In any contact sport, we all know we’re going to need all the safety equipment we can get. In this case, wrestling is really no different, and I think you can see why it’s something that requires safety before anything else. Wrestling can be a brutal sport, requiring gear to keep wrestlers safe and secure.
Now, headgear isn’t exclusive to wrestling, as you may already know. It’s employed in other martial arts, often used in sparring and competition. In wrestling, it’s used in more competitive circles such as high school wrestling. But how does wrestling headgear work?
Wrestling headgear, unlike other headgear used in contact sports, is only made to protect the ears and the chin—the two most exposed parts of one’s head during any wrestling match. Having wrestling headgear handy is often required, knowing that it’s crucial for any wrestler to protect themselves.
Wrestling headgear is usually padded to provide comfort and to absorb the impact of strikes. Some people might assume that wearing headgear is “cheating,” but it’s really not—especially when wrestling organizations encourage safety with the necessary precautions, and that includes wearing headgear.
In short, the next time you participate in a wrestling event or activity, always take headgear into account, especially when you think things will get a bit too intense.
It’s safe to say wrestling headgear can totally help you in providing protection, among other things, especially in the ring/on the mats. Wrestling, after all, is a strenuous contact sport where you duke it out with an opponent. Having headgear handy is great and all, but how can you determine which one is best for you?
Without getting more into the specifics of buying the ideal headgear for you, let’s take a look at what’s the best on the market today. If you’re just starting out, then you’re better off looking at reviews, since it’s easier for you to begin looking into what to purchase today.
Speaking of reviews, I’m actually here to help you pick what you think is best for your preferences. There is plenty of headgear available on the market today. Some are great, but some are just okay, at best. A lot of others may not be to your liking, so you may want to pick headgear based on your preferences.
That said, here are my top picks for wrestling headgear.
Cliff Keen F5 Tornado Headgear
This Cliff Keen headgear is a top pick for online retailers based on reviews and other things, and it’s easy to see why. The patented Air Vent System technology helps it stand out, providing more comfort for the wearer who might find wrestling headgear in general uncomfortable.
It’s also easily adjustable, allowing users to adjust in mere seconds after wearing. The ear guards come deep, so they provide plenty of protection.
What users love about this product is how it’s great for all sizes, since it can easily adjust to their size. Those who are prone to swelling have also benefited greatly from this product, considering it allows for more space for the ears compared to some other headgears out there. Wrestlers and jiujitsu practitioners have given this product a positive say.
Does not muffle sound
Velcro chin straps can tend to come undone with intense activity
Velcro chin straps can scratch your face and head once undone
Only comes in black
Matman Wrestling Hair Cap
Ever worried about your hair getting caught up during fights and competitions, Well, for those with thick mops, this aptly-named Matman wrestling hair cap could be the perfect item for you. You see, it keeps your hair from getting in the way, aside of course from protecting your ears and your temples.
It comes in black, which may matter for a lot of fighters who believe it never goes out of fashion. I’m not sure if this’d be good for BJJ fighters, but for wrestlers, they might prefer this product. It’s perfect for women, who usually have long hair, and for men who just refuse to cut theirs.
What users love about this product, aside from how it keeps one’s hair back, is how comfy it feels. There could be one minor issue about this headgear, and that is the sizing. Make sure you determine the right size first before actually making a purchase.
Size fits most heads
Comes in several colors
May be too small for larger-than-average heads
Must be worn with other headgear to maximize protection
Cliff Keen Custom Signature Headgear
Any product with the word “signature” on it must be good, right? Well, here’s another one of Cliff Keen’s headgear. It’s a four-strap “FOAM” headgear that promises comfort based on the design of the original Cliff Keen headgear from fifty years ago. If that’s not something for you, I don’t know what is.
It’s lighter and allows for reduced friction on the mat. The product can be used for both wrestling and BJJ. One grip users have is the sizing, citing that it can be erratic. Nevertheless, this could well be the perfect product for you—especially if you’re starting out as a wrestler.
Cliff Keen has always been in it to manufacture quality wrestling headgear, and this one still holds that commitment to quality, regardless of some minor issues users experienced.
Available in a wide variety of colors
Easy to clean and does not retain foul smells
Comes with several straps making it fully adjustable
Neck straps may feel uncomfortable for some users
Difficult to adjust
Does not include a chin strap
KO Sports Gear Wrestling Headgear
If you need something with a bit more padding, while providing much more flexibility and comfort, KO Sports Gear’s product might do the trick for you. It boasts strapping that you can easily adjust, and it uses lighter materials that are more flexible than what’s used in other products.
As mentioned, it’s padded all over, yet provides more movement and flexibility. Sizing is easy to handle, but of course, you’d need to find the right one for you, since it could get a little tight around the edges. Overall, reviews have been saying it’s a good product. It’s worth looking into, if you’re interested.
