What Sparring Gear Do I Need? (Equipment Overview for Beginners)

Are you new to sparring and want to know what gear you need? Maybe you have seen other people use sparring gear and want to know if this is needed or not?

Or are you curious and want to know more? Whatever the question is that brought you here today, we have the answers for you! 

What Sparring Gear Do I Need?

Sparring gear and the need for it is a topic of great debate in the martial arts world! Whether it is used does depend on the martial art you are practicing, but even then, there is some debate as to whether they are necessary or not!

You can quickly find yourself swept up in the debate, unsure where to turn, who to trust, or what gear you should get! 

Well, no more! Today we are here with the answers you need! Just keep reading to find out what sparring gear you need and if it is necessary or not!

What Is Sparring?

Before we get into it, let’s have a quick recap for those in the room that need it! Sparring is a form of training used in many martial arts and combat sports.

It mimics a real-world fight experience, but without the pressure or chance of injury.

Instead, you and your partner will practice the techniques and moves you have been learning, allowing you to better prepare for any upcoming fights. 

Sparring is considered to be free-form fighting and is a wonderful training exercise.

You can try out any fighting routines you might want to use in an upcoming fight, or use sparring as a way to walk through moves that haven’t worked well to learn from them. 

Most fighters will spar once or twice a week in the build-up to a fight and as part of their regular training routine to help keep them on their toes and get as much fighting experience as possible.

It can help to boost your confidence before a fight and provides invaluable experience to people before their first fight.

Now that we have established what sparring is, let’s move on and see what gear you might need for sparring! 

What Sparring Gear Do I Need?

The sparring gear that you need will vary depending on the martial art you are sparring for! Today we will walk you through some of the martial arts that use sparring gear to show you what you will need. Let’s get into it! 


Let’s start with Taekwondo and look at what sparring gear you need for it! You will want a full-body set of sparring equipment which includes the following: 

  • A Hogu (body protector) 
  • A Helmet 
  • A Mouth Guard 
  • Arm Pads 
  • Gloves 
  • Shin Pads 
  • A Groin Guard
  • Foot Pads 

This gear helps to protect you from injury and any impact! Although sparring has a lower chance of injury than actual fights, you can still get hurt.

We all know that one wrong move can cause injury, or even be fatal, so we don’t want to take any chances when it comes to sparring! 

Most Taekwondo classes will have some equipment for you to borrow to practice sparring, which we recommend taking advantage of if you are new to the sport!

It isn’t always cheap to purchase the sparring gear, so we recommend holding off until you know you are going to continue your training! 


Karate also uses sparring gear! Again, the gear is to protect you and minimize any impact from the strikes you might encounter from your opponent. For sparring in karate, you will need the following gear: 

  • Uniform (Gi)
  • Your belt 
  • Groin Protector
  • Mouth Guard
  • Hand Guards 
  • Gloves 
  • Chest Protector 
  • Foot Guards 

Whether these are compulsory in your Karate class or not will vary from instructor to instructor.

Be sure to find this information out before attending classes to avoid any issues when you are there!

Most classes will have some spare equipment for you to borrow when sparring, but you will want to purchase your own as you progress with your training, especially things like mouth and groin guards. 

Boxing And Other Martial Arts 

Boxing And Other Martial Arts 

A lot of other martial arts will require the same sparring equipment as boxing, which is why we have clubbed them together! Now, there might be some discrepancies, so be sure to ask your instructor before you start what sparring gear you will need.

The chances are, though, it will be a lot of what is already on the list below! 

  • A Head Guard
  • Dipped Foam Headgear 
  • A Dipped Foam Sparring Kit 
  • Gloves and Wraps for hands 
  • Arm Pads 
  • Knee Pads 
  • Feet Guards 
  • Goin Guards 

This list, as you can see, is quite generalized. The type of sparring gear you need will depend on the level of contact in the sparring you plan to do.

For full contact sparring, you will want to ensure you have thick boxing head guards to protect your head at all times.

For lighter sparring, you can opt for dipped foam sparring kits or separate pieces of gear.

These will help to soften the impact while keeping you protected too. 

For boxing, you will also need to add boxing gloves to the list, whereas other martial arts like Muay Thai will require you to have thinner gloves with rope bound around your hand on top of the gloves.

Again, your instructor can walk you through the equipment that you need and help you purchase it too!

Is Sparring Gear Necessary?

For many classes, you will need to be wearing sparring gear to be able to spar! This does vary from class to class and sport to sport too. In Taekwondo, for example, full-body sparring gear will need to be worn at all times.

However, for boxing, greater emphasis is put on the headgear and gloves, rather than full body sparring gear. 

To make sure you have what you need for your class, speak to the instructor beforehand.

There will often be spare equipment you can borrow too until you can get your hands on some! No matter the rules at the training center or gym though, we suggest purchasing sparring gear to keep you safe at all times!

Final Thoughts 

And there you have it, the sparring gear you need depends on the sport you are training in! Whether it is Taekwondo, Karate, Boxing, MMA, or Muay Thai, you will need to wear some sparring gear to protect yourself.

Be sure to contact your instructor for a complete list of what you need today!

Christopher Anderson
Latest posts by Christopher Anderson (see all)