Fairtex vs Yokkao Shin Guards – Which One is Better?

Fairtex vs Yokkao Muay Thai Shin Guards: the Fairtex SP7 Muay Thai Shin Guards have better padding and are more affordable. The Yokkao Matrix Shin Guards give you better mobility and are more durable.

Fairtex is one of the most popular Muay Thai brands, and its shin guards are the gear of choice for many fighters. The SP7 is a staple of Muay Thai gyms. But there’s another Thai brand that people really love – Yokkao. I know lots of people who swear by their Matrix shin guards.

So, I thought it would be fun to lean on my 19 years of martial arts experience and answer the question: Fairtex vs Yokkao Shin Guards – Which one is better?

Table of Contents:
Fairtex SP7 Muay Thai Shin Guards Review
YOKKAO Matrix Shin Guards Review
Yokkao vs Fairtex – Detailed Breakdown
Protection and Mobility – Fairtex
Mobility – Yokkao
Comfort and Fit – Fairtex
Durability – Yokkao
Price – Fairtex

Fairtex SP7 Muay Thai Shin Guards Review

In my experience, Fairtex is the best brand for beginners. And their SP7 Shin Guards are a great example of that. 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.

Fairtex SP7 Muay Thai Shin Guards for Men, Women, Kids | Shin Guards Made with Syntek Leather & are Premium, Lightweight & Durable | Detachable shin & Foot Protector

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

YOKKAO Matrix Shin Guards Review

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.

YOKKAO Havana Muay Thai Kickboxing MMA Shin Guards with Knee Guards - Limited Edition- Havana Black, Small

Pros:

  • Sleek and lightweight design
  • Affordable for leather
  • Great protection
  • Amazing durability
  • Stiff at first – require breaking in
  • Might not fit those with large calves/statures

Yokkao vs Fairtex – Detailed Breakdown

Now, let’s look at each aspect of a good pair of Muay Thai shin guards and see which pair is better. In general, you want your shin guards to have good padding so that you have as much protection as possible. But at the same time, you want them to be light and compact enough so that you still have good mobility.

One of these aspects always comes at the expense of the other – if your shin guards have good padding, then they hamper your mobility. And if they give you good mobility, then that usually means they have insufficient padding.

Protection – Fairtex

As we already saw, both shin guards have very good padding, but the Fairtex SP7 wins out here. Their multi-layered padding is much thicker than Yokkao’s and you feel really well protected when you’re blocking kicks with your shins.

Don’t get me wrong – the Yokkao shin guards also have some really good padding. You can definitely block some kicks with it without injuring your shins. But if you’re a beginner, or you just really value protection, then you should go with Fairtex’s SP7 Muay Thai Shin Guards.

Mobility – Yokkao

The SP7s are slightly lighter than the Yokkaos – coming in at 1.9 lbs vs Yokkao’s 2.2 lbs. However, the SP7s still feel very bulky. In contrast, the Yokkao Matrix are very thin, and they never feel like they’re in your way. This may come at the expense of a little protection, given that their padding isn’t as thick as the SP7s, but the added mobility definitely makes up for it.

So, if you’re an advanced fighter with well-conditioned shins, or you just value mobility above protection, then you should go for Yokkao’s shin guards.

Comfort and Fit – Fairtex

Both sets of shin guards are very comfortable. They fit snugly on your shins and feel very soft and protective. But if you’ve got very large calves or if you’ve got a bulkier build, you may find trouble with the Yokkao Matrix Shin Guards. Their thin, slick profile means that they may not be the best fit for some folks.

So, if you’ve got thicker calves, I suggest you play it safe and go for Fairtex.

Durability – Yokkao

This is where Yokkao’s Matrix shin guards really shine. They’re made of genuine leather, which is very remarkable at this price point. This makes them very durable, making sure that they’re going to last you for many intense Muay Thai workouts. Like most gear made of real leather, they’ll need some time to break in and conform to the contours of your shins.

But once they do, they’re going to feel very soft and comfortable – almost like a second skin.

This doesn’t mean that the Fairtex SP7 are total garbage. On the contrary – they’re also famously very durable, even though they’re made of synthetic leather. But they’re just not as durable as the Yokkao Matrix.

Price – Fairtex

Predictably, this round goes to Fairtex. Since they’re made of faux leather, the SP7s are cheaper. However, the Yokkao Matrix is still very affordable when it comes to combat sports gear made of genuine leather. I’ve seen shin guards made of real leather that are twice the price of Yokkao’s products, and not nearly as good.

Still, if you’re on a tighter budget, then you should go for the Fairtex SP7.

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