Combat sports have never been as popular as they are today, both for spectators and practitioners. Safety should always be at the forefront of a boxer/martial artist’s mind, especially protection for your head.
I’ve been involved with a variety of different combat sports for close to a decade and have seen first hand what the results of poor safety can have on a person. My advice to you, don’t risk it!
By purchasing the best boxing headgear (or MMA) that you can, you are ensuring that you can continue to improve your skills without putting your brain in danger (headgear doesn’t make you bulletproof, you still need to fight smart!)
In this article I have carefully selected the best boxing headgear (and MMA) available on the market today. No matter what your needs are, you will find the perfect fit for you. Training hard is important, but training smart even more so. Quality headgear is part of any smart fighter’s safety equipment.
|Best For||Best Overall||Boxing Competition||Sparring|
|Product’s Name||Venum Challenger Headgear 2.0||Contender Competition Headgear||Fairtex Super Sparring Headgear|
|More Information||Latest Price||Latest Price||Latest Price|
Who should get this?
I’ve met many people that believe that headgear is only for wimps. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Headgear should be worn by anyone that is looking to improve their combat skills without putting themselves in harm’s way for long-term side effects. Although even the best boxing headgear won’t 100% protect you from all the blows you will receive, it will soak up the majority of the damage, meaning you will be less likely to leave the ring cut, bruised and/or concussed.
Don’t let peer pressure get in the way of your health, getting headgear is the smart thing to do and will fundamentally allow you to train at your best for longer.
Whether it is boxing, muay thai or any other combat sport you’re training in, picking the best headgear for your needs is a smart decision.
Best Boxing Headgear For Sparring Reviews
#1 Venum Challenger Headgear 2.0 – Best Headgear For Boxing Overall
Venum is fast becoming recognized as one of the leading combat sports suppliers. As the official sponsor and supplier for fight organizations such as the UFC, their quality is always kept to a high standard. Although there are many boxing specific headgear choices, the Venum Challenger 2.0 is a cut above with some amazing features (please refer to the Contender or Title headgear for competition ready choices).
- Super lightweight build
- Excellent vision
- Built to last
- Impressive power absorption
- Allows for easy slipping, ducking and weaving due to weight
- Limited visual obstruction – see all the weapons your opponent has coming at you
- Clean and timeless design
- Cheek protection that protects you from cuts and reduces full impact on your nose
- Does not completely protect the nose
There are many factors to take into consideration when you’re looking at buying the best boxing headgear. The Venum Challenger 2.0 hits the mark in almost every way imaginable. Not only is it lightweight, allowing you to evade your opponent easily, it provides excellent protection with carefully selected materials without needing to get bulky. Yes, it doesn’t have a nose bar providing complete nose protection. However, the cheek protection will ensure that any direct blow to the nose is significantly reduced. Overall, this is a quality piece of gear that I would happily wear in my sparring sessions.
#2 Contender Competition Headgear – Boxing Competition Top Choice
Contender has long been known as one of the top boxing brands in the world. They are among a limited group of sports protection suppliers that produce boxing competition ready headgear. If you are going to compete in boxing or already are, this is no doubt one of the best options you can go for. While there are many options to select from, Contender have done some amazing work on this headgear to ensure that it serves as your ally throughout your bout. Both in terms of protection and vision.
- A snug fit that won’t slip
- Boxing competition approved
- High-quality finish that is sure to protect you in the storm of battle
- Ideal for competition purposes
- Not the most durable headgear over extended periods of time
Don’t let the long-term durability of this headgear put you off, it may not last forever but for as long as it does, you’ll be glad you had it. While your opponents are busy adjusting their headgear while fighting you, you will not need to adjust it once. This may seem minimal, but every split second makes a difference. Overall the Contender headgear is perfect for those looking for something that is both budget-friendly and competition ready.
#3 Fairtex Super Sparring Headgear – Best Boxing Headgear For Sparring
Fairtex have grown over the years to reach an almost legendary status in the world of combat sports, especially Muay Thai. Understanding the needs of a combat athlete is something Fairtex get right more times than not. They’ve definitely got this one right. Not only will the Fairtex Super Sparring offer amazing protection, it also has been designed to ensure that both vision and protection is as best as possible. With the amount of weapons available when fighting MMA, being able to see any potential attack coming is just as important as the absorption from the headgear.
- Top of the range build quality
- Additional padding to increase power absorption
- Diagonal vision allowing for punches, kicks and takedown attempts to be easily visible
- Extra protection without extra weight
- Highly durable
- Slightly pricey
I’ll be honest with you, I was clutching at straws when it came to picking a con for this headgear. It really has all the features you can hope for from a headgear, backed by a brand that is known for its quality. What more could you ask for? Some may complain that there is no nosebar, but for boxing and MMA that simply isn’t an option. The restriction in vision that it will cause will be far too much of a problem for the limited amount of extra strike absorption it provides.
#4 RDX Headgear – Best Boxing Headgear For Nose Protection
For some people it is simply maximum protection that they are looking for. Look no further than this RDX headgear to provide you with just that. No, it isn’t the lightest headgear ever, nor is it the best for visibility. However, if you want a piece of equipment to protect you as best as possible, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option.
- Super dense padding for ultra power absorption
- Full protection design
- Well-respected combat sports brand ensuring quality
- Nose bar allowing for complete nose protection
- Limits vision due to additional protection (nosebar)
- Bigger than most headgear options, making evasion slightly more difficult
I used to hate getting hit the face, it still isn’t my favorite. However, I’ve come to learn over time that much of the problems I faced early on in my martial arts journey when it came to getting hit in the face was due to poor understanding of my own capabilities and my opponents. Personally I wouldn’t go for headgear that limits your visibility and evasion capabilities so severely in exchange for additional protection. However, if you don’t want your nose touched EVER and want to feel super cushioned in the ring then this is the one for you.
