One of the great things about Muay Thai is that it requires very little equipment to be successful. All that you need to get started, after you buy a good pair of gloves and hand wraps, is a good pair of shin guards designed specifically for Muay Thai.
Shin guards are pivotal to safe and effective training. They keep you safe when performing drills with training tools like heavy bags as well as when you’re sparring with a partner for practice.
Beginners, in particular, benefit from shin guards since they don’t yet know how to control the power of their kicks. However, even more advanced users should still wear shin guards for training. Below we show you exactly how to buy the best Muay Thai shin guards to take your training to a whole new level.
There are literally dozens upon dozens of different types of Muay Thai shin guards available. We’re here to tell you that they’re not all created equal. Some models are much better than others.
What does better mean in this scenario? Well, in our opinion, the shin guards must not only fit well, but also provide ample protection without restricting your movement.
Start your search by looking only at shin guards designed for Muay Thai. Though it can be tempting to buy generic shin guards, it really is very important to buy those that are created with Muay Thai in mind.
After narrowing down your search to Muay Thai shin guards, the three most important factors to look at are shin guard type, size, and fit. We look at each of these important factors in more detail below:
1. Shin Guard Type
There are two main varieties of Muay Thai shin guards. These are shin guards with straps and shin guard socks.
Shin guards with straps are most popular. The front part of the shin guard (the actual guard) is held to the leg by a series of straps. These shin guards provide ample protection all along the shin and down onto the top of the foot. They provide protection to both the person wearing them and the person they are sparring with.
Because shin guards with straps provide the most protection (more than shin guard socks), they’re the most popular choice for wearing while training and sparring.
Shin guard socks consist of a shin guard attached to a sock-like sleeve. Place your foot and shin down through the sleeve to attach them. This type of shin guard is much tighter than the strap version. They have minimal movement so you don’t have to adjust your shin guards often.
Note that shin guard socks offer less protection than shin guards with straps. However, because of their lightweight, cozy fit, and comfort, they’re the most popular choice for wearing in fights.
2. Shin Guard Size
Selecting the right size of Muay Thai shin guards is very important. You want your shin guards to be large enough to provide ample protection. At the same time, they must be small enough not to affect your mobility.
For instance, you might notice that overly large shin guards slow down your kicks. On the flip side, overly small shin guards will leave your shins and feet bruised and battered. The key is finding the perfect balance between mobility and protection.
You’ll notice that size varies wildly depending upon manufacturer. Case in point: some shin guards are much narrower than others.
Narrow shin guards offer much more mobility, but lack in protection. Because they don’t cover the sides of your shins and feet, they leave these areas open to damage. Our recommendation is to buy bigger shin guards as a beginner. Speed and mobility aren’t as important, but you want to make sure your shins and feet are protected at all costs.
As you gain more experience, you can size down to smaller shin guards that promote lightning speed in favor of ample protection.
3. Shin Guard Fit
The size of your shin guards mostly has to do with how much coverage and protection they offer. Fit, on the other hand, has to do with how well they fit you. It’s pivotal to find a pair that fits you properly for the utmost in comfort and performance.
Properly fitting Muay Thai shin guards should fit tight. You don’t want them to move around during use. Properly fitting Muay Thai shin guards won’t need to be adjusted often.
At the same time, you don’t want a pair that is so tight as to be uncomfortable. Overly tight shin guards can also cause mobility problems.
If possible, try on Muay Thai shin guards before buying them. Fit varies from brand to brand and model to model, so trying on pairs in person is a good idea to see what you prefer.
Muay Thai Shin Guard Reviews
Here are our choices for 10 best Muay Thai shin guards for training, sparring, and fighting.
1. Hayabusa T3 Muay Thai Shin Guards
Hayabusa is a well-respected name in fighting. They’re known for their top-quality MMA gear, including Muay Thai equipment. Their dedication to craftsmanship is apparent in their Hayabusa T3 Muay Thai Shin Guards.
Developed from the ground up with Muay Thai in mind, these shin guards are ergonomically designed to fit to the legs and feet. Their specialized contours provide excellent comfort.
The ergonomic design of these shin guards also improves their performance. They provide adequate coverage to protect your shins and legs while training and sparring.
