I do not believe in the afterlife, but I’ll pack some extra underwear just in case.”
Woody Allen (born in 1935)
And why not bring boxing shorts and all of his sports equipment along for the ride as well?
NBA champion Michael Jordan, who has become a basketball legend, has always worn shorts under his shorts! He would wear his North Carolina Tar Heels shorts under his Bulls ones as they were good luck from his first victory in the NCAA in 1982.
In the basketball world, he created the fashion for wearing loose shorts. Until the years 1970-1980, the basketball shorts were always tight, and the year 1989 – and the arrival of “Air Jordan” at the Chicago Bulls – saw the arrival of the shorts mid-long: the “baggy pants” we see today.
Today, any aspiring boxer who wants to maintain his fitness and conditioning in the boxing room must buy a very complete set of protective gear: boxing gloves, sparring gloves, under-gloves or hand wraps, mouthguards, shin guards, shell or cupboxing helmet, elbow pads, knee pads and anklets (for Thai boxing and full contact), boxing shorts, and boxing shoes.
What about the dress code for sparring in the boxing ring or on a sports field in the 20th century?
We will be looking at the role and style of shorts throughout the history of the sport: length, style, evolution factors of the fashion, the big brands, and without forgetting the current styles and the current prices.
Here is a history of boxing shorts and a guide for where to buy them.
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Shorts, as we have come to know them today for the practice of sports disciplines, did not appear until the end of the 19th century. And it was not until the 1930s that they became a comfort garment to feel better when it was hot.
The style of boxing practitioners today has nothing to do with those of a certain Georges Carpentier
Before the appearance of the short trousers, literally short pants, it was called short pants.
It was an exclusively male garment, dressing the lower body and both thighs. Gradually, the length of the it varied according to the modes, the habits and customs of the successive epochs.
Until the 1950s, it was the favorite garment used to dress young boys until adolescence, in summer and in winter. But with the passage of time customs also change!
Like a rite of passage, the transition from shorts to trousers marked the transition from boy to man thus showing that one had reached adulthood.
Today, we can not imagine coming to the gym and hiting the speed bag in long dress pants!
Instead, we’re wearing loose-fitting shorts, whether it’s combat sports or contact sports – French boxing, English boxing, Thai boxing, Chinese boxing (kung fu), American boxing (full contact), mixed martial arts and in extenso basically all of sports.
Not long ago breeches were the emblematic garb of the nobility, as opposed to the workers, poor people of the Third Estate who wore trousers .
The long pants were dissociated from the short pants. Then, little by little, at the end of the 19th century, the meaning of the word “short breeches” turned to mean light clothing that is worn when one practices a sporting activity.
In the 19th century, as Great Britain is the world’s leading power: its cultural hegemony influences fashion all around!
And the art of dressing up runs from the nobility and spreads through the aristocratic and bourgeois classes and then of course becomes widespread in all social classes.
In the 20th century, the British Army, being then in operation in Bermuda, was allowed to shorten their uniform to combat the hot tropical temperatures: this practice gave name to the “bermuda”.
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Boxing in bermudas is probably not the most practical thing you can do! Not impossible however!
The more time passes, the shorter the breeches are in length, now going to the top of the knee. It was then still as much in winter than in summer.
From the 1950s to the 1970s, the fashion for shorts was , skin-tight and very short. Sewn in wool, cloth, velvet, flannel or leather, the short pants are more refined than the sports shorts.
Several social causes explain the generalization of the shorts as a comfort garment: the implementation of paid holidays, in 1936, the ready-to-wear industry that seizes it to create new markets!
Sportswear – all disciplines: football, basketball, volleyball, tennis, etc – have evolved tremendously during the 20th century do to increased demand and the subsequent technology it creates.
A century ago, the organizers of a boxing match would have found these shorts too short…
For example, when football was created under Queen Victoria’s rule in England (1860s), teams wore no jerseys but their own clothes.
Players wore long trousers and “baggys”, which they wore with leather belts – there was still no elastic belt, or suspenders – but they did not have shorts yet.
When football was created, it was the “Federal Association” that removed the rules that required players to wear pants down to the knees.
