Now MMA and boxing gear is becoming more readily available in high street stores. I thought I would address the difference between the cheaper readily available products in store versus the reasons to buy the quality professional products.
Below is the list of the "bargain Fight equipment" that I purchased and tested over the last few weeks against some of my quality equipment that I use with my students.
Everlast Protex 2 Boxing training gloves £24.99 -
Lonsdale Weight training gloves £6.99
Lonsdale Focus Mitts £14.99
Everlast Striking Gloves £14.00 -
RDX Pro Leather Shinguard £29.99
Lonsdale Rashguard £9.99
Each product I used over a two week period in various daily training sessions.
Everlast Protex 2 Boxing Gloves. Immediately the gloves despite being a large in size (I normally have a medium) didn't feel like they fitted correctly, I tried a few sizes and this was the closest that felt like it suited my hands, however it felt restrictive on clenching a proper fist. I noticed after a few rounds on heavy bags and mitts that my hands we're extremely clammy and the holes in the design offered very little breath in them at all. It wasn't all bad as the stitching was well done and they didn't start falling apart immediately, which is more than I can say for some of the other cheap equipment. Of course the main benefit being that they are less than half the price of a decent pair of gloves. I would reccommend for a casual person or someone who is just starting and wants to find out if they really enjoy boxing or not, then they are suited for that purpose. If you are training seriously then I would say your training time would be restricted. I never felt comfortable wearing them, it always felt like it was pulling my clenched fist apart due to the awkward size fitting. The padding in the gloves was mediocre at best with the knuckles feeling slightly on the thin side compared to what i'm used too, but it wasn't abysmal. Despite the small £24.99 price tag I would have to say, it's up to you on how seriously you value your training, they are barely useable at best, especially for longer periods of time.
Lonsdale Weight Training Gloves. At first I was really impressed with these gloves, they we're such a cheap price but they had wrist supports in them, they we're made of leather and hand good support around the palms where the hands are most susceptible to calluses after regular use. The padding was good and the straps fastened tight and didn't come loose. Sadly though, after 2 days of training the finger holds started to rip, within 4 days I was wearing the left hand with a little finger and a thumb with the middle hanging like a limp rag down the middle, and therefore revealing part of my palm which was effecting my lifting. When doing dead lift into clean and press, the twisting of the bar further ripped the gloves more or less rendering them useless. On average quality gloves last me 6-12 months and get used 5 days a week. These gloves despite being very cheap, lasted me less than a weak.
Lonsdale Focus Mits. These we're the poorest product I tested by far. I don't know where to begin. If your training with someone who isn't completely soft velvet pillow fisted, then they are borderline unusable. The wrists straps were very loose and rarely wanted to stay tight, they were also uncomfortable and poorly made so that the velcro would chafe against my wrists leaving an immediate rash. The padding was so thin, that even with training with one of my 14 year old students, started to become unpleasant. To be honest, it didn't feel a world apart from just hitting my hands without any pads. This is one product which I would implore you to spend the money, as the quality of your training with focus mitts will be greatly effected by using these cheap inferior products. There is no need for going home with your wrists red raw and palms battered because of cheap design.
Everlast Striking Gloves were another poor or at best average product, which in this case surprised me. They have a slick look and are definitely well made in the sense of durability. Like the other Everlast gloves these ones had the problem of clenching a proper fist. I never felt like I could keep my hand tight enough to throw with the kind of power that I wanted too. After repeated use there was slight chafing around the wrists, but it wasn't major. Again for a beginner seeing if they want to get into the sport they may be of temporary use, but if you take the sport seriously then having your punching power reduced greatly because of your glove wouldn't be the most attractive prospect.
RDX Pro Shinguard. These we're not a bad product to be fair. The main problem being the part that actually fastens round your leg constantly loosening, so longevity wise at the end of two weeks, slight deterioration was noticable. The padding was average, it offered enough protection for the shin and had some support around the ankle as well. They were the most expensive ones available in the store as there we're others for around £15.99 which looked pretty naff. Though for £20-£30 more you can get high quality ones where you won't have any issues with and I'm sure would last a longer time. The issue here not being that the shinguard itself falling apart as it's well stitched, but the fastenerers around your leg deteriorating and leaving them fitting loosely and uncomfortably.
Lonsdale Rashguard. I bought two of these rashguards, a white one and a black one, and I wore them alternately each day. After 4 washes holes we're developing around the sleeves. For a very cheap temporary rashguard they weren't completely awful and did offer moderate protection, but you will be replacing them monthly.
Overall the moral of the story is you get what you pay for. If you value your training and take it seriously, then you really need to dig deeper into your pocket. Not only could it improve your technique, and power, but it could also prevent injury. We all know there's nothing worse than halting your progress because of a stupid preventable injury.
I hope this helps you in making the right choices when purchasing your Fight equipment
Geoff Ironchefcoach Stratton
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer alone after having personally purchased and tested the equipment and not necessarily those of Fightstorepro or associate industries.