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The Best BJJ Headgear and Ear Guards for Training in 2023

The Best BJJ Headgear and Ear Guards for Training in 2023

Interested in the best bjj headgear or ear guards for jiu jitsu?

Maybe your ears are starting to get sensitve, and you’re worried about cauliflower ear or maybe your ears already have signs of cauliflower ear but you don’t want them to get worse.

Well we took a look at the most popular headgear for bjj and wrestling and compiled a full list and guide on some commonly asked questions about bjj headgear.



Because of the intense grappling nature of BJJ training and competition, you can sometimes see practitioners wear BJJ headgear. 

One of the most common injuries in BJJ is a cauliflower ear when the ear gets hit constantly. BJJ headgear can help you avoid it and can help provide padding while it is healing.

Headgear for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the protective gear used to prevent injury or trauma to the ears while training. 

So if you’re looking for one, you’ve come to the right post! Headgear for bjj also makes an excellent gift for somone who’s into bjj.



Here, we’ve compiled a list of the best BJJ headgear to help you, ranging from our top picks, best overall, classic headgear recommendations, to some of the simplest yet reliable options.

Related Post: What Is Cauliflower Ear – Causes, Preventions, and Treatment

Related Post: Will Headgear Prevent Cauliflower Ear in BJJ?

Best BJJ Head Gear and Ear Guards – At a Glance

Best Overall Winner: Gold BJJ

Best Wrestling Style: Cliff Kleen

Most Comfortable: Matman

Most Affordable: Roar


Why You Can Trust This List

This headgear list is compiled after our 11+ hours of research of recommendations and reviews of headgear for jiu jitsu and wrestling. We used resources such as amazon, reddit, and bjj apparel sites to find reviews on the most recommended headgear for training.


Best Headgear for BJJ – Full List

1. Best Overall: Gold BJJ Headgear

Gold BJJ Headgear

COLORS: Black

Gold BJJ is undeniably good in producing different martial art gears, especially for BJJ. And their headgear is no exception. I felt when testing this headgear that it was simple, and didn’t get in the way of training.

For this reason these are my top overall pick for any jiu jitsu practitioner in the market for head gear.

Their headgear hit all of my marks by not getting in the way of training, being comfortable to wear, and provide padding around my ears.

While other headgear with harder shells (like those made specifically for wrestling like those from Cliff Kleen) do offer more protection, I’ve found them to be more uncomfortable for training Brazilian jiu jitsu.

FEATURES:
Ear holes
Reinforced chin strap
Lightweight design
Elastic headband

Gold BJJ Headgear has a structure that is both comfortable and durable, and it offers sufficient protection for the ears.

ProsCons
Designed especially for BJJMay not be best for those with smaller heads
Adjustable
Comfortable
Has reinforced stitching in straps

2. The Classic: Cliff Keen

Cliff Keen

COLORS: Black

If you prefer a more classic style headgear and come from a wrestling background, I’m sure you may favor headgear from Cliff Kleen. These do offer solid protetion and should be your top option if thats your main concern.

FEATURES:
Chin strap pad
Hard-shell headgear
4-strap FOAM headgear

The famous and original E41 foam headgear that Cliff Keen developed over 50 years ago is the inspiration for this headgear. It only shows that the design has been tried and proved effective over many years.

It has been the preferred headgear for wrestlers for years and with good reason.

The straps are built from Nylon, making them durable. The headgear chin pad makes it much more comfortable to wear.

The ear guards have foam padding, and the four straps arranged at various angles will keep it in place.

ProsCons
LightweightStraps may not be very durable
Fully adjustableHearing might be compromised
Padded chin strap
Easy to clean

3. Most Comfortable: Matman

Matman

COLORS: Black, Navy, Red, White

FEATURES:
Hook and Loop closure
Soft Neoprene Exterior
Hard-shell insert
Ear holes
Triple stitch chin strap

These are the most comfortable head gear your going for find for training jiu jitsu. While I do think the harder shells are better for wrestling or someone who has a more wrestling style bjj game, certain positions may be unfortable in jiu jitsu when training in them.

