In order to practice kickboxing safely, it is recommend that you wear suitable protective. While we do have glove, footwear and other protective items that students can borrow during the lesson, it’s always best if you have your own (using someone else’s sweaty gear isn’t exactly fun!)
So here’s a small guide to help you get the right gear for you and some rough process. Don’t forget that you can often pick up some amazing bargains if you choose to buy used gear from places like eBay.
Hand protection is essential, even as a beginner. Punching a bag, kick shield or a focus pad can quickly take its toll on your skin so some form of hand protection should be your first purchase.
Ideally, you would need a pair with Velcro fastenings to allow you to quickly put them on and take them off. Traditional boxing gloves can be found quite cheap on store (or online) and often start at around £8 upwards.
An alternative to boxing gloves would be a pair or Martial Arts Mitts, like these.
Mitts don’t cover the tips of your fingers and thumbs. This allows you to hold most kick shields or pads without taking the mitts off. Again these can be found new from around £8. While they last a long time, like regular boxing gloves, they often get quiet smelly with age.
Similar to Mitts are Dipped Foam Gloves like the ones shown here.
These offer all the benefits of mitts but are much easier to clean and never smell like regular padded gloves do. The only down side is that they often crack or split after prolonged use. They also tend to be more expensive than either mitts or gloves and usually cost around £15 or more.
To complement your new gloves or mitts, your next purchase should be foot protection. These are often made of similar materials as regular hand mitts or boxing gloves and are usually very durable. A good quality pair from a reputable supplier can last for many years. These tend to be quite expensive and over time they can get quite smelly and even after washing they can quickly start to smell again. A good pair can set you back well over £20 but cheaper ones can be had for less.
Like the dipped foam gloves mentioned earlier, these offer all the benefits of regular footpads but are much easier to clean and never end up smelling like old, regular padded footwear do. The only down side is that they often crack or split after prolonged use. They also tend to be more expensive than regular footpads and usually cost around £18 or more for a good pair.
Mouth guards absorb shock which is what helps protect against brain concussions when the lower jaw impacts on the upper jaw and they also help prevent chips to the teeth or worse injuries caused by side and bottom jaw impacts from kicks and punches. Most cheap mouth guards (less than £6) offer little in the way of comfort but spend a little extra and you can get a softer ‘gel’ lined mouth guard which offer greater comfort and often these can be moulded in hot water for a more comfortable fit.
This is one piece of kit that is often overlooked until it is too late. Once you have had a good, hard clash of shins with an opponent, you’ll then realise just how valuable these can be! First is a hard bodied shin pad incorporating instep protection. The instep protection means that the foot is basically protected so there is no further need for protective foot wear. As a one-time user myself of this kind of shin pad, I didn’t like the attached instep protection pad and I found that it tended to slip a lot during sparring sessions. I would advise you to try before you buy with this kind of shin guard.
An alternative to the all in one is the simple regular shin pad. These particular pads have been foam dipped, making them soft yet easy to clean and they are also very comfortable to wear.
Unlike foam dipped gloves and foot guards, shin pads don’t really flex much during use and as such they tend to have a long life before cracks start to appear in the foam. A good pair can often be picked up from around £8.
Good head protection is essential when sparring! These provide extra padding to the cheeks and chin area and also to increased protection around the ears. Some are lined with a breathable, moisture absorbing, anti-microbial lining to help retain freshness. These are prone to collect a lot of sweat during a bout so keeping them fresh can be challenging. You can generally pick up a decent one new from around £20.
Head guards are also available in the foam dipped variety and I personally think they offer better protection over regular protective head gear but that’s just my opinion and not everyone will agree so do try before you buy and form your own opinion.
Being foam dipped, there are very easy to keep clean and like shin pads, they don’t suffer much flexing during use so they tend to last quite a while. You can pick good ones up from around £20.
For males, a groin guard is essential. One good kick in the family jewels and that can take you out for a few minutes. These are mandatory in competition sparring as I once found out when I was sent out of the ring for not wearing one!
For females, a good sports bra, while not essential can be quite practical to keep ‘bounce’ under control. Some sports bras let you slip in plastic inserts to offer greater chest protection against punches and kicks.