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    September 10, 2021 4 min read


    Boxing and Muay Thai both of them are unique in their own ways. Both have different origins, punching techniques, and rules, but there is one thing they both share is the gloves. Both share the boxing glove, but whats the difference?

    While they may look very similar, each sport’s gloves are slightly different from each other. All these differences mainly have to do with the shape of the palm, thumb, side padding, and cuff.

    In this article, we will discuss the differences between Boxing gloves and Muay Thai gloves.

    Before discussing the differences in gloves, let’s take a look at the history of both games and their gloves.


    History of Boxing Gloves

    Boxing was first introduced in the Olympic games in 688 BC. In the start, boxers wore “himantes” for protecting their knuckles and hands. Himantes are much like our modern hand wraps but made up of ox hide leather. Later it was evolved to “cestus.” Cestus was filled with iron plates or fitted with spikes or blades to inflict more damage to the opponent.

    In 1743, an Englishman, Jack Broughton, introduced “mufflers” in order to increase protection and make training and sparring easy. He is recognized as the father of English boxing because he formulated the codified rules for boxing.

    The first-ever recorded use of boxing was in a competition held in 1818 in France between two English boxers. Boxers still chose to fight bare knuckles until 1865, when the use of boxing gloves was mandated by Marquess of Queensberry Rules.


    History of Muay Thai Gloves

    Muay Thai was originally used in battlefields and later converted into a sport when soldiers wanted to show off their skills.

    Past records show the use of powder-coated unbleached cotton threads to wrap the hand. Later on, hemp ropes known as Kard Chuek replaced the cotton threads. These ropes protected the hand while making it easier to cause cuts on their opponents.

    In 1928, a fighter died in a fight due to the injuries he received in the fight. The Thai Ministry of Interior put a ban on the ropes and mandated the use of boxing gloves.

    Over the course of time, gloves were altered to make them more suitable for the Muay Thai. Thus giving birth to the Muay Thai gloves.


    Both gloves offer protection to the hand and knuckles, but they both are used in different ways in both games. In one sport, gloves are only used for punching and blocking punches, while on the other hand, gloves are altered in a way that they can be used for clinching, catching kicks, and blocking elbows and kicks.

    Down below, we will discuss the differences in both gloves.


    Boxing Gloves / Muay Thai Gloves - The differences


    Padding Distribution

    Padding is the most distinct difference between Boxing gloves and Muay Thai gloves.

    In boxing, the only strikes are punches and blocking them. So, the padding is more concentrated around the knuckles to increase the protection. This also puts the boxer’s fist in a more natural position.

    While in Muay Thai, there are many different techniques like kicks, elbows, and, most importantly, spinning backfists. These strikes cause a lot more impact on the gloves, and thus it needs more protection. Muay Thai gloves have a more uniform distribution on the knuckles and back of the hand. The padding is also molded in a way that it allows the palm to be more open. This gives the boxer more range of motion, and this allows them to block, grab kicks, elbows, and grab the opponent to clinch to take them down.


    The Thumb

    In Boxing, the thumb is kept as close to the fist as possible, protected behind the knuckle padding. The thumb is attached to the glove through a thin strip or fully attached to the glove. Boxer has to keep his thumb out of the way to avoid any injury to the thumb. There are only punches and blocking. Thus a wide range of motion for boxing gloves is not required.

    In Muay Thai, there is grabbing, catching, and clinching, and this requires a good grip which can only be achieved with a thumb. For this reason, the thumb on the Muay Thai glove is more accessible in motion and not joined with the glove in some cases.


    The shape

    The Boxing gloves are more of a rectangular shape, while Muay Thai gloves tend to be much rounder due to puffer padding. The difference between the shape is due to the difference in the distribution of the padding.

    The Boxing gloves are in a shape that it is easy for the boxer to make a fist in no time. This is different in Muay Thai gloves, where hands are more relaxed and less clenched when not throwing any punches.


    Wrist Support

    Due to the nature of the sport, which is purely punching-based, Boxing gloves have wider and longer padded cuffs for better wrist support. This helps the boxer to maintain a stiff wrist while striking.

    In Muay Thai gloves, the wrist is short and thinner; this allows the boxer to have more flexibility at the expense of less wrist support.



    In Boxing gloves, there is less flexibility, and the hand is in a closed position. This allows the boxer to make a fist and strike quickly.

    On the other hand, Muay Thai gloves are more flexible and better for grabbing and clinching.


    Final Verdict

    Both gloves are specifically made considering the nature of the sport. One sport requires punching and blocking only; thus, the gloves for this have strong wrist support, more padding around the knuckles, and closed hand position. While the other sport requires more flexibility and more range of motion for the hand, For this, the gloves have less wrist support for flexibility, uniform padding around the hand, and open hand position and free thumb assisting better grip and clinching.

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