Best Shin Guards for MMA and Muay Thai Kickboxing: Reviews 2018
The shin is one of the most sensitive bones, hence the importance of protection.
Whether you are a martial arts enthusiast or professional fighter, the physical pain of getting injured in the ring is just as bad as the anguish of being out of the game due to an injury.
For your own safety, you should invest in the best Muay Thai shin guards.
The following complete guide serves as a starting point of your search by reviewing the best shin guards.
We’ll also tell you everything you need to know about choosing the best MMA shin guards.
Let’s get into the details…
Why Use Shin Guards?
Shin protectors can be traced back to ancient Greek and Roman times when warriors wore heavy bronze shin guards in battles as part of their armor.
In the modern world, shin guards are worn for protection in many contact sports.
Shin guards are of paramount importance when it comes to a fighter’s safety. They are so crucial that their compulsory use is sanctioned in many MMA, Muay Thai and contact sport competitions.
Shin guards provide added protection against kicks, punches and other knocks.
Considering the shin bone is not properly insulated by tissue and muscle not to mention their proximity to the locus of action in martial arts, it stands to reason that fighters need the added protection provided by shin guards.
Our Best Shin Guards for MMA and Muay Thai Kickboxing Reviews:
1. Meister MMA Elastic Cloth Shin and Instep Padded Guards Review:
If you want shins for leg kick checking drills while minimizing bruising, the Meister MMA Elastic Cloth Shin and Instep Padded Guards are worth considering. They offer much needed shin conditioning, and are a good middle ground between full shin armor and zero protection.
The level of protection offered is decent with instep padding. The guard covers the shin area and the padding stops just below the knee.
As for comfort, it is easy to forget that you are wearing any shin guards at all. They have Velcro straps at the top that allow for a secure fit and the heel hole in the back allows the padding to mold to your leg. Additionally, these guards are made from a breathable material that keeps your feet cool.
The Mesiter MMA Elastic Cloth Shin and Instep Padded Guards are durably made and hold up well against rough use. Their elasticity is designed to work efficiently without overstretching for a long time. The slip on design is pretty typical but the straps set this pair apart from other models.
2. Contender Fight Sports MMA Muay Thai Kickboxing Protective Grappling Shin Guards Review:
From kickboxing gloves and head guards to shin guards and martial arts apparel, Contender Fight Sports offers it all. It is one of the most acclaimed martial art brands worldwide and understandably so. One of their most notable products is the Contender Fight Sports MMA Muay Thai Kickboxing Protective Grappling Shin Guards.
Available in five sizes and four colors, these shin guards offer everything you’d want from your protective gear and more. You don’t have to worry about always adjusting them when sparring as they offer a secure fit. This is achieved with a neoprene wrap that holds the shin guard firmly in place.
They also feature strategically placed high density foam, which does a good job of absorbing shock. The padding is covered with synthetic leather, hence optimal protection without compromising on aesthetics.
Specially designed for grapplers, the Contender Fight Sports Protective Grappling Shin Guards are a good option for Muay Thai, kickboxing, MMA, Krav Maga and other kinds of contact sports.
3. Combat Sports Washable MMA Elastic Cloth Shin and Instep Padded Muay Thai Shin Guards Review:
Combat Sports is a US-based company that specializes in quality MMA gear including gloves, hand wraps, knee and elbow pads, head gear, heavy bags, speed bags, Thai pads and shin guards just to name a few.
The Combat Sports Washable MMA Elastic Cloth Shin and Instep Padded Muay Thai Shin Guards is one of the highest rated shin guards on the market and for good reason. They are completely washable and all you have to do is remove the foam padding from the Velcro pocket.
The guards are designed with a comfortable compression material that hugs the feet firmly to ensure a secure fit. They made from a polyester blend material with breathable qualities and easily slip on your legs.
Also notable is that these instep padded guards are sold in pairs and come in four sizes to accommodate different users. Their lightweight construction slides easily. It also allows for enhanced performance and mobility.
