Whether you’re boxing competitively or just having casual bouts with friends over the weekend, safety is your biggest priority! When it comes to boxing, that means having some high-quality headgear. The best boxing headgear will protect your noggin from the damaging impact of a direct hit, as well as softening the impact on your neck.
In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know to shop for boxing headgear like a seasoned fighter. We’ll also show you all our favorite models on the market right now.
Read on to see which headgear brands and styles we recommend, as well as to find out which is the best choice for you!
|Picture||Product Name||Size Options||Color Options||Cost|
|Everlast Everfresh Headgear||n/a||Black||$|
|Ringside Safety Cage Training Headgear||Small, Medium, Large, X-Large||Black||$|
|Cleto Reyes Headgear With Cheek Protection||Small, Medium, Large||Black, Yellow, Red, Blue, White||$$|
|Cleto Reyes Traditional Headgear With Pointed Nylon Face Bar||n/a||Black, Blue, Citrus Green, Pink, Purple, Red, Solid Gold, Tiger Orange, Titanium, White, Yellow||$$|
|Winning Headgear Fg2900||Medium, Large||Black, Blue, Green, Navy, Purple, Red, Sliver, White, Wine||$$$|
|Winning Headgear Fg5000||Medium, Large||Black, Blue, Green, White, Red||$$$|
Everlast’s Everfresh headgear is the cheapest model we recommend at the moment. It’s the least we think you can pay for something that offers decent protection and a reasonably comfortable fit.
It covers all the basics: you have protection all around your head, plus wide cheek protectors and straps to keep it all in place.
While it’s not as comfortable as premium equipment, it’s reasonably adjustable. You can easily get a tight fit–though it doesn’t shape as well or stay in place quite as snugly as nicer models.
While nicer models offer better fit, finish and materials, this one follows the same basic design as high-end options. It’s pretty breathable and leaves room for peripheral vision.
Even though the padding is too thin for really hard hits, it’s enough to keep newcomers comfortable as they’re building strength and learning their techniques.
As you’d expect for something so inexpensive, the Everlast is not all that durable. We don’t recommend this to folks who box regularly. It’s better for beginners and casual users.
It feels cheap. This is a fake leather material, and it doesn’t age well or have the nice patina you’ll see on high-quality leather headgear like the Cleto Reyes models below. The padding is a bit chintzy, too, though it does the trick.
This model doesn’t offer as much cushioning as the more expensive equipment we recommend. That’s a key reason we don’t recommend it to intermediate or advanced boxers.
The synthetic material is on the stiffer side. It’s not as adaptive or as responsive as nicer leather headgear or the high-end synthetic options below.
A cage design like this isn’t something you can use competitively, but it’s ideal for casual users on a budget who want maximum protection without shelling out. You can hit this headgear as hard as you like without having to worry about the face inside.
It offers excellent protection. While there’s always a chance of incidental impact to your face using normal headgear, this one has a safety cage that completely eliminates that possibility. It’s an excellent choice for kids and beginners for that reason. Not only is there padding all around, but there’s a total shield across the face!
It’s comfortable. This is still not premium by any stretch, but it shapes to the face better than the Everlast and fits more snugly.
It’s quite resilient to long-term usage. You can easily expect this to last for a couple years of regular sparring.
You can take the cage on and off, as needed. That’s quite convenient, if you decide to compete at some point.
While this isn’t premium leather, it is still real leather. That’s a big upgrade over the cheap, imitation stuff on the Everlast.
Cage-style headgear isn’t something you can use in most competitions. Of course, you can take the cage off with this model!
The other disadvantage is that having all those wires in front of your face can be a visual distraction–though you can certainly get used to it and be able to work around them.
While we’d still consider this a budget-priced option, it’s still two or three times as expensive as the Everlast.
The Ringside padding is better than the Everlast, but not as good as the Cleto Reyes or Winning models below.
Likewise, those premium models have more ergonomic designs, lighter builds, and higher-end materials.
