Have you been training in Muay Thai for a few months now? If yes, then you must have realized how essential shin guards are for your training. Shin guards date back to the times of ancient Greek and Romans who wore them as part of their overall armor.
Shin guards today are used for protection in several contact sports like baseball, ice hockey, football, and of course, martial arts.
The goal of this article is to help you find the best Muay Thai shin guards in 2020.
What to look out for in a shin guard?
Before showing you the recommendations for the best Muay Thai shin guards in 2020, here are useful tips to help you choose an appropriate pair.
Protection and mobility
The wider you shin guards are, the more protection you will receive as it will cover a broader area of your legs. However, the extra padding will slow down your movements by a certain degree.
A narrow shin guard is lighter and will also allow you to move faster. The downside is that you are more likely to get bruised on the area not covered by the shin guard.
It is crucial to choose one that offers both protection and mobility.
Shin guards must be made from good quality material to provide you the right amount of protection.
Genuine leather is often considered to be the best choice. Although expensive, real leather can be generally used longer than synthetic leather. If you are a vegan, you can opt for shin guards made using synthetic leather. They are budget-friendly and comes in a variety of colors and flashy designs.
Other kinds of material used are ultra-resistant PU and skid-resistant cotton.
Buying a shin guard that is too big or too small will not serve you any purpose. If you buy a size bigger, it will slip, and you will end up adjusting it many times during practice sessions or matches.
Whereas, if you use a small shin guard, it will not cover your shin’s upper half, leaving you vulnerable to your competitor. Moreover, they will be tight and uncomfortable.
The cost of a shin guard varies according to the durability, quality, material, and fit. The higher it scores on these parameters, the more it will cost. On average, shin guards’ starting price ranges from $35-$50 and can go as high as $100.
If you are a beginner, opting for an affordable model with all the essential features. If you are looking for a shin guard that is more suitable for pro-training, go for a high-end model. They are of better quality and have excellent features.
Some brands are commonly heard of. This is because they offer more superior products than others. If you have the budget, buying a shin guard from a well-known manufacturer can provide many advantages. Besides the high quality, they are more durable and very comfortable.
Muay Thai shin guards from Thailand based brands are considered better as their quality is top class, and they use handmade materials. Moreover, these products are usually tried and tested by Thai fighters.
Type of shin guards
There are two types of shin guards you can choose from:
Shin Guard Socks
This looks like the sleeve of a sock. It is effortless to use, all you need to do is slide your foot and shin through it and adjust it. It has a tight fit and does not move around much. However, they do not offer much protection and hence not suitable for beginners.
Shin Guard with Straps
This type of shin guard is more popular and safer among the two. The front part of the shin guard is secured with the help of straps. They offer adequate protection as it covers the area from the shin to the top of your leg.
The design and elements for manufacturing Muay Thai shin guards remained unchanged for ages. Some brands have begun to incorporate many extra features to differentiate themselves. These features not only make them better but also improve performance.
Shin guards with Anti-bacterial is a perfect example of this. They are generally made using synthetic materials; they lower the chances of bacterial infections.
You can get very sweaty during training, so another feature to look for is breathability.
Additionally, choose shin guards that have quick-adjusting straps. They are effortless to wear as well as remove.
Top 5 Muay Thai Shin Guards
1. Savviest Choice – Fairtex Competition Muay Thai Shin Guards
Simple design? Check. Quick to put on? Check. Long-lasting? Check! These are some of the reasons this product is at the top of the list. Fairtex is a Thailand based manufacturer that focuses on the safety and comfort of their customers.
This shin guard has an ergonomic design and makes use of Syntek leather. It has a smooth curve that fits around your calf, thus ensuring a secure and comfortable fit. There are four velcro straps to hold it in place. The connection between the shin guard and foot protector has a stitch-free design.
- Excellent protection.
- Double-layered foam core.
- Does not feel too heavy.
- Extended instep protects the area around lower foot.
- Does not irritate the skin.
- Easily adjusted.
- No metal fixtures or rough edges.
- Does not restrict movements.
- Excellent coverage as it goes up to the knees.
- Build quality is top-notch.
- Cotton stretch jean lining to prevent slipping.
- Padding is easy to clean.
- Open-back design offers enough breathability.
- Available in different sizes and colors.
- It is handmade in Thailand.
- Instep may fit a bit wide for some users.
- Defined edges not suitable for grappling.
- Ankle straps can cause friction burns.
The Fairtex SP5 is ideal for fighters who have excellent striking skills and is the best recommended shin guard for Muay Thai.
