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Muay Thai Vs MMA Gloves: A Head-To-Head Comparison

muay thai vs mma gloves comparison
muay thai vs mma gloves

Muay Thai and MMA are different disciplines. There is a huge equipment difference between the two martial arts. Yet, I’ve heard many people saying that an MMA glove could be similar to a Thai boxing product. Well, you can train the similar aspects of the game in the training session. But the competition brings a whole new set of challenges.

In MMA, you need to grapple, while Muay Thai only allows some aspects of clinching. Rules are different, so Muay Thai vs MMA gloves comparison is going to be tricky. There are similarities in striking surfaces. Look at the analysis like this – Thai products offer more protection, while MMA pieces of equipment give you more freedom throughout the game.

Now let’s deep dive into the world of Muay Thai vs MMA gloves. I will try to describe every single feature. Hope you’ll learn something new today!

Muay Thai Vs MMA Gloves – Which One Offers More Padding?

Muay Thai glove wins here. Thai product protects all areas of your fist. The only problem might be on the palmar side of the glove, but there is a very small probability of eating knees, punches, or kicks to that specific area.

Yes, Muay Thai gloves are way better than MMA products when you land one-punch knockout bombs, even when you try to barrage your foe with very powerful combos. But more padding leads to the greater mass of the glove. It means you’ll be slower when you put your Thai gloves on.

The MMA gloves offer thicker padding in the area of your fists. The other parts are thinner because you must switch positions more often. MMA clinching allows double leg trips and takedowns, Imanari rolls, and much more.

But here’s the risk – a shin to the lateral area of the Thai product might not make a significant amount of damage. A high kick to the same spot of the MMA glove might lead to the fracture of your fifth metacarpal bone.

The final result of Muay Thai Vs MMA gloves padding comparison – Thai boxing products are better padded, but it affects your speed and explosiveness. Muay Thai pair of gloves leads to fewer injuries, but sometimes you’ll have to risk. Too slow fighters might lose the bout via judges’ scorecards, so you must combine your training pieces of equipment wisely.

Which One Offers Better Wrist Support?

You can hurt yourself badly wearing both models while throwing violent uppercuts or wild haymakers. If you collide with the opponent’s elbow or the upper area of his forearm, it’s a recipe for disaster.

Both products are very flexible thanks to short cuffs, thinner and tighter wrists. But I am telling you, more flexibility decreases wrist support. If I must pick one candidate to win this parameter, I’d stick with the Muay Thai training product (no, I am not biased).

In MMA, your glove must be extremely flexible because of a lot of wrestling and potential submission switch attempts. The Thai boxing pair of gloves is stiffer on the lateral side, so it should lead to slightly better wrist support during strikes.

But when you change positions during grappling on the canvas, MMA gloves do stabilize your wrists. This is not an easy pick to make. Thai gloves are more suitable for stand-up games, so I give them a very slight advantage.

Why Open-Palm Gloves Work Better For Grappling?

There are so many position changes. In Muay Thai clinch, you have four basic positions and 2-3 additional ones, depending on your skill level. In MMA there are 50+ potential positions, especially when you meet a Dagestani wrestler.

Open-palm gives you more control against the fence and on the ground, it’s simple. Try to grapple with a Muay Thai glove and you’ll notice that thumb freedom gives you a hard time when you trap the opponent against the cage or ropes. Yes, it might be better for striking from the top, side control, or crucifix, but it will slow you down when you change positions or go for a submission switch.

How About Covering Up?

I’d say Muay Thai Vs MMA gloves analysis makes no sense here. It is easier to cover up in Thai pair thanks to a bigger mass and wider padding. A greater and heavier product leads to more layers of defense between you and your foe. A big straight punch might land over the MMA glove and rock you, but when you wear the Thai piece of equipment, it is less likely (though not impossible) to happen.

When you’re trying to survive the barrage of hooks, double pillars might save you when you’re in Muay Thai gloves. The MMA product is thinner, so you must pull your elbows backward against your cheeks every time your foe swings. Your mobility is increased, but there is a greater probability of eating a blow.

What Can You Say About Injury Prevention?

I will pick Thai boxing again. The ultimate problem of the MMA glove is the prevention on the lateral side. You’ll have to defend hooks, weaving overhands, Brazilian kicks, or horizontal/slashing elbows many times in the game. You know which area of the glove suffers the greatest damage. Even if you bandage your arms, that is the only line of defense between the foe’s limbs and your metacarpal bones.

Muay Thai glove defends you from knees and straight-line attacks. But Thai piece of equipment is thicker thanks to the different rules. There is no need to grapple on the ground – so you can be a bit slower. There is more padding on the outside.

Another good side of the Muay Thai glove is that it lets you defend the opponent’s straight or diagonal knees off the clinch with an open palm. In MMA, some models offer thicker padding on your palms, others don’t. But here is the problem – what if your rival accidentally hits your fingers instead of the padded area? It leads to a gruesome injury, does it? Another extra reason to pick the Muay Thai model.

