Sanabul is a brand that’s synonymous with delivering budget-friendly and affordable combat sports gear that more than meets the needs of your average mixed martial artist.
While I’ve used various Sanabul gear over the years, mainly their rash guards, I’ve never tried out their Essentials Sparring gloves… until now.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been training with these gloves regularly and am ready to share with our readers my thoughts on how they’ve performed.
So, let’s crack on with our Sanabul Essentials MMA gloves review, and find out what these gloves are all about.
Sanabul Essentials Gloves Overview
The Sanabul Essentials MMA gloves are budget-friendly MMA sparring gloves that weigh in at 7oz. 7oz is my favorite weight for sparring gloves as it strikes the perfect balance between protection and hand dexterity. The gloves themselves come in a variety of color variations and 2 size options.
Sanabul Essentials MMA Gloves Review
Okay, let’s dig a little deeper and take a closer look at what I like, and dislike about the Sanabul Essentials MMA Gloves.
Fit & Comfort
As with any pair of MMA gloves, the Sanabul Essentials had a bit of a “break-in” period. This is where they felt pretty stiff and rigid on the hand. This isn’t particularly ideal, as it makes it harder to move your fingers, which of course isn’t ideal when sparring.
That said, after about a week or so of regular training, the gloves had loosened up significantly and they felt pretty comfortable on the hand.
Okay, let’s discuss the sizing of these gloves.
First of all, I don’t love how there are only two size options (small-medium and large-extra large). I much prefer it when the gloves have multiple, clear sizes as it makes it easier to decide which is going to offer the best fit.
In the end, I opted for the small/medium-size gloves.
I’m around 5 foot 10 inches and weigh approximately 140lb and the gloves ended up fitting nicely. There was little to no additional overhand over the tips of my fingers, nor were the gloves tighter than necessary.
That said, if you’re a good bit smaller than me, it could be frustrating that Sanabul offers no smaller sizes.
With that all said, I was more than satisfied with how the Essentials Gloves felt on my hand.
Durability & Material
This is where the Sanabul Essentials falls short compared to some of the slightly more expensive gloves out there.
While they do hold up relatively well, the “feel” of the gloves is a giveaway that maybe they aren’t the highest quality pair out there.
Obviously, given the price of the gloves, you can’t expect genuine leather gloves made to the highest standard, but durability is something that will be an issue if you’re training regularly.
Sanabul uses “engineered leather” to construct their Essentials gloves. Be aware that this is not real leather, moreover, it’s synthetic leather. This is what allows Sanabul to offer their gloves for such an affordable price.
While the quality of fake/ faux leather has gone up significantly over the last few years, its quality isn’t quite on par with genuine leather.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some really long-lasting synthetic leather gloves out there (Venum Challenger 3.0 Gloves for example), but I don’t think that the Sanabul Essentials is one of them.
Again, considering these cost less than $30 USD, there really isn’t much to complain about here.
As always, how something looks is always a matter of personal opinion.
That said, I’m not the biggest fan of the overall look of these gloves. The material has a grainy leather look and feel, whereas I much prefer gloves that have a matte finish.
Aside from that, the gloves feature a simple clean look with several color variations. This overall aesthetic very much keeps in line with the minimal design of the Essentials range. So, if you have any other Sanabul Essentials gear, their headgear for example, then the gloves will go nicely.
I went for the all-black design, as I nearly always do, but you can check out the image below to see what other options there are in terms of color and design.
No matter how amazing gloves look, or feel, if they don’t perform as required, then they’re pretty much useless.
Fortunately, I was very pleased and somewhat surprised at how much I enjoyed using these gloves at training.
Once the gloves had loosened up a bit, they felt very flexible on my hand and allowed for plenty of finger dexterity. This was of course incredibly useful in grappling situations, especially when I was hand-fighting in the clinch or against the wall and battling for superior positioning.
Plus, the open palm design of the gloves works great as well.
The fact that your palm is exposed allows for much better traction and grip of your opponent. When you pair this with the gloves’ flexibility, they feel incredible in all areas of MMA sparring, whether that’s striking or grappling.
I also really enjoyed the weight of these gloves. I think 7oz is the perfect size of sparring gloves, as they’re not overly bulky, but still provide ample protection to both myself and my sparring partner. I wouldn’t use these for heavy bag work, but for less intense training such as pad work, they’re completely fine.
All in all, these gloves performed fantastically, which is even more impressive when you take into account how little they cost.
The price tag is where the Sanabul Essentials really stand out. Most other cheap gloves out there are crap and not worth your time.
Take a look on Amazon and you’ll find random brands no one has heard of with basic designs and dirt-cheap gear. 90% of the time it’ll be garbage.
Not with Sanabul…
Their Essentials line is probably the best value-for-money combat sports gear you’re going to find. It’s incredibly cheap however won’t fall apart after just a couple of training sessions.
Who is Sanabul?
Sanabul was founded in 2014 and has grown to become an extremely well-respected brand. They offer their gear at various price points, from their beginner and budget-friendly Essentials line to their top tier, more expensive Battle Forged gear.
Because of this, it’s common to walk into a gym and see many fighters wearing Sanabul, whether they’re complete beginners or MMA veterans, Sanabul offers gear for all experience levels and budgets.
Although a somewhat new company (compared to others in the MMA industry), Sanabul is always high on my list of recommended brands.
Okay, it’s about that time of our review where we recommend some similar gloves.
The Sanabul Essentials aren’t for everyone, so I’ll mention a couple of other gloves that I’ve both used and reviewed here on MMA Buzz that you may be interested in.
RDX F6 Kara MMA Gloves
The RDX F6 Kara’s are a pair of 7oz MMA sparring gloves that are priced very similarly to the Sanabul Essentials. In terms of aesthetics, I prefer the RDX’s matte finish, but that’s just my personal preference. Other than that, the two gloves are very similar.
In terms of which gloves I preferred using, I’d give a slight edge to the RDX’s, just due to their slightly better quality feel. With that in mind, if you’d like to learn a bit more, I’d recommend checking out our full RDX MMA gloves review for a more detailed breakdown.
Venum Challenger 3.0 MMA Gloves
If you’re looking for something a bit more premium and higher quality, I’d recommend the Venum Challenger 3.0 MMA Gloves. They’re a nice step up in quality from the Sanabul Essentials, but of course, that comes with a price increase (almost double the price actually).
Still, though, I love these gloves. The Venum MMA Gloves are 8oz, so a bit heavier, but offer a very solid amount of protection when sparring. They also come in a few different color and design options, which is always a bonus in my books.
You can read our full Venum MMA Gloves review here for some more information.
Sanabul Essentials MMA Gloves Review: The Verdict
So, the big question…
Do I recommend these gloves?
Yes, I do. But there’s a caveat to this.
These are by no means the best MMA gloves in the world, not by a long shot.
So why am I recommending these gloves?
Well, I’d recommend these if you’re new to MMA and are looking for a starter pair of gloves, without investing a ton of cash into gear.
Similarly, if you’re looking for a cheap pair of gloves you don’t need to care about, but can still perform well in training, then these are a brilliant option.
For the money, it’s pretty outstanding what Sanabul has managed to put together here. They look decent, perform well, and are very comfortable to wear in sparring.
Consider me impressed in that regard, but given I’m training 4 or 5 times a week, sometimes multiple times a day, I personally need something that’ll hold up a bit better.
So there we have it.
The Sanabul Essentials are fantastic beginner gloves, perfect for fighters new to the sport and shopping on a budget.
I hope that you’ve found this review helpful, and if you have any questions at all, please feel free to reach out in the comment section below.