Last Updated on February 2, 2021
Seeing as Muay Thai gloves can be smaller, lighter, and more flexible than boxing gloves, you might have thought that this sport doesn’t require as much protection.
Unlike boxing, you’re going to want to protect more than just your hands in an MMA session.
Personally, nothing puts me off a Muay Thai class more than the idea of a hard kick in the shins.
Muay Thai involves using your whole body and for this reason, you will want to invest in a decent pair of Muay Thai shin guards to avoid a devastating injury.
In this Muay Thai shin guards review, we’ll round up the best options on the market.
- The 10 Best MMA Shin Guards Reviewed
- 1. Hayabusa Shin Guards T3
- 2. Fairtex Competition Muay Thai Shin Guards
- 3. Venum Elite Standup Shinguards
- 4. KINGTOP Top King Shin Guard Protector
- 5. Sanabul Essential Hybrid Kickboxing MMA Shin Guards
- 6. Meister Shin Guards
- 7. RDX Shin Guards
- 8. Venum Challenger Stand Up Shin Guards
- 9. Combat Sports MMA Shin Guards
- 10. Twins Special Classic Shin Guards
- What To Look For When Buying Muay Thai Shin Guards
- Which Are The Best Muay Thai Shin Guards For Me?
The 10 Best MMA Shin Guards Reviewed
1. Hayabusa Shin Guards T3
Our Verdict: Best Overall
The best kickboxing shin guards, as well as being great for Muay Thai, are the Hayabusa Shin Guards.
Seeing as they can be used for both sports, they need to have superior padding and provide a foam complex that absorbs impact and dissipates energy ready for the next strike.
They can also be used by both men and women and come in a range of sizes and colors to suit everyone.
Designed to contour the knee and leg with a pre-curve, they are comfortable and tight-fitting and also have an inner silicone grip to ensure that they don’t slip. According to Hayabusa shin guard reviews, these are a comfortable option with sufficient padding for both the leg and foot which still gives you the freedom you need in a Muay Thai session.
With dual straps, the shins stay in place without rubbing or discomfort. They also have anti-microbial technology to reduce sweat and further increase comfort. Being lightweight and flexible, you’ll be able to move with speed and keep on top of your opponent in these shin guards.
- Great for kickboxing and Muay Thai
- Range of colors and sizes
- Contoured to the leg
- Flexible and lightweight
- Open-back design
- Anti-microbial technology
Further reducing sweat and aiding air circulation the open-back design will help to keep you cool when you’re working up a sweat in your kickboxing or Muay Thai sessions. The only downside is that they are a little more expensive because of their high-quality.
2. Fairtex Competition Muay Thai Shin Guards
Our Verdict: Best for Professionals
The best shin guards for Muay Thai professionals and still a solid option for beginners are the Fairtex Competition shin guards. These will keep your shin and instep protected through tough training and sparring as well as when it comes to competition time.
In this model, Fairtex has removed any metal so instead of rough edges, you get a smooth and comfortable synthetic leather which is also durable and lightweight.
The hook and loop strap make them easy to put on and adjust, however, some customers have found that the ankle straps can rub and cause some discomfort.
They also include high-density foam which absorbs shock and prevents bruising even in the most intense situations. The extended instep allows for greater foot protection and, since these shin guards are handmade in Thailand, you can trust that the manufacturers used high-quality material and craftsmanship so that your shin guards won’t be wearing out any time soon.
- Best for professionals
- Durable synthetic leather
- Hook and loop pull strap
- High-density foam
- Some customers have found the ankle straps can rub
With 4 colors to choose from and sizes ranging from small to extra-large, these shin guards accommodate a range of customers, no matter what your level, size, or style and are also at a more reasonable price.
3. Venum Elite Standup Shinguards
Our Verdict: Best in Style
Made from premium synthetic skintex leather, Venum Elite Standup shin guards are designed to feel more natural in terms of movement. They are also lightweight which further aids agility and speed.
These are some of the best shin guards for MMA because of the dual-layer foam which enhances shock absorption. They are also handmade in Thailand and this, combined with the material, should ensure durability.
Some customers have experienced problems with them breaking sooner than expected though so you might want to be careful if you are using them for hardcore sparring.
The large Velcro strap is made to be non-slip but some customers have experienced problems with it coming undone during a fight or session which obviously doesn’t help to keep the guards in place. In spite of this, they are comfortable and more adjustable.
