Focus mitts are an essential part of training and coaching for boxers, combat sports and martial arts. They are designed to improve both fighting moves and defensive skills through a series of well-adapted combinations that are effectively designed for maximum potential.
This potential could be speed, strength, accuracy, balance, or footwork to name a few examples. They also provide a generally good workout for cardio and other high intensity exercises, as it isn’t just the force of a punch they work to focus on.
They are incredibly versatile additions to any exercise, such as:
- Boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA)
- Muay Thai
- Enhancing workouts such as cardio
Mittwork is a central part of training as it resembles a fight without being real; it helps users explore strategies and rhythms, improves punching skills, and improves defensive skills. This is because the key points to focus mitts are focus, speed, power, accuracy, and technique.
They can provide a challenging yet exciting workout or training session as experienced trainers will get you out of your comfort zone in strategy and technique.
Focus mitts are a cost-effective necessity to training and coaching, so we have found the 5 best focus mitts along with a handy buyers’ guide and FAQ to help find your perfect fit.
In a rush?
Our top pick is the Valleycomfy Boxing Curved Focus Punching Mitts. These popular focus mitts feature high-quality leatherette punching pads with durable stitching to prevent rips, as well as 1.5 inches of molding foam to form a good support for harder punches.
They come in one size with adjustable velcro wrist straps, and are designed so the user is comfortable and not restricted when wearing them. For $18.99, these are affordable and good quality focus mitts for any experienced user.
OUR TOP PICK
The Valleycomfy mitts are quite the all-round box ticker for anyone looking to purchase a pair
of focus mitts. Made from top quality PU leather, these mitts are durable and comfortable to both wear and punch, and they are built to last a long time.
These are curved focus mitts, which means they are designed for the hardest punches with its 1.5 inches of molding foam.
These dense pads are lightweight and made to prevent pain, so it’s not like punching a brick wall.
This is ultimately best for workouts and training, because they can be used for a variety of time periods without causing injury, and allows for variations of exercise, strikes, and techniques.
These mitts come in one size with adjustable straps, with sweat-resistant lining to prevent slipping and enhance comfort.
These come in one pair for $18.99, and each mitt is interchangeable so either can be worn on either hand.
- Very affordable for a pair of mitts
- Made from good quality and comfortable PU leather, comfortable and easy to clean
- Durable and curved design
- Perfect for beginners
- Versatile and can be used for kickboxing, boxing, martial arts, and workouts
- Probably not for the more experienced and serious users
These are the most expensive on our list at $99.99, and for good reason. Coming in a range of 6 different colors, these mitts are made from top quality leather.
As most mitts need a few months to properly break in, once broken in these mitts are built to last a long time.
They are snug, so good for smaller hands, but the gloves can be broken into and will fit the contours of hands.
A tighter fit means they won’t get punched or kicked off! The glove compartment is soft and also features a finger hood for extra protection.
The punching pad itself is made with a shock-absorbing layered foam that cushions a punch without it being too hard or soft, meaning the user can focus on their speed and power without injuring themselves or the mitt wearer.
- Top quality and built to last
- Snug fit
- Fairtex is a trusted brand
- Most expensive on our list, but worth the money
- Tight fit, may not be the best for larger hands
These focus mitts stand out for their 100% cowhide leather design. The higher the quality of leather, the more durability the product has.
With a thick 2 inch padding for the strongest and most powerful of punches, as well as a curved design to centre punches and improve focus and accuracy, these mitts are a force to be reckoned with.
These mitts also come with wrist padding to steady the users hands and wrists whilst protecting their joints. This is also useful for keeping the mitts firmly on a variety of hand sizes rather than slipping off.
They may seem stiff at first due to the leather and tightness of the glove, but will break in overtime. These mitts are sold as a pair for $39.99.
- Snug glove design with wrist support for stability, safety, and effectiveness
- 100% cowhide leather
- Curved design allows for improving accuracy and centering punches
- As they have a curved design, they may not be the most efficient for training kicks
- Not lightweight
At $16.99, these are the most affordable focus mitts on our list.
Made from PU leather, they are designed to prevent tears and wear, along with a sweat resistant lining of the gloves and a ventilation hole to make them a breathable and comfortable fit.
They are designed with ergonomics in mind, as the curve of the pad helps improve accuracy and the glove itself features a cushion to sit naturally in the hand.
This is ideal for the ultimate control and comfort of both users. It also comes with adjustable straps for the perfect fit.
The high foaming rubber is 1.5 inches thick and works to help the impact of a punch, preventing damage to the hand or wrist. These are very lightweight mitts, ideal for travel and long usage.
- Very affordable
- Best suited for non-professionals and beginners
- Good and comfortable fit for both wearing and punching with curved design
- As they are a lower price, they will not act in the same way as expensive and higher quality mitts
- Best for non-professionals and beginners, if you are looking for something to match your skills
The final product on our list is the Elite Sports Boxing Mitts, coming in at a budget-friendly $24.99.
The main material is a lightweight PU leather, which is soft to the touch (or punch) and easy to clean after a good workout or training session.
These mitts are curved, which is great for power and accuracy of a punch, as the curve encourages the fist to focus on the centre of the pad.
The foam is shock-absorbing which is designed to protect and prevent your hand and wrist from injury.
The glove size is made to fit well with its adjustable velcro straps and mesh panels for breathability - good for preventing sweating and the mitts accidentally falling off.
They are lightweight, allowing for long wearability and better to dodge and train with.
This design comes in a variety of colors and is versatile to work for boxing, MMA, Muay Thai, and other contact sports.
