By Bryanna Fissori
Take a minute to enjoy that fresh smell of new boxing gloves. Without proper care, it will not last long. With some conscious effort, you may be able to keep your boxing gloves from smelling. Here are some tips to avoid being the “stinky glove person.”
Wash Your Hands
It sounds simple enough, and possibly even irrelevant given that you are about to get super sweaty. Hands carry a lot of bacteria, and though it may not seem like a big deal now when that bacteria is introduced to the awesome environment of a hot and sweaty glove, they flourish in odorific ways. Keeping a travel size bottle of hand sanitizer is a quick way to help keep your gloves boxing gloves from smelling as a precaution before you even put them on.
Before we even get to gloves, let’s address wraps. If you think you are too tough for wraps, we assure you are not. Not only do wraps provide crucial protection for the hand and wrist, they also serve sanitary purposes. Think about a pair of shoes that is repeatedly worn without socks. Ewww… That smell is hard to get rid of and the same can be said of gloves worn without wraps.
Like feet, hands also sweat and profusely so during any intense boxing class. Wraps help to soak up a lot of that sweat and are much easier to wash than gloves. They can easily be thrown in the washing machine with the rest of your workout clothes. If using traditional cloth wraps, in order to keep them from getting tangled you can purchase small mesh bags that allow the wraps to get fully cleaned without strangling the rest of your clothes.
Once your gloves get stinky it is hard to go back, so pay heed to the warning. Air your gloves out before they are past the point of no return.
The moisture in the gloves is the biggest contributor to smell because it provides a great environment for bacteria to breed. Ensuring that gloves are fully dried out between workouts is crucial. The keys to achieving dry gloves without too much time consumption is to take them out of your gym bag as soon as humanly possible. If you can avoid even putting them back in your gym bag, that is even better chance that you can keep your boxing gloves from smelling.
Folding the Velcro back so that the glove is as open as possible will also be very helpful. Hanging them up in an open area with a lot of airflow is also ideal. You may even stuff them with newspaper to help soak up the sweat.
Tricks of the Trade
There are some tricks that may help reduce smell and keep those gloves fresh and clean. They take a little more of a conscious effort, but if you have high-quality gloves that you aren’t looking to replace any time soon, you may want to take notes.
Vinegar and Water Spay
First of all, the fun smelling stuff like Fabreeze or body spray may seem like a great idea in the moment, but it does not address the underlying bacteria and it may cause the fabric of the glove to harden and crack. Using a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar has been used for decades to get rid of smell and bacteria. Either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar would be appropriate. Put the mixture in a spray bottle so that it is easily available for multiple uses. Spray your magic potion on both the inside and outside of the glove. Wipe it down and air it out. Vinegar is also a great additive to your laundry when washing stinky gym clothes.
Known universally for its odor-killing power, a sprinkle of baking soda in you DRY gloves should help alleviate some of the remaining odor. Let the powder sit for a couple of hours and then remove by holding the gloves with the open side down and clapping them together.
They will not do anything to assist in the drying process, but they will make your dry gloves smell fresh and clean. You may wipe out the glove with a dryer sheet or just leave one in each glove. This method of odor mitigation can be paired with any of the other tips we have given to help keep your boxing gloves from smelling.
Take a pair of clean socks and stuff them with cedar chips like the kind that can be used for smoking food or for animal bedding. Tie the socks at the end and stuff one in each glove. Not only do they smell great but they help soak up moisture and bacteria.
By Bryanna Fissori
Choosing Boxing Gloves
There are a number of things to take into consideration when choosing a pair of boxing gloves. Not all gloves are built alike. Here are some tips on what to take into consideration:
Weight of the Glove
Boxing gloves can weigh anywhere from 8 to 20 ounces. That is a pretty big variance. The difference in weight is to account for the size of the person and what the gloves will be used for.
A heavyweight professional boxer may choose to train in 18 to 20-ounce gloves, but that is over a pound of weight on each hand, and not fitting for the average person. On that same note, that heavyweight may not even be able to physically get his hand into a 10 or 12-ounce glove.
When choosing a glove size, make sure that you are physically able to carry the weight of the glove. An average female, new to the sport will probably be just fine in 10-ounce gloves or even 12 ounces. That should provide enough weight for resistance and protection, but not be so heavy that technique fails.
Use of the Glove
Again, most fitness classes will be primarily working on the heavy bag, though this is not always the case. If your class incorporates partner drills or defensive work, larger gloves or a different type of glove may be required.
A larger size glove will provide additional protection for both you and your partner. For an average size female 14-ounce gloves may be sufficient, but as a general rule, most boxing clubs that allow sparring will require gloves to be at least 16 ounces for all genders.
