Anyone who knows me knows that when I decide to take a look at something, I do so with full disclosure of findings, and a thorough dissection of the subject as if it were a frog in a high school Biology lab class. I guess it comes from a practice that the samurai had, one that I adopted in my earlier years of martial arts training. They made it a point to be well versed in as many weapons as possible. While their preference was for the katana, it helped in the service to their masters that they be familiar with the qualities, attributes, and inherent strengths and weaknesses of any weapon used against them that they may encounter. In this, while not physically disassembling the weapon (or maybe they did), they figuratively broke everything down for assessment, and ultimately, betterment.
It is this approach that I take to… well, pretty much everything in Life, and as such, was the approach I took to testing Elite Sport’s Standard Adult Boxing Gloves, in 12oz. Because these gloves are intended to be used as loaner gloves for people who start out training with me (but have yet to get their own pair of gloves), they had to pass a fairly stringent laundry list of demands and concerns, and deemed passable, by my standards. Safe to say, they passed. But not without incident.
Let’s start with the construction of the glove. On par with most of the economy priced gloves on the retail and mail order market (< $49.99 USD), that alone, makes it a solid glove for purchase. But with that price tag comes production material that experience has shown, will not hold up to the heavy hitters, such as myself. It is well padded, great for first timers, and impact should be minimized for those who really can lay into the heavy bag (obviously, shock absorption will be greater as a heavier glove is used). First impressions from using, are promising, and it will hold up for quite a while. But unlike a pair of leather gloves, these will have serious longevity, withstanding frequent and hard use, being that they are the market standard polyurethane coated variety, common with casual trainers; you would be replacing these in due time. To gauge this, I measured this against a pair of Title Classic Super Bag gloves, that I have had for 15 years, which started showing slights signs of wear just three short years ago. And they have definitely been put to the test. Also, used to measure against was a pair of Ringside Apex gloves, also made of the same materials and similar build (more on that in a minute). Time would tell about the durability of the inner lining of the hand compartment, as well. And on that note, it is a rather snug fit, more than need be. Or, at least it was for me. I do have fairly large hands, so surely that has to be taken into account. Also, these days, I use speed wraps more than hand wraps, and between my larger fists, and the speed wraps… which are no thicker than when my hand is fully wrapped with 180” wraps… the fit was not good at all. But again, this is for me. May be different for someone else… a woman, or child. A larger size would have been a better choice for testing here, so, keep in mind that typically, a heavier glove will have a larger hand compartment. HOWEVER… (see the end of this section for the continuation of this thought). As of the time of this writing, I did not have the opportunity to try these out on a female trainee, a youth trainee, or another boxer of a lighter weight class, so admittedly, my data is incomplete in this regards.
Moving on, again, a solid glove for a beginner, someone who has not perhaps found their full power through mechanics, but also, much like a Mexican style glove, this is not a puncher’s glove. While it has the padding across the knuckle, for the most part, what it lacks is the stability of your standard Western Boxing gloves, specifically where it counts the most: the wrist. Granted, while the hook-and-loop wraparound closure is VERY secure (a real plus in my book), the wrist cuff does not offer the rigidity of some other market offerings, and this should always be treated as a first line of defense against injury from a punch landed awry. This said, the aforementioned beginner, in short time, can and probably will move into another glove, more compatible with their style of fight. Also, the floating thumb is something to be cautious of. Most all of the gloves on the lower end of the price scale (that I know of) have a separate thumb attached to the main body of the glove by a connector, while higher priced gloves will have an attached thumb. This would seem to be a minor gripe, appearing to be nothing more than cosmetic. However, again, in the event of a punch landed incorrectly, with your thumb allowed even the slightest bit of movement from position in a clenched fist, you have the makings of a real problem on your hands. And unless you are well practiced in keeping a clenched fist through round after round of bag work, one may let that thumb slip out of place ever so slightly. The addition of a palm bar would help, to promote a tighter fist… but then that would take away from a good key feature, which is the mesh palm ventilation. Only the most intense and insane training sessions will see your hand drenched in sweat with this in place; otherwise, you should will not even have a hint of dampness. The presence of the floating thumb, combined with the absence of sufficient wrist support for punching, and the fact that the wrist is an articulated joint, leaving the glove more flexible than Western Boxing gloves when you clench your fist, thus allowing you to grip and grab better with your gloves, and thereby, work better in the clinch, suggest to me that this glove, while it can be used for Boxing, is better suited for MUAY THAI. Add to all of that, the overall styling of the glove. Design wise, these gloves, as stated previously, have the thumb separate, and stitched on, whereas with some Thai gloves (but not all), the thumb is directly molded into the actual glove frame. And like most Muay Thai gloves, these are somewhat square and top heavy in the front area; there is less (but not by much) of an angular tapering from fist to wrist. There is a difference in weight distribution, because of this. And, as this appears to be a glove more suited and designed for Muay Thai, that would explain the hand compartment being so snug; generally, Thai style gloves are made that way.
Yes, it did not sound so promising at first, but here is the silver lining!
Typically, Muay Thai fighters do not land a lot of punches, and those that they do land are oftentimes to set up, and lead into the clinch, which in my estimation, is what these gloves are best for, and seems made for. But, as previously mentioned, workable for Boxing, good for beginners. Pure boxers may wish to look elsewhere, however, as this glove will only serve you briefly. As of this writing, however, I was not able to ascertain if this was a proper sparring glove, although if I had to give it a guess based on my experience and knowledge, that answer is a firm ‘no’.
Having determined the best possible use for the gloves, I then moved on to their performance capacity. One of the features mentioned on their website is that it is a lightweight glove, and this is most certainly true. The foam is heavier and more dense, making it perfect for a bag glove. The issue here… and again, this was for me, but it is something that one will need to consider… is that my hand was way too cramped in the hand compartment. I even had to have my wife help me shove my hands into the gloves. And from that came the hugest downside in this experience… an eventual restricted blood flow, as if my hands were wrapped way too tight… so much to the point that I was forced to abandon my heavy bag training session after ten of fifteen scheduled rounds. This was conducted on a 160lb. Aqua Bag. The results may have been different on a standard heavy bag, or banana bag. At the time of this writing, I had not yet tried these gloves on either. And, since I train alone, I also had no opportunity to get into pad work. On the upside though, the pre-curved design gives these gloves a broken in feeling, so you will jump right into the action, feeling like these are gloves you have been using for years. This is a great thing, as ultimately, the right glove for you will be one that is comfortable for you while offering the level of protection that you want/need.
Overall, despite some issues (which, in all honesty, will be entirely an individual thing), Elite Sport’s Standard Boxing Gloves have their place, and it is your hands.