I recently had the opportunity to test and review the Superior Fencing forearm and padded elbow guards. They are very protective, and are not as bulky as some other forearm guards, although the standard size is perhaps a little too large for smaller people.
This review: motivation and transparency
Superior Fencing gave me these forearm and elbow guards for reviewing in August 2018. I wore them a little for testing and review, but did not end up keeping them as part of my regular fencing gear.
(Edit: this “motivation” section was added on the 9th of March 2019, as part of an effort to improve the transparency of the various reviews on this website.)
The padded elbow guards offer excellent protection (even more than the SPES elbow guards), with some soft padding under the hard outer layer – something that is particularly valuable if someone catches you on the elbow!
The forearm guards wrap all the way around the forearm so that the inside is covered as well as the outside. The hard ribs inside the guards offer a significant amount of protection. This a good design of forearm guard for people who want this additional layer over their jacket.
Sizing, bulk, and mobility
The standard size of elbow guards is perhaps a little too large to fit comfortably onto a small men’s SPES jacket or a medium Super Fencing women’s jacket, they kept sliding around and couldn’t quite stay in place by themselves. The size would probably be perfectly fine on a medium men’s jacket or a large women’s jacket, but not quite right for the jacket I wear.
The forearm guards are slimmer and less bulky than the comparable SPES “Vectir” forearm guards. Again, however, the standard size was perhaps a little too large for my liking; they would probably fit someone who takes a medium or large jacket quite nicely, but for a person with a small jacket, they were perhaps a little bit too bulky for me.
When discussing this with the manufacturer after receiving and testing the guards, I was informed that custom sizing is available free of charge. So, if you would like a set of these, and worry that they might be too large for you, just send a message with your order to ask for a smaller set.
The elbows connect to the forearms by way of a Velcro strip, allowing the guards to be shortened or lengthened as required. There is plenty of Velcro available, allowing for quite a good range of lengths, making it appropriate for people with different arm lengths. I had no problem with getting the protectors to fit in this dimension.
Ease of fastening
The elbows fasten in place with a single elastic strap, although you could quite feasibly leave the elbows on your jacket without taking them off between sessions.
There are two Velcro straps to fasten the forearm guards in place. These have an appropriate length and make fastening and unfastening quick and easy. I didn’t find any difficulty in putting the guards on or taking them off quickly.
Price and availability
Superior Fencing sells the forearm and elbow guards for $35 USD. The padded elbows by themselves are just $15 USD.
These are the best forearm and elbow guards that I have tried so far. I really like them, and would recommend them happily. However, the standard size might be too big and bulky if you are a slightly smaller person, so you may need to ask for custom sizing when placing your order.
Keith Farrell teaches HEMA professionally, often at international events (why not hire me to teach at your event?), and has an interest in coaching instructors to become better teachers. I teach regularly at Liverpool HEMA, and help behind the scenes with running HEMA in Glasgow at the Vanguard Centre.