- Good value for money
- Curved design and comfortable material
- Adjustable straps to fit any hand size
- Hands are covered
- Better suited for beginners, potentially not for experienced users
- Leather inside of gloves which some may find uncomfortable, though there are mesh panels for ventilation
Best Focus Mitts Buying Guide
Why to Buy and Use Focus Mitts
Focus mitts are most commonly used for and by boxers. They are a fairly recent invention, becoming more prevalent in the 70s and 80s, and have now become a staple and essential item for training purposes.
They are cost effective and can make up for lack of other boxing equipment. They are mostly ideal for boxing as the mitts mimic an actual fight without the damage, so the trainee can focus entirely on their own defence and attack methods.
They are designed to withstand the heaviest of punches, the quickest of jabs and the most perfectly timed hits. Specific combinations of sequences and movements are created by professional trainers to work on stamina, power, strategy, and technique.
They are also beneficial for defence as, although the mitt-wearer does not attack back, they can mimic such actions to help the trainee block and roll from the opposition.
With this also comes with the chance to improve footwork and defensive style. This means both the trainee’s defense and offense can be worked on at the same time.
Focus mitts are also useful for other combat sports and activities such as mixed martial arts and workouts such as cardio.
They can be used to improve strength and stamina, as well as toning multiple parts of the body at the same time. Punches are useful for the core as well as arms, and footwork is brilliant for leg days.
Materials and Comfort
The most common and popular material used for focus mitts is PU (polyurethane) leather, a soft artificial leather that is often used for furniture such as couches.
This leather is soft and comfortable to the touch and more durable than you may think, as most mitts feature this material to not break or tear upon impact. One benefit of PU leather is that because it is artificial, is it completely vegan.
The material of the gloves is entirely up to personal preference, as some are also made of PU leather and others are mesh designed for breathability. Our top tip is to have mitts with adjustable straps for the best fit. Remember: they are meant to be a tight fit otherwise they will fly off!
It is best to opt for a lightweight mitt design, because the user will need complete control. If the mitts are too heavy for long usage, the user will have no chance of helping out the fighter. Remember, it’s not a real fight. Lightweight mitts are best for maintaining energy and a longer time period of a workout.
The thickness of the foam padding is one of the most important factors when looking to buy a focus mitt. The foam padding is there to soften the blow when you are not wearing boxing gloves, and is designed to not damage your skin or injure your joints.
This also goes for the quality of the glove itself; a focus mitt that comes with a wrist support is a good option to maintain the strength and prevent injury for the user.
Different Style of Mitts
There are several styles of focus mitts, all with different advantages and disadvantages:
- The most common style of mitt is the curved or contoured design, which are made to match the curvature of the human hand. This is both beneficial to the fighter and the mitt-wearer. The curve also offers a point of focus in the centre of the mitt, allowing for accuracy improvement. However, the curve structure is not recommended for kicking.
- Micro focus mitts are best for improving speed as they are lightly padded. These are smaller pads, so cannot be used for force.
- Flat mitts are the best for blocking purposes, which makes them ideal for defence training. They can be hit from different angles as opposed to the curved design, which means they are not the best for accuracy, but this does make punching slightly easier.
- Air focus mitts are the most heavily padded, and so are most beneficial for those with the stronger punches and leg kicks.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are focus mitts used for?
Focus mitts are the ultimate training device for sparring as they can mimic a fight without the injury. The focus here is on the fighter, as they can work on both their defense and offense skills, strategy and technique.
They are good for remembering and developing fighting combinations, footwork, bobbing, accuracy, strength, and timing.
Focus mitts are incredibly versatile and can be used for multiple combat sports, or even just for increasing the intensity of a strength building or calorie burning workout.
How do beginners hold mitts?
Holding the focus mitts is a workout in itself. A beginner should have a boxing stance with one leg forward and the other back to prevent fighters from pushing you off balance.
It is important to communicate directly with your partner, as this is not a real fight and you are there to work together. Holding mitts is all about strength and stiffness, as the holder is acting as a target. This is to ensure a high intensity workout.
Communication is the main key here, so it is best to take inspiration from experienced mitt holders and talk to your partner about when to punch and what your body language means. For example, only keep your mitts up when you are ready for a punch, and down when you are not.
How do you catch a punch with mitts?
This mostly comes down to communication with your partner. The focus mitt is not a wall and can move around, but cannot be limp.
Act stiff and like a solid target, and you will know the punch has hit perfectly when you hear the “pop” slapping sound against the pad.
Creating combinations is as simple as working alongside your partner to make a sequence of different hits to perform when a number is called out.
It is best to learn from an experienced mitt wearer first to avoid injury and to prevent training that isn’t working effectively.
Can you hold a mitt for body shots and kick shots?
Focus mitts can be used for a variety of shots! This all depends on how experienced the mitt holder is, as holding the mitt in the wrong way can cause injury for both people involved.
It is best to use air mitts for body shots and kicks, as they are designed for a stronger impact. The curved focus mitt design may cause bruising and discomfort from a kick.
What are the best focus mitts?
This depends on personal preference, the aims of the individual, and the skill level. Flat focus mitts are an all-rounder mitt as they can take punches from a variety of angles, but this means accuracy is not focused on.
Curved or contoured focus mitts are ideal for focus and comfort as they fit the natural curve of the hand, which is beneficial for both users. However, due to their shape they are not the best for kicks.
Micro style focus mitts are the most lightweight due to their light padding, which is ideal for improving speed, but not heavier punches. Air focus mitts are the most heavily padded, which makes them ideal for heavy punches, kicks, and body shots.
The weight of the mitt may hinder the strength and stamina of the mitt-wearer, however. For longer workouts, a more lightweight mitt is recommended.