Best Punch Mitts

Updated October 2019
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

20 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
293 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best punch mitts

Last Updated October 2019

Boxers and other martial artists swear by punch mitts — also known as focus mitts — to develop reflexes, acuity, strength, and reaction time.

Worn as a pair by a sparring partner or trainer, punch mitts are thickly padded to protect the trainer’s hands and have a fingerless glove sewn to the back side so the trainer can hold them securely. They’re not much bigger in diameter than a normal glove, so they remain light and mobile. This makes them perfect for training sessions to improve a boxer’s aim while moving around in the ring, holding the punch mitts at different levels and angles.

Not all punch mitts are the same. Some have less padding, while others are shaped differently to address different training needs. Read our buying guide below to learn more about what punch mitts have to offer and which model is perfect for your needs.

Work on striking technique with punch mitts rather than speed or power. Save speed drills for punching bags.

Key considerations

For beginners, buying a set of punch mitts seems as easy as picking out a nice-looking pair and going to work. Experienced fighters and coaches know that it’s not quite that simple. They often keep a range of punch mitts on hand for different skill levels and training exercises.

Before buying punch mitts, think about how you’ll be using them. Unlike punching bags, punch mitts are designed with precision and technique in mind rather than speed. Talk to your coach as well, who can probably provide good insight on what to look for.

Skill level

A fighter’s skill level plays a role in the type of punch mitts to buy. Novices who need to develop their form rather than power don’t need heavily padded, extra-large mitts. Intermediate to advanced fighters, or larger fighters whose size puts more oomph behind their punches, need thicker padding to absorb the force of harder punches and kicks.

Weight

Finding the right weight can be a delicate balance. The heavier the mitt, the more easily the trainer’s arms will tire and slow down the action. But lighter mitts may not sufficiently absorb the force of each blow and can be fatiguing for the trainer to use for extended periods as a result.

Size

Punch mitts can vary in length and width by a few inches, with most measuring about ten inches high and six inches wide. Smaller mitts allow for more emphasis on accuracy, while larger mitts can accommodate a variety of strikes and can withstand harder blows.

Durability

Punch mitts take a lot of punishment, so the covers and seams should be durable enough to withstand hundreds of blows. This is largely dependent on the materials of the covers and seams, which we will get into in more detail later.

Ease of cleaning

Because punch mitts see a lot of use by sweaty fighters and trainers, they need to be easy to clean and sanitize between uses. Look for mitts with smooth covers that can be easily wiped down after an intense training session.

DID YOU KNOW?

Trainers should angle the mitts to provide the optimum striking surface for each type of punch: held vertical for jabs, turned inward for hooks, held facing downward for uppercuts.

Features

Punch mitts have a straightforward design and construction, and this simplicity is part of the reason for their popularity among boxers and MMA fighters. However, there are specific features for all punch mitts — and a few variations that can set one pair apart from others.

Cover materials

Made of vinyl, nylon, or leather, the cover protects the padding of the mitt. It also protects the fighter’s hands or gloves because it is smooth and free of seams on the front. Leather is the most durable option and is preferred by many boxers and MMA fighters for its soft feeling and long lifespan, but it is generally only found in high-end mitts.

Seams

The first part of a punch mitt to show wear is generally the seams — and once a seam rips, it can be hard to repair.

The seams of a punch mitt run around the outer edges of the mitt and hold the cover together. A strip of protective fabric may be sewn on top of the main seam to keep the stitches from popping out under the force of punches.

Glove

Located on the back, the glove is attached to the mitt so the trainer can hold and control the mitt and brace for each strike. Most models feature fingerless gloves to increase ventilation and prevent the trainer’s hands from becoming too sweaty.

Hood

Some models feature hoods — an additional piece of nylon or leather on the back of the mitt that protects the trainer’s fingertips during slip drills. If you don’t plan on doing slip drills, you are better off avoiding mitts with hood so that the trainer’s hands don’t become overheated.

Wrist strap

A wrist strap helps to keep the trainer’s hand inside the glove when receiving a punch. Sewn on the back of the punch mitt below the glove, the wrist strap is easy to open, close, and adjust using a hook-and-loop fastener.

Padding

The most commonly used padding in punch mitts is latex foam, which does a good job of absorbing each blow and protecting the trainer’s hands. In most cases, the foam is made of a single piece that is trimmed to fit snugly inside the cover. The padding thickness ranges from one-and-a-half to about three inches, and more padding generally means more protection and comfort for both the trainer and trainee.

