best shin guards for muay thai and mma

The Best Shin Guards for Muay Thai and MMA (2019)

When you first start to train Muay Thai and MMA you quickly realize that shin guards are an essential requirement to properly train. Whether you train Muay Thai or MMA, a great pair of shin guards are needed so that you can protect your feet, ankles, and shins while kicking. It really doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a pro, the selection of your shin guards is an important decision to make. There are no shortcuts when it comes to safety, which is why choosing the best shin guards for Muay Thai or MMA is so important. By the end of this article, my goal is that you found the best shin guards for your specific type of training.

Many of you reading this are either beginners or just starting to spar and need a pair of shin guards for either your Muay Thai or MMA class. No matter what type of training you’re doing, you’ve come to the right place. A good pair of shin guards will offer you enough protection for not only your shin but for your ankle as well so that you don’t get injured when sparring. If you’re looking for the best Muay Thai gear and equipment in general, I highly suggest you visit our Ultimate Buyer’s Guide for Muay Thai.

Guru's Choice
Product
Fairtex Competition Shin Guards - Black - Large
Product Name
Rating
Prime
Colors
4
More Information
Product
Hayabusa T3 Muay Thai and Kickboxing Shin Guards (Large, Black/Red)
Rating
Prime
Colors
5+
More Information
Product
Venum Challenger Standup Shinguards, Black, Medium
Rating
Prime
Colors
5+
More Information
Best Value
Product
Sanabul Essential Hybrid Kickboxing MMA Shin Guards (Blue, S/M)
Rating
Prime
Colors
5+
More Information
Product
KINGTOP Top King Shin Guard Protector for Protection in Muay Thai, Boxing, Kickboxing, MMA (Black/Black,M)
Rating
Prime
-
Colors
5+
More Information

Why do you need Shin Guards for Muay Thai and MMA?

When you’re first starting out as a beginner training Muay Thai, it’s very likely that your shins are unconditioned. You will probably need to purchase a thicker pair of shin guards that have more protection so that you aren’t constantly injuring your shins. Many people recommend thinner shin guards so that you can condition your shins properly, and this is very bad advice. You should save the shin conditioning for your heavy bag training, NEVER for sparring or kicking at a partner. This is why it’s so important to find the best shin guards for Muay Thai and MMA.

When I first started training Muay Thai, I quickly realized how important shin guards were for my own protection as well as my partners. It’s always smart to be a good partner, you wouldn’t want a bad partner with a cheap pair of shin guards because that type of impact ends up hurting you in the long run. When I was first conditioning my shins I thought that I could possibly start kicking down banana trees like I see the pros do in Thailand, boy was I wrong.

Another question I get asked is if you can use soccer shin guards for Muay Thai or MMA, and the answer is absolutely NOT. Soccer shin guards are very hard and are made with a completely different material than Muay Thai shin guards. This will not only hurt your shins but it’s also very dangerous for your partner as well. You need Muay Thai shin guards that are well balanced between size and protection, obviously bulkier shin guards provide superior protection, however, these type of shin guards can often hinder your kicks.

How to Choose the Best Shin Guards for Muay Thai and MMA

Before we show you our shin guard recommendations, it’s helpful to know some of the various differences that you’ll have to choose from when purchasing shin guards for Muay Thai and MMA. Rarely will you find the perfect pair of shin guards that meet your every need, however, after finishing this article you’ll have a better idea on how to find the best shin guards for your specific type of training.

Shin Guard Size and Fit

We touched base on this earlier, the heavier and bulkier the shin guard is a direct correlation to how much protection it offers. However, the bulkier shin guard can also hinder your ability and freedom of motion when you kick. There are always trade-offs and compromises when you purchase Muay Thai or MMA shin guards. You need to be able to find the perfect balance between protection and comfort. I was lucky enough to purchase a pair of Twins shin guards and they were perfect for me, the right balance between protection and comfort.

shin guard size chart

Muay Thai shin guards typically come in general sizing of Small/Medium/Large. The sizing chart provided is usually based off of height. However, if you have longer legs than usually for your body you may need to measure your shins. This is important because if your shin guards are too big they will disrupt your movement a lot during training and sparring. The same goes for if your shin guards are too small, they won’t offer enough protection and may fit too tight which is uncomfortable.

