Top 16 Best Focus Mitts for Boxing, MMA & Muay Thai 2020

Do you want to hear something weird?

The best focus mitts have just as much to give you whether you are the striker, or the one taking the hit.

That’s counterintuitive, right?

I want to get into that a little more, but before I do let me explain my plan here.

This short guide to focus pads will show you how these helpful training tools can improve your boxing, MMA, Muay Thai, Kickboxing and more.

I will thrash out the differences between each style, show you the right way to use these focus mitts, recommend a few good training videos and wrap up with 16 boxing focus mitts reviews.

Our Top 3 Models

Starpro boxers are undoubtedly the best model for starters. It offers great shock absorption.

This pair of focus mitts is suitable for all kinds of strikes, which makes it an outstanding choice for your technical training sessions.

Sanabul Essential is a lovely cheap choice. Good for wide population and you can land hard strikes at will. A comfortable model and it fits great.

Elite Sports Essential is our top pick, as it offers a high level of comfort, an excellent level of protection for your hands and wrists, plus it keeps your hands dry even during the most intense training session. And it won’t kill your budget!

women training boxing with focus mitts

Why use Boxing or focus Mitts?

How Holding the Pads Helps You?

One of the greatest benefits of pad work comes to those holding the pads.

Why?

If you use your time as the mitt holder well, you will train yourself to focus on how your partner moves. You will begin to pick up on subtle, even subconscious queues that tell you what punch or kick that partner is about to attempt.

Don’t think of pair work as a waste of time if you are the one catching the punches!

The more strikes you see coming your way, the better you get at “seeing” punches before they happen.

Practice makes perfect and this goes for both landing punches and receiving them well.

Since pad work is just practice, you don’t have the preoccupation of being hit and can relax and focus on how the moves come at you, what they look and feel like, and what happens just before they are thrown.

Holding the pads helps beyond just learning to read your partners movements.

It also trains you, if you practice, to keep your eyes open as punches are thrown at you. It can desensitize you to strikes so you won’t flinch, which is the last thing you want to do while sparring or in a real match.

How Mitt Work with the Coach improves your performance

You often see coaches holding the pads and working with their guys.

Sure, they do this so the trainees learn speed, accuracy, proper form and all that, but coaches have something else to gain by holding the mitts.

Coaches can use mitt training sessions as a valuable tool to assess and correct their trainees. Coaches can see firsthand how their students throw punches, their timing, and their form and give instant feedback and correction to help the student improve faster.

men mma fighting

How Focus pad work helps you as you practice striking

Of course, there are many ways that mitt work helps the one throwing the punches.

  • Accuracy – continued practice where you are actually landing the strikes to the center of the pad in the correct sequence of the combo will improve your striking accuracy.
  • Form – this is especially true if you are doing focus mitt work with a coach or trainer who can evaluate and correct your form, although an advanced student can also offer assistance.
  • Timing, Distance & fluidity – all three can be practiced and improved with mindful pad work. You must be diligent in evaluating and constantly adjusting your technique.
  • Offense – You can practice offensive and evasive moves such as ducking, bob and weave and slipping while engaged in mitt work.
  • Footwork – a good partner or coach will keep you on your toes by moving and pivoting, like you would during sparring or a real fight. This is a good opportunity to practice footwork in addition to striking.
  • Speed – as you master form, accuracy, timing, stance and distance, you can gradually increase the speed.

Different styles of focus pads and punching Mitts

Flat mitts

Flat mitts can be hit from a wider range of angles than curved mitts, They also have a tendency to deflect punches and your punch can slip off them easier.

I have heard flat mitts are faster than curved, but this might be theory only.

Flat mitts are good for combos and practicing timing and fluidity because the one holding the mitts can set up the next strike easier. With curved mitts, the strike does not bounce off as readily and takes more time to move to the next strike.

Curved or Contoured Mitts

These mitts have a curve that fits the natural curve of the palm. They are easier to hold, as your hand cups the curve. The make it easy to “catch” the strike or punch too.

They may not be the best choice for kicking, speed combos or elbow and knee work, if the pad is too curved.

Curved mitts are a good choice if you are dealing with a heavy hitter or practicing for power.

