The Best MMA Gloves – Top Picks for 2023

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Best MMA gloves for grappling

Best MMA gloves for beginners

The 6 Best MMA Gloves for Optimal Performance and Protection

Combat Sports, a top domestic brand, has crafted an exceptional glove that seamlessly combines the best features of MMA and boxing gloves. This training gear is perfect for punching, grappling, and clinching, thanks to its open palm design and heavy padding.

These highly-recommended hybrid MMA gloves boast a super-thick 2-inch molded foam padding offering a safer sparring and training session 一 no one has to hurt.

Despite being well padded, as any best MMA gloves for heavy bag should be, these gloves are ultra lightweight and comfortable to wear. This is a massive WIN for me: increased speed, better flexibility, less strain on the wrist and hand, and improved endurance.

Also, it features a purposely-made hinged knuckled design offering an excellent range of motion with ZERO fatigue. As a result, it is ideal for clinching and striking techniques. Though it may feel unwieldy when attempting to grapple with an opponent.

In terms of appearance, the Max Strike MMA Training Gloves are among the most visually striking fighting gloves I have ever encountered. The meticulous attention to detail, refined stitching, and indelible print make them genuine works of art. They are sure to draw compliments from others at the gym.

On top of that, I love the game-changing Velcro wrist straps that bring that much-needed support to hold the glove in place and reliably safeguard your wrist from harm. Sadly, it's short and might require you to secure the glove with duct tape, especially if you are wearing hand wraps.

Therefore, if you value your own and your sparring partner's safety, only settle for a well-padded glove. The Combat Sports Max Strike MMA Training Gloves won't disappoint.


  • All-leather construction for impressive visual appearance and durability
  • Excellent thumb protection without cutting circulation
  • comfortable to wear for long training sessions


  • Short velcro wrist strap

Best MMA gloves for grappling

Coming in as a close second, the Venum Challenger MMA gloves are a top contender for the title of best MMA gloves for grappling. These gloves are mostly recommended for fighters who want to improve their cage control skills and enjoy the best training experience.

Aside from the fact that these gloves are from a world-class brand, they feature reinforced thumb and finger and multi-layer foam construction, which explains why they are highly sought after by MMA enthusiasts for training and fighting competition.

One of this ultimate training gear's hallmarks is its slim profile. Coupled with its unique fingered knuckled pads, it offers a more natural grip on your opponent.

Unlike the Max Strike MMA Training Gloves, these offer unparalleled dexterity to allow improved submission, grappling, and striking techniques.

According to the manufacturer, the Challenger MMA gloves were not manufactured in Thailand. Still, the craftsmanship is of high quality, particularly the construction of its PU leather, which has proven exceptionally durable and easy to clean.

What else? These gloves feature a purposely-layered high-density foam padding for incredible shock absorption without sacrificing a wide range of motion. Also, its Exclusive Velcro Strap System goes about two loops and is easily adjustable for good wrist support and protection.

If you are a grappler, these gloves are the perfect choice for training with light ground and pound techniques. Well, feel free to consider other cheaper alternatives, don't just come back crying when your hands keep falling out of the gloves.


  • Decent level of protection
  • Slim profile for grappling freely
  • High-density thread for a strong seam


  • Not recommended for punching heavy bags

Best MMA gloves for grappling

Venum Challenger MMA Gloves

Best MMA gloves for beginners

If you don't like the standard MMA gloves, then this pro-level Hayabusa T3 will surprise you. It has several exciting perks, such as the Hayabusa Y-Volar design, revolutionary Deltra-EG foam, and a more robust outer shell.

This state-of-the-art training gear allows you to strike harder and unlock the fighter in you. It sports an unconventional pre-curved design for a fatigue-free sparring session or competition.

Its leading-edge Dual-X closure offers one of the best wrist and hand stabilization I've ever encountered. It's a big win, especially for fighters trying to protect their wrist and hand from injuries. Also, it's incredibly flexible for a comfortable fit and proper blood circulation.

