Generally, whenever any sports that require even the slightest impact on the head, it is essential to know that the head is at risk of getting involved in severe damage from stroke and strikes.
Like boxing, which has been documented as one of the most prevalent sources of long-term effects from harsh impact, Muay Thai is another sport that can cause severe brain injuries resulting from accidents. However, headgear might not be a necessity for informal training since the chances of getting injuries are very thin. But, let’s take no chances!
Well, it might not sound like a striking fact that Muay Thai can lead to brain damage. But we couldn’t be more cautious as the accumulated impact from constant blows can cause that damage; hence you need a Muay Thai headgear whenever you practice.
In this post, let’s take a look at some of the most recommended headgears you would come across. We’ll discuss their features and a lot more! But before we dive into that, get to know the basics here;
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Last update on 2023-12-11
Table of Contents
Why Should You Wear Headgear When Sparring?
Firstly, a simple way to prevent long-term brain injuries from Muay Thai is to wear headgear to protect your head from direct impact. But the truth is that the Muay Thai headgear will not stop all the damage at all. It can only alleviate some of the effects that you receive.
Therefore, to wear the headgear is a personal decision. But if you plan to participate in professional Muay Thai tournaments, you would need to get comfortable with wearing the headgear as it is part of the rules.
However, I always recommended wearing headgear if you’re sparring very hard. Why? For the following reasons;
Protection From Head Collisions
Accidental head collisions are sometimes inevitable in Muay Thai, and they can lead to tragic situations.
These collisions are so common, and that’s why you need to be always equipped with a Muay Thai headgear. Wearing a headgear will significantly lessen the damage from the impact of collisions and prevent you from getting injured.
Prevention of superficial sports injuries
Superficial injuries like bruises, scratches, black eyes, and cuts can be caused by an impact on the head from strikes. A headgear is a great gear to help you prevent all these injuries. So why don’t you put on one and keep your face intact even after a competition?
It Allows You to Walk on Your Elbows
Apart from general protection from injuries, the headgear also allows you to work on your elbows during sparring without injuring your partner. It is a recommended gear for practitioners who train with people who have little or no control over their elbow strike. With that, you are protected.
For Shock Absorption
Striking and stroking during sparring transfer a lot of shock from the one who strikes to the receiver. Most of this shock is directed towards the head. Hence a shock absorber would be needed, which is the Muay Thai headgear.
This is essential because these shocks can lead to severe head trauma, which is an uneventful condition. They’ll help in facial protection and minimize facial injuries.
Gives a Confidence Boost
Believe it or not, wearing a Muay Thai headgear gives the fighter the confidence to fight hard and well. When the fighter knows that the headgear acts as a layer of protection from pain and damage, there’s a sense of confidence attached.
Also, the confidence from wearing headgear during training equals better training sessions. That also means the ability to improve faster.
Reduces the Risks of Cauliflower Ears
Cauliflower ear is a prevalent injury to the auricles, and it is common among practitioners of sports involving sparring. Such sports include boxing, Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Muay Thai alike.
The headgear significantly reduces the probability of getting cauliflower ears. It is safer to spar with them to prevent being sorry afterward.
You Don’t Like Wearing Headgear? I Know Why!
It’s no new thing that some fighters don’t appreciate wearing the Muay Thai headgear while sparring. Well, I know some of the reasons, and I just found it necessary to include them in this post.
One of the most significant reasons includes disruption of peripheral vision. Wearing headgear can disrupt vision to an extent. It might hinder you from seeing peripherally, which will affect your ability to sight shots directed towards the side of the head. Shots like the hooks.
Another reason is that wearing headgear might make you a bigger target to your opponent. Wearing that bulky piece of gear might make your head the main point of attention. Your fighting partner might see it as an opportunity to turn up all the aggression on your head, which is a NAY for me. Absorbing too much impact is a bad thing!
There are other reasons which are more personal and should be gotten from experience. However, the reasons I briefly highlighted, are some of the reasons why fighters believe wearing the Muay Thai headgear puts them at a disadvantage.
But for me, I see those reasons as being too filial to take a significant risk of getting injured. That’s why getting the best headgear that doesn’t have those negatives is the best OPTION! Let’s take a look at things to consider while you purchase a headgear for yourself.
Things to Consider When Buying a Headgear
To determine if headgear is the right fit for you, you need to consider some factors. The first thing should be comfort. When you put on the headgear for the first time, it should be a snug fit. It should take some time to get used to it, but you shouldn’t feel disappointed if it doesn’t feel like a custom fit. Let’s go into details;
Get the Most Comfortable Fit
When you wear the right Muay Thai headgear, you should feel like it’s the right one for you. It should feel snuggly; it shouldn’t be too tight or too loose. You’ll need it to be close enough to stay on the head without falling off, but not too tight to make you feel uncomfortable.
The right fit for you isn’t all that difficult to find as some brands come in one size fits all patterns. It would also help if you didn’t give up on the right headgear immediately after testing it, as it might take a while to get used to its feel.