2. Value Choice – Top King Empower Creativity Shin Guards
The manufacturer of this product has a high standing in the boxing community. It has many features that make it a good value option.
If you are a fan of leather, this may be what you are looking for. Made of pure leather, this shin guard is very durable. The thick vertical padding goes right down the shin, ensuring minimal damage when kicked. It also protects the knee as the shin guard’s upper part slightly extends halfway under the kneecaps. The signature flame logo is well displayed on the upper region of the shin guard.
- Less bulky and narrower in design.
- Layer of thick padding.
- Absorb high impact with great ease.
- Hook and loop closure system.
- Shin guard and strap made from a single piece of leather.
- Eye-catching design.
- Fits well and does not slide off.
- Available in many designs and color combinations.
- Does not peel or lose its shape.
- Suitable for regular use.
- Offers proper protection to the upper part of the foot.
- It is handmade in Thailand.
- Narrow design restricts breathability.
- Leather used can cause light chafing.
- Sides of the pads have less cushioning.
- Requires some time to get used to it.
They are perfect for fighters who do not want to compromise agility or mobility because of their narrow design.
3. Budget Choice – Combat Sports MMA Shin Guards
This is the most budget-friendly option in the list. It is cheap and is suitable for light sparring. The most attractive feature of this shin guard is that it is machine washable.
To clean them, remove the padding and throw it in your washing machine. This is a useful feature from a hygiene perspective as fighters get very sweaty. Moreover, the washing also removes foul odor and dirt from it. This shin guard offers decent protection and has excellent practical features. It can be worn as a sock and pulled over the feet and leg.
- Easy to clean.
- Made from stretchable polyester blend material.
- Provides ultra-secure fit.
- Cheap, easy to roll and carry.
- Velcro pocket for foam padding.
- Easy to wear.
- Optimal mobility and performance.
- Available in XL, L M, S, and XS.
- Suitable for amateur competitions.
- Does not slip easily.
- Affordably priced.
- Not suitable for intense training.
- Provides less support compared to others.
- Offers minimal protection.
- Not very durable.
- Tends to become loose after repeated use.
- Difficult to adjust the fit as there are no straps
An excellent choice for beginners who are testing the waters and are looking for a budget option before making a big investment.
Venum Kontact is an attractive shin guard manufactured by Venum, a Thailand based company. They are very popular for making quality products at a cheaper price point. This particular model is well suited for light impact. It favors lightweight and comfort overprotection and high padding.
It has velcro straps and makes use of high-quality cotton. The ankle area of the shin guard is very flexible. You can thus move your legs around without feeling restricted. These are a great pair of shin guards that have high user ratings.
- Sleeve design.
- Instep design.
- Excellent protection to the feet.
- Padding is evenly distributed.
- Protects areas most prone to kicks.
- Velcro closing system.
- Easy to adjust.
- Very Lightweight.
- Excellent mobility and speed.
- Machine washable.
- Good for amateurs.
- One size fits all.
- Available in 11 color combinations.
- Flashy graphics and trendy designs.
- Does not offer the best protection.
- Not durable.
- Not suitable for advanced training and professionals.
If you are looking for a minimal weight shin guard for light sparring, these are an excellent option to consider.
Do you like bright colors and eye-catching aesthetics? If yes, then the Venum Elite standup shinguards are a great choice. They are handmade in Thailand and make use of high-quality synthetic leather. They are available at a price range higher than the entry-level models. However, you will get a long-lasting pair of shin guards for the money you pay.
It has a lightweight design that does not compromise your mobility. The 2-layer foam padding provides excellent protection even against powerful knocks. To give all-round protection, padding is also used in the foot region. The dual velcro, extra-wide elastic straps offer a secure fit.
- High-density foam padding.
- Comfortable to wear
- Made using synthetic leather.
- Good option for Vegans.
- Anatomical design aides maximal mobility.
- Very durable
- Does not restrict movement when doing full lunges.
- Does not slip.
- Enough padding on the shin and foot.
- Enhanced shock absorption capabilities
- Large ankle and foot straps provide excellent support.
- Weight supports smooth movement while sparring.
- Does not need any adjustment when in use.
- Available in many sizes.
- 15 color combinations.
- Slick graphics and embossed labels add to its visual appeal.
- Tight in the calf region.
- Velcro strap is not very strong.
This shin guard excels in both fashion and design quality and is suitable for fighters at any level.
How to choose a suitable shin guard?
While picking up a suitable shin guard, focus your attention on the below 3 points:
- Shin guard type – there are two types to choose from sock-type shin guards and shin guards along with adjustable straps. If speed and mobility are essential to you, opt for sock-type shin guards. If you want more protection, go for shin guards along with adjustable straps.
