Ultimate Guide to the Best Boxing Headgear

best boxing headgear

Headgear is the most essential piece of protective equipment in Boxing. Since the main goal in Boxing is to win by knockout, and since that is usually accomplished by a blow or blows to the head, it is necessary to wear protective head gear during Boxing training.

While the other major combat sports such as MMA, KickBoxing and Muay Thai include absorbing strikes all over the body, boxers legally take punches only to the head and body. The result is that you are going to take numerous punches to your head in training, and receive even worse damage when you fight in actual matches.

Any Boxing coach worth anything make it mandatory for their fighters to wear headgear during sparring. They do this because they know the consequences of boxers suffering too much damage to the head. The list is too long of former pro boxers who have contracted and died from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Number One Boxing Headgear Pick

Title Gel World Full Face Training Headgear

This Title Headgear is highly-rated Western Boxing headgear that is one of Amazon’s best-reviewed products in its category. The Title gear provides the best possible protection for the head, face, and chin.

This headgear is ideal for your sparring sessions. Title’s design provides maximum protection and coverage.

This brand has been a top Western Boxing gear makers for a long time. Therefore, it makes lots of sense that this brand would make top headgear products.

My Recommendation: The Gel World Full Face Training Headgear is an excellent headgear choice for Boxing sparring, particularly for training with hard hitting sparring partners.

I believe that headgear is extremely important for Boxing sparring, more important than for any other combat sport and type of contact. The reason I feel this way is more brain trauma is risked during Boxing sparring than at any other time. Muay Thai. MMA, and KickBoxing sparring and training includes kicks and other moves that do not focus on head strikes. Consequently, this is the reason that headgear is so vitally important in Boxing sparring.

Some fighters may feel that headgear is only appropriate for pro boxers. However, the fact that amateur or novice fighters are even more likely to receive brain trauma because they are not skilled enough to avoid damaging contact.

Early in my Boxing career, I was seriously shaken up in a sparring session. I wasn’t using my hands properly because I didn’t know better. As it turned out, I was hit on the jaw and nearly knocked cold. Fighters who are still learning and gaining experience are vulnerable. They aren’t skilled enough to slip shots, and will take more hits to their head.

Boxers should always invest in quality headgear. It seems so obvious that money should not be a consideration when your brain health is at stake, but some people are so miserly that they will take a foolish risk and not invest in their own health and safety.

There are many headgear products available on the marketplace. The level of quality varies wildly depending on the brand and where the product is manufactured. Keep in mind that you attempt to save money by purchasing cheaper headgear, you will most likely be buying an unreliable product.

Headgear Dos and Don’ts

This is a great time to discuss the capabilities of headgear. There is a popular misconception that headgear can completely protect fighters from concussions. Unfortunately, that is not true. Concussions happen when an impact causes the brain to roll around in your skull. A punch that causes your head to violently back and forth can cause a concussion even if you are wearing gear.

Say Fighter A spars at half power without head protection, and Fighter B spars at full power with head protection, Fighter A is better off than Fighter B, even though Fighter B is wearing gear. Training full on with headgear will only encourage you to hit too hard and be hit too hard, which will make you more likely to be hurt even though your head is protected.

The dangers of wearing headgear is both psychological and physical. Wearing headgear can give you a false sense of security. That’s the psychological part. The physical part come into play when you take more punches than you should because the gear has made you too cocky. If you spar at full power most of the time, you should use head protection.

The most effective way to box and not be concussed is to roll with and dodge punches (Floyd Mayweather is the master of this technique). The best headgear on the market can’t prevent concussions. Head protection will lessen the chances, but there is no way to completely avoid head damage unless you don’t box.

The Differences Between Combat Headgear

A difference between Boxing and Muay Thai is the presence of clinching in Muay Thai. Because of this difference, Muay Thai gear is less bulky than Boxing gear. The lighter Muay Thai headgear permits the necessarily mobility within the clinch. When the head gets trapped in the clinch, you can’t put up with gear that won’t let you move back and forth so you can get yourself free.

Extended clinching is not allowed in Boxing, so head protection is considerably thicker since the head won’t be trapped in a prolonged clinch. This additional thickness in Boxing head protection provides extra protection from head strikes, but it also makes it less flexible than Muay Thai headgear.

Someone who trains in MMA needs headgear that gives them a full range of motion and allows them to wear it during ground training. This means that you need a tight fit, and to get that, you must sacrifice better face protection. The tight fit is a necessity in MMA since MMA gloves are very light and training includes ground grappling (Wrestling or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu).

If you are a Muay Thai fighter or undergoing Muay Thai training, I recommend that you only use Western Boxing head protection. The only exception I would make is if you are going to be training wrestling, in which case you can use MMA headgear. If you are training in both MMA and Boxing, I think it’s best to have separate headgear for MMA and Boxing/Muay Thai training.

Headgear Buying Factors

The following factors are the ones to consider when purchasing headgear. I understand that personal preferences will always come into play in making these recommendations. My idea of sufficient padding may not agree with someone else’s idea of adequate padding. I may share criteria that isn’t on your radar because you don’t care about it. If so, just skip over that section. For the sake of completeness, I need to be as thorough as possible, even if some aspects aren’t applicable to everyone.

