Review: Everlast Powerlock 16oz Synthetic Velcro Gloves

27 February 2020

Boxing is a meaningful activity for the boxer. The ideal of boxing – what we call “the sweet science” – is a unity of science and art in which the efficient and effective fistic striking of another person gives expression to the strange beauty of human combat. This makes it one among many modes of creative struggle, a project or endeavour which demands our choice and commitment, challenges us to make something new and better out of ourselves, and opens up one possible pathway to meaning in life. Boxing is existentially potent.

Of course, for a miniscule percentage of boxers, boxing is also more or less financially potent. It puts food on the table and Lamborghinis in the garage. The financial aspect of boxing almost always eclipses the more widespread existential one in mainstream discussions of the sport. Indeed, it often seems as if money is all there is to it. But not even Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jnr, whose post-boxing celebrity life appears to be utterly devoid of meaning, is truly empty. There is still a residue of substance in the money man, left there from his days as a boxer.

Many who partake in boxing never make the existential leap into it (and possibly won’t make such a leap into anything else). They stand forever transfixed on the edge of the abyss, uncertain and fearful. To box or boxfit, that is the question for these inveterate Hamlets of pugilism. It’s boxing’s either/or. As I’ve suggested elsewhere on this blog, when you put on the gloves, you must choose between doing serious boxing (i.e. training for fighting, or at least training as if you fight) and doing some boxing-like things for your general health and fitness (i.e. boxfit).

A prince of Denmark contemplating whether to box or boxfit

In that same post, I also observed that the glove requirements of serious boxers are generally not the same as those of boxfitters. Serious boxers require good quality gloves; boxfitters don’t. This is because serious boxers tend to punch more and punch harder than boxfitters do. Accordingly, they require highly protective and highly durable gloves, whereas most boxfitters can happily get away with using landfillers. But what about the Hamlets of pugilism? What about the people paralysed by uncertainty and fear on the edge of the abyss?

We all know that Everlast’s noble mission on this earth is to help each and every one of us manifest the Greatness that is Within. And no segment of the glove market needs more help manifesting it than the Hamlets of pugilism. So, in the early 2010s, the whitecoats at Everlast’s secret Bronx laboratory set about developing something just for them: the synthetic Powerlock training gloves. Not much, if anything, is known about the “Powerlock technology” inside them. But these gloves are both the perfect representation of, and the perfect palliative for, existential angst in boxing.


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Everlast has implemented the Powerlock technology in several models of glove for training as well as professional fighting. The model I’ve been putting to work over recent months is the synthetic Powerlock 16oz training glove with a velcro strap. This is the basic or standard model of Powerlock glove, and by far the cheapest as well, which is probably why you can find it on the shelves of every single big chain sports store in the suburbs of the western world.

One of my Powerlocks on one of my hands

Everlast intends the standard Powerlocks to be all-purpose training gloves. More specifically, it claims to have “engineered” the gloves for bagwork, mittwork, and sparring at the skill level of “intermediate training.” In Everlast’s tripartite system of boxing training, this means that they sit above the abominable Pro Styles, which are only intended for “basic training”, and below the leather Powerlock Pros and the MXs, which are intended for “advanced training”.

The marketing descriptions of the standard Powerlocks and the Powerlock Pros are pretty much identical. Although the precise wording sometimes varies in trivial ways, the essence is that both models

…were designed with a modern, anatomical foam construction that guides your hand into a natural fist position. The compact design provides superior fist closure for the perfect balance of comfort, speed, and protection while delivering a powerful punch.

The “foam construction” comprises “high quality 5 layer foam padding protection.” In the case of the standard Powerlocks, Everlast adds that “the premium synthetic leather construction ensures long-lasting durability and superior performance.” In the case of the Powerlock Pros, it adds that “premium leather ensures long-lasting durability, functionality and performance.”

Given these almost identical marketing descriptions, it’s an interesting question whether there’s any significant difference between the standard Powerlocks and the Powerlock Pros other than the covering material and the price. And since Everlast further describes both models as featuring a “unique Powerlock design and fit inspired by the professional competition product”, it’s also an interesting question what, other than obvious things like weight, sets them apart from the professional fight gloves.

If you’re like me and you don’t want to commit the time, effort, and money required to obtain and reverse engineer all the different models of glove in which the Powerlock technology has been implemented, then I suspect that the only way to ascertain the truth involves infiltrating Everlast’s secret laboratory in the Bronx, kidnapping a few of the whitecoats, and torturing them until they divulge everything. I, for one, don’t care enough about the truth to undertake an enterprise of that kind myself; but I’m willing to provide sincere moral support to anyone who does.

