Archive for the ‘Protective Gear’ Category

Fairtex Sparring Headgear

Posted: December 31, 2011 in Protective Gear

Here is what Fairtex advertises:

This is our most popular Headgear. It offers a great balance between coverage, visibility, and weight. This has been the go to choice for professionals for many years, and shows no signs of losing any popularity. Truly one of the best Headgear available anywhere.


  • Handmade in Thailand
  • Durable Leather Construction
  • Cheek and Chin Protection
  • Good Visibility

My headgear (size Small) arrived yesterday and I tried it today for full contact sparring (minus elbows).


  • It provides a good fit while not squeezing my head (a problem that caused headaches with my Everlast headgear).
  • It’s light.  I never felt it holding my head down.  I once had to use a pro Title sparring headgear, that thing is HEA-VY.  I believe this headgear runs lighter than many of the others in the market.
  • It does provide good visibility…depending.  (See Cons below).  It has a wider opening around the eyes that does not constrict lateral views as opposed to my Everlast ones.  Though this did lead to me getting a good punch in my eyebrow but I believe it took some of the impact.
  • This headgear does have chin protection for those that desire it.
  • I think it does a decent job at protecting the ears.  There’s still a slight opening so narrow punches may get through, but there’s some protection against head kicks.
  • Lastly, for someone that’s slightly vain like myself — I think this headgear looks great.  I’ve tried many headgears and they’ve all come out looking like boxes on a head…too squared.  This is more narrow that it doesn’t make me feel clumsy.


  • It doesn’t provide the best ventilation.  There’s no lining inside so if you sweat it may get to your eyes.
  • Because the eyes have a wider opening, you may be more at risk to getting direct hits to your face/skin.
  • It does move while sparring.  No matter how tight you have these one, it can move a bit…but not to the point where it’s spinning around.  It’s just not snug like a glove but it does well compared to most other headgears.
  • I don’t believe this headgear does the best job at absorbing shock at all or if it even tries.  When you get hit, you feel it.
  • Here’s where it took a huge back seat for me…there’s a THICK padding on the forehead area above the eyes.  It really hindered my visibility looking vertically.  I’m a short female, so with my chin down I have to really look up at most opponents.  Because of this, I found my visibility was obstructed by this headgear constantly because I could barely glance up.  Another female sparrer  2-3 inches taller than me shared the same complaint.  Half way through the sparring session I got fed up and switched back to my Top Ten avant guard headgear.

So in conclusion, I wanted to love this headgear but I couldn’t.  It looks less embarrassing than my Top Tens and I hoped the thicker cheek padding could protect my nose more (as my nose is exposed in my Top Tens) but gloves still got contact with my nose and eyes when punches got through.  At all in, I wouldn’t mind it being my backup headgear because of its light weight and decent fit but I think I’ll be sticking with my Top Tens for awhile.  The visibility issue may not affect taller fighters but those that are shorter whom usually face taller opponents may find the same issues as I did with this pair.

Rating: 3.5/5

Where to Buy: Fairtex website ($99.95 plus shipping)

Everlast MMA/Boxing Headgear

Posted: December 22, 2011 in Protective Gear

This headgear advertises the following:
  • Premium synthetic leather headgear
  • Anti-microbial treatment kills bacteria and odors
  • Anatomical design and fit allow natural movement and feel
  • One size fits all (Most are. Mine were sized S/M, however.)
  • Manufacturer’s warranty included (see product guarantee)

So I started sparring classes and one of the required equipment was a headgear.  I know many people may not spar with them but I believe in its benefits (IF you invest in a good pair).  See I didn’t follow that particular advice when I went out to buy one.  I confess, I used to use those cheap Macho style Taekwondo headgears when I was studying Choi-Li-Fut.  Perhaps it was because my particular gym didn’t allow hard sparring that those were sufficient.  They wouldn’t work well at my current gym where students do tend to go rougher in boxing and kickboxing/muay thai.

I was originally searching for the Fairtex Sparring Headgear (reviews up shortly) but my stingy self didn’t find the need in investing $100 in a pair when I discovered the price.  So off I went to my local Sports Chalet and bought myself this Everlast headgear for $35.  If anything, it’s taught me the importance of shelling out money for things that are worth it…your head is worth the investment.

These headgears vary.  Most are one size fits all but my particular headgear was a size S/M (which is my usual size).  When I tried it on at Sport Chalet I thought: “Eh, it fits okay.”  I learned how wrong was I when I finally used this thing in sparring.

  1. The visibility is HORRENDOUS.  I could barely see out of it making me very susceptible to punches and high kicks.
  2. The fit was not great.  It scrunched up my cheeks and actually gave me headaches.  I couldn’t believe it.  This large male in class wore the same headgear.  Why was it giving ME headaches?  I believe it had to do with the hard padding right in the back of the neck.
  3. It slips around, alot.  For a headgear that squeezed my face and gave me headaches, it did a shoddy job at staying in place.  A punch and this thing would immediately move.  Many times requiring me to stop a session to adjust.
  4. Does not ventilate well.  Sweating is only natural in such an intense activity, but this product does not do a good job (if it tries at all) at ventilation.  Sweat would easily get in the eyes.  This probably adds to the likelihood of this headgear moving.
  5. Most importantly, I don’t trust this headgear’s ability to effectively protect its user.  I not only felt contact, it jarred me.  On to that, the ear has a pitiful excuse of protection.  There is no padding.  One high kick to the side of the face and your ears might ring.

I’m sure Everlast has good products but I don’t quite trust their affordable line.  Your head is an important if not the MOST important part of your body.  It’s worth investing in a good headgear to protect yourself.  If anything, the $35 plus tax I wasted on this could have gone into the next gear I was forced to buy.  What you think is saving money may end up costing you more.


Link to Buy (from Amazon, $38.50; which actually gave this decent reviews.  To each their own.)

Rating: 0.5/5 (because it MAY be better than nothing…though I’m not quite confident in that statement).