As a Muay Thai fighter, you take extra care of your fists. What about your shins? They also deserve some good love, right?
And what better way to take care of your shins than to wear a good pair of shin guards?
If you are looking for exactly that, then we are here to help! For our today’s material, we have examined 5 great shin guard models. Plus, we’ve made a guide to help you choose that best shin guard from them.
Shall we see what these 5 shin guards have got?
Best Muay Thai/MMA Shin Guards Reviewed
If you are looking for top-quality shin protectors, then Top King Muay Thai shin guards may be the best right pick for you.
First off, these shin guards are handmade in Thailand, which is a thing that really plays a role in shin guards. Thailand-made shin guards are the best, so you’d want to get them regardless of the price.
Anyway, the material these shin guards are made from is genuine leather. Thanks to this, Top King Muay Thai shin pads deliver excellent durability for heavy use.
In terms of protection, Top King Muay Thai shin pads are also great. Covering the entire front of the shins and ankles, these shin pads are equipped with thick and heavy-duty padding to ensure protection and allow you to strike as powerfully as you need.
These shin pads are also rather convenient thanks to their easy to use hook and loop closures.
While Top King offers several size options for their shin guards, this particular one has a large size. If that’s exactly what you need, then these pads may be the best Muay Thai shin pads for you.
The same goes for the color: Top King has several color versions of these pads, but these ones come in solid black, so keep that in mind.
- Good balance between comfort and protection.
- Only large size.
If you value protection more than anything else, then Fairtex Muay Thai shin guards may interest you. In fact, these shin guards may be a great pick for use during competition since they don’t have any metal loops!
Wide and bulky, these shin guards deliver excellent protection levels. Its shock-absorbing and high-density padding allows you to both land powerful kicks and comfortably withstand the hits of your opponent.
In terms of durability, Fairtex Muay Thai shin guards are rather good, albeit possibly not as good as Top King guards we examined earlier. That’s because they are made from synthetic leather that is cheaper and less durable than genuine leather. Synthetic leather tends to be more moisture-resistant though.
Convenience is also pretty good in these shin pads thanks to their hook and loop closures.
Handmade in Thailand, these shin guards do offer excellent build quality as well.
Fairtex offers 4 size options for these shin guards: small (under 5’3”/135 lbs.), medium (5’3”-5’10”/136-160 lbs.), large (5’10”-6’1”/161-215 lbs.), and X-large (6’1”-6’4”/over 216 lbs.). In addition, they offer 4 color options: black, blue, red, and yellow.
While Fairtex Competition Muay Thai shin guards deliver great protection, keep in mind that they may be less convenient for use due to their increased weight and size. Quick fighters would want to look for something lighter.
- Very protective.
- Have no metal loops in them.
- Bulkier and heavier than the other reviewed shin guards.
In case you are looking for light and comfortable Muay Thai shin guards, then Venum Predator Standup may interest you. In fact, thanks to their comfort, these shin guards can also be used in MMA.
These shin guards cover as much shin surface as necessary to ensure a good balance between protection and mobility. The Predator shin guards are lighter and less bulky than the previous two shin guards we reviewed.
While these shin pads may lack protection when compared to the heavier models, we can’t say that they under-deliver. Made with triple-reinforced panels and multi-density foam padding, the Predator shin pads offer great protection.
These shin pads are also great in terms of durability thanks to the Skintex leather blend manufactured by Venum. This is synthetic leather, but it is heavy-duty and long-lasting.
Venum also equipped their shin pads with Velcro closures under the knee and over the ankle for convenient putting on.
Venum offers the Predator in 3 sizes – medium, large, X-large – and 3 colors – black/gold, black/red, and black/white.
The Predator pads can be used in competition since they don’t have any metal loops in them. Overall, these shin pads are great competition pads for fighters who value mobility more than protection.
- No metal loops.
- Provide excellent mobility.
