Last Updated on February 8, 2022 by Stephen Paul Robertson
When it comes to combat or fighting sports, injuries are always ready to tag along with every punch or kick. As risks of getting severe medical problems increase, you need to seek safety or face dreadfully shortened careers.
So, what will protect you during your brutal sparring sessions?
The right type of headgear of course!
Sparring headgear holds safekeeping abilities like none other. Wearers can have the back of their head completely covered while also receiving shielding for their forehead and cheeks. Some even include face shields that keep the eyes and nose out of harm’s way.
So, without further ado, let us introduce you to the best headgear for sparring!
Reviewing The Best Headgear for Sparring
1. RDX Headgear Boxing MMA Muay Thai
The RDX Headgear Boxing MMA Muay Thai has many protective layers to offer. Firstly, you will notice the exquisite Maya Hide leather that manages to be very flexible, providing resistance against splits and tears.
Up next, there is an EVA-LUTION sheet that manages to be impact absorbing. It decreases the energy reaching the person’s head, meaning the protectivity level is improved. Beneath this, a spongy blacktop fabric layer is available that adds to the tensile strength and holds the SpongeX paddings.
The calibrated impact diffusion sheet and compressed EVA-LUTION sheet work hard to spread the force of impact. Instead of having all the energy aimed into one section of a person’s face, it is distributed to decrease the pressure applied.
One of my most favorite features is the removable grill made out of PVC that safely keeps you away from black eyes and broken noses. Anyone who is not okay with decreased vision can opt to remove it instead of receiving frontal protection.
|Solution: Wear a chin guard.|
2. Hayabusa T3 Adjustable MMA Headgear
If you are not a fan of weighty headgears, the Hayabusa T3 Adjustable MMA Headgear is exactly what you are looking for! A compact body ensures that no contributions are made to neck or back pains. Instead, you can spur within its security blanket that provided amazing adjustability due to the T- cross situated at the back.
From amateur sparring matches to professional ones, this headgear will take care of you through it all. Its non-shift fit makes sure you are not left unarmed even during the worst situations.
Unlike the previously mentioned headgear, the Hayabusa T3 also manages to offer added cheek protection. This is done without causing hindrance to the peripheral vision, meaning you can fight without any disadvantages.
Above all, we have to mention the commendable durability. Microfiber Vylar engineered leather is used to cover the exterior, causing the headgear to be resistant to scratches or tears.
|Solution: Put on ear guards underneath the headgear.|
3. Ringside Competition – Like Boxing Headgear with Cheeks
The Ringside Competition – Like Boxing Headgear comes with dense foam pocketed within durable leather. This combination makes the headgear tough and flexible, reducing any chances of tearing or cracking. One can invest in the headgear and have something that does not back down from protecting for years onwards.
A contoured body prevents the headgear from slipping off even after the application of large force. Curved cheek paddings are offered and as long as you buy the headgear in the right size, you will not have to worry about hindrances to visibility.
In my opinion, one of the most unique features of the headgear is the laminated foam interiors. This layer does wonders at absorbing shock and wearers can also feel convenience due to the cushioning provided. Ear holes are also given that let the headgear maintain a smooth airflow so that sweating is lessened.
|Solution: Switch out the buckle for something that is made of Velcro.|
4. Maxx MMA Headgear Black L/XL
Small weight is probably one of the most appreciable features of the Maxx MMA Black Headgear. You can easily concentrate on sparring without having to worry about carrying extra weight. At the same time, wearers are made to look huge in front of opponents, all thanks to big dimensions.
Similar to the RDX headgear, this Maxx MMA headgear also offers its wearers multi-layer protection. To start with, there is a leather layer that is resistant to tear no matter how huge of an impact is aimed at it.
Peeking beneath the smooth leather and finely stitched leather will let you stumble onto a thick layer of foam. Such closed-cell foams are very good at absorbing shock, indicating that the headgear does an amazing job at protecting.
In addition to this, you will also find extra foam layers slipped within the cheek, forehead, and chin areas. Extra safety is provided against punches and blows, meaning chances of scarring are as low as zero.
|Solution: Check out the other options on the list!|
5. Fairtex Head Guard Super Sparring HG3, HG10, HG13 Diagonal Vision
Like all the other headgears on the list, the Fairtex head guard has an exclusively built leather exterior. Thanks to its amazing malleability, you do not have to worry the slightest about fraying. Hence, this headgear can be sported for years without needing any replacement.
