Best Shin Guards for MMA and Muay Thai in 2021

It’s a challenging task to find the best shin guards for MMA and Muay Thai in 2021.  Now that you’re here, you don’t need to do a lot of research. I’ve been into combat sports for quite a while, and I’ve tried many shin guards for myself. Some worked great, and some failed miserably.

The all-round performer, Hayabusa T3 striking, comes with high-density foam for protection. From looking stylish to giving you the ability to land and block kicks with ease - it has everything you need for sparring. 

Although Hayabusa T3 is a good one, we’re still going to discuss the eight best shin guards that are worth buying, their importance during a fight, and what factors you should have in mind before ordering a shin guard. 

So let’s get started!

Table of Contents

What MMA and Muay Thai Shin Guards Should You Buy?

Here are the top 3 shin guards that I would like to put on before getting into a fight. If you want to know in-depth features and pricing of these MMA and Muay Thai shin guards, read the article thoroughly.

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Product

  • Provides great protection

  • Very comfortable to wear

  • Multi-layered padding

  • Superior design and fit

  • Comfortable in wearing

  • Doesn’t wear off easily

  • High-density foam padding

  • 3D embossed foot grip

  • Panels to allow sweat to escape

Hayabusa T3 Striking Shin Guards – Best Overall Shin Guard

Consider Hayabusa T3 striking shin guards as the superior product on this list. It offers a good fit and excellent protection because of the exclusive Vylar® engineered leather, the most robust material available for high-performance training.

Features of Hayabusa T3 Striking Shin Guards

  • The product is an all-rounder; it gives you protection, comfort, and an even better appearance
  • The padding on the shin guard is multi-layered, which offers significant absorption of impact
  • The shin guards are super lightweight and soft
  • MMA shin pads are uniquely designed to fit and protect your shin
  • Silicon grip at the inner side of the guard gives it the required stability

Specifications of Hayabusa T3 Striking Shin Guards

Dimension of the Package: 20 x 9 x 4 inches

Weight: 635g

Sizes available: 

  • Small
  • X-Large

Pros

  • Extreme durability
  • Lightweight and comfortable to wear and take off
  • Thick enough to protect your shin

Cons

  • Might have a little spin on wet legs

The Hayabusa T3 Striking shin guards have been my best Muay Thai shin guards because it’s an all-rounder. From getting good enough protection to striking right – it got me covered, and I’ve leveraged these in so many fights, I don’t even have a number. 

Venum Kontact Evo Shin Guards – Most Comfortable

Venum is one of the world’s leading shin guard manufacturing brands for fighters and grapplers. They’ve got a wide variety of shin guards that cater to the needs of MMA, boxing, Jiu-Jitsu, and Karate.

Features of Venum Kontact Evo Shin Guard

  • The shin guard comes with a high-density reinforced foam padding to give you extra protection 
  • The guard has a thin padding material that doesn’t make your leg uncomfortable while fighting
  • The Venum Kontact Evo shin guard is made of a comfortable to wear Neoprene fabric
  • Gives impressive feet traction & speed because the foot grip of the shin guard is 3D embossed
  • The guard has panels throughout that lets the sweat escape from your feet
  • An elastic strap below the knee part of this shin guard is good enough to support your calf  

Specifications of Venum Kontact Evo Shin Guards

Material: Neoprene with layered foam

Sizes available:  S to XL

Pros

  • The velcro is strong and doesn’t come out because of sweat
  • Anyone can stand up and grapple quite quickly due to its lightweight nature
  • The price is totally worth the quality

Cons

  • Poor Durability

A shin guard should not only be protective but comfortable as well. People who use this can easily bend, stretch, and lift their legs. 

The Venum Kontact Evo shin guards have protection with comfortability, making it a reliable MMA shin pad. 

Twins Special Classic Shin Guard – Best-Fitting Guards

Twins Special has been on the market for over 28 years. It’s a reliable brand that manufactures high-quality products. 

The shin guards of Twins Special have been beneficial for the fighters in MMA, Muay Thai, and even international boxing. 

