best MMA Shin guard

10 Best MMA Shin Guards Reviewed & Compared

BEST VALUE

Sanabul Shin Guards
Sanabul Essentials Shin Guards

PREMIUM CHOICE

Hayabusa Shin Guards
Hayabusa T3 Shin Guards

OUR PICK

Venum Shin Guards
Venum Elite Shin Guards

I think it’s safe to say:

MMA is one demanding sport. 

Athletes need to be in top condition to withstand the grueling hours spent in the gym and grinding on the mats. 

The same can be said about their gear. One of the key pieces of protective gear often required for sparring is shin guards. 

Not only will they protect your legs (which makes checking kicks A LOT more comfortable), but they also serve to protect your sparring partner as well. 

This is why it’s crucial to find the right pair of shin guards to accompany you to your sparring sessions. 

Fortunately, we’ve put together this guide, where we’ll take a look at the 10 best MMA shin guards, how to choose the right pair, discuss some of the top brands, and break down any questions you may have. 

Let’s get to it. 

At a Glace

Can’t be bothered to read an entire article? I feel you, here are our top picks at a glance:

Best MMA Shin Guards

All right, let’s dive a little deeper and take a closer look at some of the best shin guards for MMA. 

Hayabusa T3 Shin Guards – Best MMA Sparring Shin Guards

I’m going to kick this off by saying that these are easily some of the best looking MMA shin guards I’ve ever seen, with the black and gold option being a personal favorite. 

They’re not all style though, and definitely have a lot of substance to them. These lightweight shin guards offer maximum protection from the foot to the top of the shin. The contoured design not only allows for a comfortable fit but for enhanced protection on each side of the calf (particularly ideal if you’re on the receiving end of a nasty calf kick). 

Hayabusa has made use of a multi-layered padding system, offering superior protection to the legs and feet. The multiple layers of foam within the padding massively help to absorb impact from any big strikes landed on your legs. 

By far the best aspect of the T3s though is the sleeve AND hook and loop closure. By combining both fastening methods, these shin guards stay perfectly in place no matter how sweaty you get. 

With their lightweight build and secure fastening, leg mobility is definitely not an issue. This makes the T3s particularly ideal for MMA sparring, where leg dexterity is key, especially in grappling exchanges. No one wants to be tripping up over their own feet mid spar, it just sends the wrong message. 

Anyway, the only downside to speak of with the T3s is the price. I’m not going to lie to you, they’re expensive, but if you’re training regularly and need top tier gear, then you really can’t go wrong with the Hayabusa Shin Guards.

Pros

  • One of the most secure-fitting shin guards out there
  • Provides amazing leg and foot protection
  • Great looking design
  • Lightweight – great for MMA sparring

Cons

  • Very expensive 

Venum Elite Shin Guards

Next up, we’ve got a very solid choice by one of my favorite MMA brands, Venum. For a bit of context, Venum is the official outfitter of the UFC (taking over Reebok), and given that their gear is worn by the best fighters, in the biggest organization should serve as an indicator of their quality. 

Anyway, their Venum Elite Shin Guards are some of the best in the business. Handmade in Thailand, the home of Muay Thai, very few other options can compete with the overall quality and durability of the Elite Shin Guards. 

Venum has implemented multi-density foam (essentially multiple layers of foam) in their padding, which provides ample shock absorption and helps to reduce the impact on your legs and feed. 

Plus, these shin guards are extremely contoured, almost completely protecting the sides of the calf as well as the shin. This in turn provides great protection when checking/ receiving low kicks. 


While very protective, they’re not overly bulky, and with their lightweight design, allow the wearer to move freely when sparring. Pair this with the multiple elastic bands, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more comfortable pair of shin guards. 

These are without a doubt some of my favorite shin guards for MMA. Although somewhat pricey, the overall quality and protection of these shin guards are second to none. 

Pros

  • Provides incredible protection to the front AND side of the calf
  • Lightweight and very easy to move when wearing them
  • Various color and design options
  • Multiple elastic straps keep them secure on your leg

Cons

  • A bit expensive

Sanabul Essentials Shin Guards – Best MMA Shin Guards for Beginners

best MMA shin guards

Good old Sanabul, the masters of affordable, good-quality MMA gear, and their Essentials Shin Guards are no exception. 

Made using high-quality synthetic leather, Sanabul has built some of the best MMA shin guards for beginners. 