Furthermore, these best MMA gloves for beginners feature a top-of-the-line Deltra-EG foam that can absorb impacts and dissipate energy. The impressive protective capabilities of these gloves are not the only thing drawing rave reviews from users. Another standout feature is that they do not require any breaking-in period, unlike some competitors, making them ready for use.

Even more importantly, it rocks a super-durable outer shell tested and proven to handle being bashed around without cracking or tearing.

One potential drawback to these combat gloves is their sizing may not be entirely accurate. Thus, it's advisable to order two sizes larger than your usual for a perfect fit.

Other than that, the Hayabusa T3 Pro Style MMA Gloves are ultra-lightweight, making them suitable for grappling, and well cushioned for safe hard strikes. A perfect go-to for fighters with intensive workouts.


  • Ergonomic Y-Volar design for superior hand stability, best out there
  • Excellent craftsmanship for durability and chafing-free experience
  • Easy to get on and off
  • No breaking required


  • Not true to the size

Best MMA gloves for beginners

Hayabusa T3 4oz Pro Style Gloves

If safety and durability are essential to you, the RDX MMA Gloves are a perfect choice. These gloves have been with many professional athletes for years with little to no sign of wear and tear, except for the "RDX" logo that peels off after some serious bashing.

The RDX MMA Gloves boast superior features that easily place it ahead of the competition. For one, it comes with an attached thumb that stretches, allowing you to grasp and hold objects better.

Unlike others, this particular glove features breathable pinholes for better air circulation, which, in turn, keep your hands dry for a more natural grappling experience.

Also, it comes with similar Dual Quick-EZ Straps like the Challenger MMA, offering two loops around the wrist for additional support and a lower risk of injuries. So, no need for duct tape like the Combat Sports Max Strike MMA Training Gloves.

Regarding padding, the RDX MMA Gloves surpass the Venum Challenger MMA Gloves. It has a unique blend of Gel and Spongex padding that effectively reduces the impact of strikes.

While it offers all-around protection for training sessions that involve grappling and light striking, it lacks enough padding for your knuckles for heavy hits. This is why most combat fighters stick to the award-winning Combat Sports Max Strike MMA Training Gloves.

On the downside, it has a couple of hard edges that make it uncomfortable to wear for a long time. Also, it makes it slightly challenging to escape a takedown or submission attempt.


  • 100% genuine leather and eye-catching aesthetics
  • Breathable design to prevent hands from slipping inside the gloves
  • Excellent customer service
  • Perfect choice for grappling and light striking practice


  • Quality control could be better

Best budget MMA gloves

The Everlast Pro Style Gloves is another decent alternative to the Hayabusa T3 Pro Style for beginners looking to perfect their grappling game. It offers almost the same level of protection and dexterity as the premium Hayabusa T3 at less than half the price.

It's a no-nonsense fighting glove made with premium faux leather. For its price, it's unbelievably sturdy enough to handle the stress of frequent intense sessions. Some customers have had theirs for more than a year.

These best budget MMA gloves boast a full wrist wrap strap that's adjustable for the most comfortable fit. Also, it excels in supporting and safeguarding the wrist from potential sprains, strains, and fractures, which other cheaper gloves lack.

Despite being budget-friendly, this product also features advanced EverDri Technology. It relies on the latest moisture-absorbing lining to wick away sweat, providing a slip-free experience.

Best of all, it sports its trademarked EverFresh antimicrobial treatment to keep awful odors away. Plus, its faux leather construction makes it super easy to clean and maintain.

But there's a potential drawback with the Everlast Pro Style MMA Grappling Gloves. The padding is so thin, and it is not recommended to strike your sparring partner with it.

Want to skimp on MMA gloves and not compromise your safety? Everlast Pro Style MMA Grappling Gloves is the only product that comes to mind.


  • Excellent synthetic leather construction
  • Affordable price point
  • Quick break-in period


  • Single stitching that gets loose with time

The Sanabul Essential 7 oz MMA Hybrid Sparring Gloves offers a rare combination of all-around protection and affordability among hybrid gloves.

The Sanabul Essential 7 oz MMA Hybrid Sparring Gloves is a solid rival to the Combat Sports Max Strike MMA Training Gloves. This model is designed for those who want a high-quality grappling and striking glove without spending much money.

