Gear Check: SISU Saves Your Derby Smile

Finding the right gear is hard. Finding the right gear that’s perfect for you? Even harder. We asked our skaters to write about their favorite gear in hopes of making everyone’s search a little easier. This week: Annie Malistick (Sticky) chats about her favorite thing to put in her mouth during practice—her Sisu mouthguard.

When I first started playing derby in 2009, I did what most do—I went to a big box sports store and purchased a heat-moldable, gel-filled soccer mouthguard. During practice in 2010, I took a bad fall without my arms in front to brace me and I landed jaw-first on a wooden floor. I bit completely through my gel mouthguard, but aside from some bruising to my chin and ego, I was lucky to escape with only a minor crack in my tooth.

However, that ordeal made me realize that my gear was pretty important… certainly more important than just throwing a few dollars at equipment that was not really intended for roller derby. I started doing some research and found SISU Mouthguards (formerly ProtechDent). They completely understand sports like roller derby and their founders have more degrees than a thermometer. Put that knowledge to good use, and BAM—you get the SISU 1.6.

These mouthguards are a thin, flexible piece of perforated plastic. The SISU 1.6 ($25 at Bruised Boutique) is also incredibly light and easy to mold. (And re-mold, if need be—when I began Invisalign to reposition my teeth in 2012, it was extremely easy to fix my SISU before each practice.) It doesn’t necessarily look like much, but looks are deceiving. It snaps into place on my teeth so comfortably and securely that I sometimes forget about it completely. And the best part: I can talk to my teammates clearly on the track.

For people like me who have thousands in dentistry and orthodontia to protect, they’ve got a $30,000 max liability coverage for your pearly whites. That makes my mom happy. For people like me who also drink way too much coffee, they’ve also got a breath spray that will keep your mouthguard minty fresh for up to TWO WEEKS. Plain and simple, it’s a high-impact mouthguard that works beautifully for athletes like derby skaters. What’s not to love?

There are a few slight downsides. Unlike some custom mouthguards, you can’t do any fancy customizations like your name or number. And if you’re one of those skaters that is used to simply spitting out your mouthguard because it’s attached to your helmet with a strap, well… no more of that. I’m usually careful about transferring my mouthguard from mouth to case after practice, but have still managed to misplace it. But quibbles aside, I love my mouthguard, and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Also, it has to be said that SISU means “bravery, tenacity, endurance, and perseverance” in Finnish.  I mean, doesn’t that just speak roller derby to your soul?

– Sticky #219

Gear Check: SISU Saves Your Derby Smile