With the best boxing headgear you’ll receive the maximum amount of protection needed to prevent injury. For sparring or amateur competition, the right headgear is a must to protect your head while ensuring you’re still competitive.
So the need for a quality boxing headgear is not in question. As an athlete or fitness buff you’ll want to make sure that it is durable enough to be used for the long term. Having spent years boxing and MMA, I decided to review the best headgear you can use with boxing, mixed martial arts and more.
Things to Consider
- The chin strap needs to be adjustable
- Gloves have to be made of high quality materials
- Cheek protectors
- Shock absorbing properties
- Made of leather or other durable material
- Velcro or a similar feature for closure
- Antimicrobial and anti-odor properties
- Easy to put on
A few more points need to be emphasized here. Headgear is about protecting your head from hard blows, and it allows you to focus on boxing without getting knocked down. When you’re a pro fighter you’ll do fine without it, but for sparring it is needed.
You also have to look beyond the price. We all want to get a nice discount but your primary concerns need to be the level of protection the headgear can provide you. Your health and well being literally depends on it so get the best one that you can afford.
Top 5 Boxing Headgear Reviews
1. Venum Challenger 2.0 Headgear
The Venum Challenger 2.0 is a one size fits all headgear that provides full protection for your head, chin and cheeks. Made from high quality Skintex leather, the headgear is built to withstand heavy hits.
The Challenger 2.0 is made in Thailand, and it has been optimized for superior protection without compromising head movement. The headgear does not impede your visibility while still providing protection at each angle.
The headgear is easy to put on and safeguards the most important areas of your head. The one size fits all design means it is a good fit with little adjustments needed. The headgear is also low maintenance so this won’t be a hassle.
The design is beautiful and the fit is comfortable even if you have a large head. The Velcro is well implemented and makes adjustment easy. For all its features the headgear is easy to put on and the coverage is really good.
The Challenger 2.0 is adjustable and gives your head plenty of breathing room, essential when you’re boxing.
- One size fits all
- Velcro enclosure is flexible
- Foam has triple density
- Chin, head and cheek protection
2. Everlast Everfresh Head Gear
The Everfresh head gear uses closed cell technology to give your head optimum protection even with intense competition or sparring. The headgear also comes with antimicrobial properties to prevent odor buildup. Even when used constantly, the headgear doesn’t develop pungent smells.
The headgear is made of durable Everhide, rugged yet comfortable. Because it is one size fits all you don’t have to worry which size to pick. Putting it on is easy and the enclosures can be adjusted to fit your head.
The chin strap is also adjustable and complements the cheek protectors. Even when you secure the headgear, it does not squeeze your head or impair visibility. The material is synthetic leather but feels like real leather.The construction overall is solid, with the sensitive areas on your face getting maximum protection. Because the helmet is easy to adjust, you can focus on boxing rather than constantly adjusting your headgear. The fit is comfortable and also limits the amount of wiggling, a common complaint with poorly made boxing headgear.
- Closures are adjustable
- One size fits all
- Chin strap can be adjusted for best fit
- Enhanced visibility
- Made of heavy duty Everhide
3. Cliff Keen F5 Tornado Headgear
The F5 Tornado uses Cliff Keen’s proprietary Air Vent mechanism that makes the headgear more comfortable than others. The headgear fits snugly on most people’s heads with very little adjustment required.
If you do need to make adjustments, the strapping system makes it easy. It only takes seconds to make the headgear fit snugly. A close look reveals the Tornado has deeper than average ear cups. This isn’t by accident as it makes the headgear more comfortable to wear.
When it comes to boxing headgear there are only two things that boxers need, comfort and adjustability. In both instances the F5 Tornado delivers. Even if you have never used a boxing headgear before you may be surprised at how easy it is.
The headgear is a snug fit but not uncomfortable. The Tornado is also lighter than its counterparts so there will be minimal, if any slippage. The foam protection at the chin area is one of the nicer features too.
