From Muay Thai to MMA: A Guide to Shin Guard Selection

January 27, 2023
From: Spartacus
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Mixed martial arts (MMA) and Muay Thai are two of the most exciting combat sports in the world, and if you’re a fighter, you know that having the right equipment is essential. When it comes to protecting your shins and ankles, a good pair of shin guards is a must-have. These bad boys will keep you safe from broken bones, bruises, and abrasions, so you can focus on kicking butt in the ring.

But with so many different types of shin guards out there, how do you know which ones to choose? Fear not, fighter! This guide is here to help. We’ll break down the differences between MMA and Muay Thai shin guards, give you some tips on what to look for when choosing a pair, and even share some of our top picks. So, get ready to knock out the competition with the best shin guards around!

Differences between MMA and Muay Thai Shin Guards

If you’re serious about high-intensity combat sports, then you know that having the right gear can make all the difference in your performance and safety. And when it comes to your shins and ankles, a good pair of shin guards is an absolute must! But not all shin guards are created equal. The design and features of shin guards can vary significantly depending on the sport you practise. So, whether you’re an MMA fighter or a Muay Thai warrior, it’s essential to choose the right shin guards that meet your specific needs.

MMA Shin Guards

These shin guards are all about flexibility and mobility. As an MMA fighter, you need to be able to move quickly and fluidly, and that’s where lightweight materials and minimal padding come in. MMA shin guards are designed to offer maximum range of motion, allowing you to perform grappling and striking techniques with ease. They often come with extra padding on the instep and ankle to provide additional protection.

Muay-Thai Shin Guards 

These bad boys are all about heavy striking and blocking. Muay Thai fighters rely heavily on their shins for striking techniques, so the shin guards are typically made with thicker padding to absorb the impact of kicks. They also tend to be larger and bulkier than MMA shin guards, providing maximum protection for your shins and ankles. And, like MMA shin guards, they often come with extra padding on the instep and ankle for added protection.

One key difference between MMA and Muay Thai shin guards is the design of the back. MMA shin guards often have an open-back design to allow for easy movement, while Muay Thai shin guards typically have a closed back design for a secure fit and additional support for the ankle.

Now that you know the differences between MMA and Muay Thai shin guards, it’s time to choose the right pair for you. Look for ones that fit well, offer ample protection, and allow for easy movement. And with the right shin guards, you’ll be ready to kick, strike, and grapple your way to victory!

Types of MMA and Muay-Thai Shin Guards 

Choosing the perfect pair of MMA and Muay Thai shin guards can be as tricky as landing a spinning backfist. But fear not, there’s a wide range of options to suit every level of experience and training intensity.

  • Traditional Cloth Shin Guards: These are the most basic type of shin guards and are made of cloth and foam. They are lightweight and provide minimal protection, making them ideal for beginners and those who are just starting out.
  • Synthetic Leather Shin Guards: These are made of synthetic leather and foam padding, and are more durable than cloth shin guards. They provide better protection and are suitable for intermediate and advanced practitioners.
  • Leather Shin Guards: These are made of high-quality leather and provide the most protection. They are durable and long-lasting, making them suitable for professional fighters.
  • Neoprene Shin Guards: These are made of neoprene material and are designed to be lightweight and flexible, allowing for a full range of motion. They are ideal for sparring and training sessions.
  • Instep Shin Guards: These are designed to protect the top of the foot as well as the shin. They are suitable for both Muay Thai and MMA practitioners.
  • Foam Shin Guards: These are the most basic type of shin guards and are made of foam padding. They are lightweight and provide minimal protection, making them ideal for beginners and those who are just starting out.

Factors to Consider when Choosing Shin Guards for MMA or Muay Thai

Picking the right shin guards for your combat sport is important, but it doesn’t have to be boring. You want to make sure you have the best gear to keep you protected, but also stylish and comfortable.

When looking for shin guards, there are some factors to consider, including the level of padding, ventilation, durability, size and fit, and weight and flexibility.

Firstly, padding is important to protect your shins and ankles, and it’s important to find the right level of padding for your sport. For instance, MMA shin guards have less padding than Muay Thai shin guards since they are designed for flexibility and mobility. However, Muay Thai shin guards have thicker padding to handle the heavy strikes and kicks.

It’s also important to consider ventilation, so your shin guards don’t get sweaty and uncomfortable during a fight. Look for shin guards made of breathable materials with mesh or perforations to help keep you cool.

Durability is also key since shin guards take a lot of wear and tear during training and competitions. You’ll want to choose a pair with reinforced stitching and extra padding in high-wear areas.

Size and fit are crucial for the effectiveness of the shin guards, so make sure you measure your shins and ankles and choose the right size. Some shin guards come in different sizes, while others are one size fits all, so be sure to check the sizing chart before purchasing.