So if you prefer comfort over protection, I recommend trying out these from Matman.

The ear guards on this headgear are designed to absorb shock and protect your ears from injury. It has soft neoprene fabric used outside and an interior hard-shell cup for the ears, making it durable and comfortable during your training period.

The headgear’s straps are easily adjustable, so you can get the right fit without taking it off.

ProsCons
Not bulky (even when compared with hard shell ear guardsMay provide less protection
Easy to hand washMay run small
Very comfortable

4. Simplest Headgear: Adidas

Adidas Response Earguard (AE100)

COLORS: Black, Gold, Gray, Hunter, Maroon, Navy Blue, Orange, Purple, Red, Royal Blue, White

FEATURES:
4-strap headgear
Low profile and soft foam cover
Adjustable vinyl straps
Chin strap pad
Hard-shell headgear

It may surprise some, but Adidas has something to offer grapplers, and this headgear is it. 

Featuring ear guards that have explicitly shaped for comfort and protection, this headgear is padded and has four straps that one can adjust for a customized fit. 

The Adidas Ear Guard is a long-lasting and stylish option because it comes in various colors.

ProsCons
Has four lightweight and sturdy strapsNot mainly designed for BJJ
Fully adjustableHearing might be compromised
Padded chin strapMay be difficult to adjust initially
Very durable

5. Keen F5 Tornado Headgear

Cliff Keen F5 Tornado Headgear

COLORS: Black, Columbia, Forest Green, Gold, Orange, Royal Blue, Scarlet, Silver, Vegas Gold, White, Dark Green, Light Gold, Maroon, Purple

FEATURES:
Patented “Air Vent System” technology 
80% greater audible sound technology 
Power tab on-the-fly strapping system 
Ultra-deep ear cups

The Cliff Keen F5 Tornado Headgear provides comfort with its padded foam around the ears while providing the same level of protection as hard-shell headgear. It has ultra-deep ear cups that give maximum comfort and safety.

In addition, it has a mechanism for air ventilation that allows air to move through it, improving not only the headgear’s audibility but also its comfort.

The fact that there are 39 different color variations, all of which have a way of looking, is where you’ll have a hard time.

ProsCons
Good airflowMight be an inconvenience to a sparring partner
Adjust snuggly in secondsOn the more expensive end
Good sound qualityOn the harder side
More comfortable than Classic Cliff Keen headgear

6. Cliff Keen E58 Headgear

COLORS: Black

FEATURES:
4-strap system
Low profile straps
Chin strap pad

Has straps made of Nylon and have a heavy-duty design.  When you wear these padded protectors, not only are your ears protected, but they also provide a pleasant fit.

The majority surface area of the shells is flat; they have a cushioned inside, and the outside has a smooth coating. The inside casing is more sturdy than ever, thanks to the use of a specialized polycarbonate composite, a kind of high-end plastic that is both lightweight and long-lasting. 

And all of these features you can get at a very affordable price. 

ProsCons
Good airflowDifficult to get it fit at first
Adjust snuggly in secondsMay want to consider buying a chin cup to replace straps
Good sound quality
Very durable

7. Cliff Keen EF66 Fusion

Cliff Keen EF66 Fusion

COLORS: Black, Royal Blue, White (with different-colored straps)

FEATURES:
Ear hole design
Chin strap pad
Adjustable straps

One of the most notable characteristics of the EF66 Fusion is the cushioned ear protection that wraps entirely around the head. This design helps to lessen the likelihood of harm by uniformly distributing the force of contact over the whole ear.

The user of the headgear will remain cool and comfortable while using it due to the ventilation holes in the design.

