How to buy Muay Thai shin guards

How to buy Muay Thai shin guards

When you’re first starting out as a beginner training Muay Thai, you will probably need to purchase a thicker pair of shin guards that have more protection so that you aren’t constantly injuring your shins. 

Shin guards are an essential requirement to properly train. Whether you train Muay Thai or MMA, a great pair of shin guards are needed so that you can protect your feet, ankles, and shins while kicking. It really doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a pro,

It is always important to wear shin guards for your own protection as well as your partners. It’s always smart to be a good partner, you wouldn’t want a bad partner with a cheap pair of shin guards because that type of impact ends up hurting you in the long run. Soccer shin guards are very hard and are made with a completely different material than Muay Thai shin guards. This will not only hurt your shins but it’s also very dangerous for your partner as well. You need Muay Thai shin guards that are well balanced between size and protection, obviously bulkier shin guards provide superior protection, however, these type of shin guards can often hinder your kicks.

Shin guards with straps 
The most common shin guard used in Muay Thai is the traditional leather shin guards that have a lot of padding in the center and on the foot. These shin guards are designed to give the wearer the most protection if they kick and shin or elbow. The protection is padded and covers their foot in case something goes off course. Notice the straps behind the shin guard that tighten them to your leg. Almost all people who train Muay Thai use the shin guards that have straps. They are specifically designed to offer you the most protection from kicking and getting kicked in sparring. If you are planning to buy shin guards you should definitely purchase this type, unless you want to do MMA sparring with grappling.

Shin guards socks
The second type of shin guards you will come across are shin guards that have sleeves to put your foot into. These shin guards are made out of stretch cotton and have minimum padding to protect the shins of the kicker. These shin guards are mainly worn for people who compete in MMA. They are designed to have minimum movement within the shin guards to ensure you don’t have to keep adjusting your guards. These shin guards fit like a big sock that you put on. They are much more snug but provide less protection.

These are usually used in amateur fights and tournament as they are form-fitted around the leg to ensure they are not moving around during the fight. In sparring, most people use leather shin guards as they offer more protection in a fight. Generally, when it comes to choosing a shin guard for your training there are dozens of different brands that you can choose from. There are huge differences in quality if you choose a cheaper option versus a more premium brand. It is important for you to look for something that you find aesthetically pleasing and something that you find comfortable.

The heavier and bulkier the shin guard is a direct correlation to how much protection it offers. However, the bulkier shin guard can also hinder your ability and freedom of movement when you kick. There are always trade-offs and compromises when you purchase Muay Thai or MMA shin guards. You need to be able to find the perfect balance between protection and comfort. I was lucky enough to purchase a pair of Twins shin guards and they were perfect for me, the right balance between protection and comfort.


Muay Thai shin guards typically come in general sizing of Small/Medium/Large. The sizing chart provided is usually based off of height. However, if you have longer legs than usually for your body you may need to measure your shins. This is important because if your shin guards are too big they will disrupt your movement a lot during training and sparring. The same goes for if your shin guards are too small, they won’t offer enough protection and may fit too tight which is uncomfortable.

When you’re going to purchase your first pair of Muay Thai shin guards you’re going to have a variety of options to choose from. You typically will have either leather or synthetic leather options, however, “sock-sleeve” type shin guards are becoming more popular because of how inexpensive they are. Of course, leather is much more durable when compared to all other options, while a synthetic leather and sock-sleeve shin guards are much more inexpensive. 

However, high-quality synthetic leather can sometimes match up to the durability of real leather. You may also get more options with synthetics in terms of flashier designs and range of colors. If you are a vegan, synthetic leather is also the only way to go.


When choosing the right pair of shin guards it is important to find something that offers you good protection, without taking away your mobility. If you get something that is too bulky, it can be difficult to land kicks because the shin pads will slow you down. Conversely, if you get something that is too light, you will notice that your ankles get swollen after kicking far easier.

The perfect shin pads for you really depend on your own preferences and what you like. People who are more cautious in training are likely going to want a bigger shin guard, whereas someone who likes to kick might want smaller guards so they can kick faster. Whatever type of guard you choose, you should use a shin pad that has straps on it, because the socks don’t provide enough protection for general training. 

Choose shin guards that you feel comfortable sparring in and that offer you a good amount of protection. The people you are sparring with might not appreciate it if you choose shin guards that don’t offer a lot of padding and protection from your kicks.

Clean Right After Training
Make this a habit: as soon as your training ends, use a towel to give the exterior shell a wipe as sweat can cause stains on the leather. For sanitizing purpose, use disinfectant wipes to give the entire shin guard a good wipe down all over. Use hairdryers -set at high cool- to blow the interior for a couple of minutes. Alternatively, you can use a dry absorbent hand towel and give the interior a wipe to briefly absorb the moisture.

Do Not Leave Your Shin Guards in Your Bag Overnight
When you get home, you should take them out of your gym bag to air. If you leave them in the bag overnight, and you keep doing this after each training, your shin guards can start to stink in no time. Airing your gear allows the moisture to dissipate and prevents odors from accumulating.

There are some gym bags that are constructed such that they allow for more ventilation. These bags are made partially or entirely out of mesh material and are very breathable. 

Keep Your Shin Guards Dry
There are a few ways to do this:

  1. You can stuff some newspapers on the inside of your shin guards and leave them for about 2 hours to absorb any moisture.
  2. Store the shin guards with cedar wood sachets as they absorb moisture and unpleasant smell while leaving a fresh scent.
  3. You can also use the hairdryer again to blow it into the back of the shin guards for about 5 minutes. Remember to set to high cool as excess heat may damage the shin guards.
  4. A popular recommendation is putting equipment out in the sun for about 30 minutes after training. This is a very common practice in many Thai gyms.

Thereafter, keep them in a dry, cool environment away from direct sunlight whenever not in use.

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