Best MMA Shin Guards

MMA has gained more and more mainstream momentum in recent years due to UFC personalities such as Conor Mcgregor and Anderson Silva, leading to a rise in uptake of the sport within the general public.

Whilst MMA can be seen as violent, it is so important to wear protective gear for your body unless you want to risk getting seriously injured. 

Back in ancient Greece, those who created the sport only had two rules: no biting or gouging eyes out.

Nevertheless, the sport has changed dramatically since those days, and whilst still being deemed as a high-contact sport, safety rules and regulations and also protective body wear is essential throughout all aspects of the sport.

We know how daunting it can be to pick out the good from the bad concerning MMA shin guards, it’s hard to get swayed by fancy colors and designs instead of focusing on quality and protection. So we’ve compiled a list of the top five MMA shin guards out there right now, so you won't have to. 

All five options on the list would be a good fit for any passionate MMA fighter looking to upgrade on their current shin guards or even a young budding star who’s looking to break into the sport.

Best MMA Shin Guards

No time to read everything?

If you haven’t got a few minutes to spare then fear not, we’ve got our top choice of MMA shin guards picked out for you right here, so you’ll be sparring in the ring in no time.

So here it is...introducing the Sanabul Essential Hybrid Kickboxing MMA Shin Guards, we think these ones are the best on the market and here’s some reasons why we love them:

  • Suitable for most ages
  • Variation of colors
  • High-impact protection
  • Maximum comfort
  • No-slipping off when training
  • Size guide to help you choose what size you are

If you’re still fighting with yourself over if you’re ready to make your purchase, then scroll down and read our five reviews on some of the best MMA shin guards right now, along with a concise pros and cons list to summarise our thoughts. 

OUR TOP PICK

Sanabul Essential Shin Guards Silver, Small/Medium

These Sanabul Essential Shin Guards have enhanced protection by incorporating one piece of high-impact protection foam inside the guard to protect your shins during sparring.

There is also a built-in step padding that contours to the shape of your foot so there’ll no need to keep adjusting during training or fighting.

The neoprene slip-on design ensures maximum comfort, whilst the top and mid-leg fasteners minimize any movement of the shin guard whilst it’s in use, so you’ll be able to strap in and forget about them until you have to take them off.

The Sanabul Essential Hybrid Shin Guards are great for a variation of users, allowing children or individuals of less than 110lbs to use them and also larger adults who are taller than 5”1 to use them.

You can use the size guide on the link on the product to choose what sizes would be best suited to you.

If you’re looking to expand your collection of MMA equipment and protective clothing, then Sanabul also offers cohesive color themes and designs across their ranges to match your new Sanabul shin guards, so you’ll be looking like you mean business in your next fight.

Pros

  • Has a size guide to help you choose
  • Available in 6 different colors
  • Suitable for all ages
  • High-impact protection
  • Size guide to help you find your perfect fit
  • High comfort
  • Extremely durable

Cons

  • Leather can smell a bit on arrival

EDITORS CHOICE

Meister MMA Elastic Cloth Shin & Instep Padded Guards (Pair) - Black - Large/X-Large

The Meister MMA shin guards are a closer runner up in the race for the top spot and even though it didn’t win first place, we still think they’re a terrific second option.

These easy to slip on and off shin guards will make preparing for your sessions a much simpler task.

The fully elasticated body of the shin guards will hug your legs and feet so you’ll feel super secure and comfortable whilst being fully protected from your own strength and also that of your opponent.

The Meister MMA shin guards come with a unique hook and loop straps which will secure the top of the guard tightly to your preferred fit, so you’ve got the freedom to have them as loose as you want or if you prefer a tighter fit to the skin.

The built-in padding retains your leg form even through continuous use, so they will not change shape after only a few uses, ensuring maximum durability and long-wear use throughout your training. 