ProsCons
Offers great ear protection A little more expensive
LightweightTop strap may tend to slip and cover eyes
Great fit

8. ASICS Conquest Earguard

COLORS: Black

FEATURES:
Hard-shell ear guard
Chin strap pad
Velcro straps
Snap button

The Asics Conquest ear guards include a three-strap velcro closing mechanism that simplifies the fit and secures your gear. A cushioned foam wraps around the ears to provide additional protection.

It has sufficient ear holes, allowing for adequate air circulation, and it has a snap button, which will enable you to remove your headgear after use.

The Asics headgear, in general, is a device that offers protection, comfort, and efficiency all in one package.

ProsCons
Easy to cleanStraps may be itchy to some
Padded chin strap
Lightweight and breathable

9. Roar Wrestling Ear Guard

COLORS: Black/White/Red/Green/Blue

This headgear from Roar is an affordable option for anyone not looking to splurge on more bjj gear.

The fabric is made from spandex and includes Eva padding around the ears. It also includes a secure strap on top to prevent shifting during intense training sessions.

ProsCons
AffordableCan get very hot
SecureSome reviews claim it’s not as durable as others
Doesn’t affect hearing
Great alternative to tradition wrestling headgear

10. Venum Kontact Evo Ear Guard

The Venum “Kontact Evo” Ear Guard is designed for both comfort and protection during training.

Made with neoprene, it offers a lightweight feel that won’t weigh you down. The smooth outer fabric helps prevent skin irritation for both you and your training partner.

Molded shells provide enhanced protection against impacts during training, while the 3-way closure system and inner rubber bands ensure a secure but adjustable fit for ground work.

Durable yet lightweight, this product offers the highest level of protection without sacrificing comfort or hindering your training experience.

ProsCons
Simple to put on and adjustNeoprene fabric may become hot
Stays tight with limited shiftingMay limit sound

What Is the Best Headgear for Jiu-Jitsu?

What is the best headgear for jiu-jitsu?

The best headgear for jiu jitsu is one that:

  • provides padded for your head/ears
  • can be securly fitted to your head
  • is comfortable to wear
  • doesn’t limit your hearing
  • ultimately, it should go unnoticed during training.

Our recommendation for the best head gear for jiu jitsu is: Headgear by Gold BJJ

But of course, there’s more to that. A headgear must also be of good quality combined with comfort. It should have enough padding yet allows good airflow. 

Training headgear requires a reliable closing system that keeps it in place while not being too loose or tight.

Advantages of Wearing Headgear for BJJ 

Wearing a headgear when practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) may have the following advantages:

  1. Extra Protection – wearing protective headgear may also assist in promoting safety in training. It helps prevent or minimize the risk of sustaining significant injuries to the head.
  2. Prevents Ear Injury – a condition known as cauliflower ear, caused by repeated trauma to the ear, is one of the injuries one may avoid by wearing protective headgear.
  3. Better Focus – practitioners will be better able to concentrate on the procedures being taught and performed or on their opponents alone if they wear protective headgear.
  4. Boosts Confidence – if you feel more secure wearing protective gear for your head while training, you can gain confidence in executing the techniques and improving your performance.

As a bonus, you and your opponent may see each other’s head better in low-light conditions if both wear headgear.

Disadvantages of Wearing Headgear for BJJ 

Though headgears have many relevant benefits, they can also have their downsides, especially for people who will use them for the first time. 

Some possible disadvantages of using headgear when practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) are as follows:

  1. Additional Weight – other headgear may add significant weight to your head, making it difficult and may cause pain or inconvenience when training.
  2. May Restrict Range of Movements – some types of headgear or the wrong way of adjusting how tight it goes can make it hard to move or turn your head while training.
  3. Can Cause More Sweating – because of this potential discomfort, you may need to take more frequent pauses to remove it and wipe off your sweat or replace it.
  4. Reduced Visibility – some styles of headgear may also limit your side or peripheral vision.

Ear Protection and Martial Arts

Ear protection is an essential element of martial arts, as it can help protect your ears from injuries or even permanent hearing damage.