#5 Title Competition Ready Headgear – Boxing Competition Additional Option
Title are a brand you can trust when it comes to boxing gear. You’ll find little in terms of difference between this headgear and the Contender headgear mentioned previously aside from the color options available. Both have been approved for boxing competitions and in my eyes are ideal for the purest boxers out there. Overall this headgear will allow for decent vision, protection and ability to stay evasive.
- Competition approved
- Lightweight build
- Range of colors
- Train/Fight with the same equipment the pros use
- Enjoy protection without a significant reduction in visibility
- Cheek guards reduce impact to the nose
- No chin protection or nosebar for optimal protection
If you want a barebones, competition ready headgear, you can’t go wrong with a Title headgear. There is nothing that special about it, but it doesn’t need to be either. Quality made, decent visibility, decent weight. You’re on to a winner if you compete/train in one of these.
#6 Everlast Headgear – Boxing Entry Level Option
What brand is more synonymous with boxing than Everlast? I can’t think of one. While that may be the case, the options available today in terms of headgear have really given Everlast a run for their money. This particular headgear that I have selected is a great entry level headgear option for those beginners looking to get started. If you’re sparring light and just dipping your toes into the world of boxing, this is a solid choice to start your journey.
- Classic design
- Lightweight build
- Decent head protection
- Lightweight for easier evasion
- Simple to fit
- Lacking durability for hard sparring/fights
The Everlast headgear isn’t the best boxing headgear ever, but it ticks all the boxes a beginner requires. Providing adequate protection, not restricting visibility too much and being lightweight are essentials that you can rely on with this quality headgear option. The price isn’t too bad either!
#7 Sanabul Core Headgear – MMA All-Rounder Choice
Sanabul are young to the game of combat sports goods, but they’re really making a mark. Not only are they providing quality products, they also offer a wide range of goods, allowing for options at different price points. With the backing of UFC champion Michael Bisping and others such as TJ Dillashaw, you can be sure that Sanabul creates quality and that professionals are also using their stuff.
- Super Lightweight build
- Chin and cheek protection
- Never be concerned about a direct hit to the nose
- Enjoy only a slight reduction in head movement due to lightness of the headgear
- Classy design
- Limited padding, not great if you’re sensitive to being hit
An excellent choice for a mid-level and upwards martial artist/boxer, the weight and build quality is great for staying evasive. However, when you get caught, you’ll feel it more than some of the better choices mentioned above. I’d recommend this one for those of you who are confident in your defensive abilities and only need the minimum requirement of adequate protection.
#8 Sanabul Essential Headgear – Cost-effective Top Choice
Struggling to justify dropping $50+ on headgear? I get that. While Sanabul’s essential headgear is far from the best, it does provide the bare minimum requirements you need from head protection. The vision isn’t great, protection not the most absorbent but you’ll definitely find yourself grateful for having it on when it soaks up those shots you didn’t see coming.
- Cool design
- Cheek and chin protection
- Range of colors
- Reasonable protection for key sensitive areas on the face
- Lightweight design
- Tends to struggle to stay in place
- Poor visibility for MMA/Muay Thai
I mean, at the price, you can’t go wrong. Yes you’ll miss some of those shots coming your way that you wouldn’t with something like the Fairtex headgear, but you’ll be saving a decent amount. There isn’t anything amazing about this head gear, but it will keep you protected and that is all that matters.
Factors To Consider Before Buying The Best Boxing Headgear (or MMA)
What features do headgears have?
There are many different things to take into consideration when selecting your headgear. Is it for a competition? Then make sure you only select a headgear that is approved! Is it for protection in heavy sparring sessions? Select one that provides excellent visibility and protection without slowing you down. Do you simply want to stay as protected as possible regardless of drawbacks? Get super padding, nose bar and chin protection.
What’s the difference between cheek protection and nose bar protection?
Although cheek protection sounds like it just protects your cheeks, it also protects your nose. If you take a direct hit to the nose, the impact will be absorbed on both sides by the cheek protection so that only a minimal amount of force actually makes contact with your nose. Some people simply want NO contact on their nose, that is understandable. For them the nose bar protection is a must, however it comes at a price. Visibility is often lost due to the way a nosebar needs to be placed across your face.
Does visibility really matter when wearing headgear?
100%. Visibility is your key tool when it comes to evasion which is your most important defensive ability. You should never rely on your headgear to absorb all the strikes coming your way, it should only be soaking up those few shots that you simply couldn’t evade. The more visibility you have, the higher chance you have of seeing what is coming at you and getting out of the way.
How should headgear fit on your head?
Loose fitting headgear is no good. You should be aiming to get a snug fit that does not move around while in use. There is nothing more annoying than having to readjust your headgear while sparring/fighting!
There really are so many options when it comes to picking the best boxing headgear (or MMA) on the market. Hopefully this article has significantly reduced the headache it can be finding a solid choice for you!
I really highly rate build quality, visibility and lightness hence why I have given the Venum Contender 2.0 the highest rating. While it is a versatile headgear that can be used in many different combat sports, it is a perfect fit for boxing sparring especially.
Although the Venum Contender 2.0 is my top choice, it is the Fairtex Super Sparring headgear that I would love to see added to my collection. The increased visibility due to the diagonal design and impressive power absorption build is a no brainer for me.
All in all, each and every headgear mentioned in this article would do an excellent job at keeping you safe, however picking one for your exact needs will ensure you are as safe as possible in training and in competition.
Have you found this article useful? Excellent! Be sure to share it with your friends on social media etc.. I’m sure they’d really appreciate you helping them pick the right headgear for them 🙂