Shin Guard Material

This is where it gets interesting, when you’re going to purchase your first pair of Muay Thai shin guards you’re going to have a variety of options to choose from. You typically will have either leather or synthetic leather options, however, “sock-sleeve” type shin guards are becoming more popular because of how inexpensive they are. Of course, leather is much more durable when compared to all other options, while synthetic leather and sock-sleeve shin guards are much more inexpensive.

The one good thing about synthetic leather is that they usually offer enhancements such as anti-odor technology, however, I’ve never had a problem with my leather shin guards (I usually clean them once a week or so). If you spar in MMA or Muay Thai I wouldn’t recommend sleeve shin guards as they aren’t that durable when compared to leather. The last time I sparred with someone who had sock sleeve shin guards it didn’t end well for both of us when he hit my elbow.

Shin Guard Quality vs. Price

Shin guards are one of the products you don’t wanna be cheap with when training Muay Thai or MMA. I have personally seen SO MANY of my fellow training partners buy a cheapo pair of shin guards and immediately regret it. There are so many problems when it comes to cheap shin guards, they usually don’t fit well, they slip off or to the side of your leg (which it’s super annoying to have to re-align your shin guards after every kick). The worst part about cheap shin guards is that they don’t give you the protection you need to succeed.

A good pair of shin guards should last you a very long time, there is no reason to be cheap when shopping for your Muay Thai shin guards. I personally have had the same pair of shin guards for 4 years now and they are still in pretty good condition, I paid around $80. When you break that down that’s only $20 a year or less, much cheaper than buying cheapo shin guards once a year. Trust me on this one, buy good shin guards! Your feet and shins will thank you later.

Shin Guard Brands

I always recommend buying from a brand that produces their shin guards in Thailand. I always try to get my training equipment directly from the source that it’s most practiced. In Thailand all they do is Muay Thai, if you compare it to the United States it’s basically like baseball over there. Kids as young as 4-5 years old start training Muay Thai. In Thailand, they know how to make a good pair of Muay Thai shin guards.

Muay Thai shin guards that are made in Thailand have been tested by professional Muay Thai fighters for decades upon decades, they know a good pair of shin guards when they use them. All of the major brands that have shin guards made in Thailand have been tested by some of the hardest kicking professionals in the world. You can be sure that when you purchase a pair of shin guards that are directly from Thailand that they’re some of the highest quality in the world. Whether you’re looking for the best MMA shin guards or the best Muay Thai shin guards, we’ve got you covered with our top 10 shin guards for Muay Thai and MMA list.

The Top 10 Shin Guards for Muay Thai and MMA

Guru’s Choice – Fairtex Competition Shin Guards – Guru Score: 9.5/10

Sale
Fairtex Competition Shin Guards

Pros:
– 4 different colors to choose from
– Made in Thailand with high-quality material
– Great mobility when wearing these shin guards
– Excellent comfort and long-lasting leather

Cons:
– Can be uncomfortable at first

Guru Score: 9.5/10

The Fairtex Competition Muay Thai Shinguards have been re-designed to eliminate all metal fixtures and rough edges. They are lightweight, durable, and provide complete protection for both the shin and instep. This complete re-design makes them perfect for both competition and sparring. These shinguards are great for professionals, but even more forgiving for beginners. They are great for an aggressive training style or for those hard sparring sessions.

The Fairtex Muay Thai Shinguards include a hook and loop pull strap, which provides a secure fit with a durable synthetic leather shell. These shin guards are shock-absorbing and include a high-density foam core. Extended instep for greater foot protection. Handmade in Thailand so you know these shin guards are made with the highest quality materials. I can truthfully say that the Fairtex Competition shin guards are the best shin guards for Muay Thai and MMA on this list.


Best Value – Sanabul Essential Shin Guards – Guru Score: 8.5/10

Sale
Sanabul Essential Shin Guards

Pros:
– 5+ different colors to choose from
– Inexpensive shin guards great for beginners
– Light shin guards that aren't bulky

Cons:

– Less durable

Guru Score: 8.5/10

The great thing about the Sanabul Essential Hybrid Shin Guards is that they are perfectly designed for both Muay Thai and MMA training. They have the feel and protection of traditional Muay Thai shinguards while having the comfort of MMA shin guards. Another great thing about the Sanabul Essentials is that you won’t have to adjust your shin guards during training. With the neoprene slip design that includes a top leg and proprietary mid-leg fastener, your shin guards are ensured to have a comfortable fit that minimizes shin guard movement.