Features of Twins Special Classic Shin Guard

  • The Twins Special classic shin guards come with a heavy foam padding to protect your legs from opponent’s kicks
  • The guards can bear exhaustive and rigorous workouts without wearing off
  • Shin guards are made up of leather and have a double velcro strap so that it does not come off during a fight
  • Have numerous colors and designs to choose from
  • Comes with a protective elastic strap that is attached to the guard below the feet

Specification of Twins Special Classic Shin Guard

Dimensions of the Package: 17 x 10 x 6.3 inches

Weight: 860 g

Sizes available: 

  • Small
  • Extra Large

Pros

  • Superior fitting and protection
  • Perfectly shaped shin guards
  • Covers the shin & knee perfectly

Cons

  • The excess padding makes the guards a bit heavy

Twins Special classic shin guards have a superior fit and provide excellent overall protection. Yes, they are a bit heavy due to the padding but it’s meant for protection and cannot be neglected. Overall, it’s an excellent product as it protected me well enough during my training sessions. 

Hayabusa Ikusa Shin Guards – Best for Mobility

Hayabusa is a Japanese company founded in 2006. They have been a well-reputed name in the fighting market since then. Initially, it manufactured just gloves, guards, and shorts. Later on, it dived into other essentials of fighting.

Features of Hayabusa Ikusa Shin Guards

  • The shin guards have a neoprene backing, so they don’t move even an inch during rigorous training sessions
  • The inner material used in these guards is satin that makes them comfortable 
  • Double-sided velcro and its strap resist velcro from exposing
  • You can move and lift legs because it’s lightweight 
  • Special design absorbs the impact

Specifications of Hayabusa Ikusa Shin Guards

Dimension of the Package:  25 x 7 x 3 inches

Weight: 500g

Sizes available:

  • Small
  • Extra Large

Pros

  • Best for training as they fit perfectly
  • Great impact absorption quality
  • Good material quality

Cons

  • Sometimes it’s tough to remove 

Having Hayabusa Ikusa shin guards in your fighting kit is an excellent option to go with as it has a unique satin material that gives it the edge required over its competitors. It fits well and offers adequate protection and comfortability during my fights. 

Venum Elite Shin Guards – Best Looking

Franck Dupuis founded Venum in 2006. Venum manufactures apparel and support equipment for several combat sports like MMA, Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, etc.

Features of Venum Elite Shin Guards

  • The Venum Elite shin guards are made of Skintex leather that makes them comfortable & strong at a great price
  • The shin pads have high-density foam throughout to absorb shocks from the opponent’s kicks
  • Two large velcros brings the right grip to the guards 
  • The pro-anatomical reinforcement of Venum Elite shin guards provides protection and great striking experience

Specifications of Venum Elite Shin Guards

Material: Skintex Leather

Size available:

  • Medium
  • X-Large

Pros

  • An adequate amount of padding to protect your shin
  • Velcro gives a perfect fit
  • Lightweight and comfortable 

Cons

  • Less durable as compared to its competitors

There was a time when I used to carry Venum Elite shin guards with me for daily practice. They are lightweight, comfortable, and suitable. On top of everything, it looks pretty stylish. 

Fairtex Competition Shin Pads – Best Affordability

Fairtex is a Thailand based company that deals with Muay Thai, boxing, and MMA gear manufacturing. Bunjong Busarakamwongse founded the company in Bangkok around 1988. Since then, the brand has maintained an excellent reputation. 

Features of Fairtex Competition Shin Pads

  • Syntek leather makes these guards more durable
  • The Fairtex Competition shin guards have a double-layered foam sheet throughout to protect your shin from impacts
  • The stitching and design of the shin guards make it easy for you to lift, bend, and move your legs freely
  • Guard is lightweight and has no rough edges

Specifications of Fairtex Competition Shin Pads

Dimension of the Package: 17.2 x 6.6 x 1.8 inches

Weight: 590g

Sizes available: 

  • Small
  • Extra Large

Pros

  • Superior fitting and design
  • Apt material usage
  • True value for money

Cons

  • Fewer color variants

If you are on a low budget and want an affordable shin guard with decent quality, Fairtex Competition shin guards should be your first choice. Yes, it lacks some features but being cheap, they’re a quite good alternative. 

Sanabul Essential Hybrid Shin Guards – Best for Beginners

Sanabul was founded in 2014.  The superior quality and latest techniques in making these gears give them an edge over their competitors.

Features of Sanabul Essential Hybrid Shin Guards

  • Sanabul shin guards are stitched three times, and it makes them durable and robust 
  • The shin guard’s design keeps your leg fastened all the time, which gives you precision during a match
  • The high impact foam is stitched at the outer side of the shin pad for shin protection
  • A team deployed by Sanabul tests the gear and qualifies only those products that are good to be sold

Specifications of Sanabul Essential Hybris Shin Guards

Sizes available:

  • Small
  • X-Large

Pros

  • The shin guard is durable
  • Creative design
  • Requires less adjustment 

Cons

  • The velcro quality isn’t great

The Sanabul essential hybrid shin guards are a good choice for beginners as they are durable, reliable, and you won’t end up adjusting your shin guard all the time. I’ve used them when I was new to combat sports. They’ve been really helpful for years.

