Adequate protection during training and sparring is important, and not just because it helps prevent injuries to you and your partner – confidence in your protective gear allows you to go harder during training, eliminating second guessing and promoting a stronger understanding of important techniques.
How To Start Your Search for the Best Muay Thai Shin Pads
Finding the right pair of shin guards first requires determining how you plan to use them. Are you looking for shin guards to use against kick pads between shin conditioning sessions? Do you plan to use them while sparring with a partner? Are you looking to invest in guards you can take to future competitions?
The direct contact of sparring and competition work requires careful thought when it comes to choosing appropriate shin guards. You’ll want to invest in the most flexible guards possible to ensure agility against a moving target. You’ll also want to watch out for sharp edges that could scratch your partner if the guards come up against bare skin.
Then, there’s the matter of form factor. Shin guards with straps are the most common choice in many gyms, offering a high degree of protection and featuring durable materials. Many sock-style guards do not offer the same amount of protection for the wearer – sparring partners might not appreciate the increased impact, either. But due to their flexibility, sock-style guards are often the preferred choice in amateur competitions that allow protective wear.
Different types of shin guards also offer varying levels of protection in different places on the shin. Some guards practically cover the knee when purchased in larger sizes, which can reduce flexibility but protects against potentially serious injury. Lower shin guards can sometimes leave a gap below the knee, but it’s possible to pair the guards with a separate pair of knee pads if needed.
Quality instep protection is perhaps one of the most important features of shin guards for Muay Thai practitioners. The foot is exceptionally fragile, so a good pair of shin guards will offer plenty of padding to soften the blow. Look for guards with instep portions that offer plenty of flexibility so your movements can remain as agile as possible.
Best Muay Thai Shin Pad Reviews
Top King Pro Genuine Leather Shin Pads
With a reputation as one of the best manufacturers of Muay Thai gear on the market, Top King offers a robust selection of shin guards for training and sparring. The “Pro” line is crafted from durable genuine leather for strength and longevity. Each guard is deeply curved to avoid slippage, but the shape itself is somewhat narrow for a streamlined fit.
The thick padding is distributed to all the right places – even the space where the foot meets the shin, an area often neglected by other brands. Another unique feature is the raised knee, a handy way to dampen the effects of knee-to-knee contact.
Owners of Top King shin guards find them to stay in place well thanks to the curved shape, but those with smaller calves might have trouble “filling out” the top portion. The raised knee guard is a unique and protective feature that many buyers appreciate, while others warn that it reduces mobility for certain types of kicks.
- Genuine leather construction
- Dense protective foam
- Handmade in Thailand
- Streamlined design
- Stays in place
- Extra instep and knee protection
- Available in bright colors
- Straps too short for some wearers
- Stiff leather takes time to break in
Fairtex Competition Shin Guards
While the Fairtex brand is well-known for its gloves, it’s also a favorite innovator when it comes to protective gear. Their competition line of shin guards is handmade in Taiwan, taking extra care to avoid any rough edges or metal fixtures that could harm a partner while sparring.
One especially unique feature is the detachable foot guard. Not only does this make the guard a little more adaptable to fit different leg lengths, it also grants a free range of ankle motion for quick movements while training or sparring.
Owners who use the Fairtex competition shin guards for everyday training report that the protection, quality, and maneuverability of these shin guards is just as satisfactory as the marketing material implies. Of course, like all shin guards, different people have different opinions on fit – some find the ankle straps too loose or the guards too tight, while others report flawless comfort.
- Detachable instep protector
- Soft comfortable straps
- Smooth construction
- Handmade in Thailand
- Available in eye-catching primary colors
- Thick protective padding
- Synthetic leather construction
- Fairly bulky design
Venum Predator Stand-Up Shin Guards
Predator is Venum’s premium line of Muay Thai shin protectors. They feature multi-density foam to ensure that the guards remain lightweight while offering extra padding right where you need it most – along the shin bone and the top of the foot.
The wide straps and curved guard form prevent slippage and discomfort even during the most robust training sessions. These guards have no metal loop, making them suitable for use in competitions where shin guards are allowed.
Muay Thai practitioners who own Venum Predator shin guards find that they live up to the promises delivered by the advertising. Despite their synthetic leather construction, the material still remains durable with repeated wear. A few reviewers did find them difficult to size, a common complaint with any brand of protective gear.
- Wide straps
- Designed in Thailand
- Low-profile shape
- Extra padding along shin bone and instep
- Made from synthetic leather
- Difficult to size
Investing in quality protective gear can prolong your Muay Thai experience by preventing potentially serious injuries, and will often help prevent injuries to potential sparring and training partners as well. It’s more than worth your time to try several different models of shin guards – or even invest in multiple types to suit different training activities as appropriate.
Once you find a brand or specific model that fits well, offers adequate protection, and gives you more confidence in your striking and blocking abilities, you’ll never want to go back to loaner or sub-standard protective gear again.