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Matman Headgear Review (Is it Worth It for Wrestling and BJJ?)

Matman headgear is probably the most popular “soft” headgear option for sports like wrestling and Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). So let’s see take a look, and see how it compares to other popular soft and hard headgear.

In this post we will provide our full review after testing the Matman headgear on the mat as well as how it compares to other headgear for bjj and wrestling.

Key Takeaway: Matman Headgear is our number one pick if you prefer softer headgear. It uses velcro straps, is easy to adjust, and provides decent protection. However, it can be a bit uncomfortable due to the chin strap digging into your neck, and it doesn’t offer as much protection as the harder headgear options like those from Cliff Keen or Adidas.

Our Review

+ Pros / – Cons
+ Pretty comfortable to use in bjj
+ Very solid protection
+ Easy to adjust
– May move in certain positions
– Doesn’t provide as much protection as “harder” headgear
– Chin strap can dig into neck

My Personal Experience: Since I didn’t wrestle in school, I automatically gravitated to softer headgear options for Brazilian jiu jitsu. I just found them to be less bulky and not get in the way as much as harder options. However, the velcro chin strap can be pretty uncomfortable if you’re not used to it.

Eventually, I switched to harder headgear that uses a chin cup (like those from Adidas or Cliff Keen – which you have to buy chin cup separately. Overall, if you don’t mind the pressure on your neck, I think this is the best option for jiu jitsu

For wrestling, the Matman headgear is just easier to adjust, easier to get on and off, but does offer slightly less protection than harder head gear.

Comparing It Against Other Brands

Vs Cliff Keen

What does Cliff Keen headgear have the Matman does not?:

  • Matman is softer
  • It may not be as durable as Adidas
  • It is easier to adjust (by using velcro traps)
  • It would likely be less of an annoying for you or your training partner in BJJ
  • However, the chinstrap on Matman can be quite uncomfortable if you’re not used to it (since it does dig into your neck/chin)

Overall Takeaway: Cliff Keen offers more protection, better durability, and stays in place. However, you may find it more uncomfortable to use in jiu jitsu due to its bulkiness and harder shell padding – also a chin cup is definitely recommended.

Vs Roar

What does the Roar have that Matman headgear does not?:

  • It’s more affordable
  • Velcro chin strap slightly more comfortable
  • However – it’s less durable

If I, personally, had to choose between the two I would have to go with Adidas Response – they are the same price, and similar models – except Adidas comes with a chin cup.

Overall Takeaway: Roar is more affordable than Matman, but it may lack some durability. While I think Roar is fine for BJJ, but harder headgear is always recommended for wrestling. Additionally, I found the Roar chin strap to be a little more difficult to get through loop, but it was slightly more comfortable than other Velcro straps like those with Matman or Gold BJJ.

Harder vs Softer Headgear for Brazilian jiu jitsu?

Harder head gear is much more common in wrestling (like those from Cliff Keen or Adidas). While softer head gear may offer slightly less protection, they are preferred for jiu jitsu. Generally, softer headgear is more comfortable, in my opinion, for both you and your training partner in bjj. But again, this will all come down to your own preference.

FeatureHard Headgear (like Cliff Keen)Soft Headgear (like Matman)
MaterialHard plastic outer shellSoft, flexible materials
ProtectionHigh impact resistanceCushions against impacts
AdjustabilityAdjustable straps for fitElastic material for snug fit and velcro straps
ComfortMay feel bulkierGenerally more comfortable
Ear ProtectionRigid protection for earsSoft cushioning for ears
Usage in BJJLess common due to rigidity but still sometimes usedMore common, less restrictive
IBJJF ComplianceTypically not allowedAlso not allowed
DurabilityVery durableMay be less durable than harder headgear
AestheticsMore noticeable, bulkier lookSleeker, less noticeable

Final Thoughts on the Softer Matman Headgear

Matman headgear is a great option for Brazilian jiu jitsu and wrestling. Overall, you’ll likely find softer headgear to be more comfortable. However, it may lack some protection and durability when compared to their harder counterparts.

For Brazilian jiu jitsu, the soft Matman headgear is our top rated headgear. You can tell it’s made with quality materials and shouldn’t have any durability issues.

For wrestling, while harder headgear may be preferred by many, I recommend trying out this softer version from Matman if you find the harder versions uncomfortable.

Thanks for reading and see you in the next one – Zack