Having a BJJ Headgear is sometimes mandatory because during BJJ training and competition the ears get a real beating. While all grappling martial arts share this problem, the ground fighting aspect of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, paired with the using a Gi makes BJJ particularly uncomfortable on the ears if you don’t have Ear Guards. That’s where the Best BJJ Headgear or simply BJJ ear Guards, or ear protection can help immensely.
Using BJJ headgear is often ridiculed in Jiu-Jitsu gyms. People see cauliflower ears as a badge of honor, which is beyond stupid. You do not see your mangled fingers or destroyed knees as such, do you? So, using the best BJJ headgear for your ears makes as much sense as using any kind of Jiu-Jitsu gear like BJJ kneepads or finger tape. To be completely honest, developing cauliflower ears also has an individual aspect to it.
Not everyone is equally susceptible to it. Some people (me included) spend years grappling with and without the Gi without any greatly visible consequences on their ears. Others may just grapple for a couple of weeks and develop Randy Couture-like cauliflower. Using BJJ headgear is a foolproof way of completely removing the risk of never being able to use earbuds ever again. Seems more than worth it to me.
Best BJJ Headgear You Can Get In 2023
Below we have a selection of the ear guards we consider to be the best of the best BJJ headgear pieces you can find. Some are new products that are going to revolutionize your training in 2023. Some are mainstays of wrestling or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which just keep getting better as years go by. There is also a BJJ-specific one there, made by a high-level Jiu-Jitsu black belt. And we also have a unisex ear guard, one that takes care of the needs of both sexes. All in all, we got you covered in every aspect: protection, comfort, design, size, price, etc. Read on!
- PROTECTION: Cauliflower prevention and very easy to adjust. The most comfortable and stable grappling and BJJ headgear on the market. It makes you focus on your activity and not on your headgear.
- EASY TO ADJUST: Specially designed straps to find perfect comfort and fit. No need to remove your headgear and no more adjustment is required during the activity. Fits up to around 100LBS or around a HAT size 7.
- DURABLE and CLEAN: It’s made of ultrasoft neoprene and made to stand the roughest abuse on the mat. This material absorbs moisture and won’t irritate you or your training partners
- ULTRASOFT NEOPRENE: It’s the most breathable and antimicrobial material. This headgear uses a soft version of the 2-strap headgear with velcro straps for a comfortable and snug fit
- MATMAN WRESTLING: We’re very proud of our ALL-American approach to quality, and that’s the reason why we create all our products in the USA. We are sure you’ll notice the difference between USA and overseas products.
To kick things off, we got the Matman Ultra Soft Wrestling Headgear. As far as the best Jiu-Jitsu Headgear available, this is one of the very best of all times. It features a simple design and an impressively tight fit.
The Matman Ultra Soft is one of the most durable pieces of headgear out there. After all, it has to be, in order to provide maximum protection. The material is unique, ultrasoft neoprene that’s tear-resistant. It also features maximal breathability and is antimicrobial. A key trait of this piece of grappling gear is that it does not retain heat, so you won’t feel discomfort when wearing it for prolonged periods of time.
Since this is mostly training gear, the material also makes it easy and soft for your training partners. The Matman has adjustable straps that allow you to find the perfect fit for you and retain it during rolling. Comes in 8 different colors and is a wrestling favorite. Perfect for BJJ training.
The ASICS Unisex protective headgear has frontal straps and chin straps that make fitting really easy. The straps attach with Velcro strips, which makes them easy to adjust. Innovative gel technology makes it highly comfortable and offers extra protection as well. A big reason for putting this ear guard on our best Jiu-Jitsu headgear list is the size of the ear guards themselves.
Even if you have freakishly large ears, you’ll find that the ASICS covers everything, offering total protection. The Gel cushioning system also means the headgear stays in place, so you do not have to fiddle with it during rolling.
- Made Of Neoprene material For Better Comfort And Agility.
- A Three-way enclosure system provides a perfect fit that allows you to easily adjust the size.
- High-Density foam makes sure that your ears will be protected with this product.
Of course, the ever-present Venum brand has high-performance headgear on offer, along with everything else. So far, Venum products have proved themselves superior to most other similar pieces of grappling gear out there. This includes Jiu-Jitsu headgear, with their Kontact Evo Ear guard leading the way.
