Best Karate Mitts Reviewed
It is less than likely than you will ever need to bust out your karate skills to teach some street toughs a lesson about manners. While you want to advance your skills and strength, the last thing you want to do while training is to cause any real injury to yourself or to your sparring partner.
A great pair of karate mitts are a great way to not hold anything back while learning new skills and creating a softer surface between your fist and your partner's face. What’s great about these products is that they are generally thin and not as bulky as boxing glove but they serve a similar purpose.
In this guide, we have listed some of our favorite karate mitts currently out there on the market so that as your strength increases, you won’t accidentally chop your partners head clear off their body!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 7 hrs of research
Made from leather
Secure finger loops
Top 10 Picks
Made from leather
Secure finger loops
Loops are uncomfortable
The reason that we placed these mitts from Sanabul at the top of our list is that they deliver everything that you need for training. They are made from quality materials that hold up very well with time, and they have a few design features that help you stay protected and in control.Read more
What’s notable about this design is that it is almost a hybrid between a mitt and a glove. It has an outward design of a mitt that offers a lot of padding and protection for you and your partner without being too bulky. On the inside, there are individual finger holes to keep you in control or the placement of the pads.
The outside is composed of engineered performance leather which means it will hold up well over time. It also means that it is less likely to absorb sweat and odors, and it is super easy to wipe down. We also like this option is offered in a few different sizes to accommodate most sizes of hands.
If you are in the market for something that is a little more versatile that you can take to multiple classes, this design from Sanabul is one of your best options. We love that it is made from high-quality materials that are easy to care for and will hold up well over time.
2. Pro Force Gladiator
Very firm foam
Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to the Pro Force Gladiator. While some options out there on the market can get weighed down by bulky features, the Gladiator keeps things simple and easy. This is a pair you can easily toss into your gym bag without taking up too much room.Read more
The most notable feature of this design is that has pre-formed foam knuckles that work great at absorbing blows and protecting your knuckles with a thin layer. It also has elastic finger grips on the inside that helps keep the entire mitt in place without feeling restricted and bulky.
The Gladiator sports a free-thumb design that allows you for a full range of motion in your hands. Some users like the option of a free thumb because it doesn’t feel as restricting as mitts. It also comes in a wide variety of sizes that uses the size of your knuckles as a guide for the perfect fit.
For those in the market for something simple and easy to protect your knuckles, this is one of your better options. It comes in a wide variety of sizes for various sizes of hands, and the thumb-free design makes it a cinch to toss into smaller gym bags.
Many size options
If you want something that gives you the ultimate protection for your entire hand, this is a really great option. It has a little bit more padding on the knuckles as well as the rest of the hand when compared to some of the other designs that we have seen. Plus, it comes from a trusted brand.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this design is that it covers your hand completely. That means that with every swing, your knuckles, thumbs, fingers, and even your wrist is protected. Plus, it comes in a few bright colors that stand out from some of the boring and basic black options.
One of the things that we love about this design is that it comes in a wide variety of sizes to ensure that you get the property fit for your hands. Size options start out at small and run all the way up to extra large. It also uses a velcro strap at the wrist to make sure you craft a tight and secure grip.
For those in the market for something that comes from a trusted brand, this is a great choice. Due to the full hand enclosure, you won’t have the same range of motion as you would with a more open design. However, this enclosed design means that your hands and wrists will have the ultimate protection no matter how hard you hit!
4. Twister Fight Wear
What we liked about this option from Twister Fight Wear is that it provides ultimate protection whilst still offering a slight range of motion. It has a thick layer of padding protects your hands and wrists, and it is something that is easy to toss into a gym bag.Read more
The most notable feature of this design is that it has an outside thumb that provides you with additional protection without limiting your full range of motion. It also has an open section near the top of the palm that helps promote airflow so that your hands do not overheat inside the mitt.
We also like that it comes in a wide variety of sizes so that you can ensure that you get the right fit for your hands. Sizes start out as extra small and run all the way up to extra large. To make sure that it fits your hands perfectly, it also has a thick wrist strap that secures with velcro to ensues that it doesn’t shirt around.
