What are Handwraps and why are they important
Handwraps can be worn in any combat sport which involves striking such as Boxing and Muay Thai. They provide hand protection and wrist support if worn correctly. Helping to protect all the small bones and joints in your hands.
If you have never worn a pair of Handwraps before or would just like to know how to put them on properly then click here to read our how-to guide.
Handwraps generally go under your boxing gloves to provide you with extra support while you train. You will sometimes see people with just their wraps on during activities like shadow boxing, light pad work or even using a double-ended bag. They help to prevent injuries, provide you with a secure fit and allow you to endure extra rounds.
Types of Handwraps
There are three main types of Handwraps, Traditional, Mexican Style and Quick-Gel Handwraps. Each has its advantages and offer slightly different Boxing protection. We will go through them all now so you can make the right decision when buying yours.
Traditional style handwraps are made from 100% cotton and for decades they were the standard in the industry. They have been around for hundreds of years but came into full use in the 1920s and they have been used ever since.
They are normally a cheaper option and tend to hold their shape very well. Traditional wraps seem to last for longer than Mexican style wraps as they don’t have any elastic which can start to break down over time.
Unfortunately, you will not get the perfect fit like with Mexican though as they can be quite rigid. As newer technology has come out over the years the way handwraps have been made has changed. Traditional style handwraps still use 100% cotton which is no longer the best way to protect your hands.
Mexican style handwraps have only been around for about 20 years. Even though they are a lot newer on the boxing scene they are now the most popular choice used by boxers everywhere. They are normally slightly more expensive than their cotton counterpart. This is because they are made from a durable, semi-elastic material that conforms to your hand.
They provide you with a more secure and flexible fit. Made from a blend of 50% cotton and 50% nylon. They are ultra-soft, breathable and help to keep your hands comfortable while training.
They are also fine to go in the washing machine. It is recommended that you wash your wraps once a week to keep them clean and fresh. You should put them on a cold wash and in a wash bag as well to protect them.
Quick Handwraps or Fast Handwraps
Quick-Gel Handwraps are an even more expensive option again. Lots of people see these as the smart choice as you can slide your handwraps on and off in seconds. It takes a fraction of the time to put these on compared to the other two options. And you also don’t have to worry about rolling them back up after training either.
They don’t provide you with as much of a secure fit compared to the Mexican style but lots of people tend to pick quick wraps due to the ease of use. They take less than 30 seconds to put on and they tend to last for longer than standard handwraps if looked after correctly as well.
Tape and Gauze
Another less popular type of protection you may come across are Tape and Gauze. Used by pros in competitive fights, they provide the best support and protection. These are only really used by the professionals during competitive fights so your average everyday boxer may have never seen these before.
They will be applied by an expert before the fight and will need to be cut off after. They provide you with the best fit of any handwraps if applied correctly but due to the fact they can only be used once they are not a viable alternative for everyday training.
When should you wear handwraps
You should wear handwraps anytime you are training Martial Arts. If you are Boxing, Kickboxing or training Muay Thai it is recommended you wrap your hands. This goes for pad work or sparing at the end of a class, and especially for heavy bags.
You are giving your hands the best possible protection and also allowing yourself to train as hard as possible while reducing the chances of injury. Some people think handwraps are for extra padding but they are actually to provide support for your hands and wrists. They hold all of the bones and joints together properly in your hand to prevent fractures or RSI (repetitive strain injury)
If you ever watch Muay Thai fighters or professional Boxers like Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua, they will always have their hands wrapped. Your gloves offer a lot of protection but handwraps provide you with something extra. They keep everything tight and compact and practically act as a wrist brace. There is a reason almost every single traditional martial art, like Kung Fu or Thai Boxing, make use of handwraps.
What length should you pick
Most handwraps are 180″ or 4.5 meters long, this goes for traditional and Mexican style wraps. Generally, you will find that this length fits perfectly but some people who wear smaller gloves may struggle to get theirs to fit correctly.
Especially for children, 180″ will normally be too long. The handwraps will seem bulky and their gloves will not fit properly. We advise getting a pair of smaller handwraps such as 120″ which will offer the correct protection. They will fit comfortably while still providing you with the right support.
How to look after your handwraps
Just like with your boxing gloves it is best to let your handwraps dry after training. The worst thing you can do is roll them straight back up and put them in your sweaty gym bag. Ideally, you would leave them somewhere to air out and dry before rolling them back up.
It is also recommended to wash them once a week. This helps to clean any bacteria off and keep them smelling fresh. You may want to invest in a wash bag as well, this will protect your handwraps and washing machine and they are relatively cheap as well.
When should I replace my handwraps
You should look to replace your handwraps every 2 years. One of the main reasons people look to replace theirs is due to the smell but the main reason is that you won’t be getting the correct protection anymore. Handwraps will start to degrade from the inside first where you can’t see before they start to fray or tear. Especially, with Mexican style wraps, the elastic will start to break down and you won’t be getting the same protection anymore.
It doesn’t matter if you train full time in a Muay Thai gym or are just trying to lose weight in a Boxing class, you should always wrap your hands. If you want to get the best protection then Mexican style handwraps are the way to go. They provide you with the best fit thanks to their ultra-soft and breathable material and they are not too much more expensive than traditional wraps.
If however you are not training every day or you simply don’t want to spend the first half of your class wrapping your hands then the best way to go is quick-gel handwraps. They are easy to put on and it will take you less than 30 seconds to wraps your hands. You will not have to roll them back up either after training.
We offer a wide range of handwraps and protective gloves which you can find on our website here. If you are new to Martial Arts and not sure what type of Boxing gloves to pick then read our blog here to help you make the best decision.