Shin guards are no minor addition to your equipment bag or we wouldn’t devote an entire column to helping you figure out how to pick the best Muay Thai shin guard. Used by folks during training sessions, shin guards are “compulsory for amateur kickboxing bouts” though not for professional play. It’s your body and your call. But you have a lot to lose by purchasing equipment that’s anything less than top quality. You invest more than just time in the sport you love and all it takes is a single injury to put you out of commission. Prioritize quality and you’ll not only stay safer, but you’ll never suffer buyer’s regret.
|Image||Best Muay Thai Shin Guards||Rating|
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|Venum Elite Shin Guards|
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|Fairtex SP5 Shin Guards|
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|Top King Shin Guard Protector|
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|Hayabusa T3 Shin Guards|
How to measure your shins for guards
Sizing is a critical factor when you choose shin guards because you risk discomfort, skin irritation and worse if you don’t choose wisely. Equipment makers produce these safety products in several sizes to accommodate body types. Consult the package before you open your wallet.
An easy way to ascertain a proper fit is to measure the distance between the top of your ankle and the bottom of the shin guard plus the distance between the top of the guards and your kneecap. If you determine a 2cm space between your ankle and the guard and a 4cm distance between the guard and kneecap, you’re good to go.
Do materials and construction make a difference?
Materials used to fabricate shin guards have multiplied in direct proportion to the international sporting community’s use of them. If you want to impress your mates, inform locker room companions that you can buy these in foam rubber, polyurethane, and even Kevlar. You’ll also have to decide between three primary shin guard systems: OSi, shield and the wand system.
What’s the difference? OSi system manufacturers employ medical casting to custom mold shin guards so you get personal fit and good protection from fiberglass layers used to shape the product. The Wand system is based on early shin guard design; these are made of solid and hollow wands threaded throughout the guards. Fabric and foam help cushion and disperse impact. The shield shin guard system is made of several layers of material beneath a hard, outer shell. Why not try on all three systems to see which works best?
If the price is not an issue and you want the best of the best to protect your appendages, it’s important to know which materials will serve you best. New materials debut regularly, so keep an eye on new equipment trends destined to replace these favorites:
- Foam rubber shin guards are inexpensive, light, adaptable and they offer some impact protection but tend to wear out fast. Of all types, they’re the most comfortable.
- Plastic shin guards are also cheap, and they may crack or fall apart if you’re an active kickboxer. Plastic offers moderate protection but tends to be uncomfortable.
- Polyurethane and Kevlar offer the most protection, support but at a steeper price.
Reasons to wear shin guards
To give you an idea of what you’re protecting, shin guards wrap around a very thin layer of fat that houses the leg’s tibia and fibula. Nerves and blood vessels are also in this area. Wear these and you reduce shock in both bones and the area surrounding them by a considerable amount.
Members of a Duke University research team studied the benefits of shin guards as they impact tibia fractures in athletes. They took a scientific approach to examine materials, design and the amount of protection the leg receives when wearing them.
The team tested 23 commercial shin guards using cadavers to grade amounts of damage to the leg as a result of the infliction of high impact strikes. Focused primarily on the posterior side of the tibia (considered the most vulnerable in terms of injury potential), all of the guards tested offered some protection, thus proving the hypothesis that shin guards of any kind are worth wearing. Study findings were impressive: “The average guard reduced the force by 11% to 17% and strain by 45% to 51% compared with the unguarded leg.”
That stated you may wish to base your buying decision on test results published by the National Institutes of Health’s “Journal of Sports Science & Medicine.” Their conclusions differ slightly from the Duke study. Researchers agree that shin guards decrease the risk of injury and found carbon-based shin guards provide sufficient protection against high impact forces. Although they advise against wearing polypropylene because it doesn’t provide sufficient protection against high impact forces.”
Best Muay Thai Shin Guards
Venum Elite Shin Guards
If you are looking for exceptional quality and slick graphics, look no further than the Venum Elite Shin Guards. Its designed to be extremely lightweight allowing for unrestricted mobility and speed. Constructed from %100 Skintex leather, these shin guards are very durable enabling you to kick your training partner without the risk of injury.
By using high-density foam with additional padding, they provide the ultimate protection to the shinbone and deliver an optimal surface for striking. The enclosure system uses 2 large velcro strap and an elastic that goes under the foot for a no-slip and secure fit.
Fairtex SP5 Shin Guards
Let’s take a closer look at the Fairtex SP5 Competition Shin Guards. They are made from Fairtex Synthek leather, a type of synthetic leather. Although genuine leather is of higher quality, recent advances in manufacturing standards have tremendously improved the quality of synthetic leather.
A double layer coating of high impact foam core provides robust protection. The stitch-free open system design between shin protector and the foot protector minimizes the risk of foot injury. The loop is non-metal which makes it safe for competitions. Use of an extruded design provides excellent knee protection. The flush design keeps the shin guard in place when checking hard kicks.
Top King Shin Guard Protector
Top King’s flagship shin guard and manufactured from genuine leather, these shin guards offer the highest level of protection to the areas around the shin, ankle, and kneecap. The raised padded ridge provides excellent shin protection when checking or throwing full-forced kicks.
The hook and loop closure system ensure a snug and secure fit. This model of Top Kings has added neoprene padding around the area where the shin protector and the foot protector meet. The additional padding protects the ankle when accidentally throwing kicks to your opponent’s elbows. At the same time, it also improves the flexibility of the shin guards. Finally, these shin guards are lightweight which allows throwing and checking kicks at a faster pace.
Hayabusa T3 Shin Guards
Hayabusa uses lightweight and flexible materials to manufacture the T3 shin guards. When you get these shin guards, you’ll notice they are going to last and be durable. The last thing you wanna do is buy low-quality shin guards that will break down over time. Furthermore, you’ll feel the density and the stability of this shin pad. If it’s not stable in your hands, we promise you it’s not going to protect your shins. You wanna ensure it has really good foam. Hayabusa has done extensive research and testing to develop the highest quality and safest foams in all their gears.
The T3’s are pre-curved which helps improve the fit, feel, and performance of the shin guard. The shin guards do not twist when throwing kicks because of the curvature. The open-back design increases air circulation and prevents excessive sweating. The bottom of the foot pad has two loops, one that goes under the foot and another one which goes behind the heel. These loops are extremely important as it prevents the foot pad from flip-flopping and exposing your foot to injury.