For those in the market for something that offers superior protection to your hands and wrists while promoting a full range of motion in your thumbs, this is a great choice. Plus, the slightly open frames means that your hands won’t overheat during those long classes.
Made from leather
Superior padding is what makes this design from Wesing stand out from the crowd. It uses incredibly thick molded foam to protect your hands and knuckles and protects your partner from your powerful blow. Plus, it’s made from quality materials that hold up well over time.Read more
The inside of these karate mitts is composed of a thick pre-formed layer of polyurethane foam. The foam is thicker at the peak and tapers off towards the tips of your fingers and your wrist. It has an open palm, and it also leaves your thumb exposed for better movement.
The outside of this design is made from PU leather, and quality sewing means that they will hold up well over multiple uses. Wesing includes a sizing chart to ensure that you get the right size for your hands. Sizes start out at small and run all the way up to extra large.
Thumbless designs are great because they still provide a full range of motion while protecting your sparring partner and your hands. We also love that this design has a wide adjustable wrist strap to protect your wrists as well.
.5 inch foam
Century has been in the business of making quality fighting gear since it was founded in 1976. What we loved most about this option from Century is that it is composed of high-quality materials that will hold up quite well over the years of karate classes.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this design was the glossy exterior that makes it stand out from the rest. The underside provides the best of both worlds- it has a palm strap as well as finger loops. This keeps the product securely in place on your hands no matter how much you move and sweat.
This design also provides superior padding that will keep your knuckles and your sparring partner protected. It uses a dipped pre-molded layer of .5 inch foam to absorb the shock of your powerful blows. It comes in many sizes so you are sure to find the right fit for your hands. Sizes run from small to large, and also include youth sizes as well.
For those in the market for something that has excellent padding and superior protection for your hands as well as your thumb, this is a great choice. It is composed of high-quality materials and it comes from a trusted brand within the karate gear industry.
No thumb protection
What we liked the most about this option from Arawaza is that they are made from high-quality materials and feel comfortable when you wear them. They are WKF approved and are incredibly lightweight as easy to wear. The quality of craftsmanship makes this design worth checking out.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this design is that they have double-stitched seams which means they hold up well over time. According to previous users, the pre-formed foam in the knuckles in incredibly lightweight which will not hold you down.
There is no thumb protection in this design, which is a little less restricting than those that offer thumb protection. It comes in a wide range of sizes that ensure you get the right fit for your hands. Sizes start out at extra small and run all the way up to extra large. Available colors include blue and red.
For those in the market for something that is WKF approved and offers a comfortable fit, this is an excellent option that is worth checking out. It comes from a trusted brand in its field and comes in enough sizes to fit most sizes of hands.
No thumb protection
Need something with superior protection? This design from Venum has a very thick layer of foam to keep your hands protected, and it is WKF approved so you can even take them along with you to tournaments. The downside of this design is that they are a little bit bulkier than most, but that just means you are protected.Read more
What we liked most about this design is that it is made from polyurethane leather which means it will hold up well over time. Plus, PU leather isn’t very absorbent so it will not hold up to sweat and odors. This means that they are incredibly easy to clean.
Sizes start out at extra small and run all the way up to extra larger. There is a sizing chart available that uses the measurement of the circumference of your hand for a perfect fit. The pre-formed thick foam interior is perfect for protecting your hands and knuckles no matter how powerful you are!
If you are in the market for something that is made from quality materials that are easy to care for and hold up well over time, this is a great option. The thick formed foam takes it easy on your hands and is a little bit bulkier than other options out there on the market.
Superior wrist protection
The use of elastic bands ensures a tight and comfortable fit when it comes to this design from Tokaido. It is made from high-quality materials that hold up well with continued use. The bands on the palms hold it in place while being light and comfortable, and the open design prevents your hands from excessively sweating.Read more
One of the things that we immediately noticed about this design is that has an incredibly thick wrist strap that protects your wrists. It is secured in place with a velcro strap that will not budge when fastened in place. Plus, it allows you to loosen it while you aren’t fighting. Plus, it comes in a wide variety of sizes to ensure you get the right size for your hands.
