Boxing Headgear Buying Guide – What Are Different Types & Benefits

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I remember my first boxing head guard way back in the day, at first, it looked fine but when I started to spar, it was blocking my vision and this led to me getting hit with shots that I couldn’t see coming in my peripheral vision. The hooks that were landing on me then caused the headgear to turn around to the side and I had to fix it after every punch that landed and eventually abandon the headgear.

Boxing headgear has the sole purpose of protecting the fighter from injury, whether that is preventing cuts and bruising or helping with reducing the impact of the punches and making sure the fighters suffer fewer Knockouts from repeatedly being hit in the head. Boxing headgear is a game of trade-offs, you want to get the maximum protection but you don’t want it to be too heavy and you want it to protect as much of your face as possible without blocking your vision. There are plenty of different types and styles and various different sizes to suit every boxer, so let’s take a look at everything that’s involved in buying the best boxing headgear for you.



What are the different types of boxing headgear

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There are three main types of boxing headgear that are universally accepted and whether you are just messing around in the gym, having amateur fights or you want to go on and be a professional fighter, most gyms will require that you wear headgear for sparring even if it’s only so that you don’t suffer cuts and facial injuries and claim off the insurance.

Open face headgear

Open Face boxing headgear provides protection for the chin and the temple and all around the top of the head but it leaves the face open so you can still suffer black eyes and nose injuries, but it is also the lightest and allows the maximum flexibility, gives your opponent the smallest target and is the most comfortable to wear.

This type of headgear is perfect for juniors and women who don’t hit as hard and they don’t need to have so much protection around their eyes, cheeks, and nose because of the weight of the blows they are receiving  isn’t enough to cause any serious damage.

At the same time, the cushioning on the chin and the temple can take away some of the impact of the punches and open-face headgear is a great way to provide a good balance between comfort,speed and protection.


Boxing headgear with cheek protection

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This is probably the most common Headgear that’s used in gyms around the world. It is similar to open-faced headgear, in that it also has two extra pieces of protection for the cheeks that can stop the fighter from getting black eyes and suffering cuts or damage to the face.

The big thing you need to look out for when buying this type of headgear is that the cheek protection pieces of the head guard are tight against the cheeks and don’t block your vision. So that being said you need to find a headgear that is the right size for you and one that comes from a quality brand. Make sure the headgear you’re buying has plenty of good reviews and get the measurements right to avoid disappointment.


“If the headgear blocks your vision, then you will be better off without using anything.”



Full face protection headgear

This is a type of boxing headgear that covers the whole head and is signified by a thick strap of protection that runs parallel across the front and blocks the nose and face from taking any damage.

Again, when buying this type of headgear, it is crucial to get the right size so that your vision is not impaired. You should also look for a sleek design so that the guard is not weighing you down too much and providing a bigger target for your opponent.

This type of headgear was the favorite of Manny Pac-Man Pacquiao and is perfect for anyone that wants to receive the least amount of damage, marks and bruises or just any damage in general to their face. Maybe people who work in an office and can’t afford to be walking around with black eyes all the time.


Different Types Of Fastening On Boxing Headgear

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The fastening on the boxing headgear refers to to the places where it will open up when you want to put it on and take it off. This will usually involve either velcro or lace-up strapping on the back and a clip in adjustable strap underneath the chin.

Velcro strapping

Velcro strapping has the advantage of being easy to put on but lace-up strapping has the advantage that it can be tighter in one place then another place to allow for different shaped heads.

Lace-up strapping

Lace-up strapping will take longer to put on but you can do it yourself unlike the boxing gloves, velcro strapping is easy to put on and it can be adjusted as a whole as well, but it just can’t be tighter in one spot then another spot.

Both options are fine but the Lace-ups provide an extra level of customization, so it is up to yourself which you prefer.


The main thing to consider with the strappings and adjustments is how they are attached to the rest of the headgear. If they are stitched on and the workmanship is not good, the strapping will be the first thing to fall off and once it does you will need to buy a new headguard.


Go with brands with good reviews if you have the budget to do so, it will last you longer in the long run and actually save you money.


Weight vs Protection

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Training headgear will have a lot of protection, cushioning the blows nicely and making sure you don’t take too much damage, and this may sound good it also adds a lot of weight to the fighter causing you to move your head slower and possibly get hit with more shots.

