Venum Challenger 2.0 Headgear Review
Venum have been developing fight gear since 2008. The brand have always had strong ties to MMA and have sponsored a range of fighters in the past, including Jose Aldo, Miesha Tate and Lyoto Machida. Their gear is usually identifiable through their highly visual style, which usually takes influence from the logo.
About the headgear
Just a few basics about the Challenger 2.0 Headgear before we start. The headgear comes as a one-size fits all, and secures with a two strap Velcro system behind the head. The headgear has a chin bar underneath and good cheek coverage, but no face bar. There is also an alternative version which has a Velcro chin strap instead. We would assume that most of this review will still apply, but we haven’t tried that version out. If that’s what you’re interested in then take parts of the review with a pinch of salt.
The Venum Challenger 2.0 Headgear is predominantly black, with the details picked out in either black, neon orange or neon yellow, matching with the rest of the neon Venum Challenger range. You can also get it in white with black highlights, with a mostly similar design. Personally I bought the black with black detailing because I love how understated and minimal it looks. However the orange and yellow options are really bold and vibrant. There’s a good range of choices and no doubt something for everybody.
Other than the word Venum written across the forehead, and the logo on the back, you can’t really see much else on the full-black version, however the other versions pick details out brilliantly, with spikes around the jaw, ears and seams of the headgear.
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The outside of this headgear is lined with Venum’s ‘Skintex’ leather. It’s not really clear what exactly this means, but the label inside the headgear states that it’s a PU synthetic leather rather than a real leather. Despite this, it feels really top notch. It’s obviously not the same as real leather you would find on higher end gear from the likes of Cleto Reyes, but it instead has a really pleasant smooth texture. The internal fabric is good too. It’s comfortable enough that you don’t notice it and doesn’t seem to retain too much sweat.
The padding is pretty substantial and well distributed. It’s fairly thick, coming in at just over 1.5 inches thick in some places. It feels like the padding is layered fairly well too, with a slightly softer padding on the inside for comfort, as well as to work with the other layers to absorb as much impact as possible.
I must admit, I’m not a frequent user of headgear and tend to prefer control over protection, so my experience may differ slightly from somebody who trains with headgear frequently. First of all, the fit. As mentioned earlier, these are a one-size-fits-all. There’s a lot of flexibility in this head gear and the strap system allows you to get a good fit no matter how big headed you are. This isn’t without it’s issues though, and I can see people who are slightly smaller having a few problems. The straps on the top for example are designed for a larger head. One of these is adjustable at the back, however the one going across always seem to be slacked and just sitting on top.
The headgear is comfortable, although a bit bulky for my personal liking. It maximises protection as much as physically possible without the use of a face bar, but as a result is still pretty restricting in vision and feels a little closed-in compared to some of the lighter, more open alternatives available. As such I feel it’s really good for boxing but possibly a little bit overkill if you need to keep an eye out for kicks and other moves in Kickboxing, Muay Thai or MMA.
The Venum Challenger 2.0 Headgear seems to be on sale for around £45 – £50 in most places. There are much cheaper options out there, with some brands offering decent headgear around £20 – £40, however when you consider the stong visuals, the decent comfort and the decent amount of protection I think the price is fairly justified.