Main Suppliers

The HEMA shop
A UK manufacturer of HEMA protective equipment and nylon swords (Red Dragon product range). Equipment may be bought through the manufacturers website (thehemashop) or in person from their Welsh stores. As a member of SOTS you are entitled to a 10% discount (register your account and then email the hema shop saying you’re a member of The School of the Sword).

PBT Aldershot  |
Previously a sport fencing manufacturer which now also produces bespoke HEMA gear, PBT have a shop in Aldershot where you can buy products and receive a 10% club discount. The
Aldershot store stocks a mix of sport fencing & HEMA equipment so if there are particular items you wish to try it’s best to call them in advance to check their stock.

A nylon and steel sword manufacturer based in Spain Blackfencer offer several sidesword wasters which offer a significant improvement on Red Dragon wasters.

Tempus Fugitives
A UK distributor and wholesaler, tempus fugitives stock both protective equipment and swords from various well known manufacturers.

A sport fencing & HEMA equipment manufacturer based in Italy, Gajardoni are well known for the quality of their tailoring.

One of the oldest HEMA equipment manufacturers, SPES are based in Poland and offer a number of jackets, breeches and other protective equipment. SPES products may also often
be found in local resellers such as thehemashop.

Fait d’armes
A French equipment manufacturer and reseller Fait d’armes stock various gloves, protective equipment and waster weapons which can’t easily be found elsewhere.

Equipment Recommendations

NOTE:  HEMAists endlessly discuss gear and what’s best!  It can be very confusing at times as everyone has their own opinion.  Don’t be afraid to ask endless questions in the Facebook groups  (we’ve all been there and done the same) or ask people if you try kit on for fit or closer inspection (with the exception of groin protection! lol!).  I’m happy to bring any of my gear in for anyone to have a look at.

If you have specific needs (for example: want non-leather products, need protection for specific injuries, or heights or sizes)  feel free to ask me personally and I’ll research for you.


Throat protection is essential when working with a partner, and for all other non solo activities. Red Dragon offer an inexpensive and effective product.

PBT produce a more protective gorget that also includes collarbone protection.

The steel gorget from Winter Tree Crafts is very popular if you want something more solid. It is also a lot less bulky under a jacket.

What to consider: protection, coverage, mobility, fit, suitability.


Chest protectors are designed for comfort rather than to protect from broken blades (in sports fencing they wear stab proof plastrons for such a thing), however a heavier blade will
certainly cause more discomfort, especially in the thrust. We recommend chest protectors for everyone. Female ones tend to be more bulky so a male one is advised where possible. For more comfort you can line them with foam.

What to consider: fit, protection, mobility.


Gloves within swordfighting are something of a challenge and no single ideal glove exists. Each design is a balance between protection and dexterity, which is particularly challenging
for sidesword. Go for too heavy a glove and you lose the dexterity required for certain techniques, go too light and you risk injury (broken fingers are not an uncommon occurrence
in HEMA).  The recommended gloves below offer a range of light to heavier gloves. As a starting point the Red Dragon gloves offer a good level of protection without compromising too much on dexterity.

Red Dragon Sparring Gloves (Medium)
Entry level gloves offering a good balance between protection and dexterity.
These gloves are suitable for drills, exchanging and competition.

Tempus Fugitives Training Gloves (Light)
Similar to motocross gloves but made for use with Rapier & Sidesword.
These gloves are suitable for drills and light exchanging

Kevlar Gloves (Light)
Inexpensive light leather gloves these offer excellent dexterity and comfort but only limited protection.
These gloves are suitable for drills and light exchanging

Five finger Sparring Glove (Heavy)
One of the most popular of the heavier gloves sparring gloves, in 5 finger rather than hoof configuration offer excellent levels of protection without too much loss on dexterity. When it
comes to competition this is the glove many choose. While not unreasonable for a heavy glove the cost for these will typically be 3 times that of a medium glove such as the red
dragons. These gloves are suitable for drills, exchanging and competition.


