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The Evolution of Padding in Boxing Gloves

boxing gloves

Remember Gladiator? The Russell Crowe box office blockbuster showing the deadly ancient Roman sport that once a solider-turned-slave had to play in order to earn his freedom? Well, most of us remember the history of almost all sports from movies such as these. But do you ever wonder how the boxing evolved into the modern sport that it is today?

History, history!

The boxing bout of today is not even half as deadly as it used to be when it began. The reason, well, it was as regulated as it is as of today. The fighters even had a bare-knuckle covering over their hands, often made out of leather patches dipped in a special liquid. If you have ever been in the ring, fighting as a pro, you must be much well aware of the intensity of the blow with an 8oz padded boxing glove  – Imagine the impact of a bare fist on both the giving and receiving end of opposition.

Until the Marquis of Queensland took over the rules for the combat sport which had been more of a prize-fight, the padded variation of the gloves was used only for sparring out of the fighting ring. Uh uh, don’t imagine them to have looked like the sleek and sporty boxing gloves you see today. It was just pillow-like padding added over a regular leather glove.

The gory-ness of the fight initially was such that even the leather coverings had to be tanned into natural leather color to cover up the visibility of blood on them. (Shudders!)

As the fighting techniques became more sophisticated and regularized, the fighting gear evolved as well with the fancy, hi-tech padded boxing gloves replacing the mere leather sheets used in olden times.

What all did Change?

Well, almost everything. From the size of the glove, to the materials used. Even after the boxing gloves had replaced mere leather sheets, small and rather thin gloves were used for fighting in the ring, the cushioned variety was limited to sparring only. The filling ranged from horse hair to cotton to foam, eventually landing on the synthetic foam that we see filled as the boxing glove padding in the modern gear.

Padding material

Horse hair? Really? Isn’t that a winner then? You see, however competitive it might sound as a game and however much you must be craving to climb up that ladder to glory, boxing is not only about beating the opponent to death. Which is why, the modern boxing fights are regulated from several perspectives even for the world championships. Your gear, the boxing glove, must not only knock out the opponent, but also protect you hand enough for the long run. Remember, your path to glory is not one fight but a series based on skill and strategy rather than force alone.

So while the horsehair padding was great to land your enemy the punch he’d remember a lifetime, the blow was a possible threat to your own hand for a long term injury too. No, these are not still out of production, some brands do pride themselves in making these real fighting gloves.

The modern foam padding is a combination of latex and PVC foam, meant to absorb shock better than any of the earlier variations of fillings used over time. The versatility of this padding is inherent in the fact the quantity can be managed by the purpose of the use and still be a safer option than the alternatives from the history. Plus, the former category was known.

Glove Stiffness

We always talk about the purpose or objective of boxing when talking about gloves. Rightly so, the objective determines the right type of glove to be on your shopping list. The ounces is not the only metric to know your glove. Rather they can be easily categorized in terms of their stiffness.

  • Super Soft: Ideal padding type for the sparring sessions, best to protect both the trainee and the partner during the training. The multi-layer foam filling allows for the boxing glove to give you the comfort to practice your technique and perfect the skill during those pre-fight sessions. You don’t want to use these for any intense forms of training though, however high the quality of padding may be – just avoid the risk of hurting your hand.
  • Medium Soft: This all-rounder is best suited to bag work, pad work as well as sparring. The key feature is its stiffness to ensure just the right amount of impact coupled with safety against the blows. For heavy bag work though, we recommend another variety, coming right up.
  • Medium Hard: Your soul mate padding type for heavy bag work! When you’re raising the intensity of your training, this padding would ensure that the shock is evenly distributed across the hand surface and doesn’t wear out with those repeated blows on the hardest of bags.

Just for that question in your head, these options with Infinitude, all customizable to your liking. Especially if you’re in search of Harrier Swift boxing glove with different padding options, Infinitude is the place to be. Customize the range to your liking, sift through color options, logos, flags, and let those gloves speak your personality! No kidding about the express speed of delivery for the entire custom boxing gloves ranges too! Up for grabs here

How to fit and break into my new boxing gloves?

Consider this a bonus section, will you? No matter what stage of boxing you are at, what your goal is you must know that even the finest leather gloves set with the highest quality padding would take its time to settle to your hands. What might initially feel like a seamless fit, would need a few careful measures to ensure that your purchase sets well on those fists waiting to hit the opponent. The synthetic variety isn’t as hard to get through with this. But then the longevity and experience with a leather variation is no match for the synthetic variety.  Just a few basic steps to remember

  • Squeeze the padding around with your hands, but use a balanced touch instead of trying to break it too much
  • Let that padding adjust within the gloves with a few rather light hits, maybe during a couple of sessions of light sparring
  • Do some punching against light punching bags to allow the padding to set evenly; word of caution the padding must not harden after a few sessions, it’s a test of quality for the shopping you’ve done.

This said, avoid any inappropriate measures like moistening the gloves or hitting against too hard a surface like a wall or to give them a wash in the machine – this would only destroy your new gear instead of helping you break into them.

Found this article useful? Let us know the padding in boxing gloves has helped you through your learning as a boxer?  We would love to have the insights from you.

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