MMA review: Gloves, Shin guard & Bad Girls

BadBoy are a huge name in the martial arts industry. I was very happy to hear they are launching their BadGirl range here in Europe so I asked my friend Marie to review their Muay Thai gloves and shin pads. Marie, aside from practicing jiujitsu and judo, is a seasoned Muay Thai competitor and coach so I knew the review would be in great hands, full pun intended!

Marie's Bad Girl Review

I've been aware of the Bad Girl range for a while so I was absolutely thrilled to be asked to try out their gloves and shin guards. The reality is, especially when it comes to striking kit there is very little in the market for women. You may get some token pink in a range but the women's market tends to be very much an after thought. This is certainly not the case with the Bad Girl range. First impressions show that a lot of thought has gone into the branding and design, the Bad Girl logo is a twist on the unmistakable Bad Boy brand. With the usage of some distinctively sassy female eyes. I was sent the blue version of the kit (it's also available in purple). The blue branding and stitching is a great contrast with the black base colour and the result is two pieces of kit that a woman can proudly wear to the gym. Although looking good is obviously only part of the story!

Starting with the shin guards; I currently use very traditional muay thai style leather shin guards which whilst offering fantastic protection are very heavy and definitely can limit mobility from an MMA perspective. So I was curious to see how these would compare and how well they would work me.

On first impression these are a well put together pair of guards. The printing of the logo on the front of the guards is very well done and the overlooking stitching around the guards and heel was very neat but also very soft, no signs of rough edges particular near the heel that could dig or rub. Turning the guards inside out showed that the pocket holding the padding is stitched securely and the chances of the pad moving was very slim. At present these guards are only available in one size which was my main problem. After trying on the guards it was clear they were too small for me. A quick measure confirmed that when compared to other brands these would be classed as a size small (I'm usually a medium). But I am reasonably tall so for anyone under 5ft 6 they are probably ideal. What it did mean was that I couldn't test them out as hard as would have liked. For safety reasons I didn't feel comfortable doing full sparing due to the top of my shin being exposed. However I did wear them for drilling and general training enabling me to get a feel for the fit and protection.

No shin guard can promise to be 100% movement free when wearing them, but these are definitely comparable with other guards on the market. The guards felt snug but not too tight and certainly not going to leave significantly horrible pink indentation after prolonged wear. The foam doesn't instantly mold around the shin perfectly but that is normal and after a few sessions the fit does improve. I found myself making slight adjustment during sessions but no more than usual and certainly not bothersome.

In terms of weight these guards are comparable to other foam guards in the market but when compared to my traditional leather guards these are half the weight. This felt a massive difference when it came to movement and speed which I loved. This left me with my biggest worry of protection as I do bruise like a peach on my shins. I needn't have worried! Yes there is a very slight difference compared to my tried and trusted big heavy leather guards but not enough to put me off these guards as they dealt well with repeatedly drilled blocking and kicking.

Overall these are a good piece of kit and at a great price (£19.99) if Bad Girl do increase the range of sizes available (which I hope they do) I'd certainly look at investing in another pair and for anyone smaller than me I'd certainly recommend them as a great addition to your sparring kit.

Now onto the boxing gloves, which I have to say are really pretty (which is a phrase I rarely use about training gear)! They're the same colour scheme to the shin guards and the printing of the logo is really well done.  Even after some hard workouts (and my really bad habit of wiping my forehead with the back of my gloves) there are no signs of it cracking or wearing. The material is really soft which I loved, but it did surprise a few people who questioned if they were leather because of that (they are made from composite leather).

However the best part of these gloves was the fit. I only usually wear one or two brands of glove because many makes just don't fit well when you have smaller (female) hands. These gloves initially fitted well without any hand wraps so I instantly knew fit would not be a problem. With wraps on these were almost too tight fitting so I’ve had no worries about them becoming lose through stretching or give over time.  Obviously these are 10oz gloves so there not the biggest anyhow, but comparing them with other styles and brands it became really clear that these have been designed to be very small and compact gloves.

In terms of other features the gloves are design to support making a fist with both a connected thumb and a grip bar built into the glove helping both protect your hand as well as your training partner (accidental eye pokes etc). The foam padding provided the protection you'd expect from boxing gloves and hasn't shown any signs of bulges or indents over time. There is an section of air flow material on the thumb which if I'm honest didn't make a significant difference to my hand temperature  whilst training, but I suspect they certainly helped the fact that I found these gloves aired and dried quickly which is a definite bonus.

These gloves are boxing gloves rather than my usual thai boxing style gloves so I did notice a difference in the wrist support however there was still a reasonable level of support. If extra wrist support is important to you then extra wrapping could easily compensate for training. Due to the softness of the leather these gloves are pretty flexible straight from the first time of wearing so I found that grip work on the clinch very comfortable to do. Although over time it might not be as comfortable for your training partner as the edge of some of the trim did raise up causing my partner at the time some discomfort and irritation though some  minor rubbing.

Due to the weight of the gloves I didn't use them for sparring (at my gym we only spar in over 14oz gloves for safety) but overall I found these are excellent gloves for general classes, pad and bag work. These gloves are great value for money (£29.99) and are an ideal purchase for the casual athlete, beginners starting out or those who just need an extra pair of gloves in their kit rotation.

femme fatale at Phoenix Muay Thai
Overall the Bad Girl kit is a great addition to the market and the design shows that you don't have to sacrifice quality to be stylish in the gym. Both pieces are great value bits of kit and personally I can't wait to see where the range goes next!

I'd like to thank the team at BadBoy UK for supplying the gloves and shin guards.



No comments: