The Best Muay Thai Shin Guards

Best Muay Thai Shin Guards for Beginners: Fairtex SP7 Muay Thai Shin Guards
Best Muay Thai Shin Guards Overall: YOKKAO Matrix Shin Guards
Best Muay Thai Shin Guards on a Budget: RDX Shin Guards Kickboxing Muay Thai, SATRA SMMAF Approved

Table of Contents:
The Best for Beginners – Fairtex SP7 Muay Thai Shin Guards
The Best Overall – YOKKAO Matrix Shin Guards
The Best On A Budget – RDX Shin Guards Kickboxing Muay Thai, SATRA SMMAF Approved
The Best For Hardening Your Shins – RIMSports Muay Thai Shin Guards
Fairtex SP3 Pro Style Shin Guards
Sanabul Essential Hybrid Shin Guards
Twins Special Competition Shin Guards
Venum Elite Standup Shin Guards
Hayabusa T3 Striking Shinguards
Champs MMA Martial Arts Shin Guards
What are the Best Muay Thai Shin Guards?
How to Choose Good Shin Guards
Protection and Mobility
Sizing and Fit
Types of Muay Thai Shin Guard
Muay Thai Shin Guards Vs MMA Grappling Shin Guards
Real Leather Vs Synthetic Leather

The Best Muay Thai Shin Guards

The Best for Beginners – Fairtex SP7 Muay Thai Shin Guards

The Fairtex SP7 are the perfect shin guards for beginners. If I had to describe them in two words, they would be maximum protection. The extra-thick padding will keep both your and your partner’s shins safe, which is important when you’re first learning control.

The price range is decent since the SP7s are not made from genuine leather. These guards are also adaptable and you can use them for different fighting styles.

Lightweight and comfortable, the SP7s are great for long sparring sessions. Users say they can wear them for several hours without any discomfort. Because of the thickness of the padding, these guards hold up well against heavy use.

However, if you’re more advanced in Muay Thai, these may be bulkier than what you’re looking for. They also require extra effort to put on: multiple pieces need to be attached and adjusted.

Pros:

  • Thick padding provides excellent protection
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Hold up well long term

Cons:

  • Some find them bulky
  • Multiple pieces can take more time to put on

The Best Overall – YOKKAO Matrix Shin Guards

Made in Thailand, the YOKKAO Matrix Shin Guards have a sleek design suited to those looking for something now that they’ve leveled up. These are in a slightly higher price range than the Fairtex SP7s. However, considering they’re made with genuine leather, the price is reasonable. 

The YOKKAO Guards have triple-layered foam and offer maximum protection for how lightweight they are. The design is sleek, and they have a quality feel to them. 

Because of the excellent protection combined with the sleek design, these guards are perfect for someone looking to start hardening their shins.

Like many shin guards, these require some time to break in and conform to your ankles and calves. They might not be suitable for someone with especially wide calves.

Pros

  • Sleek and lightweight design
  • Affordable for leather
  • Great protection

Cons

  • Stiff at first – require breaking in
  • Might not fit those with large calves/statures

The Best On A Budget – RDX Shin Guards Kickboxing Muay Thai, SATRA SMMAF Approved

If you really want to get into training but are on a tight budget, you might consider these shin guards by RDX. The interior is faux leather and nylon with a sweat-wicking material. It’s really annoying when your guards slip from sweat, so these are worth trying if you’ve ever had a problem with that.

Although they’re not as good as some of the more premium shin guards, they still offer great protection for the price. Many users say these stay in place well during sparring and training. 

If you’re looking to save cash but want something more durable, it might be worth opting for the Fairtex SP7. Because of the synthetic materials, these might not be as durable as some other guards. Also, depending on your preferences, these RDX Shin Guards may fit a bit bulky.

Pros

  • Great protection
  • Affordable
  • Good for beginners

Cons

  • Synthetic material may not be as durable
  • Foot guard can be bulky

The Best For Hardening Your Shins – RIMSports Muay Thai Shin Guards

Once you start looking into competing in Muay Thai – even at an amateur level – then you’ll need to think about conditioning your shins. In lots of tournaments you can only wear cloth shin guards. Some don’t even allow any shin pads. So, if you’re advanced enough, you should definitely consider getting a pair of cloth Muay Thai shin pads like these RIMSports Muay Thai shin guards.

They’re made of cotton, so they’ve got excellent breathability. And as thin as they are, they still have some very good padding. Just don’t expect them to be as protective as some of the other shin guards on this list. But if you’re looking to make your shin endurance to the next level, then these shin guards might be exactly what you’re looking for.

In terms of downsides, again I’ll reiterate – these are definitely not for beginners. If you’re just starting out, some gyms may not even allow you to use them, because they offer so little protection. 

Pros:

  • Good breathability
  • Low price
  • Good for fighters who want to 

Cons:

  • Very thin. Definitely not for beginners

Fairtex SP3 Pro Style Shin Guards

Fairtex has been making Muay Thai equipment for more than 50 years, so they’ve got a good handle on what makes a great shin guard. The SP3 is no exception. They’re made in Thailand and designed with Muay Thai in mind. 

