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6 Best MMA Headgear – The Buyer’s Guide

MMA training consists of various martial arts so your head will take various impacts during sparring. If your head is not protected well you might face serious consequences like CTE let alone cuts and bruises.

I am sure that you don’t want these to happen right?

This is why you need to train, spar with the best MMA headgear.

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  1. Best MMA Headgears
  2. MMA Headgear Buyer’s Guide
  3. Frequently Asked Questions

Important Note: All headgears on this list have sizing information at the product pages or on my site. Also, I checked fitting rates from many online sources (forums, shopping sites) and these also have great fitting rates as well.

Best MMA Headgear List

1. Venum Elite Headgear


Protection Rating: 9.7 / 10.0

Training Quality and Vision Rating: 9.8 / 10.0

Durability: 9.7 / 10.0

Comfort: 9.8 / 10.0

Quality / Price Rating: 9.5 / 10.0

Exclusive Features

  • Incredible protection (quality foam)
  • Very light
  • Good quality leather construction
  • Provides perfect vision
  • Wicks moisture very well
  • Best MMA headgear for sparring
  • One of the most popular headgears on the market

Venum’s Skyntex leather wicks the sweat well and it extends the durability of it significantly. I don’t know about your head but, the leather can take a beating for at least 3 years.

Thanks to the design of it, when you do groundwork or take a blow to your head, it doesn’t lower your vision and continue protecting your head properly.

According to the verified purchases, the leather is also comfy and the construction is not tight so your head does not feel any pressure while you are wearing it.

I constantly see Venum Elite in MMA gyms and according to my trainers, many people are satisfied with this headgear.

According to my experiences and the extensive research, I am sure that you will really like Venum Elite and it has a great fitting rate as well. Considering the price, you definitely get (durability, training performance) more than what you pay.

2. Ringside Competition


MMA competition headgearProtection Rating: 9.6 / 10.0

Training Quality and Vision Rating: 9.7 / 10.0

Durability: 9.5 / 10.0

Comfort: 9.6 / 10.0

Quality / Price Rating: 9.5 / 10.0

Exclusive Features

  • Very good protection
  • Light
  • Genuine leather
  • Provides perfect vision
  • Soft lining
  • Wicks moisture incredibly well
  • I have really good experiences with it
  • Many design and color selections

My Experiences: This is the only headgear on this list which I used a long time. I sparred with it for around 3 months and it has a contoured design for your face. I felt like it is custom made for me. The inner part is soft and does not irritate your skin. I am always careful about it because I have really sensitive skin. The comfort was just great and it did not lower my vision one bit. While I was wearing Ringside Competition, I sparred with many people and I can easily say that it is the most protective MMA headgear which I have ever used.

It is made of genuine leather and according to my research, you can expect to use it around 2-3 years. After that, the foam starts getting softer.

According to my research, many people, who prepare for tournaments, get this headgear.

You can get it according to sizing information below. I gathered it directly from the manufacturer.

Up to 22″ is small
22-23.5″ is medium
23.5-25″ is large
25″ and up is XL

Check it Out on Here

3. RDX COWHIDE LEATHER Headgear


MMA headgear with cheek protectionProtection Rating: 9.2 / 10.0

Training Quality and Vision Rating: 9.7 / 10.0

Durability: 9.0 / 10.0

Comfort: 8.9 / 10.0

Quality / Price Rating: 9.9 / 10.0

Exclusive Features

  • Very good protection including cheeks
  • Genuine leather
  • Provides perfect vision
  • Wicks moisture incredibly well
  • It has a great quality price ratio
  • It is approved by many places (has lots of certifications)

First of all this headgear has passed many tests and according to my research, it has many certificates including SATRA.

As a side note, you can see that many young guys and females seem to prefer this headgear in MMA gyms.

It is made of cowhide leather and it is actually one of the sturdiest headgears on the market. Obviously, you don’t want to take a lot of hits to your head but this one can take it and last a long time. You can train with it at least 3 years.

Actually, if I did not have any experiences with the Ringside (headgear above), according to my research, I would put RDX Cowhide Leather to the second place on this list

With that, you will feel relaxed with this headgear and it has an adjustable chin strap which I prefer over velcro. Since it provides a more secure fit. You can simply adjust it according to your head.

The padding is a bit stiffer than usual and does not move much. Thank so the denser padding, it is lighter and you can move faster with it and this is why it has great feedback for the training performance.

If you are interested, check out the sizing information on the product page.