Type of Glove
Though they may all look virtually the same to the untrained eye, there are subtle differences in glove styles that make them more or less appropriate depending on use. In general, gloves with a Velcro closure, also called “hook & loop” are best fit for anything except competition. Competition gloves typically lace up like shoes but take significantly more time and assistance to get on and off. Choosing boxing gloves for your style of training is important.
- Classic Bag Gloves: Used for light bag work. There is less padding and protection. Sometimes the thumb is not covered. These are only recommended for very light work and not power punching.
- Modern Bag Gloves: These new versions look more similar to standard training gloves, providing more writs and knuckle support, but not enough to be appropriate for intense partner work.
- Sparring Gloves: The name says it. These gloves are meant for impacting someone’s face. They are usually a bit larger than other types of gloves and this is primarily for added protection to both the offensive and defensive partner.
- Training Gloves: An all-purpose piece of equipment, training gloves are a good way to go, especially if you are in a class that does both bag work and partner drills.
- Muay Thai/Kickboxing Gloves: In all honesty, these gloves usually have cooler designs. Thai fighters are known for wearing bright flashy colors, so the designs are usually pretty cool. One of the main differences in gloves made for these sports (that also involve kicking) is that they are often shaped to provide additional hand flexibility. This is necessary given that these sports allow clinching with the hand and catching/blocking kicks.
- MMA Gloves: These gloves are obviously different because they are small and all of the fingers are exposed. They are not recommended for boxing training unless you want very sore knuckles and possibly a jammed finger
Color and Design
Yes, it is important to find a pair of gloves that you think look super cool. Everyone has their own style and being able to rock a pair of sweet bright pink or tiger striped gloves just might be what it takes to keep you motivated. A quick online search using keywords like “blood splattered boxing gloves” or “butterfly boxing gloves” should give you some cool options. Just don’t forget to keep all of the other factors in mind when choosing boxing gloves.
More Training and Conditioning
By Bryanna Fissori
Though boxing is not one of those sports that requires a ton of expensive equipment (snowboarding, golf, football) you will need a few things to properly participate. Here is the list of boxing equipment that you will probably want to pick up.
The most important piece of boxing equipment is boxing gloves. Unless you are doing a straight choreographed cardio class, you are going to need gloves. There are two different “types” of gloves that can be used for boxing when you aren’t actually hitting someone. Either will work fine for hitting objects rather than a live person.
These are gloves that have just enough padding to protect your hands as you hit the heavy bag. They are typically lighter weight (between 6 and 10 ounces) and often do not have protection over the thumb or other areas that would not normally take impact so long as punch placement is controlled.
Regular sparring or training gloves provide full protection and can also be used with a human partner. They have increased support in important areas like the knuckles and wrist. They are often heavier than bag gloves (between 10 and 16 ounces), which are important to protect yourself and your partner, but they will work fine in a fitness class as well.
The full long lace-up competition gloves are not recommended mostly because they will take forever to get on and off and may just be general overkill for a fitness class.
These are long cloth wraps that cover primarily the knuckles and wrists. This helps prevent scrapes or bruises over the knuckles and also supports the wrists when hitting the bag. Wrist support is often underrated. A punch thrown at an awkward angle can certainly result in injury and strong wrist support helps to alleviate that risk.
“Quick wraps” may also be used in place of cloth wraps. These just slip over the hand like weight gloves. They also provide protection in the same areas as cloth wraps. There are several different brands that carry this style though they may differ in materials used. Most have gel or foam cushion over the knuckles with either a polyester/elastic or neoprene glove base. Make sure when using quick wraps, that the wrist is still properly supported.
Optional Equipment for Fitness Boxing:
Each facility differs on their shoe policy, usually pending what type of flooring they have. A boxing gym that has canvas mats will certainly require shoes. For fitness boxing wearing regular athletic shoes would be appropriate. They need to have minimal tread. Running shoes would be fine, but hiking shoes would not. The shoes need to allow for sharp pivoting movement without feeling heavy or stuck to the floor. Shoes are a necessary piece of boxing equipment when competing. There are shoes specifically made for boxing. They come up higher over the ankle for support and have appropriate grip for a boxing ring. Even competitors often substitute wrestling shoes for boxing shoes.
If you are doing work with a partner such as holding focus mitts or doing drills, it is a good idea to have a mouth guard in. This piece of boxing equipment protects your teeth and your brain should you accidentally, or purposefully take impact to the face or head. If you are only doing bag work this should not be necessary.
Jumping rope is a traditional way to warm up in most boxing gyms. It promotes proper foot movement by keeping you off your heels, cardio training and coordination. Even if your gym does not require jumping rope as part of the class routine, it’s a great addition to boxing training at all levels.