I really love the sleeve design, which keeps them nicely in place when you train, even when you start to get a bit sweaty. Yes, they’re a bit more annoying to put on and take off, but I think it’s a price worth paying for the right fit. Plus, there are a couple of velcro straps that you can use to get them to fit your leg just right. 

If you’re not a big fan of the sleeve design, you can also pick up the Essential Shin Guards with a more traditional hook and loop closure. However, this really comes down to personal preference what feels most comfortable for you. 

The best aspect of these though? The price. They’re by far the most budget-friendly shin guards on our list, which is even more impressive considering their overall quality. 

Whether you’re in need of kickboxing shin guards, MMA shin guards, or you do any other combat sport, you really can’t go wrong with the Sanabul Essentials Shin Guards.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly 
  • Good range of sizes
  • Various color options
  • High-quality padding

Cons

  • The sleeve design may not be to everyone’s liking 

Fairtex SP3 Shin Guards

best mma shin guards

The Fairtex SP3 Shin Guards are a classic! I think I’ve seen a pair in nearly every gym I’ve ever been to, especially in Thailand. 

Although Fairtex is a brand traditionally associated with Muay Thai, their shin guards cross over well to MMA, especially the SP3s, which are shorter and less bulk than other Fairtex shin guards. 

So, what makes the SP3 Shin Guards so special? 

Firstly, is the overall quality and attention to detail that Fairtex applies to all of their gear, not just their shin guards. The SP3s for example are handmade in Thailand (the home of Muay Thai) using genuine leather materials. 

Genuine leather is known to be extremely long lasting thanks to its high tear resistance and its ability to maintain its shape. Professional boxing gloves, for example, are most often made using genuine leather. 

Pair this high-quality craftsmanship with the top quality protection that the SP3s offer and you’ll struggle to find a better pair of shin guards for MMA anywhere. They make use of high impact foam, covering both the shin and the feet, and thanks to their contoured design, offer a wide surface area of protection. 

Although amazing shin guards from one of the most respected brands in the world, you can actually get your hands on the SP3 Shin Guards for a pretty reasonable price

Pros

  • Made using top-quality, durable materials 
  • Good range of sizes
  • Multiple color variations
  • Highly protective – covers a solid amount of the feet and leg
  • Makes use of both elastic hook and loop and velcro straps for a solid fit

Cons

  • Could be too bulky for some preferences 

Fairtex SP5 Shin Guards – Best MMA Shin Guards for Big Guys

best mma shin guards

Moving onto another pair of Muay Thai shin guards, again from Fairtex. The best way to look at the SP5 Shin Guards is as the big brother of the SP3s we discussed earlier. Again, these were originally designed for Muay Thai training, however, are more than suitable for MMA as well. 

The SP5s have a ton of protection to offer thanks to the high-impact foam that contours perfectly around the calf and foot. The total surface area of each shin guard completely covers the foot, the shin, and thanks to its contours, around the calves as well.  

One thing Fairtex always does well with their professional shin guards is the closure system. With the SP5s, they make use of both an elastic strap and a velcro closure system. This keeps the shin protectors nicely fastened to the leg, preventing them from sliding around all over the place. 

As is always the case with Fairtex training gear, the SP5 shin guards are handmade in Thailand using genuine leather materials. This high-quality material and meticulous craftsmanship virtually guarantee durability, ideal for anyone putting in long hours in the gym on a regular basis. 

The only downside to speak of with these shin guards is the price, but considering these are some of the best shin guards for MMA, the hefty price tag is to be expected.

Pros

  • Very durable shin pads 
  • Utilizes both velcro straps and elastic straps for a firm fit
  • Good range of sizes (from extra small to extra large)
  • Complete protection from the knee to the foot

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • May be too bulky for some preferences

Combat Sports MMA Shin Guards

Combat Sports MMA Shin Guards

Combat Sports gear is always top-notch and great value for money. Their MMA Shin Guards for example tick every box when it comes to MMA leg guards. The brand itself is extremely well-known and respected, with many professional MMA fighters such as Conor McGregor known to use them during training

The shin guards themselves use a sleeve/ sock design paired with adjustable straps to keep them securely attached to the leg. This combination does a great job at preventing any annoying slipping and the shin guards from spinning around your leg. 

Given that the dense foam padding doesn’t cover the full length of the shin, they’re not the most protective shin guards in the world. So, you may ask, what’s the point? 