This Cleto Reyes headgear is our recommendation to most readers. It’s a perfect balance between premium quality and an affordable price tag. Unless you want the old-school nylon face bar on the Traditional model below, this is the nicest leather headgear on the market! It’s suitable for anyone from ambitious beginners to passionate competitors.
All the materials are top-notch. This is professional-grade headgear made entirely in Mexico from premium leather and the most resilient padding. Quality control, fit and finish are all superb. While the Japanese options do offer lighter weight and the advantages of synthetic linings, they’re not any better from a sheer quality standpoint.
It’s extremely comfortable and secure. The anatomical fit and range of adjustments are absolutely stellar. This fits as well as anything else on the market.
High cheek padding provides extra protection without impeding visibility. There’s a reason this is headgear that many pros use!
This headgear will last for years of regular use, and only improve in its comfort and fit over time. The padding is extremely resilient, so you can plan on it being just as protective for a long, long time.
Leather headgear like this is a lot heavier than the nicest synthetic models from Japan (see the Winning models below). If you’re competing regularly and really care about getting weight down, you may want to consider one of those.
This is the updated Cleto Reyes model, and doesn’t include the solid bar across the face. If that’s a feature you want, choose the Traditional model below. That model is probably a better choice for younger fighters, as well as anyone who wants maximum security in a leather model (without going for a full cage).
This Cleto Reyes headgear is a comparable alternative to the more recent model above. It’s an older design with a full face bar across the front, for added protection. While most boxers these days prefer something open, this one is a great choice for people who want a premium model with some extra peace of mind built in.
It has the same stellar construction quality as the more recent Cleto Reyes. This Traditional model is also entirely handmade in Mexico, from high-quality leather and a resilient, thick padding. Again, while the pricier Japanese options will drop a lot of weight, they can only match the Cleto Reyes in the quality department.
It has the added protection of a face bar. The core of the bar is solid nylon, which is lightweight but still resilient enough to protect your nose from a full-on punch. This is a very good choice for parents shopping for young boxers, as well as for grown-up fighters who are getting serious and want to make sure they’re completely protected.
Having a face bar makes this one more rigid to wear, and some boxers find that the bar is an impediment to visibility. It still gives you plenty of room to see the key target areas, but this is definitely a matter of individual taste.
Like the other Cleto Reyes model we’ve recommended, the Traditional headgear is quite a bit heavier than the premium Winning models we recommend below.
This Winning headgear is a high-end model from a Japanese manufacturer that’s very popular among professionals (you’ll find that most pros and ambitious amateurs use either Cleto Reyes or Winning gear). We recommend it for serious boxers who want something lighter than the Cleto Reyes options, without spending a fortune for the top-notch Fg5000.
It’s extremely lightweight. That’s the biggest selling point of the Fg2900, and it’s a big reason why this headgear is so popular. This updated version weighs just over half a pound, which is insane for something this protective.
It’s sleeker than the Fg5000 and the other models we’ve reviewed. Between the slim build and the light weight, it’s great for training sessions where you value mobility more than completely impenetrable protection.
This headgear has better visibility than the Fg5000, so it’s a better choice for muay thai and other martial arts beside boxing.
Construction quality is professional-grade, with proprietary cushioning material that’s as good as it gets and vinyl construction that’s flawless (if not as characterful as the leather you get on Cleto Reyes gear).
It’s not as thickly padded as the Fg5000. While the Fg2900 still offers lots of protection, you should invest in the Fg5000 if you want to be as safe as absolutely possible.
It’s expensive. While Cleto Reyes gear manages to be relatively affordable for the level of quality and protection it offers, Winning models are very pricey.
This Winning headgear is our ultimate recommendation for boxing. It’s as good as it gets for premium protective equipment. It packs lots more padding than the Fg2900 without even bringing the weight up to a pound! This is an extremely expensive option, but worth it if you’re an ambitious, competitive boxer who wants the best of the best.