They do have extra reinforcement and high-impact protection foam, however, these shin guards won’t last you years of hard training. I would say these shin guards are mid-tier when it comes to design and quality. They are absolutely excellent for beginners and are friendly for your wallet. These are some of the best MMA shin guards but they’re also great as Muay Thai shin guards as well.


Venum Challenger Shin Guards – Guru Score: 9/10

Venum Challenger Shin Guards

Pros:
– 6 different colors to choose from
– Made in Thailand of the highest quality
– Amazing mobility and design

Cons:
– Expensive shin guards for beginners

Guru Score: 9/10

To be honest, I’m not usually so high on “Venum” equipment because they usually focus more on fashion and looks than they do quality. However, the Venum Challenger shin guards excel in both fashion and design quality. These are the perfect lightweight performance shin guards for all levels. The Venum Challenger is constructed with high-density foam that includes additional padding across the shin and instep for enhanced shock absorption.

The Venum Challenger shin guards feel like pillows on your legs, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. Every time I’m in the gym sparring with someone who is wearing these I know we’ll both be protected. They are the perfect balance between size and comfort, meaning they will protect you while allowing you to still have mobility. I believe the Venum Challenger shin guards are one of the best shin guards for Muay Thai and MMA.


Hayabusa T3 Shin Guards – Guru Score: 9/10

Hayabusa T3 Shin Guards

Pros:
– Awesome design and superior comfort
– 6 different colors to choose from
– Unmatched attention to detail and craftsmanship
– Long lasting durable pair of shin guards

Cons:
– Will feel stiff at first

Guru Score: 9/10

The Hayabusa T3 shin guards are state of the art equipment that lets you strike harder, train longer and perform better. Dual hook-and-loop strap and silicone grip to minimize shifting. Flexible pre-curved design contours the leg and knee providing superior protection. A comfortable and secure fit whether you’re striking or blocking. Flexible and lightweight for optimal mobility and protection.

The Hayabusa T3 shin guards are constructed with a flexible pre-curved design that stays in place no matter the intensity of training. Ergonomically aligned to contour the leg and knee, providing maximum shin protection and support with every block or strike. These are one of my favorite choices, however, they do come at a hefty cost. These are one of the best shin guards for MMA and Muay Thai.


Top King Shin Guards – Guru Score: 9.5/10

Top King Shin Guards

Pros:
– 7 different design styles to choose from
– Made in Thailand with superior craftsmanship
– Traditional Muay Thai designs, Great looking shin guards
– Lightweight and durable

Cons:
– May feel tight at first

Guru Score: 9.5/10

The Top King shin guards are one of the most traditional Muay Thai shin guards available today. They are made in Thailand with superior craftsmanship and Muay Thai in mind. Specially designed with extra attention paid to the areas around the lower leg muscles and under the kneecaps to offer more protection than other shin guards. Hook and loop closure for a secure and comfortable fit.

These shin guards are sure to turn heads with traditional Muay Thai designs that look great. The Top King shin guards are super comfortable and have a great look to them, you really can’t go wrong with Top King. The only downside to the Top King shin guards is that they can be expensive when compared to other shin guards on this list, however, they are well worth the price. Top King makes great products and these shin guards are some of the best available for Muay Thai.


RDX Shin Guards – Guru Score: 8.5/10

Sale
RDX Shin Guards

Pros:
– Inexpensive shin guards great for beginners
– Lightweight shin guards that allow great mobility

Cons:
– Less durable shin guards

Guru Score: 8.5/10

RDX shin guards with in-step design can be used for Muay Thai and MMA. The molded non-bulky design with dual-padding is made with lightweight nylon outer cover for superb durability. The interior consists of Shell-Shock Gel and Max-Shock foam to absorb the most violent of shocks when it comes to Muay Thai or MMA.

The RDX shin guards aren’t the most durable or top of the line shin guards out there, however, they will get the job done at an inexpensive price. These shin guards are great for beginners just getting into Muay Thai, MMA, or even kickboxing. However, if you’re a lifelong pro or aggressive sparrer, these might not be for you. I like the RDX shin guards because they hold tremendous value for beginners, they are some of the best mma shin guards available today at an inexpensive price.