Well, the Combat Sports MMA Shin Guards are designed for MMA sparring, meaning they’re very lightweight and allow for maximum leg dexterity. This is of course ideal for MMA, given that given that you’ll likely do some grappling during your spars, and having big bulky shin guards may get in the way. 

The Combat Sports shin guards strike a balance between offering ample protection to your leg, whilst not hindering your ability to move and perform in all other areas of MMA. 

To summarise, these shin guards, as with all other Combat Sports gear, provide great value for money, are extremely durable, and are trusted by some of the best athletes in the sport.

Pros

  • Slimline design is ideal for MMA sparring
  • Affordable
  • Shin guards stay in place with minimal slipping
  • Built to last by a reputable brand

Cons

  • Not as protective as some other options
  • Few color/ design options

Elite Sports Shin Guards

Elite Sports MMA Shin Guards

While Elite Sports may not be known as the pinnacle of quality in the MMA world, their gear is affordable and perfectly suited for beginners just starting their journey in Mixed Martial Arts. 

In order to keep the price down whilst still providing a solid amount of quality, Elite Sports has opted to go down the synthetic leather construction route. While still decently durable, synthetic/ faux leather is much more affordable than genuine leather and isn’t too far off in terms of quality.  

The Elite Sports Shin Guards feature 2 adjustable velcro straps alongside a secure foot sleeve, ensuring a tight fit. Pair this with the high-density shock-absorbing foam, and there really isn’t much more you can ask for in a pair of Shin Guards. 

The price is really where these shin guards stand out, being one of the most affordable on our list. What’s more, they come in several different color variations, providing plenty of options for those of you that like to look as good as they feel on the mat.

Pros

  • Extremely affordable
  • Very secure fit
  • Various color options
  • High quality protective foam

Cons

  • Not as durable as more expensive options, more suited for beginners 

Venum Kontact Shin Guards – Best Stock Style MMA Shin Guards

Venum MMA Shin Guards

These Venum Shin Guards are fairly unique in their style, with this design often referred to as “sock style shin guards” (I’m sure you can guess why). 

These are the perfect shin guards for MMA sparring. They’re lightweight, stay in place well and provide ample protection to the foot and shin. That said, the foam padding doesn’t cover as much of the leg as other styles, instead, these excel at providing ample mobility and dexterity, whilst still offering some level of protection. 

A particular highlight of this style of shin guard is the material, which is 100% cotton. This in turn means you can actually machine wash these shin guards, something that’s not possible with the more conventional designs. 

Of course, drying them will be a pain, but keeping them clean, and stench free will be much easier. 

Due to the sock-style design, especially when paired with the adjustable straps, you can get an extremely secure fit. As such, these are one of the most comfortable shin guards on out list, staying in place firmly throughout long sparring sessions. 

Plus, given that Venum is a big brand known for charging a pretty penny, you can get your hands on the Kontact Shin Guards for a very affordable price.

Pros

  • Very affordable – especially for a big-name brand like Venum 
  • Design means they’re very secure on your leg
  • Easy to take on and off
  • Light weight and very trimmed back design is ideal for MMA sparring

Cons

  • Not the most productive style of shin guard 

Sanabul Core Shin Guards

Sanabul MMA shin guards

Onto the next Sanabul option on our list, this time with their Core Shin Guards, which are a fair bit bulkier than their Essentials line, with these being more reminiscent of Muay Thai shin guards. 

Anyway, if protection is at the forefront of your mind when shopping for shin guards, then these could well be the option for you. This is due to the dense high-impact foam paired with the articulated in-step padding that’s able to provide superior protection to your legs and feet. 

In terms of comfort, you really can’t go wrong with the Sanabul Cores either. They come in a range of sizes, from extra small to extra large, allowing you to get the ideal length for your height and body shape.

Plus, with the hook and loop fastening system, you’ll get the shin guards fitting just right, with little to no slipping around as you train. 

Combine all the above with a very reasonable price tag, and you really can’t ask for much more.

Pros

  • Very protective
  • Made from durable material
  • Good range of sizes and color options
  • Insane value for money

Cons

  • Fairly bulky

RevGear Original Muay Thai Shin Guards

rev gear MMA shin guards

Moving onto the last option on our list, this time by one of my favorite MMA brands, RevGear with their Original Muay Thai Shin Guards. 