This one has the best peripheral vision on the market (even though you can’t see so much up and down as you can with the cheaper Winning headgear). The window is very wide, and lets you see every jab coming in.
The Fg5000 offers even more protection than the Fg2900, with a thicker build all around and additional padding around the cheeks. While it doesn’t have any kind of face bar or cage, it’s pretty much impenetrable due to the way the padding wraps closely around the face.
As we’ve mentioned, it’s still very lightweight, despite the fact that it’s at least as protective as the best Cleto Reyes options. This won’t impede your movement or flexibility in the slightest.
It’s expensive, but you can count on it to last practically forever. The vinyl lining and outer material is very low-maintenance and the proprietary padding material stands up spectacularly well over extended, intense use.
It’s heavier than the Fg2900, though it’s still among the lightest models you can buy. That’s the slight tradeoff you make for having so much protection.
It’s extremely expensive. We don’t recommend that casual or intermediate folks spend this much money on boxing headgear. Only make this kind of investment if you know you’ll get your money’s worth out of it!
Which boxing headgear should you buy for your next bout?
The Everlast is our recommendation to casual users on a tight budget. If you can afford to spend more, though, we suggest doing so. That’s true even if you’re a casual user. This one doesn’t last as long, fit as securely, or offer as protection as our more expensive recommendations. Still, it gets the job done on a budget and is fine for those who only box occasionally and casually.
The Ringside Safety Cage is our budget recommendation to the average user, who wants better protection than the Everlast offers without spending significantly more money. It’s not as comfortable or classy as our pricier picks, though. You also have to like the cage design, which is definitely not for everybody.
The Cleto Reyes updated model is our suggestion to the average buyer. It’s premium without costing a premium. We think it’s a good choice for ambitious beginners who want something they can grow into, and it’s an affordable choice for experienced and ambitious fighters who like to keep it classic. It’s heavier than Winning models, though, and you may prefer the enclosed face design on the Traditional model instead.
The Cleto Reyes Traditional is our top-quality recommendation to folks who want to keep it old-school and use leather headgear. It’s the safest, longest-lasting option in its category. This headgear is suitable for ambitious, competitive fighters as well as beginners who are in it for the long haul. However, the Winning models below are noticeably lighter and even safer. You’ll just have to decide whether those advantages are enough to offset the change from leather to vinyl.
The Winning Headgear Fg2900 is our suggestion to most people who box regularly. It’s significantly less expensive than the Fg5000, while offering similar construction quality and lightweight protection. This one isn’t as complete a protection as the Fg5000, though. This is as nice as most folks need, but if you can justify the extra expense and get your money’s worth from it, go for the Fg5000.
The Winning Headgear Fg5000 is our ultimate recommendation in this category. We know that this mask is a hell of an investment and overkill for most users, but it’s worth every penny if you’re a competitive, ambitious fighter. It offers more protection than the Fg2900, thanks to the wraparound guard. It’s the best balance of light weight and rugged structure we’ve found on the market to date.
Here are a few things to consider when you’re shopping for boxing headgear:
Decide On Your Budget
Boxing headgear can cost anywhere from $20 to $500, so it’s important to think about how much it’s reasonable and feasible for you to spend. If you’re only a casual boxer, you probably shouldn’t be dropping more than $150 on your headgear. That’s enough to get some very nice equipment that can keep you safe and comfortable in all scenarios. If you’re ambitious and competitive, you might consider spending more for something more technical that’ll be lighter in weight and on the cutting edge of protection.
Know Your Measurements
Once you’ve set your sights on a specific model, be sure you’ve got your measurements handy! Each manufacturer’s size charts will be slightly different, so be sure to measure your noggin in both inches and centimeters. You can use these measurements to find your proper size from each brand you consider using.
We hope this guide has given you all the information and perspective you need to buy your new boxing headgear with confidence. If you think we’ve missed anything, please drop us a line! We’re here to help.
You can find out more about any of the equipment we’ve recommended here by clicking on the links in our reviews. That’s the easiest way to find size charts, check current prices, and so on.