It also boasts an open palm that stays in place with elastic bands along the bottoms on the fingers. This means that even as your hands start to sweat, the open palm keeps your hands from overheating and becoming slippery inside of the mitts.
For those in the market for something that allows them to safely pack a punch, this is a great option. The high-quality materials used are incredibly durable and it makes it easy to clean after every use.
10. Proforce Lightning
What we loved most about this design from Proforce is that they keep the palm of your hand nice and open while providing superior protection for your knuckles. It comes in a wide variety of size options to ensure you get the right fit, and it also comes in a wide variety of glossy color options as well.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this design is that it has an open palm with features that keep it securely in place. An elastic band that runs over the palm keeps it firmly in place, and finger grips at the tips to help you gain more control over each and every hand movement.
Your knuckles what you want to protect, so it makes sense that sizing includes the size of your knuckles. To ensure that you get the right fit for your hands, be sure to measure the width of your knuckle. Size options start out at a child's size small and run all the way up to a large adult.
If you are in the market for something that provides superior protection and is designed to fit your hands perfectly, this option from Proforce is worth checking out. It may be a little bulkier than some of the other designs out there, but that extra bulk is worth it if you need a little extra padding.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Above all else, you want something that fits your hands perfectly.
There are a few different designs outs out there on the market that fit your hand just a little bit differently. Below, we have listed some of the different fits out there on the market so you can find the style that is perfect for your needs.
If you want a fuller range of motion in your hands, you will want something with a thinner layer of foam. Thinner foam also means it is something that will slip easily into a gym bag without taking up all that much room. It is important to note that if you opt for something with thinner padding, it won’t offer as much support and protection as thicker options.
For superior protection, a thicker foam topside is a better choice. It is important to note that thicker foam means that you will not have the same range of motion that you would have with thinner options. However, thicker foam designs often fit just a little bit better due to the fact that they cover more surface area of your hand.
Thumb protection is another thing to take into consideration. A layer of foam around the thumb means that you are less likely to sustain any type of injuries to your thumb. The downside to thumb designs, however, is that they really limit your full range of motion. Also, many users complain about the thumb fitting too tight and cutting into their hands.
If you want to ensure that they fit comfortably, opting for simple designs (such as those that omit thumb protection) is your best bet.
No one likes to fight with wet and sloppy hands.
When you shove your hands into thick mitts, sweating is bound to occur. There is something just terribly uncomfortable and unpleasant about hot and sweaty hands, and we wanted to avoid this scenario at all costs.
To keep your hands from overheating, we made sure to select designs that had an open palm area. Sweaty palms occur when your body is frantically trying to control your internal temperature. This means that as you start to elevate your heart rate and work up a sweat, your palms become naturally sweaty to lower your body temperature.
Open palms help circulate air throughout the mitt to prevent the gloves from becoming wet with hand sweat. An open and airy design is also great because washing these gloves is not an easy task. Since they cannot be tossed into the washing machine or exposed to water, it is important that the insides stay nice and dry.
If you find that your gear starts to smell a little funky, simply spray them down with a mixture of water and alcohol to kill any odor-causing bacteria and let them completely dry before wearing them again.
The material used for these products isn’t very breathable, so it is important that they have open palms that help promote proper air circulation. Keeping air moving also helps prevent your gear from smelling just a little bit funky.
To help prevent your hands from making them smell funky from the start, we suggest that you spray your hands down with a little bit of water and alcohol to kill off any bacterial living on your hands because shoving them into your mitts!
They say that it’s only what’s on the inside that counts, but in this case, the inside and outside are equally important.
We wanted to make sure that we selected brands that used materials that were durable, comfortable, and offered superior protection against your powerful blows. Below, we have gone into a little bit of detail about the materials we felt were superior, and the reason why you want to use a product made from these types of materials.