They use very high quality materials, so they will last you a really long time. They’ve also got high-density foam padding, so your shins and the tops of your feet will be very well protected.

They allow for quite a bit of adjustment, so you can easily get a good fit. So if you often find yourself re-adjusting your shin guards, these might be worth a try.

They’re easy to get on and off, if you’re running on a tight schedule and don’t want to waste even a few minutes. These high-quality shin guards are also comfortable for extended wear, so they’re good for competitions. 

The only trouble with the SP3s, aside from the sizing being a bit picky, is that they don’t cover the knee. So if you’re looking for more than basic protection, they might not be the right choice for you.

Pros

  • Easy to adjust and wear
  • Comfortable for long wear
  • High-quality materials

Cons

  • Don’t cover the knee
  • Sizing is not always perfect

Sanabul Essential Hybrid Shin Guards

The Sanabul Hybrid shin guards are intended to be multi-use and suitable for Muay Thai, MMA, and kickboxing. They’re designed to minimize slippage during use. The neoprene sleeve style holds everything in place. 

These Sanabuls, similar to the RDXs above, will give you exceptional protection considering the price. They also have triple-stitching, meant to make them more durable than some other shin guards in this price range.

Even though they provide great protection, these shin guards are more intended for sparring and practice rather than heavy competition. So if your sparring partners hit really hard, then you may want to go for the Fairtex SP7

Another downside is that the sleeve style can be a bit of a pain to get on and off, especially if you’re not used to it.

Still, given the price, these shin guards are a great choice.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Highly protective
  • Contoured fit for minimum slipping

Cons

  • Not suitable for competition
  • Not much cushion on the sides
  • Sleeve style is not for everyone

Twins Special Competition Shin Guards

Like Fairtex, Twins are another brand famous for its stellar Muay Thai gear. Their Twins Special Competition Shin Guards are no exception.

One of the cool things about them is that they are available in both synthetic and genuine leather. Both have a sleek design with high-density foam padding. They also have a knack for staying in place.

They’re meant for both competitions and daily training, so if you need to invest in only one pair of shin guards, these are definitely a good option. 

The Twins shin guards tend to run small, so if your calves are larger, take their size guide with a grain of salt, and consider getting one or two sizes bigger than you normally would. 

Since the material of the Twins shin guards is thinner, these probably aren’t best for beginners, or for anyone looking for extra protection. But if you’re an advanced fighter, then your shins will be hard enough that you won’t need that extra thickness.

Pros:

  • Stay in place
  • Choice of synthetic or leather
  • Durable
  • Sleek design

Cons:

  • Doesn’t offer a lot of protection
  • Not suitable for beginners
  • Sizes run small

Venum Elite Standup Shin Guards

A nice thing about the Venum Elite Standup Shin Guards is how cool they look, and how many colors they come in. They’re made specifically for Muay Thai and might not be a good option if you dabble a lot in other styles. 

The Venum Elite offer full lower leg protection and a comfortable fit. They don’t offer the best flexibility, but the thick padding means that your shins and feet will stay protected.

However, since they are not made with the most durable materials, these are best suited to being a dedicated pair for practice and sparring only. 

They’re made of synthetic leather, so they won’t last as long as something like the YOKKAO Matrix Shin Guards. Which is why I prefer getting them instead of these Venum shin guards. Don’t get me wrong – I like the look and the ergonomic design, but at this price range, you can definitely do better.

Pros

  • Comfortable fit
  • Great padding
  • Specifically for Muay Thai

Cons

  • Not flexible
  • Not as durable as other brands in this price range
  • Not great to wear for long periods

Hayabusa T3 Striking Shinguards

The Hayabusas are what you need if you’re suffering from a bit too many bruises or minor injuries. With knee-to-foot padding that is lightweight, these are worth the extra money for the extra protection. 

As a bonus, they’re made with Vylar engineered leather, a type of faux, animal-free leather that is supposed to have more durability than other fake leathers. Users find these hold up well even if they have frequent weekly practices. 

These Hayabusa T3s are on the bulky side, so if you prefer something sleeker you might look at the Fairtex SP7 or the YOKKAO shin guards. The only other complaint with these is that the grippy liner intended to keep them in place can get slippery with sweat.

Pros

  • Highly protective
  • Long-lasting even with frequent use
  • Contours to legs

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Some might not like grippy lining
  • Long straps – might have to use athletic tape to hold in place.

Champs MMA Martial Arts Shin Guards

Although it’s marketed as an MMA shin guard, these Champs MMA shin guards are another great choice for Muay Thai fighters on a budget. They give you full protection both for your shins, and for your feet.

They run a little large, so if you have wider calves, these will fit you nicely. They’ve got very good padding, so your shins will stay protected during sparring.