What About Thumb Freedom (Not A Joke)?

Well, the majority of Thai boxing models let your thumb work freely because of clinch actions. It lets you transition from, for example, single-collar to Muay Thai plum position in the split of a second. You can do the same action in an MMA glove too. The MMA model is lighter, so your clinch transitions will probably be faster.

I’d say both models rock because of this. Fewer limitations lead to more speed, better chain wrestling and fluidity, and greater chances of finishing your foe from close range. But it leads to more potential injuries, so I advise you to learn to block better. Try to learn to protect the lateral, non-padded area from taking very hard hits.

The free thumb of an MMA glove is good for grips, but there is a problem when you’re trying to land overhand. Touch your foe’s elbow with the tip of your unprotected finger and you’ll see how painful it can be. Even a wrong straight punch could bring troubles – the wrong angle leads to potential sprains and other kinds of injuries.

Muay Thai gloves protect your thumb a bit more, but you’re still vulnerable in the clinch and during combos. So Muay Thai Vs MMA gloves comparison for this parameter is tricky, but I’d give a Thai boxing product an edge.

How About Muay Thai Vs MMA Gloves For The Training Session?

It depends on the goal of your workout. What kind of training are you having in your sight? If you plan to grapple or land short strikes, I’d tell you to put your MMA gloves on. You need space between your fingers to grab the opponent and trip him. This is especially important when you’re attacking the leg that is away from the cage.

If you wear Muay Thai gloves, your opponent will get back to his feet faster, you won’t be able to break his posture.

Do you plan to work on a clinch game? Muay Thai product rocks! Thai gloves are designed for all kinds of knees, elbows, and circular movements when you’re close to your opponent. Yet, trying to take your opponent down might be pretty much tricky. It is much easier to wrap your arms around the foe’s neck than around his body, glutes, or leg in an MMA pair of gloves.

MMA gloves would be a terrible choice for one-punch knockouts and mitt work. Why? First of all, there are very few layers of protection. You’d have to bandage your arm for ages. Second, your hand might ricochet off the mitt when you miss. It means there is a huge possibility of hurting yourself.

Muay Thai gloves are far from a good pick for those kinds of training sessions, but at least you’re not going to hurt yourself quickly. Boxing gloves exist for a reason – they can keep you safe when you land the most powerful punches.

I know this might sound funny, but I’d give advantage to the MMA gloves for counters and quick combos. Why? Well, the goal is to work on your quickness, and the Muay Thai piece of training equipment is heavier. Imagine walking with a 50 lb heavy bag on your back. You’ll reach your final destination slower, will you?

Can You Use Muay Thai Gloves For MMA And Vice Versa?

Technically, you can, but only for specific sets of training sessions. MMA is an all-around martial art, you’ll have to boost your striking from time to time. The use of Muay Thai gloves could skyrocket your clinching skills and quickness. Yet, forget about them for one-punch knockouts or defensive training sessions. But yes, Muay Thai gloves can come in handy during your MMA adventure.

Will MMA gloves work for a Muay Thai fighter? Well, no way, unless you’re Stamp Fairtex, ONE FC champion in Muay Thai and MMA! Your transitions and clinch grappling are going to be too easy. Yeah, you’ll be fast as lighting in the training session, but when you deal with the real opponent, he’ll smoke you out!

Will The Use Of Muay Thai Gloves Affect My MMA Performance?

It could affect, but if and only if you mix apples and oranges. Imagine an MMA fighter training ground and pound with Muay Thai gloves. It could be very beneficial to protect his hands, but what is going to happen when the opponent in the ring attempts a reversal? Well, he’ll be unable to counter the attempt, very simple!

Muay Thai gloves are very much ok for combos, clinching, and medium-power punches. Sometimes the fighter has to spar lightly. I am telling you, Thai gloves could come in handy for cage striking too, but only when you’re not shooting in and dragging your rival to the ground.

Do not learn to trip your opponent or go for a takedown in the Muay Thai pair of gloves, you will confuse your brain, be wise! The wrong feel of the fight is dangerous, you might get you’re a** whooped in a real fight because of that!

Be smart and don’t fool around, please! Thai boxing product is designed for Muay Thai for a reason!


I hope you learned something new from my Muay Thai vs MMA gloves comparison. I tried to pinpoint every aspect of the game. The Thai boxing product gives you more protection and better padding, while the MMA piece of equipment turns you into a quicker striker and grappler, both on the feet and on the ground.

Every pair offers good and bad sides. Different shape matters because of the rules of the combat. Open-finger models are better for grapplers and clinchers, while close-finger pieces of training equipment work for all kinds of strikes.

And please listen to me – buy boxing gloves if you plan to boost your striking power, you’ll get the greatest level of protection!

Last Updated on May 21, 2022 by Deni



Hi, I started training Muay Thai back in 2016 and fell in love with it. So I decided to create this blog in the pursuit of this passion and share my experience with you.

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