Whether you’re just starting out in martial arts or a seasoned fighter, it’s important to make sure you have the right ear protection.

There are several types of headgear available that provide varying levels of protection, but all of them share certain core features such as

  • adjustable straps
  • high-density foam padding

It’s important to not only choose a headgear that fits comfortably, but also one that offers adequate coverage for the sides and back of your ears.

Additionally, make sure the material used is breathable and comfortable enough for long training sessions.

Martial Arts History

Martial arts have been around for centuries, and they’ve played an important role in many cultures throughout history.

From the ancient Greeks to the samurai warriors of Japan, martial arts have served as a way to stay fit, defend against attack, and hone one’s physical and mental strength.

Over the years, different styles of martial arts have emerged, ranging from the traditional Chinese kung fu to the more modern mixed martial arts. While each style has its own unique history and techniques, all of them share a common goal: training people to become stronger and better prepared for whatever life throws at them.

With the goal of getting stronger and better on the mat, you must also be certain to take precautions whenever necessary, and that includes protecting your ears.

What Is Cauliflower Ear?

A picture of a cauliflower ear

BJJ Cauliflower Ear is the result of ear trauma that causes a buildup of blood and other fluids in the ear. Ears might look like cauliflower from swelling and deformation due to this.

Cauliflower ear is caused by blunt force trauma to the upper ear or often caused by repetitive friction during a grappling martials arts.

This injury is prevalent in BJJ, particularly for beginners, but can easily be avoided with ear guards and headgear since it offers a barrier between the ear and the opponent’s attacks. 

How to Wear Headgear for BJJ

When Should You Consider Wearing Headgear?

Practitioners should consider wearing headgear when concerned with ear-related injuries such as cauliflower or feel their ears becoming sensitive and possibly developing an ear injury. 

Having that thought and feeling might distract and fear you from developing and executing proper techniques, so it would be good to wear one. 

Also, using headgear while training or competing in BJJ is strongly recommended if you have a history of ear injuries or have ever had an ear injury.

How to Keep Your Headgear from Moving

For some Headgear like those from Cliff Kleen, you may need to buy a separate chin strap to keep it in place better. This is very common from my experience wearing them and that of my training partners.

Your headgear should fit snugly but not be too restrictive. It really should be kept from moving when grappling. Don’t be discouraged – it will take time to get it to fit exactly right, but you should not notice it is there once it does.

How Do I Choose a Headgear

Choosing a headgear would depend on your preference and definition of comfort, good appearance, and what purpose it will serve you.

Nonetheless, when it comes to selecting a headgear for BJJ, there are a few things that you may want to take into consideration, including the following:

Quality

Try to choose headwear that is both well-made and long-lasting. Check the stitching carefully to guarantee that it can withstand your usage, whether often or regularly.

Protection

Since protecting the head and face from injury is the fundamental function of headgear, this should be the primary focus of your concern when selecting one.

It would help if you looked for headgear with sufficient cushioning that ultimately covers your head and face.

Cleanliness 

During training, a headgear will likely get sweaty and dirty; thus, you should look for an easy product to clean and maintain. For example, can it be thrown in the washer or does it have to be cleaned by hand?

Comfort

It would help if you had headgear that won’t bother you even after prolonged use. Check to see whether the headwear is made of breathable material.

Ensure that the helmet fits comfortably and does not hinder your senses, such as hearing and sight.

Durability

In most cases, the decision boils down to two options: hard plastic or soft and padded.

Either way, you should go for a headpiece constructed to endure and withstand the rigors of high-intensity exercise and training. And try to choose headgear with significantly reinforced stitchings.

Material

Try to get protective headwear that won’t break down under the pressure of practice and competition. Several types of headwear are also produced using leather and synthetic materials like polyester nylon.

Always consider how the fabric will feel on your skin.

Straps

Look for headgear that has straps that can be adjusted and that is made of sturdy material. It guarantees the fit is secure and comfortable even in heavy training.

Style

Although this is a matter of your preference, consider the kind or style of headgear you should get.

