Boxing Gloves by Weight: Understanding Glove Sizes

Ringside boxing gloves
You need to pick the right size for the type of glove you need.

If you are just getting started in the sport of boxing, you may be a bit confused by the different sizing options available for boxing gloves. 

Companies size bag gloves with a standard Small/Medium/Large scale, which seems simple enough. But then you get into Sparring gloves and Competition Gloves and suddenly the gloves are sized by weight.

Because of this, it can be difficult to know what size glove you need

We aim to help you make sense of the different sizing conventions, and figure out which size glove will meet your needs.

Before we begin detailing how to find the right size glove for you, we wanted to explain a bit about how the boxing world arrived at the current sizing model. 

The History of Boxing Glove Weights

Old school speed bag and boxing gloves
Boxing gloves were manufactured far different in the old days.

To understand why Boxing Gloves are sized by weight, you have to understand the production of early boxing gloves. 

In the old days, before foam padding but after bare hands wrapped in leather, boxing gloves used horsehair filling to provide padding. Manufacturers had no way of ensuring that each glove had the same amount of fill material, other than by weighing it. 

So an 8 oz glove would have same amount of horsehair padding stuffed into it as any other 8 oz glove. This ensured that any two gloves of the same weight would essentially provide the same level of protection. 

For any given weight, hand compartments provided a roughly “one-size fits all” scenario. Trainers would then use tape and gauze to give fighters both additional protection and a more custom fit for the glove. 

Over time, these glove weights, became the standard for sizing. Eventually, the boxing governing bodies codified specific weights for different levels of competition. 

Today, the boxing world still sizes many types of gloves based on their weight. This despite the fact that most modern gloves are made with foam rather than horsehair.

What Size Glove Do you Need?

As we’ve discussed before, deciding on a glove size depends largely on your intended use: competition, sparring, or bag/mittwork. 

Competition Gloves

The choice on competition glove sizing has already been made for you. If you fight at the amateur level in the US, USA Boxing has specified the size of glove that shall be used at each weight class.

A pair of blue, lace up competition boxing gloves from Ringside Boxing.
Competition glove weight/size is determined by sanctioning rules.

All fighters in Elite competitions use 10 oz gloves for the Light Flyweight to Light Welterweight fights. Welterweight to Super Heavyweight compeitions shall use 12 oz gloves. 

The Master’s division uses size 16 oz for all competitions. All other classes are to use a 10 oz. glove. 

In professional fights, all competitors up to welterweight will use an 8 oz glove. Everyone in higher weight clases should use the 10 oz glove. 

The specifications are established by the organizing body that sanctions the fight. If you have any confusion as to which size glove is appropriate, reach out to the sanctioning organization to clarify.

Bag/Sparring Gloves

For both bag gloves and sparring gloves, you will have greater control over what size you want to wear. Bag gloves are usually sized in small/medium/large sizes. Sparring gloves, on the other hand, use the same weight convention to determine size. 

Boxing glove size chart.
This chart explains what size glove you need depending on hand circumference.

This may seem confusing, but it’s not. In both cases, simply measure the circumference of your hand just below the knuckles to determine the size you need. 

Below, you can see a short video that explains the process.  

Follow these simple directions for measuring the circumference of your hand.

It’s important to note, that gloves from different manufacturers may not conform to the same sizing standards. Therefore it is important to check the size-information provided by the manufacturer of the glove you’re looking at to verify the right size for you. For the most part, though, the chart above will be a good rule of thumb.

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