Originally written April 2016. Updated February 2018.
If you’ve read our Brief History of Boxing article, you might know that Boxing gloves as we know them today were made a necessity under the Marquess of Queensberry rules in 1867. While most boxing gloves you’ll see today are made with Velcro (or Hook & Loop as it’s often referred to as), Velcro itself wasn’t even invented until around 70 years afterwards, and it’s use in boxing is a more recent transition.
As the years have gone by, Velcro gloves are now incredibly popular and if you take a look around any gym, you’ll tend to see most beginners will start with Velcro gloves.
So what’s best? Laces or Velcro? Well there are pros and cons of each type, and if you’re looking to buy a pair of boxing gloves, the decision comes down to a number of factors.
What to think about when choosing between Lace-up and Velcro
- What sort of budget are you looking at?
- Do you have someone to help you put your gloves on?
- Would you rather have a better fit, or be able to put the gloves on/off quickly?
- Are the gloves for training or fighting?
With those questions in mind, let’s take a look at each type.
Lace-Up Boxing Gloves
Lace up gloves are secured with a single lace crossing both sides, which are pulled tight and tied around the hand. For the most part lace-up gloves are similar, with the back of the wrist either flat, or ridged with extra padding.
The benefits of Lace-up gloves are that:
- They provide a close, secure fit around the wrist
- The wrists are usually padded which improves comfort
- They often have a longer cuff to fit the arm better
- The wrists usually feel more streamlined and less bulky compared to Velcro gloves
- With Laces there is no risk of Velcro scratching opponents
On the other hand there are a few drawbacks:
- They usually require the help of another person to lace up for you. This is usually fine in a gym or before a fight, but can be a pain when training alone
- They’re slower to put on and take off, so not ideal for shorter bursts of training
- Lace ends could cut opponents, so the gloves are usually taped up at the wrist when fighting
To get around the problem with not always having someone to lace up your gloves for you, some people opt to replace the laces in their training gloves with elasticated cord. Doing this doesn’t give anywhere near as nice a fit as standard laces do, but does mean you can stretch it to get your hands in and secured without anybody else’s help.
Velcro Boxing Gloves
Velcro gloves are secured with one or more straps of velcro, which wraps around the glove and pulls the two halves of the glove together. Velcro straps come in all shapes and sizes, with some brands even opting to use elasticated velcro straps, or featuring two overlapping straps for different fits.
The positives of Velcro gloves are:
- They’re are quick to put on and take off during training
- You can put on and take off the gloves without help
- There are a number of different fastening styles of velcro attachment, all of which have different levels of fit and support
- The strap itself can add an amount of support and protection
While on the negative side:
- The Velcro can sometimes scratch opponents
- Straps can sometimes be too long and leave velcro exposed
- Cheap Velcro can lose effectiveness over time and lose grip
- Wrist support and fit can vary dramatically
- Velcro Gloves usually have less padding around the wrist
Velcro gloves are really focused on ease of use. More and more people train alone now, so being able to glove up on your own is almost a must. They’re also favoured by beginners, as they work well with short training sessions, allowing you to take them off and put them back on again in seconds, not to mention the fact that they’re often much cheaper.
Hybrid Boxing Gloves
As well as lace-up gloves and velcro gloves, there’s also another type – Hybrid gloves. While not as common, there are a few of these gloves about now. Cleto Reyes Hybrid Training Gloves, Hayabusa Kanpeki Elite V-Lace Gloves and the 16oz Hayabusa Glory Training Gloves are all examples of hybrid training gloves. They try to incorporate both laces and Velcro for the best results. Unfortunately, while they maximise on fit and protection, you’ll still need someone to help with the laces, so you lose out on a lot of the convenience. It is still possible to just tuck in the laces instead and rely solely on the Velcro strap though, so you do have much more flexibility in how you secure your gloves.
If you’re wondering which type of gloves you should be using then it really comes down to two things; the type of activity you’re using your boxing gloves for, and your own personal preference. Before writing the post, we asked a few of our Twitter followers what type of boxing gloves they preferred.
So there you have it, our guide to Lace-up and Velcro boxing gloves. Which do you personally prefer to use in training? Let us know in the poll below and then tell us why in the comments!