While not as popular as sports such as football, basketball, and soccer, the sport of fighting competitively is one of the oldest sports our species has taken part in.
From ancient gladiators of Rome to the ancient masters of mixed martial arts, the art of competitive fighting is far from new.
What has evolved much since the sport’s origins, however, is the protection worn while the fighting occurs between two people, both inside and outside of competition.
For instance, many martial arts forms require the use of head guards, hand guards, shin guards and chest protectors during competition.
One form of protection, the chest protector, is of particular importance to keeping your torso safe during martial arts competitions. Not only does the chest protector shield your chest, but it also shelters your ribs, stomach, shoulders, and your back.
This makes it a must-have for fighters who want to avoid practice injuries or for fighters who are new to the world of martial arts, and unsure of their ability to take a punch or kick.
Picking out an effective chest protector isn’t as simple as it may seem, however; there are myriad things you’ll want to consider when looking to buy one.
If you’re unsure of what to look for, we’ve constructed an easy-to-read guide, just for you.
Understanding the components and features that make an excellent martial arts chest protector truly stand out is one thing, but using the knowledge to purchase one is another thing.
We’ll start out with a detailed buying guide, after which we’ll discuss the seven best martial arts chest protectors of the year.
You’re sure to get a kick out of this, so be sure to pay attention!
While safety is the utmost priority when figuring out what type of chest protector you’ll need, there are also plenty of other considerations to take into account, such as:
- Areas Covered
- Open or Closed Back
- Strap Material
Here’s a deeper look at all of these features:
Whether you’re practicing your fighting or whether you’re in the midst of a heated fight, you won’t want to have a chest protector that weighs a lot. At a certain point, it’s almost as if you’re wearing a weight vest.
That’s not even mentioning other factors that are affected by the weight of a chest protector, such as the heat, breathability, and comfort of the chest protector.
Don’t sacrifice maneuverability if you’re serious about buying a chest protector for your martial arts endeavors. Be sure to purchase one that protects you enough.
We’d suggest purchasing a vest that sits above the waist; this ensures that the vest will stay in place while also giving your lower torso hips the flexibility they need to help you move from side to side.
The material that the chest protector is composed of is one of the most influential factors on the protector’s safety, but also influences other factors, such as the look, the breathability, and the weight of the chest protector.
We’d recommend polyethylene. It’s the cheapest and most effective material for a chest protector to be composed of, and it won’t cause you to empty out your wallet if you decide to purchase a chest protector composed of it.
Similar to what we just spoke about, the density of a chest protector can influence the durability, weight, and safety of a chest protector. It’s important to find the right balance between density and mobility.
You’ll want a chest protector that’s dense enough to absorb contact but light enough that you won’t be hindered by its weight.
While a vest that covers your entire torso may be desirable, you’ll be better off with a vest that only covers the areas that are at risk of serious injuries, such as your ribs, chest, stomach, and shoulders.
Any other areas that are covered by a chest protector will hinder rather than help when you’re fighting in the rink.
Whether or not the chest protector you’re considering purchasing has an open back is a hugely important aspect of a martial arts chest protector. An opening in the back exposes your back but provides your torso with almost unlimited flexibility and mobility.
Like the material of the padded protector, the material of the straps that hold the chest protector together plays an important role in several things.
The durability, movability, and comfort are all impacted by the material of the chest protector’s straps.
Could you keep up? We hope did, for we’re about to dive right into the seven best martial arts chest protectors for this season. Keep reading for a super insightful look at the best in the chest protection industry.
Best Chest Protectors for Martial Arts Reviews
The WTF Chest Protector is a broad chest protector that’s suitable for a wide variety of competitive sports. While our primary focus here is martial arts, you’ll find that the WTF is versatile enough to handle other forms of competition, such as fencing.
Its material is protective but not rigid, meaning you’ll be able to twist, dodge, duck, and evade without restriction. It’s also reversible, meaning you can wear it on either side. Sparring has never been safer.
We’d only mention one thing about this chest protector – its back parts are covered quite substantially, to the point that it might restrict your torso’s rotation slightly.
- Composed of high-density foam
- Back part extends quite high; this might limit movement slightly
The Heavy Hitter Chest Protector features the simplest design of any chest protector off of this list. Just because it’s the simplest of chest protector designs, doesn’t reduce its ability, however.
