While nothing is better at simulating a real fight than sparring, there are other methods of training. Where heavy bags excel at building power and endurance, focus mitt training teaches rhythm and precision in a natural way.
For that reason, focus mitts are something of an underrated piece of training equipment. Compared to heavy bags they are versatile, low cost, portable, and can help you quickly develop excellent punching and defensive skills.
If you want to improve your, footwork, accuracy, timing, or just want a cheap way to get a good workout in, focus mitts are the way to go. In this guide you will learn about the best focus mitts for boxing and MMA, why they are a valuable tool, and how to get the most out of using them.
The number one, top rated focus mitts are the RDX Gel Hook & Jab Pads (FPL-T3W). These mitts come highly rated in all the important areas: comfort, durability, and performance.
Other focus mitts are cheaper, and others supposedly more high end, but honestly you could stop reading this article right now and go pick up the RDX Gel Mitts right now. Let’s get into the details of the mitts to back up that statement.
Build Quality – Starting from the inside, the backbone of the mitts are formed by a layer of stiffer ‘Infused Shock Dispersion’ foam. This layer is the solid platform that maintains shape and strength to withstand the shock of impacts.
Next are the Shock-Gel layer, which functions as the main force dissipation and absorption layer. This material is what creates that solid, satisfying feel that RDX Gel Jab Pads are known for.
Finally, the padding stack is covered by a layer of SpongeX foam, along the front and sides to help maintain the profile. Then we have the gorgeous 100% genuine cowhide leather covering. Leather is always better in the long run.
Comfort & Durability – The RDX Mitts rank high in the comfort category. Hands and fingers slip into the pocket, and palms find a ball shaped hold. Then the super soft padded wrist strap locks the hand in place. It’s not tight, but it’s more of a secure feeling.
The stitching is reinforced, which is very important for the longevity of the mitt. Crappy stitching tends to pop after it has taken some beatings. There is no fabric liner in the hand pockets, just leather, and a breathable mesh back so it’s easy to clean off sweat and stink with a damp towel.
Performance – The RDX Gel Mitts perform well, but because they are leather, a modest amount of break in is needed before they perform best. Being a thicker focus mitt, with gel padding, they can take a punch without sending a bone jarring vibration up the holders arm.
The price range, performance, and durability are all important factors to why the RDX Gel Focus Mitt is a go to option for pro trainers and amateur boxing and MMA enthusiasts.
The RDX Curved Jab Pads (FPR T1W) are basically a lower grade version of the top RDX Gel Jab Pads. Instead of genuine cowhide leather, these are made of the Maya Hide synthetic leather. Instead of the layer of Gel padding, there is the regular RDX foam.
Those less costly materials don’t mean they are junk mitts. They are actually great focus mitts, just at a lower price. The downside is the longevity of the mitts. Genuine leather take more abuse and is more durable.
These mitts look great, with the trademark red, white, and black color scheme. There is also the slick looking screen printed target on the center of each mitt (the RDX Gel has a stitched border to form the target).
The other good news is that for the attractive price, they even perform well. The substantial padding, snug hand pocket, palming mound, and sweat breathing mesh are all features users have expressed as excellent. If you can’ afford the gel version, the regular RDX Curved Jab Pads are a solid option.
These focus mitts are the low cost options that still earn a favorable rating. These models will perform well enough, but may not have the overall longevity of higher priced mitts.
Sanabul Essential Curved Punch Mitts – A big time mitt from a little known brand. These mitts are very popular among the fitness crowd, but can be used just as well for boxing and MMA.
Contender Gel Panther Punch Mitts – The Contender Panthers look a lot like the RDX. They are very popular, they just lack the high level of craftsmanship found in the RDX, Ringside, and TITLE models.
Meister Curved Leather Focus Mitts – Meister MMA is a relatively new brand on the block. Their focus is on high quality fight gear for a fair price. The Meister Curved Focus Mitts fit that bill. Pick these if you prefer a cloth lining in the hand holds.
Ringside Panther Punch Mitts
The Panther Punch Mitts are classics in the boxing scene. Ringside built them from leather and padding that feels substantial when hit, but light enough to control.
The padding helps with energy dispersion, saving the mitt holder from joint pain. The mitts have received praise for their comfort, especially in the hand pockets.
The palm areas is contoured with the padding, and has a nice little bump to grip onto. Better comfort means longer workouts and improved stamina.
Pro Impact may not be a well-known brand, but the focus mitts can really get the job done. While the mitts are pretty basic in looks, they have an air of professionalism in the design.
The mitts are constructed of all black genuine leather. They look sleek and the white targeting dot on the pads is a nice little touch of detail. The hand picket is also leather and has a small hook and loop strap to help secure them to the hands.
The padding is on the harder side, so it is advised to wear gloves when punching these mitts. The hand slots fit most hands comfortably right away, while larger hands will have a break in period. The padding is nice and thick, and should provide a satisfying pop and rebound on the punch.
The TITLE Platinum is a top choice of gym owners and trainers who do this for a living. The reason being they have great ergonomics and handle powerful punches extremely well.
They catch punches well and have a sweet sounding connection to provide instant feedback. Like other well-made leather mitts, you’ll want to wear some gloves when hitting these because the padding is firm.
For the mitt holder, you get a nice mound inside the hand nest to grip onto. The mitts are universal in fit, and have a securing wrist strap. Overall, the TITLE Platinum are a good buy for the money.
Century Creed Focus Mitts – Best Professional Focus Mitts
The Creed line is loaded with quality gear, and the focus mitts are no exception. The substantial padding and high craftsmanship make them very interesting mitts. Read our full review here.
The Creed mitts have a sleek design, with comfort and control as top priorities. The stitching is tight and strong, and all the seams look reinforced. The hand pockets are sized perfect for most normal hands. Bigger hands will need some breaking in.
If you are looking a professional level focus mitt, the Creed Focus Mitts are awesome.
These are premium quality punch mitts, and that is reflected by their price range. If you like the very best in materials and quality, check these out.
Fairtex Contoured Punch Mitts – The famous Muay Thai gear maker has some really good all-purpose gear. The punch mitts are great for hard Thai style punching and kicking. The mitts are made by hand in Thailand, where they put high demands on their gear.
Qualities of Good Mitts
Quality Padding – This one is obvious. Better padding absorbs strikes better and lasts longer. It also creates better feedback during punches. Good padding creates a nice springy ‘pop’ that still absorbs the blow.
Quality Materials – The best focus mitts use genuine leather for the striking surface. Leather is tough and durable, where vinyl is lower cost and can tend to break down sooner. The rest of the mitts are typically made of vinyl, mesh, and other synthetics.
Stitching – Good padding is great, but if the stitching is crap, the mitts will fall apart. Look for big, strong threading with piping that protects seams.
Hand Holds – There are a few types of grips found on focus mitts. There is the half glove style where you simply slip your hands into finger slots. There are also versions with wrist straps for extra hold. Straps are more stable, but in the end it’s a personal preference. Mitts with an internal “ball” to palm are much easier to control.