- Ear cups are extra deep for optimum protection
- Easy to adjust for a snug fit
- Strapping system can be custom fit
- Enhanced audio feedback
- Air Vent System for more breathing room
4. RDX Head Guard Maya Hide Leather Boxing Headgear
The RDX is an all around head gear that is suitable for boxing, MMA, sparring, grappling and kickboxing. Regardless which of these you choose, expect full protection with its Maya hide leather.
The headgear offers excellent protection and the Zero Impact Head guard is superior to those on other units. The Zero Impact Head comes with Shell-Shock gel-lining and padded Tri-Slab for the highest level of shock absorption.
The headgear provides excellent protection, but if you want even more protection there is the grill or face guard. This headgear is removable so it’s up to you to use the face gear or not. If you’re a beginner this is something you may want to wear this for additional protection.
The headgear fits nicely and getting it to fit will not be an issue. There are no strings and the padding is top notch as well.
- Padding has shock absorbing properties built in
- Provides protection for head, chin and cheeks
- Comes with a detachable face gear for extra protection
- The headgear is made from tough Maya hide leather
- Tri-Slab Max-Shock foam serves as shock absorber
5. Ringside Competition Boxing
The Ringside Competition Boxing headgear is made from high quality materials to ensure that your head and face have full protection. The headgear is easy to put on and comfortable. There is breathing room for your head without it being too tight.
The headgear is durable and can take hits from boxing, martial arts and other activities. The fit is good but it doesn’t get to the point your head feels like it is being too small. The chin strap is well built as well and complements the rest of the design.
Putting the headgear on is a simple process and the overall quality is good. The padding is not too soft and not too firm, just the right balance for protecting your head. The level of adjustability is simple enough you’ll be able to concentrate on sparring and fighting. The strap is well-designed and works well in combination with the other elements in the headgear.
- Available in various colors and styles
- Contoured design for a comfortable fit
- Made of quality materials and designed to last
- Built for MMA, boxing, Muay Thai and other contact sports
- Curved to give your head maximum protection
What to Look When Buying The Best Boxing Headgear?
If you’re interested in buying a boxing headgear, you’ll need to do more than just buy the one that looks to be the most affordable. In the following section I’ll look into the most important features you have to keep an eye on.
Types of Headgear
There are two types of boxing headgear, competition and training.
Training headgear has more padding than competition headgear to protect your head from the blows. This is understandable as your objective in training is to improve your skills. Training headgear puts emphasis on protection.
Competition headgear have less padding and your face is more exposed. They may look similar to training headgear but on closer examination you’ll see that the foam is thinner compared to those you wear for training.
Comfort & Fit
These are two of the most crucial elements in boxing headgear. Unless you’re comfortable with it you won’t be looking forward to your training sessions. You must also be at ease with your headgear when in competition.
Everyone has different levels of comfort, but in my experience, comfortable means the headgear conforms to your head’s shape. Avoid headgear that squeeze the back of your head, the sides or your forehead.
Some headgear are too light while others are too loose. Either one is unacceptable as it could lead to injury or just be plain uncomfortable. A well-fitting headgear is a good fit, not too tight or too lose. It won’t slip or move around when you weave around the ring.
You can tell the headgear is a proper fit because it fits evenly and doesn’t move around. It doesn’t slip or wobble even when you’re being hit.
The inside lining on the headgear adds protection and comfort. As mentioned earlier the smoothness of the lining varies even among training and competition headgear. If you’re new to boxing it’s best to start with smooth lining to get yourself used to it. Once you’re used to boxing you can try the “furry” like ones
Being quick on your feet and having fast reflexes can keep you from being hit. This can be a bit difficult when you’ve got headgear. The same elements that protect your cheeks can also hamper your vision. If the cheek protector is too thick it’ll feel like your had is buried in the headgear and hard to see out of.