Finally, you don’t want your shin guards to weigh you down or hinder your movement, so opt for lightweight and flexible shin guards that allow for optimal performance.

Top Picks for MMA and Muay Thai Shin Guards

Let’s face it, with so many options available, it can be a daunting task to choose the right pair of shin guards that fits your needs. That’s where we come in! We’ve done the research and found some top picks for both MMA and Muay Thai shin guards, after speaking to our very own fighters at Spartacus MMA, because you deserve the best-

  • The Hayabusa T3 Kanpeki Shin Guards, which are made from full-grain leather for durability and offer superior protection with multi-layered foam padding, was a top pick among our fighters. The mesh panels in these shin guards provide good ventilation, making them perfect for long training sessions and are a favourite among fighters looking for durability and ventilation.
  •  Another top pick could be the Fairtex SP5 Shin Guards, which are known for their comfortable fit and excellent coverage of the shin and instep. With additional padding on the instep and ankle and a closed-back design, these shin guards offer a secure fit and added ankle support.
  • Another Spartacus MMA fighter may also recommend the Venum Elite Standup Shin Guards, which offer a sleek and stylish design while also providing great protection with high-density foam padding. 
  • And finally for those on a budget, the Sanabul Essential Hybrid Shin Guards are an affordable option that still offer good protection and flexibility.

A Spartacus MMA fighter understands the importance of selecting the right shin guards and recommends these top picks to fellow fighters and fans alike.. 


In the world of combat sports, few things are as important as a good pair of shin guards for MMA and Muay Thai fighters. Now that you have a better understanding of the differences between MMA and Muay Thai shin guards, as well as some top picks to consider, it’s time to gear up and get ready for some serious training and competition! 

Shin guards are a crucial piece of equipment for any MMA or Muay Thai fighter. They protect the shins from getting bruised or injured during fights and training sessions. With so many options available in the market, it can be challenging to find the right pair that offers both comfort and protection. One way to test the effectiveness of your shin guards is by attending or watching a Spartacus MMA event.

Spartacus is known for hosting some of the toughest fights in the MMA world, with fighters delivering powerful kicks and knees that put their opponents’ shin guards to the test. The intensity of these fights makes Spartacus MMA events the perfect platform to test the durability and performance of your shin guards. If the shin guards can withstand the high-impact kicks and knees thrown by Spartacus fighters, it’s a testament to their quality.


What are the key differences between MMA and Muay Thai shin guards?

MMA shin guards are your go-to for flexibility and mobility, while Muay Thai shin guards are the tanks that give you max protection for heavy strikes. MMA guards are usually lighter with less padding, and often have an open-back design. Muay Thai guards? They’re bulkier, have more padding, and usually a closed-back design. Got it? Good.

How do I choose the right type of shin guard for MMA or Muay Thai?

Ready to knock out the competition, eh? It’s simple: think about your fighting style and the level of protection you need. For MMA, go for something lightweight and flexible. Muay Thai? You’ll want thicker padding for those brutal kicks and blocks.

What types of materials are commonly used in making MMA and Muay Thai shin guards?

Material matters, folks! Traditional Cloth, Synthetic Leather, Leather, Neoprene—each has its pros and cons. For beginners, cloth might do. For the seasoned warriors, leather or synthetic leather offer durability and better protection.

Why is padding important when choosing shin guards for combat sports?

Padding is your armour in the ring! It absorbs the shock from kicks and strikes. Less padding in MMA for speed; more in Muay Thai for heavy impact. Your shins will thank you later.

How does the design of the back in shin guards differ between MMA and Muay Thai?

Open-back for MMA gives you the freedom to dance around, grapple, and go for quick strikes. Closed-back in Muay Thai keeps everything snug and supported while you’re throwing those heavy kicks.

What factors should be considered for ventilation in shin guards?

Nobody wants sweaty legs, right? Look for shin guards with mesh or perforations. Breathable material keeps you cool and comfortable while you’re kicking butt.

How do I measure for the correct size and fit of shin guards?

Measure your shins and ankles, then check the sizing chart. Some brands offer multiple sizes, while others are one-size-fits-all. You want a snug but comfortable fit to protect those money-makers (your shins).

Why is durability important in selecting shin guards for combat sports?

Let’s be real, your shin guards will go through a beating. Go for something with reinforced stitching and extra padding in high-wear areas. The longer they last, the less often you’ll need to replace ’em.

Are there budget-friendly options for MMA and Muay Thai shin guards?

On a budget but still wanna kick safely? There are affordable options like the Sanabul Essential Hybrid Shin Guards. They won’t break the bank but still offer decent protection.

What are some top picks for MMA and Muay Thai shin guards?

Top-tier fighters need top-tier gear! Hayabusa T3 Kanpeki for durability and ventilation. Fairtex SP5 for a comfy fit and good coverage. Venum Elite Standup for a sleek look and solid protection.

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