4. Sanabul Essential Hybrid Kickboxing MMA Shin Guards Review:
Why should have to choose between MMA or kickboxing shin guards when you can opt for a 2-in-1 model. The Sanabul Essential Hybrid Kickboxing MMA Shin Guards eliminate the need to purchase kickboxing and MMA shin guards separately. They are as comfortable as MMA shin guards and offer the same feel and protection as traditional Muay Thai shin guards.
The major highlight of these guards is the enhanced protection, which is achieved with one piece high-impact protection foam. Sanabul specially designed the foam to protect your shins while sparring. The in-step is articulated and contours ergonomically to your feet.
You don’t have to worry about constantly adjusting your shins when sparring. This is because the Sanabul Essential Hybrid Kickboxing MMA Shin Guards incorporate a neoprene non-slip design. It includes a proprietary mid leg fastener and a top leg fastener, thus minimizing shin guard movement and optimizing comfort.
These shin guards also tick all the boxes when it comes to durability. They feature triple stitching throughout, hence added longevity and reinforcement.
5. Venum Kontact Shin and Instep Guards Review:
I will be the first to admit that I don’t always use shin guard sleeves when training. There are people out there who like using shin guard socks because they are good for amateur competitions and offer a tight fit. That said, the Venum Kontact Shin and Instep Guards are an excellent choice for anyone who likes training with minimal protection.
They are lightweight and provide a comfortable fit with minimal protection. These guards are made by Venum, an MMA brand that produces affordable products without compromising on quality or aesthetics. They are designed for beginners and amateur competitions where hard sparring hardly occurs.
Highlights include hook and loop Velcro straps at the top that ensure a custom fit without sliding off. The fit and finish is pretty good, the pad material thin and the quality is on par with the standards established by Venum over the years.
They have a round pad for protecting the front of the ankle at bend and another for protecting the top of your feet. The main shin pad extends from the ankle to just below the knee cap. There is an elastic strap attached to the mesh section around the back to hold the calf.
6. Fairtex Twister Shin Guards SP7 Review:
The Fairtex Twister Shin Guards SP7 are one of the best Muay Thai shin guards you will find on the market. They have firm padding to soften the blow from any side, hence ample shin protection. There is also thick padding in the foot area that reduces the likelihood of walking out of the ring with a swollen foot after landing on an elbow or knee.
You will feel incredibly safe when wearing these shin guards in the ring. The padding does a great job of protecting the entire lower leg. The liner and foot section feel very comfortable. The dome-like shape of the foot allows it to wrap around the leg rather than dangle over your foot. This helps improve comfort.
There is a small elastic piece in the foot section that goes around behind the heel to keep the guard in place. It is very easy to slip in and out of your guards, which are held in place during sparring by Velcro straps. The thickness and size of the straps make it easy for you to retain flexibility in the ring.
7. ProForce Combination Cloth Shin and Instep Guards Review:
The ProForce Combination Cloth Shin and Instep Guards is another one of the best MMA shin guards the market has to offer. They are designed for the versatility that appeals to MMA, Muay Thai, and martial art practitioners. These are an easy choice for someone who is just starting out, particularly since they combine high tech design and comfort with solid protection.
The major selling point is that they have great padding to protect your shins and foot. The extra padding on the impact points is a welcome addition. Unfortunately, the level of protection offered might be on the light side for heavy kickers.
As for the fit, the ProForce Combination Cloth Shin and Instep Guards utilize compression to stay in place. You don’t have to worry about them slipping and constantly readjusting them in the middle of a fight.
Unlike other models, these guards are made from a cloth material that holds up well against rough use. It allows for ease of movement and doesn’t feel cumbersome under the pants. Overall, the performance is great considering the amount you pay for them.
8. Top King Shin Guard Protector Review:
Top King produces one type of shin guard with excellent fit, protection and comfort. As far as protection goes, these guards have ample padding to ensure that your shins don’t get smashed when sparring.
