Pros – Low price, Good ventilation, Good protection where offered
Cons – Not comfortable for all head shapes, No protection on top of head and jaw, Mediocre quality
Summary – The Titan Air Max Training Headgear is a decent choice for the martial artist that is looking for protective sparring headgear at a low cost. The headgear meets its goal of providing a cooler and dryer sparring experience. However, quality is lacking in some areas and the level of protection provided may not be sufficient for all styles of martial arts/combat.
Titan Air Max Training Headgear is distributed through a number of companies, however these distributors could only confirm that the gear was manufactured in Pakistan. No other manufacturer data is available.
Titan training headgear features a mesh outer lining with vented padding to evaporate sweat and create a cool and dry sparring experience.
This is a mexican-style headgear, meaning that while there is no protection on the top of the head, there is extra protection compared to typical martial arts sparring gear in the area around the eyes and cheeks. It is obvious that the helmet was designed to provide a more ventilated and cooler sparring experience. With the combination of the tricot liner, the perforated foam and the mesh exterior, this looks like it could be one of the most ventilated and cool helmets I’ve ever worn.
The Titan Air Max Training Headgear was purchased through CombatSports.com, the sister company of Ringside.com. Shipping was quick, arriving with no problems within a week. The contents were shipped in their own plastic packaging in a medium sized box with no other packaging material. The headgear looked exactly like the manufacturers photo and came in good condition.
The fit of the helmet was tight out of the box. On a guess, I purchased a size medium. According to the CombatSports sizing page, I should have ordered a size small (6 7/8 hat size). I’m glad I didn’t as this would definitely have been too small. Even a medium seems to be snug. For reference, my head circumference is 55cm or 21 5/8″ (measured 1″ above the eyebrows).
The Titan Air Max Training Headgear does have some adjustability however. The top of the headgear has a string which goes through a number of nylon loops. This can be tightened or loosened in order to adjust the circumference. The loops themselves are made of 1″ nylon strapping. The ends are melted in order to keep them from fraying, but the way they are stitched into the headgear leaves about 1/2″ of strap sticking inside. In certain situations where there is pressure on the top-front edge of the headgear, such as a clinch, the hard, melted edges of the strap can poke or scratch your forehead. In general, this isn’t an issue but if you find yourself in a clinch when boxing, or you get a lot of hits to the forehead (Tae Kwon Do point sparring?), you might find this to be an issue.
The back of the headgear is fastened with hook-and-look fasteners, a nice feature. First, it allows the circumference of the helmet to be adjusted easily and quickly. Also, it allows the chin strap to remain fastened. To slip the helmet on, simply unfasten the velcro, slide the helmet on, place the chin strap under your chin, then refasten the velcro. This is rather nice since the chin strap itself is not very easy to adjust when you are wearing the headgear. The chinstrap is about 3/4″ wide, 6″ long and is fastened with a metal buckle (like a belt buckle) with holes approximately 1/2″ apart. It can be difficult to find those little holes in the narrow strap. Fortunately, due to the velcro in back, you can set it once and not worry about it again. What you may have to worry about is how far forward the chinstrap sits under the chin. With the helmet placed correctly on my head, the chinstrap was barely 1/2″ behind the edge of my chin making it rather easy to slip off. If the strap were sewn on at a slightly different angle, this would not be an issue but as it is, the strap can slip past the chin when the helmet is pulled straight up.
The foam that the headgear is made of is not too dense and for the most part, is well shaped to the wearers head. The sides of the head, cheeks and ears were all very comfortable inside the helmet. There was a lot of pressure at the front and back of my head however, as was evident by the red spots on my forehead when I took the helmet off. The real problem was the pressure in the back of the head. The 4×5″ piece of foam at the back of the headgear is flat, not “head-shaped” like the rest of the padding. Since the back of my head is not flat, this made for some uncomfortable hotspots and ultimately left me with a headache after about 10 mins. I think that if the foam in that area were either softer or more molded to the wearers head, it would be okay. Also, I want to note that everyone has different shaped heads. Mine happens to be “long oval” shaped. I suspect that someone with a “rounder” head wouldn’t have as much of an issue with the pressure on the forehead or back of the head.
