The boxing glove; a timeless symbol that signifies one thing or another for a fighter. Though, we never really take the time to appreciate how it is made but now, we’ll tell you exactly how.
All boxing gloves are cut, assembled, stitched, stuffed, and finished by hand. The manufacture of a glove begins with a pattern of the individual pieces. While every manufacturer has a different pattern, the basic pieces are the palm, which is cut with a slit down its middle that will eventually form the closure section of the glove; the knuckle area, which is always made from a single piece of leather to avoid seams; the thumb, which is made from two halves; the cuff, which is cut as a wide strip; and a thin strip that will be folded over and sewn onto the edge of the cuff and the closure area to finish the glove. The knuckle piece is cut to be larger than its finished size so that space is left for stuffing.
1. Leather arrives from the tannery in large pieces and is laid out on large cutting tables. The patterns are placed on the leather and >arranged to make the most efficient use of that piece. The patterns are then traced onto the leather and the pieces are cut with large scissors. Meanwhile, similar patterns are traced onto the lining material and those pieces are cut. Pieces are made to line the palm, the thumb, the cuff, and the knuckle area.
2. The leather shell of a boxing glove is first sewn together inside out. Stitching is often done on an industrial sewing machine with some of the smaller pieces and finish work being completed by hand. Many of the higher quality gloves are stitched entirely by hand, and double stitching is used throughout all quality gloves.
3. The oversized knuckle piece is stitched to the palm piece. The two pieces are fitted over a buck to assure the correct shape and the seam is gathered so that the knuckle piece balloons slightly. Gathering the seam also causes the glove to take on its trade-mark clenched fist shape.
4. Then, the liner pieces are stitched onto this assembled section and the palm is stuffed with padding. The liner is left open at the bottom of the glove, where the cuff will be attached. On many models, the back halve of the thumb piece is cut as part of the knuckle piece, and the inner half is sewn onto the knuckle and palm pieces. On others, the thumb is stitched together separately; its lining is attached, and its padding is stuffed. The assembled thumb piece is then stitched onto the glove.
5. The entire glove assembly is now turned right side out. As it is more economical for manufacturers to purchase padding material in standard sheet form, the padding for the knuckle area is made by layering sheets of the material and then cutting it to the desired shape. This also allows glove makers to use one standardized thickness of padding for many glove weights and specifications rather than purchasing or manufacturing a different molded piece for every glove model.
6. The pattern for the glove being made is traced onto the padding material and it is cut. Depending on the manufacturer, pattern pieces may be cut in mass beforehand and kept in stock for assembly.
7. The cut pieces are layered to the specified thickness and are stuffed into the pocket between the knuckle area and its lining.
8. The last piece to be stitched to the glove is the cuff. The cuff and its lining are stitched together, and the piece is stuffed. The ends of this assembly are not stitched together as the piece will eventually form part of the gloves closure area.
9. The assembly is stitched to the open end of the glove piece, closing off all the open pockets and sealing the glove’s padding.
10. On If the glove is to be closed with laces, a template is laid over the opening now formed on the glove’s underside by the slit in the palm and the open ends of the cuff, and laces holes are punched with an awl. Each hole is strengthened with stitching, and the entire lace area is finished with several rows of stitching.
11. If the gloves are to be closed with hook and loop material, the loop side is sewn onto the outside face of the cuff, and the hook side is stitched onto the cuff’s opposite edge.
12. A single thin strip of leather is folded over the open edge of the cuff and the lace area and is stitched in place to finish the glove. The maker’s label and any required sanctioning body labels are sewn onto the back of the cuff and the finished gloves are packaged for shipping.
Virtually every country and state has a boxing commission that regulates professional bouts. Every one of these commissions has its own rules and regulations governing the conduct and equipment of a boxing match. Most amateur competitions in the United States are governed by USA Boxing or Golden Gloves, and each of these bodies specify particular requirements for gloves used in their bouts. What most gloves used today have in common is that they have been tested by the Wayne State University Sports Biomechanics Department in Detroit, Michigan. The University tests a boxing glove by fitting it onto a maple block in the approximate shape of a human fist. The block is attached to a hydraulic ram that can be fired at predetermined rates of acceleration. The gloved block is fired at a biometric human form (a test dummy) that has been fitted with sensors that measure impact. The impact readings for various accelerations are translated onto a scale called a severity index and gloves must fall within a certain range to be acceptable.