It is also worth noting that the Top King Shin Guard Protectors are considerably narrow and as such, your feet won’t look like they are a foot wide. They offer pretty good coverage as they cover the shin and instep.
These guards come in a variety of color combinations to suit different style options. While they are not the lightest guards, these shin guard pads are fairly lightweight and manage to provide decent protection.
They utilize hook and loop closures to ensure a secure fit. You don’t have to worry about your guards slipping. Additionally, these shin guards are durably made with leather.
9. RDX MMA Shin Instep Guard Leg Pads Review:
RDX is one of the most popular brands in the UK and their products are a first choice for many fighters in many countries. The company has a reputation for providing quality gear at reasonable prices. One of their best contenders is the RDX MMA Shin Instep Guard Leg Pads.
What sets them apart from other models is that they are 3D molded to enhance longevity. They also incorporate RDX’s Impact Protection, an innovation that includes dual gel foam padding as well as nylon inserts. This provides intermediate and advanced kickers with premium protection.
Another notable feature is the QD-1 Technology, which absorbs moisture and sweat to keep your feet cool. The dual padding is built with Supremo Shock foam and Shock Shell gel. These shin guards utilize Neo-1 neoprene and Quick-Ez Velcro closures to ensure a secure yet comfortable fit.
The outer cover is made using a 300 denier nylon material for longevity while QD-2 interior lining is designed to wick away moisture. These enclose a 26mm padding in the shin area, which is more than enough to keep you protected without compromising mobility.
10. Hayabusa Tokushu Shin Guards Review:
Hayabusa Tokushu is one of the most MMA Muay Thai brands in the world and is known for integrating modern design and technology in its products. They provide pretty decent quality products and their shin guards will go a long way towards helping you cleave through opponents.
These shin guards are designed for mobility above everything else. They are lightweight and compact. As such, they won’t get in your way when you decide to wear down your sparring partner with kicks.
When it comes to the fit, the Hayabusa Tokushu Shin Guards will not be a problem. You will feel right at home with them thanks to the double strap system not to mention the non-slip design. You won’t have to worry about constant slipping.
The level of protection offered is exceptional since they provide total shin padding and the foot section has ample ankle protection. The only downside to purchasing these guards is that they are more expensive than most models.
11. Fairtex Competition Muay Thai Shin Guards SP5 Review:
The Fairtex Competition Muay Thai Shin Guards SP5 are designed to provide maximum protection and allow fighters to make healthy contact when throwing kicks at their partners. They feature a double layered foam core that offers unparalleled support and protection without being too flimsy.
Cleaning your guards after sparring is quite easy and the padding doesn’t attract nasty odors. When it comes to comfort, these shin guards utilize foot and ankle straps to stay in place without causing irritation. The fastening straps are adjustable and as such, fit most leg shapes and sizes.
You will be able to move around and throw kicks effortlessly. You will also appreciate the ergonomic shape of these guards as well as the comfortable connection between the shinguard and foot protector.
The Fairtex SP5 Competition Shin Guards are durably constructed with syntek leather. They also come with double layers of high impact foam core that provide optimal protection and comfort. The durable cotton stretch jean lining goes a long way towards preventing slipping when sparring.
The combination of soft lining and stitching free open design guarantees that you won’t have to worry about irritation between the shin and foot. The use of a metal strap loop presents a safety concern, but qualifies fighters for amateur competition.
Shin Guards Buying Guide for Beginners:
Now that you know more about the best Muay Thai shin guards, let’s take a look at the different factors to consider in order to make a choice that is right for you.
The first thing you have to understand is that there is no such thing as a perfect shin guard. In most cases, it is usually a matter of compromise and balance.
Sizing and Fit
Shin guards come in different sizes ranging from small to extra-large. You will need a larger shin guard if you are taller or have bigger calves. The opposite is true for shorter individuals with smaller calves.