Gel padding

Some mitts feature an extra layer of gel-based padding sewn into the front of the cover to further disperse energy and protect the trainer’s hands.

Mesh backing

More expensive models may feature a mesh backing sewn into the back of the mitt to provide a breathable layer between the trainer’s hand and the mitt, reducing trapped sweat for a more comfortable experience.

Curved faces

A slight inward curve in the face of the mitt helps keep a fighter’s wrist straight on contact and makes holding the mitt more comfortable. Mitts used for more powerful punches may curve radically, creating a pocket to firmly catch each blow. Curved faces also allow for different types of strikes, like jabs and kicks.

Flat faces

Some mitts have a flat or almost flat contact surface. They are easier for beginners to target and often cost less than curved mitts but are less comfortable to hold. In addition, these mitts do not work well for kicks, jabs, or slip drills.

EXPERT TIP

The seams of punch mitts are continually stressed by the force of punches, so look for mitts with reinforced seam stitching.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Don’t stand still when holding the mitts for more advanced drills — move around the workout area, forcing the striker to follow you, or if working in a small space, have the striker switch stances frequently.


Staff  | BestReviews

Punch mitt prices

Punch mitts almost always sell as a pair and include one left mitt and one right mitt.

Inexpensive: Budget mitts with few features, little to no inward curve, and less padding cost from $10 to $22. While these may meet the needs of beginners simply looking to practice a few basic punches, they do not work well for more experienced boxers or fighters who have advanced practice routines. In addition, the lower-quality materials are not as durable and may show wear early on.

Mid-range: More comfort features and padding can be found in mitts priced between $22 and $40. Mitts in this range often have curved designs and comfortable gloves with increased breathability for long training sessions.

Expensive: Trainers looking for high-quality leather covers and plenty of padding for heavy hitters can expect to pay between $40 and $120 for a pair of mitts that will last for years.

Tips

Using punch mitts properly can take some practice. Here are a few pointers to get you started.

  • Keep your elbows down when holding the mitts to better absorb shock, control the mitts, and prevent shoulder injury.

  • Hold the mitts so that the fronts always face the striker, and keep your shoulders relaxed.

  • Don’t take your eyes off of the striker when holding the mitts. Lack of attention may lead to an errant strike and potential injuries.

  • Break in new mitts using slower, more controlled punches to soften the cover material a bit.

  • As the striker, use gloves or wraps to protect your knuckles, especially when hitting hard.

  • New mitt users should focus on technique first rather than power.

  • Take frequent breaks from holding punch mitts to prevent your hands from cramping up and your arms from getting tired.

  • Clean punch mitts after each use with a neutral-pH sanitizing solution and allow them to air dry.

Other products we considered

While we stand by our top recommendations, there are a few other products worth some attention. We like Venum’s Light Focus Mitts, which can be slipped on quickly and are ideal for technique drills with their lightweight design. The Ringside Heritage Panther punch mitts stand out with their all-leather retro style. The combination of the soft cowhide leather and two-and-a-half-inch padding make this one of the more comfortable options, though they are well outside the normal price range. For a more affordable pair of leather mitts, Fairtex’s Contoured Punch Mitts caught our eye thanks to their attractive design, rugged construction, and comfortable gloves tailored to smaller hands.

Punch mitts can also be used to train knee strikes and kicking techniques. Use flat mitts to provide the best striking surface and focus on technique rather than power.

FAQ

Q. Where should punch mitts be held?

A. One purpose of punch mitts is to train a fighter to punch at different levels and different angles. You might hold them at chest height for straight jabs, at waist height for rising uppercuts, at head height for hooks. So holding the mitts in a fixed spot isn’t desirable. Instead, hold them at the height and angle needed for the fighter to strike with proper form and practice a variety of strikes.

Q. My punch mitts have loose threads sticking out of the seams, and they aren’t comfortable to hold. Why are they breaking down so fast?

A. You are probably using a thinner, lighter set of punch mitts that aren’t meant for full-force punches. If hard-hitting is the norm at your gym or dojo, invest in higher quality, more thickly padded mitts. Save the lightweight mitts for lighter-contact technique work or for kids’ classes.

Q. How hard or light should a fighter hit punch mitts?

A. To start with, hit them very lightly — imagine the trainer holding up bare hands instead of pads and how gently you would hit their unprotected palms. Gradually increase the intensity of the strikes while maintaining proper form until both of you are comfortable with moving on to more forceful strikes.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Kyle
    Kyle
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer
  • Samantha
    Samantha
    Writer

BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.

Take Survey