When I began training in mixed martial arts, I just used whatever boxing gloves were available to me. For the majority of my first year of training, I just rented gloves from my gym.
Over time, it became more obvious what a mistake this was. I realized that it was pretty important to have gloves of your own because of the benefits of natural molding to your fist size and shape.
It was pretty frequently getting injuries in my right hand, particularly on the first knuckle, thumb and even wrist.
So of course, naturally, I grabbed my first pair of gloves and saw a little bit of improvement. But it led me down a path of research and learning that I’m still on today, which is trying to improve my technique to reduce unnecessary injuries to my money makers but also looking for the highest grade equipment on the market.
It was not very long at all before I came across Trevor Wittman, the ONX Sports brand, and particularly the ONX X-Factor Boxing Gloves.
There are a lot of claims made by ONX about these gloves. Thumb and wrist protection without even wearing hand wraps!?
These were some pretty weird claims to me, especially when we have many decades of Boxing and Muay Thai history and experience to pull from. Hand wraps are a standard part of hands and wrist protection.
But I am entirely open to the evolution of the sport and am intrigued by scientific advances that help people like me train better, for longer, and stay free of injury.
So guess what, I did a lot of research. I’ve scoured the internet, for many hours, reading articles and opinions, watching reviews and even have had several discussions with the team at ONX Sports to understand these gloves better.
I haven’t yet been able to physically test these gloves myself, but I will as soon as I get the opportunity and update this piece in the future.
I’m confident by reading this article you’re going to have a very good understanding about these gloves and will save you a heck of a lot of time – then you can decide for yourself if they are worth the hype.
Are the ONX X-Factor Boxing gloves worth it? Let’s find out.
About the ONX Sports brand
First I want to tell you about some of the things I’ve learned about this brand and Trevor Wittman, the founder of ONX Sports and inventor of the X-Factor boxing gloves.
If you’re going to trust this brand and what they say, it’s good to know about where they came from and what makes them an authority.
Who is Trevor Wittman?
Trevor is an American boxing and MMA coach. Whilst training to become a professional boxer he had to retire due to a hyper-inflated lung. Since then he moved to become a coach and went on and founded T’s K.O. Fight Club, the Grudge Training Center and now ONX Sports.
Here’s an old-but-great clip of Trevor, with pro UFC fighter Justin Gaethje, breaking down how to setup and perform a offensive knee:
Wittman splits his time between developing the products of the ONX Sports brand, much of which he began by hand stitching himself, and continuing to train professional MMA fighters in the UFC.
He has continued to prove his coaching ability and make a big impact in developing highly technical fighters who are smart inside the octagon. He has personally coached the likes of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, Rose Namajunas, Stipe Miocic, Georges St-Pierre, Justin Gaethje and Kamaru Usman.
He has coached fighters to 21 World Championships and continues to train some of the greatest performing fighters today. It seems likely to me that his record will only increase even more.
What is ONX Sports?
ONX Sports was founded by Trevor Wittman in 2015 after having experience producing training equipment for his fighters whilst running the Grudge Training Center. Now ONX Sports focuses on manufacturing the most protective and performance enhancing training gloves on the market.
What are the Trevor Wittman MMA gloves?
Trevor Wittman crafted his own specialty MMA gloves named “New Era”. They were debuted by Rashad Evans on the Joe Rogan podcast in early 2020. The MMA gloves were designed to protect the hand better and keep it in a more natural position to avoid eye pokes.
Unfortunately, these MMA gloves haven’t been seen or talked about much since that time. Except for when Trevor Wittman joined Justin Gaethje on the Joe Rogan podcast for JRE MMA Show #96.
In that podcast, that’s now only available on Spotify, Trevor describes how he started making equipment due to his own experiences with injuries for him and his fighters.
At around the 91:45 mark in that podcast, Trevor gives Joe a pair of standard UFC gloves to try on and explains the difficulties that fighters have when trying to make and keep a tight fist throughout a fight.
At the 93:15 mark, Joe gets to try on Trevor’s specially made gloves for MMA and they discuss that these white ONX Sports MMA gloves don’t put the hand into an unnatural position by forcing the fingers open. Instead, they sit more comfortably in a natural curved position.