At the end of the Second World War, the United States made creditors of Europe: the flourishing US economy dominates international trade, finances post-war reconstruction, and massively exports American culture.
Multinational sports companies and sponsors are engaged in the production and marketing of sports equipment and accessories, including jerseys and sportswear.
Boxing shoes, shin guards, shorts, t-shirts, sports bags, tracksuits, become the property of the big brands and they do not fail to impose new styles of sports equipment, including shorts!
From the 1970s to the 1990s, players wore short or very short sports shorts, which often went up to the upper thighs.
This mode also reflects the process of liberalization and emancipation of morals – May 1968 was still fresh – and the desire for freedom extended to ready-to-wear sports.
Nowadays, while society is rather permissive in terms of public freedoms, we are witnessing a return to long boxing shorts.
In Western Boxing or French boxing, the shorts are loose and go down to the top of the knee. The advantage of a loose boxing short is that it allows quick footwork without being bothered by tight seams.
They contain a wide elastic belt worn above the hips, to avoid inciting competitors to hit below the waist and thus, ultimately, to avoid hurting an opponent and incuring a penalty!
In Thai boxing, on the other hand, the shorts of the competitors who fight in hand-to-hand combat on the dojo, are often tighter and shorter. One can see how varied the styles and customs truly are!
After joining a new boxing club for weekly training, comes the fateful question of purchasing boxing equipment: new French or English boxing shoes, all the boxing protection required, shorts and tee-shirts, mouthguard and on!
No one will make me believe that these competition shorts were bought from a low-cost seller…
Okay, but what to choose?
There are many types of shorts in sporting goods stores, and on the tatami, one does not want to appear as a beginner who has been signed up to the wrong boxing club!
And yes, avoid buying an English boxing short if you join a Chinese martial arts club or MMA boxing.
And which brand to favour? With so many brands to choose from it can quickly become confusing!
Is it necessary to buy a brand? No need to buy a Venum short if you know that Domyos shorts , which are much cheaper, can do the trick.
On the web, there are many boxing equipment sites! Choose wisely and a little time will go a long way towards a great bargain! Remember that those shorts will be with you for a long time!
One can only advise to buy his boxing equipment in his boxing club. But since we are rational agents, homo-economicus who like to compare prices, here is a small comparative price of shorts on the internet.
Many of these stores will also carry Jump ropes, Mouthguards and Shin guards and Boxing helmets:
On the side of brands, we find the same, from the low end to the boxing pro range: Outshock, Adidas, Metal Boxing, Venum, Everlast, Twins, Fairtex, Fuji Mae, Nike.
First prize will cost around 12 Pounds. Marketed by Decathlon, these outshock shorts, made of polyester, are designed for both training and competition.
The website Hadjime.com presents a wide offer and variety of Thai boxing shorts: their prices, brand Twins and Metal Boxing, range from 17 to 45 pounds.
It will take between 19 and 49 Pounds on the site The corner of the ring for Thai boxing shorts. For boxing, the prices of shorts range from 15 to 59 Pounds
At the Dragon Blue seller, the prices of the English boxing shorts range from 18 to 69 Pounds.
An exhaustive inventory of all prices on the internet cannot be made. However, there is a rule of thumb that explains the reasons behind the prices:
Here is a small summary of prices, to get a quicker better sense:
|Retailer||Brand||Level of Craftmanship||Type of Boxing||Price in Pounds|
|Decathlon||Outshock, Adidas||Basic (training)||kick boxing, Western boxing, Thai boxing||14 to 30|
|Furyfight||Buddha, Fightwear||Average (competition)||Muay Thai, MMA||27 to 34|
|Dragon Bleu||Adidas, Dragon Bleu, Venum, Metal Boxe||Average to High (competition)||All boxing styles||20 to 69|
|Title||Adidas, Metal Boxe, Fuji Mae, Everlast||Average to High (competition)||Western boxing, Thai boxing||12 to 50|
|Boxing Shop||Venum Everlast, Nike||Basic to Average (training)||All boxing styles||30 to 50|
Find out why the basic skipping rope is one of the most popular tools for a boxer here.