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What Are Punching Bags Made Of?

Last Updated: 04.07.22


If you’re looking to become more knowledgeable regarding this interesting topic, we provided more info here. The outer shell of punching bags is usually made of leather, synthetic leather, nylon or even canvas.The inside part of the bag could be filled with sand, textiles, water, or a combination of two different materials. Choosing the right materials will help you to progress at a faster rate. 

Punching bags come in various shapes and sizes. You could buy a heavy bag, a free-standing heavy bag, a speed bag, a double-end bag, etc. According to the level of the user and the training’s purpose, different punching bags will help you achieve different objectives. In order to get a better understanding of this topic, we will start from the outside.


Punching bags surface material

In general, punching bags are made of leather. A synthetic material such as vinyl or plastic could be used as well since it has certain advantages. A bag made of nylon or vinyl may be a better fit for humid spaces because of its good resistance to developing mold or mildew. Also, the cleaning products are cheaper than the ones used for a leather punching bag.

Punching bags made of leather

Leather has been used for a long time as the top choice for punching bags material. Leather punching bags are often the most expensive. Despite the price, it’s still one of the most popular choices because they offer a natural sensation for kicks and punches. They have a high level of durability and comfort together with the classic aesthetic. 

You can get them in any color you want, but take note that it will increase the final price tag.


Punching bags made of synthetic leather

Synthetic leather is another popular material used for the outer shell of punching bags. Some of the top brands use synthetic leather in order to offer a smaller price while providing a similar leather-feel. In spite of being the cheaper version of genuine leather, synthetic leather will get the job done. Along with the right bag filler,  this material will give you a top experience while training.


Canvas and PU (Polyurethane)

The big advantage of this material is the price. Punching bags made from Polyurethane or canvas are far more affordable than the ones made from leather or synthetic leather. They are available as hanging bags or free standing. A bag made of canvas or PU is not as resistant as a bag made of leather, but it will allow you to have some intense workout sessions.

If you are using a PU or canvas punching bag, you need to pay attention to the bag’s surface. If the outer shell is rough, it will cause you burns on your shins, feet or even fists. Most of the time, these bags come unfilled. So if you want to start training immediately, don’t forget to buy some bag filler.


Punching bags made of plastic

Plastic is definitely not one of the popular choices. It is used specifically for bags filled with water. Therefore, the material is thick and rubbery which may not offer the best feel when training.  We can only assume that a punching bag made of plastic is not part of a top boxer’s daily training.


Punching bag fill material 

The fill represents one of the main criteria for choosing one of the punching bags available in today’s market. It affects most of the punching bag’s properties such as weight, comfort, firmness and even price. 

Most of the time, your new punching bag will be delivered pre-filled, but you may need to have at hand an appropriate filler. You may also need it if you have a leak or the current fill started to disintegrate. Some of the most popular choices are sand, textiles, or water.


If you are looking for a heavy punching bag, sand represents your best option. Sand can be used as a filler regardless of the reservoir’s shape. On the other hand, it has the disadvantage of changing its hardness when it is exposed to moisture. This could cause a leak in your punching bag.

Furthermore, if you are a beginner, it may not be the right choice for you. Because of its firmness, you will get a lot of bruises on your shins and fists which may lead to long-term wounds and longer recovery periods.



Although it may seem odd, water-filled punching bags are a convenient choice. They have the advantage of the filler’s availability. Without having to order and wait for your package, the punching bag can be filled or refilled at any given time.

Usually, this type of punching bag has something known as a “bladder”. It prevents leaks and allows for easy filling. Nevertheless, you should always periodically inspect your training equipment for damaged areas. There is no fun in having a 60 lbs water-filled punching bag leaking all over your floor.



Air is one of the best choices as a bag filler for children or athletes who just started their training since it significantly reduces the chances of getting hurt during practice. It is a comfortable choice for people who prefer a lighter and softer punching bag. Having an air-filled punching bag will save you space as you can deflate the reservoir and store it away whenever you need it. 

Also, there is no point in talking about price. Usually, air is used as a filler for double-end bags or speed bags. The main disadvantage of air-filled punching bags is that they need to be refilled every two or three days. Constantly practicing hits and kicks on the bag will cause some of its filler to leak.



This is a good option in case you want to lower the level of muscle strain on shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The material is lightweight and soft enough so you won’t get hurt during training. The level of this option’s practicality is worth talking about.

When using a sand filling punching bag, the filling will settle at the lower part of the bag. This will cause the bottom of the bag to turn very hard while the superior part becomes nearly empty. Textile material, on the other hand, has a better molding to the bag’s shape even when it is constantly used. Most fighting styles use a combination of textile and sand fill to provide the right amount of weight and impact feel.

Textiles are easier to acquire having a higher availability than sand and moving them around will cause you almost no trouble. Most of the time, the rags are recycled from old clothing. This makes it a friendlier-on-the-environment choice which is always a good thing.

It is for all of the above reasons combined that many professional gyms opt for rags as a punch bag filling. We have to mention that some of the fighting styles such as Muay Thai use a mix of sand fill and rags. The combination provides the correct amount of weight and impact sensation.


Sawdust is certainly not one of the common bag fillers. But it doesn’t mean that you should not use it. You just need to get enough to fill your bag. By filling your punching bag with sawdust, you can control precisely its final weight. If you are looking for a lighter bag, use smaller cut sawdust. For a heavier bag, you will need to get chip-type sawdust.  

The best result will be obtained if you combine these two options. One thing to look out for is to keep your punching bag completely dry. If the sawdust gets wet, it will give your gym or training room unpleasant smell which might chase away your training buddies.


Rice or flour

We know it is an unusual option but is possible to use everyday food ingredients to fill a punching bag – assuming you are not ashamed of the strange looks that you will get at the local supermarket. One thing to avoid is filling the punching bang only with rice. By doing this so you will damage your bag very fast. 



When buying a punching bag it usually comes filled. However, if you want to have the best punching bag, you will have to fill it yourself. This way, you can choose the materials that you put in the bag and get the best result for your training.




1) What is inside of a punching bag?

2) How to Fill a Punching Bag

3) Bag punching – detailed text

4) All about punching bags 




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