A Beginner’s Guide to Essential Boxing Equipment

Boxing is one of the best sports that you can pick up for fitness and enjoyment. Since boxing does require equipment and gear to effectively train it, I looked into what you really need to get started as a beginner in boxing.

Beginners’ boxing equipment should include essentials like boxing shoes and protective gear like hand wraps and gloves. If you plan to train at a home gym you may also need to buy and install a heavy bag. Other items like headgear, groin protection, and a mouth guard are needed for sparring.

This article discusses the different equipment you need when you start boxing. We will discuss what you really need, how much they cost, and how to care for your equipment and gear.

What Equipment Do I Need To Pick Up Boxing?

The bare minimum equipment you need to pick up for boxing includes boxing shoes, gloves, and hand wraps. You will also need a heavy bag if you train at home and not at a gym.

Here’s a list of equipment you’ll need if you’re training with a heavy bag:

  • Hand wraps
  • Bag gloves 
  • Heavy bag

Here’s what you’ll need if you’re training with a partner (although you will use most of the protective gear much later once you’ve progressed in your skills):

  • Headgear
  • Mouthguard
  • Sparring gloves
  • Groin protector

Do Boxing Shoes Make a Difference?

Boxing shoes make a big difference in boxing. The grip and comfort of boxing shoes allow you to be more precise with your footwork and allow you to execute better during training. Boxing shoes allow traction and movement in all directions, unlike normal athletic shoes that only grip toe to heel.

Most people start boxing with other athletic shoes assuming that they work well in the boxing ring. However, buying and wearing a good set of boxing shoes is one of the easiest ways to improve your boxing experience and performance as a beginner. 

A good pair will improve your comfort, mobility, speed, and power. They’ll also help you master boxing positions and stances while you move like a pro in the ring. 

Boxing shoes have a good grip and prevent you from slipping and injuring yourself when training. Your feet will feel much lighter and have more support as you jump around in the boxing ring.

How Should Boxing Shoes Fit?

Your boxing shoes should fit like regular shoes. To get a pair that fits well, check the reviews of the brand you want to buy. Better still, you can go to a retail location near you that sells boxing shoes and fit the shoes before buying. 

The boxing shoes should fit the form of your feet. They should support your ankles and lower shin to prevent injury when training. They should be comfortable, not too loose or too tight. 

You should be able to tie the shoelaces snugly to best protect your foot and allow effective movement.

Boxing shoes are higher than other athletic shoes to help support your ankles and allow you to move more smoothly. Most brands are made from lightweight materials that’s sweat-absorbent. This helps you keep your feet cool if you’re wearing socks or ankle wraps. 

Are Boxing Shoes Flat?

Boxing shoes are flat to offer your feet comfort and stability when training. They have a different shape and weight from other athletic shoes, especially those designed for outdoor games. The boxing shoes have a slightly raised heel to support your foot’s form. 

Boxing shoes also have a firm sole with a good grip to prevent you from slipping when in action. They feel flatter than typical shoes. 

Cheapest Boxing Shoe Recommendation

Some of the best boxing shoes are made by reputable brands like Nike and Adidas. However, if you’re working on a budget or just don’t feel you should go for the more expensive brands, you can choose a cheaper option. After all, you don’t want to invest so much into something if it turns out that you won’t pursue boxing over the long term.

Wrestling shoes and boxing shoes have a lot in common in terms of construction and ability to move smoothly. If you already own decent wrestling shoes just wear those at the beginning.

One of the best quality value options is the Ringside Diablo Boxing Shoes. This brand comes with a breathable fabric and a modern design. It’s lightweight and appropriate for all types of boxing training. The shoe is a low-top design and increases your agility for movement and speed. 

It’s also great for boxers with wide feet and offers more comfort. Other features of this brand include:

  • Durable grip for better performance
  • Comes in lots of fun colors
  • Unisex

The only downside to this brand is that it’s not always true to size and should be ordered a half size smaller.

Can Boxers Fight Barefoot?

Boxers cannot fight barefoot in a competition. But even during training, fighting barefoot is not recommended because it changes footwork and movement. Over time the rules have changed to mandate appropriate footwear.

If you’re training in a boxing ring, you must wear shoes. 

Currently, all boxers are required to wear appropriate footwear in the ring. Furthermore, if you don’t wear shoes in the ring, you risk getting hurt.

Are Hand Wraps Important?

Hand wraps are an important part of boxing, especially if you are a beginner. Aside from adding comfort, properly wrapping your hands protects your hands from injury. This happens because properly wrapped hands protect your hands from impacts as well as support your wrist joint.

Your hands need as much cushioning as possible to keep them safe. If you’re training with a heavy bag, your hands will be making high-impact punches. These could be painful and damaging to your hands.

