Ultimate Guide to Buying Muay Thai Protective Equipment
Gear For the Muay Thai Fighter
What Gear Do I Need For Muay Thai? A Muay Thai fighter needs essential gear like hand wraps, gloves, groin guards, shin guards, mouthpieces, headgear, jump rope, sparring vests, and kicking pads to get started and stay injury-free.
In the old days, fighters had to use whatever they could find around them to practice and perfect their techniques. They often used banana trees to practice their kicks and punches and even punched coconuts, training that’s similar to martial artists hitting bricks.
Banana trees are not actual trees but plants that have a soft interior. However, they are still tough enough to potentially cause injury during training. In addition to using banana trees for kicking and punching practice, fighters would also use fallen pieces of the banana plant as pads for punching, similar to how boxers use punching pads for training today. Using banana trees as a substitute for Muay Thai gear isn’t a safe or efficient solution. Fighters who use banana trees do not have access to proper equipment.
Muay Thai boxers in the past would use hemp rope to protect their hands during punching. While hemp rope is naturally strong due to its history of uses, more practical hand wraps are available nowadays. Using hemp rope as hand wraps is not pragmatic or safe and can lead to injury rather than conditioning the body. It’s worth noting that fighters fought bare-fisted against each other, which was undoubtedly harsh. However, it’s unlikely that they had long careers doing this.
Begin your Muay Thai training by getting the right gear for your safety and staying injury free. Don’t ignore the importance of protective equipment if you can invest in it. Many fighters experience similar injuries that could have been prevented with proper gear. Let me introduce you to the necessary training gear for practicing Muay Thai safely. We have the technology, so why not use it?
Here are some recommended readings for protective gear: Combative Sports Gear
There are many companies out there that produce Muay Thai gear, but not all of them are created equal. While some companies use high-quality materials that can withstand the punishment of a Thai fighter’s strikes, others use inferior materials that can quickly wear out or lead to injury.
To help you make an informed decision and avoid wasting time and money on subpar equipment, I will highlight some of the best Muay Thai gear available on the market.
Prioritize your safety and get the proper gear to enhance your Muay Thai training. This combat style is not meant to be practiced with bare fists, so the first piece of equipment we’ll discuss is hand wraps.
Muay Thai Hand Wraps
Hand wraps are crucial protective gear in Muay Thai, as the bags and pads used during training can be very hard and ruff. Failing to use hand wraps can result in injuries to your knuckles or wrists, which can be easily avoided by wrapping your hands properly. Hand wraps are also necessary when sparring or fighting during training, as hitting another fighter in the face barehanded can cause damage. Always prioritize safety in Muay Thai training to avoid unnecessary injuries.
Have you ever witnessed someone hit another person and end up getting hurt themselves? Hitting someone in the face can be like punching a solid wall with all your force. It’s not something most people can do without getting injured. When sparring in Muay Thai, you’re not trying to knock out your partner or hit them as hard as possible. Doing so would likely make people not want to train with you.
Instead, sparring is a chance to hone your skills and techniques with a partner who is also practicing their techniques. This helps you to improve your accuracy and precision so that when you compete, you’re better prepared to strike your opponent without causing injury to yourself.
It is highly recommended to have an experienced trainer wrap multiple layers of tape over your hand wraps to ensure maximum protection during your training and matches. This extra layer of security will make your hands feel like you’re carrying bricks, but it also means that your punches will be much safer for your opponent, especially if they are not Muay Thai fighters.
When choosing hand wraps, the material is typically made of either cotton or elastic materials like spandex and polyester, so the decision usually comes down to personal preference based on brand, color, and style.
How do you know how long Muay Thai hand wraps should be? To determine the appropriate length for your Muay Thai hand wraps, consider the intensity of your training. Hand wraps can range from five to fifteen feet, with longer wraps offering more protection from heavy hitting. However, longer wraps may be hard to put on.
To make an informed decision, you can read about Muay Thai hand wraps and how to choose them. We will cover popular brands and other options loved by fighters in greater detail, including their performance and expected lifespan.
While we aim to recommend the best gear, bear in mind that everything has a lifespan. To enhance your protection further, you can also try using inner gloves, such as the RDX T15s.
How do you Wrap Muay Thai Hand Wraps?
It’s important to note that there are different wrapping techniques for hand wraps in Muay Thai, depending on your style. If you’re a beginner, have your trainer or instructor wrap your hands until you become familiar with the process.
Make the wraps not too loose or too tight when wrapping your hands. It can be hard to get the right fit, but practice makes perfect. The hand wraps should cover all areas of your hands, including your knuckles, thumbs, and wrists, to prevent any injury during training or fights.
