Can I Use Sparring Gloves on a Heavy Bag?

As a beginner in Boxing or striking martial arts in general, one of the most common questions you might ask is, can I use sparring gloves on a heavy bag? It’s a fair question since sparring and heavy bag gloves look almost identical, and as a newbie, you might only be able to afford one pair. 

You can definitely use your Boxing sparring gloves for heavy bag training and the other way around. However, this question has more nuance, and the answer is more complex than it might seem. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between sparring and heavy bag gloves and the pros and cons of using each for heavy bag workouts.

Let’s break it down.

The Difference between Sparring Gloves and Heavy Bag Gloves

Can I Use Sparring Gloves on a Heavy Bag?

The primary difference between sparring and heavy bag training Boxing gloves is the padding they offer you. Usually, the amount of padding correlates with the glove size. 

For instance, the average size that would work perfectly for heavy bag workouts is between 10 and 12oz. The 10oz gloves would have less padding than the 12oz gloves. However, both would be enough to protect your hands during heavy bag drills

The lighter the glove, the faster you can throw combinations on the bag. The heavier it is, the slower you get. Pretty simple. 

What if I have big hands and 10 or 12-oz gloves are too small?

I’m 6’2 and weigh about 210 pounds. 10oz gloves are uncomfortable for me. If, like me, you’re a bigger guy with larger hands, get slightly smaller gloves than your standard sparring size. 

A good average size for sparring gloves is about 16oz. For heavy bag training, you should get 14oz which should be enough to make you feel like the Flash hitting the bag. 

So there it is; average sparring boxing gloves are smaller, lighter, slightly less padding, and usually between 10 and 12 oz.

On the other hand, sparring gloves are ideal for most people at around 16oz. The larger gloves offer more padding to protect your hands and your training partners during sparring.

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Can You Use Sparring Gloves on a Heavy Bag?

sparring boxing gloves

Technically, yes. You can use sparring gloves on heavy bag workouts. However, I wouldn’t recommend it, especially for a beginner. If you’re starting, you’ll notice that your muscular endurance is not as good as the more experienced people in your gym. 

The added weight of sparring gloves will burn your shoulders faster during heavy bag drills. I’ve been there. You can do it. But your technique will be less clean faster than with lighter heavy bag gloves.  

Your shoulder will burn anyway. But, with the lighter gloves, you’re buying yourself a bit more time with sharper technique during those grueling heavy bag drills.

If you need some heavy bag gloves, we curated a list of the best gloves for heavy bag training. Again, go for the 10 or 12-oz versions of the gloves you find there. If you’re a taller guy with larger hands, aim for at least 14oz gloves.

Awesome Gloves You Can Use For Bag Workouts




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Finally, you can always buy both glove types and rotate them every couple of training sessions. 

You can challenge yourself by hitting the bag on Mondays with your heavier sparring gloves and focus more on your form on Wednesdays with your heavy bag gloves.

What if money is a concern for me?

If money is a concern, you can invest in the gloves you use more often and buy a cheaper second pair for rotation.

Let’s say you’re sparring only once a week but hitting the mitts and the bag three to four times weekly. 

Then invest in heavy bag gloves and get inexpensive 16oz sparring gloves. Here’s an affordable option if you want to check it out.

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Pros and Cons of Using Sparring Gloves on a Heavy Bag


  • They’re heavier. Therefore they make your workouts more challenging
  • It might be overkill, but you get incredible hand and wrist protection for heavy bag training
  • Once you get lighter boxing gloves to hit the bag, you’ll feel way faster. 


  • They might feel bulky, and you might hate that feeling of your gloves slowing you down.
  • You might get tired easier than with lighter gloves. 

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Can You Use Heavy Bag Gloves for Sparring?

Yes, you can use your heavy bag gloves for sparring (I’ve done it many times). However, It is not the most optimal thing to do. Heavy bag gloves typically have less padding than sparring gloves. Therefore, Sparring with heavy bag gloves could be particularly dangerous for beginners.

A beginner’s guard isn’t as tight yet; smaller gloves will create more gaps in your guard than you can handle. 

The holes in your guard without proper footwork and head movement mean you will get hit more often because there’s more space for your training partners to land their combinations. 

Larger sparring gloves will simply protect you more when you lack the skills to use other tools. 

You might cause unintended harm 

Another point agist using heavy bag gloves for sparring is that you might cause unintended harm to your training partners. If you’re a newbie, you probably lack the control and distance management to understand how to punch at 40%, 50%, or 60% power. 

Pros and Cons of Using Heavy Bag Gloves for Sparring


  • You can experience sparring sessions similar to competitions where 16oz gloves are not allowed. 
  • Your hands will be faster because the gloves are lighter. 
  • They are generally more affordable than sparring gloves.


  • You might hurt your training partners also because of the glove’s padding.
  • You might hurt your wrist or hand if you lack technique because they have less padding.

Using Sparring Gloves For Heavy Bag Training FAQs

What gloves should I use for heavy bag training?

For heavy bag training, go for anything between 10oz and 12oz. If you have bigger hands, go one size below your average sparring glove size. If you have 16oz for sparring, use 14oz for punching bag workouts.

Can I use my sparring gloves for pad work?

Yes, you can use sparring gloves for pad work since they have enough padding to protect your hand during training. Just remember, the trade-off is speed. Your combos might be slower because of the added glove weight. 

How long do boxing gloves last?

The lifespan of boxing gloves depends on the material, use intensity, and maintenance. On average, quality boxing gloves can last about two to three years. Typically genuine leather gloves tend to last longer than faux leather ones. 

How do I clean my boxing gloves?

To clean your boxing gloves, wipe them down with a damp cloth after each use and allow them to air dry. You can also use a leather cleaner or disinfectant spray to keep them clean.

Should I buy gloves online or in-store?

It’s recommended to try on gloves in-store when possible. But if you already have experience and know your sizing and the brands, online is definitely more convenient. Also, so many online stores offer free returns nowadays. 

Can I Use Sparring Gloves on a Heavy Bag? – Final Ideas

In conclusion, can you use sparring gloves on a heavy bag? Technically, you can, but there are more optimal ways to do it. 

Sparring gloves are too heavy for consistent heavy bag training, and heavy bag boxing gloves might be too dangerous to use during sparring for lots of people. 

In an ideal world, you would have both and rotate them weekly to make the most out of your punching bag training sessions and sparring days. 

When choosing gloves for your training, it’s essential to consider the factors outlined above to ensure that you get suitable gloves for your needs. Remember that the right gloves can improve your performance and protect you from injury during training.

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