Don’t be fooled by the name ”Muay Thai Shin Guards”, as these are more than suitable for MMA. This is thanks to their lightweight, yet highly protective design that’s ideal for MMA training. 

Plus, RevGear has implemented its own Ultra Lock system, that ensures a tight fit no matter the intensity of your sparring.

You can pick these bad boys up in a few different colors, with the sizes ranging from small to extra-extra-large. Admittedly, not many people are going to be extra-extra-large in size, but it does make them some of the best MMA shin guards for big calves!

Pros

  • High-quality Thai construction
  • Extremely protective
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Good color options

Cons

  • Decently expensive
  • Somewhat bulky compared to other options

How to Choose the Best Shin Guards for MMA

Ok, now that we’ve taken a look at some of the top options, it’s worth discussing how to go about buying shin guards that will suit your training style. 

Type

There are a number of different types and styles of shin guards, with there being no best or worst. It really comes down to personal preference, and what makes you perform best during sparring sessions. 

Muay Thai Shin Guard

As the name suggests, these shin guards were originally designed for Muay Thai, however, can definitely be used in MMA as well.

Muay Thai shin guards tend to be a bit larger than MMA shin guards, covering part of the knee (offering some knee protection), and usually feature an angled top. 

MMA Shin Guards

These are lightweight shin guards, designed to provide maximum protection, whilst still allowing plenty of dexterity in the leg.

Given that MMA incorporates a lot of grappling, having flexible, lighter shin guards is a massive help. While Muay Thai shin guards definitely do the job, they’re a bit harder to grapple in given their bigger size and weight. 

Sock Style Shin Gaurd 

I’m personally not a massive fan of this style of MMA shin pads, but I do know a fair few people that like them. These are worn, well, like long socks, with the compression from the guards keeping them attached to your leg. They tend to have less padding than other styles, with the padding being focused on the front of the leg, not covering as much of the calf. 

My main concern when using sock-style shin guards is that they’re not as padded as other styles, and I feel that I need to hold back my kicks a bit more 

Material

As with most other pieces of gear in MMA, the most durable shin guards will be made from genuine leather. Genuine leather holds up extremely well over time, as it’s very resistant to cracking and maintains its shape well. 

That said, genuine leather gear tends to cost more, and given the improvement of synthetic leather/ faux leather over the last few years, is still a good alternative. High quality synthetic leather is a good bit cheaper than genuine leather and still does a very good job. 

Protection

At the end of the day, the whole point of wearing shin guards is for leg protection. With that in mind, the level of protection that shin guards offer should always be high on your priority list. 

Shin guards that offer superior protection will have padding over the foot, on the front (and slightly around) of the shin bone, and can cover the knee as well. 

The total surface area of the shin guards isn’t the only factor that determines the level of protection that they offer. The type of padding used in the shin guards has a big effect on how much impact is felt on your leg (and how much impact you deliver with your kicks). 

High density foam padding or multi layered padding are the two most protective options that brands use. This thick padding should provide enough protection to keep both your sparring partner and yourself as safe as possible. Other shin guards not utilizing proper padding will do very little in terms of protection. 

Stability

The number one most annoying aspect of wearing shin pads is when you start to sweat, they slip around all over the place. Not only does it take away from your concentration, but having to re-adjust them mid-spar just completely breaks your rhythm. 

That’s why the top MMA shin guards will have a high-quality closure system, whether that be elastic straps, a hook and loop closure system, or a sleeve. 

Price

As with all things in life, top quality comes with a price tag, and that’s true with shin guards. While there are brands out there such as Sanabul that offer great gear for affordable prices, the top-end shin guards can set you back over 100 bucks. 

In my opinion, it really comes down to how often you train, and what your goals are. If you’re in the gym every day looking to turn pro, getting a more durable, higher-end pair of shin guards is a good option. 

Whereas if you’re a beginner, just starting out and unsure how much you’ll enjoy training in the long run, or just train once or twice a week for fun, then a cheaper pair is definitely viable. 

Best MMA Shin Guard Brands

If none of the options on our list have taken your fancy, I’ll go over some of the top MMA shin guard brands that you can check. 

Hayabusa

If you’re looking for top-tier, premium MMA shin guards, then Hayabusa could well be for you. Although not light on the wallet, their gear is always top-of-the-line, innovative, and built to last. 