Just below the leather layer, you will find multiple layers of foam that have shock-absorbing properties. These are high-density foam that does not wear despite facing harsh usage on a daily basis.
When asked about their favorite feature, users were quick to point out its protectivity. It is known to bring wearers shielding like no other by notching down the power of blows by around 60%.
Users also loved the chin protector, which is curved and sits firmly under your chin, keeping you away from the pain caused by uppercuts. No damage is also caused during falls.
|Solution: Put on a skull cap underneath the head guard.|
6. Venum Elite Headgear
A color combination of black and gold makes the Venum Elite headgear stand out the most on the list. The sleek leather exterior is admirable and offers a build that deals well with heavy-duty usage. You also need not worry about tears because of the professionally done stitches.
The Venum Elite headgear comes with cushiony cheek pads that guard your cheekbones. A chin protector is also presented that manages to look after the bottom section of the wearer’s face. Falls, punches, and blows will be unable to cause any damage to your face!
Openings are present towards the front and for the ears, which offer ventilation. You are less likely to sweat upon putting it on, so no pungent odor will disturb you while sparring. Despite having an outlet for the ear, the mouth of the gap is cushioned and raised, letting no blows be directed in that area.
|Solution: Try to protect yourself from frontal smashes or hits.|
7. Ringside Cleto Reyes Classic Training Headgear
When I say that the Ringside Cleto Reyes Classic Training Headgear is the most unique choice, there is not even the slightest bit of exaggeration. Its exterior is designed using cowhide, which is pretty much imperishable as long as you keep it with care.
Even while coming in big dimensions, the headgear has little weight to exert on your head or shoulders. A wide eye port allows athletes to see clearly while sparring so that they can avoid side jabs. Proper airflow is also maintained so that constant sweating is reduced.
For shock absorbency purposes, the Ringside Cleto Reyes also holds latex foam padding within its body. It deals well under the application of pressure and keeps the wearer away from many types of medical conditions.
Overall, this headgear is worthy of being everyone’s trustworthy companion while sparring!
How to Pick the Best Sparring Headgear
To get yourself the perfect sparring headgear, there are several features that you need to select beforehand. So, go through this little buying guide and make a checklist for yourself; anything that ticks all the right boxes is bound to be ideal!
Recently, manufacturers have started producing various types of sparring headgears. While some will have an open face that offers full vision and ventilation, others will cover the forehead, chin, nose, and cheeks.
While open face headgears are extremely comfortable to wear, they leave your cheeks, eyes, and nose undefended. You are very likely to suffer from facial injuries like black eyes, split lips, or a broken nose. All of these make it somewhat of an unsafe choice.
Full face headgear on the other head manages to mask the cheeks, chin, and nose. It is known to be the most efficient of all, as the wearer’s head and face will be left unscarred in most cases. The problem with this type of headgear though, is the weight. Some are extremely heavy and provide discomfort around the neck, but modern-day ones tend to be lightweight despite having a big build.
A right-sized sparring headgear will not exert force or slip off during crucial moments. Hence, before you purchase one, take a measuring tape and calculate your head’s circumference. Up next, all you need to do is find the compatible size by matching the value with the size chart given below.
|Size||Head Size||Fitted Hat Size|
|Youth Small||20 – 1/8 inches–20 – 7/8 inches||6 – 3/8 inches–6 – 5/8 inches|
|Youth Large||20 – 7/8 inches–21 – 5/8 inches||6 – 5/8 inches–6 – 7/8 inches|
|Small||21 inches–22 inches||6 – ¾ inches–7 – ¼ inches|
|Medium||22 inches–23 – ½ inches||7 – ¼ inches–7 – 5/8 inches|
|Large||23 – ½ inches–25 inches||7 – 5/8 inches–8 inches|
|X Large||25 inches–26 inches||8 inches–9 inches|
Over the years, athletes have emphasized how important it is to make sure you can properly see upon wearing your headgear. The wearer’s line of vision should remain clear so that they are quick to notice and avoid punches and kicks.
For open face headgear, you do not have to worry much about this as long as you get the right size. However, while purchasing full-face headgear, do try to make sure the forehead or cheek padding does not reach your eyes.
In terms of strapping, there are Velcro and lace-up options to choose from. A Velcro strapping holds the advantage of having a straightforward hooking up process. You can strap it on within a few seconds and remove it whenever necessary.
