Many martial arts clubs want to see a suitable level of skill or grading before allowing their students to spar.

This is because with combat sports like boxing and kickboxing, fighters will get punches and kicks to the head. This means that it is extremely important to have the correct head protection along with a gum shield.

The most important thing about sparring in boxing or kickboxing is to have fun whilst remaining as safe as possible.

Do I need to wear a head guard for boxing?

Simple answer: yes!

Although the first time you put on your head guard you may find it a little strange as it is something you have never worn before, but believe us, after weeks of training it will feel like second nature to wear it whilst sparring.

Head guards can also make you a bit more confident in training as you will feel more protected.

Although there are some studies that have reported that boxing head guards do not reduce the impact to the brain, the people sparring could disagree as you don’t feel the direct contact to the head.

They will also protect from clashing of heads and cuts, so they are definitely a necessary piece of equipment.

Are boxing and kickboxing head guards the same?

Generally both head guards are the same.

They are made from a leather material with padding similar to boxing gloves. They are put over the head and are secured by a hook and loop strap around the back and under the chin. They have a drawstring over the top to make it adjustable.

However, there are also head guards designed just for kickboxing as some kickboxing governing bodies enforced head guards to have a padding over the top of the head to protect against axe kicks. This became mandatory in some amateur kickboxing events.

Are there different types of head guard?

There are two main types:

The Open Face Head Guard

This type of head guard gives a better visibility, although it doesn’t cover the chin or cheeks.

The Full Face Head Guard

This type of head guard protects the head with extra protection to the chin and cheek area.

Which one is more recommended: Open Face or Full Face?

The full face is a more recommended head guard to give extra protection to the chin. Strikes to the chin are the most likely cause of a knock down or even knockout so the extra precaution is necessary if you are doing heavy sparring. If you watch many boxing fights, it is usually a left hook to the chin.

What size head guard do I need?

It is very important to get the correct size of kickboxing head guard as during sparring you need 100% concentration and the slightest distraction can leave you getting caught.

Too small a head guard can be extremely uncomfortable and a too large one can slip on the head which may block your vision.

Here is a size guide to help you choose the correct size:

Small 18.5-20.5 Inches Circumference

Medium 20-22 Inches Circumference

Large 21.5-23 Inches Circumference (Most popular for adults)

X-Large 22.5-24 Inches Circumference