RDX T1 Black Shin Instep Guards – Best Functional Design

In 1999, RDX Sports was founded in Manchester. It’s surprising that this company earned respect in the UK and built a reputation for itself in no time. Currently, they’re producing gears for boxing, fitness, MMA, as well as Muay Thai.

Features of RDX T1 Black Shin Instep Guards

  • The dri-fit moisture management used in shin guards keeps your legs dry at all times
  • Guards are designed to make the experience comfortable 
  • The material used is leather, which helps in absorbing shocks
  • There’s no need to adjust these shin pads all the time during a fight

Specifications of RDX T1 Black Shin Instep Guards

Sizes available:

  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large
  • X-Large

Pros

  • Superior design of shin guards
  • Material quality of the guards is satisfactory 
  • Uses a unique Dri – fit technology to keep your legs dry

Cons

  • The guards don’t have great shock absorption 

Like the Sanabul essential hybrid shin guards, the RDX T1 is meant for beginners and moisture haters. What I like the most about them is – they can make any beginner feel comfortable at training. But remember, it would be better if you switch to high-end shin guards at the later stage of your career.

Choosing the Best Shin Guards for Muay Thai and MMA

Buying a shin guard is a crucial step for a combat sports fighter. It’s a gear that you have to put on all the time. So you need to be extra cautious while buying one. 

Here I’ve mentioned all the factors you should look for before buying your best shin guards for Muay Thai or MMA.

Shin Protection

The primary aim of a shin guard is protection. If it can’t provide that, there’s no point. 

The padding on the outer side of the shin guard must be rigid and robust. The more layers of padding, the better. 

But keep in mind, the shin guard should not be so hard that it might end up injuring your opponent. A true sportsman takes care of his opponent as well as himself. 

You need to choose a shin guard that has enough width to protect your shin and calf. Yes, the shin guard will be a bit heavy, but protection is the most prominent feature you need. 

Indeed, a narrow shin guard would be light in weight and give you more mobility. You will still be prone to more injuries and bruising with every kick your opponent lands on you.

Understand the Types of Shin Guard Based on Their Design

As mentioned above, there are two types of shin guards you need to decide for design – the sock type or shin guard with straps.

Shin guards that come with adjustable straps provide superior protection and are thick. On the other hand, socks-type shin guards lack protection and give you more mobility.

If you think you’re a good fighter and want to protect your shin from bruising time and again, go with adjustable strap shin guards.

Good Ankle Mobility

A good shin guard will leave your ankle mobile. And it’s important to have your ankle free as you need to kick quickly in MMA and Muay Thai. 

At the same time, you know how hurtful it could be if your ankle isn’t protected. So with mobility, the shin guard should also provide padding at the bottom to protect your ankle from damage. 

In the end, your shin guards have to strike a balance between mobility and protection. 

Price – Not Too Cheap

You need to understand that price is not everything. Often, low on the budget end up going for a cheap shin guard without seeing any features, testing it, or reading about it.

Even being on a low budget, search for such shin guards that provide the best set of features. There might be some or the other guard, which will be cheap and satisfactory. All you need to do is some research and reading. 

The other thing I would recommend is to keep your budget high altogether. A good quality shin guard is expensive, and that’s true. However, it’s also true that you’re not going to buy it again and again. A good shin guard lasts for four years, and that’s called the real saving of money. 

If your shin guard’s price is even, let’s say $100, it would only be $25 per month, which is still lower than or at best equal to a low quality shin guard price.

Size & Fit – Should be Perfect

As said above, thicker shin guards will give you more protection. But with heavy and thick shin guards, there comes the inability of ankle and leg mobility. So before buying MMA or Muay Thai Shin Pads, you have to compromise a bit on both protection and mobility. 

Here are three factors that would help you judge a shin guard for size and fit.

  1. The velcro straps are the most delicate part of a shin guard. They will wear off sooner than your shin guard at times. So get a guard with thick and well-stitched velcro straps.
  1. Always check whether your shin guards are spinning due to sweat during a fight or not.  Although there will be minimal spinning for any guard you take, experts always handle it better. 
  1. The strap placement is another factor you need to look upon. It should be 1” to 1.5” below your knee to give the shin pad a firm grip on your legs.

