A recent purchase of Titanium Floating Leg Armor from Medieval Extreme caused me to take a hard look at the positives (and negatives) of making the change. I’ve not been in the sport long, but my first year and a half in armor was in articulated legs. Let’s take a hard look at the new set and a look back at the old set.
Is floating armor better than articulated armor?
This question gets passionate views from all sides. The short answer is no. It isn’t better, it’s just different. There are a ton of differences between the two armor styles that offer distinct advantages. The advantages are either multiplied or non-existent based upon your fighting style, size and body type. What it really boils down to is preference.
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What are the advantages of Floating Armor?
Many people say the big PLUS is movement. Lots more freedom vs. articulated armor. This may be true for you, it is certainly true for me. It’s easier for me to break down the advantages in a outline style format.
- Movement – because you are able to fully rotate and articulate in floating armor, it can offer the ability to move more freely. This is not true for all people, but when armor is well fitted it tends to be more noticeable. Being able to wrestle in floating armor feels (to me) much easier to do.
- Weight – Floating armor has less parts than articulated armor and this generally means that the same amount of coverage can be lighter. The amount varies in significance. For myself, switching from steel articulated legs to titanium floating legs, it was a massive swing to the lighter side.
- Repairs – If a knee cop fails and needs to be replaced in articulated armor, it is a lot more work. There are lots of rivets, metal work and technical knowledge required to make sure things are done properly. In floating armor, you just replace the broken part because everything is separate. \
What are the advantages of Articulated Armor?
The biggest advantage is coverage. Articulated armor confirms you are covered in areas that may open in other types. While I’ll give you a list, the biggest reason people prefer articulated armor (in general) is the look of it. It’s classy stuff.
ADVANTAGES OF ARTICULATED ARMOR
- Complete coverage in potential “GAP” areas. – The armor has moving sections riveted together that expand and contract when you straighten or flex a limb. Fancy stuff.
- Joint Protection – Many of the salty fighters claim that articulated armor does not allow for a hyper-extension or hyper rotation of a joint where floating armor would. This argument sometimes falls flat as there have been a fair amount of joint injuries in floating armor.
- It’s super pretty – The big draw is looks… let’s be honest. People like to dress up as the fanciest knight possible. Now…. they get to be one. So while it seems silly, it does matter to some.
What are the disadvantages of Medieval Floating Armor?
Floating armor can have gaps when your limbs are fully flexed. Also, the elbows and knees can sometimes move out of place to leave you fairly exposed. In true medieval combat, this armor was easier to penetrate with stabbing/thrusting strikes because the movement points are essentially open.
- Gaps can be created when full flexion of a limb occurs. This is usually overcome by custom build armor designed to alleviate this very issue when worn properly.
- Not as pretty as articulated armor.
What are the disadvantages of Medieval Articulated Armor?
Articulated armor does a great job of protecting areas that could open up while in combat, but there is often a lack of movement associated with this style of kit. As with any set of armor though, this too is often alleviated with custom built armor.
- Restricted movement, especially when armor is not properly sized or custom built.
- Repairs – This armor is much more technical to make and therefore requires a lot more work to repair. Often this armor is replaced instead of repaired when the damage is too difficult to fix.
I purchased a set of floating legs from Medieval Extreme. And… I’ll tell you that I prefer them over articulated armor. I’ve found that I don’t have any gaps in coverage and the mobility is fantastic. Personally, I wear motocross style knee braces underneath my armor and the new set easily accommodates that.
The floating armor is well built and the custom fitting is fantastic. I have only owned a couple of sets of armor, but the set of floating legs has become my favorite piece. If you notice from the pictures, the front of the leg is reinforced with an additional plate of titanium underneath where leg armor typically gives way. This provides a lot more longevity to the upper thigh (Cuisse) portion.
The turn around time and customer service have to be my biggest selling point on Medieval Extreme also. They were efficient, had a single payment portal (paypal) and the cost was the cost. I have purchased armor from other well known Smith’s across the world and sometimes a helmet starts out at 450 bucks and very quickly ends at 850 or 900. This wasn’t the case at all. When I ordered the legs, they came with all the appropriate parts and the price included shipping. And… the cost of the leg armor after all that was considered was very reasonable and even cheaper than many of the competitors.
Overall, I’d rate my experience 10/10 and the gear 8/10. The knee cops could use a little more cleaning up. They’ll still pass authenticity standards, but I know there was a little more work to be done. My personal recommendation… if you’re gonna buy armor, buy it from MEDIEVAL EXTREME. I do have a list of other places to BUY ARMOR from. Feel free to check it out too.