Try to choose a headgear that covers the front, sides, and back of the head. During the workout, this will give complete protection.

It also comes with soft and hard ear guard shells, the soft type being more comfortable and the hard type as better on protection. 

Weight

When we wear headgear, most of us want lightweight gear. However, as in most settings, anything that weighs more also gives a higher level of protection.

But it is not enough to consider how much the helmet weighs; you must also think about how comfortable it will be to wear for long periods.

Sound 

It’s essential to remember that different types of headwear might reduce sound.

It would be best if you had headgear that effectively protects but does not disrupt your hearing that much. You should still be able to hear well when wearing one. 

Cost

Because the cost of headgear may range widely, it is crucial to consider your budget before making a purchase. 

But also remember that it’s worth considering the option of getting high-quality headgear.

Note: it is also good to consult your trainer or coach on which headgear would serve you best. They may have some specific suggestions.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can You Wear Headgear in BJJ?

Yes, you can wear headgear in BJJ. 

One’s comfort level and willingness to take risks determine whether or not one should wear protective headgear when training BJJ.

What Is the Best Headgear for Jiu-Jitsu?

There are many good-quality headgears on the market today. Still, the best Jiu-Jitsu headgear is the one that makes allows you to practice in comfort and safety, fits properly, and can take repeated impacts.

Will Headgear Limit Hearing Ability?

BJJ headgear is designed to protect your ears from the pressure created by grappling and prevent cauliflower ear, but many grapplers are also concerned about hearing.

The answer is yes, but only slightly.

BJJ headgear does muffle sound, which means that you won’t be able to hear as clearly as you would without it.

However, it won’t totally cut off outside noise; the newer designs with vents in the plastic shells still allow some sound to come through. You should still be able to hear your coach’s instructions and your opponents’ verbal taps when wearing BJJ headgear.

If you are concerned with lack of hearing we recommond considering some of the soft shell models like those from Gold BJJ or Matman

How Do You Take Care of and Clean your Headgear?

Here are some tips for maintaining and cleaning your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu headgear:

  1. After each usage, give your headwear a quick rinse. If you’ve worked up sweat and dirt during your workout, it’s best to wash it off with a cold shower and mild soap.
  2. Dry headwear. Drying it through excessive twisting may harm materials or cause it to lose form. Instead, you should squeeze the water out gently and let it air dry.
  3. Always be sure to store your headwear properly. Please keep it in dry or cool storage and avoid placing it in a humid place.

Should You Wear a Mouth Guard with your BJJ Headgear?

While its not required to wear a mouth guard for bjj its definitely recommended.

A mouth guard will protect your teeth and jaw from unexpected impacts and unintentional moves. It can also help to reduce the risk of concussion or injury if you take a hard hit during sparring or rolling.

Plus, it’s always better to be safe than sorry – it’s not worth risking your teeth and an expensive dental bill just because you don’t have a mouth guard handy!

There are a variety of different types of mouth guards available, so make sure you choose one that fits comfortably and securely so that you can focus on your BJJ techniques without worrying about your safety.

What Should You Not Wear to Jiu-Jitsu?

The use of headgear that does not fulfill excellent quality and safety is discouraged in BJJ.

Low-quality headgear, such as those constructed of thin plastic or thin foam, may not endure the rigors of BJJ training.

If possible, avoid wearing or purchasing headgear that is not adjustable enough to provide a comfortable fit. It might block your vision or hinder your ability to move freely while training.

How Do You Prevent Cauliflower Ear in BJJ?

The following are some ways to prevent Cauliflower in BJJ:

  • Wearing of headgear
  • Wearing of ear guard
  • In the event or suspect of an injury, seek medical attention immediately.

Does Headgear Prevent Cauliflower Ear?

Yes, wearing headgear can help prevent cauliflower ear.

You may prevent cauliflower ears from developing by keeping your ears from directly touching your opponent and the mat.

This significant feature is what you get in using headgear. Thus, wearing protective headgear that covers and cushions the ears may protect and prevent a Cauliflower ear. 

Can You Prevent Cauliflower Ear without Using Headgear?

Preventing cauliflower ears without using BJJ headgear is possible, but it’s not easy.

The easiest way to prevent cauliflower ear without using headgear is by:

  1. Utilizing tape or other covering around your ears
  2. Altering your training style to be less explosive and slower

If wrapping your ears with tape isn’t an option, then the best thing you can do is take extra care when sparring or grappling.

If you do get hit in the ear, immediately ice it for at least 20 minutes and don’t roll for a few days afterwards if possible.

How to Treat Cauliflower Ears

Cauliflower ear, or perichondrial hematoma, is a condition caused by blunt trauma to the ear. It can cause swelling and deformity of the ear, and can lead to permanent disfigurement if not treated correctly. Fortunately, with the right care and treatment you can heal from cauliflower ears quickly and easily.

The first step in treating cauliflower ears is to drain the blood that has pooled up in the ear.

This can be done using needles, suction devices, wicks, or through an incision put into the ear to facilitate drainage.

After draining the blood from your ear, you should apply cold compresses for 20 minutes at a time several times a day – this will help reduce swelling and pain.

After about 5-7 days of draining and compressing your ear, it’s time to begin massaging your affected area gently but firmly in order to help break down scar tissue that has formed due to the trauma.

During this time you should also use warm compresses instead of cold ones as they will help increase circulation in the affected area.

Finally, after about 10-14 days of massaging and compressing your ear you should begin wearing a headband or other type of bandage around your healed area overnight in order to prevent further trauma while sleeping.

What Is the Most Protective Headgear?

The most effective protective headgear is the kind that fits excellently to your head and provides just the appropriate amount of padding. It should be wrapped around your ears entirely on both the left and right sides without moving, despite how heavy the training would be. 

Should You Buy a Soft Shell or Hard Shell Headgear?

When choosing headgear for martial arts, it’s important to know the difference between soft shell and hard shell.

CriteriaHard Shell HeadgearSoft Shell Headgear
MaterialHard, rigid plasticSoft, pliable foam
Shock AbsorbGood, distributes impactLess effective, absorbs some impact
WeightHeavierLighter
ComfortLess flexible, can be uncomfortableMore flexible, comfortable fit
VentilationPoor ventilationBetter ventilation
DurabilityVery durable, less prone to wear and tearLess durable, prone to wear and tear
CostMore expensiveLess expensive
UsageBest suited for high-impact activities such as contact sports or heavy machineryBest suited for low-impact activities such as cycling or skiing
MaintenanceEasy to clean and maintainMore difficult to clean and maintain
Style/DesignLimited designs and colorsMore variety in designs and colors

Soft shell headgear is made of thin foam or other padded materials, which makes them lightweight and comfortable to wear.

Hard shell headgear is typically made of plastic, and while they offer more protection when sparring or grappling, they can be quite bulky and uncomfortable.

For BJJ or MMA style grappling, soft shell headgear is usually the better option as it won’t impede your movement or irritate your training partners.

However, the soft shell won’t provide too much protection either – just enough to keep you safe without sacrificing your agility and comfort.

Ultimately the decision comes down to personal preference – some people prefer the extra protection of hard shell headgear while others prefer the comfort of soft shell headgear.

The Best BJJ Headgear and Ear Guards for Training in 2023 – Conclusion

If you’re in the market for BJJ headgear, make sure to check out our top picks. We’ve done the research so you don’t have to and we think you’ll be happy with any of these products. 

Even if you don’t purchase one of our recommended products, remember to keep the following factors in mind when making your decision: size, adjustability, padding, comfort, and price. 

With this information in hand, you should be able to find a piece of headgear that meets your needs and budget. 

Do you have questions about choosing the best BJJ headgear? Schedule a free discovery call with one of our experts today.

Thanks for reading!

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