Radius R1 MMA Sparring Glove Review
Radius are a company whose main purpose is to make Boxing, MMA, Kickboxing and other striking sports safer. They started when the founder Ryan Parsons was looking into methods of protecting the hands for fighters who suffer from severe pain while punching. After discovering a style of hand wrapping popular in the 60s and 70s where the padding sits just below the knuckle, they decided to take it further, experimenting with different materials to use as padding, until they found materials which offered the most protection. They then teamed up with Dr. Andy Galpin at the Center for Sport Performance at Cal State Fullerton to take a scientific look at the protection, and later worked alongside 20 UFC fighters to test them out even more. The end result was the Radius wrap and since then they’ve started to incorporate this technology into gloves – beginning with the R1 MMA Glove. Radius sent us a pair of their R1 MMA gloves to review and give our thoughts on.
If you’re interested, read a bit more about the back story behind Radius.
About the gloves
We’ve previously reviewed the Radius hand wraps, which as I’ve said above have some very well researched technology that’s all designed to give you maximum protection throwing punches. Radius have taken this technology and have incorporated it into the R1, aiming to provide an unprecedented level of protection not just for you, but for your sparring partner as well.
Available in only one colour – black with white trim and red decals – they come in sizes small through extra large.
Weight and distribution
I tested out a pair of the medium sized gloves, and while Radius haven’t listed a weight for them, we measured them as a little over 4oz, about the same as pro competition gloves which is perhaps a little light for training gloves, but Radius put this down to their innovative padding system, which includes a Radius bar similar to their wraps, making it safer to train with lighter gloves.
With these striking-specific MMA gloves the vast majority of the weight is over the top of the knuckles, to provide protection for both you and your partner during sparring or when you’re hitting the bag or pads. Comparatively the remainder of the glove is thin and light, with a pair of shaped, jointed thumb pads to allow free movement, and an inch and a half wide padded bar across the base of the hand to provide extra support. The remained of the glove is thin cow hide leather, allowing the glove flex with your fingers and still fit well.
With the majority of the weight at the knuckle end of these gloves radius have used a wrist strap that circles your wrist one and a half times, meaning it stays incredibly well anchored whilst you’re striking.
These gloves have a simple aesthetic; the body of the glove is deep black, with white trim round the whole of the glove, and the radius logo across the knuckles – printed so that your opponent can read it as you punch them. ‘Radius’ is also embossed across the pad that sits at the base of the hand, on the wrist joint, which adds a nice touch to the gloves without overcrowding them with white detailing.
These little touches mean that these gloves look great and you can see the thought that’s gone into the design of them. The one limiting feature with the aesthetics is the fact they’re only available in one colour, but that’s a tiny complaint, and there’s always potential for Radius to release additional colours.
Radius proudly boast that the gloves are make from 100% genuine cowhide leather, which should mean they’re durable and will stand up to more punishment than there artificial leather competitors. The inner lining of the gloves is all covered with a soft material, presumably the same as a lot of boxing gloves anti-bacterial, anti-sweat lining though the Radius website doesn’t mention anything about it. Either way it’s very comfortable and adds an extra layer of protection to your strikes. The only area not covered by this is the wrist strap which has been left as a strip of leather with Velcro stitched on, which actually gives a good impression about the quality of the cow hide leather, it seems very tough and durable.
These gloves appear to be put together very well, Radius seem to have used as few pieces of leather as possible (I believe one piece for the back in the hand and knuckles, one for the thumb and wrist loop, and a third for the wrist strap) meaning they’ve limited the number of major joints in the glove, which would be the first place I’d expect to see wear and tear. On the most part the double stitching seems to be high quality, however I have noticed a few stitches that have come loose, though nothing major.
The one area I feel could have been done slightly better is the joint between the thumb and wrist loop section and the back of the hand on the opposite side to the thumb. On the joint line there’s a strip of leather showing through, and the white edging of the glove isn’t very neat, which is only partially covered by the wrist loop. However this is a relatively small aesthetic problem which isn’t visible unless you’re looking at the palm of your hand and doesn’t seem to have affected the durability in the time I’ve been testing the gloves.
The soft inner lining on the R1’s is key to how comfortable they are – every area that’s in contact with the skin is padded out to prevent them pinching or rubbing. The one thing I found to be an issue was the finger rings that hold the padding on the knuckle in place, occasionally they can pull down and dig in between you fingers, but this becomes less of an issue the more broken in the gloves are, and the inner lining on them makes them very comfortable unless they’re forced down – such as when you’re blocking a strike. Other than this they’re a very comfortable pair of gloves, and I feel like I could train all day without them causing much in the way of discomfort.
I’ve tested these gloves on the bag and pads, along with a bit of sparring, and I’ve found they perform well in all areas. Hitting the bag and pads they give you enough protection that you can hammer in some heavy punches without hurting your hands, but you still get solid feedback from each connection. When you’re sparring they have enough protection that you don’t need to worry a hurting your partner despite the lightness of the glove – in fact Radius say that their patent pending padding technology actually reduces the risk of head trauma to your partner during sparring. In terms of grappling the gloves are flexible enough to allow free movement of the thumb and as your fingers are free you can get a solid grip, allowing you to practice the full spectrum of MMA.
Overall I rate these gloves highly as a solid training glove for any MMA fighter, and they’ve been a pleasure to train with.
Radius retail these the R1’s at $60, or £46. In my opinion this represents good value for money, the gloves are well made, from high quality materials and should last a long time. An intermediate fighter should consider these for a set of training gloves or a second pair that are suited to striking. However a beginner may want to consider buying a cheaper pair of gloves and upgrading to the radius gloves when they have decided that they want to stick with the the sport.
+ Extremely well padded
+ Good protection at a light weight (About 4oz)
+ High quality materials
– One joint could be better constructed
– Single colour choice
– Finger rings can pinch occasionally