Some boxing headgear have the cheek protectors bend out a little to improve your vision. This is not always the case so you need to look over the design and try it first. The headgear also needs to be of the right size otherwise it will be too big for your head and make it even harder to see.
The padding is used to protect your chin, cheeks, forehead and the back of the head. There is no custom rating or standards for padding so you need to find one that you’re comfortable with.
The thicker the padding the more protection, which is suitable for training. This does not however, always equate to thickness. Some thin padding feels thicker because of the quality of the material used. On the other hand, a thick padding may not absorb shock that well if it’s made of poor material.
You also need to consider what type of training level it is made for. Some boxing headgear is meant for light workouts while others are for heavy hitting. If you’re into fitness training or new to the sport, thicker padding is ideal. But if you’re preparing for competition the thinner padding is better.
There are many ways to determine quality. One is its durability. How long can you use the headgear? How much pounding can it take?
You can also look at the padding. How long can the padding – regardless of thickness – last? Will it still be able to absorb the blows months from now? How does the cushion feel after weeks of intense training?
The chin strap is the most fragile part of the headgear. A well-designed headgear should be able to hold up for a long time. Not only is the chin strap the thinnest section of the headgear, but it is also the one that gets the heaviest hits.
Look for headgear chin straps with a solid buckle. The strap must also be durable, unlike those on cheap headgear that barely last a year. If the chin strap snaps you won’t be able to wear the headgear. More to the point: high quality head gear is going to last a lifetime. If the headgear is only good for a few years forget it.
The headgear covers the back of your head, the chin, cheeks, sides and forehead. However the extent of the coverage varies. The most critical areas are your cheeks and forehead. Those are the two spots where you’re going to get hit a lot. You need protection here but not to the point it obscures your line of sight.
The headgear sides are important too because you’ll also get hit here. You can have thick side protection since it won’t affect your vision, but if it’s too thick your head will be a target.
The protection on the back of the head have varying levels of padding. It doesn’t need to be as thick as the other sections, but if you roll a lot you’ll likely get hit on the back of the head a lot. If that’s your boxing style then you’ll need more protection.
Chin padding has its pros and cons. Some like the extra protection it offers. Others hate it because the padding makes it difficult to lower your chin. You’ll also find some of these headgear with a face bar for nose protection. Again this is a matter of personal preference. There are those who like the additional protection but others find the extra bar more distracting than helpful.
The one advantage of the face bar is it protects your nose. If you’re in the last few weeks of training for an upcoming fight, the bar ensures your nose isn’t damaged. You can also lower the face bar and protect your chin instead.
Size & Weight
The weight and size play a big part in determining how comfortable that headgear will be. These also have an effect on your head movement and overall mobility. The tighter and lighter the headgear, the faster you can move your head. However it doesn’t offer as much protection.
A large headgear provides more padding, but your head is a bigger target. Fighters in the lighter divisions like to wear the lighter headgear, while heavyweights won’t have a problem regardless of the size.
Boxing VS MMA Brands
If you’re going to train as a boxer then you should wear headgear made by reputable brands. The big name brands like those in the reviews here made their names by manufacturing quality boxing headgear.
While there are some good MMA brands, the best boxing accessories and equipment are made by boxing brands. This really should come as no surprise so if you’ve got to choose between a boxing and MMA brand, go with a boxing brand as they’re more reliable.
Training Headgear vs Competition Headgear
There seems to be a lot of confusion as to which is better, but these two serve very different purposes.
The training headgear should only be used for sparring sessions. It offers better protection, thicker padding, wider head coverage and just all around better protection for your head. And that is the way it should be since these are sparring sessions.
Competition headgear put less emphasis on protection and more on mobility. However these are for competition only. Do not use this use competition headgear during training and vice versa, training headgear is not for competition. If you’re going to enter a competition, there may be specs your headgear must conform to.