The inner liner of the headgear is a material called tricot. This refers mostly to the way that the material is made which allows for it to be smooth on one side, while being somewhat 3-dimensional on the other. There is also some softer padding between the liner and the foam to provide extra comfort. The tricot material and the padding should be great for wicking moisture and allows for a bit of an air cushion between the wearer and the protective foam. This helps to keep the wearer drier and cooler, both great for those long sparring sessions. To aid in this process even further, the protective foam is also perforated. The holes in the phone are about 1/8″ in diameter and are located about 1 square inch apart. Though they could be closer together, which would allow for better evaporation, it could also result in the foam tearing easier. Keeping in line with the idea of ventilation, the outer shell of the helmet is an open mesh material with a few vinyl panels. Lastly, the top of the helmet is open, providing no protection but allowing heat to escape and aiding in further ventilation.
Overall the helmet is ok in terms of comfort. Some of the issues (loops, chinstrap) are likely to be potential problems for everyone, but the fit and pressure at the front and back of the helmet that I described may only be due to the shape of my head. On the plus side, this is a well-ventilated piece of gear which means that your fights will be cooler and your head should emerge less sweaty than with some other martial arts sparring gear.
The protection provided by the Titan Air Max Training Headgear, where it is offered, is pretty good. This style of headgear does a particularly good job of protecting the eyes, nose and cheeks. Despite the eye and nose opening being fairly small, visibility is reduced by only a very small amount. The foam used is a nice density, not too stiff. It is about 1″ thick and covers the forehead, cheeks, sides and back of the head. The foam does seem slightly thinner over the cheek-bones and the bottom of the helmet, but it is still close to 1″ thick. There is no foam over the ears, typical in this style of headgear, but there is a padded vinyl bar that goes across that area that will provide a little bit of padding if you take a direct hit on the ear. Also, there is no padding on the top of the helmet or over the jaw. Depending on your style, this may or may not be a problem, but it did result in a slightly lower protection rating since strikes to the top of the head and jaw are common in many styles and tournaments.
The headgear is constructed primarily of nylon mesh and vinyl with a few leather highlights. The mesh seems thick and durable. I do recommend keeping it away from velcro however. A few swipes with the velcro from my glove left the mesh a bit “fuzzier” than before. The vinyl is lightly textured and seems durable enough. The strap that attaches the buckle to the headgear is made of leather for extra strength. The chin strap is also leather, though it has vinyl piping and backing. There is a 4″ wide elastic band on the back of the helmet that the rear foam pad attaches to. This looks to be of a decent quality and should hold its elasticity for a long time.
The Titan Air Max Training Headgear is constructed using single stitching in all areas except where the chin strap and buckle are attached to the helmet. I think that this is fine except in two areas – the loops at the top of the helmet and the velcro straps at the back of the helmet. Both of those areas could be subject to high stress at times and I would feel more comfortable with them being double-stitched. That being said, I haven’t had any issue with them so far.
What seems like decent quality overall is lacking in the details. For example, the Titan logo in the front of the headgear is slightly skewed. There were a few threads hanging about with some of those being loose when I pulled on them. For the most part, the edges of the vinyl were not sewn under, exposing the edges. Also, the piping was not sewn in the correct position in some places.
At a list price of $50, I think the Titan Air Max Training Headgear is a bit overpriced for what you get. Fortunately, this headgear can be found for as low as $29.95 which makes it a pretty good deal. With a combination of decent comfort, decent protection and decent quality, the low price point makes for an attractive bit of gear to add to your sparring set. Just make sure that it is going to meet your needs and provide you with the protection that you need for your style of martial arts.
The Titan Air Max Training Headgear is a decent choice for the budget-minded martial artist. Its greatest strength lies in its price and its ventilation and moisture-wicking abilities, making it a great option for long sparring sessions on hot, summer days. However, due to comfort issues that some martial artists may experience, you might not want to keep it on for very long.
It does provide a good amount of protection, but it must be noted that it may not be the best choice for all martial arts styles. This is due to the distinct lack of protection on the top of the head and the jaws. For stand-up boxing style sparring (which this style of headgear is designed for), it is a good bit of gear.
Though the quality of the materials and construction is not the best, the low price point and the combination of other features make this a helmet work considering.