Spy drone image of Everlast’s secret Bronx lab

Like Everlast says, my Powerlocks are quite sleek and compact, even with their (almost exactly true-to-weight) 16oz padding. They’ve got a grip bar to help with proper fist formation. There’s also an attached thumb, as you’d expect, as well as a short elastic strip on the underside toward the palm to pull the closure together and improve fit. My Powerlocks are fully black, but you can find the standard model in a wide range of colourways, including a good-looking black and gold one. The obligatory stupid slogan printed on them is “Choice of Champions”.


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The key feature of the standard Powerlocks is of course the Powerlock technology. That’s what Everlast believes, or at least tells us, distinguishes the standard Powerlocks from all the similarly-priced and similar-looking training gloves out there in the marketplace. The impressively cutting-edge, serious-sounding name “Powerlock”, which also features on the pro fight gloves, is directly targeted at the Hamlets of pugilism wandering down the aisles in their local big chain sports store, looking for the answer.

And it’s then that the biggest problems with the Powerlock technology are the least apparent. The first is that no one, including Everlast itself, seems to have a clear and distinct conception of what it is. Does it pertain to structure or size or substance or what? How does it work? What distinguishes it from other glove technologies? This leads straight into the second, and perhaps more serious problem, which is that actual use of the Powerlocks fails to clarify anything. You never get to the point where you think to yourself, “Ahah! That must be what Everlast has in mind.” 

The Powerlock technology is here, somewhere…
…or maybe it’s here

The performance of the standard Powerlocks is similar to similarly-priced and similar-looking training gloves. As intimated by Johnny at ExpertBoxing, this may well be because many of the latter gloves are not only similar to the Powerlocks but identical to them: the same gloves from the same factory, only with another brand name printed on them. However that may be, there’s meant to be something special about the Powerlocks. Everlast won’t tell us what it is, so we can only judge on the basis of actual use. But that doesn’t tell us anything either.

The form or structure of the glove hardly strikes me as unique or noteworthy in any way. It certainly doesn’t provide an especially solid “lock” of the hand into a fist, if that’s what Everlast was intending to convey by the name “Powerlock”. Indeed, after a few months of use, I’m inclined to say that the Powerlocks are somewhat lacking in structure. The best gloves have a determinate yet accommodating structure for the fist, one which holds up even during the longest and hardest sessions on the heavy bag. The Powerlocks don’t have a structure like that; they tend toward hot and sweaty amorphousness with hard use.

This feeling is probably exacerbated by the feedback delivered by the padding. Feedback, in my opinion, lies on a spectrum. At one extreme of the spectrum is lively and definite feedback. Gloves with this feedback speak to you, as it were, about the quality of your technique and the power of your punches. At the other extreme are gloves with dull, or even dead, feedback. They mumble unintelligible nonsense or simply grunt at you. The Powerlocks are not extreme in either sense; but they do sit much closer to the dead than the lively end of the spectrum. They often land on the heavy bag with a dull thud.

The padding over the knuckles is only moderately protective for a 16oz glove. I don’t find the Powerlocks too bad for bagwork, but I think they’d frustrate harder punchers than me. They’re very well-padded on the backs of the hand and wrist. The protection and support on the underside of the gloves, however, is appallingly flimsy, almost non-existent. I’m really not sure what Everlast was thinking here. The flimsiness around the palm and underside of the wrist encourages a feeling of vulnerability which it’s very hard to shake, particularly while sparring. You don’t want to go catching or parrying stiff, forceful punches in these things.

This flimsy wrist might be the Powerlock technology

More generally, I’d recommend against hard sparring with the standard Powerlocks, despite Everlast’s usual thoughtless, indiscriminate advice to the contrary. The knuckle padding is just too firm. Although you’ll be protected enough (as long as you don’t go catching or parrying hard shots), your sparring partner will be put in the unenviable position of absorbing dull thuds like the ones these gloves so mercilessly inflict upon the heavy bag. Hard sparring is a useful method of training, but we shouldn’t make it harder than necessary for improving our skills. The Powerlocks aren’t rocks, but they’re far indeed from being pillows.

The lining in the standard Powerlocks is wonderfully luxurious – at least initially. The first few times I put them on, I was astonished by how much better they felt than gloves costing several times the price (including Winning). Unfortunately, it’s an illusion, one that surely serves its purpose whenever the Hamlets of pugilism try on new gloves at their local sports store, but soon vanishes with use. It’s then discovered that the lining is too loose and tends to bunch up in a steaming, damp mess in the finger compartment. This is not luxurious.