Micro, Mini or Cuban style Mitts

These are palm sized mitts designed to train for speed and accuracy.

They are usually less padded than other styles too, so don’t hit these with force. Agility and precision are what you are after when training with these.

Air Mitts

Air mitts are designed to absorb impact from kicks, hits, knees, elbows etc. They are usually heavily padded and have a decent size striking surface.

Good for MMA, Muay Thai and all styles of martial arts.

How to Hold Boxing Mitts? How to Use Focus Mitts?

You might be surprised to learn that holding the mitts incorrectly causes problems for you and your partner.

Learning the correct way to hold boxing mitts is a crucial skill in your life as a boxer or martial artist.

The following videos give you a visual demonstration of the proper way to hold focus pads.

Incorrectly holding the mitts can cause you injury. Holding the mitts too far from your body, or out to the side can cause shoulder strain and pain.

How to hold focus mitts for Boxing

Holding the mitts in the wrong position, too high, too low etc causes your partner to learn bad form and affects his game too.

Do yourself and your mates a favor and learn the proper way to use focus pads.

How to Train with Boxing Mitts? Boxing Focus Mitt Workout Routines

Muay Thai Mitt Routine

The ABC Mitt Workout – an easy to learn pad work routine.

Freddie Roach trains a boxer with Mitts

Freddie Roach is a famous boxing trainer who has worked with Manny Pacquiao, Julio César Chávez, Jr., and Georges St-Pierre. This easy to follow training will cover some mitt work for boxing.

Advanced focus drills using Micro Mitts for speed work

Now to the part you have been waiting for, let’s get into the best boxing mitts reviews!

Top 16 Best Focus Mitt Reviews 2020

These are the best focus mitts 2020:

Ringside Panther

Review: Standard size mitts with shaped cushion, good for quick punches and Taekwondo kicks, but it might come in handy for other martial arts too.

  • Unique shape leads to better control during punches.
  • Good to train angles, and especially striking inside the pocket.
  • Made of durable leather.
  • The product is fairly easy to slip on or off, you can be ready in less than 3 seconds!
  • Excellent for quick-strike training session.
  • Affordable.
  • Not good for super-hard strikes or one-punch knockout artists.

Takeaway: Edson Barboza, Taekwondo black belt and the only UFC lightweight fighter who scored a stoppage via leg kick, middle kick, and high kick, would love this model. You will be a quicker fighter for sure!

RDX T3

Review: Excellent, affordable model with a ball-shaped cushion for fast and powerful blows, especially due to its curved shape.

  • Velcro adjustment strap for an additional level of security.
  • Great durability and easy to wash and clean.
  • Three separate shock absorbing layers mean this model might be good even for very fast and powerful boxing Heavyweight champions like Mike Tyson.
  • Your hands remain cool during training sessions, awesome ventilation system.
  • Your wrists and hands are aligned when you opt for hard-hitting due to outstanding Ez-Grip Ball Technology with Quick-EZ Hook and Loop Strap.
  • Ergonomic palm design for better grip support while holding the mitts.
  • •The interior of the mitt needs to be broken in.

Takeaway: One of the best boxing mitts in the market. It lets you develop fast and powerful strikes.

Fairtex Contoured

Review: Undoubtedly, one of the best pairs of focus mitts for Muay Thai. You can see it in many gyms in Thailand.

  • Your fingers are protected well, even during the most powerful strikes.
  • Very light pair of focus mitts.
  • Made of high-quality leather.
  • Good for the elbow training session.
  • Sturdy model.
  • Expensive.
  • If you’re a guy with a larger hand, this model might be too tight for you.

Takeaway: If your hands are smaller, this is definitively the pair of the best focus mitts for Muay Thai. You can train every single strike!

Sanabul Essential

Review: Sanabul is a super-cheap model designed to endure, the emperor of price/quality ratio, and one of the best focus mitts for MMA.

  • Six lovely designs.
  • No break-in time.
  • Good for one-punch knockout artists.
  • You can forget about poor fits and uncomfortable grips.
  • UFC fighter Michael Bisping loves this model.
  • You can change levels quickly.
  • Extremely stiff padding.

