Shin Guards for Muay Thai – Cloth vs Rigid

5 different muay thai shin pad styles and colors. Bright green, leather shin pads from Twins Special, Black leather Top King shin guards, and yellow leather Monkgol Thai Boxing shin pads. Red, cloth Fairtex shin pads SPE1 and blue, elastic cloth Nationman shin pads.

Cloth Shin Guards Vs Rigid Shin Guards For Muay Thai

Anyone with a cursory familiarity with Muay Thai, knows about shin pads. One of the toughest things about Muay Thai is the punishment your shins take. It’s one thing using your shins as a weapon, but using your shins to block your opponent’s kicks, takes courage. It’s tough enough on fight night, the last thing you want is full contact shin connection during training. For that reason, Muay Thai shin guards are an essential part of the Nak Muay’s kit. 

Yet, not all Muay Thai shinguards are made the same. There are many different kinds. Some are leather, others made from synthetic leather. Some shin pads are small and basic, while others are large and luxurious. One of the most often asked questions is, what is the difference between cloth and rigid shin guards?

Read on to find out everything you need to know about Cloth Shin Guards Vs Rigid Shin Guards For Muay Thai.

The right tool for the right job:

When you choose your Muay Thai equipment, you need to think, not just about exactly what you will be doing. But also the type of fighter you are. These concerns should plug directly into your decision to buy cloth or rigid shin guards or both. Whether you are going to compete or not? Whether your shins are conditioned or not, and whether you spar hard and hit heavy or not? All these questions, should factor into the type of shin guard you choose.

Cloth Muay Thai Shin Guards:

Also known as ‘cotton shin guards’, these armour plated, tube sock like garments offer the least protection. So, you might think, why bother? But the humble cloth shin guard is an extremely useful tool in your Muay Thai arsenal. For starters, if you are going to compete, you will NOT be entering the ring wearing your bullet proof Top King Pro Shin Guards. You are either going to be throwing and checking kicks without any shin guards at all. Or wearing cloth shin guards to compete under certain amateur organisations. If you are fighting without shin guards, using cloth shin guards in sparring during the run up to your fight, will help you acclimatize your shins for battle. Of course the same applies, if you will be wearing cloth shin guards for your big fight. Additionally, their size means they interfere with your movement the least. This makes cotton shin guards ideal for perfecting footwork unhindered. They are also great for MMA fighters who don’t want to have to take off their shin guards, every time they transition to ground fighting. Always worth having a pair of cloth shin guards in your kit bag. You never know when you might need them. 

Our cloth shin guard examples: 

Nationman Cloth Shin Guards 

Fairtex cloth shinguards 

You can read this article for a detailed comparison on the two models. 

Rigid Muay Thai Shin Guards:

Rigid shin pads are the most popular and protective kind. These are built with the purpose of maximising protection. They are usually extremely robust and double or triple padded, using cutting edge impact absorbing technology. Coming in a multitude of different shapes, sizes and models. Rigid shin guards are far more diverse and high-tech than their cloth cousins. Some offering more coverage, some less, some real leather, some synthetic leather but all designed for the daily gym grind. These are the pads you should wear when you are not going to compete but you want to spar vigorously without getting your shins all banged up. They should be a hardy perennial, a permanent fixture in your kit bag. A high quality rigid Muay Thai shinguard should be comfortable and offer maximum shock absorption for your shins and in-step. You definitely need a pair of rigid shin guards if you are new to Muay Thai. Such shin pads are a must if your shins have yet to acclimatize to throwing and checking shin kicks.

Our rigid shin guard examples:

Top King Shin Guard 

Fairtex Shin Pads

Twins Shinguards

How to make the right choice for Muay Thai Shin Guards:

Shin guards are an essential part of a Nak Muay’s tool-kit. They come in many different types; some are rigid and other are cloth shin guards. Cloth shinguards are offer less protection but are less restrictive, great for acclimatizing shins to higher impact and are used in amateur competition. Rigid shin guards are the most popular, protective and bulky kind. These are the kind if shin guards you require for the daily gym grind. Each with their own perks, both are worthwhile having in your kit bag. Let us know your preferred style in the comment below.

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