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5 Tips for Choosing Pads

Pad holding is an art in itself. It’s a skill that requires confidence, speed, spatial awareness, and strong communication skills. It’s an essential component in the repertoire of a Martial Artist and many sports incorporate them as an indispensable part of the curriculum. Your equipment can make a big difference in your ability to hold pads well and buying the right type can go a long way to meet the above skills as well as prevent injuries. Here are our top 5 tips to help you make the right choice:


Before making a purchase, it is most important to ensure that the pads are specific or at least suitable to the sport or martial art you are practicing.

Types of pads will vary from sport to sport. Thai Boxing uses Thai pads: rectangle-shaped pads a little longer than the forearm that is thick enough to absorb powerful kicks to the body. They are also used to catch punches.

Boxing has much smaller pads, called focus mitts. They vary in shape and hardness but are often round and small to encourage and improve accuracy. They can be purposeful in any gym where punching is part of the sport.

Taekwondo pads are relatively thin in comparison and are held by a long handle. This allows the pad holder to meet the speed and precision of strikers by moving them quickly at a number of heights.

Due to the nature of the sport, MMA may use a variety of pads, but if it's your first time buying pads or mitts, make sure that your pair meets the needs of the class or training you'll be partaking in the most.


It’s important to consider who you’ll be holding pads for. If you’re using them in a class setting you may be working with a multitude of different body types. Height and weight are considerable factors here. Alternatively, you may only train with a select few people, so it will be easier to gauge your needs.

If you are generally smaller than your training partners, it’s better to choose pads that have a good thickness to them to help absorb the blow so your body takes less impact. If you find yourself bigger than most, you can choose something lighter to help you keep up with lighter strikers who tend to be quicker.

Finally, think about what type of pads you like to hit. Communal gym pads are not always the nicest and you may want to use your own for both holding and striking.

Frequency of Use:

How often you use the mitts will be another factor to consider. If you are a trainer or frequent student your pads won’t last as long as someone who is only using them a couple of times a week. The temperature will affect their longevity too-colder, drier climates will see them last longer than hot, humid climates. A high frequency of use will do best with a higher quality of pads whereas a low frequency can afford to make less expensive choices.


Research your list of potential mitts for reviews on how comfortable they are. Check measurements and dimensions before making a final decision. The size of your hands and arms will affect the fit of the pads so it's crucial they are snug around the fingers and wrist to help prevent injuries.


How much are you willing to spend on your new equipment? Use the previous tips to help you filter choices in your price range, but remain open to exploring what is slightly outside of the budget too-a sale or promotional offer may get you something better that is still in your budget.

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