Do You Need a Shin Guard to Train in Martial Arts? Let’s Find Out About the Options

Updated on March 26, 2023

Whether you want to get started in a martial art or are already training, you must have realized that shin pads are essential protective equipment in Muay Thai, Kickboxing, and MMA. These are a must-have, especially if you wish to spar with kicks. While they are less complicated than buying boxing gloves, you must know about their varieties and utility. It will allow you to pick the most suitable piece for your need. Explore some common styles for a better understanding.

Striking shin pads

You can get shin pads for striking in many versions, such as fitted, padded, and thin variations. As evident, these are a fundamental part of striking training. Some can even protect your knee, though most commonly cover just the shin. You can notice two sections in these protective guards for the instep and the shin. You can secure those shin guards with thick straps at the back. When you search for something in this category, focus on one that offers excellent protection and isn’t heavy on your legs. Otherwise, it will restrict your movement.

Grappling shin pads

The popularity of MMA competitions has made fighters choose something that allows them to handle both stand-up striking and grappling. An improper fit can make you face difficulty changing positions, dodging submissions, or defending takedowns. A shin guard used in Muay Thai with buckles ad Velcro straps can obstruct movement due to the thickness. But you can choose shin pads used in MMA. These thinner varieties with a neoprene back can make your experience much smoother. In these protective tools, you come across various padding sections of small sizes covering the joint. Your knee and toes can peep, though. Specifically, grappling pads for your sheen can be better if you want a lightweight solution. 

Sock-style shin pads

You will also encounter a cotton-based shin guard, which may resemble grappling ones. However, their thinner padding distinguishes them from the others. You cannot use them for grappling. If you participate in an amateur competition, you will want one. These don’t interfere with the movement and add a layer of protection to your legs. Some fighters use them in training sessions for affordability, lightweight, etc. These coverings help them condition their shins against impact. Beginners should avoid these because they tend to be more vulnerable to injuries due to a lack of experience and body conditioning. 

Besides these, you also get hybrid types that suit your different sparring needs because of their hybrid structure that takes care of grappling and protection. In these options, you can get thick-to-thin padding styles for striking and grappling, along with instep and knee coverage. If you need light and comfortable ones, you can rely on them without losing much protection. No matter the choice, you must consider two factors while shopping for these protective layers – mobility and safety. And initially, it’s better to focus on something that offers maximum protection. After all, you are yet to adapt to the impact when an opponent kicks on your shin. If you still have any confusion, take tips from your coach.

Image by 123RF 

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