The Venum Kontact Evo attaches via silicone straps that are impossible to tear or give way. There are only two points where chin straps meet and lock under the chin and behind the head. This makes placing and adjusting the headgear extremely easy, even by yourself.
It has a very soft inside lining, specially designed to cradle the ears. The foam lining also guarantees maximum shock absorption, even in particularly high-velocity exchanges. Also protects from mat or Gi burns.
- Four-strap enclosure design.
- Soft foam cover and low profile.
- Adjustable vinyl straps.
- Injection-molded internal ear cup.
- Soft Foam Covered Ear Cups and Soft Chin Pad “]
Here’s the surprise contender on our best Jiu-Jitsu headgear list. Adidas is not a brand that is often associated with grappling and BJJ in particular. However, this time, they have something to offer grapplers, and it comes in the form of the Adidas Response headgear.
This ear guard is a very popular one among wrestlers. it features more stripes than previous models but is still easy to put on and use. And, the additional stripes provide more fitting options as well as prevent slipping. It has ear cups that house the ears, lined with soft foam for perfect protection.
The chin strap features a chin cup, which some people might find uncomfortable. Adidas’ solution to this is to also provide a chin pad that you can use instead of the cup. The ear guard comes in 13 different colors. Straps are lightweight yet really sturdy and will last for years without giving way. The only drawback has nothing to do with you – the hard shell might be uncomfortable for training partners.
- Air Vent System – Patented technology
- 80% greater audible sound technology
- On-the-fly strapping system with Power tab
- Snuggly adjust in a few seconds
- Ultra-deep ear cups for maximum comfort and protection
A true champion even among the best of the best BJJ headgear representatives for 2023. This headgear offers the most protection, while also staying in place more securely than any other. It has a very practical set of straps that ensure a very tight and comfortable fit.
The straps have an on-the-fly power tab locking mechanism that makes them easy to lock and impossible to slip. Yet, at the same time, the power tab makes opening a real breeze, with just one push. The Cliff Keen Tornado offers a lot of ventilation as well, keeping air circulating so that heat is not a problem.
This piece of headgear actually features a patented Air Vent System technology that’s in charge of air circulation. It comes in more than two dozen different two or three-color combinations. A great feature is also the ability to hear clearly with the headgear on, which is often a drawback of most other brands. The ear cups are ultra-deep in order to ensure complete protection.
- Designed For The Youth BJJ, Submission Grappling, and MMA Youth Practitioners
- Offers Very Comfortable Protection
- Adjustable Straps
- One Size Fits All
One of the best BJJ Headgear designs out there for Youth. The Brute Youth ear guard is minimalistic, black, and offers the absolute best bang for your buck. Heavily used in wrestling, this is the perfect headgear for BJJ as well, especially with the Gi, thanks to its design and material.
The Brute Youth headgear features more straps than any other ear guard on this list. While this may seem excessive, they do cover absolutely every side of your head. They also offer impressive adjustment options.
The material is extremely soft, offering both great protection for you and no unpleasantness for your training partners. The entire ear guard is made of soft material, with no plastic whatsoever in any spot. Really great price for a really great BJJ ear guard. Perfect for training with the Gi.
- PROTECTION: Great Protection for ears Ear During Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), Submission Grappling, and MMA.
- MATERIAL: Microbially Resistant Nylon and Tough Thermomolded Plastic.
- GREAT FIT: Velcro Adjustment To Fit Every Grappler, Fits heads from small to large.
- CHIN PAD: Removable Chin Pad for Maximum Comfort.
- COMFORT: Soft Fleecy Lining for Comfort,
- HEARING and VENTILATION: Enhanced Hearing and Ventilation.
This one is by a BJJ guy, made for Jiu-Jitsu people. As far as Jiu-Jitsu goes, this is the only one designed particularly for the sport. That, however, does not mean it won’t work for wrestling other grappling sports, or MMA.
The Grapplearts Minimum Profile ear guard is a Stephen Kesting design, which means it’s absolutely tailor-made for Jiu-Jitsu. The materials are Nylon and plastic, with anti-microbial features.
