Hand wraps helps to compress your hand and prevent your joints, knuckles and wrists from injury when landing a punch. Gloves help protect your hand by absorbing the shock when punching or blocking kicks. Both Protect you, but in different ways.
Kickboxing gloves (or Muay thai gloves) protects your hands in the offence and defence. The padding allows you to absorb the shock of a punch in the offence or kicks when in the defence. Hand wraps are worn as protective measure to help keep your knuckles, joints, hands, and wrists stuck together and in place when landing a strong punch.
In Kickbxoing, people (especially when first starting out) tend to use a boxing or Muay Thai gloves. Both have similarities but here’s why people in Kickboxing wear them.
Boxer gloves typically have thick padding in the knuckles area to protect them when throwing punches. Boxing gloves also have thick cuffs to protect the wrist.
In Muay Thai gloves, the palm area is less padded to allow for clinching and to allow the fighter to grab their opponents’ kicks etc. Padding is generally more distributed. There is less padding in the knuckles and more padding the back of the hand (to help you absorb less shock when blocking kicks). The palm area is also less padded allowing you to clinch your hands.
Boxing gloves, commonly used with beginners in kickboxing, are typically less flexible as it is very focused on padding and minimizing impact on the wearer. Especially in the back of the hand.
The cuff area is also very thick in boxing focused gloves.
On the other hand, Muay Thai gloves are much more flexible. They have less padding in the palm are and allow the fighter to clinch their hand in order to catch a kick and more.
Hand Wraps in Kickboxing
Hand wraps are wrapped around your wrist, palm, and the base of your thumb to protect your hand when absorbing the shock of landing a punch (jab or cross).
Throwing punches, especially when your new and your hands aren’t used to it, can mess up the alignment of your joints in your hand. Also, hand wraps compresses the tissue and bones in your hand. From Personal experience, I find that it helps to land harder punches. I am less worried about whether a punch is going to hurt my knuckles or hurt my wrist.