According to the manufacturer, these gloves are not designed to punch heavy bags. But there is enough padding to protect your knuckles from irritation or bruises. Also, it reduces the impact of your strike on your sparring partner.

Thousands of customers have praised these gloves' new hook-and-loop closure system, which keeps them securely in place during intense training sessions. Thus, eliminating the need for constant, time-wasting adjustments.

Also, the top-shelf Performance Engineered-Leather makes these gloves formidable regardless of the intensity level of your training. While it's not premium leather like the Combat Sports Max Strike MMA Training Gloves, it is strong enough to withstand hard hits without cracking or wearing out quickly.

However, there are better choices for women in the MMA space. I'd recommend the Hayabusa T3 Pro Style MMA Gloves. Also, it requires proper maintenance to avoid awful smells; if this is a big deal, consider the Everlast Pro Style MMA Grappling Gloves.


  • Sleek aesthetic design
  • Low price point
  • Thick foam padding for extra knuckle protection
  • Incredible wrist support, even without the wraps


  • Not suitable for punching bags

How to choose the Best MMA gloves?

Size and Fit

Regarding combat sports, the essential training gear must be the right size for the best fit. Striking or grappling your opponents with the wrong glove size can be challenging and put your wrist at risk.

Choosing the right MMA glove size depends on your hand's circumference. So, it's essential to double-check before making a choice, as the size chart for each brand might be different.

Also, it's important that the glove has a slightly snug fit to promote proper blow flow and better dexterity.


Unlike boxing gloves, MMA gloves provide relatively lower protection. However, some models offer more protection, allowing fighters to hit their sparring partner without causing severe damage.

Most pro-style MMA gloves feature an open palm design, which means little protection on the thumb, for better grappling performance. They are usually about 4 oz, even beginner-friendly options.

However, hybrid and sparring MMA gloves can weigh more than 4 oz because of the extra padding to protect the knuckles and wrist during intense training sessions.

Wrist support

Unlike boxing gloves with a lace-up design, MMA gloves come with velcro straps. They are lighter, which makes them easier to strap and adjust. Even better, most MMA gloves have wrist stabilization features for extra support and protection.


Nothing beats gloves made with genuine leather in terms of feel, appearance, and durability. However, there are faux leather alternatives that offer a competitive value at lower prices. So, most brands use high-quality synthetic leather to create budget-friendly MMA gloves. Hence, you are more likely to find authentic leather on premium gloves, which usually cost more than twice the price of fake leather gloves.


Do MMA gloves protect fingers?

MMA gloves offer decent protection to the wrists and hands but nothing compared to traditional gloves. This type of glove comes with an open palm design to support efficient grappling and submission holds.

Can you hit harder with MMA gloves?

With less padding, MMA gloves are ultra-lightweight, which allows you to strike with more agility and speed. The downside is there's not enough protection when you hit. Thus, it can be dangerous to use during a training session that requires hitting your sparring partner.

Should MMA gloves be tight?

It's important that MMA gloves fit snugly without cutting blood circulation or causing discomfort. Luckily, most MMA gloves feature velcro straps to allow you to find the most comfortable fit without sacrificing comfort and protection. 

Can you use MMA gloves for boxing?

It's common to see some fighters box with MMA gloves. However, it's not ideal because they are not as protective as boxing gloves.


MMA gloves are not created equal. They serve different purposes depending on your needs. However, if you are still trying to figure it out, you can't go wrong with the Combat Sports Max Strike MMA Training Gloves. It offers an amazing look, unmatched hand stability, outstanding wrist support, and extra cushion for safe sparring sessions. If you need gloves for grappling, the Hayabusa T3 Pro Style MMA Gloves or the Everlast Pro Style MMA Grappling Gloves are the most suitable options.

About the Author

Sifu Jon Funk

Direct 8th generation descendant in the Wong Hon Fun clan. Trained in Canada, Hong Kong, and China. Canadian forms champion, kung fu full contact fighter. Featured on the cover of Inside Kung Fu magazine and Karate/Kung Fu Illustrated.

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