Can You Box Without Hand Wraps

woman wrapping hands for boxing

For some it may be tedious or time consuming when taking the time to wrap your hands before a match or training on a bag. I mean why go through the hassle when you will be putting on a well padded boxing glove? Instead, should you just go ahead and box without hand wraps?

When boxing, hand wraps should always be worn for many safety reasons. Properly fitted hand wraps help keep you hands and wrists aligned when boxing. With boxing gloves, although well padded. A hand with no wrapping will shift inside the glove from the extra empty space. This can cause blister on the knuckles, chafing or even break bones in your hand.

There is always two sides to every story. And among some reddit forums I have stumbled across. Typically people who find hand wraps unnecessary are from other forms of MMA or disciplines other then boxing. Such as Karate and Kickboxing etc.

What Are Hand Wraps

Hand wraps are a long piece of fabric that fighters use to protect their hands before a match or workout. It acts as a barrier between your hand and your boxing glove.  More importantly they provide support to your joint and fingers to better distribute the impact that your hands endure with combat sports.  Properly wrapping your hand wraps help secures your fingers, knuckles, wrist (your hand as a whole).  Something boxing or MMA gloves alone would not be able to do.

wrapping hands in boxing ring

Why Should You Wear Hand Wraps For Boxing

Majority of boxing training involves hitting some type of bag or person. Whether it be a heavy bag, speed bag or sparring with a partner. Boxing is a sport that requires the fighter to use gloves to hit their target. By wearing gloves and throwing a punch at your target, its possible and frequent that you’re not throwing the best punch at your target. You cannot see your hand position in the glove and your hand is also not in a perfect fist that keeps all the bones and muscles tight.

In boxing this is usually fine because wearing boxing gloves gives you padding and cushion on the blows you make. However, everyone comes in different shapes and sizes, just like the boxing gloves they wear. It would be impossible to have every boxing glove fit their hands perfectly. Unless you get the custom made of course.

Because most boxing gloves are not form fitting on your hand. There is a lot of empty space in your gloves that is not filled. And while boxing, every punch can cause your hand to shift inside. Leading to injuries right away or accumulated down the road.

man using handwraps

When You Wouldn’t Wear Hand Wraps

There may be times when you may not find hand wraps necessary. Many fighters would want to strengthen their knuckles, muscles and bones in their hands that are related to their punch. This would be the time where they train on a heavy bag or some type of solid surface bareknuckled.

Typically these exercises would not involve the same level of intensity as a regular heavy bag workout. When taking part in this type of training you would want to make sure your fist is tight and your punching form is properly aligned. Mishitting the bag and breaking or straining something is a quick way to get injured and not be able to train for weeks or even months.

How To Wrap Your Hands

When wrapping your hands, you’re looking to tighten and give support for your fingers, thumbs as well as bones and muscles in your hands. Most if not all hand wrapping techniques involve wrapping each knuckle and thumb individually with multiple rotations around the ball of your hands and wrists to keep everything aligned and together.

Hand wraps come with a thumb strap on the opposite end of the velcro. Start by hooking the strap onto your thumb, wrapping around your wrist and then your knuckles thumb individually. You will likely find extra fabric that you can wraps multiple times over your knuckles and wrists again to create a tighter fit.

Here is a video that can shows you step by step how to put on hand wraps.

Pentagon Mixed Martial Arts showing how to put on hand wraps

What Makes A Good Hand Wrap

Traditionally hand wraps come in lengths of 120 inches and 180 inches. For smaller hands 120 inches would be the go to. However, if you want a but more padding and security it won’t be a bad idea getting the 180 inches.

When buying your hand wraps, material is a major factor that will result in quality. What you would be looking for is a brand that is soft and a bit stretchy for comfort. Cotton-elastane and nylon polyester are great materials that blend comfort and security within hand wraps. You can check out our list of favourite hand wraps here.

Do You Need To Wash Hand Wraps

After multiple sessions of training, you would likely be able to answer this question on your own. When boxing you will be sweating a lot. Especially your hands inside the boxing gloves. Since you will be wearing hand wraps, guess where majority of the sweat gets absorbed to?

This is where another benefit of wearing hand wraps come in. Because most of your sweat is absorbed into the hand wrap, the inside of your boxing gloves get less of the dirt and moisture. However, the inside of you gloves will take a certain amount of impact from the sweat and usage as well.

If you’re planning on boxing and training regularly. It is a good idea to commit to a routine where you clean your hand wraps and boxing either a simple wipe down and air dry after every workout. Or a deep clean once a week, to help prevent wear down and deterioration.

We go more in depth on how to wash your hand wraps and boxing gloves to preserve longevity and keep the quality of them as long as possible.


Wearing hand wraps is not only a preventative measure for fights and training. There are also long term benefits that may not be apparent in the short term. There are instances where boxers who trained for many years without hand wraps develop pain and difficulty in normal everyday hand usage.

Hand wraps although tedious and time consuming, should be worn before every workout. Especially if you’re in this sport for the long run. Your hands will thank you later.

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