Hand wraps also provide your wrists extra support and stability when throwing power punches. If you hurt your wrists, you’d have to be away from the ring until it heals. 

The best hand wraps are made from cotton and are durable. They also have good stretchability and offer you comfort. They protect your gloves from becoming all sweaty and smelly when you train. 

How Do You Use Boxing Hand Wraps for Beginners?

You should use boxing hand wraps for beginners by wrapping them around your wrists, fingers, and knuckles. Finish the process by wrapping them to your wrist with closure. You can use this process for both hands.

Here are the simple steps to using hand wraps effectively:

  1. Wrap the material around your wrist.
  2. Wrap it around all fingers, starting with the space between the ring finger and your pinky. 
  3. After wrapping all your fingers, wrap your knuckles three times each. 
  4. Cross the wrap back to your wrist and wrap it three more times. 
  5. Finish and secure the wrap to your wrist with closure. 
  6. Repeat the process on the other hand. 

You should get used to this process in the first one or two weeks of training. However, if you can’t get it right, ask your trainer or partner to help you with the process until you master it. 

Can You Use Boxing Hand Wraps More Than Once?

You can use hand wraps more than once. The wraps are reusable, and most brands include this feature in their descriptions. However, you need to clean the hand wraps after every use. 

Note that hand wraps are in direct contact with your hands when you train and absorb most sweat and dirt. Therefore, they’re a breeding ground for bacteria and odor. 

How To Care for Boxing Hand Wraps

Your boxing hand wraps are in constant contact with your hands. They absorb sweat and dirt, making them a breeding ground for bacteria. If you don’t clean the hand wraps regularly, you could have an infection or be walking around with an odor in your gym bag. 

Here are different ways you can care for your hand wraps.

  • Quickly clean after every use. Your hand wraps become smelly and sweaty immediately after you start using them. Clean them as soon as possible because the smell worsens if you take a long time. 
  • Clean with warm water and rinse in the shower or on the sink. You can use simple hand soap to wash your hand wraps in the shower or sink, but it’s not always necessary. But if you use soap, rinse the wraps well to remove excess soap and save yourself from irritation caused by a mixture of sweat and soap.
  • Always air-dry your hand wraps by hanging them or laying them on a towel to dry. Don’t put them in the dryer because the heat will damage the plastic velcro and the fabric may shrink and deform.
  • If you put the hand wraps on a towel to dry, keep turning them every few hours so they dry on all sides. Alternatively, hang them on the bathroom door or shower curtain rod.
  • Spray your hand wraps with quality cleaning spray. This will help remove any lingering odors. Always use natural sprays that won’t harm your skin. 

Can You Put Boxing Hand Wraps in a Washing Machine?

You can clean your hand wraps in a washing machine. It is a quicker and more efficient way of removing the dirt and bacteria on your hand wraps. However, be careful with the wraps when washing them in a washing machine. Clean your hand wraps in a washing machine every three to five uses. 

Here’s a video that describes how you should wash your boxing hand wraps in a washing machine:

You need to hook the velcro strap on itself before running it in the machine. This will help protect the other clothes in the machine from being pulled by the hook. It’ll also protect your hand wraps from unnecessary wear and tear. 

Wash the hand wraps in a delicate garment bag. The wraps will become a messy, tangled mess if you don’t. You can use a pillowcase instead of a garment bag. 

Use a sports apparel detergent for your hand wraps. You should also wash them in a cold cycle to prevent shrinkage and wear and tear. A good detergent will remove all the sweat and odor.

Don’t dry your hand wraps in the dryer, and wait until they’re completely dry before you store them. 

Why Are Boxing Gloves Necessary?

Boxing gloves are necessary since they act as protective gear to protect your hands from injuries. Protecting your hands is an important part of longevity when it comes to boxing. Therefore, you need to protect them when you’re training in the boxing ring. 

Another significant benefit of boxing gloves is that they help protect the face, head, and body of the person you’re fighting.

Boxing gloves reduce the amount of damage you can inflict on your opponent, which helps protect their health and safety. They also help prevent cuts to the face by spreading force into a larger area, reducing the likelihood of force being concentrated enough to form cuts.

Boxing gloves are a vital part of this training. By using them, you’ll be able to build the necessary strength and hand-eye coordination required to execute punches without causing injury.

What Oz Boxing Gloves Are Best?

The best glove weight depends on the application, sparring, bag work, and competition standards. There are 6 oz to 25 oz (170 to 709 grams) gloves. While they do the same job of protecting hands, their differences in construction and recommended use make them ideal for different types of training.