4. Venum Challenger 2.0 Headgear


light MMA headgearProtection Rating: 9.1 / 10.0

Training Quality and Vision Rating: 9.5 / 10.0

Durability: 8.8 / 10.0

Comfort: 9.3 / 10.0

Quality / Price Rating: 9.1 / 10.0

Exclusive Features

  • Incredible protection
  • Provides perfect vision
  • Wicks moisture incredibly well
  • Adjustable velcro closure
  • Cool colors

Venum Challenger 2.0 has a very good and ergonomic design which allows your headgear to be extra light.

It has triple density foam and this headgear uses the same material of Venum Elite, which is the headgear at the top of this list, for the foam. This design helps the headgear does not move. So you can always see clearly when you get hit or do groundwork.

The leather quality is alright and you can expect to train with Venum Challenger around two years. As you may know, the triple padding is light and you can move your head also faster with this headgear. If you are interested you can check out my in-depth review or buy it ""” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer” data-wplink-url-error=”true”>on here.

5. Meister Gel Full-Face Training Head Guard for MMA


An alternative MMA sparring headgearProtection Rating: 8.9 / 10.0

Training Quality and Vision Rating: 9.2 / 10.0

Durability: 8.9 / 10.0

Comfort: 9.1 / 10.0

Quality / Price Rating: 9.2 / 10.0

Exclusive Features

  • Full-face protection
  • Reinforced padding
  • Durable full-grain leather
  • Price is also good!

This is a good MMA sparring headgear which has some unique qualities. Let’s start with those. As you can see from the picture upper part has reinforced padding and offers more face protection. So ones, who get kicked often, should consider that the head part absorbs shock more. The second unique quality is that you really don’t run into MMA sparring headgears which are made of full grain and has a good price at the same time. Trust me I have tried…

Meister also uses multilayer gel technology which gets awesome feedback from the MMA community. Also, the peripheral vision gets good feedback from buyers.

The rear part is quite easy to use and you can wear and get it off in no time so you will not be waiting to sip your water after a harsh session.

Check out this Headgear

6. RDX Maya Hide Leather MMA Headgear


Protection Rating: 9.1 / 10.0

Training Quality and Vision Rating: 9.0 / 10.0

Durability: 8.5 / 10.0

Comfort: 9.0 / 10.0

Quality / Price Rating: 9.4 / 10.0

Exclusive Features

  • Very good protection
  • Removable face-grill (protects nose)
  • Good and ergonomic design
  • Decent leather
  • Cheapest MMA headgear which has good quality
  • Nose guard (MMA headgear with face shield)
  • The most popular headgear on the market (according to my data)

According to my experiences in MMA gyms, RDX Maya Hide Leather is widely used. I constantly see that people wear this model of RDX. Obviously decent quality and very affordable price are important factors for it.

The design is good and it has a face grill which is made of plastic. So it is light and does not slow you down. It also protects your nose during your sparring session without sacrificing the speed.

This makes a wonderful job to keep your sparring partner’s glove to stay away from your skin. This helps you avoid cuts as well. However, if you prefer, you can just remove it.

The padding is a bit denser than a regular headgear’s padding and it is stiff.

You can easily expect to wear this around 1-2 years.

If you are looking for good quality and really cheap MMA headgear which protects you well, you seriously can’t go wrong with RDX Maya Hide Leather. It is used a lot and gets good ratings from basically everywhere.

You can buy this full face MMA headgear according to the sizing information below.

19.5 “to 20.5″ = Small size
21″ to 22″ = Medium size
22.5″ to 23″ = Large
23.5″ to 24” = XL size

How to Choose the Right MMA Headgear?


There are some factors to consider while choosing an MMA headgear and you can find everything related to it below.

Cushion and Durability: When you wear a headgear, which is made of quality leather (suede etc.), you will understand the quality at that moment. It feels natural and it is sturdy at the same time and if you get an MMA headgear which has good cover material, you don’t need any other MMA headgear at least 2 years.

Padding and Gel: If your headgear is heavy, well then I wish you good luck with your session. When it is the case, you may even have a hard time to maintain your balance with it. Obviously, you can’t expect to show your best training performance or move quickly with it. Your headgear should be light and need to absorb the shock well. Even though the gel is a bit denser and absorbs the shock better than padding, I wore two headgears, which has gel, are just heavy. So it depends on material quality.

Design: When the design is good, it protects your head. It can even help to decrease the impact of strikes significantly. It can also save you from cuts by not letting your opponent’s glove to touch you. However, your headgear should do these without lowering your vision. After all, if you can’t see well, these mean nothing. Spherical vision means a lot for martial arts! Also, a headgear should not make your head a big giant target. So always go with an ergonomic design. You can also have more realistic grappling, sparring sessions with it.

