Kickboxing Gloves: How Do They Compare To Boxing Gloves?

Written by
Legends Boxing
Wednesday, September 30, 2020

If you’re new to the exciting world of boxing, finding the right gloves can seem a little daunting, to say the least. There are literally hundreds of styles, types, and brands -- and not to mention how confusing the sizing can be! However, choosing the right pair of gloves is one of the most crucial things you can do when you’re just getting started in the ring. In addition to affecting the quality of your training, wearing the wrong gloves can greatly increase your chance of injury over time. They are an essential part of training, and having at least one or two reliable pairs is one of the first steps to getting started. But as you begin to sort through the sea of options available, you’ll quickly find that there are far more options than what you might have thought initially.

With all of these choices, it can be pretty difficult to know which one you should choose. This is especially true if you're not aware that there are some major differences between kickboxing gloves and boxing gloves. What are those differences, you ask? Keep reading to find out!

Boxing Gloves vs. Kickboxing Gloves

Besides boxing, there are many different types of martial arts in the world. From Karate to Jujitsu, to Kung Fu and Krav Maga, martial arts comes in many forms. One of the martial arts that has become increasingly popular over the years is kickboxing.

Unlike boxing, Kickboxers use their feet as weapons of superiority over their opponent in addition to throwing a flurry of punches with their fists. 

The gloves used in kickboxing as well as in classic boxing are both used for protection, but how exactly do they compare?

The differences come primarily because of the intended use. 

Boxing is a sport that requires quick, heavy punches for prolonged periods of time. The main point of contact for each punch is on the knuckles of the hands, so it’s important they are well-protected.

On the other side, kickboxing is a martial art whose protective gear must be suitable both for striking, catching, clinching, and blocking kicks. 

Here are the key differences:

Shape and Style

Boxing Gloves. The primary weapon of every boxer is his or her fist. The clenched fist delivers a powerful and dense punch. That’s why most boxing gloves are rounded at the fingers - to help make a more natural fist.

Since wrist protection is of the utmost importance, boxing gloves tend to have a larger cuff area that is attached to the hands with lace or Velcro. The idea is to make the gloves a natural extension of the forearms. 

Of course, there are many differences in the shape of boxing gloves that come from different brands. For example, some tend to have a rounded shape, while other brands are slightly flatter. Additionally, some boxing gloves are more angled in the fist area and thinner at the wrists. The overall goal of all popular boxing brands is to achieve a perfect position of tightly clenched fists.

The weight distribution of boxing gloves is exclusively geared to rapid combinations of strong hits that distinguishes them from kickboxing gloves.

Kickboxing Gloves. The shape of kickboxing gloves resembles that of boxing gloves, but there are some differences. For one, kickboxing gloves are squarer in shape and less rounded. They are not as aerodynamic as other types of gloves, and they are difficult to make quick combinations with. Since the function of these gloves is different from that of boxing, most of them are slightly open at the palm and with a smaller cuff for greater flexibility. Kickboxing gloves usually don’t have a mesh area in the palms like most boxing gloves do, which is one of their distinctive features. 

The Padding

Boxing Gloves. Boxers primarily use their fists to throw punch after punch in order to take down their opponent. As we mentioned, this puts a lot of stress on the knuckles, so boxing gloves are typically made with a lot of protective padding in this area.

Most boxing gloves don't include padding around the wrists and the palms. Although, you may find a little extra padding on lace-up gloves to make up for the lack of natural support usually provided by a strong Velcro strap.

Kickboxing Gloves. Compared to boxing gloves, the padding on kickboxing gloves is evenly distributed. The knuckle and thumb padding is not as prevalent in these types of gloves as they are in boxing gloves, but the padding on the back of the hand is much more. That’s because kickboxing fighters need to have better protection against the strong kicks that they use to defeat their opponent.  


Boxing Gloves. Boxing gloves are quite rigid compared to kickboxing gloves -- and that’s okay because, as we mentioned, they act as a natural extension of the hands! They’re designed in a way to prevent the wrist from flexing while throwing a punch. That’s why the cuffs in a boxing glove are bigger. Even the wrist area is much tighter as compared to other gloves. 

Kickboxing Gloves. The best way to differentiate a kickboxing glove from a boxing glove is by trying to test the flexibility. Try simply opening your hand in the glove. If you find it’s too rigid, that’s probably a boxing glove. Kickboxing gloves are more flexible when clenching the fist and less rigid than boxing gloves. The simple science behind its design is that kickboxing boxing involves clinch and kicks. Catching hold of your opponent is an integral part of this type of combat. Flexible gloves and movements allow a fighter to get in a clinch and even catch their opponent’s kicks. That’s the reason why these gloves don’t have a grip bar - to ensure maximum flexibility. Easy opening and closing of the hands is a significant feature that separates kickboxing gloves from boxing gloves. 

The Thumb Area

Boxing Gloves. In boxing gloves, the thumb is tucked in tight as close to the fist as possible, commonly protected behind the knuckle padding. It is usually attached with a strip at the glove to keep it in place or fully attached with leather all the way up between the thumb and the hand. In boxing, you want to keep your thumb out of the way as much as possible to prevent it from getting hit or injured.

Kickboxing Gloves. On a kickboxing glove, having your thumb a little less ‘tucked in’ to the hand can go a long way and help with grip when catching and clinching. These gloves usually have a straight thumb, which is directly molded into the actual glove frame.  

Which Gloves Should You Choose?

Now that you understand the main differences between the two types of gloves, you're probably wondering, if it matters at all which one you use. Can you use kickboxing gloves for boxing? Can you use boxing gloves for kickboxing? Or should you stick to only gloves meant for a specific martial art? The short answer is - it depends.

Although boxing and kickboxing may seem pretty similar, they are two very different types of martial arts. The main difference between the two is that in kickboxing, both hands and feet can be used while in boxing, only the hands can be used. In addition, kickboxing involves punches and kicks, while boxing entails punches and blocks. With that in mind, kickboxing gloves are designed to provide fighters with more flexibility in their hands to catch kicks - even in close quarters. Boxing gloves, on the other hand, are designed to provide extra cushioning and support to the knuckles as fighters unleash a flurry of punches onto their opponent. 

For training purposes, either kickboxing or boxing gloves will do, but when your giving it everything you got in the ring, stick with the appropriate glove for the specific sport.   

How To Pick The Right Size

To find the very best boxing or kickboxing gloves for your boxing journey, you first must determine the right size for your needs. 

Gloves are always displayed in ounces. The most common sizes found are 10 oz, 12 oz, 14 oz, and 16 oz. Of all the sizes, 10 oz gloves are the most popular for bag and pad workouts, while sizes 14, 16, 18, and 20 oz gloves are used for sparring.


As the size is determined by the amount of padding inside the glove, a heavier weighted glove means your hand will have more protection, but it will also slow down your punching speed. Most beginners opt for bigger gloves to be on the safe side and work their way down towards competitive weight as their skills improve. 


If you’re a fighter, gloves are extremely important. They offer protection to your hands and fists to help prevent any injury from occurring. Although they may seem quite similar, boxing and kickboxing gloves have a few distinctive differences, such as the shape, style, and padding. If you’re considering taking up one of these exciting sports, be sure to find a gym like Legends Boxing with knowledgable trainers always available to help answer any questions you may have, such as which gloves are right for you!


Written by
Legends Boxing
Wednesday, September 30, 2020