Meister Shin Guards – Guru Score: 8.5/10

Meister Shin Guards

Pros:
– Inexpensive shin guards great for beginners
– Cowhide leather is very forgiving

Cons:
– Less durable shin guards

Guru Score: 8.5/10

Meister MMA’s revolutionary new shin guards are the perfect combination of function and fit. Designed to perfectly cover all contact areas on your shins and feet, the Meister shin guards are constructed from slightly-rounded high-density impact foam that conforms to the leg within a 100% Cowhide Leather body. A layer of gel covers the entire foot top for extra strike absorption.

These shin guards are incredibly light at just 10 oz per guard, the Meister shins guards won’t weigh you down. Comfortable straps secure the guard to the back of the leg and open fully to allow you to easily slip the pair on and off. Three straps keep the guards secure to your feet, including a larger strap on the ball of the foot with rubberized dots for extra traction on the mat. An incredible value by any measure, great shin guards for beginners.


Venum Elite Shin Guards – Guru Score: 9/10

Sale
Venum Elite Shin Guards

Pros:
– 10+ color combinations
– Made in Thailand with high-quality craftsmanship
– Premium leather construction

Cons:
– Can be expensive for beginners

Guru Score: 9/10

The Venum Elite shin guards were specially created for the elite fighters who looking for superior and up-to-date fighting performances. Its pro-anatomical reinforcement on the key areas: shinbone and instep, and delivers ultimate protection and optimal striking surface.

The Venum Elite shin guards include 2 large velcro straps and elastic bands that are placed under the foot and heel to insure a secure and comfortable fit. Handmade in Thailand with a 100% Skintex leather construction which make the “Elite” standup shin guards high quality, great durability and affordable price. The Elite shin guards are a step above the Venum Challenger shin guards when it comes to design and price-point. I think the Venum elite shin guards are one of the best MMA shin guards available today.


Fairtex Neoprene Shin Guards – Guru Score: 9/10

Fairtex Neoprene Shin Guards

Pros:
– Made in Thailand with super high-quality craftsmanship
– Durable and lightweight design
– Comfortable shin guards that are very protective

Cons:
– Can feel uncomfortable at first

Guru Score: 9/10

The Fairtex Neoprene Shin Guards have reinforced padding at the shin to help protect against injury yet are sleek enough to allow for all types of grappling movements during MMA sparring. They are lightweight, durable, and provide complete protection for both the shin and instep.

This type of lightweight design makes them perfect for both competition and sparring. The addition of a hook & loop cover over the elastic band at the top assures a secure fit every time. Handmade in Thailand so you know they are made of high-quality craftsmanship. These are a step below the Fairtex Competition Shin Guards.


Venum Predator Shin Guards – Guru Score: 9.5/10

Venum Predator Shin Guards

Pros:
– Made in Thailand with high-quality craftsmanship
– Highest quality Venum shin guards
– Comfortable and durable leather

Cons:
– Can be expensive for beginners

Guru Score: 9.5/10

Handmade in Thailand with the highest quality material and conception, “Predator” shin guards are just at the highest level of shin guard equipment chain! Triple reinforced front panels, both on shin and leg protection offers you supreme protection on impacts. Its anatomical pre-curved design offers you the perfect fit: your comfort is better and your mobility is upgraded!

Carlos Condit, Lyoto Machida and Wanderlei Silva all use the Venum Predator shin guards during their preparations for UFC fights. The innovative blend of Skintex and Buffalo leather offer the best training and sparring experience. Velcro enclosure and high-density foam with additional padding across the shin and in-step. The Predator is the top of the chain when it comes to Venum shin guards. The predator is one of the best Muay Thai shin guards available today, they are also great for MMA and kickboxing as well.


Did you Find your Perfect Muay Thai Shin Guard?

We know it’s not easy to find the best pair of shin guards for Muay Thai, MMA, or Kickboxing. However, we hope this guide was helpful in your search for the perfect shin guards. Finding a shin guard for training or sparring that is comfortable yet allows your body to move naturally should be your number one goal when looking for a Muay Thai or MMA style shin guard. Every shin guard that we included on this list has the capability of being the perfect protection for you. Everyone is different so don’t be discouraged when shopping around for a pair of shin guards.

We realize combat sports is a serious topic when it comes to your safety and health. Training and sparring can be dangerous at times and we are grateful that you trust The MMA Guru’s decision when you search for your MMA, Boxing, Muay Thai, and Jiu Jitsu equipment. We hope that you were able to find the best shin guards for Muay Thai and MMA training.

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