Rival RS1 Pro Sparring Boxing Gloves (14oz) Review
Rival Boxing are a top boxing equipment producer, who are renowned for their innovative equipment designs. The brand is lead by the well known boxing trainer Russ Anber, and carries over his passion for the equipment, along with a goal to “reinvent the industry”. The brand currently have branches in Canada, the US and more recently the UK. More recently, the brand have been working heavily with Vasyl Lomachenko, even creating the colourful LOMA range.
About the gloves
The RS1 Pro Sparring Gloves have become one of Rival’s best known models, thanks to their unique design, as well as the fact that they’ve been used in training by top Pro boxers, such as Anthony Joshua, Tony Bellew and many others. These gloves are available in 14oz, 16oz and 18oz. The lack of smaller weights may annoy some people, but these are sparring gloves so the weight matches up with their intended purpose. The inclusion of an 18oz size is also a plus, as many brands only include up to 16oz. I decided to pick up a pair in 14oz.
Originally these gloves were available in 3 colours; Black, Red and Blue, although Rival have since released two new versions in Gold and Lime Green. The original selections are great choices that will easily match with the rest of your equipment, although we actually prefer the newer colours which add a bit more vibrancy and colour to your training kit, which is why I opted for a gold version.
These gloves are actually fairly heavy on visuals, and have a variety of graphics printed on. The back of the hand, thumb and the end of the fingers all have Rival branded designs, with an extra rubber logo stitched in to the bottom of the wrist. The ‘ErgoLace Track System’ logo on the top of the wrist does stand out a little on the gold version of the gloves, but does fit in a bit better on the other colour versions (most of which include the same orange shade in other parts of their designs).
Probably the biggest factor in the appearance of these gloves however is the way they’re built. The X-Lace track (which we’ll come back to later) makes the shape of these gloves look completely different from most other gloves on the market. Personally I think it looks pretty cool, even ignoring the functional reason behind it.
Below you can find our Fight Gear Focus video giving you a close-up, visual look at these Gloves. Make sure you check out the rest of the video series and Subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss any of our future videos.
Right so before we get into this section there is a clarification which needs to be made. The original three colours of these gloves are made with genuine leather, while the two newer colours are made with Rich PU. The Gold version we’ve been testing out is therefore the PU version. In theory this means that the leather versions will be even better quality than the gloves we’ve been using, but without trying both types we can’t say for sure.
So obviously it’s a little disappointing that there’s a compromise to get those brighter colours, however the Rich PU isn’t actually a bad material. With higher value gloves we tend to find that synthetic leathers are generally of a good quality, and these are a good example. Visually the PU looks like leather and is just as sturdy, however the surface is just a tiny bit plastic-feeling, and the material doesn’t quite seem to stretch around the edges of the padding quite as neatly as leather would.
After a bit of use I’ve also noticed the graphics – especially on the back of the hand – are starting to rub off slightly. While this can easily happen on leather gloves, I feel like it’s possible that this is happening quicker because of the materials used.
The wrist on the Rival RS1 makes them possibly one of my favourite lace-up gloves. The natural rounded shape of the wrist along with the secure fit of the X-Lace track means that you can get an incredibly secure fit around the wrist, even if you have skinnier wrists. The wrist stays slim all the way up to where the thumb is, which means that it feels like it matches the shape of your actual wrists and hands better than other gloves do.
The laces sit perfectly in the lace track, and can be tucked out of the way a little easier so that nothing sticks out. We recently got our hands on some Lace N Loop Straps (Check out our review), so I’ve been using those as a way to lace myself up, which still works just as well. Of course with the Lace N Loop straps you still get to make the most of the laces, and therefore the great fit from the X-Lace track.
The padding on these gloves is of a medium density, and doesn’t feel too bulky on the 14oz versions we’ve been testing. This results in a fairly compact feeling glove, which is great for slipping punches in gaps. They also have a fairly balanced feel and don’t feel too top-heavy like some bulkier gloves, which makes them feel really sharp to use.
While the gloves seem fairly compact, the hand compartments don’t feel too tight a fit. There’s some soft padding inside for comfort, but it doesn’t feel like it’s squeezing your hand in place. it’s clear that Rival wanted to give a great fit with the shape of the glove, rather than just squashing your hand in place with tight padding like some other brands.
So these Gloves cost £159.99 in the UK, $149.99 in the US and $149.99 in Canada. Those prices don’t match up exactly, so we’ll use the UK price to judge our experience. At £160, these are in no way cheap gloves. In fact they’re actually rather pricey, especially when you think about the fact that for just a little extra you could find yourself a completely custom boxing glove such as the iBox Customise gloves we had made. That said, the fit of these gloves is superb, and therefore are probably far more comfortable, and the gloves are generally superb all-round.
Looking to buy these?
+ Lace track helps get a nice, secure fit
+ nice rounded, snug fit around the wrist
+ Great design and visuals
– Visuals starting to wear off over time
– Gold and Green versions are not real leather
– Poor ventilation so need to be aired out well
This graphic is to illustrate the areas this product excels in, and is not intended for direct comparison to other reviews.