The foot padding also makes sure to protect the whole leg and foot but it can be a bit uncomfortable around the ankle.
- Premium skintex leather
- High-density foam
- Large Velcro strap
- Foot padding
- Range of colors and sizes
- Not as durable
- Can feel uncomfortable around the ankle
These Muay Thai shin guards come in a range of color combinations, that really stand out at the gym or in the ring, as well as a range of sizes.
4. KINGTOP Top King Shin Guard Protector
Our Verdict: Best for Knee Support
Top King Shin Guards are highly rated in many MMA shin guard reviews and it is easy to see why. These shin guards come in a range of sizes and stand out designs as well as having important protective features.
With extra attention around the lower leg muscles and under the knee, Top King shin guards offer more protection in sensitive areas to reduce the risk of serious injury.
They are also not too bulky thanks to the sleek design but this could leave the sides of the legs less protected.
The Velcro straps, however, are very secure and comfortable so you won’t feel these shin guards slipping or rubbing on the skin. They are also lightweight and durable as they are handmade in Thailand with high-density padding which doesn’t weigh you down.
- Range of colors and designs
- Range of sizes
- Extra knee protection
- High-density padding
- Easy hook and loop closure
- Less bulky
- A sleek design might leave the side of legs exposed
- Take time to break-in
Thanks to the hook and loop closure, these shin guards are easy to put on and secure yourself and are the best shin guards for knee support for anyone who has a previous knee injury or just wants extra protection in this area.
5. Sanabul Essential Hybrid Kickboxing MMA Shin Guards
Our Verdict: Best for Versatility
The best Muay Thai shin guards for versatility are the Sanabul Hybrid Shin Guards.
These are called hybrids because they are also great kickboxing shin guards, combining the comfort of MMA shin guards with the extra protection of traditional kickboxing shin guards for the best of both worlds.
The enhanced protection is good for light sparring but might not be as comprehensive as some of the more expensive options.
With contoured in-steps, these shin guards also keep tight to the foot. Further securing the shin guards, the neoprene slip-on design means that you don’t have to constantly adjust the tightness with a strap, or worry about them coming undone in the middle of your Muay Thai session.
With top and mid-leg fasteners, you can still adjust the fit slightly and ensure that the shin guards stay in place for a comfortable fit with minimal movement. These are a durable option with triple stitching and come in a range of sizes, even extra small which is suitable for children.
- Hybrid for kickboxing, MMA, and Muay Thai
- Enhanced protection
- In-step contouring
- Neoprene slip-on design
- Top and mid-leg fasteners
- Range of sizes also suitable for children
- Not as protective padding as other options
- Some customers have found the sizing to be off, causing slipping
They only come in black but you can choose different colors for the logo design, giving them some variety.
6. Meister Shin Guards
Our Verdict: Best for Beginners
A 100% cowhide leather option, which isn’t as expensive as most real leather equipment, is the Meister Shin Guards. With gel enhanced padding which contours to the leg and extra gel-padding on the foot for striking protection, these are definitely an impressive pair of pads.
The high-density gel and foam padding combination provides the best protection whilst still being lightweight and flexible to keep up with you in an intense Muay Thai session.
With a curved inside that molds to your in-step, you’ll feel the support with every strike.
What’s more, these are the best shin guards for beginners and anyone who is struggling with balance during striking thanks to a clever design feature:
As well as sturdy straps at the back, these shin guards also have a foot strap which keeps them snug to your in-step and offers more traction. With rubber balls on the bottom of the strap, you’ll feel the improved grip on the floor which allows you to recover from your strikes and get moving quickly.
For me, this is a great addition to the traditional shin guard design as balance is really key to harnessing your full potential in MMA and Muay Thai. There is nothing more off-putting than falling over when you’re trying to recover quickly from your opponent’s strike, so if you are new to the sport, these might just be the support you need.
They are also easy to take on and off and secure with multiple straps. One downside is that they come in just one design, but we can hardly complain when they have so much else to offer.
- 100% cowhide leather
- High-density impact foam
- Gel enhanced
- Gel foot padding
- Curved in-step
- Foot strap with traction
- Easy to take on and off
- Require maintenance
- Only one color and design
Some customers have also found that, in spite of the real leather, they aren’t as durable as desired for hardcore training, but this might be down to improper leather maintenance.
7. RDX Shin Guards
Our Verdict: Best in Sweat Absorption
From RDX, these Muay Thai shin guards are great for a range of sports and offer some hefty padding. They are also the best MMA shin guards for sweat absorption thanks to the QD-1 sweat-absorbing technology that will wick away excess moisture and prevent your shin guards from slipping.
