Single man with dark hair putting on MMA Grappling gloves for training

Best MMA Gloves for Grappling

Our Top 5 Recommended MMA Gloves for Grappling 

When looking for the best MMA gloves for training you will want something that fits well, is comfortable, and probably not too costly. However, there are a few other things to consider. This includes the padding, design, wrist support, and closure system. Even though there are lots of great MMA gloves available it is important to purchase ones that are right for you.

What are the Different Types of MMA Gloves?

There are three main types of MMA gloves, and they are all serve different purposes.

MMA Grappling Gloves/ Training Gloves

These gloves are distinctive in that each finger has its own pocket with padding.  This allows maximum dexterity with fingers and thumbs for grappling while providing some padding.  The padding is there to protect your hand.  The padding will also provide some protection for your partner during light sparring.

In addition to grappling you can use them for soft bag work.  You can also use them for heavy bag work, but we recommend getting gloves with thicker padding

MMA Sparring Gloves

These gloves are sometimes called ‘Hybrid’ gloves.  Their most distinctive feature is the single large pad over the knuckles band the fingers and thumb are exposed underneath.  The fingers have much greater dexterity for grappling, but not as well as with MMA grappling gloves.   Typically these gloves use 7oz of padding and the main purpose is to protect your sparring partner.

The extra padding offers more protection than MMA grappling gloves for heavy bag work.

MMA Competition Gloves

Competition gloves are also known as cage gloves.  They have just enough padding to prevent cuts on an opponent. As the name suggests, they are ideal for use in competitions.  Typical competition rules require 4oz.  Some completion rules allow 6oz while others can be less than 4oz.

Tips for Choosing MMA Gloves

Size

MMA gloves come in all sizes to suit kids, men, and women. When thinking about size, consider the wrist width and the general length. Your gloves of choice should be big enough for your hand and wrist wraps.

Price

MMA gloves come in all prices. You can find something for all budget limits. Cheaper options often made with less durable material and sometimes poor quality construction.

While there is no harm in looking for a good deal you should still make sure you purchase decent quality gloves.  Otherwise you will end up not getting your money’s worth, and worst case they may become unsafe.

Explore Your Options

The variety of MMA gloves is immense. Try out a few options before settling for one. Read and compare a few online reviews, ask for the opinion of experts, and conduct your own research.  We have already done some of this for you and made our own recommendations.

Style

Since different types of MMA gloves serve different purposes you may be better off with more than one pair..

For example, MMA grappling gloves are lightweight with little knuckle padding which makes them good for grappling.  However, when it comes to sparring with a partner MMA sparring gloves are safer for your sparring partner.

Regardless of which style of gloves you intend to buy we recommend that you select ones with adequate thumb protection.  The thumb should not be exposed and it should have some protective padding.  Otherwise you are risking thumb injury that will suspend your training.

Glove Features

Think about the features that are important to you and find gloves that offer them. Some of the most important ones are breathability, a convenient closure system, shock absorption, and high-density foam. Gloves with fewer features will be cheaper than those with lots of features.

How to Know Your Gloves Fit

The simplest way to determine the right fit for your gloves is how comfortable they feel. Think about how much wrist protection you have and your ability to make a fist without strain.

All good MMA gloves come with good wrist secure system.  Usually a long strap held by Velcro.  We recommend using wraps with MMA gloves.  Not just for protection but also for comfort.  All MMA gloves will rub a little with continuous hard use.

Loose-fitting gloves will fit better with wraps.  If they already fit well, straps could make them too tight.  The best way of course is to try them on with wraps and see how they feel. Leather gloves are more likely to stretch a little as you break them in.

Some manufactures may provide a chart with hand size. This way, you can easily choose the right size for you. Just don’t forget to measure your hands with wraps on if you intend to wear them under your gloves.

How Can You Make Your Gloves Last Longer?

After purchasing MMA gloves, there are a few things you can do to ensure that they remain in good condition for as long as possible.

Buy the Right Gloves

This is the first and most important part of the process. Choose the style that matches your needs. Before making a decision, think about your training environment and the number of hours you train every day. Research the unique features of all gloves and get the opinion of an expert.

If you are going to work your gloves hard it makes sense to get good quality gloves that are durable. Even if you have to spend more you will get better value for your money.

Proper Cleaning and Maintenance

Cleaning your gloves regularly can keep them in good condition for a long time. The type of cleaning and maintenance depends on the material of your gloves. Grease, dirt, and grime are not only unsightly but also corrosive. They can get into your glove fibers and cause abrasion. Avoid using harsh chemicals and dry them properly.

Keep Them Dry

Dry your gloves after every use.  We recommend giving them a good wipe down to remove excess sweat.  Do not shove them back in your bag while they are still wet and forget about them.

As soon as you get home you should air out your gloves. If you leave them wet, there is a chance that they may develop mold or bacteria.  This can start to break down the fibers prematurely, not to mention the smell that is likely to develop.

Keeping your gloves dry will help them retain their shape and comfort.

Our Top 5 Recommended MMA Gloves for Grappling 

Product Reviews

Venum Challenger MMA Gloves

These MMA gloves have a comfortable, high-quality feel. They have a nice curved shape to fit over the hand comfortably.

The Velcro strap system makes it easy to get the gloves on and off.  At the same time the closure system provides good wrist support and holds the hand in position.

The gloves have layered foam to improve shock absorption and protection. The thicker padding is good for sparring while still being good for grappling.

These gloves are used by plenty of people for bag work. (We do not recommend MMA Grappling gloves for continuous heavy bag work.)