I’ve been using my Powerlocks for several months now, predominantly on the heavy bag. Although they’ve held up well enough so far, I’m doubtful about their durability over the longer term.

The standard Powerlocks, unlike the Powerlock Pros, are synthetic gloves. Now I’m not one of those reviewers who simply takes it for granted that leather is superior to synthetic materials. I own several high-end synthetic gloves, including Rivals and a pair of synthetic Winnings, and they’ve all proved extremely robust over years and years of regular use. But although the standard Powerlocks are obviously better quality than the worst synthetic junk gloves, I can’t imagine them lasting that long. 

First of all, there have been reports of the padding compacting and/or decaying after only several months of regular use, and I’m convinced that the padding on my own Powerlocks already feels significantly denser than it did originally. Another consideration is that the stitching on the inside of my Powerlocks has started loosening up and coming apart, as I discovered the other day when a mysterious object kept flicking my cheek whenever I brought the left glove up to my face. The culprit turned out to be a thread hanging out of the glove.

Perhaps this thread is the Powerlock technology

Although it hasn’t seriously affected the performance of the gloves (and may never do so), a big loose thread like that doesn’t inspire confidence.

Having said all that, I’m the first to admit the tentativeness of these judgements of durability. Many reviewers make definitive judgements of durability after only a few days or weeks of testing out a glove. Setting aside the worst of the junk gloves, I’m inclined to think that it’s pretty hard to make reasonable and truly informative judgements about the durability of a specific model of glove without using it as your primary glove until it fully gives up the ghost. But that’s not how most reviewers test gloves, myself included.

So what I will say is that, when you take a pair of brand new Powerlocks out of the packet, they don’t look and feel like they’re going to fall apart the first time you put them to work on the heavy bag. The build quality is exactly what’s required for all the Hamlets of pugilism in the sports stores turning these gloves over in their hands, pressing on the padding, sliding them over their hands, and wondering why some other guys at the gym spend so much on gloves when you can get these.


Despite being made out of synthetic material, the standard Powerlocks are stylish gloves with a sleek, relatively compact form. My own fully black pair of Powerlocks look good, combining attractive branding (I admit to having always liked the Everlast logo) with the severe simplicity of old-school gloves. Everlast can do nostalgia very well when it puts its mind to it. Even many of the less subdued colourways look quite good, in my opinion, such as the black and gold one.

This aesthetic is testament to the mastery of Everlast’s marketers. No one knows the mass market for boxing gloves better than they do. Down in the secret Bronx lab, they’ve dissected the market, analysed each of its segments, and tested out gazillions of designs on it. The nice balance of sophisticated modernity and old-school simplicity is a direct appeal to the sensibilities of the the Hamlets of pugilism, who, in general, strongly feel the pull of both the latest flashy gimmicks and the severity of tradition.


Th price of the standard Powerlocks is Everlast’s coup de grâce, the master stroke which fulfills the company’s marketing intentions by uniting the language, look, and feel of these gloves into a total product verging on what Venkatesh Rao has aptly labelled premium mediocrity. As premium mediocrities, or something close to that, the standard Powerlocks are not particularly cheap (A$90/US$50) for what they are, which is ultimately just another generic model of synthetic glove, many of which you can buy for lower prices on eBay and Amazon. 

But the price is on point for the Hamlets of pugilism. On the one hand, it’s high enough to reassure them that they won’t be embarrassed in the gym, that they’re more than mere boxfitters, that their shiny new pair of gloves won’t end up in landfill after one hard session on the heavy bag. On the other hand, it’s low enough to avoid the psychological pressure to get serious, the nagging feeling that you’re not really into it or up to it, that you’re pretending, that you might’ve spent too much cash on stuff for your hobby.


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If you were once a Hamlet of pugilism who one day made the existential leap into boxing as a serious life project, then for you the standard Powerlocks will be more akin to artwork than boxing gear. You will behold them as an ideal representation of past existential angst, just as many who have experienced and overcome a personal crisis behold Munch’s The Scream. And you will not buy them (again).

The standard Powerlocks mean something else for those currently suffering as Hamlets of pugilism. For them, the gloves are a highly efficacious palliative for existential angst in boxing. They’re a kind of sedative or analgesic for alleviating the uncertainty and fear of the abyss – but they’re not a cure. The choice must actually be made one day. Either you’ll make it consciously and deliberately yourself, or time will make it for you.

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Posted by ScepticalBoxer

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