Are Boxing Gloves Suitable for Kickboxing?

Boxing and kickboxing, while both are striking arts, have distinct techniques, strategies, and equipment. One of the essential pieces of equipment for both sports is gloves. Often, newcomers to kickboxing might wonder if they can use their boxing gloves for kickboxing sessions. To answer the question, we need to delve deeper into the design, purpose, and functionality of these gloves.

Boxing Gloves: An Overview

Boxing gloves are designed primarily to protect the boxer’s hands and their opponent’s face and body. They are generally made of leather or synthetic materials and are padded to absorb impact. There are different types of boxing gloves, such as:

  1. Bag gloves: Designed for heavy bag, double-end bag, or focus mitt training.
  2. Sparring gloves: More padded to protect both the boxer and the sparring partner during practice bouts.
  3. Competition gloves: These are lighter and less padded than sparring gloves, ensuring more pronounced punches during actual bouts.

Kickboxing Gloves: Characteristics

Kickboxing gloves, at a glance, might look similar to boxing gloves. However, they are tailored to the needs of a kickboxer. Kickboxing involves not just punches but also kicks, knees, and sometimes clinch fighting (depending on the kickboxing style). As a result, kickboxing gloves often:

  1. Have a more flexible design: To allow the hands to open and close more freely, which is crucial for catching kicks.
  2. Have padding distribution that’s slightly different: To account for the different punch dynamics and to block kicks.
  3. Tend to be more versatile: As they are designed for a sport that involves multiple striking techniques.

Can You Use Boxing Gloves for Kickboxing?

Technically, you can use boxing gloves for kickboxing, but there are some nuances to consider:

  1. Padding and Protection: Boxing gloves are made to cushion the impact of punches. In kickboxing, you’ll also need to block kicks, which are often more powerful than punches. While a boxing glove can handle the impact, the distribution of padding might not offer the best protection when deflecting kicks, especially kicks targeting the forearm.
  2. Flexibility: As mentioned, kickboxing sometimes involves clinch work or if you are interested in Muay Thai, then clinching will be a huge part of the fighting. Boxing gloves are not as flexible in allowing the hands to open and close, making clinch work and catching kicks challenging.
  3. Wrist Support: Boxing gloves usually provide more wrist support because the sport solely focuses on punching. This extra support can be beneficial in kickboxing, especially for beginners who might not have developed proper wrist strength and technique.
  4. Safety: Using boxing gloves in a kickboxing sparring session might not be the safest choice for your partner. The glove’s design and padding distribution could result in unintentional hard strikes, especially when kicks are thrown into the mix.
  5. Durability: Using boxing gloves for kickboxing can wear them out faster. The additional types of impact—like blocking shin kicks—can degrade the glove’s padding quicker than just punches would.


If you’re transitioning from boxing to kickboxing and want to use your boxing gloves for basic training, such as hitting the bag, light sparring or pad work, they should suffice. However, if you’re serious about kickboxing and want to compete, it’s advisable to invest in a pair of dedicated kickboxing gloves to get used to subtle differences. They will offer better protection flexibility and be more in line with the sport’s demands.

In a professional setting, most kickboxing gyms and organizations have specific requirements for gloves. Always check with the institution or the governing body of a competition to ensure you have the right equipment.


While boxing gloves can be used for kickboxing to some extent, they are not the ideal choice. The design differences between the two types of gloves cater to the unique demands of their respective sports. For those serious about kickboxing, investing in a pair of gloves designed for the sport is the best route. Not only does this ensure optimal protection and performance, but it also respects the safety of training partners and opponents. Whether you’re boxing or kickboxing, using the right equipment is a testament to your commitment and respect for the art.

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