SISU 2.4 Max Guard review
SISU is a brand who have built a brilliant business around one simple guarantee: More protection, less mouthguard. The company was started in the USA, based in Saline, MI, with the founders originating in Sweden. The term SISU is a Finnish concept which represents values such as determination, strength and resilience. The difference between SISU and other brands is the sheer amount of research and originality in their mouth guards, as these are vastly different from anything else on the market. SISU sent us one of their ‘Max guard’ mouth guards to review.
About the Mouth Guard
Usually we wouldn’t need to go into too much detail regarding mouth guards, however the SISU is no conventional mouth guard. The SISU is self-moulded in a similar way to ‘boil and bite’ mouth guards which you heat up and apply yourself, however when fitted it’s actually a custom fit mouthguard, which is closer to a professionally moulded guard. This is because the SISU comes as a flat arc, which is moulded to fit the teeth as closely as possible and protecting the tiny crevices which a bulky boil and bite can’t get to. The Aero Guard measures in at an absolutely tiny 1.6mm thick, and the Max Guard measures at only 2.4mm. The Aero Guard is said to be great for lighter sports to add a bit more protection, but we’ve been testing out the Max Guard, which happens to be much more suited to those of us who enjoy being punched in the face.
If you thought 2.4mm sounded pretty thin, that’s because it is. According to SISU, it’s 30% thinner than your typical mouth guard, but uses thermoplastic materials which make it 50% stronger, so you can have just as much confidence that your teeth are protected.
The SISU is a little bit different to fit than a regular mouth guard. When you first get the guard, it’s a flat, boomerang shaped piece, which moulds to the shape of your teeth. The first few steps are similar to what you would expect from a boil and bite guard (although the water shouldn’t quite be boiling), but the last steps are a little trickier. Luckily, it’s also much more forgiving if you don’t quite get it right the first time – you can re-heat either the whole guard or just a section you want to re-work and the guard will return to its flexible state, allowing you to have another attempt. Luckily, I didn’t need to do that, as I got it right first time.
Because of the SISU’s thin design, it completely forms itself around your teeth. Once fitted, it turns solid and locks itself in place, and if moulded correctly it shouldn’t be able to fall out at all, to the point that you’ll have to use your fingers to get it off. It can be a little weird during the moulding process, feeling the guard solidify around your teeth, but it definitely feels much more secure than other guards I’ve tried.
If you’re looking to mould the mouth guard for the first time, SISU have a video to help you through the process.
The SISU Max Guard comes in a variety of colours – blue, red, black, white, pink and purple. There aren’t any fancy designs or visuals available, however they aren’t designed for that. The solid colours are nice and bold though, so they stand out well and still look great. We were sent the blue one, which is really bright and vibrant.
As well as being so thin, the SISU also features a number of small perforations all over. We’re told these are for dispersing shock throughout the guard. We’re fighters, not scientists so we’ll have to take their word on how it works, however we also noticed that the perforations also mean that you can actually breathe through your teeth a little too. Each guard also comes with a $35,000 warranty, which is much higher than the average warranties that we’ve seen, and even slightly higher than other reputable brands such as Shock Doctor and Under Armour.
I’m going to start off by saying that the SISU Max Guard doesn’t really feel like other mouth guards. At first it feels a bit strange, you feel a little bit confused by the lack of a bulky guard in your mouth, the hardened material can feel a little bit tighter than you’re used to, and can take a little bit of time to get used to. When you get into it though, you’ll start to forget about the difference and it’s so minimal that you can almost forget that it’s there completely. After a few sessions you’ll get used to the feeling and have much more confidence in it. During sparring sessions wearing it, I (unfortunately) received a few hard shots to the mouth, and can honestly say that I didn’t feel anything significant in my teeth.
The fact that the guard is so small is the main reason many people want to get one. It really does feel like it’s not even there. With most mouth guards, I usually have to attempt to mumble at my sparring partners and hope they roughly understand my point. It’s not really a problem, as you tend to get used to not communicating too much, however with the SISU in you can almost talk properly. You may sound a bit funny, but you won’t need to take the guard out to get your point across. It really does make it easier to give your sparring partner some quick feedback or to tell the new guy that he doesn’t need to try to knock you out. The benefits of the thin design go further than that though. I could easily go a full training session without taking it out at all. Even breaks in between rounds, the guard is so minimal that you can drink with it in easily. With drink with most guards I usually have to either take it out (which I’m sure can’t be too hygienic) or attempt to pour the drink down my neck without the guard falling out. It’s one of those times where you don’t realise how much of a chore it is until you don’t have to do it any more.
As well as the thinness of the guard, the other reason it’s so easy to forget about is because while most boil and bite mouth guards are sometimes prone to falling out and require you to bite down to stay in place, the SISU just clips in place instead. I did find myself having to remind myself to bite down when I first started using the guard. Because it moulds to your teeth, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem placing your bottom teeth in a natural place when you bite down, however I can’t say that biting down hard is incredibly comfortable. My only other complaint is the edges of the guard. I understand that they help the mouth guard to clip into place better, however they can be a little bit too hard edged, and it can be a bit uncomfortable when you go to put the guard in at a slightly wrong angle and catch your gums. This has only happened a couple of times though, and I can’t say that I’ve noticed it having any impact on sparring.
The SISU 2.4 Max Guard comes in at $34.99, or £25 in the UK. This definitely isn’t the cheapest you can find a mouth guard, but it also isn’t the most expensive. In our eyes, we would call this mouth guard a mid-point between a ‘boil and bite’ and a custom guard. When you think about the tight fit, the solid protection and the functionality it still allows you, the price is definitely worth it. Your teeth are one of the few parts of your body which just can’t be replaced if they get broken, and can be incredibly expensive if they do, so if you can’t quite afford to get a custom fitted mouth guard, this would be a great way to ensure a great level of protection without breaking the bank.
Looking to buy this?
If you’re interested in trying out the SISU Max Guard, or even one of their other guards, such as the Aero Guard or the children’s guard, head over to their US website or their European website and take a look.
+ Tight, solid fit around teeth
+ Can drink, breathe and talk with ease
+ $35,000 dental warranty
– Takes a bit of getting used to
– Limited colour options
– Hard edges can be a little uncomfortable