Boxing Gloves

What are Boxing Gloves Made Of?

Humans are born to compete, survival of the fittest is deep-rooted in our DNA. Challenging a mate for a dual for entertainment or for sport has remained a part of human civilization for millennia.  Modern-day Ethiopia shows traces of the sport from 6,000 years ago.

Fist fighting or modern-day boxing has been criticized for its brutal tendencies, with active lobbies trying to either limit or ban it completely. The debate is as old as the sport. To partly curb the social outcry and in acknowledgement of the fragility of the human body, tools of defense were developed to be used in the sport. The oldest and the least altered of these has been the boxing glove.

History

Earliest, strips of hardened leather – cestus, were used in Olympics in 688 B.C., for protection. Making it arguably the first form of protection glove. Evidently, English champion Jack Broughton is considered the inventor of the modern boxing glove. His version was called ‘mufflers’, primarily used to practice boxing without delivering serious damage.

In 1867, London Amateur Athletic Club, published the ‘Marquis of Queensberry Rules’ stating; “The gloves to be fair-sized boxing gloves of the best quality, and new.” The gloves weren’t still normalized, that is until, World Heavyweight Champion from 1882-1892, John L. Sullivan popularized the wearing of gloves in his public bouts.

Buy Boxing Gloves – The Niche

Buying boxing gloves is an experience. The types, the array of colors, brands and styles of boxing gloves are plenty to choose from. Buyers of the gloves are often interested in the intriguing stories of how they are made. From leather to the finished product, the entire production process of high-quality gloves involves several stages, all in a refined mechanism to deliver a fine product to grace the boxing arena.

Boxing Gloves Price

In regards to the prices, boxing gloves price varies between $80 to $500, whereas a decent pair could be bought in $100.

Raw Materials

Boxing gloves are made from top grain tan leather, mainly cowhide or goatskin is used, for their durability and flexibility. Gloves usually are machine stitched but higher quality fighting gloves are hand-stitched with nylon thread. The padding is often high-density polyurethane or horsehair.

Design

An effective boxing glove should be able to absorb energy by compressing. The more it can compresses, the more energy it can absorb. The primary design focus for a boxing glove is its padding. Attaining the balance in padding compression is the key. If padding compresses too much it renders its purpose useless, becoming only a thin layer of otherwise dense material. To counter this, boxing gloves are made in different weights to suit different weight classes. A glove’s weight is adjusted by adding or removing the layers of padding.

Other design criteria stem from rules and regulations of sanctioning bodies.

The Manufacturing Process

Patterns and Cutting

Assembling, stitching and cutting for boxing gloves is all done by hand. The manufacturing process begins with a pattern of individual pieces. The basic pieces for a glove are the palm, cut and slit down the middle, the knuckle area, generally made from a single piece of leather, avoiding seams. The thumb portion is made from, two halves. Lastly, the cuff, a long strip of leather.

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Boxing Gloves USA – Process

  1. Leather is received in large pieces and is spread out on cutting tables with the patterns placed on it, arranged to minimize waste. The tracing of patterns is then done on the leather and the pieces are cut with large scissors. Same cuts are made on the lining material and pieces are cut from it.

Assembly and Stitching

  1. The leather sleeve of the glove is sewn inside out first. Stitching is done on a sewing machine with the smaller pieces sewn on by hand. The higher quality gloves are stitched by hand with double stitching throughout the gloves, to increase durability.
  2. The lining pieces are then stitched on to the assembled piece, then the palm of the gloves is stuffed with padding. Same process is repeated with the thumb pieces and then it is stitched on to the glove.

Stuffing the Glove

  1. The glove pattern is then put on the padding material and the padding is cut accordingly. The padding pieces could also be cut and stored beforehand for assembly, if the product is mass-produced.
  2. The cut pieces of padding are put in layers in desired thickness and stuffed between the knuckle area and its lining.

Finishing the Glove

  1. The cuff is the last piece to be sewed on the glove. The cuff and its lining are stitched together, and the piece is then stuffed.
  2. The cuff piece is then stitched on the rest of the glove piece, closing all openings and sealing the padding.

Types of Gloves

  1. For the lace gloves, a set template is put on the opening of the glove’s underside, the holes are punched, with each hole reinforced by stitching.
  2. In hook and loop gloves, the loop is stitched on the outside of the cuff with the hook being stitched on to the opposite side.
  3. The assembly ends with the logo and labels of the manufacturer and sanctioning bodies being sewn on the back of the cuff and the gloves are packed for shipping.

The Future

The gloves have hardly changed in appearance and feel since beginning of their use. Today, gloves have more padding compared to their predecessors, but overall hardly anything has changed. The Boxing as sport and as community is resilient to change and regulation. However, the modern gloves have succeeded in becoming heavily padded, with the padding material getting more resilient thus ensuring added protection.