Note: We’ve since released a more relevant article, A Guide To Non-Leather/Vegan Boxing Gloves, which looks more in-depth at non-leather equipment across the entire boxing glove industries.
Buying new boxing gloves is easy, right? Just work out what sort of thing you’re looking for, take a look at a couple of boxing glove reviews to get a feel for whether that gear is the best choice for you, and then buy them.
Except that process is significantly harder if for whatever reason you don’t particularly want to use leather. Perhaps you’re a strong believer in living a hardcore vegan lifestyle, or perhaps you have another reason for avoiding leather – either way it can seriously reduce your options when searching for boxing gloves. Thankfully we’ve come across a number of brands who use leather alternatives which we think are actually pretty decent, so you can still grab a great pair of gloves and avoid that cheap, plastic-feeling vinyl.
Many of the brands in this article also produce other non-leather training gear, so we’ll add in some pointers on what to look for when you’re having a browse.
We’ve reviewed a number of items by Danger Equipment, so we’re familiar with Danger Equipment’s quality. Both their Evolution Sparring/Training Gloves and their Deluxe Ultimate Fighter Sparring Gloves are great examples to look into.
The majority of Danger Equipment’s equipment is made with Semi-Leather as opposed to real leather. Part of the reason is because the brand support People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and believe in avoiding animal products when alternatives are available.
What to look out for: Any Danger Equipment gear labelled ‘Semi-Leather’.
You can see all of our Danger Equipment reviews here.
Our Suggestion: Hayabusa Ikusa Charged Boxing Gloves (pictured right)
Hayabusa don’t use real leather for most of their gear, instead opting to use their engineered ‘VYLAR®-2’, an engineered leather which they claim performs better under extreme conditions than regular leather. We’ve done a bit of research, and while we can’t determine whether Hayabusa’s Vylar is 100% free of genuine leather, we do know that ‘engineered leather‘ is typically formed with less than 50% leather, using recycled materials, so they’re a far more sustainable material, so definitely deserves a space on the list.
We’ve previously tested out the Hayabusa Ikusa Charged Shin Guards which use the same material, and mentioned how sturdy and durable we found the material to be.
What to look out for: Any Hayabusa gear labelled ‘Vylar’.
You can see all of our Hayabusa reviews here.
Our Suggestion: Fairtex BGV14 Boxing Gloves (Japanese Wave Art design pictured right)
Fairtex are one of the leading Muay Thai brands, and as such, quality is a big factor in the production of their gloves. What many people don’t realise is that Fairtex produce a couple of glove designs made out of Microfiber, a strong synthetic leather made for long lasting durability, instead of leather. These gloves include the BGV11 F-Day gloves, and the beautiful BGV14 gloves, which come in a range of colours or even artistic designs.
We haven’t used Hayabusa’s Microfiber gloves long enough to write up a full review, however we have seen a pair hands on, and the material is definitely competitive with other brands such as Danger Equipment, who we mentioned earlier in this list.
What to look out for: Any Fairtex gear labelled ‘Microfiber’.
You can see all of our Fairtex reviews here.
Our Suggestion: Venum Challenger 2.0 Boxing gloves (pictured left)
Venum produce a large amount of their gloves with a synthetic leather they call ‘Skintex’. Many of Venum’s best selling gloves such as the Challenger 2.0 range, as well as their Elite range both use this material. Thankfully Venum’s gear won’t break the bank either, which is one of the reasons why Venum have become such a recognised name amongst the MMA community.
We reviewed the stylish Venum Challenger 2.0 Headgear a little while back, which is made with the same Skintex leather. Overall we rated it fairly positively, and found it to have quite a pleasant smooth texture.
What to look out for: Any Venum gear labelled ‘Skintex Leather’.
You can see all of our Venum reviews here.
Note: Since writing this article, Vehement have gone out of business. For other suggestions on some truly great artificial training equipment, see our Guide To Non-Leather/Vegan Boxing Gloves.
Vehement are the one brand on this list we haven’t had the chance to test out at all, however they’re one of the only brands who are proudly 100% vegan, as well as making a conscious effort to remain sweatshop-free. Vehement have quickly gathered interest from the Vegan community for their gear, which are produced with only organic materials. To top it off, Vehement state that for each item sold there will be a donation to the Wolf Conservation Center.
If you’re reading this list because you’re a strict Vegan, you’ll want to check out Vehement for sure.
What to look out for: All Vehement gear is proudly Vegan friendly.
So that’s about it. Hopefully this article has shed some light on some high quality options for anybody who prefers to avoid real leather.
If there are any products you think are worth a mention, or if you have experience with any of these gloves, help out your fellow fighters and drop a comment below!