It seems that ONX Sports and Wittman planned to get a partnership deal with the UFC, but it never came to fruition because the UFC wants to own the glove technology.
But Trevor Wittman and ONX Sports already have their MMA gloves patented and so the relationship with Dyaco, the current manufacturer, comes to a rock and a hard place and isn’t going anywhere.
Trevor Wittman coached fighters over many years and saw how they would get injured from the same causes. Taking the problem into his own hands, he began to stitch up his own customized gloves in his basement.
The success of his tinkering eventually became the X-Factor training gloves which ONX Sports are able to focus on preventing injuries for fighters around the world.
Everything you need to know about the ONX X-Factor Boxing Gloves
If you’re considering buying these gloves for yourself then strap in because I’ve done all the research and even had several discussions with Tanner Weiks, the Director of Business Development at ONX Sports.
I’ve learned a lot of interesting things about these gloves to be able to lay out answers to a lot of common questions you might have, because I know I had many!
What’s the difference between the X-Factor and Apex boxing gloves?
The Apex series is a more traditional boxing glove with a lace up strapping and still requiring the use of hand wraps. The X-Factor series differs because it has an X-shaped internal support, has a velcro strapping option and does not require using hand wraps.
If you’ve looked around on the ONX Sports website, you’ll notice they have a more affordable glove option in the Apex training gloves.
They are definitely worth considering, as they are still designed to offer more support than a traditional boxing glove.
The Apex boxing gloves have an internal strapping system laying lower across the back of the hand and this is where the extra support is provided to the top of the wrist and into the bottom part of the hand.
Wrist problems are where a lot of training fighters get problems because of the potential for their wrist to bend during the impact of a strike.
The Apex (just like the X-Factor) glove does also come with heat forming technology, which means that once your custom Apex gloves arrive at your doorstep you can heat up the inside of the glove with a hair dryer before putting your hand inside to make a perfect fist and mould the glove around it.
With a glove that is moulded around your fist, you’re going to minimize the gaps between your hand and the material allowing for better contact punches and less prone to scuffs and damage to your hand.
From ONX Sport’s FAQ, they also recommend predominantly Muay Thai fighters to use the Apex glove because it has more flexibility in the wrist for catching kicks.
So the Apex glove is kind of like X-Factor’s little brother. The Apex helps to offer a lot more wrist support than a typical boxing glove, but the X-Factor is the ultimate improved version.
How does the strapping work for the X-Factor boxing gloves?
The X-Factor goes one further than any traditional boxing glove by having a unique X-shaped internal strapping system that goes across the back of the hand, allowing for a broader reach into the thumb and pinkie finger.
With that, there is additional strapping that pulling the X shape to tighten around your palm pulling in the thumb for a more compacted fist.
With the strapping pulling around the back of the hand it actually aids more support to the wrist as well, because the wrist strapping also expands into the hand – bringing everything together for better fit and safety.
Tanner Weiks, the Director of Business Development for ONX Sports, explained it best to me:
“The X-Factor series is unrivalled in the level of support it offers the wearer, due to the strapping system. It has been designed to dramatically reduce the level of compression the weak joints, bones, and ligaments experience while landing a punch. This series also pulls the hand into better positioning, aligning all of the strong bones in 90 degree angles.”Tanner Weiks, Director of Business Development at ONX Sports
Sounds fancy, right? Basically it means that the strapping system pulls your fist together into a more natural position, unlike conventional boxing gloves.
Having a more natural fist position when landing a punch equals less problematic impact on your joints and ligaments in the hand and wrist. Especially when the fist and wrist are in a stable position.
If you think about your typical boxing glove, a velcro strapping system will have just one big strap across a fairly higher part of the forearm. So it’s unlikely that this strap will even protect your wrist joint and keep it in a safer straight line with your fist.
With a lace up strapping system for a typical glove, the wrist support can be better because the laces usually go further up the wrist and into the base of the palm. You have a bit more flexibility to tighten the laces around your wrist and inner palm to get a more confident fit.
