The 10 Best MMA Shin Guards 2018 : Striking, Muay Thai, & Grappling

When you are looking for the absolute best MMA shin guards it is important to find something that is of a high quality. MMA or even amateur fighting can be extremely hard on your shins. Without proper shin guards, you can end up with bruising, broken bones, swollen legs or other serious injuries. It can be difficult to narrow down the most important aspects of a shin guard but it is important to know them or you might end up buying a pair of shin guards that aren’t up to par and end up hurting yourself.

Top MMA Shin Guard Comparison Chart

It is always important to take into account the professional level that you are fighting at in order to determine the quality of padding that you need. For instance, if you are just in the backyard having a bit of a match with your friends you are probably not going to need to buy the most expensive shin guards on the market in order to protect yourself.

MMA Shin Guard Buying Guide

Price

Although the price may not seem like a very large issue when it comes to MMA shin pads, it definitely plays a role in the overall quality of the shin pad. Buying yourself a cheap pair of shin pads not only can get you poor quality, itchy straps, but it can also get you poor protection and durability. Shin pads tend to get quite wet during a fight and it is important that the interior layer of the shin pad is both comfortable and fits correctly.

Warranty

Warranty is something else you definitely want to have a look at when you are buying shin pads. Getting a good long lasting warranty can save you money way down the road when someone makes a big kick and ends up breaking your shin pad. It is also important to note that the straps on a shin pad are sometimes the most prone to breaking because they take on the most stress. With a good warranty, none of these issues will represent a problem for you.

Front Plate

The front plate is the part of the shin pad that is going to take the brunt of the impact during a fight. If you buy a poor quality shin pad it will likely be made of thin foam and won’t do much in the way of protection. Generally, you will find that the highest quality shin pads will be made up of a material such as leather. Leather is a very durable material and is capable of absorbing some impact while holding foam underneath it in order to better prevent injury.

Foot Cover

Not all shin pads have padding that comes up and over the top of the foot. A good quality shin pad will have this feature in place as it really helps to add a lot of overall protection. It is important to have a look and see how the foot cover attaches to the rest of the shin pad. A poor quality shin pad will have small straps or a piece of fabric that brings the two pieces of equipment together; this will mean it is much more prone to breaking off. A high-quality foot cover will blend right in with the rest of the shin pad and will have much thicker fabric and the exterior coating (something like leather) will normally be over top of the spot where the two pieces join. You will also notice that some shin pads have a foot cover that wraps around the entire foot and some others just strap in over the top.

Size

Without the right size of shin pad your shins are much more vulnerable to injury. If you choose to wash your shin pads, just know that they could shrink a little bit and not provide you quite as much protection. It is also important to note that buying too big of shin pads is just as dangerous. If you are kicking and have your shin pad spin around your leg this can leave your leg completely vulnerable and a target for your opponent. A big shin pad puts you just as much at risk of an injury as a small one does.

Straps

One of the most important aspects of a shin pad are the straps that hold the shin pad in place. Without good quality straps your shin pad could shift during a fight and cause an injury. Another thing to think about for straps is what they use to attach the two together. Something like Velcro is good as long as there isn’t overlap so it can’t rub against your leg. Other options are buckles, which can be uncomfortable as well as brackets. Some shin pads actually slip over top of your whole leg and can have no straps or only a couple to hold everything in place; it really all depends on the make and the model and what the shin pad is supposed to be used for.

Weight

This is a factor that is looked at not very often but is still quite important. If you buy yourself a set of bulky, heavy shin pads you aren’t going to be as agile and this can result in you losing your fight. It is important to know how thick the pads are and the overall weight of the pads so that you aren’t being worn down by extra weight that you don’t need. At the same time you also don’t want to buy yourself the lightest shin pads on the market as they might not provide you with the adequate protection that you need in your fight.

Inner Lining

The inner lining of the shin pad is going to have the largest impact on the overall comfortability factor of the shin pad itself. A good quality shin pad will have something like a gel inner lining and it will feel quite comfortable sitting against your leg. Another thing companies often incorporate into their shin pad is some kind of drying fabric on the interior lining because that is the part of the shin pad that generally gets the wettest when fighting. Adding some kind of self-drying fabric can really help to make a shin pad more comfortable to wear for an extended period of time and will result in fewer rashes and itchiness in general.

Mesh and Elastic Ability

It is important to have some kind of adjustment ability on every shin pad. Normally this is by means of elastic straps or joining areas on the pads. Not every shin pad has as much in the way of adjustable options as other ones do. This could be a very important factor for you if you are still growing and it could also be an important factor for you for choosing the right size of shin pad to fit the length and width of your legs.

