The esteemed philosopher Mike Tyson once said “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” and how right he is. If you’ve never been punched in the mouth, well, it’s generally not something most people enjoy 1now you know why your wife complains about it. And as a MMA hobbyist and not-super-tough guy, I always wear protective gear. But gear – much like my will power to live when scrolling thru tweets from blue checkmarks – eventually gives out.
As such, I decided I needed some new equipment and coincidentally, I recently came across Elite Sports which has a variety of affordable BJJ, Judo, Boxing, MMA, and workout gear 2Side note: Jumping rope and battle ropes are all great for those activites. And a buddy of mine actually has a rash guard from them that he likes. So, with the stars aligned, I figured I’d grab some new equipment – headgear, gloves, and shin guards – and try them out.
So, I’ve been using the new gear for the last couple weeks during drills, bag work, and sparring situations. And today I want to give an Elite Sports review and compare the gear to some other equipment I own from Rival, Combat Sports, and Fighting Systems.
Let’s get started…
AT A GLANCE: - Elite Sports Review: reviewed headgear, boxing gloves, and shin guards after drills, bag work, and sparring - Great look and feel; no real issues after using for a couple weeks - Great value; all equipment comes in under $100 (as of now) which is a fantastic value
Much like Mike’s quote above, I don’t like getting punched in the head, well, at all. So, I always wear my Rival headgear when sparring. And while I like it, the chin strap – which has to be buckled – is really, really annoying. A lot of times I’m trying to take off and put on the headgear quickly and doing that with a buckle is difficult. Yes, I know it’s a silly problem but it’s still a pain in the ass.
To help mitigate that unpleasantness, I picked up this pretty sweet black-on-black headgear from Elite. There were a couple reasons for choosing this particular headgear:
- There is a fixed chin pad which is something I really wanted over a strap or buckle.
- In terms of looks, Elite nailed it. Seriously, I love the matte black with some glossy black accents. Not only did I like it but I got some positive comments from others as well.
- It’s affordable. Some headgear easily comes in $100+ while this is only $30. While you shouldn’t really skimp on headgear, I didn’t feel like dropping big money on something I may end up hating.
So how did it work? Well, to be completely frank, I didn’t notice a difference in performance. Now this is light sparring so if you’re a professional maybe you’d notice a difference but I didn’t.
As for adjustability and ease-of-use, I prefer the Elite version. It has two adjustable straps to fit your head better and the aforementioned fixed chin pad. I also like having “Mexican style” cheek pads that off better protection than open headgear. Not only was the Elite headgear secure but it was quick and easy to take on and off. I experienced zero shifting while getting hit and the overall fit was comfortable.
All-in-all, I really like the headgear and as long as the durability holds – and I have no indication it won’t – I think it’s great piece of equipment especially when you factor in the price.
Boxing Gloves Review
Much like headgear, I really like the black-on-black look of the gloves. It was a cool, understated look and fits well with the rest of the gear. And, much like the headgear, I really liked the gloves. The main velcro strap is nice and wide which is good when you have to secure the gloves 3 which I do with my teeth, somtimes . I have gloves from Ringside, Contender (and others) and it’s very similar to those in terms of quality.
The padding is good although I think it’s a bit less than some of my other gloves. While these aren’t bag gloves, they feel more like bag gloves in that the fit is a little more tight and the gloves are bit smaller than I’m used to. This isn’t really a good or bad thing, per se, but just something I noticed. One plus of having smaller gloves, – even though they’re 16 oz gloves like all my others – they feel lighter. For example, I felt like my jab was getting to the target a little quicker than normal. Either way, I used the gloves for both sparring and bag work and had zero issues with them.
Elite also includes a pair of wraps with the gloves. While I did try them on, I didn’t especially love the wraps. They were fine but I like my wraps to have a little more stretch to them. Considering I wasn’t even expecting wraps and I already have a plenty of them, I consider this a moot point.
Considering the price point, I have no hesitation recommending the gloves with one exception. And that one exception would be if you have really big hands 4I’m 6’2″ and don’t like tight fitting gloves.
Shin Guards Review
Shin guards, in my experience, are a little more difficult to get into that goldilocks “just right” category. For example, my pair of Fighting Sports S2 shin guards are super protective but…I think they’re overly bulky and the foot pad is way too big and makes it hard to throw my ball-of-the-toe style front kick or roundhouse kick.
So I was pretty interested in trying the Elite shin guards. And, much like the other gear, I really enjoyed using them. The actual shin pad is nice and molded around my shin — more so than my Combat Sports shin guards, which you might be able to tell from the picture below. I went like protection wise it’s a little bit better than Combat Sports guards and maybe just slightly behind the Fighting Systems.
Additionally, the foot pad was a good size without being too big and bulky. Now, the thing that was a bit different from some other shin guards was that the neoprene back of them is a lot looser than I’m used to. The advantage to that is it’s a lot easier to put on and take off the shin guard than normal ones with a tight backing.
The disadvantage to a looser fit is that would make it easier for the shin guard to move when kicking or blocking. To combat that, Elite added a separate lower adjustable Velcro buckle to help secure the shin guard. There’s also an upper Velcro strap that goes around the top of the shin guard. I didn’t really feel like that strap did much of anything — I would’ve preferred the ability to tighten that more and to have a separate flap that Velcro-ed down over the top of the strap to secure it in place.
That said, in doing drills and sparring, I had no issues with my shin guard moving unexpectedly or with the protection level. The guards felt very secure and strong and the backing seems like it’s a good compromise between complete open-backed shin guards and shin guards with a tight neoprene/nylon fit.
Elite Sports Review Summary
All things considered, I’m really impressed by the Elite Sports’ boxing / kickboxing gear. The look of equipment is on point, more so than a lot of other gear. It’s understated yet slick and fits my style more than a lot of over-the-top and brash (read: ugly) gear that seems to predominate a lot of brands.
The feel and the fit of the equipment was also spot on. I felt protected with no excessive movement during drills, bag work, or sparring. While I had a few really minor quibbles — such as the gloves being smaller than I’m used to – I don’t think that’s a fault in and of itself. And considering you can pick up all 3 items – headgear, gloves, and shin guards – for just under $100 I think it’s an amazing deal.