For selecting your kendo men, note that they are divided into hand stitched and machine stitched. Hand stitched has better shock absorption, but machine stitched are cheaper while still maintaining high quality. Choose one that best suits your needs and budget.
In either case, it’s important to pay attention to the stitch length and distance. The distance between the stitches on the futon is important. As it gets smaller, the futon material gets compressed and the shock absorption is reduced.
With larger distance between the stitches, the thickness is preserved along with the shock absorption. If you look only at the shock absorption, bogu with a wider stitch distance is recommended for beginners.
During examinations, your gear and the impression you give can be important. Bogu with wider distance between stitches has a more refined look and can give you more presence.
The materials used, especially for the kendo men pad, are also an important point to consider. There are a few to choose from: orizashi, an indigo dyed quilted fabric, Clarino synthetic leather, and indigo dyed deerskin leather.
Orizashi breathes well and allows for sweat to dry fast. It also is very elastic and soft, so it’s easy to break in. It’s often recommended for practice or for beginners.
Synthetic leather is reinforced to be strong against friction and sweat, but because it is dyed synthetically the color can fade with use and there can be a large difference in color between the synthetic leather and the fabric on the mask.
Deerskin leather is fine grained and dyed indigo, so it has a high-quality feel and is the most impressive looking bogu.
At Tozando, we have many types of high quality bogu made by our highly trained craftsmen. We also have many kendoka on our staff, including a 7-dan instructor, who help with product development. We strive every day to develop and create new, well-loved kendo products.