Other notable features are their impressive lightweight construction, open backs for improved circulation, and flexibility for even more comfort. We recommend the Hayabusa T3 Muay Thai Shin Guards for those looking for the best shin guards for training.
While the Hayabusa T3 Muay Thai Shin Guards are our top choice for training and sparring, the Combat Sports Muay Thai Shin Guards are our top choice for fighting.
As shin guard socks, this model from Combat Sports comes with a sleeve. Place your feet and shins through the sleeves for the tightest fit possible.
You don’t want your shin guards to slip during an intense fight – and these won’t. They’ll stay snug until the end of the round. There is no need for adjusting them while in use.
Other highlights include the fact that they’re fully washable. Just remove the foam padding and throw the shin guard socks in with the rest of your load.
These shin guard socks from Combat Sports are also extremely lightweight. You won’t even notice an impact on your mobility while fighting. We recommend the Combat Sports Muay Thai Shin Guards for those looking for the best shin guards for fighting.
Those that greatly value support and protection will love the RDX Leather Muay Thai Shin Guards.
Seriously though, these shin guards provide the ultimate in protection. Their leather design means that they absorb heavy shocks like no other.
The leather design also promotes durability. Even after years of heavy use and abuse, these shin guards will provide as much protection as the day you bought them.
Despite being shin guards with straps, these shin guards from RDX have a very snug fit. You won’t find yourself adjusting them much at all during use.
We’ll be honest: these shin guards are heavier and bulkier than some other models. But it’s barely enough to notice. Only the pickiest of users will find fault with these RDX shin guards for Muay Thai.
After you select the type of shin guards you prefer (straps or socks), the most important factor is the size and fit.
Finding the right size and fit not only means the shin guards will be comfortable and provide adequate mobility, but it also means they will provide ample protection as well.
But those are only a few of the factors in a good pair of shin guards. There are numerous other factors you should consider while making a decision.
Chief among these are brand name, materials, and additional features.
Here is each additional factor explained in greater detail:
While you shouldn’t put too much emphasis on brand name, it should still be a factor in your decision.
The fact is simple. Some companies simply provide a superior quality product than others. And it pays to select products from the top competitors, even if they cost more upfront.
In addition to quality and durability, the shin guards from reputable manufacturers are more comfortable.
The two main types of materials that Muay Thai shin guards are constructed from are leather and synthetic.
Though both material types have their pros and cons, many seasoned Muay Thai enthusiasts prefer leather.
Leather is the most comfortable and protective option. It also lasts longest. Many people argue that it looks better than synthetic.
Synthetic, on the other hand, is much cheaper than leather. Recent advances mean its comparably comfortable and durable to leather.
Another benefit of synthetic shin guards is that they come with many additional features that leather doesn’t. This includes anti-bacterial technology.
Muay Thai shin guards have long followed the same basic design and construction elements.
However, the latest models and designs now incorporate additional features that make the shin guards even better and higher performing.
Chief among these are anti-bacterial shin guards. Made with synthetic materials, these shin guards reduce the risk of a bacterial infection.
Another popular feature is breathability. The best synthetic shin guards are extremely breathable for better comfort and performance.
Finally, quick adjusting straps are essential on shin guards with straps. Not only do they allow you to take the shin guards on and off quicker, but they also allow you to adjust and tighten them on the fly.
A good pair of durable, high-quality shin guards is something many of those new to Muay Thai overlook.
Yet good shin guards are just as important as good gloves and hand wraps. They protect your shins and feet from injuries while training.
In fact, you should rarely train for Muay Thai without shin guards. They’re just as important for solo training with a heavy bag as they are for sparring with a partner. Many Muay Thai enthusiasts even use shin guards for fights.
The exact type of shin guards that are best for you depend on your needs and preferences. It also depends on whether you will use them primarily for training or fighting.
For training, our favorite option is the Hayabusa T3 Muay Thai Shin Guards. We like them because they fit to the contour of your legs, providing the utmost in support, performance, and comfort.
For fighting, our favorite option is the Combat Sports Muay Thai Shin Guards. We like them because their low profile provides excellent mobility without sacrificing protection.
Whether you choose one of these two models or another pair of shin guards on our list, we’re sure that our buyer’s guide will help you find the best Muay Thai shin guards for you.