MMA gear has quickly become a big business. With the popularity waning in boxing and more and more fight fans switching their loyalties to the UFC and WEC, it is no wonder that sales of MMA gear and clothing have risen dramatically. Not only has the fan base increased but so have the people who enjoy participating in the sport. Most of the participants of course are amateurs and are receiving the benefits of a physical activity that has cardio and other health benefits and learning self defense at the same time. Very few are working towards the pros.
Since most of us are amateurs the question of gear can be tricky. You have joined the gym or club and you have signed up, your first day you might show up with a t-shirt and a pair of shorts. You quickly find out that the clothing is gear. There are rash guard shirts designed to minimize friction on the mats. There are shorts made for the movements of MMA. Then there is the matter of using the club's gloves. I don't know about you, but I have never really enjoyed putting on a pair of MMA gloves that hundreds of other people have worn. Now you are getting serious, you decide you really like it and start buying some of the shirts and shorts you see the others wearing. It is kind of easy, the brand names are plastered all over the clothing and from there it is a matter of taste. Gloves on the other hand (forgive the pun) are another matter.
There are several factors that have to be weighed out before jumping in and possibly making the wrong purchase. You have to consider the style of gloves, the purpose for the gloves, the brand and finally the price. If you are reading this article I am going to assume that you are not an expert yet, and so we will cover the basics.
First the style. There are several types of gloves, which also leads to the purpose for the glove. Let's start with bag gloves. These are primarily designed for working out with the speed bag, they are light weight and tough. Not much padding in the knuckle area and most people use hand wraps with these gloves. You can use them to hit the speed ball as well and there are bag gloves designed just for the heavy bag. Then we have training gloves, they are used for training as the name implies. The design is basically a glove used for boxing, and they work well for training in MMA as well and are constructed a little differently than a glove that is sanctioned for an actual fight.. I wear them to hit the focus mitts with a partner, hitting the heavy bags, sparring and even shadow boxing. Something to consider here is weight. I prefer a heavier training glove. When you train with a heavy glove you are building the muscles in the shoulders, next to the leg muscles these are the muscles that will be strained most during a stand up fight. If you spar or plan on competing this is a great way to train. And finally, grappling gloves; this is the glove that many people refer to as an MMA glove. They were designed for the earlier competitions such as Vale Tudo and shoot fighting and are used today in most MMA matches. The gloves give your hands more freedom for grappling and provide some padding for striking. The padding is sufficient enough to minimize the damage to the hand and provides some protection for your opponent, but not much. In my opinion these gloves are really only for those who are seriously considering competing. Having said that your club or gym may still require that you use them in training. Lastly there is a new hybrid glove, a combination training and grappling glove.
So now you that have decided on style, we come to brand. There are a lot of excellent brands out there and it can be confusing. Let's take names like Everlast and Title, most of you are familiar with the name Everlast. Everlast and Title have been around a long time and are big names in the boxing game. Both Everlast and Title anticipated the surge in popularity of MMA and have done a great job of making the transition. Since they have been trusted names in boxing the switch was natural for them and their products are sound. There are some newer brands too, like Hayabusa. Hayabusa makes a lot of products but may be best known for motorcycle gear. This was a natural market for them as well. A lot of the same technology that goes into protecting motorcyclists goes into the manufacture of an MMA glove.
Lastly there is the matter of price. No small matter. Gloves are an investment, and the right pair can last you years of heavy wear. The prices range from around $20 up to about $100. Quite a range!
Now that you have a little more info, this should help you make a good purchase and I have two more suggestions. First, ask your instructor (some gyms will suggest the gear that they carry in stock, usually there is a small mark-up and you may want to purchase from them, it is a good way to help support your gym) or training partners what they think. Then shop around. Whamoozle.com has a good site with a large selection of brands, styles and prices. The best thing about their site is that you can search by brand, style, price, best sellers or cutomer reviews. The reviews are big help, covering the pros and cons of some of the gloves. The reviews can usually be trusted. The customers can only write a review if they have made a purchase and have an active account at Whamoozle.com. This helps keep the competing brands from writing their own reviews. And there is usually more than one review on many of the products. What you learn from reading the reviews, is if the gloves perform well for their specific purpose, and if they are comfortable and durable.
I hope this article was helpful, and have fun! MMA training is a great way to meet people and get in shape fast.