For the outside of your mitt, leather is the way to go. Whether it is genuine leather (which we did not see a whole lot of), or PU leather (artificial leather)- it is the best option when it comes to these designs.
The reason you want to opt for a leather exterior is that it doesn’t absorb odors or moisture. When you are wearing these products on your hands, sweating is bound to occur. When this happens, you do not want to wear a fabric that absorbs the sweat into the material or the foam padding. That’s why leather is the perfect material for these products.
Plus, leather is something that is easy to wipe down to remove odors and bacteria. While it isn’t ideal to throw into the washing machine or expose to water, it is a cinch to wipe down with a little bit of alcohol-based cleaning solution.
For the inside, you want a pre-formed foam is what you want. What we liked about foam options is that they have a very strong feel to them which means that they will not lose their shape over time. Plus, they are soft enough that you can feel free to use your full strength without the fear of knocking the lights out of your opponent!
A few key design features can really make all of the difference in the world.
We want to go into a little bit of detail about the various features found in the designs that we selected for our list and the reason they can help keep your hands protected.
One of the most important features found in all of the designs that we selected was a thick wrist support. We wanted to select products that had a wrist strap that measures to be over 1 inch thick that is adjustable via velcro or elastic. By utilizing a thick wrist strap that fits tightly, you can prevent loose wrists that can become injured if you hit at the wrong angle.
Open palms mean that air circulates through the glove easier than if the mitt is closed off. This means that your hand will become less sweaty as you fight, which keeps you from overheating.
Finger holes are offered in some options out there on the market. While they still have the same mitt frame, finger holes help you gain more control of your hands and keeps the unit in place as you fight. The last thing that you want is your gear slipping around on your hands as you fight, and finger loops are a great way to maintain control.
Finding the right size for your hands in incredibly important for a secure fit.
If you select something that fits too tightly, you are in for a very uncomfortable match. If it’s too loose, you don’t have the level of protection that you need to protect your wrists and your hands.
One of the most important things to keep your eye on is sizing charts. Companies that include sizing charts are ideal because they help ensure you get the right size for your hands the very first time. Most companies either measure the circumference of your hand or use the measurement of your knuckles.
We also wanted to ensure that we selected brands that offered a wide range of size options that are perfect for all sizes and shapes of hands. Sometimes mitts can fall into the one-size-fits-all category, which can be a little problematic. That's why we wanted to ensure that we selected products that offered size options that start at extra-small and run up to extra large.
The good news is that most designs can accommodate most sizes of wrists. We found in our research that almost all of the designs out there on the market utilize a wrist strap that cinches in place with velcro. This means you can make adjustments to how tightly you want your wrist straps to fit.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
The WKF stands for the World Karate Federation, and it was founded in 1990 which is recognized by 191 different countries. They are recognized by the International Olympic Committee, and they set the standard for approved gear. If a product has the WKF seal of approval, it means that it has a good chance of being allowed in most tournaments. However, not all tournaments are the same, so it is a good idea to call ahead to ensure your gear will be allowed on the floor.
Washing mitts is something that is a little difficult. The materials that are used in most designs cannot be subjected to water- which can pose a bit of a problem. If you notice that your gear is smelling just a little ripe on the inside, a sock full of baking soda is a great solution. The baking soda (or talc) absorbs excessive moisture and helps kill bacteria.
Clammy hands, for some, are just a fact of life. When you start to work up a sweat, your hands get clammy as a natural way of cooling the body down. To prevent your hands from sweating too much, spraying them down with a water and alcohol solution is a great way to wich away moisture and kill off any bacteria on your hands that may cause odors.
Other Factors to Consider
You only get one pair of hands- so you better take good care of them! While training, if your hand comes into contact with a training bag or a sparring partner it is in your best interest to equip a pair of karate mitts to keep your hands and wrists protected.
If you hate wearing bulky gear, the good news here is that most designs aren’t very bulky and are made from lightweight and easy materials. If fact, there are even some designs that are similarly thin to MMA gloves. On the flip side, there are bulkier options out there that provide a lot of cushioning for ultimate protection.