In terms of downsides, they’re made of synthetic leather. So they won’t last as long as a more premium pair of shin guards. But if you’re just starting out, the Champs MMA Shin Guards are a great place to start!

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Good for wide calves

Cons:

  • Made of synthetic leather. Won’t last as long
  • Quite heavy. Will slow you down

What are the Best Muay Thai Shin Guards?

When you’re starting out, you want your shin guards to be as protective as possible, while still keeping some level of mobility. As your skills grow, and the conditioning of your shins improves, then you may want to start using lighter shin pads that give you more flexibility. 

It all depends on your personal level as a fighter and what you find comfortable. Still, there are some things you should consider when choosing shin guards for Muay Thai.

How to Choose Good Shin Guards

As I already said, it all depends on your level, and your preferences. These will evolve as you train more. But there are some universal factors you need to consider:

Protection and Mobility

It goes without saying that the purpose of Muay Thai shin guards is protecting your shins. Generally speaking, the bigger the shin guards the more protective they are, because they have more padding, and cover a larger area of your legs. However, big shin guards are bulkier, and will restrict your movement.

On the flip side, small shin guards have less padding, but don’t restrict your movement as much. Just expect to get more bruises on your shins as you train.

It’s also important to note that bigger shin guards are easier on your partners, as well. The thicker padding makes sure that your kicks won’t hurt your training partner as much. This minimizes the risk of injuries, and makes sure your partners will want to train with you again.

The best shin guards have a good balance between mobility and protection. When you’re starting out, you should look for shin protection overall, even if it comes at the expense of some mobility. As you get more advanced, and as your shins start getting more conditioned, you’ll naturally start looking for shin guards that offer unrestricted mobility, even if you have to trade some protection for it.

Sizing and Fit

The vast majority of injuries occur in the top of the foot. That’s where you have lots of small, soft bones. These bones can easily break if they hit a hard surface (such as your opponent’s elbow, for example). This is why – especially as a beginner – you want your shin guards to have good coverage on the top of the foot. 

But at the same time, you don’t want a slipper that covers your entire foot and slows you down. Ideally, you want to have a strap going over the middle of your foot. That way your heel and the balls of your feet always have contact with the ground.

You also need to make sure that the ankle straps are at the same time secure, and flexible enough not to impede your mobility.

Last but not least, you need to have good protection on the shin bone. The iconic low kicks in Muay Thai use the shin itself, and the flat surface on the inside of it. So you want to have good padding in both places.

In terms of sizing, Muay Thai shin guards come in Small/Medium/Large and Extra-Large. So, the bigger you are, the larger size you will need. Unfortunately, different brands have different measurements for different sizes. So you’ll need to try a few out, before you see which brand is best for you.

Types of Muay Thai Shin Guard

There are several types of Muay Thai shin guards. While the styles and look vary from brand to brand, there are a few general types of Muay Thai shin guard.

There are the big, bulky shin guards that encompass your whole foot, like we see in the Fairtex SP7. Then there is the lighter, yet still very protective style of shin guard they have in Fairtex SP3. Then, there are cloth type of shin guards like Venum’s “Kontakt” series

So, which type should you go for? If you’re starting out, your main focus should be protection. So I definitely recommend buying bigger and thicker shin pads. In fact, as a beginner, the thicker they are, the better. That way you can improve your technique while staying safe, and not hurting your sparring partner.

But if you want to compete in Muay Thai competitions and tournaments, then sooner or later you’ll have to start conditioning your shins. This is because many tournament regulations require you to wear cloth shin guards, or even no shin pads at all. So, if you’re advanced enough, you can definitely consider getting a pair of neoprene or cloth Muay Thai shin pads.

Muay Thai Shin Guards Vs MMA Grappling Shin Guards

Lots of people wonder if they can use MMA grappling shin guards for Muay Thai. And the short answer is – no. 

As the name suggests, an MMA shin guard is made for grappling. They’re smaller than Muay Thai shin guards, and usually wrap around your foot like a sock. This is because MMA involves lots of grappling and scrambling on the ground. In that situation, you need something that stays in place, and doesn’t get in the way.

But if you’re doing Muay Thai, you’ll need to block lots of powerful kicks using your shins. This means that an MMA shin guard won’t give you the protection you need for Muay Thai training. The only exception to that is if you want to condition your shins for a Muay Thai tournament. In that situation, you’ll want to use thinner shin guards anyway, so it’s OK to go for shin guards made for MMA.

Real Leather Vs Synthetic Leather

The best Muay Thai shin guards are made of genuine leather. High-quality leather not only looks good, but it’s durable, breathable, and lasts a long time. The only downside to real leather is price – it’s an expensive material, so not everybody can afford it.

This is why lots of shin guards use synthetic leather. While it isn’t as durable as real leather, synthetic leather is much cheaper. So if you’re a beginner, and you’re not ready to invest in a pair of genuine leather Muay Thai shin guards, synthetic leather is a good way to go.

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