If you’re training, 16 oz (454 grams) boxing gloves are probably your best bet. However, most pro boxers use 10 oz (284 grams) gloves in matches. The most important factor to consider is the padding. 

Lighter-weight gloves mean your hands move quicker, but they also offer less protection so you can’t strike as powerfully. If you’re sparring with someone, you want heavier gloves to protect your hands. 

For a competitive fight, you want something lighter. Amateur fighters tend to wear 16 oz (454 grams), while professionals generally use 10 oz (284 grams).

18 oz (510 grams) gloves can be good for heavy bag work because they offer maximum impact absorption but aren’t so bulky that they slow down your punching speed on the bag.

How Do You Wear Boxing Gloves?

After properly wrapping your hands you simply put on your boxing gloves and either fasten them with laces or tighten the velcro straps. Sometimes you might need to get help especially if you are just beginning boxing, but over time you’ll figure out how to put them on effectively on your own.

Here’s the step-by-step guide on how to wear your boxing gloves:

  1. Put your hand inside the glove.
  2. Wrap the laces around your wrist. If there are no laces, use velcro.
  3. Tie the glove into a bow, making sure it’s tied tightly.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 for the other hand.

The most important thing is to wear the gloves well so you don’t injure yourself or your training partner. 

Should Boxing Gloves Be Tight or Loose?

Your boxing gloves should neither be too tight nor too loose. Make sure they are tight enough to remain secure on your hands during training and sparring but not so tight that you negatively impact blood circulation. 

They should feel snug without being uncomfortable. When your hand is in the glove, you should be able to wiggle your fingers freely. 

What’s the Difference Between Cheap and Expensive Boxing Gloves?

The major difference between cheap and expensive boxing gloves is the quality of materials used in their construction. Cheap gloves are made from synthetic leather, which often feels uncomfortable and has less overall durability. 

On the other hand, expensive ones are made from leather that feels better to the touch and has better durability.

However, starting with some inexpensive gloves can be a reasonable option if you are just getting into boxing. You can always upgrade later and just use those gloves on the heavy bag.

Are Cheap Boxing Gloves Worth It?

Cheap boxing gloves are not worth it if you are going to do a lot of boxing, but are a good idea for beginner boxes before they commit to more expensive equipment. Cheaper gloves don’t have the same construction, durability, and comfort as compared to higher-end options.

Cheap boxing gloves are made with cheaper materials and construction. By far and away the biggest difference between cheap gloves and more expensive gloves is the expected durability and lifetime of the pair of gloves.

Better-constructed gloves will protect your hands marginally better, fit marginally better, and feel marginally more comfortable. This is definitely impactful, but not necessary if you are a beginner that is just getting into boxing, since you may decide that boxing is not the right fit for you later down the line.

Buying and rotating through cheaper pairs of gloves does not really save a ton of money as compared to buying higher quality, more durable gloves less often. I personally recommend that people buy higher-end gloves after they’ve got all the use they can out of their first, more affordable pair.

Do Boxing Gloves Make Punches Harder?

While it might seem that boxing gloves might make your punches more powerful, they actually reduce the impact on both your hand and wherever you hit your opponent because the force gets spread across a wider surface area.

Boxing gloves are designed to protect your hands from breaking and allow you to punch with more power without hurting yourself. 

The key is that boxing gloves absorb and disperse the force of your punches. This reduces the pain and damages your hands would take when punching someone or something (like a heavy bag or a speed bag) without protection. 

Additionally, boxing gloves offer the wrists protection by softening the blow from a punch.

How Do You Get the Smell Out of Boxing Gloves?

The musty smell in your boxing gloves can be removed with a deodorizer. You can buy deodorizers specifically made for boxing gloves, but you can also use things like baking soda or vinegar. Ideally deodorize your gloves regularly in order to prevent the smell before it happens.

A great option to maintain odor-free gloves is the Chimera Fight Exchange Boxing & MMA Glove Deodorizer (available on Amazon.com). It’s made from premium materials and comes with four different scents to choose from.

How To Prevent Boxing Gloves From Smelling

Boxing glove odor develops because of the sweat and oil absorbed into the padding inside the glove over time. To prevent this, you will want to regularly wipe down your gloves and let them air out after every use.

If possible, try to keep them in an area where they are in the sunlight.

Getting your gloves fully dried out after every use is vital to keep them odor free. You can simply put them in a room with a fan pointing at the glove opening. Air flow is key.

Make sure that you do NOT put your boxing gloves in the dryer or any other place that gets too hot. Otherwise, they can begin to crack and break down, which will shorten their lifespan significantly.

Can You Put Boxing Gloves in a Washing Machine?

You cannot put boxing gloves in a washing machine. Washing machines have high-powered spin cycles and heat settings. These will not only damage the padding inside your boxing gloves but may shrink up the glove as well.