The Heavy Hitter is built to withstand the force of a kick, punch, and anything else a human could throw at it. It’s designed with easy to clean synthetic leather, held together with straps that are both durable and easy to pull apart.
These same nylon straps extend around the back, like most normal chest protectors.
What’s different with the Heavy Hitter Chest Protector is that the straps also extend over the shoulders, a design that’s slightly different than many conventional chest protectors.
This greatly enhances your upper body flexibility in the protector but may lead to more exposure while sparring if you get hit in the shoulders by your opponent’s glove.
- Thick, dense, and durable composition
- Keeps your mid to lower torso completely safe
- Durable straps
- Little upper body protection – leaves your shoulders exposed
The RDX Boxing Chest Guard works well and looks professional. It looks more like something a police officer would wear, rather than a simple chest guard.
It’s all-black, super-dense foam provides serious protection and shock absorption for anyone who’s wearing it. It’s not very restricting and uses elastic but durable shoulder straps to keep it on your body.
Additionally, it’s cut low at the waist, allowing your body supreme flexibility inside and outside of the ring. The RDX Chest Guard will keep you completely protected, in all of the areas that protection truly matters.
The only thing we’ve found to be problematic when it comes to this chest guard is that its high-density foam padding makes it awfully stiff, especially on its front.
- Super dense foam
- Easy to put on, with flexible and durable body straps
- Protective in all of the appropriate areas
- Comes in multiple colors
- Stiffness makes it tough to rotate
The ProForce Chest Protector will give you the force you need to keep your competition at bay.
With a sleek design, well-positioned protection, and vinyl-coated high-density foam that’s just thick enough to give your body the shock absorption it needs during intense sparring, the ProForce Chest Protector will keep your vitals shielded.
It’s also available in several different colors and comes with back straps that are secure, but not too restricting. We’d advise you to take care when you order one if you do plan on purchasing this chest protector; the sizes run a little small.
Stay away from the “Small” size; it fits quite snugly!
- Super protective
- Flexible Straps
- Very tight fit throughout every size.
The Macho Hogu Chest Protector is a chest protector that’s designed exclusively for martial arts. Its non-ridged design makes it smooth fitting and easy to put on.
It’s painted with zones that are meant to indicate certain scores, making it possible to practice real-time martial arts, even outside of the competition.
It’s also equipped with high-density EVA foam, layered in vinyl for the ultimate protective combination.
There isn’t much wrong with this chest protector. We’d say that you’d feel a little restricted, however, due to how high the chest guard sits on the upper back.
- Easy to put on
- Dense foam
- Marked for competition
- Wide fit makes it hard to move in certain positions
The Thunder Chestguard is a must-have chest protector if you’re a mixed martial arts student. Firstly, it can be purchased in several different colors. You’ll be able to choose from black, white, blue, pink, red, and the classic beige color.
It only features one strap as well, making it super easy to put on and adjust. Its protection is extensive, but not to the point where it’s restricting.
The only thing we’d note is that the shoulder straps are rather thick, which could make for a potentially uncomfortable boxing experience.
- Available in multiple colors
- Easy to put on and adjust
- Thick, uncomfortable shoulder straps
This chest protector is dense, to say the least – it’s layered with one inch of super-thick thermoform, the best in the market as far as protection is concerned.
The protector is cut high above the waist, in order to prevent unwanted shifting or abrasion, as well. While it’s not the most protective in the back and might be rather bulky when you put it on, it gets the job done during practice or actual competition.
- Super dense foam
- Back area is far too open
We’ve reached the end of our product reviews. As you can see, there are plenty of high-quality options to choose from if you’re in need of a martial arts chest protector.
Final Thoughts & Conclusion
Martial Arts chest protectors protect far more than just your chest. They protect your stomach, ribs, back, and shoulders, in some cases.
This makes them extremely important to have for fighting and training alike; some competitions require that fighters use them when they compete.
With the wide selection of chest guards on the market today, it can be hard to make a choice that you feel comfortable with. We’d suggest looking at the Contender Fight Sports Heavy Hitter Chest Shield.
While it might be bulky, it gets the job done, and provides the wearer with carefree protection in most areas. Don’t forget to research and invest in a proper set of SHIN GUARDS for sparring.
The world of martial arts chest protectors is vast, to say the least. Using the information from the buyer’s guide combined with the products we’ve already talked about, you should be more than able to make a comfortable buying decision.