Hayabusa T3 Muay Thai shin guards offer the best protection level among the shin guards we reviewed. So if you aren’t worried about lightness and speed, then these pads may be the best Muay Thai shin guards for you.
What makes these shin guards so protective though?
First off, it’s the material. Made with flexible and multi-layered foam, the T3 shin guards deliver protection for the entire shin surface. The foam complex of these shin guards absorbs the impact and dissipates its energy along the large surface area of the guards.
The protective surface of the T3 shin guards curves out and slightly up to protect the outer surface of your shins from the offenses of your opponent. In addition, its foot pads can cover your fingers as well if your feet aren’t too long for them.
Another feature that makes these shin guards highly protective is that they have silicone lining gripping the shins from the inside. The silicone lining is designed to prevent the guards from shifting to allow you to focus on the fight and not worry about the protection of your shins.
The inner lining of the T3 shin pads employs an antimicrobial coating to minimize odor and make cleaning easier. In addition, the lining is highly breathable, so it won’t be prone to slipping due to sweating.
T3 shin pads are also designed to be light and flexible, but they definitely aren’t as speedy as the Venum Predator pads we have reviewed previously. Again, these pads are more about protection than speed.
Hayabusa offers their T3 shin guards in 4 sizes – small, medium, large, and X-large – and 5 colors.
- Excellent protection.
- Breathable and odor-resistant.
And the last model on our review of best MMA shin guards is Venum Elite Standup! These shin guards are very similar to the Venum Predator guards we reviewed earlier, but there are two important differences between them.
Firstly, the Elite Standup shin pads have metal loops in them, which makes them non-compliant with competition regulations. Thereby, these shin pads are designed for training.
Besides, the Elite pads are cheaper than the Predator shin pads.
In fact, if you want to get the Predator pads for competition, you may want to get the Elite pads as well to use when training. This way, you’ll keep the Predator pads fresh for competitions while training with practically identical Elite pads.
Other than the metal loops, the two shin guards are pretty much identical. Both have the same Skintex leather outer shell and multi-layer foam protection, as well as wide Velcro closures.
Since the Elite delivers the same level of comfort and protection as the Predator, sparring in it will also make you used to the competition model.
Interestingly, Venum offers 15 color options for the Elite Standup pads! And when it comes to sizes, they offer 3 – medium, large, and X-large.
- Allow great mobility.
- Have metal loops in them.
How to Choose the Best MMA Shin Guards?
So we have 5 great shin guards reviewed, but how do you actually choose the best one from them? Well, let’s see what you should be looking for in shin guards!
Choose Between Protection And Mobility
When choosing any kind of protective equipment, you’ll need to think about the balance of protection and mobility in it. Shin guards are no exception.
A shin guard cannot be both very protective and very comfortable. It’s either one or the other.
A very light and comfortable shin guard won’t be delivering as much protection for your shins. However, it will allow you to land quick kicks and feel lighter.
And vice versa, a very protective shin guard isn’t going to be light. It sure will protect your shins while both kicking and receiving kicks, but you won’t be having the same feeling of lightness and speed in them.
So which one should you choose? This depends entirely on your skill level and what you actually need from shin guards.
If you are an exceptionally skilled fighter who can easily just avoid receiving kicks in the shin, then you may go for a lighter and less protective shin guards.
You simply won’t need that much protection. At the same time, the lighter weight of the shin guards won’t limit you and will allow you to be as quick as necessary.
But if you miss a lot of kicks into your shins, then you should most likely go for protective shin guards that would allow you to keep your shins intact and healthy.
Your needs also impact the kind of gear that you will need. A very skilled fighter doesn’t necessarily need to get light and comfy shin guards.
So if you, as an experienced Muay Thai fighter, value protection more than comfort, then you’d obviously want to go for protective shin guards.
Aside from that, you may want to wear protective guards if your shins hurt from your previous training session. Even if you normally wear light guards, you may want to wear thick shin guards to protect your shins and allow them to rejuvenate. Simply put, take into account both long- and short-term goals.