There’s no need to go crazy trying to get them spotless when cleaning boxing gloves. Hand-cleaning them with mild disinfectant will be more than enough in most cases.

What Do I Need for a Home Boxing Gym?

There are many factors that go into designing an effective personal home boxing gym. Much of the setup of the gym would have to do with the goals of your training. If you have simple needs you will have a simpler setup.

An ideal home boxing gym would have at minimum a heavy bag with 3-4 feet of space around the heavy bag in every direction. Other common options include having a mirror to observe technique and shadowbox, a speedbag, appropriate flooring around the heavy bag, and a jump rope.

The setup of that gym would be entirely different depending on whether you’re using it solely for working out, or if you are doing serious training for boxing matches.

As far as the location of the space, typically people set up home gyms in their basements or garages, but it can happen in any space that you choose. I used to have a spare bedroom and set up a heavy bag there and turned it into a mini-workout area.

Speed Bags

Speedbags are great tools for practicing boxing hand speed and adding variety to boxing workouts. They are a high-value addition to a home boxing gym if space permits.

Here are some advantages of using speedbags in your boxing workouts. 

  • Speed bags help improve hand-eye coordination. If a speed bag has been hung properly, you should be able to punch it repeatedly in the same spot as it swings back and forth. This allows you to develop your timing and rhythm with every punch to deliver a longer combo without losing control of the bag.
  • Speed bags build punching accuracy. Your goal is to hit the bag in the center of its surface on each repetition. When you’re first getting started, this can seem like a tough task, but with practice, you’ll soon find yourself hitting the center with almost every punch. As your skills improve, try to keep your strikes within a smaller space on the bag’s surface for even better accuracy.

How Do You Track Boxing Workouts?

There are several ways to track boxing workouts, but it all comes down to setting a goal and measuring it. If you need to track punches use a punch tracker, if you are just looking to do boxing-style conditioning, a heart rate monitor, fitness tracker or smartwatch will meet your need.

Boxing-specific trackers are meant to be used in the ring or on the heavy bag and will have features specific to boxing. 

Let’s look at a few specific gadgets and apps that can help track your boxing workouts.

Fitness Trackers

Fitness trackers like the Fitbit Charge 5 (available on Amazon.com) can record the duration of the training and heart rate for your workout session. You can also use its accompanying app to count the calories burned and keep track of your weight loss goals.

Other popular fitness trackers that can do similar functions include smartwatches like the Apple Watch. This option even allows you to get punch tracker functionality if you download certain apps on the Apple App Store.

Heart Rate Monitors

Heart rate monitors are probably the best way to track how hard you’re working during your boxing workouts. This is probably the most valuable tool for setting up effective workouts.

Here are some tips to help you decide which one is right for you:

  • The heart rate monitor needs to be comfortable, even when worn on an area with vigorous movements during boxing like the wrist or chest.
  • The heart rate monitor should be lightweight, so it doesn’t weigh down the arm or neck while moving around.
  • The heart rate monitor should be easy to put on, or you’ll avoid using it together.

I personally use this heart rate monitor and have found it to be very effective for its price point. I use it both in my boxing-style workouts and in other general cardiovascular fitness activities.

Do You Need Boxing Shorts?

You do not need boxing shorts during normal training. Typically, you can carry out boxing training in athletic shorts or sweatpants. Boxers usually wear normal workout clothes to training.

So unless you have an upcoming match with specific clothing requirements, there’s no need to go out and buy boxing shorts. Both amateur and professional boxers wear boxing shorts as part of the uniform.

I wrote an article on why boxing shorts fit the way they do and other common uniform questions here so give it a read if that interests you.

Should Boxers Wear Headgear in Training?

You do not have to wear headgear in training, especially if as a beginner in boxing. Wearing headgear is reserved primarily for sparring situations, and for the most part will not be necessary unless you are training to be an amateur or professional boxer.

If you choose to train in a place where sparring is common or you reach the level of sparring regularly picking up some quality headgear is a good idea. Even picking up something simple like this budget headgear that I own and like is a huge step above sparring with no headgear.

Final Thoughts

It can be intimidating to acquire all the right gear for boxing and learn all the ins and outs of the requirements of the sport as a beginner. Keeping it simple and picking up only essential equipment at the budget gear level is probably the right move for most people aspiring to start boxing.

After you fall in love with boxing and decide it’s time for more commitment you can definitely pick up higher quality gear and it will make a difference in both comfort, quality, and durability.

For more check out Is Boxing Hard To Learn?


Hi, I'm Andre and I am the author of this website. I currently train primarily in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but supplement with other grappling martial arts as well as help to coach my kid's blended grappling program.

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