If you go a bigger shin guard, chances are it will shift constantly during sparring and you will be forced to readjust it. On the other hand, shin guards that are too small will not provide sufficient protection and may be too uncomfortable to wear.
It is important to note that manufacturers use different size charts. Two shin guards may be of the same size but their fit will differ if they are not from the same brand. Always make sure you try your shin guard if buying from a new brand.
Real vs. Synthetic Leather
The most popular choice when it comes to construction of shin guards is genuine leather. Of course, real leather lasts longer and is more expensive than synthetic leather.
High quality synthetic leather can, in rare cases, match up to the longevity of genuine leather. The best thing about opting for synthetic leather shin guards is that they offer a wider variety of flashy designs and colors.
Protection and Mobility
Perhaps the most important factor to consider before choosing shin guards is protection and mobility. Wider shin guards provide more protection because they cover a larger surface area. The downside is that they are bulky and may slow you down considerably.
Narrow shin guards are lighter and allow for increased mobility. However, they don’t provide a lot of coverage and you may end up with bruises.
Thickness also contributes to the level of protection provided. For instance, thicker shin pads feel less excruciating on your partner’s ribs as compared to thinner ones. Additionally, your shins will feel more impactful to your sparring partner if they have thinner padding.
Sleeve vs. Hook and Loop
Shin guards are broadly categorized into two i.e. sleeve and hook and loop. Sleeve shin guards look more like large socks that one can slide their feet in. These are held in place by compression.
Hook and loop shin guards are more common and feature straps at the back. The straps help keep the shin guards in place, thus ensuring continued comfort.
Top Shin Guard Brands on The Market
The brand has a lot to do with the quality. We always recommend purchasing from Thailand-based brands as they use high quality materials. Additionally, most of their products are handmade to ensure customers get exactly what they pay for.
Some of the shin guard brands that dominate the market include RDX, Fairtex, Twins Special and Hayabusa Tokushu.
This is one of the most popular brands in Europe and offers all kinds of martial arts protective gear including gloves, shin guards, groin guards and Muay Thai kick pads etc. The company has a reputation for delivering quality gear at reasonable prices. Their products are often a first choice for many people.
Established in 1958, Fairtex has been producing high quality Muay Thai, MMA and boxing protective gear for more than 40 years. The company also produces martial arts clothing. All of their products are meticulously engineered and crafted.
From gloves and head gear to shin guards, training gear and fightwear, Twins Special has got your martial art needs covered. Incorporated in 1992 and established more than 60 years ago, this company has a reputation for producing boxing gear with the finest quality products.
Also on our list for best shin guard brands on the market is Hayabusa Tokushu, whose products are royalty in the MMA field. Their products are driven by Japanese workmanship and proficiency. In other words, Hayabusa Tokushu offers unparalleled standards and their products are internationally acclaimed.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why should I invest in shin guards?
High quality shin guards offer unparalleled protection for the shins. This is important as the shins don’t have a lot of muscle or tissue coverage, making them vulnerable to injuries from high impact kicks.
2. What is the most important factor to consider when buying shin guards?
Our best honest advice when it comes to purchasing shin guards is to invest in quality. There is nothing more annoying that sparring in a crappy pair of shin guards that expose parts of your shin.
3. Why do shin guards slip out of place?
The main reason why shin guards slip out of place is too big a fit. If there is a lot of room in the shin guard, it will shift around constantly when sparring. The solution is to get a pair that is designed for your leg size.
Other reasons for shin guards slipping out of place are increased sweat putting shin guards on the wrong leg, and faulty hook straps.
There are a lot of options at your disposal and choosing the right shin guards can, therefore, prove overwhelming. The trick is to identify your needs and go for a model that’s comfortable for you.
With our exhaustive guide above, we’re truly confident that now you’ll have an easy time picking the shin guard to facilitate your safety when participating in contact sports like Muay Thai, MMA, etc.
And if you’re in a hurry, you can just order your guards from the list of the top-quality models we’ve reviewed for you above.