Materials are Important
The next thing to look for in shin guards is material. Generally, you should go for the best materials that your budget allows you.
How you will be training or fighting also matters a lot.
Shin guards are usually made from either genuine or synthetic leather. Both types of leather have their own goods, so it is up to you to choose which one is better for you.
Genuine leather typically delivers the greatest durability, but it costs more. The more expensive shin pads are usually made from genuine leather, but there are some exceptions.
Synthetic leather is usually less durable, but it is cheaper than genuine leather. Budget shin guards are mostly made from synthetic leather. In addition, synthetic leather usually is more moisture-resistant than genuine leather.
If you’ll be training a lot and thus require maximum durability, then genuine leather is the best choice. Otherwise, synthetic leather guards would suffice.
When it comes to competition use, it isn’t very easy to say which material would be better. It really depends on what kind of features you want: if you wanted moisture-resistance, synthetic leather shin pads may be better.
Choosing synthetic leather shin guards for competition would be alright: you aren’t competing every day, so you may not necessarily need to have maximum durability.
To work well, the shin guards need to fit you well, right? So, needless to say, size is a very important factor.
Picking the right size for your shin length isn’t difficult: manufacturers usually provide size charts, allowing you to pick the appropriate size of the shin guards.
Keep in mind that sizes aren’t consistent across different manufacturers: a small size for one may be the medium for another. So even if you know what size you need, make sure to check their charts to know what you are actually getting.
Your Goals Matter
The last but not the least thing that matters when choosing the best Muay Thai shin guard is your goals. You need to clearly understand what you will be doing in your new Muay Thai shin guards.
Will you be training? Or will you be competing in them?
If you’ll be competing, then you’ll need to check one thing: to be compliant with competition rules, shin guards need to be free of any metal loops in them. Otherwise, they will only be good for training.
That’s not all though.
If you want to get shin guards for competition, then you would need to get the best ones that you can find. This concerns not only protection and comfort but also the quality of the shin guards: it would be catastrophic if they got torn apart during your competition.
If the same happens during training, it’s alright: you aren’t under any pressure, so you could just stop the training until you get new shin guards. You still should get the best training shin pads you can, but you’ll have time to fix things if you choose wrong.
In addition, if you need shin guards for both competition and training, you should get two separate pairs of shin guards. Your competition shin guards need to be always fresh and ready for the fight, so you shouldn’t use a single pair for both competition and training.
You may still need to break your competition shin pads in, but that’s just a thing that you have to do with shin guards.
How do you measure the length of your shins?
It is usually done by measuring the length of the line from just below the kneecap to the top of your foot. However, manufacturers may recommend varying methods for measuring the shin length, so you should consult their size guides.
What fighting disciplines can you use shin guards for?
When it comes to training, you may use shin guards for any kind of fighting sport with kicks, as long as doesn’t limit your capabilities. When it comes to competition, the rules may differ from discipline to discipline, so you should check that.
If your fighting discipline doesn’t allow shin guards, then there isn’t much point in training in them, unless you are injured. You’ll just get used to them, and fighting without them will be very unusual during competitions.
Do you really have to wear shin pads when competing?
This depends on the sport and competition rules. Whether or not you are required to wear them, you probably should wear them while fighting.
That extra degree of protection certainly is good. If you need to maximize your speed though, you may fight with no shin guards. But you need to be experienced enough for this.
It may seem that there are plenty of variables in play in choosing shin guards, but it is actually easier than it looks. If you know what you are looking for, then you’ll have no problem with picking the right pair.
But what if you have no experience? Well, the best bet would be to go for a cheaper pair to gain that experience with.
Then, when you learn what you need exactly, you’ll be able to find the best shin guards that would serve you for life.
Anyway, if you’ve found a good pair of shin guards while reading our review, why not go and get them?