Can You Do Boxing Without Hand Wraps?

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When you’re new to learning Boxing and everyone at the gym is already wrapping up their hands in preparation for the class and you’re just standing there with no idea how to even wrap your hands… it’s not so fun.

So you may be thinking if you can do boxing without hand wraps at all? Here’s the short answer:

You can’t do Boxing without hand wraps with regular Boxing gloves. Hand wraps are necessary because they add stability between your wrist and hands for reducing impact pressure. The wraps also fill up the dead space inside the glove to minimize moving which can cause injury.

There are some Boxing gloves out there, though, in which you don’t need to use hand wraps at all. Keep reading to find out!

Boxing Without Hand Wraps

A man getting ready to box without wraps or gloves

You should always wear hand wraps when Boxing and before putting on Boxing gloves. The hand wraps will add extra protection for your wrists and remove the space in the glove which otherwise causes unwanted movement that can lead to problems.

Most Boxing gloves are made of the same functionality. The size of the glove (12 oz, 14 oz, 16 oz) doesn’t necessarily correlate to it being a better fit for a smaller or bigger hand.

I’ve worn gloves at 12 oz, 14 oz, and 16 oz and felt the varying differences between the space available inside the glove to fit your hand snugly. Most 12 oz gloves offer a tighter fit, but I’ve worn 16 oz gloves that felt way too tight than my 14 oz Fairtex BGV14.

The point I’m getting at is that whichever glove size you pick you could still end up with this extra dead space inside the glove between your hands and the inner materials.

The dead space inside a glove is space for movement and space for injury on your hands. The ideal glove is one that covers every inch of your fist and wrist that is inside the glove to leave no spaces.

When there’s no extra space in the glove, you’re hitting your full impact from your fist and through the glove without unnecessary shifting.

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If your glove is constantly shifting around when you’re landing strikes, then you’re opening up for the possibility to twist your fist or wrist in an awkard movement that can cause injury after repetitve error or sometimes immediately with one improperly strook power shot.

To reduce the likelihood of this ever happening, you should wear your hand wraps before wearing boxing gloves and training.

What Happens When You Box Without Hand Wraps

A woman punching a heavy bag with her fists and no hand wraps

If you Box without wearing hand wraps but wearing Boxing gloves, you can expect your hands to move around inside the glove a lot. You might even notice that the gloves rotate around your wrist more than usual. Eventually, doing this will lead to injured wrists and scuffed knuckles.

Boxing without hand wraps is perfectly fine for shadow boxing and some people will even punch the heavy bag without wearing any hand wraps or gloves.

But it’s important to know your limitations and use your hands safely. Punching the heavy bag without hand wraps could be OK for speed drills where you aren’t actually putting any power behind your strikes.

It’s a really common problem for beginners to suffer from scuffed knuckles and sore wrists when they first get into Boxing, and wearing hand wraps with the proper wrapping technique is key to overcoming this problem.

Wearing Boxing Gloves Without Hand Wraps

When you wear Boxing gloves without hand wraps, you’re only allowing extra space to exist between your hands and the glove itself. This extra space is what opens up the potential for injuries to your hands and wrists more regularly.

This X-ray shows what it looks like to wear a regular Boxing glove without any added hand wraps:

An X-ray showing the dead space inside a regular Boxing glove
Image courtesy of ONX Sports

But what this X-ray also shows is how traditional Boxing gloves are poorly designed to protect the hands and wrists of Boxers. There’s a really good reason why, before a professional bout, a Boxer will have their hands professionally wrapped up to the point where it looks like they have extra knuckles.

Professional wrapping keeps the wrist linked tightly to the rest of the fist which creates a stronger support through strikes. The last thing you want is your wrist bending, and a professional wrapping will reduce this well.

But for regular folk who are just trying to get ready for some Boxing classes or light sparring, professional wrapping isn’t an option because it simply doesn’t make sense. And so the simple alternative for many many years has been to use hand wraps.

The slight elastic material of hand wraps allows you to wrap them tightly around your hands over and over until they are snug. It offers some extra padding between your hands and the gloves, and a bit extra support across the wrist (if done well).

But hand wraps really aren’t a decent solution for protecting your hands and wrists. If you want to actually reduce the impact on to the delicate bones and ligaments of your hands and wrists, then consider something that uses the latest in glove technology and that is actually designed to protect these bones and muscles.

ONX Sports’ founder Trevor Wittman developed a Boxing glove for training that doesn’t requre hand wraps at all because it is specfically designed to tighten in an X-shape across the back of the hand and into the wrists providing an entirely snug fit with little-to-no dead space.

They’re called the ONX X-Factor Training Glove and are one of the only Boxing gloves of its kind by advancing technology that otherwise hasn’t changed in a hundred years.

Are Boxing Wraps Necessary?

The bottom line is that wearing hand wraps during Boxing is necessary with regular gloves if you care about keeping yourself injury-free. Many people often disregard learning how to wrap their hands properly and end up not wearing them at all. This always ends badly!

Even though there are these risks, even the UFC once had no gloves or wraps if you didn’t want to use them. Imagine if the UFC didn’t require wearing gloves, it would possibly be a very different kind of competition.

If you think hand wraps should be a thing of the past (like me), then it’s time to consider other modern Boxing glove technologies to protect your hands and wrists.

Now you should know exactly why boxing without wraps is a BAD idea, particularly in traditional boxing gloves. If you want to keep your hands and wrists safe, wear hand wraps! Or consider a significant upgrade to a more customized or modern technology glove.

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