No matter if you are just starting out or an old pro- protecting your hands should always be your top priority. Equipping your hands with a pair of karate mitts is the best way to train safely and effectively.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Why do I need karate mitts?
Your hands are one of your most important tools when fighting, and there isn’t a replacement pair available if you damage the only part you have. That means that you need to make sure that your hands are protected whenever you step into the ring for a sparring match.
Karate mitts work by covering the top side of your hands that deliver the brunt of the impact. Most brands use a layer of tapered and pre-formed foam that absorbs a lot of the impact of each blow. Not only does this material keep you from injuring your hands, but it also protects your sparring partner as well.
q: Can I wear them in a tournament?
The answer to this question all boils down to the tournament that you are competing. Most tournaments have different house rules when it comes to gear. We suggest that you contact the location of the match to confirm whether or not the outside gear is permitted to be worn on the floor.
If you find that your tournament permits mitts and gloves, it is important that you select a pair that is labeled as WKF-approved. If you select a brand that is WKF-approved, it means there will be no surprises when you arrive to find that your gear is now allowed to be worn.
q: My hands are strong and tough, why do I need to wear mitts?
So, you spend your afternoon sparring with the side of a brick wall and you have a set of hands that are tougher than iron. With tough hands like this- why in the world would you ever need mitts?
Your sparring partner may sing a different tune when stepping into the right with you! While most mitts are designed to protect your knuckles, they are also made to protect your sparring partner. While it is important to keep your hands safe and protected, it is also important that you don’t knock the daylights out of your partner!
q: How do I clean them?
Karate gear is notorious for smelling a little funky just after one class, and mitts are one of the more difficult pieces to clean. Due to the fact that they are composed of leather and foam, subjecting them to water is something you will want to avoid at all costs.
There are a few preventative measures that you can take to keep them from smelling in the first place. We recommend coating your hands in a water/alcohol mixture before slipping them into the gloves. Simple antibacterial hand gel is one of the easier solutions and a great thing to keep on hand in your gym bag.
The same principles can be applied to treating your mitts after your class is over. Wiping down the outside with a mixture of alcohol and water is a great way to kill bacteria on the outside. To dry up the inside of sweat mitts, we suggest filling a sock with talc, baby powder, or baking soda and slipping it inside is a great way to dry when out before bacteria start to grow.
q: Should I select a design with thumb protection or no thumb protection?
There are two different styles of mitts out there on the market- those that offer thumb protection and those that do not. So, how do you know what’s right for you?
The answer to this question depends upon how much movement you want for your hands. Some users are not a big fan of wearing mitts or gloves because they feel they restrict movement to their hand too much. By selecting an open thumb design, you have better air circulation as well as additional control over your hands.
For ultimate protection to your hands as well as your thumbs, you may want to look into a style that offers thumb protection as well. It is important to note that thumb designs have a tendency to pinch or fit too tight, so finding the right size for your hands is even more important than open thumb designs.
q: Can I practice at home without my karate mitts?
We know that it can be frustrating to weigh yourself down with gear when it feels more natural to be unencumbered. There are instances where going gearless is acceptable to leave your hands exposed.
If you are training drills without making contact with anyone or anything, going all-natural is perfectly acceptable. Some users feel that going all-natural when training with a bag is ok, but injuries can occur when making contact with a bag just as easily when training with a partner.
These gloves also offer additional wrist support, which is something that is incredibly important when working with a bag. One of the most common injuries when engaging in a little bit of bag work is wrist injuries, so popping in a pair of mitts is super important.
q: What makes them different from boxing gloves?
Karate mitts live somewhere in between boxing gloves and MMA gloves. Boxing gloves are incredibly padded and provide full protection of your entire hand and wrist. MMA gloves are less padded and separate individual fingers so that you have a full range of motion.
Karate mitts live somewhere between these two different types of gear. They have padding on the top of the hand similar to a boxing glove, but significantly less. Plus, many options leave the thumb open which gives you more freedom in your hands similar to an MMA glove.