We use them every time we go training and rely on the protection they offer to not damage our hands when we’re hitting pads (or the odd face or two), but how many times have you stopped to think about what’s giving you that protection?
Most people know that boxing gloves are made of either animal leather or some kind of synthetic variation and curiosity might have led you to to take a look inside the glove to check out the lining, but the vast majority of us haven’t taken a knife to our gloves to check out what’s going on under the leather. This article will quickly cover the more common options that manufacturers use, and what benefits they have!
Horse Hair Padding
Traditionally boxing gloves were stuffed with horse hair for padding. This has mostly fallen out of fashion and been replaced with more modern, foam based materials though a few brands, such as Cleto Reyes, still use it in their gloves (although it’s worth noting they typically use quilted horse hair and some form of foam padding, so really it’s a hybrid of the two options). Horse hair gloves are seen as ‘punchers gloves’ – the padding is typically harder and more of the force of the strike is transferred to your opponent. The downside to this is that the protection it offers your hands is reduced and the risk of injury goes up, so even if they prefer horse hair gloves for fighting a lot of boxers prefer a more modern padding for their training gloves.
At present most boxing gloves utilise some form of foam padding for their products. This typically falls into either layered foam or injection moulded foam. Injection moulded foam, exactly like the name would suggest, is moulded into the shape of the boxing glove and helps add shape to the glove. The padding depends on how the manufacturer decides to make the mould and the level of protection is dependent on what type of foam they chose to use, though there may be limits on what types of foam can be used to make the products. Layered foam gives a bit more variability to the protection – for instance the manufacturer could decide to use different types of foam for different areas of the glove (a higher density foam on the knuckles compared to the back of the hand for example) or add extra layers to high impact areas. The downside of the layered options is that they typically don’t add to the structure of the glove and instead rely on the leather and stitching to hold everything in shape.
Some brands opt to go for a gel rather than a foam padding. Gel padding is less common, but is meant to dissipate impacts more evenly throughout the glove which can improve protection. However, some people feel that, as gel moves to disperse impact it can reduce the stability of your wrist on impact and can lead to a higher risk of injury.
Do you consider what type of padding you’re getting when you buy your gloves? What’s your preference? Let us know in the comments!