A tip to know if the headgear is the right one for you is; that you shouldn’t always think of it while you spare with it. If you do, it will be a distraction that will negatively affect your performance as you train to compete.
Another thing that can enhance comfort and fitting is the chin strap. The chin strap can make the Muay Thai headgear too loose or too tight. If the strap is also flexible, so will the headgear. The best strap that fits around the contours of the head is the lace-up strap.
So, that would be the right choice. Also, the slipper lining shouldn’t come too loose. If it is, it may loosen up after a hard punch across the face and obstruct your vision. Take good notes!
Get the Best for Visibility
I’ve heard many Muay Thai fighters say that the most dangerous punches are the ones that you don’t see coming your way. Wow! I guess that’s true. That’s much for the visibility the headgear should provide.
It is extremely dangerous to purchase headgear with abysmal visibility. But here’s the gist; the more visibility you choose, the less protection you get. That means if you select the best visibility, you lose some ounces of protection.
Well, for me, I’d happily lose that because what’s OK if you can’t see the punches coming your way. You’ll end up taking more blows while sparring, which can add up to severe brain injury.
To measure the best visibility, you can weigh how much cheek protection and forehead protection the Muay Thai headgear offers. If those areas are too thickly covered, you won’t get the best peripheral vision.
Choosing for Coverage
Most well-produced headgears cover the four areas on the head; the forehead, cheeks, chin, and back of the head. Each of these areas will have a different level of padding to enhance protection.
The coverage will also differ depending on the level of padding in those areas. However, being able to see punches is more important than coverage. When I noticed that some headgears are padded at the nose, I knew that was a kill tactic. That’s a big NO!
Size and Weight
The weight of the headpiece can affect your mobility. If you want to move freely and easily, you’d need a lightweight headpiece. If it’s bulky, you will end up getting more punches to the head due to your slow movements while sparring.
You can quickly check the weights from the Muay Thai headgear specifications and features provided by the manufacturers.
The Best Muay Thai Headgear For Sparring
Now that we have briefly talked about the things to consider when choosing a Muay Thai headgear, we can finally dive into the review of the best headgears you can find in the market.
With lots of brands and different specifications, making a choice might be a lot more tactical than you can imagine. However, these are the three best available according to research and customer reviews.
Pro tip: Your head’s shape can affect the comforts and fit of the Muay Thai headgear. So, look up the reviews and learn what previous buyers say about how the gear fits.
I actually wouldn’t be talking about the Fairtex brand and its premium products. They never seem to disappoint in any way; neither does this headgear. I regard it as the ‘ideal headgear for sparring.’
Because Muay Thai sparring involves much use of the elbows, it is indispensable that the headgear offers significant cheeks protection. This headgear comes in an excellent cheek protection design.
There is ample padding at the cheeks and chin for protection and coverage. Ignore the nose; this pretty much offers exceptional protection for the necessary; it can be used in Muay Thai and boxing.
It is a combo of the essential features; coverage, protection, visibility, and weight. This headgear is no joke.
Is there much to wait for? If you’re comfortable with the price and the features it’s an excellent headgear for sparring. Plus, the brand is a well-known brand.
Sometimes, I get very nervous about writing about Venum products. They are also a well-known brand with premium products. But, it is not a new thing that most of their products are on the expensive side.
However, their headgear surprisingly doesn’t prove that fact. This is one affordable headgear compared to others in the market.
This is an excellent choice for beginners. It is lightweight and made with Skintex leather, which is very comfortable. Due to its ultra-lightweight nature, moving around with it is a lot easier.
I love the wide-open design, which allows for excellent visibility, and the two bold Velcro straps keep it secure on the head. But, if you find this a good option, you should be ready to adapt to the lack of chin fasteners.
If you’re a beginner and are all for the fantastic features of this headpiece, then get it. It might not be as durable as the Fairtex, but it’s also an ideal option for sparring.
If you’re all for facial protection and coverage, then the RDX headgear has got you covered. This is made with a smart design of full-face coverage and protection. With this, you’re sure that your facials won’t be hampered, except your opponent got you hard at the face, haha!
Although visibility is a bit affected by all the face protection, I still wonder why this is still a top-selling product on Amazon. Is it the price? Probably! This is the cheapest headgear on our list. So if you’re craving protection and affordability, this is for you.
I love the breathability of its leather. Top-notch! However, I wouldn’t recommend this for serious competition. Go for others if that’s what you need this for. This is better suited for beginners at sparring.
This has got plenty of padding for you. Getting used to this might be a good idea. So, if you appreciate protection over visibility, you can go for this. And, the price is tempting, to be honest.
Accidents occur all the time. That’s not a big deal anymore. That’s why you need to be guarded at all times. With the Muay Thai headgear, you can stay safe. So, get the right fit for you and ensure you use it whenever you spar.
Do well to protect yourselves so that as you train hard, you still stay safe! No bruises, no injuries!
Last Updated on May 31, 2022 by Deni