The best MMA Shin Guards (2021) - Full Guide

Shin guards are a piece of equipment that you don’t want to look over when buying gear. In MMA and kickboxing, your legs take a beating you need to make sure you have the right ones.

This post is to tell you everything you need to know when looking for a good pair of shin guards. Guiding you through everything about the qualities of good shin guards, ones to avoid, and how to keep them tip-top. Also give you some shin guard recommendations at the end of the post.



What MMA Shin Guards To Avoid


Like with most combat sports gear, there is a lot of cheap equipment out there that isn’t worth your money, you should always look for high quality gear. Here are the types of shin guards you should avoid when you’re looking to buy a new pair.


Cloth Shin Guards

One of the worst purchase decisions you can make is buying shin guards made of a cloth material. These types of guards do nothing to protect you or your partner when you throw and check kicks. You and your training partners will feel every kick thrown if you wear cloth guards.

Cloth guards are also more prone to developing a bad smell and bacteria since they don’t have antimicrobial compounds. It’s a common error for those new to training to wear these types of guards, so avoid buying these guards.

Karate Foam Guards

Many that come from a point sparring background will have these types of guards when starting Muay Thai. Foam guards are not built to absorb powerful kicks and do nothing to protect you when you throw kicks.

What’s also bad about foam guards is they never stay on right. You’ll always be stopping to adjust and fix your guards. Very annoying to wear and shouldn’t be used in kickboxing or MMA.

Footless Shin Guards

Another type of shin guards you should avoid are those that just cover your shins and leave your feet exposed. In training the top of your feet constantly absorb impact from throwing kicks. Especially if you make the error of throwing your roundhouses incorrectly.

The small bones in your feet are not built to absorb the impact of throwing and blocking kicks. You will more than likely end up breaking your foot somehow if you wear shin guards without foot protection.

Shin Guards Sold In Sporting Goods Stores

Remember that it is probably better to altogether avoid anything combat sports related sold in chain sporting goods stores. Gear sold in those stores are mass produced with the goal to make money rather than make a good product.

They aren’t made with the best material and are made with types just good enough to be sold in stores. Sporting goods store shin guards will generally last you around a year until they fall apart from excessive use. If you’re serious about your training don’t settle for the cheap option and do your research for a good product.


 Types of shin guards


Not all shin guards are the same. There’s a few different types of shin guards on the market and each is designed for specific types of training. Here are the 3 main types of shin pads and a description of each type.


Elastic Shin Guards

Elastic shin guards are comfortable to wear and either come in 3 versions. Ones that protect both the foot and shin, and either just covering your shin, or the instep of your foot.

They are the cheapest option of shin pads and only protect the fronts of your legs. The back of your legs are completely exposed and have no protection.

These types of shin pads aren’t the best option, but if they are all you have available, they will work.

MMA Shin Guards

MMA shin guards are a thinner version of kickboxing shin guards that allow you to grapple in them. Traditional Muay Thai shin guards are more bulky and difficult to use in MMA grappling.

Like with elastic shin guards, MMA guards have a neoprene back, so they easily slide on. Although they offer more protection and are less likely to move around if they are a good product. 

The fronts of the guards are also similar to Muay Thai shin guards offering nearly equal protection. If you do both MMA and kickboxing training, then these are the type of shin pads you should consider.

Muay Thai Shin Guards

These are the heavy duty shin guards you should get if you do strictly kickboxing training. The top brands are either made of thick cowhide leather or top of the line synthetic leather.

They completely cover your leg from the bottom of your knee to the base of your toes. But be sure to get the right size, because if they go over your knee, they will restrict your movement.

Good Muay Thai shin guards are complete with at least 2-3 thick back straps to keep them from moving. If you only do strictly Muay Thai kickboxing training, these are the type you should look to purchase.



What To Look For In Good Shin Pads


When looking for quality shin pads, there are a few specific things you should look for. Here is what to look for.


Good Material

If you want shin guards that last leather and synthetic leather pads are the way to go. These types of guards are heavy duty and built to train in for years. They can take a beating and still look almost brand new if you take care of them.