Takeaway: This model allows you to absorb even the most powerful strikes due to Santec Ultra Light Foam. I bet even Derrick Lewis, the hardest hitter in the UFC, would be jealous of you when you put a pair of the best boxing pads on.

Starpro T20 V-Tech

Review: Starpro offers a great model to train punches that demand weird angles–check hook, looping hook, uppercuts inside the pocket, and all variations of jabs.

  • Very cheap.
  • Excellent hand and arm protection, this model will allow your palm to close naturally.
  • Good cushioning and shock absorption.
  • This model also deflects the punches along the edges of the impact zone, which makes it one of the best pair of focus mitts for beginners.
  • Superior comfort.
  • Made of high-quality leather-like PU for enhanced durability.
  • Your arms will not sweat too much.
  • 6-month warranty.
  • This product might not fit well if you have giant hands.

Takeaway: We put it on the list of best focus mitts available for the money. So many positive sides for a superb price!

Emrah T9R

Review: Comfortable and resistant model, excellent for someone who coaches intermediate/advanced strikers.

  • World-class ventilation.
  • Secure fit, the mitts don’t fly off when your student strikes.
  • Very cheap model, price/quality king.
  • Lightweight, good for punch combos.
  • Sturdy model.
  • Not good for one-punch knockout training sessions.

Takeaway: If you’re looking for a breathable model to improve fighter’s quickness and counter-punching, Emrah is a fantastic pick.

Elite Sports Essential

Review: Elite Sports offers one of the best MMA mitts in the market, a very durable model made of ultra-lightweight PU leather.

  • Superb adjustment ability because of Velcro strap, plus this model follows the hand curve.
  • Very easy to clean and maintain.
  • Comfortable pair.
  • Outstanding hand and wrist protection.
  • Your hands remain cool and dry.
  • Good for both sexes.
  • Ten lovely designs.
  • Good for speed and reaction time training.
  • Not good for hard hitters.

Takeaway: Elite Sports is one of the best models for the wide population, so many colors are offered plus it holds a high-ranking on our list of price/quality ratio.

Pro Impact Curved Focus Mitts

Review: It is an excellent model made of genuine leather, durable and stretch-resistant material.

  • Comfortable.
  • The model provides an awesome rebound on the punch, good for vigorous workouts.
  • Good for footwork, timing, precision, counter-punching, and ducking.
  • Look-and-hope closure. Focus mitts will not fly off.
  • Sweat-resistant lining. Your hands remain dry.
  • No odor.
  • You can choose between four lovely designs.
  • Great quality.
  • Mid-to-high price range.
  • Break-in time might be too long.

Takeaway: It is one of the best punch mitts for professionals, you can land combos with style!

Valleycomfy Curved Focus Mitts

Review: This product is made of genuine leather, it offers great features and costs very little.

  • Good ventilation.
  • Excellent for ducking, counter-punching, and reaction time training sessions.
  • Very cheap.
  • Good shock absorption and cushioning.
  • A great pick for children and youth too.
  • Velcro strap for better adjustment.
  • This might not be the best pick if you have large hands.
  • Not recommended for very hard hits.

Takeaway: If your goal is working on quickness and reflexes, this pair of boxing mitts might be your new best friend, plus it saves your money!

RDX T13

Review: Made of Kalix Skin Vegan Combat Leather, a very durable and versatile material, wear and tear-resistant model suitable for all kinds of punches.

  • Fair price.
  • Good shock absorption, amazing pick for hard hitters.
  • One of the best focus mitts for MMA, you can also train knees and some kicks.
  • Your palms remain smooth and dry throughout the session, outstanding ventilation and breathable pinholes.
  • Awesome hand grip and wrist alignment.
  • Equipped with Quick-EZ hook-and-loop, this model won’t slip or fly off.
  • One size, one design.

Takeaway: RDX Boxing Pads might put your MMA performance to the next level. You can land strong strikes inside the pocket. But you can also add powerful straight punches and other-long range strikes. Oh, don’t forget changing levels!

Cheerwing W8651

Review: You will read one of the most positive punching mitts reviews, as Cheerwing comes with very cheap, easy to clean, and long-lasting model.

