SEA MMA Gear Guide

Fairtex Ultimate MMA Gloves Review

Introduction

While Fairtex has been traditionally a Muay Thai brand, they've branched into the MMA scene pretty successfully, at least with their gloves. The Fairtex gloves are currently used as official gloves in several fight promotions including Strikeforce and Martial Combat.

Official Specs:

  • Fingers are split at base for unimpeded dexterity and ventilation.
  • Longer fingers add extra protection to knuckles.
  • Patent-pending ergonomic "open palm" hand compartment for maximum hand sensitivity.
  • Contoured knuckle padding supports safe punching from all angles.
  • Handmade in Thailand.
  • Genuine leather shell.
  • 3-layer foam core for excellent hand protection.
  • Nylon water-repellant lining.

Aesthetics

This pair of gloves comes mainly in blue/black and red/black, although I've seen black/white and black/red models with some retailers as well. Unfortunately for me, I was only able to get my hands on the blue one, even though I'd much prefer a black one.

Design is pretty basic, Fairtex logo printed on the padded area, and the Fairtex patch sewn onto the strap. As with printed designs on the gloves, they'll pretty much wear with time. Mine already has a scratch despite minimal use.

Form & Fit

Being a Thai brand, I was a little surprised to find that they had no S sizes, only M and up. After a quick fitting though, I was relieved that the M size fit just fine, though not as snug as I'd like it to be. My hand width is around 9cm and my knuckle circumference with a loose fist is around 21cm. The glove holds just a little loose, and there's a fair bit of space at the fingers to wiggle around. Depending on preference, this is might be a good thing as it makes it much easier to close a fist.

The gloves are very comfortable to wear, and the inner lining is smooth with a soft cushion. This makes the gloves a pleasure to slip on. The leather isn't particularly stiff, so not much breaking in is required. The open palm system with a thumb loop is allows a great degree of movement, while still preventing the gloves from shifting around. No complains here, and I much prefer this design to the ones with thumb enclosures. The pre-curve is also slightly more curved than some other gloves.

The strap system is a single strap, making it a hard to tighten the strap snugly. Given my small wrists, the strap will go past the loop patch on the glove, such that it sticks out. This means the gloves can come undone accidentally when the strap brushes against something, and it can also scratch a training partner with the exposed hooks on the strap.

Functionality

The padding on this glove is a little hard, and requires some breaking in. The fingers are cut long with padding too, so there's ample protection for both the knuckles and the fingers. You might want to soften it a little on padwork before you test it on your partner's chin.

During training, the gloves feel light and comfortable, and easily conforms to the fist. I don't feel conscious of having to clench my fists when throwing a punch, and slim and flexible profile prevents it from getting in the way while grappling. Again, my only gripe is the loose wrist strap that causes a little shifting at the wrist on occasion.

So far, the gloves look to be performing pretty good, though I still have yet to put it through all the paces to see how long it'll last. Nonetheless, I'm already pretty impressed with the quality of the gloves.

Affordabilty

The official Fairtex pricing is US$ 69.95 (SGD$ 90) on their website, though I'm pretty sure this is overpriced. We're in SEA, next to Thailand, so there are plenty of cheaper options around. The easiest option would be to tag on to your buddy's baggage the next time he heads off to Thailand. Just be careful to get it from an official Fairtex store or retailer, they have one at Chatuchak if you're in Bangkok.

If you're in the States though, you could get it from Budovideos.

Conclusion

For us in SEA, this pair of gloves should be much easier to snag than some other brand name options. If it's good enough for Strikeforce, you can bet it's good enough for me!

Disclaimer
All comments in the review are my own personal opinion. Prices provided in brackets are merely for reference and are based on exchange rates at the time of writing.

If you like this review and found it helpful, please post a comment or let the company or retailer know too. Should you decide to purchase them online, you might want to consult the online buying guide for advice.

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