Comfortable Feel and Fit

The primary criteria for successful headgear is getting a comfortable feel and fit. The initial impression to look for when you first try it on it is that the gear needs to be tight enough to stay in place, but not so tight that it feels uncomfortable. You are not likely to find one that fits perfectly, yet, you want one that provides the desired amount of comfort and protection. Trying out new headgear requires a period of adjustment, especially if it is your first one. Give yourself time to get used to it and don’t expect love at first use.

Headgear is a tool. You should be able to use a tool without thinking about it, wondering about it, or contemplating it. It is something that is supposed to work the way you want it to work when you use it. If you are thinking about your headgear while you’re sparring, something is very wrong. And that wrongness can cause you to move in the wrong direction, forget to bob, weave, or duck, and walk right into a punch, kick, or elbow.

Some headgear includes a slipper lining. This lining may slide and wrap around your head when taking a punch. This will not only irritate you, it can also obstruct your vision if it gets twisted to the side. This is a great example of the importance of having snug fitting headgear that stay in place during sparring contact and despite sweat.

Another factor that plays a huge part in headgear performance is how the chin strap fits. If it fits loosely, the gear will also feel loose. The opposite is also true. If the strap fits too tightly, the gear will wear too tightly on your head, or the strap will constrict around your chin like a chokehold. The right headgear will neither fit too loose or too tight, but comfortable.

Visibility

Visibility is another extremely important factor in selecting the correct headgear. The old fight axiom is true. The worst punches are the ones that you spot coming until they have landed.

Generally speaking, headgear that provides maximum protection also provides minimal visibility. That means that the best headgear somewhat sacrifices your ability to see.

Obviously, not seeing incoming punches is a problem because that means that you will get hit in the head with greater frequency than you should, leading to potentially more severe brain damage. Therefore, you must have headgear that provides enough visibility to defend strikes from various directions.

The thickness of cheek and forehead padding is the determining factor regarding visibility. Thicker padding means less peripheral vision, which means that you will not be able to see from important angles. On the other hand, thicker padding will have the effect of weighing down the face and head.

Coverage

Another factor to consider in evaluating headgear is how much coverage it provides to the wearer. Most headgear covers four primary areas: the forehead, cheeks, chin, back and side of the head. The level of protection varies among the different areas because some areas need more protection than other sections.

The varying levels of protection add up to varying levels of coverage. There is headgear that provides a nose guard to prevent broken noses, but I don’t think that this feature is necessary. Optimum headgear gives excellent coverage that doesn’t hamper the fighter’s ability to see.

Keep in mind that if you must choose between visibility and coverage, visibility wins every time. Seeing an approaching punch means that you can evade or deflect it. The unseen punches are the most dangerous and the ones likely to cause the most damage.

Size and Weight

Headgear size and weight are capable of negatively affecting mobility. When you are participating in Western Boxing, your headgear must allow you to avoid punches and not sacrifice speed and mobility. If the gear weighs you down too much, you might receive more strikes due to moving at a slower speed than you would have if you wearing lighter gear.

Choosing clunky headgear for protection’s sake might lead you to find that the weight of the headgear will negatively affect your training. One way to find suitable headgear to read headgear reviews and product descriptions. Doing this may help you to find gear that will provide both the right amount of protection and a weight that doesn’t slow you down.

Quality and Price

There are many headgear products available on the marketplace. The level of quality varies wildly depending on the brand and where the product is manufactured. Keep in mind that you attempt to save money by purchasing cheaper headgear, you will most likely be buying an unreliable product.

You should not be a cheapskate when buying a product you will need to protect your body, and not just any part of your body, but the part that includes your brain. Buying the proper headgear is not optional; it’s a necessity.

Gear prices are directly related to the gear’s manufacturer and the materials used to make the gear. Cheaper brand and cheaper headgear adds up to cheaper materials and headgear that may be cost efficient, but also dangerous.

Top Boxing Headgear Picks

Best Overall Boxing Headgear

Title Gel World Full Face Training Headgear

The Title Gel World Full Face Headgear is great protection choice for Boxing offering head security at an affordable price. The World Full Face provides covering for your entire face, with padded cheeks and a chin strap.

The headgear is lined with gel and features layered construction foam that offers both an easy fit and security because it conforms to the shape of your head. The gear includes a hook and loop fastener that enables you to feel secure regardless of head contours. The World Full-Face is made entirely of authentic leather.

Title’s World Full Face is available in both Regular and Large sizes. The large headgear is for fighters whose head is larger and weigh more than 170 pounds. It has a movable chin strap that adjusts for a tight but comfortable fit.

The gear will absorb punches to your head during sparring. You will still experience the jolt from impact, but you won’t suffer from the effect like you would without wearing it. If you haven’t been using headgear, and begin to wear this during sparring, the difference will be immediately noticeable. Title is a top Boxing gear maker, has been one for many years, and has earned its lofty reputation.

My Recommendation: The Title Gel World Full Face Training Headgear is a fantastic purchase.