The wrist support is good for securing the gloves.  Just note that if the gloves are on the small side then the inner Velcro strap can make them a little too tight.   The thumb is protected, which we think is important.  All in all they score really well for protection.

Venum says their gloves are made from Napa leather.  This sort of leather is typically softer leather and not usually made from cows (think of soft leather furniture).  However, these gloves do not feel softer than any other leather glove.

If anything they need a breaking in period before they are really comfortable. Wraps will make them more comfortable right away.  However, it does make them more durable as you would expect.

Pros Cons
  • Leather
  • Durable
  • Good (layered foam) padding
  • Secure wrist system
  • Thumb protection
  • Price

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RDX MMA Gloves – Maya Leather

These are made from Maya Hide which makes them the synthetic leather alternative MMA glove for RDX.  This material is durable for the price.  They feel really comfortable and we like the style and colors.

The gloves have a fancy technical description for the padding system.  All that really matters is that the padding is adequate, which these are.  Firm but not too firm. If anything we think the padding is a bit soft.  This is might be an issue with continuous hard punches on a heavy bag, but otherwise should not be an issue. (We do not recommend MMA Grappling gloves for continuous heavy bag work.)

RDX claim these gloves meet all the existing safety standards for professional combat sports. We will have to take their word for this, but can’t see an obvious reason to dispute it.

They have a convenient hoop-and-loop closure that protects the wrist and keeps the glove firmly on your hand.  The thumb is protected, which we think is important.

Even though they are made from quality artificial leather they may still require breaking in to become comfortable.  Wraps will make them more comfortable.

For protection, durability, and style we think these are really good value for money.

Pros Cons
  • Durable
  • Good padding
  • Style
  • Secure wrist system
  • Thumb protection
  • Not genuine leather

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RDX MMA Gloves – Genuine Leather

These are RDX’s 100% full grain cowhide leather MMA grappling gloves. They have a plain, understated design that most people like.

They have a good wrist securing system for support and a comfortable fit.  It keeps your wrists aligned during repetitive striking. The thumb is protected, which we think is important.

These are well designed gloves that are noticeably comfortable.  The construction appears to be good quality with reinforced stitching.  Durability is not a concern with these gloves.

The padding is high quality foam that provides really good shock absorption. It is enough for continuous hard hits on heavy bags. (We do not recommend MMA Grappling gloves for continuous heavy bag work.)

If a little on the snug side then the advantage of genuine leather is they will stretch and become comfortable as you break them in.  Fortunately, these gloves do not take long to break in

You can easily spend more money on a pair of MMA grappling gloves, but we really think you will not find ones that are better quality for your money.

The only thing that we can think to criticize is we wish they offered more colors.

Pros Cons
  • Genuine leather
  • Durable
  • Easy to break in
  • Really good padding
  • Secure wrist system
  • Thumb protection
  • Limited color choice

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Cheerwing MMA Gloves

These MMA gloves are made from polyurethane (PU) leather, which is a quality synthetic (vegan friendly) material.  The general design is sleek and modern. We really like the color choices.  The gloves feel natural and comfortable.

The padding is good and absorbs the shock of impact as you would expect.  The thumb is protected, which we think is important.

Their widened wrist strap offers a snug customizable fit and wrist support. They have two-layer Velcro design that ensures good wrist protection.

Because these gloves are not genuine leather and their cost is so low we did not expect too much from them.  However, the padding, protection, comfort and durability has impressed us.  We also really like the choice of colors.

These gloves are great for beginners that want to get used to MMA gloves before spending a lot of money.  They are also perfectly suitable for more experienced fighters and anyone using them for other martial arts training other than MMA.

Pros Cons
  • Price
  • Good padding
  • Secure wrist system
  • Thumb protection
  • Color choices
  • Not genuine leather

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Elite Sports MMA UFC Gloves

These gloves are made with polyurethane (PU) leather, which is a quality synthetic (vegan friendly) material.  We like the design and choice of colors.

The fit is snug and comfortable, and feels OK after prolonged periods of intense workouts.  Not too stiff when first put on and easy enough to break in.

The padding does a good job of absorbing impact to protect your hands.  Even when hitting firm objects. (We do not recommend MMA Grappling gloves for continuous heavy bag work.)   The thumb is protected, which we think is important.

The stitching is good and the material is firm but soft enough. The material is durable, but probably not as durable as genuine leather.  But for the price it is difficult to complain.

They have a long adjustable Velcro strap for a secure but comfortable fit. If anything the long strap can feel too long if you are in a hurry.  But we cannot fault their effectiveness.

We think these gloves provide the protection and comfort required at a price that makes them really good value for money.

Pros Cons
  • Price
  • Good padding
  • Secure wrist system
  • Thumb protection
  • Color choices
  • Not genuine leather
  • Long wrist strap takes longer to put on/of

<< Check Price on Amazon >>

Conclusion

MMA gear has become very popular in recent years and gloves are an essential piece of protection. If you are looking for the best gloves for MMA, your options are endless. The options above meet the criteria of good MMA gear. They have convenient closure systems, high-quality material, sufficient padding for shock absorbency, and convenient design.  Of course, price is a consideration as well.

Based on this criteria our favorite gloves for grappling is the RDX MMA Gloves – Genuine Leather.  But if you are looking for the best value for money then the Cheerwing MMA Gloves tick all the right boxes.  However, if you are looking for a glove that is as stylish as it is protective and durable, and if you don’t mind paying a little extra money, then the Venum Undisputed 2.0 MMA Gloves is the ideal upgrade.

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