Reviews On My Favorite Muay Thai Gear, Apparel and Equipment I’d Personally Recommend
Figuring out what type of Muay Thai training equipment to buy can be a major pain in the ass. With so many awesome Muay Thai brands from Top King, Fairtex, Yokkao, Boon and others, it can be overwhelming choosing your next pair of Thai boxing gloves, Thai shorts or shin guards.
I’m constantly asked by fans what I would recommend in terms of the best quality Muay Thai equipment to train with. It’s hard to say since I’ve only tried a handful of brands during my career, but I figured I’d give me best shot at reviewing the equipment, supplies and gear I have used.
Below is a full breakdown of all the training equipment I’ve used from boxing gloves, Thai shorts, shin guards, mouth guards, ankle supports, groin protectors and more!
My Top Thai Boxing Gloves:
Top King – By far my favorite brand of boxing gloves. My 16oz gloves have lasted me a little more than 2 years and are still in good shape after a number of training camps and hard sparring sessions.
Fairtex – My 12oz Fairtex gloves have been my go-to gloves for pad work. They are super comfortable and durable, although I have had times where it feels like the padding is wearing out.
Twins Special – I own the Twins bag gloves and they have been the boxing gloves I use when I’m traveling and don’t want to lug around a bulkier pair of gloves. I also use these during heavy bag work and occasionally pad work too. Obviously they aren’t as padded as 16oz gloves, but they have been durable and super convenient for me.
I’ve used Yokkao gloves during some of my fights and they have been pretty awesome. I also used them during a couple pad work sessions and they felt really comfortable too, but they’re pretty expensive.
Early on in my career I wanted to do MMA, so I’ve also used some MMA brands like Hayabusa and Ring to Cage. I have more experience with Hayabusa, and they had some great boxing gloves that I used for a few years before switching over to Top King. But to be honest, they are expensive as hell, and Top King gloves are just as good, if not better.
My Top 3 Muay Thai Shin Guards:
Top King – If you couldn’t tell already, I’m a Top King fan. Their shin guards have been by far the best shin guards I’ve used, and I’ve used my fair share. They offer great protection, have lasted through a ton of sparring sessions and fit more comfortably and snug than any others. At first they are a little stiff, but after breaking them in they are perfect.
Twins – When I was in Thailand, I originally had really crappy Title shin guards that really didn’t offer any kind of protection. Since they sucked so much, I used the gyms shin guards which happened to be Twins. These suckers are pretty sweet and offer a lot of protection, the only thing I have against them is their bulkiness. Other than that, they are a solid choice for shin guards.
Fairtex – I recently have been using my Fairtex shin guards that I also got from Fight HQ, and they have been pretty solid too. I don’t feel like they offer as much protection as the Top King, but they do fit a lot more comfortably than the Twins. If I wasn’t so in love with my Top King, I’d probably be using my Fairtex a lot more.
Side Note: If you decide to buy MMA brands of shin guards, make sure they are the striking type, and not the grappling. Also make sure that whatever shin guards you do choose have good foot protection because chances are you’ll be kicking a lot of elbows and knees.
My Favorite Brands Of Muay Thai Shorts:
At first I dreaded wearing Muay Thai shorts and all I would wear is MMA shorts to cover my white, skinny legs. But when my first fight was in Thailand, I knew that I had to make the change to Thai shorts, otherwise I’d be one of those assholes fighting Muay Thai in Thailand with MMA shorts. After that fight, I realized my legs looked sexy as hell!
Picking Thai shorts can be tough, and each brand has a different sizing chart that you need to consider before buying. Some shorts are K-1 style, others are traditional Muay Thai style (they kind of flair out more). I personally like the K-1 style more, but I also have a good amount of traditional shorts. Here are my main picks:
Kombat – I know what you’re thinking, these are cheap and low quality. Well yea, you’re kinda right. But if you are cheap like me and can’t afford much, these are a great option for practice/training shorts that you can wear without worrying about ruining. On muaythaistuff.com they run for as low as $10, so I bought a handful so I have a variety to choose from. And even though they are cheap, they’ve been much more durable than I initially thought they would.
Top King – Obviously I think Top King has awesome Thai shorts because they have awesome training equipment in general. In my eyes, you can’t go wrong with the Top King brand.
Raja – I haven’t worn Raja shorts, but the ones I’ve seen look super fancy. When I need my next pair of shorts, I’ll probably go with Raja just to switch it up and get one of their unique, cool designs. As for durability and comfort, I have no idea what to expect.
Custom Shorts – Can’t find any Thai shorts that you like? No worries, you can always customize and get your own personalized Thai shorts. If you’ve got a fight coming up or want to add sponsors/names/gyms to your shorts, this is the best way to go.
Muay Thai Addict – If you’re a US fan, then Muay Thai Addict is a solid option. Again, I have not used their shorts or equipment, but seeing how their brand is growing and top fighters are sponsoring their gear means that they are doing something right!
The Best Muay Thai Headgear:
First let me go on record and say that I am not a fan of headgear. I think it gives people a false sense of security, slows down your head movement, gives your opponent a bigger target and obstructs your vision. That being said, I have used headgear before and there are a couple brands I would recommend more than others:
Twins Special – The most comfortable, breathable and durable Muay Thai headgear I’ve used is by Twins Special. Most headgear makes me suffocate and obstructs my peripheral vision, but the Twins Special had very little effect on both. It also had solid padding compared to cheaper brands.
Top King – Believe it or not, I would actually recommend the Twins Special headgear over the Top King just because of the breath-ability (if that’s a word) that Twins allows as opposed to Top King. Top King might offer a little more facial protection, it’s a little bit harder to see.