Competition headgear is usually open, fast and light and once it fits tightly to your head, it will provide good protection from most shots. It will be slick and light, enabling you to move your head with ease and dodge most of the oncoming punches while still providing a level of protection.

So the level of padding in your headgear vs how much it weighs is a trade-off you will have to make. If you are are a heavier fighter that is going to be hit with bigger shots then you might favor having more padding in your gear, but then again it is up to you what you like.


Pros and cons of boxing headgear

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There is a lot of debate about the effectiveness of headgear in preventing trauma, concussions and eventually brain damage of fighters, and the jury is still out about whether it makes a difference or not. That being said, it still does provide plenty of benefits but there are also some downsides to wearing headgear in sparring and in amateur contests



Provides protection from cuts and bruising

It doesn’t take a hard punch to cause you to get a black eye. It is more about the placement of the punch when it lands. That being said, a black eye is not a serious injury but it is not a look that many people are going for, especially in their jobs or walking around the city.

Cuts are a more  serious injury, if a dry glove lands on the skin you can easily open up a cut, especially if there is scar tissue from a cut that was previously opened on the face already.

That is the main advantage of headgear to protect from these minor to major facial injuries.


Protects against elbows

Sparring can get tough and competitive, and when it does neither fighter is going to back down and this can often lead to the fighters jockeying for position inside and using their arms and elbows to move their opponent out of the way to land some clean shots.

This can lead to cuts from elbows or headbutts and broken noses. Having a good headguard will also protect you from this kind of damage.


Stops knockouts and make you feel safer

Having a good tightly fitting head guard can make you feel safe and secure in the ring and it can also stop knockouts by cushioning the blows and absorbing some of the punishment.

This extra feeling of security can allow you to take more chances in the ring and go for the riskier shots on your opponent and that is a great way to learn and improve at the sport as you are not as worried about what is going to come back with the headgear to cushion any shots that land on your face or chin.



It’s good for hygiene

Using a communal headgear ear that’s available in your gym might be handy for a while, but such headgear is often doused in sweat from many different Fighters, it can smell horrible and It can cause viruses and infections.

Having your own headgear is far more hygienic and it is something you should shoot for as soon as possible when you start sparring and it is something that becomes a regular occurrence.



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Does little to prevent concussions

Contrary to popular belief, wearing a head guard does little to protect against head trauma, concussions and long-term damage caused by hard sparring. While the evidence is still up for debate, there appears to be no evidence whatsoever that headgear will make boxing a safer Sport.


Reduce the Vision

As we said before, boxing headgear that doesn’t fit correctly can cause you to lose Vision. When your opponent throws wide hooks or uppercuts, you may not see them coming and not be able to block them effectively or roll out of the way.

If your gear is blocking your vision it becomes more of a hindrance to your safety, then something that makes you safer.


Adds weight

Boxing headgear adds weight to your body and your head, making it harder to slip punches and roll out of the way. This may actually cause you to absorb are more punches and punishment over the course of the sparring or fight.


Makes the target bigger

Headgear also adds size to your head and the more padding that’s included the bigger the target will be for your opponent to throw shots at. This will probably lead to more punches landing on your head which can actually cause more damage as well.


Is costs money

Boxing is an inexpensive sport to start out in, all you need is a pair of tennis shoes and possibly a pair of beginner gloves. As you get more advanced the amount of gear that you need to buy, seems to pile up quite quickly. When you start sparring you need to get an extra pair of sparring gloves and you also need to get a groin guard and headgear for protection.

As you progress and improve, you might want a better pair of gloves, boxing shoes and various other different types of boxing Gear that you like and that improves your game. Headgear can be quite expensive and it is often an unwanted expense.


Best Boxing Headgear


Winning Headgear Fg2900

Winning Head Gear

Winning headgear is considered the top dog in the industry by almost everybody. It is lightweight, hand-stitched in Japan and provides a level of comfort that many other brands have tried to replicate unsuccessfully.

It offers good protection for the chin, temple and also it has cheek protectors that protect from cuts and bruising. Match this with a well-rounded boxing defence and you should take as little punishment as possible in the ring during sparring.

An excellent headgear but it will cost you upwards of $300 so it might not be for everybody’s budget.