The dual-padding is what provides extra protection as RDX uses both Shell-Shock gel and Supremo-Shock foam in these shin guards so that they are ready for heavy sparring.
With all of this padding, they might seem a little heavier and bulkier than other options in this MMA shin guards review, but you’ll be thankful for the extra protection.
With Nylon based material and a Nylastic outer cover, the actual material shouldn’t weigh you down too much. There is also a NEO-1 based hook and loop closure which makes them easy to put on and adjust with the dual strap. Some customers have found that the straps are not so accommodating for larger calves though.
- Sweat absorbing technology
- Dual padding
- Nylon and Nylastic material
- Hook and loop closure
- Heavier and bulkier
- Strap can be too short
- In-step can be too long
The in-step provides decent coverage for the foot but can be a bit long for some causing discomfort. Aside from these minor complaints, RDX has created a solid shin guard that provides superior protection.
8. Venum Challenger Stand Up Shin Guards
Our Verdict: Best for Flexibility
Made from 100% synthetic leather, these shin guards are a durable option with high-density foam and additional shin and instep padding for high protection. The second offering from Venum in this shin guards review, the Venum Challengers are the intermediate version of the Venum Elite listed earlier.
While having decent padding, these shin guards still allow you to move with freedom and speed which is integral for Muay Thai as you will need to keep on top of your opponent throughout a range of movements.
They are also lightweight which gives them a more natural feel and increases speed.
The enhanced shock absorption is aided by the double strap which keeps them in place and continuously protecting the most sensitive parts of your calves. They are highly adjustable and don’t slip but the Velcro straps can be slightly uncomfortable if caught on the skin so tighten with care.
There are also fewer size options so it might be more of a struggle to get the perfect fit for you. Of course, this is helped by the adjustable straps, but if you have particularly slim or muscular calves you might want a more personalized fit or an option with a greater range in sizes. There are a few color options, however, and Venum designs are always colorful and eye-catching.
Although there are options in this review with thicker padding, these shin guards provide a great combination of protection and movability.
- 100% synthetic leather
- High-density foam
- Additional instep and shin padding
- Enhanced shock absorption
- Adjustable straps
- 4 colors
- Fewer size options
- Velcro can irritate the skin
- Not thickest padding
This makes the Venum Challengers the best shin guards for movability if your highest priority in the ring is out-stepping your opponent and you’re willing to risk a few bruises.
9. Combat Sports MMA Shin Guards
Our Verdict: Best Budget
The best shin guards for anyone shopping on a budget are the Combat Sports MMA shin guards. These very affordable shin guards are machine washable and slip on like a big padded sock for maximum comfort and ease of use.
To wash them, simply remove the foam padding and throw the material in the wash.
This is a great feature for Muay Thai shin guards as you can work up a real sweat and be able to easily throw them in the wash with your workout clothes will prevent the build-up of unwanted bacteria.
In my opinion, this is a standout feature as I hate when my equipment starts to smell and I can’t just throw it in the wash like the rest of my gym wear.
The only problem we can see with this material choice is that it is able to rip, unlike durable synthetic leather which is used for the majority of shin guards in this review. However, it does make them cheaper and easy to roll up and transport.
The comfortable compression material will stay snug to your legs as long as you have the right size. You also won’t need to adjust the shin guards as there are no straps. This can be a good thing if you find that straps often rub on your skin but can also mean that the size isn’t as easily altered if they start to feel a little loose.
- Comfortable slip-on design
- 4 colors
- No straps
- Not as durable as leather
- Not adjustable
These are a great option for beginners who want to give a cheap option a try before investing in something more long term. They come in four different colors giving you a little variety.
10. Twins Special Classic Shin Guards
Our Verdict: Best in Durability
The Twins Special Classic Shin Guards means that Twins have satisfied most of their customers with this offering. The only complaints are that they might not be as tight-fitting as desired but they do come in a range of sizes so can accommodate most calve types.
Made in Thailand and with real cowhide leather, these are the best shin guards for durability and will probably last you a while longer than the other shin guards in this review as long as you maintain them with regular conditioning.
With high-quality material also comes a slightly higher price tag but at least you won’t be buying replacements for a few years.