Material – Preferably Leather 

Choosing the material is one of the prominent factors while buying a shin guard. The lifetime of the guards will depend upon their material. 

You will have three options to choose from – leather, synthetic, and cotton. Cotton is not widely used, and it’s only used to make socks-type shin guards.

So leather and synthetic are the two most prominent options. Which one should you go for? I prefer leather all the time as guards made out of it are more durable.

Why Do You Need Shin Guards for Muay Thai and MMA?

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner or pro, as long as you’re into combat sports, shin guards are a must during training or a fight. 

For beginners, I recommend going for thick and highly dense foam coated shin guards, as conditioning them is necessary before starting. 

If we talk about pro fighters, they prefer light and comfortable shin guards because they bring flexibility. 

How Many Types of Shin Guards Are There? 

Combat sports are classified based on two factors – the sport type and their design. Let’s have a look at both one by one.

Shin Guard Classification Based on the Types of Combat Fighting

There are two types of shin guards based on the sport you play. You need to know what is the primary motive of a shin guard in each sport. That’s why we’re going to look into the importance of shin guards for multiple combat fighting types like MMA, Grappling, and Muay Thai. 

Shin Guards Built for MMA Fighters

Although the best MMA shin guard’s primary aim is protection, you need to buy a guard that lets your legs move freely.

The MMA shin guards are thin and made of a light material that allows more mobility to your legs. They’re a bit shorter than Muay Thai shin guards and have no velcro straps at times. 

More importantly, these shin guards come with an ankle clasp that provides your ankle extra support and stability. 

By the way, Kickboxing shin guards are the same as MMA shin guards. So if you’re into kickboxing, these leg guards will serve the purpose.

Whenever you want to buy pads for MMA, keep in mind that you need both speed and protection. So find an MMA shin pad that has both decent mobility and protection. Also, remember, always get the right size. 

Muay Thai Shin Guards

Muay Thai shin guards should be long enough to protect your feet. It also should have a strap and superior grip on your leg so that it doesn’t come off during a fight.

Ensure that these guards are lightweight and have proper velcro. If they’re heavy with improper velcro, it would be difficult to block a kick or deliver one being mobile. 

Shin Guard Classification Based on Type of Design

Shin Guards come in 2 types of design. And guess what? Different fight types require different designs. Let’s have a look at both. 

Shin Guard with Straps

Shin guards with straps come with adjustable straps to give the guard a superior grip over your leg. It comes with two adjustable straps, one near the calf for adequately gripping the top portion and one above the ankle.

The strap type shin guards are most common in MMA and Muay Thai fights as such design provides better protection from injuries.

I advise you not to compromise on the shin guard quality because it takes years to condition your shin for MMA and Muay Thai fights. 

Socks-Type Shin Guard

As the name suggests, socks-type shin guards are worn like socks. They have no adjustable straps and are made mostly from neoprene or cotton. Most of the Martial arts shin guards are generally socks-type.

These shin guards lack the width that adjustable shin guards provide and also give much less protection. 

Socks-type shin pads can be used for amateur fighting sports as shin guards are not a prominent gear to have at those stages. 

The socks-type shin guards are comparatively cheaper than those with straps. Therefore, many professionals tend to use it while practicing. 

The only reason that compels fighters to use these guards is their lightness. If you opt for heavy guards, it would be impossible for you to be highly mobile and reflexive for landing or blocking a kick quickly. 

If you ask my opinion, I wouldn’t recommend using sock-type shin guards because they’re not suitable for intensive daily training. If you have it for such a purpose, you might end up getting severe bruising and injury. 

Final Say 

Brands play a vital role in the quality of shin guards. Thailand is known to be one of the best shin guards producing countries. So make sure you look for a brand that originated from Thailand.

The all-round performer, Hayabusa T3 striking, comes with high-density foam for protection. From looking stylish to giving you the ability to land and block kicks with ease - it has everything you need for sparring. 

Now that you know the need for shin guards and what factors to look for. Therefore, it’s best to take time, search, and understand your requirements for a shin guard before buying one. 

The shin guards I’ve mentioned above are all great for a beginner as well as an expert. From my perspective and experience, the best brands are Hayabusa and Venum. You may go for these two as they are on a more balanced verge than others. 

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