You only have one head, so we advise that mask purchasing should not be a cost saving exercise. Get a good fit and one that will withstand tournament pressure if you are
considering taking part in competition at any point.
NB: the Newton rating of a fencing mask relates to the bib, not the mesh. Although higher rated Newton masks will usually have a higher grade mesh. Do not choose anything less than

Currently they offer two different types of 1600N masks – a standard one which is also one of the cheapest, and a reinforced one. The reinforced mask is deeper and has additional
mesh on the back of the head, which is worth considering if you fence heavy weapons like longswords.


PBT HEMA Warrior reinforced mask…

Leon Paul
Leon Paul make an extremely good coaching mask used by many within the school. They’re rear fitting method is a notable improvement on other styles however it is one of the more
expensive masks currently available.

Red Dragon
Red Dragon recently started offering their 1600N mask adding an improved tournament ready mask with superior protection to their existing line up.

The Gajardoni Kombat Air Mask is one of the best masks available, especially in that it has an inflatable internal padding structure which can adjust to the shape of your head, making it
one of the more comfortable masks. They also offer their Kombat mask, which does not have the inflatable padding, but is also a little cheaper as a result.
Kombat mask

Allstar Uhlmann
The masters mask and masters mask black comfort are both good 1600N masks provided by the sports fencing manufacturer Allstar Uhlmann. The black comfort adds additional padding
over the standard.
Masters Mask
Masters Mask Black Comfort

What to consider: fit, Newton rating, protection, mobility, suitability, durability.



Jackets range from very thin and flexible to very protective and bulky. We advise something towards the lighter end of the scale as you will not get as hot, it allows better movement and they are easier to wash. The thicker gambeson style jackets are designed with Longsword and military sabre in mind, and meant for absorbing heavier hits. Ultimately it is up to you which kind you go for, it just has to be black.

The benefit of buying from PBT is that we have a 10% discount with them, also they have a shop in Aldershot so you can actually try some of this stuff on if they have it in stock. As mentioned above, the thicker jackets may offer more protection but they can reduce movement so choose wisely. Many a person has started with a heavy jacket and ended up later buying a lighter, more fitted one.

SPES Officers Jacket
This is a newer jacket that several school members have purchased recently. It is very light and thin, and where you can purchase direct from the manufacturer we do have a discount with the Knightshop as well. Contact your senior instructor before purchasing so they can confirm your membership.



A nylon waster is an affordable alternative to a steel sword, so is ideal when you start to learn the cuts and guards as it offers a similar weight and balance and means you can practice in your own time. We recommend the Blackfencer sidesword as it has a stiff blade and a sidesword hilt.

Another option is the Red Dragon arming sword waster, although this has a floppier blade and doesn’t afford the hand protection of a sidesword hilt.

NB: nylon swords are more affordable than steel swords, not safer. Please use them with as much care and respect as you would for a steel sword.

What to consider: weight, balance, protection, suitability, durability.



The Knightshop make some excellent and affordable bucklers in a variety of gauges and sizes. We recommend a lighter gauge and 9-12 inch diameter. Smaller will not cover as much, larger will add weight. You can also buy leather or wooden bucklers, or have a go at making your own if you wish.
Check with your instructor before training.

NB: there are some very extravagant ‘Talhoffer’ style bucklers on the market. Although impressive, these can be very heavy, are not from the period or region that we study, and the curved barbs can present a serious risk if the buckler is used without necessary caution.

What to consider: weight, coverage, protection, suitability, durability.


LOWER LEGS (Recommended)

These leg protectors from the Knight Shop are a single piece that covers both the knee and the shin with a hinge to allow movement. However if you are below a certain height they can be too big. There is a hack (literally) where you can cut the lower part off to fit onto your shin with a hacksaw. Some people find these too restrictive. Alternatively hockey shin guards and skater kneepads do the job just as well.

What to consider: fit, protection, mobility.


GROIN (Recommended )

We recommend groin protection for everyone, Shock Doctor are among the most comfortable brands.

What to consider: fit, protection, mobility, comfort.