Despite their lightweight design, the Meister cloth shin guards offer super-strong protection for the whole leg in comparison to some other competitors. Designed to fit and protect like no other lightweight shin/instep guards

Pros

  • Good option for children
  • Lightweight
  • High protection
  • Easy to put on

Cons

  • Sizing can come up small for larger people

BEST VALUE

RDX Shin Guards for Boxing Training & MMA Fighting| Approved By SMMAF |Maya Hide Leather Muay Thai Instep Leg Protective Gear | Great Protector Pads for Martial Arts, Sparring, Kickboxing, BJJ, Karate

These RDX Shin guards are CE Certified and also SATRA AND SMMAF approved so you know you’re ensured maximum protection and safety for your legs and primarily shins with these ones.

They’re built with five protective layers consisting of Maya-hide leather, an infused shock dispersion sheet, eva-lution foam, a spongy blacktop fabric, and also QD-1 lining so you can let your shin guards do the protecting whilst you concentrate on winning.

The lightweight fabric of the Maya Hide leather and nylon inner fabric warrants high durability and crack resistance shin guards, whilst the infused shock dispersion sheet offers impact resistance.

However, RDX still recommends shell shock gel protection to further supplement in tougher sessions.

THE QD-1 lining has maximum ventilation capabilities and keeps your shins dry and free of those unpleasant aromas of sweat built up from your training sessions.

Like other shinguards on the market, the RDX shin guards all don’t compromise on ease of application, making them simple to put on and off and offering hook-and-loop straps for adjustable fitting without restricting any movement whilst you fight.  

Pros

  • Size guide on product link
  • Easy to air out after use
  • Crack-resistant 
  • 5 built-in protective layers

Cons

  • Only available in black

RUNNER UP

Venum Elite Standup Shinguards, Matte/Black, Medium

We’ve got two Venum branded shin guards who have taken 4th and 5th place in this list, but we’ll be focussing on the Venum Elite shin guards first.

These Venum Elite shin guards, very much like the name, would be best suited for fighters who are more of an elite level, so may not yet be suitable for any newbies to MMA.

However, the ones featured in fifth place are suitable for various levels.

These sleek and professional-looking shin guards and built with multi-density foam with reinforcement on the shin and the neck of the foot, to make sure you’re any impact is spread evenly across the leg whilst still keeping you fully protected.

Fitted with two wide elastic bands for support, one being under the food and the other behind the heel, you’ll feel 100% in control with these ones as it allows maximum mobility.

You’ll feel very secure in these shin guards as they’re built with two large velcro straps so you can customize your fit.

They’re made of premium 100% Skintex leather, combining both comfort and great durability at an affordable price point.

With added high-density foam for augmented shock absorption, your shins will be thanking you for protecting them so well. 

However, the link to the product doesn’t offer good measuring guidelines to find your size for these shinguards, so you may need to compare to previous ones you’ve bought. 

Pros

  • Large velcro straps for custom fit
  • Skintex leather
  • Great durability 
  • Lots of colors to choose from

Cons

  • The website does not have good measuring guidelines 
  • Only for elite MMA fighters

RUNNER UP

Venum Challenger Standup Shinguards, Black, Large

Unlike the Venum Elite shin guards above, the lightweight Challenger Standup Shinguards by Venum are a perfect alternative for all levels of MMA fighters.

The lightweight design is ideal for unrestricted mobility and speed for both training and competitions.

However, don’t be fooled, these may be lightweight but they offer great protection with foam padding across the shin and instep to protect you from impacts.

Made with 100% Synthetic leather, these shinguards have great durability and performance factors so they’ll age well whilst you train well. 

The Challengers fit well and don’t move around due to their large velcro customizable straps

The Skintex Leather construction will bring you an excellent fighting experience, lasting durability, and extreme comfort.

Pros

  • 100% synthetic leather
  • Lightweight
  • No-slip fit
  • Durable
  • Adequate size guide with product

Cons

  • Can be irritating on sensitive skin
  • Quality of stitching is not the best

Best MMA Shin Guards Buying Guide

Size

The bigger the surface area of the shin guards, the more protection they’ll offer, however, The bigger and bulkier the shinguards, the more it can inhibit your kicking motion.

A lot of brands now offer more lightweight shin guards that still have lots of padding for impact protection but if you’re on more of an elite level, you’ll want to find something with maximum protection and security to ensure your own safety.