In boxing history, many fighters would have their lace up gloves tightened not just around the palm side of the hand and wrist, but also passed around to the back of the hand to be tightened for what is known as pinching.
This pinching method did offer some more support with connecting the wrist strapping to the back of the hand, resulting in more wrist stability. The problem with that, though, is that the laces can come loose really quickly especially in professional fights.
Fighting commissions would then have to ban the method of pinching with laced gloves, because loose gloves means unnecessary stops to a bout which isn’t good for TV.
Trevor Wittman, of course, explains it best in this video where he highlights the similarities and differences between a standard lace up glove and the X-Factor strapping system:
So this is where the X-Factor glove goes several steps ahead of either of these basic options. The glove is designed to offer everything that a traditional glove simply can’t.
The innovation in the boxing glove ended with attaching the thumb to the rest of the glove. And where hand wraps were used to literally fill a gap, Trevor steps in and introduces a glove where you don’t even need to wear hand wraps.
Why you don’t need to wear hand wraps with the X-Factor boxing gloves
Hand wraps are used with most traditional boxing gloves to offer the hand and wrist support that the glove doesn’t have. When wrapped properly, your fist shape becomes more secure to your wrist for a better straight angle for a punch. The wraps fill up a lot of the open gaps that are inside the glove.
With the X-Factor boxing gloves, the improved strapping system goes around the wrist but also into the palm, back of the hand and even thumb. Pulling the strapping into place equals a much tighter fit around the actual shape of your hand.
In a regular boxing glove, entering your hand into the glove very often leaves open a lot of gaps of space to fill. Hand wraps help to fill that gap, but pieces of cloth can only offer some level of stability in the wrist.
Hand wraps help to alleviate some of the problems with regular boxing gloves, but more often than not they just create new problems.
The extra material across the palm of the hand is often pushed together to act like a bar to hold on to. But this method can actually create more unnatural gaps when making a fist and cause your hand to be in a more dangerous position when punching.
When the X-Factor glove is worn and tightened up with the unique strapping system, the sides of the glove where most space is likely to be in a regular boxing glove is instead pulled inward to tighten around the hand for an improved fit.
The improved fit results in a consistent and safe position for the wrist and hand. There’s little space for the hand to move inside the glove and every punch lands much more directly with the correct parts of the fist.
Which X-Factor glove size should I get?
Luckily, ONX try to make the glove size selection as easy for you as possible. Their sizing chart on their website is pretty simple to follow.
I’ve pulled it across here and made some changes to make it even more understandable, moving sparring needs to the end because I think most people spend most of their time on bags and pads:
|Glove Size||Bag or Mitts/Pads Work||Technical (Light) Sparring||Full-Contact (Heavy) Sparring|
|12 oz||165 lbs / 75 kg or less||165 lbs / 75 kg or less||135 lbs / 61 kg or less|
|16 oz||215 lbs / 97.5 kg or less||215 lbs / 97.5 kg or less||195 lbs / 88.5 kg or less|
|18 oz||300 lbs / 136 kg or less||300 lbs / 136 kg or less||285 lbs / 130 kg or less|
So as you can see from the table I’ve put together, the more you get towards heavier hitting on a partner, the more consideration you have to make for their safety.
To give your sparring partners more safety, you usually need to go UP a glove size for the extra padding.
When I asked ONX about which glove size I should go for if I wanted an all-rounder glove, they recommended 16 oz for me:
If you are going to do any sparring I would definitely recommend the 16oz gloves. With that size you will most likely get the best use out of them as they would work great for just about everything (sparring, heavy bag, mitt work, etc). If you don’t plan on doing much full contact sparring, or are primarily looking for something to use for mitt work, timing and heavy bag, the 12oz size would probably be more suitable.Tanner Weiks, Director of Business Development at ONX Sports
It seems that the recommendation for glove size can change largely depending on the needs for heavy contact sparring or not. Tanner also said:
The main reason for the 16oz recommendation, in regards to sparring, is primarily for your partners safety. Industry standards have shifted over the last few years and most gyms (at least in our network) require 16’s for any sparring work so we have stuck to that rule of thumb, but that is just dependent on your gym and their rules.Tanner Weiks, Director of Business Development at ONX Sports
Best sizing for the heavy bag
Using myself as an example (70 kg / 155 lbs), if I want these gloves primarily for working on the heavy bag – let’s say you do a lot of solo work – then I could quite happily go for the 12 oz gloves or the 16 oz as well.