- Shin guard size– If you buy too big, it will be loose and always slip around. If it is too small, it will not provide the required level of protection, and it will be uncomfortable to wear.
- Shin guard fit– Ensure that the one you choose does not pinch or feel wrong; otherwise, the shin guard will spin or slide around due to sweat while training.
How to choose the correct shin guard size?
Generally, the taller a person is or, the bigger their calves are, the bigger the size they will need.
To choose the correct size, measure the width of the leg at the calf region. It will give you a rough idea about the size you will need. Measure your shin’s length as some shin guards are shorter or taller than usual to accommodate people of various sizes. You may also refer to the size chart provided by the brand before you decide to buy one.
Can you use other types of shin guards for Muay Thai?
Although shin guards are generally used in other sports, they are of a different type and are not recommended for Muay Thai. They are hard and are usually made with materials not suitable for Muay Thai.
Using other types of shin guards can compromise your safety and also put your opponent in danger.
Can I wash my shin guard?
Yes, you can wash your shin guard. The washing method depends on the type of shin guard and the material used in its construction. Sock-type shin guards can be tossed in the washing machine after taking out the foam padding. It is impossible to do the same with the shin guards with adjustable straps.
Shin guards made from leather must never be soaked in soapy water, but this is an excellent way to wash shin guards made from synthetic leather. Read the manufacturer’s instructions before washing your shin guard.
How do I wash my shin guard?
As long as it is mentioned that the shin guard is machine washable, it is ok to wash them in washing machines. For shin guards that cannot be machine washed, follow the below suggestion:
- The Soaking Method – If you have shin guards made from synthetic leather, soak them in soapy water for 20 minutes. Add a small amount of detergent to prevent molding.
- Antibacterial wipes – Wipe down the front of the shin guard using antibacterial wipes. This will help to remove bacteria, blood, and germs.
- Baking soda – It has properties that neutralize bad odor and help clean your shin guard. This method takes time, and you might have to wait for a day to see results.
- Damp cloth – If you have leather shin guards, use a damp cloth to remove dirt and stains. After cleaning, use a hair dryer or towel to absorb excess moisture.
- Deodorizer – Apart from eliminating the stink, deodorizers have a potent formula that can help you remove a stubborn stain. Some deodorizers contain bleach that can cause the color to fade and do more harm than good. So read the labels before use.
Are the sizes for men similar to women?
There is no change in the sizes as shin guard size is usually determined based on the user’s height. It is ideal to refer to the size charts before buying.
How long do shin guards last?
The longevity of shin guards depends on how well you take care of them, its quality, and how often you use it. If you are careful with these points and are not training in a scorching and humid climate, good quality shin guards can serve you well for at least 1-2 years.
What are the components of a shin guard?
- Shin protection – This forms the pad’s body and extends from the upper part of the foot to the lower part of the knee. It is built using foam.
- Foot/ankle protection – It protects the vulnerable area on the foot and ankle from nasty injuries.
- Fitting straps – These straps secure the foot and leg to the guard. There must be one on the calf and one near the ankle and 1-2 on foot.
Is it necessary to invest in expensive Muay Thai shin guards?
The answer depends on how often you plan to use your shin guards and your skill levels. If you use them only 1-2 days a week, you can buy a pair of mid-range shin guards.
If you are training hard and practice often, then it makes sense to invest in high-end ranges. They are durable and provide optimal protection and comfort.
It is not advisable to buy the cheapest pair available as it will offer very little protection and will slide off while sparring.
Why are shin guards necessary in Muay Thai?
Shin guards are necessary for Muay Thai as it protects the user and the opponent during sparring and drills. It helps to train without worrying about getting injured.
The Fairtex competition Muay Thai shin guards is our savviest choice.
This shin guard ticks all the parameters that you must look for before buying the product. It does fair better than the others comparing design, mobility, and protection. It fits the contour of one’s legs and provides excellent support and comfort.
All the other shin guards listed in this article are of good quality and reliable. Your final choice will depend on your personal preference, need, and budget.
A pair of well-fitting shin guards is as necessary as any good hand wraps and gloves as they help keep your feet and shins safe from injuries. It is recommended not to train without them. This advice goes for both professional fighters and amateurs.
From a large variety of shin guards available in the market, the best Muay Thai shin guards in the 2020 list have narrowed it down to the top 5. Whether you go with our top pick or any other shin guard on the list, you are sure to end up with something worth your money.