice of colors. There are also thumbless version of these gloves for those that want even greater hand flexibility.
Although the gloves are good all-rounders, they can be uncomfortable especially for use with the heavy bag. The gloves do take some time to break in, during which time the PU leather can feel hard and inflexible.
- Venum is a well-respected name in MMA and boxing gloves
- Can be used in training or competition
- Good selection of sizes and choices available
- Double closure system is easy to use but ensures security
- Take time to wear in
- Uncomfortable for heavy bag work
The RDX MMA Gloves are made from Maya hide leather for its durability and flexibility. It is also resistant to cracking and should last through plenty of training sessions before they need replacing. Dual stitching means the stitching won’t give way easily – in a lot of MMA gloves, it is the stitching that goes first.
The gloves use four layers of material to protect the hand. The maya leather is infused with an impact resistant layer and sits on top of two layers of foam and padding to offer good levels of protection. The gloves are really inexpensive and they come in several colors and with a choice of four sizes.
- Good at protecting the knuckles
- Easy to fit over hand wraps
- Will not withstand heavy bag work
The Hayabusa T3 4oz Pro Style MMA Gloves are suitable for use in competition or for training. They are expensive gloves but they do come in a range of sizes to fit any user.
They are made from flexible materials and they have a natural contoured curve that not only means greater comfort but can reduce hand stress that is caused when you have to force the glove to curve with your knuckles. They also have a hook and loop closure and the wrist section is thick for extra support. Unlike a lot of other gloves, they don’t take much time to wear in, which means they can be used comfortably from day one.
- Easy to get on and off
- Very good wrist support
- Durable and tough material
- Contoured shape fits the hand better
Venum Undisputed 2.0 MMA Gloves come in three colors and three sizes. They have a curved shape so they’re comfortable and help provide security for your grip. They also have an improved hook and loop closure system that can be used with one hand so they are easy to put on and take off.
Made from Skintex synthetic leather, covering multiple layers of foam, the gloves are flexible but offer the desired level of protection your hands need. The gloves are quite expensive, although certainly not the most expensive, and they don’t offer the knuckle protection that some other pairs offer, but they are durable and flexible.
- Easy to put on with one hand
- Curved shape fits the hand better
- Quite expensive
- Not much knuckle protection
Combat Sports Max Strike MMA Training Gloves are a hybrid style training gloves. They have open fingers to allow for some grappling but also include hinged knuckle padding that gives padding and protection when striking bags. The wrist strap fully wraps around the wrist which can make the glove difficult to put on but provides total support for the wrist area.
Although the gloves can be used for some grappling and skin on skin training, the wrist support and the hinged padding clearly favor these gloves for striking practice and bag work. The thumb is quite long, which means it covers the entire thumb on some wearers, and they are on the expensive side but they can be used to swap between training sessions without having to continuously remove and replace them.
- Suitable for bag work
- Wrist strap fully wraps around the wrist
- Open palm is suitable for grappling
- Thumb is a bit large
- Quite expensive
The Sanabul Battle Forged MMA Grappling Gloves are 4oz grappling gloves that have open fingers and a thumb hole, rather than a thumb sleeve. The gloves are made with a foam padding and are curved around the shape of the knuckle for a natural and easy fit. They have a long over-strap so they can be put on with one hand and the hook and loop closure system is easy to use.
The gloves are average priced and although they are good for grappling, most of the padding is on the back of the hand, rather than the knuckles, which means they aren’t suitable for bag work and may leave you with knuckle injuries.
- Curved to fit the hand
- Easy to put on and take off
- Good for grappling
- Minimal knuckle protection
- Not suitable for heavy bag work
Everlast Pro Style MMA Grappling Gloves have open fingers and an open palm so they are good for grappling practice. They also have padding on the knuckles, which is lacking in a lot of similarly styled gloves, while contouring around the knuckles means that they fit snugly but will reduce hand stress caused by having to fight with the gloves when forming a fist. The gloves have a moisture absorbing liner to keep hands dry and wrist support minimizes fatigue and allows you to hit harder.
The gloves are inexpensive and are good for grappling training, but even though there is some padding on the knuckles, they provide little protection when working the heavy bag. They are also larger than expected, although you can order the size down, if it’s available.
- Decent price
- Good for grappling practice
- Curved to fit the knuckles
- Minimal padding around the knuckles
The Sanabul Essential MMA Grappling Gloves are cheap MMA gloves that are designed for grappling training. They have open fingers with some padding on the knuckles and back. They use a hook and loop closure but are minimal in their size. These are lightweight gloves and they are cheap. While suitable for grappling training and some light striking, you will want more protection for heavy bag work.
- Good for grappling training
- Little protection for striking
Buyers Guide To The Best MMA Gloves
There are a lot of different MMA gloves on the market including sparring or training gloves and competition gloves. As well as choosing the right type of glove for your needs, you should consider factors like comfort, protection, and even how easy the gloves are to put on and take off. Below are some of the main features to consider when shopping for the best pair of MMA gloves.
- Grappling Gloves – Grappling is a big part of MMA and it needs to be trained, but you still need protection for your hands. These gloves have open fingers and are lightweight, allowing you to get a good grip while offering security, stability, and some protection. Grappling gloves are not suited to heavy bag work because they do not offer much, if any, knuckle protection.
- Hybrid Gloves – As well as training grappling, you will also need to practice striking. In competition you can only wear one pair of gloves that need to be used for both, but when hitting a heavy bag or other bag, you need added protection. Hybrid gloves combine the open finger flexibility of MMA gloves with the padded knuckle-protection of boxing gloves and they negate the need to swap gloves when you swap training session. They also allow you to train transitions.
- Competition Gloves – Competition MMA gloves are lightweight and they offer flexibility for grappling while offering some support and padding. Professional fights use 4oz gloves so when looking for competition gloves, have a look at those that are labelled as 4oz MMA gloves, too.
Leather Vs Synthetic Leather
Leather is durable, tough, and strong. It is also expensive and it can be inflexible, especially when new and the glove hasn’t been worn in.
Synthetic leather is made to mimic most of the properties of leather but it costs less and it shouldn’t need as long a wearing-in time. However, it won’t usually last as long or offer as much protection as genuine leather. Synthetic leather can take many names including PU leather, faux leather, and maya leather.
The padding on MMA gloves is what protects the hands and knuckles from taking too much damage. In most cases, the padding is made from one or more layers of foam but some gloves have additional materials that are designed to provide extra protection. It is also worth considering where the padded protection is on the hands. If the padding comes too far up the back of the hand, rather than over the knuckles, you won’t enjoy any protection when hitting the training bag.
Verdict – Which Are The Best MMA Gloves?
A good pair of MMA gloves is essential to protect your hand while offering the flexibility to be able to grapple. Most fighters, especially those that compete in matches, have at least two pairs of gloves so that they have a pair for competition and at least one pair for training.
The Venum Challenger 2.0 are moderately priced gloves that offer decent protection for sparring, and in our opinion they are the best MMA gloves money can buy. For a cheaper option, the RDX MMA gloves are an inexpensive pair that are really good for beginners but still offer protection and flexibility for training.
Check out our other product review guides:
- Pull Up Stands
- Jump Ropes
- Resistance Bands
- Hand Grips
- Knee Sleeves
- Gymnastic Rings
- Weight Vests
- Plyo Boxes
- Ab Rollers