When boxing first appeared in the Olympics in 688 B.C., Greek fighters wrapped their hands with oil-softened ox hide leather strips called himantes. Those evolved into a cestus, which is the ancient form of a hand covering or boxing glove, as we know it today. Originally, they were strips of leather that would protect the combatants’ hands. That would allow the contests to last longer, and the athletes would be able to punch harder. At some point, that evolved into the barbaric practice of fitting those strips of leather with metal spikes, while having two fighters, seated on large boulders, facing each other. Whoever fell first, lost. As you can imagine, that only lasted a short period of time, because the greatest gladiators had short careers and life spans.

Although they have radically evolved and improved, the first “padded” boxing glove was introduced in 1743. At that time, padded gloves were only used in training. They were NOT intended to transition into the competitive side of the game.

For the next decade or so, the use of “mufflers,” which the gloves were called, was considered unmanly. However, as the sport was forced to undergo a more structured, cultured personality, boxing gloves slowly gained acceptance.

The first models were padded with cotton and horsehair, because of the cushioning they provided. Today, there is a much greater emphasis placed on protection and safety, which is why the use of multi-layered foams, GEL and air-infused padding is used in their construction. The design of gloves in today’s boxing game is much more advanced, being tailored towards protecting the fighter and his or her opponent more effectively.