The Gel World Full Face is one of the better-rated gear online at sites like Amazon. There are other great headgear alternatives if money is not an issue, but if it is an issue, and it is for most people, this headgear makes a great buy.

Best Low-Cost Boxing Headgear

Title Full Face Boxing Training Headgear

If saving money is your primary concern when shopping for headgear, Title’s Full Face Boxing Training headgear is the best buy for you. Its price is hard to beat since it costs as low as $49. But remember that you usually get what you pay for, and it is true in this case.

The Full Face Boxing Training gear has internal foam padding that provides good security. The headgear has movable hook and loop straps encircling the headgear to allow any adjustments that are needed.

The Title Gel headgear is much better in terms of durability and construction. But, if cost is driving your headgear choices, the Full Face Boxing Training headgear is a solid choice and costs less than any other decent gear on the market.

My Recommendation: The only reason to purchase this gear if you can’t afford any better.

You won’t be able to buy a better headgear for $49 or less. Personally, I suggest that you spend more money and buy more reliable headgear. There is no logical reason to try to save money when your mental health is at stake, and better protection is available in the marketplace.

Best Non-Boxing Headgear

Venum Elite Headgear

Venum’s Elite Headgear is a great, well-priced piece of equipment. It is not as good as other gear due to its density foam padding. However, it still provides strong security for your brain. The Elite Headgear is most ideal for MMA/Muay Thai contact sessions.

The Elite headgear provides solid protection including a chin strap and cheek covering. The Venum Elite is constructed from skintex material (imitation leather), and density foam padding. The Elite is hand made in Thailand, assuring that it is made with quality workmanship.

The Elite’s most important quality is a design creating a 180-degree line of sight. Having a wide line of sight is crucial in that seeing punches better provides fighters with a greater ability to block and parry. The best punch defense is to totally avoid being hit. The Elite’s line of sight is one of the finest in the sport.

My Recommendation: The Venum Elite is ideal for MMA and Muay Thai sparring.

For fighters who engage in non-boxing sparring like MMA and Muay Thai sparring, then this is a great option to consider. Even though its padding is inferior compared to the Title Gel, it provides a more important feature with its expansive line of sight. The Elite is very popular in MMA circles because it fits compact and snugly.

Best Non-Impact Headgear

Fighting Sports No Contact Headgear

The No Contact headgear is exactly what its name implies. They should only be used for novice Muay Thai practitioners who plan to avoid actual contact, but want to hedge their bets.

This gear comes with a front bar covering the face. The good news is it will totally protect you from any errant punches thrown by your training partner. The bad news is it covers the face so well that you are unlikely to see a punch or kick thrown at you unless you are warned that it is coming.

Keep in mind that the worst strikes are the invisible strikes that you don’t see until they hit you. This headgear defeats its purpose because it covers so much of your face that you may end up eating more punches than you would have without any protection at all.

My Recommendation: The No Contact Headgear allows too much contact.

The No Contact gear makes sense only if you are not wanting to ever be hit in sparring. I’m betting that this doesn’t apply to most of the people reading these ratings. They only make sense for use in Boxing. Don’t spend your money on this gear if you are primarily a Muay Thai fighter or trainee.

Best High Priced Headgear

Winning Fg2900 Headgear

Winning headgear is used by many of the best professional boxers. The brand is the costliest in all of combat sports, but it also provides one of the best levels of protection in the marketplace.

The Winning headgear provides the highest quality padding. This means that strikes from the hand or feet will be mitigated easily, giving the wearer added security.

Winning gear is made in Japan, helping to the heavy cost. The Fg2900 works for all kinds of sparring, providing its adaptability. They are the best headgear money can buy, which is good since they run for as much as $220.

My Recommendation: The Winning Fg2900 headgear costs a lot of money, and you get exactly what you pay for when you use it.

Winning makes the top headgear, gives the best amount of security, and works for sparring in Western Boxing, Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts. It’s understandable that some of you may not be able to afford such an expensive piece of gear. If that is you, the rest of this review should provide much lower cost options. But if you can afford it, there’s no doubt that you should buy the Winning Fg2900.

Conclusion

If you’re a Boxer who regularly spars, you must have dependable headgear. All serious professional pugilists using headgear in their sparring sessions. Why would you not use headgear if the best in the business use it themselves?

There are all kinds of headgear, and the headgear you need depends on what kind of sparring you plan to do. If you are doing the kind of sparring that is light and actual hitting is prohibited, you should purchase a non-contact headgear. Remember that the better the protection features, the less your visibility is going to be.

While Winning is unquestionably the top headgear in the marketplace, its $200 price tag makes it prohibitive for most people. Your follow-up choice should be the Title Gel headgear because it has a lower price and provides top-notch security.

If you desire headgear for combat sports besides Boxing, I recommend the Venum Elite model. It is a great headgear that is made by hand in Thailand and provides excellent protection.

As you are shopping online for headgear, you should shop based on your needs and personal specifications. Always remember that protection is key, but too much protection can lead to too many shots taken because of poor vision allowed by your equipment.

Leave a Reply