Once you’ve wrapped your hands correctly, you should be able to make a tight fist without feeling discomfort. Also, be sure the wrapping doesn’t come undone while you’re training.
I will explain the basic and advanced techniques for applying Muay Thai hand wraps, so you can better understand what’s necessary. If you’re still uncertain, seek guidance from someone with experience and continue to practice until you feel confident.
Basic Muay Thai Hand Wrap Technique
A regular hand wrap method may provide less protection than other wrapping techniques.
Here are the steps for this method:
- Place the small loop at the end of the hand wrap around your thumb.
- Move the wrap across the top of your wrist and make several loops.
- Move the wrap across the top of your hand to your knuckles, making a total of four loops.
- Move the wrap from your knuckles across the top of your hand and wrist, making four loops around your wrist.
- Take the wrap from your wrist and move it up and across the top of your hand to your knuckles again, but only loop the wrap around your knuckles twice this time.
- Move the wrap from your knuckles across your palm to your thumb, and loop it around your thumb, ending back at your wrist.
- Use any remaining wrap to loop around your wrist, knuckles, and overhand, ending with a loop.
- If your Muay Thai hand wraps have Velcro, secure and tighten them.
- If your hand wraps don’t have Velcro, tuck them in under the loops on your wrist.
Note that if you’re unsure about how to wrap your hands properly, it’s best to have an experienced trainer or instructor assist you.
Now let’s go over the more advanced technique of wearing the hand wraps.
Advanced Muay Thai Hand Wrap Technique
This is the advanced technique used for hand wraps in Muay Thai.
- Take the loop at the end of your hand wrap and place it against the knuckle of your index finger while holding it in place with your thumb.
- Use your other hand to loosely loop the wrap around your knuckles for a total of four times.
- Move the hand wrap down your fingers and place the bundle on your knuckles, squeezing it with your thumb and index finger.
- Loop the wrap around your knuckles three or more times to ensure the protective bundle is secure and not slipping.
- Take the wrap from your knuckles and across your hand, under your thumb, looping around it.
- Move the wrap over and across your wrist, making loops around it.
- Take the wrap from the inside of your wrist and move it over the top of your hand through the opening between your middle and index fingers. Loop it around your knuckles and hold it there.
- Take the wrap from your knuckles down along the top of your hand and make a loop around your wrist.
- Take the wrap from the inside of your wrist along the top of your hand through the opening between the middle and ring fingers. Loop it around your knuckles to hold it there.
- Take the wrap from your knuckles and continue across the top area of your hand, then loop it around your wrist.
- Start from the inside area of your wrist and move the wrap across to the top of your hand and through the opening between your ring and pinky fingers. Loop it around your knuckles to hold it there.
- Take the wrap from your knuckles down the top of your hand and loop it around your wrist.
- Wrap any extra around your thumb to provide more protection.
- Secure the wrap with a Velcro strap if one exists, or tuck the end under the loops protecting your wrist.
Repeat these steps for your other hand if you are wrapping both.
Muay Thai Gloves
Protect your hands during training in the gym, sparring, or hitting the bags by wearing protective Muay Thai gloves. The type of gloves you use will depend on the kind of training you’re doing.
Here are some guidelines to follow:
- Bag Gloves: These gloves are designed for bag work and should be used when hitting the bags. They are lighter and less padded than sparring gloves.
- Sparring Gloves: These gloves are designed for sparring and should be used when practicing with a partner. They have more padding and are heavier than bag gloves.
- Competition Gloves: These gloves are used in professional fights and are lighter and less padded than a bag or sparring gloves. They are designed to allow fighters to move quickly and deliver fast strikes.
Use the correct gloves for each training to ensure proper protection and reduce the risk of injury.
Do I need special gloves for Muay Thai? You require special gloves for Muay Thai. These gloves are designed specifically for the training you’ll be doing, such as hitting bags or sparring. There are gloves designed for different types of Muay Thai training. These include regular bag gloves, gloves with Velcro straps, and lace-up gloves.
When shopping for Muay Thai gloves, look for gloves made of all-leather or mainly leather materials. Additionally, look for gloves with padding support, such as latex foam. This padding will provide additional protection for your hands during training.
What Weight Muay Thai Gloves Should I Get?
The amount of weight for the Muay Thai gloves you need depends on your use. Check the table below.
Table 1. Muay Thai Gloves Size Chart.
Are 14 oz gloves for a heavy bag? The 14 to 16-oz gloves are typically used for sparring and should ideally be lace-ups. On the other hand, gloves with Velcro straps weighing 8 to 10 oz are used for hitting heavy bags and padded mitts with an instructor.