They make gear for a variety of different combat sports such as boxing, MMA, and Muay Thai, with their MMA shin guards being some of, if not the best I’ve ever used. 

Venum

Taking over from Reebok, Venum is currently the official outfitter of the UFC, which is a pretty significant display of the brand’s overall quality. I’ve used a ton of Venum gear over the years, and am rarely disappointed. 

They make their gear to a high standard and it always looks great. The downside is that they’re one of the more expensive brands, but at the end of the day, there’s always a price to pay for quality. 

Sanabul

I’ve said this before in a few other articles, but I’m a massive fan of Sanabul. They’ve got a number of different ranges aimed at different levels of fighters.

Are you a beginner looking to get your first gear? Then their Essentials line will be for you. A battle-hardened veteran looking for top-quality gear to withstand daily training sessions? Their Battle Forged line is perfect. 

They’ve got something for everyone at a range of different prices. Their gear is good quality, affordable, and tends to look pretty good as well. 

fairtex logo

Fairtex

Fairtex is an extremely well-known brand in the Muay Thai space, and their Muay Thai shin guards are also well suited towards MMA. Given how prominent Muay Thai is in Mixed Martial Arts, a lot of Fairtex’s gear carries over well, and they even make gear specifically aimed at MMA (see our Fairtex MMA gloves review for an example). 

Fairtex also makes some of the best MMA gloves, with renowned organizations such as ONE Championship and Cage Warriors partnering with Fairtex and using their gloves for their events. 

All of Fairtex’s gear is handmade in Thailand, delivering authentic Muay Thai gear that is very hard to match. Although costing a pretty penny, Fairtex gear is undoubtedly built to last. 

FAQ’s

Do I Need to Wear MMA Shin Guards to Training?

If you are planning to spar, then yes you do. If it’s regular training, where you’ll be drilling and doing pad work, then you most likely do not need to wear shin guards. 

What Size MMA Shin Guards Do I Need?

One thing I have found with shin guards is that the sizes differ from brand to brand. A small in brand A, for example, may be different from a small in Brand B. 

Always, always, always check the size guide from wherever you decide to get your shin guards, especially if you’ve not tried that brand out before. 

How Should MMA Shin Guards Fit/ How High Should Shin Guards Go?

In terms of height, it depends on the type of shin guard you’re using. Muay Thai shin guards tend to be longer, and bulkier, covering part of/ the entire knee. Whereas MMA shin guards tend to be a bit more trimmed back and shorter. 

The shin guard should be nice and firm on your leg. Once you start sweating, if the shin guards are too loose, they can start to slip around. It’s all about finding the balance between too tight, and too loose. If they do start to slip, try tightening them a little bit. 

Do MMA Fighters Wear Shin Guards?

It depends on the level, and whether or not the athletes are competing. Professional MMA fighters will nearly always wear shin guards when sparring but won’t wear shin guards when competing. 

Some amateur organizations may require fighters to wear shin guards when competing. In my first fight (which wasn’t even amateur, more a practice amateur fight), I was required to wear shin guards. When I competed in Thailand, shin guards were not allowed. 

That said, 9 times out of 10, you’ll wear shin guards when sparring, it’s just not worth the risk to spar without shin guards on, and I doubt your coach will allow you to spar without them. 

A Note on Wearing Shin Guards

Wearing shin guards can lead to a bit of overconfidence and a false sense of security. Even when wearing shin guards with thick padding, high kicks can still easily knock people out. This is important to note for a couple of reasons. 

Firstly, if you’re sparring with someone wearing shin guards, still be very weary of high kicks. They will not stop you from getting knocked out if a high kick lands flush. 

Similarly, it’s important to still control your kicks, and not throw them with full force. No one wants a reputation in the gym for going unnecessarily hard, and just because you’re wearing shin guards, doesn’t mean that you can send your kicks at full speed. 

Final Thoughts 

Well, there we have it.

Shin guards are a “must have” when sparring, as it’s crucial for both you and your sparring partners’ safety. Given the rough nature of MMA, when it comes to safety gear, finding the right pair is extremely important. 

Too big, and they’ll be sliding around your calf. Too small, and they may not offer enough protection, or even hinder your ability to move properly. 

Hopefully, our guide to the best MMA shin guards has helped you find the right pair, and if you have any questions whatsoever, please feel free to reach out in the comment section below. 

Thanks for stopping by.

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