Just how long do boxing gloves last and when should you replace them? The answers to these questions actually depend on a few factors and signs.
To help you better understand these questions, below we will tackle them in greater detail, beginning with the average lifespan of a pair of boxing gloves and a list of signs that may indicate the time has come to replace them.
What’s The Expected Life Span Of Boxing Gloves?
The question regarding the typical lifespan of a pair of boxing gloves is not exactly an easy one to answer. That’s because this longevity depends on a number of important factors—factors we will discuss in much more detail below.
On average, a pair of boxing gloves can last anywhere from one year in the worst cases and up to four or five years in the absolute best scenarios. So what exactly accounts for this disparity in longevity?
Actually, there are several determinants that explain how long a pair of boxing gloves can last, including the quality of those boxing gloves, your training level and level of experience, how you train with your gloves, and whether or not you care for and properly maintain those gloves over the course of their lifespan.
Quality of Your Boxing Gloves
The quality of the boxing gloves you purchase can make all the difference in the world in terms of how long that pair of gloves lasts. It only makes sense that gloves of higher quality would generally last longer than those gloves of lower quality.
Unfortunately, it also makes sense that those gloves of higher quality come with a steeper price tag than the bargain-bin boxing gloves that are lower in both price and quality.
If you are an experienced boxer or mixed martial arts fighter, someone who trains every day and depends on boxing gloves for their living, of course you should opt for a pair of boxing gloves at the higher end of the quality spectrum—gloves that will almost always last longer than cheaper gloves.
Some of these brands, according to some of the best trainers in the world, include Ringside Apex Boxing Gloves Venum Challenger 2.0 Boxing Gloves, Sanabul Essential Boxing Gloves, Century Strive Washable Boxing Gloves and Cleto Reyes Boxing Gloves.
So what about those individuals just starting out with their training—individuals who may or may not stick with the activity long-term?
For these “boxers,” we recommend you bypass the very expensive and well-made boxing gloves and opt instead for those that are in the middle-of-the-road price range. In doing this, you will still get a fairly high-quality pair of boxing gloves—a pair that will last at least 1-2 years—but you won’t be out a huge sum of money should you later decide to abandon the activity in favor of other fitness methods and modalities.
Training Level/Level of Experience
This particular “how long do boxing gloves last” factor sort of ties in with the previous one. It is safe to say that boxers and fighters who are very experienced in terms of their skill and training will utilize their boxing gloves much more than those who might, say, box solely recreationally and only use those gloves a couple times a week.
Naturally, the more boxing gloves are used the more stress that is put on them—stress that can lead to tearing and other deficiencies related to those gloves. When this is the case, even the most expensive and high-quality boxing gloves can take quite a beating, which will naturally impact their longevity.
Conversely, a newbie boxer, someone training only a couple times a week, will use their boxing gloves at a decreased frequency, which may preserve their longevity. Moreover, because these novices do not have the punching power of more experienced boxers and fighters, they tend to put less stress on the gloves, which can also make them last longer.
How You Train With Your Boxing Gloves
The frequency at which you use your boxing gloves, coupled with your training level or level of experience, are certainly factors that affect the lifespan of those gloves. But so, too, is the manner in which you use those gloves.
Boxing gloves that are utilized only sporadically for sparring will tend to last longer than those that are used exclusively for bag work. In fact, experts recommend that while sparring and competition gloves should be on the lighter side of the weight spectrum, boxing gloves used to hit the heavy bag should be a bit weightier.
Heavier gloves are known to be more durable than their lighter counterparts. Thus, they are recommended for all types of training performed “outside of the ring.”
Proper Care and Maintenance
Last but certainly not least is the question of how you care for and maintain your boxing gloves. Like any piece of athletic equipment, boxing gloves that are cared for properly will last substantially longer than those that are not.
So how do you go about caring for your boxing gloves? Follow these steps to get the most out of those gloves:
- Clean your boxing gloves. A clean pair of boxing gloves is a happy pair of boxing gloves, and regularly cleaning can do wonders for their overall longevity. After every use, boxing gloves should be cleaned inside and out using an approved boxing glove cleaner. These cleaning solutions can be expensive, however, so instead you can use a mixture of vinegar and water (in equal parts) to wipe off/out the outside and inside of those gloves, respectively. Vinegar will go a long way towards killing the germs and bacteria that can cause mold and mildew in your gloves, substances that can negatively impact their lifespan. Do NOT use any harsh cleansers for this task, as those can dry out the leather and cause significant cracking and damage.
- Condition Your Boxing Gloves. Like all leather products (think baseball gloves), boxing gloves need to be regularly conditioned to prevent the leather from drying out and cracking. There are literally scores of great leather conditioners on the market today that can help you preserve this investment.
- Properly Store Your Boxing Gloves. Once your boxing gloves have been thoroughly cleaned and conditioned, it’s vital that they are then stored properly to prevent damage. Do not just throw them back into your gym bag or locker where germs and bacteria are known to lurk. Instead, hang them in an open, airy environment up and off the floor to make them last as long as you need them.
When Should You Replace Your Boxing Gloves?
Boxing gloves are far from being a cheap investment. Therefore, it only stands to reason that you would desire them to last as long as possible.
But when do you know the time has come to replace those gloves? For what signs should you be on the lookout?
Actually, there are three telltale signs that your boxing gloves have reached their natural endpoint: tearing and damage, a foul odor and time.
Tearing and Damage
The most obvious sign that you need to replace your boxing gloves is when they begin to tear or rip. Whether you are using boxing gloves made of leather or some type of synthetic material, over time—and with repeated use—the gloves may begin to tear in places that make them unsafe to use.
For example, if the gloves begin to tear on any part of the striking surface of the boxing glove, they are unsafe to use in competition. Referees will not allow torn boxing gloves to be used, as these can cause injury to an opponent, especially in and around their eyes.
Another place where boxing gloves are known to rip or tear is along the wrist. From repeated tying and untying of the gloves, the leather (or other material) can become stressed over time and begin to tear.
Velcro straps can also weaken, thus preventing you from properly securing the gloves—which can also be dangerous.
Once any part of your boxing gloves begins to rip, tear or become damaged, it is only a matter of time before more damage occurs. Therefore, at the sight of the first rip or tear, it’s time to pony up the money for a new pair.
No matter how diligent you are in cleaning and conditioning your boxing gloves, there may come a time when they begin to emit a foul odor, especially if you are someone who trains very hard and long in the gym for multiple days during the week.
This is only natural and it will happen sooner or later. That foul odor means that the bacteria and germs we spoke about earlier have taken root on the inside of the gloves, making that odor very hard to tackle.
In instances such as these, it is better just to throw those gloves out and buy a new pair.
Finally, as we mentioned near the onset of this article, boxing gloves are not meant to last a lifetime.
If you are an experienced fighter who trains frequently you should only expect to get about 1-2 years of life from your boxing gloves—even less if they present with tearing or a foul odor.
Inexperienced and novice boxing enthusiasts may put less stress on their boxing gloves and can therefore expect those gloves to last 2-4 years, barring any damage that may occur before that.