The ear guard attaches with the help of Velcro straps, which offer a huge variety in size. There’s also a chin strap that’s removable for complete customization. The ear guards have strategic holes allowing airflow and unobstructed hearing. The lining allows for maximal protection and cooling while rolling. Doesn’t annoy training partners, nor get stuck when training with the Gi.
Cliff Keen seems to be an absolute winner in the best BJJ headgear category, with yet another amazing product featured in the list. It has low-profile straps and double width on the headgear. All in all, you can hardly get more protection than with these originally wrestling ear guards.
The straps are made of Nylon, heavy-duty, and virtually indestructible. There’s a soft chin pad that makes the headgear even more comfortable and easy to stay in place. Padded ear guards mean your ears are both protected and comfortable.
There’s guaranteed protection against cauliflower ear formation and against mat/Gi burns. There are 4 straps in total, ensuring lots of adjustments at every possible angle. A lightweight design that comes in over 40 different color varieties, including various strap colors.
Things To Have in Mind When Buying BJJ Headgear
As with everything else, going online and just getting the first ear guard you see is probably not a good idea. Chances are, you won’t run into the very best BJJ headgear products straight away. And, just like with buying Gis, rashguards, or any other grappling equipment for that matter, you need to be aware of what you’re looking for in BJJ headgear.
The main qualities that qualify an ear guard among the best BJJ headgear are not that difficult to identify. First and foremost, it is all about the protection of your ears, of course. The first thing to have in mind is how well they work for your particular needs. Most BJJ headgear also provides additional abrasion protection, and some even offer shock absorption. There’s another aspect of protection to consider, though – your partners. A fully plastic, hard ear guards are going to be real hell to grapple against and you’ll soon find yourself without partners in the gym.
Next up, we have comfort. Usually, BJJ headgear is made of Neoprene or Nylon, sometimes featuring plastic. In all cases, there’s also foam in the lining making the ear guards comfortable to wear. A big aspect of the material, besides comfort, is slippage. You want your headgear to stay in place during rolling, without the need to continually re-adjust the straps and position. In terms of straps, there are several variations, with different numbers of straps, that work great. And then, there’s the price, of course.
The quality of BJJ headgear is determined by many factors but most of the time the material it’s made of. Hard plastic ear guards are definitely the most quality piece of gear out there, and you can’t go wrong with them. But if you take some other factors into consideration like your training partners, how they feel, etc. it might not be the best choice.
Without any doubt, durability is something you should pay attention to, and make compromises when choosing material. The choice usually comes down to choosing whether to go for hard plastic or soft materials. If you go for a sturdy material it won’t break apart easily and you can’t go wrong with it. If you’re going for soft materials they won’t last that long but you’ll feel great with your headgear.
The headgear is usually made of materials like Neoprene, nylon, and plastic with various properties. Of course, softer materials like neoprene and nylon will wear much faster than plastic ones, but they’ll feel pretty good on your head in training. If you train BJJ and you play guard a lot there’s almost no other choice but to go for soft material BJJ headgear.
Plastic headgear will, without a doubt, offer more protection for your ears, but your training partners won’t be pretty happy with it. If you’re both not careful it can injure them, and that’s something you would like to avoid, right?
Straps should play a huge role when buying a BJJ headgear as it determines how effective it’s going to stay on your head during hard training. There are different types of straps for different kinds of headgear so make sure you think about it when buying.
When choosing a headgear for Jiu-jitsu you’ll often be confronted with different styles of ear guards. The most common styles are 2, 3, or 5 straps ear guard shells. People who train BJJ usually go for soft-shell ear guards, but they offer the least protection of all.
While wearing something on our head we all want it to be as light as it can be. So is the case with BJJ headgear. But, as in most cases something that weighs more offers more protection too.
This plays a huge role even though it seems it’s not. If you have to wear your headgear for the full class you want to be able to hear your professor, and your teammates without wishing to take your BJJ headgear off.
As always, price is a determining factor when buying anything so it is with the BJJ headgear. You’ll have to compensate for some stuff in order to have a lower price. It’s up to you to choose what works the best for you and we’ll try to help you as much as we can.
BJJ Ear Guard Basics
When to use BJJ headgear?