They are also pretty versatile and can be used for a range of sports including kickboxing and MMA. Despite appearing bulkier, they are relatively lightweight and won’t impede your movement too much; however, if flexibility is your main desire, there are more contoured options that might give you more freedom to move around the ring.
- Made in Thailand
- Real leather
- Range of sizes
- 3 colors
- Not contoured
Lastly, there are 3 standout color options to choose from. The design itself is pretty basic but those colors are enough to grab anyone’s attention and might even throw off your opponent.
What To Look For When Buying Muay Thai Shin Guards
All of the Muay Thai shin guards in this review have been carefully selected based on what they offer and their high-quality features. If you are looking for a pair of shin guards, there are a few key aspects you need to be aware of, which are mentioned in this review.
Now, during training, it's best for your training partner to use one of the best Thai pads for his own safety and protection from hard hits.
And here is a video that adds up to the things you should remember when selecting the right pair:
In this review, we looked at a few material options including synthetic leather and real leather.
Real leather is the most durable material and there are even options that aren’t particularly expensive considering they are using such high-quality material.
The problem is, if you want your real leather shin guards to last as they should, you will need to regularly condition and maintain the leather.
Synthetic leathers can also be very durable but unlike real leather, you can simply wipe it clean after a Muay Thai session.
If you are looking for a more flexible and tight-fitting shin guard, there are also compression fabric option which is machine washable. The problem with these compared to real or synthetic leather is that they are prone to ripping and aren’t as durable.
There are a couple of different padding options used for Muay Thai shin guards: foam and gel.
Gel padding is generally used for enhanced shock absorption which makes it great for striking, whereas foam is lighter and used as all-over protection for the shins.
You might want to think about whether you want more padding or a more flexible shin guard. With more padding, shin guards can feel bulkier and heavier which will slightly impede your movement and feel unnatural until you get used to the extra weight.
Especially for Muay Thai, you will need a well-fitted shin guard that stays close to the shins. The shin guards in this review use multiple straps or contoured material to make sure that the shin guard isn’t leaving gaps or areas of the lower leg uncovered.
Most of them also offer a range of sizes so you can find something form-fitting even if you have particularly slender or muscular calves. It is also a good idea to look for shin guards with moisture-wicking technology as excess sweat under the guards will cause them to move and leave the sides of your legs exposed.
Which Are The Best Muay Thai Shin Guards For Me?
Although there are many options to choose from in this Muay Thai shin guards review, some might be more suited to your specific needs than others. And in case you'd like to find the best Muay Thai gloves, don't forget that we also have a review for that. But here we’ve taken a look at the best shin guards depending on certain traits.
Now before you go reading below, I want you to keep in mind the advantage of wearing the right type of protection for you, whether it be the MMA gloves, the shin guards, or any other requirements that you need for martial arts.
Best for Beginners
The best shin guards for beginners are the Meister Shin Guards because of one clever feature which helps you to stay balanced and keeps the shin guards tight to your foot at the same time. With an extra strap around the foot, these shin guards stay firmly in place.
This strap also has rubber balls on the bottom which provide some traction while you are still finding your balance in the Muay Thai arena.
Best for Flexibility
In Muay Thai, you will want some solid protection that doesn’t impede your movement. Having said that, the best Muay Thai shorts would be the only thing you'd want to wear for this combat sport.
If flexibility is your main concern when buying shin guards, the best options are the Venum Challenger Stand Up Shin Guards which feel more natural and allow you to move quickly without sacrificing decent protection.
Best Budget Shin Guards
The Combat Sports MMA Shin Guards prove that you don’t have to spend a fortune to protect your legs. These compression fabric shin guards stay firmly snug to your leg and are also easy to wash.
What’s more, these are a very affordable option as they don’t use the more expensive fabric required for professional shin guards. These are a great pick for anyone who is just getting started using shin guards and wants to try them out before buying something more durable for the long term.
With so many options, it is always hard to choose a stand out winner. But for me, the best Muay Thai shin guards have to be the Hayabusa Shin Guards T3 as they really have something for everyone. Designed for both men and women and a range of sports including kickboxing, these shin guards really can do it all.
They have sufficient padding while still being flexible, making it easy to move around the ring. In addition, the open design allows for airflow without leaving gaps around the guard where your legs aren’t protected. The sweat-absorbing technology keeps them comfortable throughout a long session which is a quality you won’t regret investing in.
If you’re not entirely convinced by the Hayabusa shin guards in this review or are looking for something specific to suit your style of Muay Thai training, take a look at all of the options to find your perfect fit.