Elastic pads are okay if that is all that is available, but leather or synthetic leather are the way to go. You’ll get more out shin pads made of these materials.

Stay In Place

The biggest problem with many shin guards is they never stay in place. Many guards always seem to move or slide out of place when you’re training. Forcing you to pause your training to fix your gear.

It’s really annoying to have to repeatedly do this, so get a pair that never moves and also comfortable.

Recognized Name Brand

Never settle for a no named brand or mass produced sporting goods store brand shin pads. Always go for a brand that has name recognition and is used by professionals. They are always made with top grade material and are built to last.



How To Clean Your Shin Pads



You don’t just have to look to buy quality shin guards. It is also up to you to take care of them and make sure that they last you a long time for training. Here is how you take care of your shin pads and clean them.


Antiseptic Wipes

Having antiseptic wipes in your bag is always a good move. After every training session wipe down your shin pads thoroughly to kill the germs and bacteria on them. Be sure to use a brand that doesn’t include alcohol on them.

Antiseptic Spray

The next best thing to antiseptic wipes is using antiseptic spray on your pads. Just like with the wipes immediately spray down your guards to keep them fresh and germ free. 

Dry Your Shin Pads

After using your shin pads always take them out of your bag and let them dry out. Leaving your sweaty gear is how you ruin them. 

It leads to a permanent bad smell, makes them rot, and puts you more at risk for infection. Always remember to dry them out after every training session.

Cleaning Methods To Avoid

Just like with gloves and headgear, there are some cleaning methods that will ruin your shin guards. Avoid machine washing or drying your shin guards. Soaking your guards will waterlog the material ruining them and machine dying will cause the fabric to peel and fade.


MMA Shin Guard Recommendations


Now that you know what to look for in good shin pads, here are some recommendations for you to consider. Our lines of Enage shin guards are among the highest quality gear you can get on the market. Check out our 3 styles of shin guards below.


Engage E Series Shin Guards

Our form fitting Engage E Series Shin Guards offer you complete protection, while keeping safe from the risk of injury. Our designers put E series guards through numerous tests, they're battle tested by top MMA/UFC athletes.

Along with being comfortable and durable, our E series guards were designed with 0 edges and shin to foot flex padding. You won’t hurt your partner with an edge and the pads don’t inhibit your ability to throw kicks.

These are durable, high grade shin guards that are reasonably priced and will last for years. Our Engage E Series Shin Guards come in 4 different sizes and in black and white. 

Click here to check our white E series guards. 


Engage Preme Shin Guards

Our Engage Preme Shin Guards are the latest from our designer series collection. They are made with the best possible materials you can get on the market.

Complete with premium select grain leather and made with our signature core tech technology makes these guards top notch. Also a glossy design that really makes this gear pop.

The Preme series looks bulky, but it is extremely lightweight and offers you complete protection while training. If you’re series about your training, then the Engage Preme Shin Guards are ones you should consider. Check out the link above to see the full description of these guards and take advantage of our current promotion.


Israel Adesanya The Last Stylebender BN Shin Guards 

These shin guards are one of the best pieces of equipment we have ever produced. We teamed up with current UFC 185lb champion Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya to make these one of a kind guards.

Not only did we make these with the best materials you can get, but created an amazing design with the champ.This design is more than just a cool look. They tell Adesanya’s story and his long road to becoming one of the best combat sports athletes in the world.

On top of being stylish, these pads are as durable as Stylebender. Our guards can take a beating for years of training and still perform like they’re brand new.

Our Last Stylebender shin guards won’t give you Israel’s ability, but you can be as stylish as the champ. These shin guards are a limited batch, so get them now, because when they’re gone, they’re gone.


Wrap Up

Now after reading through this post, you should almost be an expert on choosing shin guards. You know what positive and negative qualities to look for along with how to take care of them.

If you happen to be looking for a new pair of shin guards, then check out our products. Here at Engage, we strive for quality and assure you that you’ll be buying the best guards you can buy.



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