What are The Best MMA Shin Guards? – Big Guide 2022

  • By: Robin
  • Last updated: March 4, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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Whether you’ve decided that 2022 is your year to finally get into Martial Arts, or you’re looking to return to the grind with some new MMA shin guards, this guide will help. Ensuring you have the right gear is as important as ensuring you use the right technique. The correct protection will prevent injury, allowing you to train harder for longer while maintaining your own safety and the safety of your sparring partners.

There has never been a better time to get active and learn new skills. It doesn’t matter if you are a total beginner or a veteran, a striker or a grappler. The better you protect yourself, the harder you can train.

Shin Guards are an essential piece of gear for striking arts like Muay Thai or Kickboxing. With the rise of MMA, grappling and striking have become more closely connected making the need for versatile protection more essential than ever before. Though MMA-specific shin guards don’t technically exist yet, there are still some that are better suited for all-round training than others.

How do you pick the right shin guards and what should I think of?

The first question you are likely to ask when looking into shin guards is; “are there different types of shin guards?”. The short answer is yes. Generally speaking, there are two types of shin guards. Those geared towards striking and those towards grappling.

As a general rule, striking shin guards are sturdier, with more padding. Built to be durable and flexible, these are geared towards protecting you and your sparring partner from injury. Striking shin guards are built with the intention of absorbing hard strikes, allowing you to throw and block hard kicks without doing serious harm.

Grappling shin guards are typically lighter and less bulky. Usually, they are made of neoprene, which is a flexible material that allows for a tighter fit without the use of excessive straps that can get in the way during grappling exchanges. Of course, the tradeoff for being sleeker and less padded is that they offer less protection against strikes.

As MMA-specific shin guards are not really mainstream or have a standard design, you will have to make a decision about what shin guards will suits your personal needs best. If you do a lot of sparring, or you like to spar hard, even if grappling is involved you may want to lean towards something with more protection. The same can be said if you find you get injured easily. There is no shame in purchasing heavily padded shin guards if you think it will help you prevent injury, it will only result in you getting to train more. On the other hand, if you are more focused on grappling or transitioning from stand–up to the ground, you may want to have something less cumbersome getting in your way.

What are the best shin guards to buy for MMA?

Venum Kontact Evo Shin Guards


  • Snug fit, perfect for grappling or MMA.
  • Very lightweight padding. Great for smaller fighters.
  • No bulky straps getting in the way.


  • The lighter padding is not going to provide much protection against strikes.
  • Non-adjustable.

Sanabul Essential Hybrid Kickboxing MMA Shin Guards


  • Specifically designed to be a hybrid shin guard.
  • Impressive protection for a hybrid shin guard.
  • Neoprene material with a top strap means it has a tight fit with some adjustability.
  • Great value if you train purely MMA.


  • Jack of all trades, master of none. The design is focused on being an all-rounder, not a best in class.

Venum Challenger Shin Guards


  • Excellent padding, provides great protection.
  • Very lightweight considering how effective the padding is.
  • Offer good mobility for striking shin guards, making them a good choice in MMA training.
  • Made of high-quality material, expect them to last.


  • Quite expensive for beginners.
  • Not as much instep protection as the Sanabul Essential Hybrid Kickboxing MMA shin guards.

Venum Elite Standup Shinguards


  • Light weight & Comfortable
  • Premium Skintex Leather Construction
  • High-Density Foam Padding


  • Quite expensive for beginners.

How do you wear martial arts shin guards?

There are so many shapes and sizes for shin guards that there isn’t really one ‘best’ way to wear them. Having said that, there are still some best practices you want to follow, regardless of the type of shin guard.

Your first and utmost priority is protecting yourself from injury. Regardless of how much or how little padding you have, if your shin guards don’t fit correctly, they are likely not doing their job properly. Make sure you have the correct size for your body. If the fit is too loose or too tight, you are going to experience discomfort, which in the worst cases could translate to injury.

If your shin guards have straps, they usually sit across the ankle and at the top of the calf. Make sure your ankle strap doesn’t restrict your mobility, ensuring it’s fixed as tightly as you can without cutting off circulation. The top strap should sit atop the calf. Again, you want to make sure it is secure without restricting the muscle or biting into it.

Most straps for the instep padding sit in the groove on the underside of your foot, between the ball of your foot and the heel. This strap is typically a fixed size and non-adjustable, so you need to make sure you have the size for your body type.

When using a sleeve-style shin guard, the correct fit is even more important. These typically slip straight on and don’t come with any adjustable straps, so the size needs to be correct. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a member of staff if you are at a store. If you’ve got them online, maybe ask your coach or training partner for assistance.

Just be aware, the only one who truly knows how comfortable they are is you. We are all different shapes and sizes. The most important thing is that your shin guards fit you correctly and provide protection where you need it most.


As MMA becomes more and more popular, we will likely see a surge in MMA-specific shin guards. Hybrid-style shin guards are making big steps in the right direction and may soon become the go-to guards for the MMA community. Even as this style of shin guard gains more popularity, they will always be subject to compromise.