HEMA as a martial art is still young in practice, but many years were spent and wasted trying out sports gear, motorcycle gear, and other bits and bobs to get to the current status quo. Here is a list of items we do not recommend for your practice:
Kingston Arms Federschwert- Do not buy this weapon. It is prone to breaking very quickly, with little predictability or effort, into 2 or more pieces (we’ve seen 5 from one sword).
Wish.com- Anything claiming to be an arming jacket or other piece of HEMA-style equipment is a fake and easily destroyable. We have disassembled a jacket with laughable ease.
VB techniques blunt-style practice swords- Blunt-style swords are often not safe to hit others with. A blunted sword that could be sharp is far worse. But often “practice” swords that have a blade shaped profile are not suitable for most sparring purposes.
5-finger Sparring Glove gloves- These are not suitable for longsword fencing as the resin can fail and lead to mangled fingers. They can be used for smaller weapons at your own risk and discretion. These have had at least 2 local finger fractures.
AF HEMA gloves- Some of the worst functioning gloves, failing on aspects of general usability.
SupFen Gloves- Plastic used on all their gloves tends to be brittle and fails under general use. Other quality issues as well. Buy at your own risk as quality varies heavily.
Blackhorse Blades: Crowbar. Owner also banned from the community in general.
Darksword Armory HEMA Federschwert: A promising design belies some heft, stiffness and balance issues, as well as an extremely spiky schilt. Not recommended.
SCA-style gambesons or other homemade padded gear: we cannot ensure safety and quality control on gear of this type. Some tournaments do not allow gear of these types.
Gambesons with front lacing or buttons as the primary closure, or with gaps in the armpits. Primary closure must be a zipper.
Motorcycle gear as primary protection: while “armored”, motogear has no pierce-proof qualities. Leather, in general, is not pierce-proof.
Gambesons/Jackets lacking throat protection/blade catch.