More women are trying — and succeeding in — boxing and other fighting styles. Considering hitting up your local ring? Go for it but make sure you have all the right gear first. Here’s our roundup of the best boxing gear for women
It goes without saying that martial arts are dangerous if you don’t take the proper precautions, and wearing the right gear is a huge part of that. The amount and kind of gear you need is going to depend on what kind of fighting you’re doing and how dedicated you are to it, so here’s your definitive guide on what to buy before your next class:
Even if you aren’t coming into contact with anyone during your classes, at some point you are going to have to hit something, whether that be Thai pads, focus mitts, or a heavy bag. Hitting lightly isn’t going to get you anywhere, so you need maximum protection for your hands.
Hitting lightly isn’t going to get you anywhere, so you need maximum protection for your hands.
Hand wraps are just bandage-like pieces of fabric you use to protect your hands and wrists underneath your gloves (gloves are less to protect your hands and more to soften the blow for the other guy). They keep your joints aligned and strengthen the soft tissue in your hands during impact. Basically, they’re vital.
As far as actually wrapping your hands goes, different boxers have different techniques. The best way to learn is to ask someone experienced at your gym if you can watch and follow along. There are plenty of tutorials online that you can learn from in your spare time, too.
It’s also important to wrap your hands according to your own body. If you know you have weak wrists, don’t wrap lightly or loosely there. Everyone’s hands need alignment in different places; for some it’s the knuckles, for some it’s the wrists and for some it’s even the thumbs. Find out where that spot is for you and pay attention to it when wrapping.
Since they’re basically scraps of fabric, hand wraps aren’t too pricey and there aren’t many benefits to picking one brand over another. It all comes down to personal preference; if you like canvas or elastic material, and if color selection is important to you. Just like most boxing gear, Everlast, Title and Sandee all have a solid selection. Just make sure you get 180-inch wraps so there’s plenty of material to cover your hands with.
Don’t worry about your wallet just yet; a majority of gyms will have a pair of gloves for you to borrow for your first couple of classes (just make sure you call your gym before you go to double-check) so you don’t have to commit before you’re sure you want to box for real.
If you are committing, congratulations! If you buy the right pair of gloves the first time around, you’re going to have a long and happy life together. I spent around £70 on my very first pair, which is the only pair I’ve ever bought; they’re five years old and feel practically new albeit the daily abuse I’ve put them through.
These, above everything, are what you should splurge on. Gloves are going to get much more of a beating than all your other equipment. It’s crucial to have a pair of that you can trust aren’t going to fall apart on you in two weeks (trust me, I’ve seen it happen) because they’re what you’re going to be using most.
Skip bag and sparring gloves and go straight for training gloves; they’re the ultimate multi-tasker. 16-ounce work for just about everyone.
Hyabusa’s 16-ounce training gloves have great weight distribution so your hands don’t feel too heavy.
You don’t need to buy one of these until you’re sparring — that is, actually fighting someone. When you do get there (and you will, it doesn’t take long with hard work) you will absolutely need one, though. Unless you’re going for that whole intimidating toothless look.
These are easy to find at your local sportswear store, and don’t differ much from brand to brand. Just make sure you form it to your mouth before you use it by popping it in boiling water for a couple minutes, biting down on it, then popping it back into cold water.
While most martial arts are barefoot, some old school boxing gyms might require shoes for the ring.
Considering the fact that boxing requires a lot of footwork, you want a shoe that’ll keep you rooted to the floor. Classics like the Lonsdale Swift Boxing Boots are lightweight, have soles designed to grip the boxing ring floor, and velcro straps provide solid ankle support.
If you’re planning on kicking another person, these are another important investment — shin bone on shin bone contact is obviously not pleasant.
I like to wear ones with adjustable straps, because the elastic ones are made for men with much bigger calves than mine. Twins make great velcro-strap guards that come in different sizes so you can assure they won’t slip off your leg mid-kick.
Muay Thai Shorts
This is where the fun really begins. If your fight style of choice is Muay Thai — kicking boxing, otherwise known as the ‘art of eight limbs’ — there a few quirks and traditions you’ll have to get accustomed to, one of them being the wardrobe. It’s custom to wear special Thai shorts when you’re training, similar to the traditional shiny and loose boxing shorts you’ve seen in the movies.
These are far flashier, however, and they’re often used as a form of personal expression. I’ve always been a fan of really bright, distracting shorts. When you’re one of few, if not the only girl in the ring, you get a lot of attention as it is, so I say why not? Have fun with it, just make sure to wear spandex shorts or leggings under them (gaping wide leg openings + legs in the air = a show for everyone).
Fairtex is the brand of choice among most, and they have a wide selection on their UK website.
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