There are two types of materials that are commonly used for boxing gloves – animal leather (most commonly cowhide) and "vegan leather", a manmade material. Which is better? Well that depends . . .
Leather boxing gloves are known for their durability. They can withstand a lot of wear and tear and can last for years if taken care of properly. Leather is a natural material that is tough and resistant to scratches and punctures. It is also breathable, which means that it can help to prevent sweat from building up inside the gloves.
Vegan leather boxing gloves are made from synthetic materials such as polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). While they may be more affordable than leather gloves, they tend to have a shorter lifespan. They are not as durable as leather gloves and may start to show signs of wear and tear after a few months of use.
When it comes to performance, leather gloves are considered to be superior. They provide a better grip and feel than vegan leather gloves. The natural texture of leather allows for better hand movement and flexibility, which can improve punching accuracy and power. Leather gloves also tend to be more comfortable and offer better shock absorption, which can reduce the risk of injury to the hands.
Vegan leather gloves, on the other hand, may feel stiffer and less flexible than leather gloves. They may also be less comfortable, which can affect the performance of the boxer. While they offer some level of shock absorption, it may not be as good as that provided by leather gloves.
Leather gloves are a natural product and thus they often have minor defects of blemishes. When questioned about a minor mark on an otherwise pristine piece of leather, one glove manufacturer would say "that's where the cow rubbed up against the fence!" One would argue that this is part of the charm or authenticity of the natural product.
Vegan leather is a manmade product and as a result it can appear flawless. It doesn't have those natural imperfections.
For some, the ethics of leather vs vegan leather may come in to play when making a decision. Leather is a natural material that comes from the hides of animals such as cows or buffalo. If that's not your thing, then maybe leather isn't right for you.
Vegan leather is a synthetic material that is made without the use of animal products. However, it is worth noting that the production of synthetic materials can also have environmental impacts.
Leather vs. Vegan Leather?
Ultimately it's a personal decision. Both leather and vegan leather boxing gloves have their pros and cons. Leather gloves are durable, offer superior performance, but may pose an issue for those concerned about animal welfare. Vegan leather gloves, on the other hand, may not be as durable or provide the same level of performance as leather gloves. Either will meet your needs.
So which is which in the picture above?
The glove on the left is genuine cowhide leather and the glove on the right is vegan leather. Did you guess correctly?