At Everlast we called them striking bags not to be confused with the heavy training bag, which is a totally different exercise item all together. At one point in the early 1980s the Everlast factory in the Bronx was making as many as 6000 bags a week. At that time Everlast produced 16 different models of different sizes, style and materials.
Since the beginning of time, man was hitting some kind of stuffed bag or sack for one reason or another. The bag would be stuffed with hair, feathers, straw or any combination. When Charles Goodyear perfected vulcanized rubber in the late 19th century, air filled tube bladders could be used for a variety of applications such as car tires and sports balls. At that time, a bag filled with air was popular to punch as a form of exercise.
The famous rat-a-tat-tat pattern associated with the use of the small pear shaped ball hanging from a board in local gymnasiums became the staple of the boxers’ work out routine. This a tremendous form of exercise because you need to keep your hands up, therefore strengthening your arms and upper body. It improves hand-eye coordination, and helps a boxer learn to shift his/her weight from one foot to the other when punching. Striking bags come in an assortment of sizes, ranging from the large 13x10" (33x25 cm) and 12x9", medium sizes 11x8", 10x7" (25x18 cm) and 9x6", to the small 8x5", 7x4" and 6x4" (15x10 cm). The larger bags are slower in bouncing back and therefore more force is required to keep them going. Generally, the large bags are used more for building strength and endurance, while the smaller bags allow the training athlete to concentrate on faster hand speed, timing and coordination.
The earliest bags were attached to a rebound board platform with a simple short piece of rope tied to a loop at the top of the bag. Later, special easy detectable universal joint metal swivels were devised as a substitute to provide better consistency and durability.
Generally, the bags are still constructed from various leathers and artificial leather like materials. For much of the 20th century, kangaroo was the standard preferred leather for the top professional striking bags. Its strength and lightweight factor made it the most desirable material for the strongest and fastest bags in the world. Because of unique qualities, kangaroo was the leather of choice for many sporting goods products, such as track, football and baseball shoes and even baseball gloves. In the early 1960s because of their high desirability, kangaroos were over hunted and their population began to diminish. To preserve them, kangaroo leather for use in manufacturing was banned in the United States. In the intervening years, top quality bags were made with a variety of kidskins or cowhides.
Kangaroo leather is available once again. You can you can purchase “the bag of the century” at