If you decide that HEMA is for you, at some point you will need gear. Below is listed the most common kinds of gear and swords
and where to find it. For basic protection with nylon or plastic swords, you will need a mask and lacrosse gloves.
Fighting with steel requires more specialized gloves and upper body protection.
Swords are an investment, but a worthwhile one. If you have questions on the various swords listed, there is most likely one in
class for you to hold and play with.
Regenyeis, a steel federschwert, can be bought at HEMA Supplies. They are imported from Hungary and are very good feders.
Ensifers, a slightly heavier federschwert, can be bought at Purpleheart Armory. These are imported from Poland.
Castille Armoury is now making longsword feders. The feders are not listed on their website, but they are very responsive to a quick email. As a side note, their rapiers are widely used in the HEMA community. You can see the blacksmith's gallery and email at Castille Armory.
Black Horse Blades is a relatively new blacksmith to HEMA, but he has been making blades for a long time. They are wonderfully balanced and use Shock Seven steel (which I'm told is super steel). They are on the expensive side, but worth it. They can be bought here: Black Horse Blades.
Neyman Fencing also sells some fine feders. For the more experienced, you can find their "Light" Feder here. For those on a budget, they have a Lvl. 1 Warrior feder.
Nylon/plastic sword options are either the Purpleheart Pentiis or the Black Fencer nylons. Pros: cheap (~$100), accessible, long lasting, they bind fairly well for nylons (Black Fencer ones). The Black Fencer nylons also come in two different lengths. Cons: Doesn't have the reactivity of steel, has a tendency to warp in hot environments.
Basic AF (Absolute Force) 3W mask - Pros: black, sturdy, usable for all weapons of HEMA, really the only good mask people use. You can find them on the Absolute Force website. They are located in New Jersey and their shipping is incredibly fast.
Blue Gauntlet Coach's Mask - an alternative to the AF masks, also reliable. They can be found at Blue Gauntlet Fencing.
Protective HEMA Mask - Pros: A padded version of the previously listed mask, hardy, sturdy, very protective. Cons: if you have bad hearing, you won't be able to hear anything. Also, can be very warm. They can also be bought at the Absolute Force site.
AF Deluxe Fighting Gloves - Pros: incredibly protective, cheap, insanely fast shipping. Cons: limited mobility (unless you have fairly strong hands), inconsistent quality control (gloves of the same listed size tend to be different sizes), tendency to fall apart. You can find them at Absolute Force.
Sparring Gloves - Pros: well made, all orders are custom, different varieties of mitten and now glove, can order in different colors, fairly mobile, very protective. Cons: more expensive, longer shipping time (located in Poland), sacrifice some mobility for protection. They can be bought at the Sparring Gloves website.
SPES Heavy Gloves - Pros: unbelievably protective, mittens, can buy local (Georgia), meshes well with other SPES gear, has wrist cuff. Cons: bulky, need stronger hands to flex the gloves, on the more expensive end, trades mobility for protection. Buy them from the SPES US website.
St. Mark's Koning Glove - very well made gloves from Axel Petterson and Anders Linnard in Sweden. They are very protective and, though stiff initially, break in nicely. You can find them at the St. Mark's webpage.
The above gloves are acceptable for full steel tournaments - just about everyone uses one of the above listed gloves. Lacrosse gloves are not acceptable for steel, but are suitable for nylon use.
AF HEMA jacket - Pros: cheaper than most, extremely protective, super fast shipping. Cons: back zip, restrictive, lack of arm mobility. They can be bought at Absolute Force.
PBT HEMA jacket - Pros: inexpensive, comes in very small sizes (useful for kids), not bulky, removable inserts, comes in men's and women's. Cons: back zipper, synthetic material (has a tendency to hold smell). They are imported from Hungary and can be found at PBT Historical Fencing.
SPES AP jacket - Pros: fairly inexpensive, very flexible, front zip, comes in different colors, custom is not too expensive, modern cut, there is also a women's jacket. Cons: lighter padding than some may like, the shoulders may be too big for some. Find them at SPES USA.
SPES Fechtschule Gdansk jacket - Pros: cut more generously for hips and chest, cut more historically, multiples colors. Cons: tied with leather laces. These can also be bought at SPES USA.