Hand wraps provide support and stability for your hands and wrists.
Hand wraps for Muay Thai (or boxing hand wraps) serve an important purpose: they protect your hands by securing all of your tiny hand bones and joints, and provide support and stability for your wrists.
You need to wrap your hands securely enough to provide the necessary support — but also comfortably.
The first step is getting the right wraps...
Boxing hand wraps come in different lengths and materials. There are also "quick wraps" or "speed wraps"... These hand wrap imposters sound nice in theory, but fall flat in training.
Here are some of the basic hand wrap options...
If you've searched for boxing hand wraps, you've probably come across "quick wraps" or "quick boxing handwraps" or "speed wraps". These are basically little gloves with foam padding around the knuckle, and the pitch is that they "go on in seconds" and "save you time at the gym".
Since I'm always running just a little bit late, I bought into the pitch and bought a pair... And I do not recommend them.
In short, they don't provide enough support for your hands... and they offer almost NO support for your wrist. I also found the knuckle padding to be really uncomfortable when wearing gloves. Remember: the purpose of wraps isn't to provide padding for your knuckle, it's to secure your tiny hand bones. If you're going to train, use real wraps.
Boxing hand wraps come in different lengths, including 108", 120", and 180".
If you've got small hands or wrists (like me), you may think that 108" or 120" wraps will be fine. But you'd be wrong... Buy the longer, 180" wraps.
I've accidentally bought 120" wraps and found that, while they may suffice to wrap your hands, they don't allow you to wrap your wrists sufficiently.
Boxing hand wraps are generally made with two types of material: elastic (or stretch) cotton/polyester or non-elastic (non-stretch) cotton/polyester.
You want elastic wraps. They will allow for a tighter, more comfortable fit. And they'll be less likely to skin your knuckles or come loose mid-way through training.
Note: Elastic or stretch cotton/polyester wraps are often referred to as "Mexican Style" wraps.
Price is important because you'll want to wear a fresh pair of wraps every time you train. (Trust me... they get stinky really quickly.)
If you hate laundry as much as I do, this means you'll want to buy at least 4 pairs of wraps.
Thankfully, you can get great wraps for less than $10...
In short, you'll want to stick with real wraps, that are long, and a little stretchy... and there's no need to pay more than $10 for a pair.
Beyond the basics of type, length, and stretch-factor, you’ll want to consider the weight of the material.
Why? Because it will save you time... Heavier material doesn't tangle, wrinkle, and fold as much in the washing machine. While thin, flimsy material wrinkles and folds on itself like crazy.
Now, you may be thinking: "Really? Who cares about wrinkles?!"... But unless you roll-up your wraps as soon as they get out of the wash (and, really, who has time for that?!) wrinkles and folds become seriously frustrating when you wrap your hands (especially if, like me, you're always running a little bit late...).
I also have a thing for fun, colorful, and uniquely printed hand wraps...
The challenge is that almost all printed boxing hand wraps are printed on thin, flimsy cotton. And it's pretty much impossible to discern the weight of the material, without feeling them in person.
But after a long process of "trial and error", I've found a few options for colorful hand wraps — that are still quality.
Buy real hand wraps that are stretchy (or semi-elastic) and long (180"). Your hands will thank you later!
Avoid "quick wraps" or "speed wraps". They don't provide the hand and wrist support you'll need... and they're super uncomfortable.
Hand wraps that are made of thin material will be a bitch to put on after you wash them... unless you take the time to roll-up your wraps after they come out of the laundry.