The rules and regulations of MMA (mixed martial arts) prohibit a lot of clothing and gear from being worn in the ring. However, for training purposes, the use of extra protective gear is encouraged. In some MMA training schools, extra gear such as MMA sparring pads may even be mandatory.
Since MMA involves a full range of combat techniques that include striking with the hands and feet as well as grappling, protective sparring pads include shin pads, knee pads, elbow pads as well as headgear protection similar to that used for boxing.
There are a number of things to consider when acquiring the proper MMA training equipment. One important rule of thumb is to buy the best equipment you can afford. Don't settle for "cheap" pads, gloves or other equipment. MMA is a highly physical sport and cheap equipment will likely provide little (if any) protection from blows, and lacks the durability that will keep it from falling after 6 months. As to which brands are best: Windy, Boon, Fairtex, Combat, Brute, and Adidas all offer quality products. Online reviews can help you figure out which products stand up to the task by looking at objective feedback from other individuals that have already bought and tested them out.
In general, a good MMA head protector will run you around $60; whether or not you want the wire face guard is up to you, though for the novice, it is strongly recommended. Decent shin guards run between $40 and $70, while a quality set of elbow and knee pads with IMF foam generally are in the $30 - $40 range.
This said, you should consult the management team at the gym or school at which you are training. If you are not training at a gym or athletic club, you can consult someone who has expert knowledge of MMA equipment at the store you are purchasing the gear from and get their recommendation. They will have recommendations for which sparring equipment is appropriate for you based on your personal training regimen, size, fitting and your level of competition. This is important, because there is always a trade-off when it comes to training safety equipment. For example, headgear will go a long way towards reducing your risk of injury, but it will also interfere with your vision. Likewise, protective elbow and knee pads will restrict your range of motion. Cloth-covered protectors are more comfortable and less expensive, but foam-covered pads offer greater protection against serious injury. Only you can determine how much risk of injury you can deal with, but do take your instructor's advice into serious consideration.
Check out our selection of MMA sparring pads.