Use

This could be one of the major deciding factors for you when you are ready to finally purchase your shin pads. Depending on how often you use the shin pads, as well as what you are using the shin pads for, it can make a huge difference on whether you need to buy yourself super high-quality ones because you will be facing professionals, or lower priced and poorer quality ones because you just want to mess around with your friends. It is also a good idea to think about how much use you are going to have with the shin pads because generally speaking lower quality, cheaper shin pads are going to wear out faster.

Best MMA Shin Guard Reviews

  1. Combat Sports Pro-Style MMA Shin Guards

These shin pads are of a very good quality. The leather exterior and foot cover on these shin pads really helps to offer some extra protection compared to others in the moderate price range. Elastic straps allow for some nice adjustability and comfortability while wearing the shin pads. The foam padding surrounding the main guard helps to add comfort while wearing and adds extra protection from high kicks as well as sideways kicks if you somehow managed to get turned. If you can put up with the color blue, these are very nice shin pads that also have the added bonus of having a padded foot cover.

Pros:

  • Leather exterior
  • Foot cover
  • Foam padding on the top of the guard
  • Mesh and built-in windows allows for sweat to escape

Cons:

  • Only comes in blue
  • Some users may not like the foot strap or the foot cover

 

  1. Whistlekick Sparring Shin Guards

These shin pads are much cheaper than most of the other shin pads on the market and there are several reasons for this. These shin pads do not have a foot cover and are cheap looking in appearance. What they lack in style, they make up for in protection. These shin pads have a whole inch of foam incorporated into the design and have a substantial amount of air flow on the interior portion of the shin pads in order to help keep your legs nice and cool. Amazingly even though these are super low budget shin pads they come in a free backpack that you can use to store your gear in.

Pros:

  • Extremely affordable
  • The curved design stays tight to your shin for better impact absorbance.
  • 1 inch of foam helps provide adequate protection.
  • Free backpack with your purchase
  • Lots of airflow keeps you from becoming too sweaty

Cons:

  • Looks like a cheap shin pad
  • Velcro straps may bother the skin

 

  1. Fairtex Muay Thai Boxing Shin Guard

This shin guard is very simple in design and is in the average price range. It has a foot cover that is attached quite well and not by straps. The whole unit is one solid piece and has straps on the back of the leg as well as below the foot in order to hold everything in place. These shin guards sit below the knee to allow for more movement, they are very light overall and yet have thick foam built into them for impact absorption. These shin pads are quite stiff at first and it will likely take a bit of time before they start to loosen up, but overall they offer great protection from kicks and keep your leg and foot secure and safe while you are doing the kicking as well.

Pros:

  • Affordable mid to low budget shin pads
  • Simple Velcro design that also incorporates a foot cover
  • Small, medium, large and extra-large sizes are available so you can be sure to get the proper fit.
  • A variety of colors are available including different shades of black, blue, and red

Cons:

  • These shin pads have thick foam and can take a while to wear in
  • Simple design may make these shin pads appear to be cheap

 

  1. Fairtex Twister Shin Guards

These shin guards require a modest budget to purchase but do provide some very good protection. The foot cover on these shin pads is fully removable and you can adjust the height of both the shin pad and foot protector in order to better protect your leg from injury. This shin pad is called the “twister” largely due to the extra padding on the sides of the shin pad. When you kick or turn you do open up the opportunity for your opponent to catch you on the side of the leg. These shin pads, in particular, will really help to keep the sides of your le3g protected while still keeping you agile with the lightweight design.

Pros:

  • Added foam on the sides of the shin pad help to protect the sides of your legs from most kicks
  • Detachable foot cover allows you to keep your foot open if that is how you like to fight
  • Padded straps help to make your legs more comfortable

Cons:

  • Only available in size small and large
  • May be difficult to get the shin pad adjusted to the proper fit.

 

  1. Fairtex Competition Shin Guards

These moderately priced shin guards are quite protective of both the front as well as the sides of your leg. Available in black, red, yellow and blue, you will have lots of colors to choose from to appeal to your own personality traits. With no metal and rough edges in the design of these shin pads, they are comfortable to wear, easy to adjust and look like a proper shin guard should. Dense foam along with a leather exterior should keep these shin pads in good shape for a long period of time.

