If you are going to be taking part in sparring in your boxing gym, you will without a doubt need to invest in a decent boxing head guard.
I really can’t stress this enough as it will make you feel more comfortable, confident and most importantly protect your head while sparring with your opponent. (to an extent)
Types of boxing headguards
Generally, there are 3 types’ of headguard protection to choose from. Here is a quick summary of the types’ headgear you will expect to see:
Open Face Headguards – Protects the temple and side of you face (Used mostly for amateur competition bouts – this article will focus on sparring guards)
Cheek Headguards – Same as the above, but with extra leather padding extended over the cheek bones and front of the face giving you a lot more protection than an open face.
Bar/Grill Headguards – A padded bar which usually goes over the front of your face and provides excellent all-round protection for the head, nose, cheeks and eyes. Although your vision can be distorted from uppercuts due to the bar. (Especially when they are thrown up close)
My 10 best options are further down this post.
Five boxing head guard features
When it comes to sparring and amateur contests. It’s important for you to take every precaution to protect yourself and others properly during sparring. I have put together 5 features below you need to look out for to get the maximum protection before you decide on a head guard option below.
Protection – Decide how much protection you need yourself; do you want to cover up your whole face with a bar guard or are the cheek protectors enough for you. Look to see if there is extra padding that will protect your face more than others.
Comfort – You want to make sure your head is comfortable while wearing them as you don’t want to be uncomfortable while sparring. Most generally have soft suede material on or a gel padded leather on the inside. This isn’t the biggest concern for me personally as its more about how secure the head guard is – you will also be sweating a lot while wearing this, so comfort can something go out the window!
Adjustability – Generally most head guards are created with velcro type strapping under the chin and back of the head, but some boxing guards do have lacing on the back which will require help from someone to secure it for you. I prefer the hook and loop fastener straps personally as I feel more locked in.
Material – From the outside head guards are usually made from hide, full grain or synthetic leather which helps the head guard stay robust and durable. Usually the real leather has a better finish than the synthetic guards. As I said in the comfort section most have a suede or gel leather material on the inside – it doesn’t really bother me too much for either, but I prefer the suede inside material.
Do boxing head guards protect you?
Now I’m going to gives you two answers to this question which may contradict each other, but it is important that you know this before buying and using it. This is a very much a yes and no answer which I will explain below.
Yes – Starting off with the positives, boxing sparring headguards will definitely protect your head and face from cuts, scrapes, eye damage and inflammation. However…
No – I’m not trying to scare anyone, but getting punched in the head even with protection can result in concussion regardless if you are wearing the best head protection or not – it’s obviously not good for your head to be punched either way, but it’s part of the sport boxing and it’s why you should practice things like head movement and defense to minimize the damage you will encounter. It also won’t stop you from getting punched in the body either which can cause serious damage itself.
That’s why I can’t stress enough again to get yourself decent headgear to help give yourself as much protection as possible especially if you are going to be sparring a lot.
Here are my top 10 head guard options below:
1. Everlast Classic Head Guard
This was actually one of the first head guard I ever purchased and I always thought the protection was very robust. If you are only going to be sparring every now and again this is definitely a cheaper option you can consider getting. The head guard also has adjustable fasteners for the chin and back of head.
Learn more on Amazon here: Everlast Classic – Head Guard – Durahide Imitation Leather Black
2. RDX HBR T2B Bar Head Guard
Another great cheaper option out there is this RDX head guard. They have created a bar guard to protect your nose along with a resilient foam shock-absorbing gel leather to gives you fantastic protection all round and great durability.
Learn more on Amazon here: RDX Head Guard HBR T2B
3. Adidas Speed Boxing Head Guard
Adidas have come up with a very padded cheek style head guard which give extra ear protection. A extremely robust head guard that will definitely give you more confidence while sparring.
Learn more on Amazon here: Adidas Speed Sparring Boxing Head Guards (White & Black)
4. Rival RHGFS3 Guerrero Face-Saver Head Guard
The Guerrero head guard by Rival is made from a High-Grade leather, a with a solid plastic bar frame. The head guard also has extra-wide opening for easier breathing and the best vision you can get with a bar. Also, includes comfortable leather lining and a unique padded chin strap.
Learn more on Amazon here: RIVAL RHGFS3 FACE-SAVER BOXING HEADGUARD
5. Cleto Reyes Closed Face Headguard
Hand made from Mexico – this is one of the best headguards you can get and you will often see a lot of advanced and professional boxers using this. Celto Reyes cheek protection headgear offers a complete perfect fit with a three-point anatomical design. It also gives you an excellent wide angle vision and is specifically designed and manufactured fit like a glove.
Learn more on Amazon here: Cleto Reyes Closed Face Head Guard – Black
6. Pro Box Facesaver Head Guard
Another lower budget headguard with a bar guard is th Pro Box face saver. It is made with robust Cowhide leather headguard with suede lining along with a strong lightweight chin bar to offer the ultimate full face protection. A good option to try out for beginners.
Learn more on Amazon here: Pro Box Facesaver Head Guard
7. Lonsdale Adult Barn Burner Head Guard
The Barn Buner is a resilient head guard constructed with genuine leather on the outer shell. It has a split colour design with a padded chin attached to the bar. It also comes with padded ear holes to maximize protection along with adjustable top/rear laces to ensure a secure fit.
Learn more on Amazon here: Lonsdale Adult Barn Burner Headguard
8. Rival RHG10-INTELLI-SHOCK Head Guard
The RHG10 is a head guard Rival have evolved to give heightened improvements, which makes it one of the best option the market today. It is created with Microfiber Lining and d3o technology on the front and sides to gives you extra added protection. It also comes with a hook & loop adjustment on the back and lace on the top. This head guard could be argued to be one the best option out there.
Learn more on Amazon here: RIVAL RED RHG10-INTELLI-SHOCK TRAINING BOXING HEAD GUARD
9. Venum Elite Head Guard
Venum have constructed a 100% premium semi-leather for a lightweight design to allow faster head movement. Although it is designed to lightweight the protection still features a triple density foam padding for ultimate shock absorption. There is also great protection for the ear, cheek and chin cover for a full face protection. A fastener is on the back of the head guard to give a custom and secure fit.
Learn more on Amazon here: Venum Unisex’s Elite Headguard
10. Paffen Sport Star Nose & Chin Protect Head Guard
Paffen Sports are probably not the first brand you would think of, but they have come up with a brilliantly designed head guard especially for the nose and the chin. The padding also give a solid integrated nose and chin protector which absorbs punches reliably.
Learn more on Amazon here: Paffen Sport Star Nose & Chin Protect Head Guard with Nose and Chin Guard
There are so many head guard options out there for you to choose from, but it’s an important and expensive decision for you to make. Sometimes it can take trying both the cheek or bar grill before you know what is exactly right for you. It’s important that you pick an option that you feel most comfortable with
If I had to choose for you I would recommend one of the top boxing brands such as Rival or Cleto Reyes as their head guards will last you for a good few years and also gives you the maximum protection. If you’re budget is slightly lower Adidas, RDX, Lonsdale and the other option above are also fantastic picks.
Check out more of my boxing equipment options and reviews here