On the other hand, lace strapping is praised for its outstanding adjustability. This makes it ideal for all head shapes, as its grip can be tightened in some places and loosened in others. The only disadvantage of this strapping method is how long it takes to fixate. Lacing up can prove to be rather time-consuming.
Sparring sessions are undoubtedly exhausting for all so, constant sweating should come as no surprise to you. This is why, while shopping for sparring headgear, make sure that it offers a constant airflow. Breathability and ventilation will help you maintain your focus since discomfort is kept at a bay.
People always struggle to choose between price and quality. Famous brands usually tend to charge more because of better design, materials, and features. So, if you wish to spend around $50 on your headgear, then do check those out, as they have amazing durability and resistance.
In contrast, if you wish to spend little, several amazing options will also be available within $20. These will offer equal protection but might lack comfort and ease of use.
Weighty headgears for sparring bring on benefits and drawbacks. They will provide a bigger mass for the opponent to fight against, but your neck is very likely to feel stiff after about an hour of usage. Sometimes, they might even start headaches or back pains.
So, when you are purchasing headgear for sparring, it is best to choose something in between. Anything option that is too heavy or lightweight should be avoided.
Benefits of Sparring with Headgear
Protection against Facial Injuries
When you put on headgear while sparring, you are immediately being protected from some bruises and wounds. Getting a black eye is a lot less likely and your cheeks will not be scarred or blackened by blows. Besides that, broken noses are completely avoided, along with split lips. Overall, this makes regular fighting a lot easier. The cuts and grazes from previous matches will not put you at a disadvantage.
Extra Protective Layer
Headgears will shield your head using its protective body, which can decrease the energy of blows by about 40 to 60%. The force received by your head is minimized, meaning chances of acquiring head or brain injuries are also decreased.
Other than this, some headgears also come with anti-microbial properties which keep viruses and bacteria away. Ear or other types of infection are reduced.
When headgears blanket your head, they immediately increase your sense of security. Athletes are thus made to feel more confident, which lets them engage more with their opponents. Overall, professionals have said that it makes athletes more courageous since their face is unlikely to get harmed while sparring.
No More Headbutts
Headbutts are excruciatingly painful and manage to leave some of the worst wounds. However, wearing headgear will help you eliminate headbutts from your sparring equation altogether. This is extremely helpful, as you can spar at ease.
Reduced Chances of Getting Cauliflower Ears
Wearing a headgear reduces the force reaching the ear and also prevents it from facing friction during falls. Overall, this cuts down the chances of getting auricular hematoma, meaning a proper blood flow is maintained in your ears. Since the ear tissues respire as they should, cauliflower ears are successfully prevented, so you won’t have to go through painful draining procedures. Otoplasty need not be performed at any point, meaning you can also save money.
With headgears sported, your cheeks, ear, forehead, or other facial skin will not rub against the ground during falls. This means friction is less likely to cause burning gashes that bring discomfort to your sparring journey.
Frequency Asking Questions
Is headgear bad for sparring?
Sparring headgear causes a major decline in the force reaching your head. This causes a decrease in head trauma, meaning you are less likely to suffer from serious medical conditions. However, wearers are put at a disadvantage since opponents are presented with a place to grab onto.
Does headgear prevent black eyes?
Yes, headgears do prevent black eyes. Other than black eyes, they also minimize further facial and head injuries, meaning that you can carry on with your sparring sessions regularly.
Does headgear prevent brain damage?
Although headgears decrease the force reaching your head, your brain still faces major swings. This results in concussions. When a person spars regularly, they frequently get Sport-Related Concussion, which at some point, starts causing brain damage.
What headgear do boxers use?
Boxers often use full face headgears to protect their face properly from all sorts of harm. This helps them play all the matches diligently, without having to sit back to allow their injuries to heal.
Does headgear prevent CTE?
CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) cannot be prevented by wearing headgear. This is because headgears do not stop the sudden movements that the brain faces while wrestling. They only minimize the shock that travels through it.
If you were looking for the best headgear for sparring, by now you must have found several suitable candidates. Going through the pros and cons will help you distinguish between all of these PPE and find the perfect one for yourself. Thoroughly check the buying guide to enable your access to all the right features.
Hopefully, we were able to make your sparring sessions less life-threatening!
Paul, a graduate from the University of California, has been a Safety Advisor for over 5 years in USA. Along with his other 2 partners, who are professional bikers, he has been the chief of the headsafetyguard.com to create mass awareness on an often neglected issue: HEAD SAFETY