Protects the hand and wrist nicely with a shock absorbent foam that will allow you to practice longer. Uses Velcro straps to ensure a snug fit on the hand, no matter what size. Works for all types of combat sports practices. Durable materials in the punch mitts allow them to last a long time.
Not made to fit children's hands. Not made for high-end training requirements from advanced fighters.
Nice level of padding on both the palm and the wrist to keep your hands protected during sparring sessions. Slight curvature in the punching mitts will mimic that of your hand, ensuring a comfortable fit. Foam padding is a little stiffer than some others, which results in a longer-lasting mitt.
Not made to meet the needs of advanced fighters. Gloves tend to run small.
Offered in six different color combinations. Slightly curved design fits the hand naturally. Foam padding is lightweight, but offers good shock-absorbing capability. Leather materials make these mitts easy to clean after a practice session. Velcro straps can be adjusted for a snug fit.
Doesn't deliver a high level of durability. Aimed at beginners, rather than experienced fighters.
High-quality backing materials in the punch mitts will give you a high level of performance. Padding in the mitts will remind you more of a sparring glove, as it keeps your hands safe. Includes an anti-microbial coating to avoid soaking up sweaty odors for an easier clean-up process.
Not made to stand up to high-level workouts. Mitts may not return to original shape easily after workouts.
Thick padding in the wrist area straps keep the wrists protected during sparring and keep the mitts tightly in place. Shape of mitts forces your hands and arms into the proper position to absorb the punches. Good level of padding throughout the large mitts. Will stand up to tough workouts.
More expensive than punch mitts made for beginners. Takes longer to put on and take off.
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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. Learn more about what punch mitts have to offer and which model is perfect for your needs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.