It’s definitely worth considering what you have already used before and if you have used 16 oz for bag work and how you liked it.
There’s a big jump between the padding for a 12 oz glove to the 16 oz. The weight and size differences is something to consider and you would need to get used to.
A lighter glove can feel a bit more snappy like you can do speed work much better, but the extra padding on a 16 oz pair could help you out a lot with extra hand protection as well making really heavy bag work sessions easier.
Best sizing for mitt or pad work
If I was considering the X-Factor gloves mostly for mitts/pad work then I would probably be going for the 12 oz.
I fall within the weight range for the 12 oz (as I am 70 kg / 155 lbs) that they would be suitable for bag and mitts and even light technical sparring if I wanted to use them for it.
The lighter weight and size difference from a 16 oz down to 12 oz will be really noticeable and important to have if you’re going full dedication on the precision improvements working with a coach on the pads.
Best sizing for sparring
If I was looking to get a pair of X-Factor gloves and use them especially for sparring, then no doubt I would be going for 16 oz gloves myself.
I weigh somewhere around 70 kg / 155 lbs and so that puts my options between either the 12 oz or the 16 oz gloves. If I was primarily buying these gloves for full contact sparring, then I’d need the 16 oz.
If you are a big fellow, or have very heavy hands, then you might need to think about an 18 oz pair.
The important thing here is to protect your partner in sparring. It’s one thing to win the round, but you don’t need to send your opponent to the hospital to do it.
The bigger cushioning in a bigger glove will make it suitable for hitting skin, spreading the impact and making it less likely for your partner to end up with cuts or acute injuries.
What people say about the X-Factor boxing gloves
If you want to understand whether these are the right gloves for you, one of the best ways is by recommendation.
I’ve looked around a lot of online reviews from people who have bought and tried the gloves out for themselves and there’s plenty of unique opinions.
Generally, the perspective comes out positively. I checked through the reviews from the ONX Sports website and plucked out a word cloud of some of the positive words that the reviewers use more than once:
What’s the point in that, you say? Well sometimes I like to collect together the common words people are using to describe a product before I choose to buy it. If the same words keep coming up and those match up with what I’m expecting, then I feel a bit more confident in making a choice.
For example, the words that seem to come up the most are best, quality, perfect, great and protection.
From all of my reading online through their own reviews, Reddit groups, YouTube reviews and online forums the same sentiments come up time and time again.
People who buy these gloves for themselves and try them on often say that they are on another level and have such perfected comfort and fit to their hands that they couldn’t imagine ever changing to a standard brand again.
It really seems like ONX has taken the boxing glove into a new paradigm when it comes to protective equipment that is tailored for each person.
Would I recommend the X-Factor boxing gloves?
Whilst I am yet to get my hands on a physical pair of the gloves, I have done extensive research as you can see, and have come to pretty solid conclusions that these gloves are a significant scientific advancement for protective equipment in the sport of MMA.
It’s only a matter of time before I get the gloves and the entire protective equipment set as ONX seem to be the only brand in the market that are actually trying to push the boundaries and advance with products that help to protect the fighter and keep them training better, for longer.
Where to buy the ONX X-Factor boxing gloves?
Right now you can only buy ONX X-Factor boxing gloves and the rest of the collection by the ONX Sports brand directly on their website at ONXSports.com
You can even customize your gloves by adding your name (or anything else up to 10 characters) on to your gloves. Then your opponent can get your name imprinted on their cheek once you get to work!
The more time I spend researching and learning about these gloves, about Trevor Wittman and his coaching methods, and having talked to guys at the brand – the more convinced I am about their authority.
I’m confident that these gloves are the best thing out there currently available