Having quality boxing gloves is essential to not only protecting your own hands during striking but also your opponent too.

In general, it is suggested that leather is generally a better material to make boxing gloves out of. If you are in training frequently, or competing in semi-professional or even professional fights, getting the best boxing gloves possible for you is indispensable.

However, there are leather alternatives out there which are high-quality and can be used as a substitute. These types of materials are great if you don’t want to use leather- perhaps you are vegan- or even if you just prefer a synthetic material.

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Below is a breakdown of the different materials used in boxing gloves and which materials are best to use.

What’s the difference between leather and faux-leather?

There are always differences between leather and faux leather, and there are also pros and cons for both. However, it really does depend on your personal preference.

Leather is often made from animal hides such as cowhide, or even buffalo or oxen hides. However, faux leather is usually constructed from a plastic base and treated with wax, dye or even polyurethane which creates the colour as well as the smoother texture.

Cowhide leather for boxing gloves

With animal leather, each hide is genuinely unique. Cowhide leather often has individual characteristics which feature distinctive looks. However, faux leather is uniform as it is constructed synthetically.

With boxing gloves, cowhide leather can be more comfortable as it is highly durable as well as offering flexibility and control of odours and moisture too.

One of the greatest advantages of cowhide leather is it’s durability as stated above. Real animal leathers last for years and become damaged only after a substantial amount of wear.

What types of animal leather are there for boxing gloves?

There are a few different types of animal leather which are used to construct boxing gloves from.

Cowhide leather

As mentioned above, cowhide leather can be used for boxing gloves as it is a cheaper form of animal leather but is durable and flexible, perfect from constructing boxing gloves from.

Cowhide leather boxing gloves are readily available and offer flexibility as well as the control of odours and moisture too. This means that this material is perfect for making boxing gloves from.

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Buffalo Leather

Although this is a rarer type of leather to make boxing gloves from, it is also a great material to use. Buffalo leather is durable and is often courser than cowhide leather.

However, it is often seen as a lower grade of leather to use because the hair marks in the leather are more visible than in cowhide leather which can impact the overall look of the boxing gloves.

Metallic Leather Boxing Gloves

Over recent years the metallic colours of boxing gloves have become more and more popular.

So, what is metallic leather and how long does it last?

Metallic leather is very eye-catching and has a lovely shine, but it is not as durable as traditional leather. The leather is often thinner and over time of using the boxing gloves the metallic coating starts to peel off. The metallic gloves may be better for a fight or competition glove as they won’t be used as often as a training or sparring glove.

Watch the video below to see the process of how leather is made:

Faux Leather Boxing Gloves

One of the best selling points of faux leather boxing gloves- whether made from vinyl or other material- is the price. Oftentimes, faux leather is cheaper than leather as it is mass-produced.

However, faux leather is more rigid than leather boxing gloves which means that they are more inclined to crack and bend then leather which is flexible. This means that faux leather boxing gloves do not have the durability of animal leather boxing gloves and do not last as long.

What types of faux leather are there for boxing gloves?

Microfibre

This is quite a high-quality material to make boxing gloves from. It has a smoother texture than animal leather and features a durable finish. It is light and handles moisture quite well.

Vinyl

Vinyl boxing gloves are a popular alternative to animal leather. However, the durability of vinyl boxing gloves is compromised. With frequent use, vinyl boxing gloves are inclined to split. However, these boxing gloves are cheaper than leather as they are mass-produced and can be easily cleaned too.

Polyurethane (also known as PU)

The look of polyurethane gloves is great, however again much like it’s vinyl counterparts, polyurethane gloves will not last as long as animal leather gloves, unfortunately. These types of gloves are great for entry-level fighters and infrequent training. However, much like vinyl, odour build-up can be a problem alongside issues with moisture too.

Read our full article on ‘How long should boxing gloves last?’ here.