In our last post, we talked about why protective headgear is required in all scholastic and collegiate wrestling events as a safeguard against injuries such as cauliflower ear. This time we’re going to show you how to choose the right adult or youth headgear from all the available product options.

Like other kinds of wrestling equipment, ear guards are fairly standard in design and composition, with only slight stylistic variations from brand to brand. That means once you know what to look for, you’ll be able to pick out a good set in no time. Here are the main features to consider:

  • Size: Elementary and middle school wrestlers should select smaller youth headgear, while high school wrestlers and above should purchase adult sizes. The ear cups are one-size-fits-all.
  • Strap system: You can fine tune the fit of your headgear by adjusting the straps. Generally speaking, the more straps you have the better the fit. Look for products that have four or five straps and a quick-adjust strapping system for easy, on-the-fly tightening and loosening.
  • Shell material: Ear cups are either soft shell or hard shell. Soft shell varieties are made from cloth, rubber, or polymer, making them comfortable and safe for younger wrestlers. Hard shell products are made from hard plastics and provide excellent protection; however, because of the risk of injury to opponents, they might be prohibited in some events.
  • Additional features: Although not integral to function, many manufacturers now offer extras such as impact dissipation systems, gel cushioning, moisture-wicking fabric, and forehead protection pads.

Ill-fitting ear guards that slide around during a match can leave you vulnerable to injury and defeat. Avoid this problem by following the above advice about how to choose the best youth headgear or adult headgear from