Top Muay Thai Groin Protection:
This is not an exaggeration, but I’ve been kicked or kneed in the nuts in every single one of my fights. Needless to say, I have some experience in this area. I’m going to breakdown two different types of groin guards/cups, and I’ll leave it to you to choose.
Compression Shorts – These were my initial choice for groin protection because of how comfortable and easy they were to slip on. Early on in my career I could handle the low blows with this groin protection… until one fateful fight. I got kicked and kneed in the balls 3 times in one fight, and each one of them was hard. After the fight, my balls were literally black and blue and about double the size (which seems cool, but in reality it’s not). I couldn’t even make love to my girl without excruciating pain! After this experience, I made the move to the steel Thai cup.
Steel Thai Cup – These are not as comfortable as the compression shorts, but what it lacks in comfort it makes up in protection. Literally the next fight I had once I switched over to the steel cup, I got kicked in the groin 3 more times. Instead of worrying about being sterile for the rest of my life, the steel up protected my nuts from the excessive pain I usually felt. Now don’t get me wrong, it still hurt like a bitch, but it didn’t hurt nearly as bad and my balls were as pretty as ever after the fight!
Lo-Bloo Groin Protector – I get kicked in the nuts WAY to much, so when I got sent the Lo Bloo Cup to review I was excited to see how much better it would protect my balls. If you’re debating between a Thai steel cup and compression shorts, this is a great option that has the protection of a Thai cup and the comfort of compression shorts.
My Favorite Mouth Guard:
I’ve used a couple different types of mouth guards throughout my athletic career in hockey and Muay Thai, but none have been as comfortable or breathable as the Shock Doctor I currently use.
I guess you could say my mouth is kind of small, and whenever I used a mouth guard that didn’t fit, it would obstruct my breathing and almost make me gag during a game/fight. After one hockey game where I lost a tooth even when while wearing a mouth guard, I decided I should probably get one that fits perfectly, and that’s where I came across Shock Doctor.
There are a few different types, but I would definitely recommend the custom made Shock Doctor if you can afford it. If you can’t, the basic Shock Doctor mouth guard is still comfortable and I have 2 as back-ups in case I were to lose my main one. My advice would be to invest in a good mouth guard because dental bills are expensive as hell (I have 4 fake teeth, and they cost a ton).
The Best Thai Pads and Focus Mitts:
Twins Special – Twins has been the Thai pads I’ve used most recently because Evolution Muay Thai has a ton of them. These are really solid pads and my kru, Brandon Levi, has said they have lasted for years and years even while holding for heavyweights and a number of training camps for fighters. Definitely top quality and definitely offer good protection to the pad holder.
Twins also has top quality focus mitts too that I find a majority of the trainers in Thailand use for their boxing work.
Fairtex – Another one of the main Thai pads I find myself hitting are from the Fairtex brand. I’ve also used them as a holder and they feel super comfortable and offer a lot of padding to protect your forearms. As a kicker, they have a good sound and feel to them when you land a solid kick.
Just like Twins, Fairtex also has great focus mitts that are top quality just like all of their equipment. If you’re looking for either punch mitts or Thai pads, you can’t go wrong with either Fairtex or Twins.
The Best Elbow Guards:
The two brands of elbow guards I’ve used the most are Boon and Venum. The Boon elbow pads are really tight and snug, but they do cut off some circulation from my arms which can cause my hands to drop. To fix this, I ripped out the elastic and they gave my gigantic arms more breathing room.
The Venum elbow pads are the ones I ended up going with though because they are more comfortable, cheaper and I’ve also used them during a fight. They don’t suck the blood out of my arms as much, but I still ripped the elastic to give me arms more space. Out of the two, I’d probably recommend Venum over Boon, but both are solid.
My Favorite Hand Wraps and Ankle Supports:
Top King hand wraps are my favorite because I’m a fan of the Top King brand. That being said, they are more comfortable than other hand wraps I’ve used and come in a bunch of cool varieties. You also can’t go wrong with Twins Special hand wraps because they are almost the same as the Top King in terms of comfort and quality.
Most people tend to go with the generic brands of Everlast and Title, which is fine and all, but I know from experience that they don’t last as long and the quality of the wraps aren’t even close to the quality that top Muay Thai training equipment brands offer. If you’re going to go with MMA brand hand wraps, I would recommend Hayabusa or Ring To Cage. I’ve used both of them and they are comparable to brands like Top King and Twins, if not better.
When it comes to ankle supports, I really don’t wear them that often. That being said, I do have Yokkao and Fairtex anklets in case for emergency. They both fit nice, but I’m not much of an ankle support kind of guy.
Other Important Muay Thai Training Equipment:
Namman Muay Thai Liniment – Having your own bottle of Namman Oil is an essential to becoming a full fledged nak muay. Ever since I’ve first used Thai liniment, I’ve been addicted. It’s great for warming up your muscles as well as helping massage injuries (like in your shins). Do yourself a favor and buy some.
Tiger Balm– Another essential for recovery and warming up is tiger balm. If you’ve ever used IcyHot, it’s very similar to it, but I feel like it’s more effective. I’ve had a handful of lower back injuries and tiger balm has helped me train through the pain and discomfort on multiple occasions.
Gym Bag – Having a durable gym bag is important especially if you are constantly having to carry your training equipment and gear around. My girlfriend bought me a Fighting brand gym bag that has been decent, but it ripped at the seems after I over packed it (probably my fault it broke), but it’s still a great bag and I use it to this day.
Other bags I’d recommend just from asking around the Muay Thai community is the Top King, Twins Special and Fairtex brands. Like I mentioned earlier, you can’t go wrong with any of the training equipment that those brands come out with.