Gorilla Fight Gear: Greenhorn Headgear
I just got some impacted wisdom teeth removed recently, and my old headgear was a cheapo that I bought four years ago. It wasn't really up to the frequency and intensity of actual training, and it's been beaten into a useless pancake which was certainly not going to protect the two holes in my jaw. And I'd gotten bitten by the "need new gear" bug like I always do around this time of year. So it was a good time to pick up something new to protect my melon. I did a lot of homework and settled on Gorilla Fight Gear, after seeing a lot of reviews singing their praises for headgear with awesome protection. The Greenhorn is their lower-tier headgear, and I have to say, I'm pretty blown away by the idea that they've got better. Fresh off sparring tonight, here's my thoughts so far.
Durability, N/A- I'll update this after I've put it through the ringer, it's still pretty new.
Flexibility/Mobility, 9- I'll be reviewing this as commentary on protection/vision instead. That said, for both of those, this headgear is spectacular. The padding is thick, about 1.5 inches according to the manufacturer. The cheekpads give great coverage without restricting vision, which is surprising considering the degree of protection it gives. Seeing punches and kicks coming in is no problem. The forehead is similarly equipped, taking a lot of the sting out of those unfortunate times where I headbutt my partner's fist. The only way I could give this a ten is if it was an invisible force field. It doesn't slip, slide, or get turned around, which is great considering I had to readjust my old one after most exchanges. It IS a little on the bulky end, but it's not obtrusively so. You can get a good look at the padding here-
Ease of Use, 8- The Greenhorn comes with an elastic cord instead of a shoelace on the loops on top with one really wide velcro strap on the back, making size adjustment pretty simple. The chin strap is also velcro, so there's a good amount of fit customization options. The only trouble is that it's only sold in one size, which covers a range around a typical medium-to-large size on other headgear(54.5-59.5cm, or 21.25-23.25 inches). I hit the upper range of that size and it fits just about perfect.
Material/Production Quality, 7- It's made with a Nylex shell(high-grade synthetic leather) instead of real leather, but I've had other gear made of synthetics that held up just fine. The inner lining is what they list as "Japanese amara", which is a microfiber used in a lot of bike gloves. The stitching looks solid and doesn't go wandering, and there's nothing loose or popping out. The lining didn't slip at all, and absorbed sweat well without becoming heavy and gross. My only concern is how well the velcro on the chin strap will hold up to time and use. It shows no sign of being an issue so far, but a buckle is generally more reliable. We'll see, but so far everything is solid.
Overall, this headgear is exactly what I was looking for to protect my jaw, which the surgeon told me would be at risk for fracture for at least another month or so while the bone fills back in, and would still be weak for a while after that. The protection is great, the visibility is really good, and it even looks pretty slick. The Greenhorn runs for 50 dollars, but Gorilla pretty much only sells from their website, so if you're not in Canada(where they're based), you'll take the hit on shipping. Unless you get absurdly lucky like I did, and find someone with a brand new, unused one on Ebay.
One thing to note, is that this is strictly a standup-only headgear. If you need something for grappling and MMA, you're definitely going to want to look elsewhere. And if you don't hit the size range they sell it in, you're probably out of luck, but if this sounds like something you're interested in picking up, I would wholeheartedly recommend checking out Gorilla's other stuff, especially if the quality on their low-end gear is this high. Obviously I'm really happy with my purchase, and I'm really interested in checking out their gloves next time I need to pick up some new ones. Gorilla's got my business in the future.