  • Good for the correct punching technique.
  • Excellent palm protection due to high potency foam padding that reduces the force of heavy impact.
  • Four lovely designs.
  • Made of high-quality non-toxic PU leather.
  • Good ventilation.
  • Side thick line stitching.
  • Ultra-lightweight model, great for fast combos and counterpunch training sessions.
  • Odor.
  • Not a good pick for Heavyweight one-punch knockout machines.

Takeaway: Cheerwing Boxing MMA is a great choice for beginners because of its ergonomic design, plus everybody can afford it!

Everlast 4318

Review: This is a durable pair of focus mitts that serves to improve boxing technique and striking inside the pocket.

  • The product is made of premium synthetic poly canvas.
  • Good for quick strikes.
  • Jab experts, like the former UFC fighter Juan “The Kraken” Adams, love this model.
  • Cheap.
  • Good ventilation that keeps the product smelling fresh.
  • Not good if you have a small or medium-sized hand.

Takeaway: Fighters and coaches with larger hands will enjoy this model.

Hipiwe

Review: If you’re interested in an ultra-cheap model that boosts your straight punches to the next level, please try this model out. It is also good for Taekwondo experts and former UFC fighters Ed West or Cung Le.

  • Adjustable strap, it won’t fly off.
  • Flexible sponge.
  • High-quality product.
  • Excellent for Taekwondo kicks.
  • Good ventilation plus separate finger design.
  • Durable product with excellent shock absorbency.
  • Excellent if you want to boost quickness and reaction time.
  • Not good for Muay Thai or kickboxing kicks.

Takeaway: Price/quality king. If you plan to work on your speed, this is the pick for you!

Meister 1033BK

Review: Meister Cowhide is known for very thick padding for maximum short absorption, the best pick for hard hitters and one-punch KO experts.

  • Affordable.
  • Durable.
  • Made of 100% cowhide leather.
  • Curved mitts, which makes them a good pick for beginners and strikers who want to work on their technique.
  • You’ll get 2 mitts.
  • The break-in period is 1-2 months.
  • There is no Velcro strap to keep this product on your hands when your arms sweat.

Takeaway: If you mostly train Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight fighters, go for it!

Ringside Apex

Review: This model is known for four eye-catching designs and fabulous finger protection. If you want to stay away from a wrist injury, you’ve just found your perfect pick!

  • Awesome durability.
  • Maximum hand protection, even during the most powerful hooks and uppercuts.
  • Fair price.
  • Suitable for advanced strikes and changing levels inside the pocket.
  • Lightweight model.
  • Stiff response.
  • Strong enough to take knee blows and the ball of the foot kicks without hurting your wrists.
  • Bad ventilation.

Takeaway: Ringside Apex is one of the rare light focus mitts models that protect your hand well. It offers a unique combination.

Ringside HPPM Heritage

Review: Fans of classic boxers would love this one. Ringside Heritage lets you travel through time! Best punch mitts, you can land all kinds of strikes from different angles.

  • Made of AA premium drum-dyed 100% genuine cowhide leather.
  • Great padding for extra protection.
  • Support straps with D-rings, adjustable.
  • Good finger protection.
  • Ultra-light model.
  • Very expensive.

Takeaway: Great look, amazing feel, fans of old-school guys like Marvin Hagler, Carlos Monzon, Ray Sugar Leonard and others will consider it one of the most valuable items in their martial arts dojo!

Conclusion

If you train beginners, test Starpro T20 V-Tech, Cheerwing W8651, or Meister 1033BK. It is very important to learn the technique properly in the early stages of your career, otherwise, you might face big problems later.

Sanabul Essential, Emrah, and Hipiwe are very cheap products, but they have some very positive sides. For example, you can land the most powerful kicks on Sanabul, while Hipiwe is your perfect friend for quick combos.

Ringside Apex offers a unique combination, while Ringside HPPM Heritage returns you to 70s and 80s.

Everlast 4318, RDX T13 and Ringside Panther are excellent for close-range strikes, while Valleycomfy might turn you into one of the fastest punchers ever.

But if you’re willing to invest more money in the pair of the best focus mitts for Muay Thai, Fairtex Contoured is your perfect pick. This pair of focus mitts might turn you into a guy with lethal elbows, the copycat of Carlos Condit and Gaston Bolanos.