I'd like to take up boxing as a hobby and for fitness and self defense at some stage, but some previous sparring at some white collar boxing classes made me realise that I have a very sensitive nose that bleeds or gets knocked out of place. So what I'd like to know is how much of a disadvantage would using a face saver be? Also, would it be frowned upon in some gyms and maybe seen as less manly etc? I am not looking to compete as an amateur or anything like that, just join a boxing club and spar a little bit for the benefits that sparring might give me. Also, in your opinion, is the Winning FG 5000 the best face saver? Thanks.
If you have a sensitive nose, or any facial area for that matter, it is best to use headgear designed to protect that area. Although I have not used the face save headgear myself, I have seen those that do and they work fairly well, however - It will not stop ALL blows from hitting the nose. A particular hard shot may drive the bottom "protection" bar up into the nose, but it doesn't seem to happen very often. You might also consider the more full coverage "face cage" or "face shield" models found here at title. http://store.titleboxing.com/face-protector-head-gear.html
Since I haven't used them myself, I can't really say which is THE best, however there are reviews of this equipment online with Youtube video's. I've posted a few links to them.
Winning FG 5000 headgear review.
Ringside facesaver headgear review
As for this equipment being looked down upon or viewed as "less manly", I'm not sure. I have not heard that as yet, and (IMO) the threat to your health and nose, and life long problems you could get from a direct hard shot to it, is far more important an issue than some other persons opinion. Actually, they said the same thing about using football helmets, then about using a face guard on the football helmet, then the full coverage face guards, and now the issue of head injury in football even WITH the best foot ball helmets. SO, I would ask you, would you want your child to play football with a lesser protection model football helmet?
I would say take every opportunity to use the best protection possible. You are NOT making a living at this, and have a severely busted nose that looks awful and may give you breathing problems for the rest of your life may be a badge of honor to a few guys in the gym, but those other guys will not have to live with it when they are old. You only have one face. Notice, even the rough world of Rodeo many bull riders are now trading the non-protect "cowboy hat" for full coverage and caged head gear. Pretty simple actually when you know you are going to get launched off a 2,000 pound bull. And they don't think it is less manly either. And notice the newest full face coverage football helmets. I don't think anyone thinks they are less manly either.
Good luck in your boxing!
author, The Speed Bag Bible