Lightweight and flexible
Comfortable ear cups
Easy to adjust
May need regular cleaning to avoid foul smells
Ears may get hot due to poor ventilation
Velcro chin straps may come undone
Eagle and US Flag Wrestling Headgear
Now, this product is fascinatingly patriotic. Who wouldn’t be pumped to see the American flag printed on the ear pads? Maybe you’re feeling a bit proud to represent your country, so you’d want to wear red, white, and blue patterns. Or maybe you just want a decent headgear for wrestling or Brazilian jiujitsu. This product could be perfect for you.
Take note that it may not be as well-constructed as the other products on this list, but actually, it holds up well, especially if you’re just starting out with any sport that requires you to wear it.
Available in a wide variety of stylish designs
Four layers of protection for improved comfort, shock absorption, and durability
Comes with several straps making it fully adjustable
Loud designs may not be for everyone
Difficult to adjust
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Common Problems in Wrestling?
As I said, wrestling headgear usually protects the chin with the cup and the ears with the ear guards. While not digging into why you should wear a wrestling headgear just yet, it’s best to know the more common injuries associated with wrestling as a contact sport.
Here are some of the more common injuries associated with wrestling.
Cauliflower Ear. Sounds disgusting, doesn’t it? And it’s exactly as it sounds. Cauliflower ear is a condition stemming from trauma to the ear during matches. It’s when your ear gets inflamed, where there forms a pocket of blood—hematoma—and the deformity of one’s ear becomes greatly visible. So, it sort of like resembles a cauliflower, in any case.
People sometimes refer to cauliflower ear as wrestler’s ear or boxer’s ear, since it mostly affects those engaged in wrestling, boxing, or martial arts in general.
Chin Injury. There had been a lot of wrestlers out there who’ve been injured in the chin. Since the chin is a vulnerable protrusion of the face, it’s easy to strike at it, causing trauma and some wounding. Many wrestlers have had to quit for a while due to chin injury.
Naturally, it’s more effective for a fighter to strike their opponents’ face, and usually, the first thing they’d hit is the chin! Wrestlers especially have to be more protective of their chins, considering they could also be dragged around as they are being pinned down.
Facial Fractures. It’s impossible to prevent bone-related injuries in general when it comes to contact sports, but having any sort of protection can truly minimize the effects. The first few hours of suffering from a fracture is especially critical, since you’re going to need to hold your bones together while waiting for medical help.
In this case, wrestling headgear can help wrestlers keep it together while waiting for medical attention. Additionally, headgear can also minimize the effects of a fracture whenever an opponent lands a strike.
General Injuries. By general injuries, I’m talking about how you can actually be injured in a lot of common ways, especially when it comes to a wrestler’s limbs. Shoulders could be dislocated, joints could be snapped or sprained, among other things, and these things happen more frequently, especially when things get too heated.
There’s plenty of other equipment out there to help wrestlers and fighters prevent general injuries, so it’s always a good idea to look into them before getting deep into the sport.
Is Wrestling Headgear Mandatory?
In most high school or college wrestling circles, wearing headgear is indeed required. The head, while being the most useful part of our body, is actually quite fragile, even though it’s protected by the skull. In a sport such as wrestling, every part of our head is exposed.
Although it’s not necessary to wear wrestling headgear during competitions in North America, wrestlers, especially youth wrestlers, are allowed and even encouraged to do so, citing their medical history, among other things. Of course, it’s always a good idea to wear headgear in any contact sport, even just for sparring or practice.
Why Use Wrestling Headgear?
Now, you’re going to get the answer you’ve been dying to know—but I’m sure you already know it by now. Wearing wrestling headgear protects your ears from the dreaded cauliflower ear, among other ear-related injuries, and the chin cup also helps mitigate trauma.
The use of headgear can also be for the purpose of keeping your hair in place and out of the way, or maybe wrestlers just feel comfortable with them in general. But fundamentally, it’s there to protect wrestlers from getting the most common injuries associated with the sport.
How Should Wrestling Headgear Fit?
In some of the reviews above, we’ve touched briefly on how headgear should fit. Usually, you’ll need to adjust the straps to see which fit is good for you. Determining a good fit involves feeling it for yourself, making sure that the headgear sits snugly. Headgear that’s too loose could be distracting to the wearer.
How Do You Clean Your Headgear?
Cleaning your sports equipment is a rather dreadful task, and I know for certain that it’s not easy to do, but you need to do it anyway. Cleaning your headgear can actually be as simple as using disinfecting wipes, making sure all the bacteria from the accumulated sweat and grime are eliminated. In turn, your headgear will also smell much, much better.
Wrestling headgear does indeed help in decreasing the occurrence of injuries commonly related to wrestling, BJJ, and even boxing. If you’re thinking of getting into the sport, you should look into buying headgear.
In case you’re still not convinced about the importance of headgear in wrestling, remember that whatever sport you’re into, safety should be your number one priority. Don’t just think about the thrill sports give you—also consider how it’s going to affect you physically.
There are plenty of wrestling headgear in the market today, but maybe you already found what you’re looking for in my top five above. Don’t limit yourself to what’s on display, though. There are plenty of hidden gems out there.
Do you already know what headgear you’re buying for your future wrestling endeavors? If so, then you should probably get started!