Sizing and Fitting: Head circumference should be measured 1″ above the eyebrows. With that, companies generally offer different size specifications. For example, the large size of a company can be between 22″ and 24″. The other company’s large size can be between 21″ and 24″. SO check out the sizing info while buying. With that, all headgears on this list have the sizing information on here or on the product pages.

Comfort: Strategically placed mesh panels, liner quality, and leather quality are factors for comfort. Even though these are the factors which you should look for, sometimes a headgear can have all of these but still, it can be hot as hell because of some stupid reason. So before you invest any money, always check out the MMA headgear reviews.

Certification: Like all other MMA equipment, MMA headgears can be certified. SATRA is the most commonly looked certification. As a side note, as you can guess if a headgear has a certification, it already passed many tests for safety and training performance. So, it is a really good sign that you can go with an MMA headgear which has a known certificate.

MMA vs Boxing Headgears: Many companies say that you can use their headgear for MMA and boxing. In theory yeah you can wear one and practice martial arts but this is actually far from ideal.

Boxing includes only punching however MMA includes that and way more like kicking, grappling, throwing, various other wrestling movements… as well. So boxing headgear’s foam distribution should be in a certain way that it should be more focused on reducing the impact of punches whereas in MMA you can be thrown etc. Obviously, these will have different effects. This is why I have two separate lists of headgears. So if you need a boxing headgear then you can check out this amazing list.

Headgears on This List: According to the qualities and specifications above, I picked these headgears. These also have even more qualities and get very good ratings from forums. In addition to these, I also have direct experience with some of them.

Brand Overviews


Venum: Venum Headgears are made in Thailand and all of them (as far as I know) have good designs and the same padding type. According to me, it is a brand which you can trust when you buy a headgear.

Hayabusa: The quality varies a lot and the products are on and off the market from time to time. Even though people say good things about Hayabusa Tokushu Regenesis, one of my friends trained with it and he always complained about that Tokushu did not stay where it should be and lowered his vision. With that, I really liked Kanpeki’s older model however it is not on the market right now. So I did not put any Hayabusa Headgear on this list.

RDX: RDX provides decent material quality and design. It also does not overprice headgears.

Everlast: Most of them just suck and the material quality sucks even more.

Wansda: I even did not know that brand existed before I trained with it. One time I had to use in a martial arts gym in BKK. I got direct hits a couple of times to my head and I am pretty sure that if I had not worn it, it would have been much better. Since it did not absorb the shock at all and even lowered my vision. Obviously, I did not use it after this experience. Shortly, just avoid it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do You Clean MMA Headgear: Not every headgear is made of the same material and a method can be suitable for one but it can ruin another headgear. However, if you use antibacterial wipes or soap solution to clean your headgear you will be safe. Have a look at this writing for more detailed information.you need to wear MMA headgear during sparring

Does MMA Headgear Prevent Brain Damage? It reduces the impact of kicks and punches. Also if your head hits the floor the impact will be less. However, the surface area increases when you wear one so you are more likely to get hit. If you consider all of these yes, headgear can reduce brain damage in some circumstances.

However, accumulated hits during the training can also add up and may cause CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy). The thing is that you will not have the symptoms a long time. So this trauma will be seen when you will become elderly however you can reduce the chances of having it with best MMA headgears!

There are even fighters like Tim Hague who was diagnosed with CTE and there was still a lawsuit about it when I checked it the last time and it was still going on. Anyway just be prepared for the training and train with the most protective MMA headgear so you can be protected well from repetitive impacts and you will be less likely to experience Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

What Size MMA Headgear do I need: You need to measure the circumference of your head and many brands provide a size chart for that so you can get a headgear accordingly and keep in mind that one company’s large size can be another company’s regular size.

Should you wear MMA headgear during Sparring: It actually depends. If you will spar hard, yeah you and your partner definitely need to wear one. Otherwise, you will probably not be allowed to get in the cage if your MMA gym cares about your health at least a bit. Because there can be many injury types including cauliflower ear, cuts, bruises, CTE and head collisions. Headgear can prevent some of these and reduce the impact of some of these as well.

However, if you will learn the movements and spar light then the choice is up to you. However, I recommend everyone should wear one as even if it is light sparring the accidents can happen or someone may hit you hard.

How should an MMA Headgear fit: An MMA headgear should not be too loose however it should not be too tight either. It should fit like a glove. It should not move and prevent you from seeing. If it does, your head can also get hit, kicked and it may not even absorb the shock properly. So definitely be sure about the fitting before you spar!

Chin straps should not irritate your skin after you wear it and the tightness should be just enough as you don’t want your headgear to move.

