The Ultimate Shin Guards Buyer Guide

In front of you is the full buyer guide for martial arts shin guards. Shin guards should be used in training of any form of martial arts that allows kicking (Kickboxing, Muay Thai, MMA, Karate Etc...).

Shin guards are critical for beginners, intermediates, and professionals. Altho most professional competitions occur without shin guards, It's highly dangerous and irresponsible not to wear them during training. One wrong low kick or good knee defense by your training partner and you may find yourself at home with a broken leg for the next couple of months, so make sure to use shin guards while training.

When choosing your shin guards you'll have to choose one of two main types of shin guards:

Stand Up Shin Guards / Muay Thai Shin Guards -

These shin guards are meant to protect your shins & in steps during stand up sparring. Stand Up Shin Guards are usually harder, thicker and less flexible than grappling shin guards (the other type) due to the fact that they need to absorb harsh kicking and striking and keep your shins safe.

Stand up shin guards may come with or without instep protection (shin guards without instep protection are recommended for more advanced fighters) and usually using hook & loop closure, for that reason they are not proper for grappling training (they can easily slip out and the velcro may hurt your training partner during grappling).

Standing shin guards are great for sparring in Muay Thai, MMA (in stand up sparring), Karate, etc...

Examples:

1. Windy Pro Shin Guards

2. Fairtex Shin Guards

Windy Stand up Shin guardsFairtex Shin Guards

Grappling Shin Guards / MMA Shin Guards -

Those Sock-like shin guards usually made out of stretching cotton or neoprene. You should wear them on like a sock and it should stay attached and fit tight to your shin at all times with no need to adjust every time. The ability to stick on in transitions between positions makes those shin guards perfect for MMA. The protecting material in those shin guards is usually softer and thinner compared to stand-up shin guards because it needs to be flexible. Grappling shin guards are also much lighter then stand up shin guards and you should almost feel like you don't even wear them.

MMA sShin guards are usually used for training and amateur MMA and muay Thai competitions.

Examples:

1. Meister Elastic Cloth Padded Shin Guards

2. Combat Sports Shin-Instep Guard

                                                           Meister Elastic Cloth Padded Shin GuardsCombat Sports Shin-Instep Guard

 

Protection vs. Weight -

You should always find the balance between the best protection you can get for your shins to a light as a feather gear that won't make you even slightly slower. Of course, those two usually contradict each other and there is no perfect solution, there are no "perfect" shin guards, each fighter has his own individual Preferences.

The heavier shin guards are the more protection you get and the other way around. make sure you try as many shin guards as you can to find your own balance and find the pair that meets your needs best.

Shin Guards Sizing - 

Each brand provides different sizing by measuring different Criteria. Some determine the correct size by measuring the calf circumference, some do it by the length of the shin, some measure the length of your feet or even the height of the user. I wouldn't trust all of those "general shin guards sizing" tables all over the web, you might buy the wrong size.

Luckily for you, each shin guard on our website have his own unique size chart brought to us directly from the manufacturers, you can watch it by clicking on the "+SIZE CHART" button right next to the available sizes.

On Mobile:

                               Mobile Size Chart Location         Mobile Size Chart Open

On Desktop:

Desktop Size Chart Location

 

Desktop Size Chart Open

Just in case you can't find your right size, here is a general sizing chart that fits most shin guards, but again, use it as a secondary option only, the size charts on the product pages are much more accurate.

 calf circumference Standard Sizing Calf Circumference (Inches)
REG / M 13-15
L 15-17
XL 16-19.5

 

Prices & Materials

Shin Guards can cost anywhere between $30 for the most basic models, to $200 at the most luxurious models from the respected brands. The most expensive shin guards will probably be crafted out of genuine leather. They'll be thicker and extra padded to ensure max protection. The cheaper ones will usually be made out of vinyl, neoprene or synthetic leather and will be lighter and thinner. 
In between you might find a lot of other designs with different prices and alternative materials and technologies such as gel padding, impact foam, nylon construction and more... all of those should be fine and you may prefer one over another based on personal experience.

Things To Look For & Thing To Avoid

To make it a little easier for you, here are some few things we recommend to look for and to avoid when looking for a new pair of shin guards:

Things To Look For -

  • (for Grappling / MMA Shin Guards) Neoprene / Cotton Backing - ensure the shin guards will stay fit and won't slip away.
  • (for Stand Up / Muay Thai Shin Guards) Genuine leather - for comfort and long lasting shin guards.
  • Instep Protection - We really recommend you to get shin guards with instep protection as well, especially the ones when the gap between the shin and the instep is almost unnoticeable.
  • Other Features & Technologies - gel or foam padding, friction enhancers etc…
  • Ergonomic Design - You better find shin guards that fits well and don't move around while training.
  • (for Stand Up / Muay Thai Shin Guards) Velcro straps, Hook & Loop Closure - letting you adjust the shin guards to your calf and keep it tight while sparring
  • Ankle Flexibility - to allow full movement performance in training.

 

Things To Avoid -

  • The cheapest pair out there - cheap quality gear will always last for a shorter period of time and will protect you poorly, and trust us, it's very painful to get a kick to an unprotected shin.
  • Poor Stitching - in a good pair you should almost not notice the stitching because it was stitched from the inside and usually there will be double or triple layer stitching.
  • (for Grappling / MMA Shin Guards) Hook & Loop Straps - not good enough for grappling and your shin guards will slip out, also the straps might hurt your partner

 

Take Care Of Your Shin Guards -

Now, after you got your pair you probably want to know how to make sure it last as long as it can. The first thing you should know is that you'll probably sweat a lot in those shin guards, and if you won't take care of it, your shin guards will absorb bacteria and odor pretty quickly making it stink and unpleasant to wear. 

The good thing is that shin guards (unlike gloves) are pretty easy to clean and preserve. 

  • After a workout leave your shin guards in a shaded cool place to breathe some air.
  • Do not leave it in the sun (it will destroy the materials after a couple of times).
  • Do not just leave your shin guards in your gym bag.
  • Spray some anti-bacterial spray (like Ferbreeze) on a cloth and rub it over.
  • Do not put it in a washing machine.

If you'll follow these few simple instructions you're shin guards will stay with you for years.

 

That's about it. If you are looking for a pair of shin guards feel free to visit our Shin Guards Collection and if you have any comments or questions just leave them in the comment section below and we'll make sure to answer each and every one of you!


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