Check Out The Reviews Here:



Hayabusa T3 Headgear

Huyabusa T3 Boxing Headgear

Hayabusa a name that have exploded on the boxing scene in recent years with high-quality Gear. The T3 offers a lot of protection. It covers almost all of the head and fits tightly which cheek protectors to protect against any cuts and bruises, while also remaining light and nimble.

This won’t cost you as much as the winning gear, you can get the synthetic version for $80 or you can go with the full leather for $180.

People say that this gear runs small so make sure you get the right size and there have been some reports that it can block the vision but that’s not something that we have seen.

Huyubusa produces durable and respected gear and they’re well worth taking a look at.

Check Out Some Reviews Here:



RDX T1 Headgear


RDX have become a leading budget brand in the combat sports space in the last few years. They produce good quality gear for a fraction of the price and I will admit that I’ve been a customer of them myself and I’ve been very happy with the quality and value that I got and it is no different with the headgear.

RDX T1 headgear will only set you back about $30 but it gets the job done for beginners and professionals alike. The T1 has a design similar to something that Hannibal would wear when he’s locked up & it provides full head protection and good visibility. RDX have got the balance right with this one as seen by the tons of positive reviews.

It has got a quick and easy loop strap for the chin and velcro strapping at the back for a perfect fit.

Check out some reviews and get the best price here:




Venum Elite Headgear

Venum Elite Headgear

I won’t lie, Venom has become one of my favorite brands in boxing. They produce high-level gear for good prices and they have never let me down.

Venum elite headgear is lightweight and it provides good protection for the cheeks and overall head to stop any bruising your cuts that might happen while fitting tightly and offering perfect vision at all times.

The venom elite headgear will set you back about 80 Bucks but with the triple density foam, skin tex leather, open-top design, quality fitting, and excellent comfort we think this is one of the best head guards on the market.

Make sure to check out the reviews here:



Frequently asked questions:

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Should Juniors wear headgear:

Junior should possibly wear open face headgear, but we think that Juniors shouldn’t be sparing to hard, focusing on technique instead and if they’re not taking hard punches, we think that they should be fine without any headgear.

Juniors shouldn’t be punching too hard either but if you feel that the protection is worth it then by all means you should go for it.


Should boxing Head Gear be Tight?

Yes, boxing headgear should fit tightly, you should have a look at the company sizing chart and measure your head before buying. If it is loose and wobbles around, you may as well have no headgear at all. So make sure you buy a nice tight fitting head guard that doesn’t block your vision or slow you down in the ring.


Does Boxing Head Gear Protect Your Nose

Boxing headgear with the protection strap that goes across the middle of the face will protect your nose. This type of headgear is usually for people who are professionals and don’t want to have any marks and cuts on their face, and is also perfect to protect the nose.


What Size Should I Buy

The size you should buy depends on the size of your head. All the companies we have listed above have sizing guides available before you buy so all you need to do is just measure your head with a measuring tape, get your circumference and buy the gear that fits the bill.


Should You Always Wear Head Gear In Sparring?

You only really need to use headgear in sparring when you are planning to go a bit harder. If you are just having a little tap around with your buddy in the gym, there is little point in wearing a full headgear. But if you have a fight coming or the sparring is getting more competitive, then headgear will provide protection and make sure you don’t get any facial injuries.


How Much Does It Help?

It does help quite a bit in that you won’t get any black eyes and cuts, but it’s not going to stop the trauma to your head, because that is caused by the brain hitting against the skull. It’s like shaking the contents of a jar, it doesn’t matter if the jar is padded or not, the contents will still move around although it might prevent knockouts by cushioning some of the force of the punches.


How Hard Should You Go In Sparring


As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t hit anyone harder than you like to be hit yourself. Because the first thing your opponent will do is try to even the score if you hit them hard, so you should be expecting that.

Also, some of the better Fighters, if they see you being a bully in the gym, they will take it upon themselves to give it back to you if your opponent isn’t able to.

If two Fighters are both improving and they want to increase the intensity of the sparring then there is no problem with that, but just make sure it is a mutual feeling and that you both want to go harder in sparring to improve and progress or if you have fights coming up.


Thanks for reading our article and let us know your personal experience in the comments.


Check Out Our Best Boxing Headgear For Sparring Of 2020


Aidan Lehane has been involved in the fight game for well over 10 and has trained in some of the leading boxing gyms around the world including Sinbi Muay Thai and MTK Global Marbella. He wants to offer as much advice to beginners and pros as possible.

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