The main purpose of BJJ ear guards is to protect your ears while you train BJJ pre or after damaging your ears. Some people use them as precautionary measures, but most people use BJJ headgear only when they damage their ears as part of the post-operative process. That process usually lasts for 3 months, and training without any ear guards after surgery is a pretty bad idea.
Make ear guards unmovable on your head.
Ear protectors offer great ear protection only in case you know how to wear them properly. The main thing for your BJJ headgear is to be unmovable once on your head. That will be one of the main factors to look for when choosing your ear guards.
Usually, most ear guards have two straps that are going behind the head, and the chin strap under your chin. The chin strap is always mandatory on any kind of headgear, and the rest depends on their build, material, and other factors.
Advantages and Disadvantages of BJJ Headgear
As with everything, there are advantages and disadvantages with BJJ headgear too. While there are situations where you can wear them just to protect yourself you need to count on those situations when ear guards are mandatory.
- protects your ears from getting cauliflower ear
- prevent any damage done to your ears in training
- almost impossible to train without after cauliflower surgery
- helps prevent other injuries like concussion
- uncomfortable for a lot of people
- training partners have more grip on you
- some elements, especially plastic ones, may cut into the wearer’s skin
- some people will avoid training with ear guards wearer
- it’s not allowed during tournaments
A Grappling Legacy: The Cauliflower Ear
So what’s the deal with this cauliflower ear anyway? Those that have it can confirm it is really painful before it becomes painless, yet permanently disfigured. Those that have taken care of it, know how painful and draining it can be. In fact, you can hardly get rid of it with just one draining, so expect to have to repeat the procedure a few times each time you start getting the symptoms.
Cauliflower ear is an occurrence as old as grappling martial arts. There are even statues depicting grapplers of old who have clearly visible cauliflower ears. What happens is that the cartilage in your ears can’t take the pressure of grappling and starts breaking. Whenever that happens, the body takes care of any cracks and breaks by building scar tissue.
The trouble with cartilage is that it is notoriously undersupplied with blood, making healing hard, and complete recovery impossible. That means a build-up of scar tissue each time you break the cartilage. The harder the break, the worse the buildup. Hence the appearance of cauliflower structure in the ears.
Getting your head stuck in numerous positions, or breaking chokes apart are great ways to get yourself on the cauliflower train.
And, believe me, unless you have the very best Jiu-Jitsu headgear you’ll develop them sooner or later. Your only hope is to go and drain all the blood and liquid straight away before everything hardens. Take a look at the draining procedure to decide if it’s worth taking that risk.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Does everyone in BJJ get cauliflower ear?
Not everyone is equally susceptible to it. Some people spend years grappling with and without the Gi without any visible consequences on their ears. Others may just grapple for a couple of weeks and develop Randy Couture-like cauliflower.
Do ear guards prevent cauliflower ears?
Using ear guards is a foolproof way of completely removing the risk of getting cauliflower ears. Ear protection will protect your ears from all kinds of blows and rubbings to your ear thus removing the chance of injuring your cartilage and hematoma to form.
Why do you get cauliflower ear from BJJ?
The main reason why you get cauliflower ear in BJJ is the friction. Especially, if you’re training with the Gi on. Getting your head stuck in numerous positions opens the possibility of getting blows and rubbing your ears. As a result, that shears the ear’s cartilage from its overlying perichondrium
Can you wear headgear in BJJ?
Yes! Especially now when there are different types of designs and materials used to create headgear. You’re not limited to old plastic headgear that hurts and annoys both you and your training partner.
What are the best Jiu-Jitsu ear guards?
It’s hard to say which BJJ ear guards are the best as there are all kinds of different ear guards available on the market. While pure wrestling ear guards offer great protection people in BJJ tend to go for soft ear protection. The reason behind this is that Jiu-Jitsu training is very versatile and requires a lot of head rubbing on both the floor and your partners.
Wearing BJJ headgear is simply a must if you’re not a fan of cauliflower ears. Moreover, as you can see, the protection extends to much more than just your ears. Plus, as much as you think cauliflower ears are cool they’re actually not really pleasant. They get in the way, might be cause for pain and infections, and headphones are a real hassle, to mention just a few nuisances. Get your Jiu-Jitsu Headgear now and wear it every time you roll to spare yourself the trouble.