How to Fit Muay Thai Shin Guards

As someone with over 18 years of experience in martial arts, including Muay Thai, I can confidently say that wearing proper shin guards during training and fights is extremely important. When it comes to fitting shin guards, they should feel snug and secure on your legs. They should not move around or shift during a fight as that could cause serious injuries.

Table of Contents:
How do I Fit Muay Thai Shin Guards?
What Size Muay Thai Shin Guards Do I Need?
How Tight Should Your Shin Guards Be?
Are Muay Thai Shin Guards Supposed To Cover Your Whole Shin?
Do Lace-Up Muay Thai Shin Guards Offer a Better Fit?
Can I Use Kickboxing Shin Guards for Muay Thai?
Can I Use MMA Grappling Guards for Muay Thai?
What Should You Look for When Choosing Muay Thai Shin Guards?
How to Fit Muay Thai Shin Guards – Reddit Summary

How do I Fit Muay Thai Shin Guards?

The most important thing is for the shin guard to cover your shin and the top of your foot. Unless it’s a combo shin guard, it shouldn’t cover your knee.

The best way to ensure that your shin guards fit properly is to try them on before buying them. Make sure that they are not too tight or too loose. They should fit comfortably around your legs. The shin guards should also cover your entire shin, from your ankle to just below your knee. This is essential because Muay Thai relies heavily on blocking low kicks with your shin.

During training or sparring, it is common for fighters to sweat and move around a lot. This is why it’s important to choose shin guards that are durable and have a secure fit. If your shin guards are too loose or move around easily, they won’t be able to provide the necessary protection, and you could end up with serious injuries to your shins.

What Size Muay Thai Shin Guards Do I Need?

Measure from your ankle to the center of your kneecap with your foot on the ground. This will give you an idea of what size Muay Thai shin guards you need.

If you still aren’t sure what size to get, it’s always a good idea to try some on at a store or ask a coach for guidance.

Try out a couple of different brands and sizes before you decide to buy a pair of shin guards.

How Tight Should Your Shin Guards Be?

It’s really up to personal preference, but some people like a tighter fit so the guards don’t slip around during sparring or training. Others prefer a looser fit for more comfort.

If you’re all about that tight fit, make sure to look for shin guards with adjustable straps or laces so you can really get that customized fit. Lace-up guards tend to be more adjustable, but they can be a pain to put on and take off. Non-lace guards are way easier to deal with but might not have as much room for adjustment.

On the flip side, if you’re all about being comfortable, go for shin guards with more padding or designed to fit more loosely. Just remember, when they’re too loose, they might not be the best at protecting you and might wiggle around too much during practice or fights.

Are Muay Thai Shin Guards Supposed To Cover Your Whole Shin?

There are different types of Muay Thai shin guards that serve different purposes.

As a beginner, I recommend going for the big and bulky shin guards that cover your whole shin and foot for better protection. This is especially important when you’re still learning the techniques and could accidentally hit your sparring partner too hard.

If you want to compete in Muay Thai tournaments, you’ll eventually have to condition your shins, because a lot of tournaments don’t allow the bulkier shin guards. This means you can only use cloth or neoprene shin guards that don’t cover your whole shin.

But don’t worry, you can start conditioning your shins by devoting a few minutes at the end of each training session. Just remember not to overdo it, as long-term joint problems aren’t worth the risk. 

Once you become more advanced, your shins will have gone through a process of toughening. At that point, you’ll value a wide range of motion more than optimal protection.

This is why shin guards aimed at intermediate fighters use lightweight materials. The aim is to give you greater mobility during fights.

muay thai fighter kicking man holding a pad

Do Lace-Up Muay Thai Shin Guards Offer a Better Fit?

Lace-up shin guards definitely offer a better fit. The adjustable straps or laces allow you to customize the fit to your liking and ensure that they stay in place. However, it’s important to note that lace-up shin guards can be a bit of a hassle to put on and take off.

So if you value convenience, you might want to go for non-lace guards.

On the other hand, if you prioritize comfort, shin guards with more padding or designed to fit more loosely might be a better option for you. However, keep in mind that if they’re too loose, they might not provide the best protection and could move around during practice or sparring.

It’s also worth noting that lace-up Muay Thai shin guards are a bit harder to come by, compared to velcro. So, if you value a snug fit and you see a pair of lace-up Muay Thai shin guards, make sure to grab them because you may not get a second chance! 

Can I Use Kickboxing Shin Guards for Muay Thai?

Yes, you can use kickboxing shin guards for Muay Thai. In fact, I’ve seen lots of Muay Thai fighters who use kickboxing shin guards. After all, both sports involve a lot of low kicks, so it’s natural that the protective gear is going to be similar.

Can I Use MMA Grappling Guards for Muay Thai?

The short answer is – no.

MMA shin guards are 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 to protect your legs from rubbing against the floor.

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 use shin guards made for MMA.

Still, I’ve done Muay Thai training using MMA shin guards and based on my experience it’s doable for short Muay Thai sessions. But if you’re serious about training Muay Thai, and you often have intense sparring sessions, then you’ll need to get dedicated Muay Thai shin guards.

Two young boys doing Muay Thai in a lake

What Should You Look for When Choosing Muay Thai Shin Guards?

There are a few things you need to look out for:

  • First, they should provide ample protection for your shins and feet. Look out for shin guards that have thick padding but also allow for flexibility during movement.
  • If you’re a beginner, your shin guards should also have good, thick padding on the shin, knee, and foot. 
  • A good pair should also fit comfortably and securely, without sliding around or causing discomfort. Make sure your shin guards have secure shin straps and ankle straps
  • Breathability is also important, as you don’t want your legs to get too sweaty during training. Materials such as real leather or mesh can help with this.
  • While not essential, you should also consider the design and style of the shin guards – you’ll want something that looks good and matches your training gear.

The type of shin guards you need really depends on your level and how often you have heavy sparring sessions.

In terms of durability, the best material for Muay Thai shin guards is genuine leather, because it’s durable and has good breathability. The only problem is that it’s pricey. This is why synthetic leather (a.k.a. faux leather) is a good compromise – it’s a durable material and it’s not as expensive as real leather.

Another crucial aspect is padding which usually comes in the form of several layers of foam.

The thicker the padding is, the higher the level of protection it offers. This comes at the expense of mobility. This is why advanced fighters prefer thinner Muay Thai shin guards. Not only do their shins have a higher level of conditioning, but they really value mobility during fights, especially when it comes to ankle mobility. 

Overall, just make sure you choose a pair that offers plenty of protection and feels comfortable during training sessions.

How to Fit Muay Thai Shin Guards – Reddit Summary

Just like I said above, the experts at Reddit also say that a Muay Thai shin guard should cover your shin and as much of your foot as possible. As they rightly point out, if it doesn’t cover your foot, you can have some very unpleasant contact with your partner’s elbow on the knuckles of your toes.

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