A lot of shin guard products come with size guides online based on height and weight. Brands often offer XS-XL but have measurements on products so you measure yourself and then pick which size would fit you best.

It’s not common for brands to sell specified kids shin guards, but we recommend either an XS or small for children for most companies, however, this will depend on weight and height.

You’ll want to guarantee two main things: comfort and protection. If the shin guard is too big on the leg, then it won’t serve its full purpose and you might end up injuring yourself.

On the other hand, you don’t want any shin guards that are too small, they’ll be very uncomfortable on the leg, will restrict your range of leg movement, and will tightly trap sweat possibly causing skin problems.

Protection

You’ll need to find shin guards that protect yourself and the impact from your opponent. All good brands offer padding and cushioning built into their shin guards, any that do not, will not be safe to use, or at least not abiding by most regulation and safety boards.

An important factor is seeking out guards that have dense foaming to evenly distribute any impact,  minimizing any wearing down of bones which could then lead to breakage.

It’s not only vital to look out for your own protection but to also help protect your opponent from your strength and kicks. Any hard-surfaced shin guards or lack of padding can cause serious injury when combined with kicks to your opponent's body.

Material and quality

Most shin guards are made out of leather or synthetic leather, however, sock-sleeve shin guards are becoming more popular due to how expensive they are whilst still offering a good level of padding and protection.

To ensure high quality, you’ll want to go with a recognizable or highly rated brand, you shouldn’t cut corners to save money otherwise you could risk injury with cheap, poorly made guards.

Maintenance & Durability

To protect and maintain your shin guards, after use you’ll water to spray them down with disinfectant spray and wipe with a cloth to ensure there is no build of bacteria. Most shin guards can easily be wiped down after training or a fight.

If you train in hot climates, make sure you wipe them down and leave them out to dry after every use otherwise the material will absorb the sweat and they’ll start to smell. Not only is smelling bad enough, but the material will also start to tear and the rings will start to rust.

You can wash your shin guards in the washing machine every so often, however, you’ll want to check all product descriptions before making a commitment.

Over-washing them in the washing machine at high temperatures can distort the shape and making them wrinkle. If your shin guards have plastic on the outside, you should put them in a pillowcase that zips up to protect your washing machine and your guards.

We do not recommend you put your MMA shin guards in the tumble dryer as it hastens the disintegration.

However, due to the thickness of materials used in shin guards, they can take a good while to dry, so we recommend washing them on a hot and sunny day, or leaving them near a warm radiator, but don’t advise you put them directly on there unless you’d like to acquire crispy shin guards.

If you take good care of your shin guards, you can expect to keep them for 1-2 years, but if you’re training in hot climates constantly, you should seek to replace them every few months to avoid damages and discomfort.

Rule-breaking

Some martial arts governing bodies do not allow shin guards whilst competing at competitions, so you’ll want to check which ones have this rule before competing.

Despite not being able to wear them at certain competitions, make sure you wear them whilst training to reduce the risk of injuries and to make sure you’ve in top condition when you do go to your next competition. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What styles does MMA include?

Mixed martial arts (MMA) employs a variety of techniques from boxing, jiu-jitsu, taekwondo, muay Thai, wrestling, and other disciplines

Do I need shin guards for Muay Thai?

Yes, you’ll need to wear both shin guards and shin pads whilst training and competing in Muay Thai.

Do you need shin guards for training heavy bag?

No, it’s best not to use shin guards for training heavy bag, after a few weeks of training for heavy bag your shins should eventually condition, but do expect some bruises here or there in the meantime. 

Are shin guards with ankle protection better?

Yes, shin guards with ankle protection are a lot better than those without.

They’ll offer a lot more protection for the whole of your lower leg and often add more security so your shin guards will fit better to your leg.

How do you put on MMA shin guards?

Putting shin guards on is too difficult, however, if you haven’t got a mentor or trainer to show you how, the best way to learn how to put on MMA shin guards would be by following some YouTube tutorials, of which there is a huge collection to choose from.

You could also follow a step-by-step guide found online.

Rayford Baxter
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