Types of Headgear - Wicked Boxing

Types of Headgear

Jan 06, 2023Wicked Boxing


Although all types of sports have some sort of protective gear to keep trainee/player/fighter safe while training or fighting, combat sports are very special in this regard as they are essentially very dangerous. Therefore, having protective gear is a must requirement these days and most gyms follow very strict regulations in this regard, to the extent that one cannot join a training or sparring session without having the required protective gear. 

Headgear (head guard) is a very important protective gear in combat sports. Some combat sports, like Taekwondo, require putting on protective gear, especially headgear, in both sparring and real professional fights, while others, like boxing or kickboxing require/recommend it only during sparring.  

Headgear can be categorized in different ways, including professional (certified) headgear, sparring headgear, open face headgear, full face headgear, and headgear with cheek & chin protection. In this blog, I will have a brief overview of each type and its purpose to help people choose the right one when deciding to take lessons in a particular combat sport. 

Open Face Headgear 

The open face headgear, as its name implies, only covers the head, ears, and the external part of the cheeks and does not provide any face protection. This type of headgear is used in those combat sports that do not have, or have minimal, face strikes to opponent's face, such Karate.

 Headgear with Cheek & Chin Protection 

This type of headgear has a little bit more protection coverage than the open face one. It covers the entire head, ears, chin, and cheeks, but still does not provide full face protection. Headgear is usually used in those combat sports that have lots of face strikes, like Kickboxing and Muay Thai. 

Full Face Headgear/Headgear with Nose Bar 

This type of headgear is the most secure one. It provides full coverage, including the entire head, ears, chin, cheeks, and nose. It’s the most recommended headgear for boxing as it protects the head and entire face, including nose, from all types of punches.  

Professional/Certified/Competition Headgear 

The Headgear that has been verified, tested, and approved for competition by USA Boxing. These headgears are very high quality and are usually more expensive than regular ones. 

Sparring/Training Headgear 

Any non-certified headgear by default is sparring headgear since it’s used in real competitions. But it does not mean that someone cannot or should not use certified headgear in sparring or training. 


Headgear is an important piece of protective gear in all sports, especially combat sports. There are different categories of headgear each proving a certain level of protection. However, as far as I know, there are not any standards or rules associating a specific type of headgear to a specific combat sport. Meaning, based personal preference, or based on specific sparring/training regulations, someone might use an open face in boxing or full face in Karate sparring. 

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