Elbow strikes in Muay Thai are almost always brutal. And while most gyms don’t allow elbows during training, they are permitted in fights by some organizations. Specialized elbow pads are ideal for training and for amateur competition. Several models are available – we sell the Fairtex Elastic Elbow Pads (EBE1) and the Nationman Elbow Pads, so we will take a closer look and compare those two models. Specifically, we will compare the material, design, finishing and branding on Muay Thai elbow pads, Fairtex VS. Nationman.
Similar to their ankle supports, Fairtex uses a finer gauge knit thread than Nationman. This makes the exterior feel more supple and easier to bend. The thicker knit fabric that Nationman uses also bends but is a bit bulkier, not necessarily a bad thing for elbow protection.
Both styles have lots of room to stretch and accommodate wider arms. The wrap around elastic at the top of the sleeve allows for an adjustable fit. Strong velcro along with the thick elastic keeps the equipment in place with a snug, secure fit.
Both brands use a softer material inside to cover the pad. It’s like a quick dry nylon material, similar to a sports shirt.
Both styles of these Muay Thai elbow pads are one size fits all. They do measure slightly different straight out of the package, and will stretch to suit your body with continued use.
Measuring straight across the seams, Fairtex elastic elbow pads measure 13cm across the top and 12 cm along the bottom. They are 20 cm long. Nationman measures 14cm wide across the top and 12cm along the bottom. Nationman elbow pads are slightly shorter than Fairtex, measuring only 19cm long.
Diameter of inlet 3cm nm, 3cm for Fairtex. Nationman uses a thicker thread that eats into the open space. Horizontal oval for Nationman, structured circle for Fairtex.
Measuring across padding the Fairtex elbow pads measure 13cm wide by 17cm high. Nationman elbow padding is more concave, measuring 15cm wide by 16cm high.
The elastic wrap around band measures 2.5 cm wide for Fairtex. The Nationman elastic band is slightly wider, measuring 3cm. Both bands use the same amount of high quality velcro to secure their straps. The Nationman elastic sits a bit lower than the top seam of the elbow pad. This ensures a good hold on the fabric and prevents any slippage when you’re sweaty from training. The elastic band on the Fairtex model sits right along the seam because the padding extends upwards, leaving little extra fabric at the top.
As noted above, the style of Nationman elbow pad has a more concave shape than the Fairtex pad. Fairtex elbow pads are contoured, but slightly flatter than the Nationman style. Their slight concave does follow the natural bend of your arm. The padding is firm and organized in an oval shape that extends up and down beyond the elbow, protecting all angles. This is an ideal model if you have less experience throwing elbows.
Nationman has a more bent shape straight out of the package. From the outside, you can see this. The pad is cinched on the sides to keep extra padding concentrated. This pointed elbow provides lots of cushion against sharp elbows. The padding on this model is isolated specifically to protect you and your opponent against brutal impact. It is softer, squishier padding to protect the sharp edges. These pads are ideal if you are an experienced elbow striker.
Both Fairtex and Nationman elbow pads use a similar design aesthetic. They are both available in black, blue and red. Both feature white branding, and have a white stripe elastic band to secure at the top.
Fairtex’s brand logo is featured just above the top of the elbow. Nationman’s logo is on the center point of the elbow. Below their logo is the printed name ‘Nationman’, above is their distinctive three white lines.
As usual, the finishing on Fairtex is top notch. The seams are neat, with tight, uniform stitching and no loose threads. Everything we’ve come to expect from this brand.
Nationman’s elbow pads favor function. The seams and stitching are strong but not as pretty as Fairtex’s. The bottom seam specifically where the material folds over is a bit thicker, but it gets the job done.
Like any other Muay Thai Equipment, personal preference and needs play a huge part in determining what gear is right for you. To break it down, Nationman is the ideal choice for Nak Muays with sharp elbows and experience with elbow strikes. The Fairtex model is also a solid choice, better suited to Nak Muays that require joint protection from all angles.