Pros:

  • The sides of your legs are well protected when wearing these shin pads
  • Available in a variety of colors
  • No rough edges
  • Leather exterior

Cons:

  • Might be out of budget range for some people
  • May not have as much adjustment options and sizes to choose from as other shin pads on the market

 

  1. Fairtex SPE Elastic Competition Shin Guards

These elastic based shin guards use a combination of cotton and elastic to form fit your leg and protect you from kicks. Velcro at the top portion of the shin pad allows for quick and easy adjustment. These guards are designed to allow the most movement possible while keeping your shin guards from sliding around on your leg. These shin pads may not look like they protect quite as well as some other shin pads on the market but so long as you aren’t using them all of the time they should do the job just fine. These shin pads are made straight from Thailand and come in three different colors including black, red and blue. Surprisingly these shin guards are machine washable which helps to get rid of the odour, mold and moisture build-up within the shin pads.

Pros:

  • Machine washable
  • Very secure fit
  • Maximum movement thanks to cotton material

Cons:

  • Look as though they are cheap shin pads
  • Don’t have as much foam as most shin pads and aren’t very bulky

 

  1. Fairtex Neoprene Shin Guards

These are some of the best shin guards out there for all-around protection. Instead of straps behind the legs, these shin pads offer protection all the way around. Available in black and in sizes small, medium, large and extra-large. These shin pads have lots of foam on the shin portion of the design to help protect against large impacts. Made in Thailand this quality shin pad is very lightweight and durable. There is a hook and loop cover at the top to cover the elastic band which helps to ensure a tight fit.

Pros:

  • Form fitted design allows for easy adjustment and a tight and secure fit
  • Very lightweight and durable
  • Complete protection all around the leg

Cons:

  • Could be warm to wear for a long period of time because it wraps around the whole leg
  • May take some time to put on and adjust to proper position

 

  1. Century Brave Shin Instep Guard

 These shin pads are extremely low budget and come in a black and gray design. A total of two hook and loop straps allow for easy adjustment and help to make these shin pads fit properly. These shin pads come in two different sizes, those sizes being small/ medium as well as a large/ extra-large size. These shin pads have thick foam padding and offer a comfy fit. Easy to use for an extended period of time and made from a simple design that should be quite durable. Due to the fact these shin pads are gray/ black in color they are multi gender and can be adjusted to suit different sized legs as needed.

Pros:

  • Easy to adjust
  • Light weight
  • Thick foam padding
  • Small foot cover
  • Hook and loop straps are comfortable

Cons:

  • Low budget shin pads won’t offer you the same quality protection as some higher end ones in the marketplace
  • Only two size options available

 

  1. Fairtex SP5 Shin Guards Competition

Available in black, blue, red and yellow these shin pads come in a medium, large and extra-large size. A double layer of foam and leather exterior make these shin pads quite durable. These shin pads are designed to sit as close to your shin as possible so that they are comfortable and offer more impact absorption. Although these are medium budget range shin pads they do offer quite good protection as long as you don’t get turned around in a fight. These shin pads don’t have metal loops and are therefore permitted to be used in amateur competition. They also contain a unique silk screen so that you can tell which shin pad is for which leg.

Pros:

  • Double layer of foam for added protection
  • Some side protection to help when you are in a vulnerable position
  • Easy to take off and put back on
  • Leather exterior and multiple colors available
  • Foot cover

Cons:

  • Back of the leg is left open
  • Kind of bulky

 

  1. Platinum GelTech Shin Guards

These are fairly low budget shin guards that have Velcro straps on the back half for easy removal and to hold the shin guard securely in place. A quick drying gelled interior will keep you comfortable even during long fights and these shin pads will do a good job of protecting you at the same time. The foam on these pads goes around to the sides of the legs and will help to protect you from sideways kicks or if you get put into a vulnerable position. These lightweight shin pads have a foot cover and everything is coated with a durable leather exterior.

Pros:

  • Gelled interior makes for a comfortable fit
  • Fast drying interior keeps sweat at ease and makes you more comfortable
  • Leather exterior
  • Foot cover
  • 2 inch wide elastic straps form to any leg type

Cons:

  • Velcro may rub against your leg
  • May have to do up straps quite tight so your shin pads don’t slide around

 

Conclusion & Recommendations

Like proper gloves and mouth guards, shin guards are also important for so many reasons. If you were to damage your leg you may never be able to walk properly again. A proper shin guard will help to ease the impact of a kick to the shin and save you from bruising, scratches, pain and suffering. It is important to get the right size of shin guard so that your whole shin is protected and you will be much less likely to get an injury. MMA fighting, or even fighting in your backyard without proper protection is a scary thing. It can take as little as one kick to break a leg and it is not always the person who receives the kick that this ends up happening to. A bone on bone hit can be brutal for both the fighters and can easily result in the end of a fight. Hope that you learned some important facts about shin pads to help you make your final decision. Best of luck in your fights.

 

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