There are a lot of people out there who go out and buy the cheapest gear they can find when they first take up boxing, MMA or any other combat sport. While sometimes this is down to circumstance, using the wrong gear can actually have a huge negative impact on your actual training.
There are two schools of thought in life: those who live by the ‘A bad workman blames his tools’ saying, and those who follow the ‘You get what you pay for’ mantra.
The truth is, in a lot of cases, both of these are true. No matter what gear you own, your success in your sport comes down to how hard you train and your motivation to improve. Just look at some of the poorer gyms, such as in the outlying regions in Thailand and you can see examples of people who practise hard and often with the limited equipment they have. That said, using the wrong gear can produce bad habits, be uncomfortable to use and even cause injuries, all of which prevent you from truly focusing on reaching the next level.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying you have to follow the professionals and only use the best of the best, which cost hundreds each. Instead we believe that you should always do your research into anything you buy, reading up on fight gear reviews and where possible, trying different gear on either in shops or borrowed from a friend. We’ll break things down a bit more here to explain why you’re always better off doing your research and spending a little bit more on some much better gear.
It may go without saying, but the comfort of your gear is one of the most important aspects to get right. When you’re uncomfortable, you aren’t completely focused on your training. Even the more expensive gear can be uncomfortable for different people sometimes, which is why it’s important to look around, but often budget gear is usually a much more ‘generic’ fit, and almost never as comfortable as some of the more mid-range gear. You don’t want to be spending the rest between rounds adjusting your shin guards or head gear because it’s not staying in place properly.
There’s nothing worse than when your gear starts to fall apart, so why would you spend your hard-earned cash on something built poorly with cheap materials? Almost all of the ‘beginner’ items we’ve reviewed which can be bought in your local sporting store have had major issues with quality, falling apart in a matter of months (sometimes even weeks). They’re made as cheaply as possible in bulk, with very little real care put in, and honestly you really don’t want your Velcro strap to come off in the middle of a sparring session! By putting in a little bit more money for something which is built with care and constructed with higher grade materials, you’ll likely even save more money in the long run. The right pair of gloves for example could last you years assuming you take care of them.
The whole point in using gear in the first place is to protect yourself and any training partner from injuries. When you buy poorer quality gear it often doesn’t have enough attention put into the protection, and so that benefit is more or less lost. We’ve even reviewed items which we found end up causing more injuries. Fighting is a dangerous game, and regardless whether it’s a badly shaped shin guard, lack of padding in a boxing glove, or a gum shield which hardly moulds enough to stay in place, you just can’t afford to be taking the risk of training with gear that gives you the protection you need.
While this partially comes under what we said about Protection, we feel like the support your gear gives deserves a separate section – although we’re mainly referring to boxing gloves here. Terrible wrist support often leads to beginners punching wrong, bending their wrist with each punch, or sometimes punching at off angles to try and compensate for it. It only takes one wrong hit against a bag or pad for you to hit wrong and feel it for days.You can really tell a lot about a boxing glove by the wrist support it gives. A good glove will have a lot of stability and not bend, why many cheaper gloves are flimsy and bendy. This isn’t always true, and some gloves such as the Everlast Pro Style Elite gloves we reviewed can actually have quite impressive support. Just another reason why it’s important to look around and do some research into the gear you buy.
In summary, When training any combat sport, whether it’s boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai or MMA, the gear you use has a huge impact. In your first few sessions you can get away with just borrowing a spare pair of gloves from the gym, but as you get more serious about your training, you’ll likely end up owning a couple pairs of gloves, some shin guards, as well as an ever-growing pile of hand wraps and shorts. A lot of people buy gear with the lowest price tag possible and end up training with some really crappy stuff, but if you can find the extra money to spend on some decent gear from a top brand, it’s almost always worth it and will help you focus on achieving that perfect training session.