If the headgear does not feel right, then it probably does not fit right and if you spar with headgear like this you will constantly think about it during a session and not only it is dangerous it can also prevent you from learning or improving your skills.

Final Thoughts about MMA Headgears


A good quality headgear protects you and helps you show better training performance with a perfect design. If it also provides comfort more than the most what can you ask more? And these best MMA headgears above provide these.

There is also a thorough buyer’s guide above for you to learn more detailed information like cushioning.

I hope you enjoyed reading and if you have any questions regarding article do not hesitate to leave a comment below.

Image Courtesy of JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, LUKE AIR FORCE BASE via Creative Commons License, Some Rights Reserved
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Reader Comments

  1. Hi, thanks for this list, without it, I would have no idea where to go in order to find decent/good headgear for sparring. I like that you put your most recommended products here, as it makes it easier for me to know what to pick.

    I have dappled into MMA here and there but never made a commitment to it, as I always become quite lazy. I hope to get back into things soon!

  2. Great post. I had no idea there where so many choices in headgear alone. I may have to return more often for my research into all my gear selections. Starting out at my age (46) as a hobby, I need all the protection I can get.
    Thanks again,
    Mike

  3. Thank you for your comprehensive review. You always give good information about each produce and a good comparison between them. Also, what I really liked in that article, is that you speak about your own experience, which means that you have more than enough experience about your niche, and that is really great.

  4. Hey Furkan, another quality comparison. This comes at the right time as I was recently chatting with a colleague who practices kickboxing and he mentioned that he needs to buy a headgear. I will send him your comparison for sure.
    Marek

    1. These actually work for kickboxing as well. However, I also got a few e-mails about kickboxing headgears and in future, I will have a page about it. Marek, I already have your e-mail. After I finish it, I will definitely send you the link.

  5. Great information on different MMA Headgear sets. I really like the first one, the Venum Elite Headgear for the design and color. Great looking headgear. You have really great information on each one, so it would make it easy for anyone to decide on which pair would be the best for them. Which one do you use, or like the best?

    1. So far I used 7 different MMA headgears and Venum is one of them but I used another model. But the design was same. The only difference was the leather quality and this one can take tear and wear for a longer time. I am basically satisfied with my experience and the vision and cheek protection was quite good. So just be careful about the sizing and other than that you are good to go.

  6. The RDC head guard is hard to look past when you consider the price!

    My son is looking into training and getting into MMA. With so many good reviews on Amazon, and your recommendation, I think we’ll go with the RDX.

    At the price, we can afford to get two! Speaking of that, how long, under normal use, does at head guard last? Should we expect to purchase a new one every 6-12 months?

    Thanks for the amazing review. Really helped us make a decision on which head gear to purchase.

    1. It is good for the price and the protection of the headgear is quite well. In my opinion, you don’t need to get two at least not at first.
      If he does training regularly, he can use it more than a year. So if he likes it then go for the second one. Because if it is not perfect then he can get a different headgear in future.

  7. I am looking to get back into boxing myself, so MMA is definitely not on the cards for me, however, I do the strength and conditioning training for two MMA fighters and this would be an awesome read for them. They are always looking for the best and newest gear to help them.

    1. I understand as MMA is quite different and hard to learn as it includes a lot of techniques from different martial arts like BJJ.

      Yeah, I keep it updated. For example, the last time when I updated I found a quality MMA headgear which provides amazing peripheral vision so I included it without it losing any time. So that would be awesome for them if you can send the link of the article to them.

  8. Beautiful post and great information on the various Martial art Headgear sets. 

    I really like the Venum Elite Headgear because of its colour and design. 

    You have really researched the market with the amount of insightful information on each one, so it would make it easy for anyone to decide on which pair would be the best for them. 

    Which one do you recommend?

    1. If you will do MMA training frequently, you can go with Venum Elite as it is made of good quality leather and it is sturdy enough to endure constant punishment.

  9. Furkan, this was a great review of several good products.  You sound like the authority to trust on this one.  I always lean toward safety first then may skimp a little on price, but you wanna stay in there so safety is a good start, also, you’re right about the heavier the gear the less time you’ll be able to work out.  Great article, keep up the good work!

    Steve

    1. Exactly heavier headgears are a pain in the ass. It slows you down and does not seem to provide better protection than lighter MMA headgears.

  10. The Ringside brand is a trusted one. My MMA friends have used Ringside for as long as I can remember, perhaps since I first met them. It’s a tried and trusted source and one I’ll recommend based on their satisfaction with the product.

    1. There are some above average quality MMA products of this company. Even though it is not a pure MMA brand it is a trusted one.

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