Padding VS Visibility
The more padding your headgear has the more it is likely to hamper your vision. Some like their training headgear to have light padding and thick cheek protectors. Others prefer the opposite, with minimal cheek protection with protective, but less bulky padding.
What suits other boxers may not work for you, so the only way to find out is to experiment to and see what’s suitable. Those new to boxing may want more padding, but as the focus shifts to your skills development, you’ll want greater visibility.
Even if you have decided to go with more visibility or protection, you still have to decide on the specifics. You can avoid a lot of these problems by focusing on what you want to do in the ring.
In my reviews I’ve put a lot of emphasis on adjustability and as you may have realized by now it is obvious why this is the case. From the chin strap to the sides, it is important that adjustability is vital.
A lot of headgear are one size fits all, and most of the time it fits well. But there will be times when it doesn’t feel right. If that’s the case then you’ll need to adjust the straps.
Reasons to Wear Boxing Headgear
Boxing is a contact sport. If you’re new to it, getting punched on the head without protection could result in a serious head injury. Even a punch to the cheeks or chin can be jarring if you have never tried boxing before.
That is where boxing headgear comes into play. With this you’ll get protection for the most sensitive parts of your head without compromising your punching and mobility. As I have shown in the reviews here, there are a lot of options when it comes to padding, fitting, enclosure styles and so on.
The point is you need headgear for training and competition. Professional boxers don’t wear headgear but for the Olympics and other competitions, headgear is necessary for protection. Yes they are on the heavy side, but the thick padding will be enough to get you used to being hit.
Where to Buy These Products?
Boxing headgear is available in sporting goods stores. Just drop by one and you’ll see boxing headgear of shapes and sizes. One of the advantages of buying in a real store is you’ll be able to see and hold it.
Of course more and more people are buying boxing headgear online because there are more options. You can just go online, compare the headgear features and specs. This only takes a few minutes, and it is more convenient than shopping in real life.
The bottom line is you’ll be more comfortable buying boxing headgear online. The process is quick, simple and easy, plus you don’t have to actually leave your home. Just place your order and wait until your product is delivered.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q – Is it really necessary to wear headgear?
A - Boxing, sparring and MMA are contact sports and each hit is going to take its toll. During sparring, the objective is to work on your skills, not hurt your opponent so a headgear is a must.
Q – Why is my headgear too tight/too loose?
A – Boxing headgear are usually one size fits all. If it doesn’t fit right you just make some adjustments.
Q – What materials should the headgear be made of?
A - Headgear for boxing are usually made from synthetic materials that simulate leather. No matter which brand you choose, make certain that it is built from quality material.
Q – How well does a headgear protect my head?
A - Boxing headgear protects the sensitive areas on your head by the foam padding. These act as cushion to soften the blow.
Q – Is it possible to apply a face grill on my headgear?
A - This is only possible in specific types of headgear. If the headgear doesn’t come with a face grill there is very little chance that a face grill will be compatible with it.
Q - What should I look for in a chin strap?
A – The strap must be made of high quality, durable material. A flimsy strap will snap off easily, making the headgear useless.
Q – How do I clean my headgear?
A – You just need to wipe the sweat away and that’s enough. A damp cloth may be necessary in some cases. There is antimicrobial treatment built into most of these so smell won’t be an issue.
Q - What degree of adjustability should I be looking for?
A – The more ways you can adjust the headgear the better. The chin strap and the closure need to be very adjustable so it will suit your personal needs.
Q – Are all headgear shock absorbent?
A – Yes, the materials used for their construction absorb the heavy blows. But the absorption power depends on the type of headgear you wear.
Q – How long can I expect a boxing headgear to last?A – Boxing headgear made from durable parts should last for years. If taken care of, it will last a lifetime.
Boxing headgear come in different forms and sizes. The designs have changed also, but their purpose has always been the same, protect you. If you want to do any serious sparring or boxing you’ll need a high quality headgear. Whichever of these headgear you choose your had, cheeks and chin will be protected.