UNORTHODOXX was created with female boxers solely in mind. From the professional and elite amateur end of our sport; to the women who practice boxing for fitness or partake in white collar events. We are equally as focussed, dedicated and passionate about the sport as our male counterparts, and there are more of us than ever. We were tired of feeling like an afterthought for mainstream brands who were unwilling to make gloves that fitted us properly. The female designs were borderline offensive. The usual catwalk of a splash of pink, and even flowers. No thought, care or investment in the functionality and suitability for women. Our mission was (and is), to support female boxers to practice their sport with safe quality equipment and clothing that fits, and look damn BOSS whilst doing it!
How did you become involved in creating your own women's boxing gloves?
It started from personal experience, I bought various gloves that were ill fitting or feel right or comfortable. I remember one pair so big they looked like joke gloves. That’s where the research started, and I realised how underserved we girls were despite the growing popularity of women’s boxing.
What are the real benefits of have women specific gloves?
Benefits are primarily hand and wrist support and protection. Our complex layering in the gloves provides this and the wearer should immediately feel the benefits, and also notice that the transfer of power is greater. Our customers, who include professional women boxers to novice beginners, have reported how well their hands and wrists feel after gruelling heavy bag sessions and in general as well. I noticed this myself too. It’s very reassuring for those of us that like to train a few times a week or hit the bags pretty hard.
They also look and feel neat and in proportion, and we’ve even been complimented many times on how nice they smell. The smell wasn’t by design, but we’re glad the ladies like it.
What challenges have you faced along the way?
The biggest challenge was finding the perfect fit. We may all be women, but we are still all different shapes and sizes. We used a wide data set of women’s hand, wrist and forearm measurements to create a fit we are confident is the best available. We used focus groups for testing and went through a vigorous testing process of prototypes. I am a perfectionist. I rejected so many I started to doubt the whole project. It’s been tough. I admit there were some tears of frustration, and a few gloves thrown across rooms. I’m so pleased I persevered. I am genuinely so proud of the products and the feedback has been incredible.
Where do you see your brand in 10 years?
We have no plans for world domination. We’d like to grow and be going strong in 10 years; but we will grow with the sport and the needs of our customers. Essential to is that we continue developing and producing top quality durable products. The most enjoyable part of the journey for me is being actively involved in women’s boxing and feeling like I’m making a difference in my own small way. I’d like to think in 10 years’ time the mainstream brands and media will be taking women’s boxing more seriously too.
In the near future, we will develop our main product, our gloves. We are in the protype process of sparring/fight gloves and are hopeful we will expand our range to include junior sizes. I have a particular interest in new technology and materials like vegan leather. New lines and developments will come along organically in line with what our customers tell us they want to see.
Is there any research to support what you are doing?
Like the gloves and women’s boxing in general, not enough attention has been given to our needs to inspire any credible medical research. There has however been research into the differences between female and male hands, fingers and wrist sizes, and one notable study on exploring hand injuries in boxing which was expanded on by Mike Loosemoore in 2016. We decided to review both so we could incorporate the findings into design. For example, it was reported that 35% of injuries occurred at the metacarpals 2 to 5 (our four fingers) and the wrist joint arising from forced flexion of the wrist. Another study reported females have smaller hands and a higher ratio of the index and ring finger than males. As a result, we designed an overall smaller fit for our glove, we ensured our finger pockets catered to longer fingers (and nails), we incorporated a grip bar to encourage a more natural and safer gripped fist, and we designed our wrist strap and length to be smaller in fit so that women would benefit from the wrist straps support – instead of have it lose or duck tapped tighter as previously may have been the case. Furthermore, when we reviewed and researched through the mass of empirical evidence posted on women’s boxing forums, website reviews and the feedback from our focus groups we knew that our boxing gloves are going to help provide a safer and better alternative for all women who like to box.
What problems are women facing in boxing?
The issue is a change of attitude and acceptance that women’s boxing is here now and ready to be taken to new heights. As with many sports the stigma of women’s participation in sports originally reserved for males has only recently been to be broken down. Unfortunately, across all sports women receive less media exposure, considerably lower purses or salaries, and financial support is a few and far between.
All that said, there is a positive shift. You can feel it. For boxing, this started with the inclusion of women’s boxing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and later the breakthrough of role models such as Katie Taylor and Nicola Adams as ex amateur and now professionals. Although women are still facing prejudice at both an elite and grassroot level it is positive our exposure and inclusion is rising. Pretty much every boxing gym has women training regularly, with clubs offering women-only session and mixed sessions, so boxing women are becoming the ‘norm’ in these once masculine domains. White-collar events have helped enormously in introducing women to the sport. We have progress, our biggest problem is the speed of it, but we just must keep doing what we are doing.
Is there anything you would like to talk about/share with other women boxers?
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Unorthodoxx is the UK’s first Women’s Boxing Glove and Apparel brand built purely for women. Our products are designed to offer the ultimate fit, protection and durability for female boxers and combat sport fighters. From novice beginners to elite competition our Unorthodoxx fight gear offers the best women’s boxing gloves, clothing and equipment.
As featured on Women Who Fight. Read the original article here