Take a step into any of the MMA gyms in the world. You’ll notice that from the beginner’s level all the way up to UFC champion status, safety is the top priority while training. From something as simple as a hand wrap, maximum protection is a must. In fact, once a beginner begins to understand the basic striking principals of MMA, they graduate to being able to spar with live opponents. All gyms require proper protection before sparring. One of the most important pieces of protection is shin guards.
Have you ever been kicked in the shin? Ever banged it against the side of a bed or a door? Then you understand the importance of protecting the shin. After all, it’s one of the most sensitive bones in the entire body. Shin guards not only protect the shin, but they also protect the feet and ankles from smashing into the bare bones.
Choosing the Correct Pair
Choosing the right pair of shin guards relies heavily upon the style of the fighter wearing them.
Some fighters prefer bigger thick pads for maximum protection. This is usually a recommendation for fighters in the beginning stages of their training. Conditioning the shins is a long process. Therefore, it’s important to find the right guards along for the journey. However, the more padding that’s available in the shin guards, the least mobility a fighter will have.
It’s important to find the perfect fit and size before you begin training. That way you get the perfect blend of protection and mobility for your style. Just as important as the protection, it is equally important to practice techniques correctly.
The Perfect Pair
There are multiple trade-offs to consider when purchasing shin guards. Simply put, there are not a single pair of shin guards on the market that is perfect for everybody.
Guards that focus on mobility often lack in the padding department. These guards are usually slim in stature and feature an open back. Athletes would choose guards that feature more mobility if they’re primarily focused on training well-rounded techniques.
Full MMA sparring is usually done in lighter guards due to the convenience of being able to grapple, wrestle, maneuver easily around the cage. You’ll be able to focus on practicing techniques perfectly and freely with as much speed as possible. However, fighters might want to try practicing power in guards built for more protection.
Bulkier guards with more protection usually feature premium materials. They’re usually infused with high-impact foam, shock-absorbing gel, and high-quality leather. Guards like these are usually used for long sessions on heavy bangs or extensive pad work focusing on power.
These guards might be heavy, but they will certainly protect the shins for the entire training session. Although they may limit your full range of motion, they will still protect you as you shred your way through bags all over the gym.
Fit and Sizing
MMA shin guards usually come in common sizing similar to fight shorts. They typically list sizes of Small/Medium/Large. The sizing chart provided is usually based on the height of the athlete. In rare cases, some athletes have abnormally long legs. In this case, you may have to measure your shins before you purchase.
The fitting of the guards is important because if your shin guards are too big they will interrupt your flow during training and sparring. They will slide around causing discomfort. Also, if your guards are not in place, you run the risk of injuring yourself if you throw a strike without protection in place.
If your shin guards are too small, they won’t offer enough protection and may fit too tight which is uncomfortable. Kicking a person, bag, or mitt with guards too small causes a shock/stinging feeling. It also causes shin abrasions.
Middle Easy is here to provide a guide on the absolute best shin guards for training in MMA. No matter your size or level of expertise, our guide is sure to provide a product adequate for everyone on their journey to becoming a martial artist.
The Best MMA Shin Guards for 2019
RDX MMA Shin Guard
The RDX MMA shin guards come equipped with a gel shock absorb system throughout the entire shin. They also feature sweat-absorbing technology which is perfect for those long training sessions. Sweat absorption also helps keeps your shin pads properly in place and the duel strap system in the back provides a locked-in feel.
The thick padding and nylon-based materials make for a product that is built to last. You’ll be able to kick at maximum strength without having to worry bout if the product will be able to withstand the force.
The mobility provided makes the RDX shin guards stand out compared to others. Especially for the price.
Meister Edge MMA Shin Guards
The ergonomic design of the Meister EDGE shin guards stands out as the highlight feature. Usually, when products are mass-produced, it’s tough to capitalize on making a product fit perfectly due to shape and sizes. However, Meister managed to make each size fit the legs perfectly to the point where they shin guards feel like an extension of you, not an accessory.
The Meister EDGE features cowhide leather and high-density foam throughout all areas where a kick would be thrown. Also, the guards’ feature a layer of gel over the foot for maximum protection.
A subtle detail to the Meister’s is also the grips placed on the bottom of the strap so that the product doesn’t slip around or slide off. From beginner to expert, any athlete would appreciate these shin guards.
- Breaks in easily
- Great for beginners
- Grip stays in place
- Not as durable as other guards
Venum Elite Standup Shinguards
The Venum Elites are some of the best shin guards money can buy. Often times, professional fighters such as Jose Aldo, Wanderlei Silva, and Lyoto Machida can even be seen wearing the Venum elites.
Part of the reason why is due to the premium Skintex leather construction. They also feature an open backstrap system so that a fighter won’t feel a restriction in movement while wearing them. Additionally, they’re reinforced on the shinbone and instep area. Which means, the optimal striking surface area will have maximum protection.
The Venum Elites do come with a hefty price tag. However, the return on investment outweighs the price point. Consider these and feel comfortable knowing that they will last a very long time. Even practicing as much as four times a week.
- Handmade in Thailand
- Maximum protection
- Maximum mobility
- Variety of colors
- Very expensive
Hayabusa Kanpeki Elite 2.0
Fighters will have trouble finding shin guards with more quality materials than these. The Kanpeki elite 2.0 features 100% premium full-grain leather. The fully breathable fullback design grants excellent resistance for zero shiftings and pinpoint accuracy.
The only downfall about these shin guards is the customization limits. Unfortunately, they only come in a single color… brown. Consumers often make fun of the way the Kanpeki’s look, referring them to a pair of old western cowboy boots.
However, if you can get past the way that they look, it’ll be tough to find a more comfortable pair of shin guards on the market. The longer you use them, the more they conform to your shins.
- 100% full-grain leather
- Maximum protection
- Maximum mobility
- Variety of colors
- Visually unappealing
- Only come in one color
Sanabul Essential Hybrid Kickboxing MMA Shin Guards
Sanabul has been making quality training gear since its beginning. These guards fall in line with the high-quality standard that they’ve always maintained. At such a great price point, any beginner should look in the direction of the Sanabul Essentials.
They feature extra reinforcement and high-impact protection foam. Additionally, the closed-back strap system ensures that the guards will not slide around during training sessions. The one-piece High-Impact protection foam was especially developed to protect shins during sparring or training sessions. Articulated in-step padding ergonomically contours to your foot and shins. Simply put, when you put them on, you will feel maximum comfort as well as maximum protection.
Sanabul also offers these guards in a variety of colors, which also sets them apart from other shin guards on the market.
- Light and mobile
- Maximum mobility
- Variety of colors
- Very sweaty
- Decent durability
Hopefully, this shin guard guide will lead athletes to their perfect pair of shin guards. Whether its the first pair for a rookie or a professional fighter looking for great value, this guide provides something for everybody.
Remember, the most important thing about combat equipment is protection and comfort. Also, each athlete is different. What is comfortable to one person, may not necessarily be comfortable to another. Different body types, calf sizes, and shin development could result in a different experience for each individual.
Another key decision is choosing the correct size. While it may sound simple, getting the wrong size could impact an athlete tremendously. Getting the correct size assures that your shin guards will stay firmly in place. If your guards slip, an amateur could risk the chance of serious injury.
Healthy and safety are the top priority of this list. That’s why we only chose products that we’ve used, spent time in, and have put to the test. Since the shins are very easy to damage, it’s important to protect them at all costs.
Leg injuries impact all sparring and training sessions going forward. This guide is the best shot at making sure the probably for those injuries stays at a minimum.