Recommendations for starter gear, in approximate order you should consider acquiring them. There is no one right answer for everyone, but if you are at the beginning of your journey into HEMA with the SHFA, something similar should serve you well. If you have any questions Discord is the best place to ask them.
Protect your head. It is important. This mask is a good starting point, but they take a lot of abuse and you should not be surprised if you need to replace one occasionally.
Mitten style gloves tend to protect your hands from strikes while providing a lighter inside that allows for relatively dexterous sword handling. Split hoofs are an added risk for probably no benefit. Individual finger gloves are dangerous if they aren't VERY rigid, such as close fitting metallic plates.
Your choice of cup/groin protection, this is not HEMA specific. Test it out yourself, before someone else does on accident.
There are many right answers, but if you are hesitant to punch yourself in the throat while wearing it, it is not good enough. Very important before starting sparring of any kind, because accidents happen.
An excellent jacket for entry level fencers but also sturdy enough for competition. Provides protection where you need it an can have additional plates added if needed.
Overkill for the beginning historical fencer, this is a heavy duty jacket for high level competition at large events against unknown opponents. If you don't know how much control the person you are fighting has in their fencing this is the jacket you want.
An excellent choice for rapier and anyone working with lighter weapons such as competitive light saber. It doesn't provide enough protection for long sword although more experienced fencers may use it.
When you're looking to start full sparring regularly, 350N puncture resistant fabric is the minimum you want to consider. Consider getting hit with a chunk of steel travelling at speed, and if you want more padding in your clothing.
The rating that you will find on gear such as 350N puncture resistance is only in relation to a blades ability to penetrate the fabric. Masks and gear with higher rating do not provide additional protection from strikes, just penetration from potentially broken blades.
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