Should I get 14 or 16-oz gloves? Gain real fighting experience while sparring by using 14 to 16-oz lace-up gloves. These gloves offer better wrist protection when compared to Velcro gloves and have a longer lifespan.
The lace-up gloves take longer to wear than other gloves, which can slow you down during training. It’s recommended to have someone else put them on for you. On the other hand, Velcro gloves may lose their grip over time due to training.
If you cannot buy different types of Muay Thai gloves for your specific training needs or have limited options, you can use 14 oz gloves for all your training.
When ordering your gloves, know your hand size since they are available in small, medium, or large sizes. Choose the size that best fits your hands.
When selecting gloves, it’s important to note that the heavier the gloves, the bigger they tend to be. If you have access to a Muay Thai gym or something similar, it’s recommended to try out the gloves available there to determine which ones feel most comfortable.
However, it’s understandable if you’re hesitant to try on gloves that may have been used and not fit properly. In this case, purchasing a new pair of gloves is a wise investment.
We’ll provide a list of recommended Thai gloves based on current research. While there may be some changes before the articles are published, we will keep you updated.
Please note that we have not included specific weight ranges for glove sizes in this article, as the sizing may differ among brands. This information will be included in our forthcoming materials on gloves.
Muay Thai Groin Guard
Do you need a groin guard for Muay Thai? Groin guards are crucial equipment for Muay Thai fighters to prevent groin injuries that can cause excruciating pain, tightness, and muscle spasms. It’s not worth risking injury by not wearing one, especially if you take an unintentional knee or kick to the groin area. Fortunately, you can easily find groin guards in various types and materials like steel or plastic. For training and light sparring, it’s best to use plastic groin cups as they are easily breakable by a good kick or knee, which may hurt you more than not wearing a guard. Avoid pain and injury by wearing a groin guard during your fights and training sessions.
The preferred groin guard for both sparring and competition is made of steel. Therefore, wearing a steel groin guard is mandatory for competition, leaving no choice for fighters. As Muay Thai is Thailand’s national sport, they are well-versed in protective gear and have made it a requirement to wear a groin guard for all competitions.
Are Groin Guards Comfortable?
You might think, “I hate wearing groin cups” or “They’re uncomfortable during training.” You may wonder if there’s an alternative for protection. There is an alternative called a belly protector, which covers the lower abdominal area and the groin. It can be used instead of a groin guard and is typically made of latex foam. However, it’s only recommended for light kicks, knees, or punches.
I know some will use them for much harder striking, that’s your choice, but you should be very careful since these protectors are wrapped around your stomach area like a weightlifter’s back belt.
It’s best to use groin and abdominal protection to ensure maximum safety. When searching for a suitable groin guard, ensure that it fits properly. While most guards are designed to fit the average man, special-sized cups are available in small to extra-large sizes. Find a perfect fit for your guard to avoid any potential injury. My advice is to invest in the right size for your needs.
So let me tell you about what they used to do a long, long time ago.
Have you ever heard an elderly person like your grandfather say something similar to: “In the old days, we had to do this or use that”? Well, have you ever wondered how ancient cultures protected their groin area? Believe it or not, they used tree bark and even seashells. They would tie the bark or shells with a rope to keep them in place as their groin protection.
Muay Thai Shin Guards
Do I need shin guards for Muay Thai? Muay Thai shin guards protect the shins from harm or damage during kicking heavy bags or pads. They are also essential during contact training and sparring sessions.
So if you have problems with your shins from training or maybe you’ve harmed them in some other way, you need to get some shin guards. You may need to let your shins heal until you start training and using your shins.
Regardless, shin guards are essential for your Muay Thai training gear and are necessary for beginners. When you start in Muay Thai, add them to your training gear.
There are different styles of shin guards. Some will only cover your shins, others your shins and feet.
There are two types of shin guards available: Velcro strap and lace-up. Choose the one that is most comfortable for you. Additionally, some shin guards are made of soft cotton and can be worn underneath your leather shin guards for extra protection.
Muay Thai is a challenging combat sport, as you already know. If you’re considering it or already practicing it, you understand the difficulty involved. The kicks and knees in Muay Thai are powerful and can cause a significant impact.
That’s why you must train smart with protection and spar the same way.
So if you’re planning on getting into some serious training and hard fighting, make sure you get the leather shin guards. And you need to make sure that they’re encased with latex foam. Lastly, get guards that cover your shins and feet. They’re the best.
If you prefer shin guards to put on and remove easily, consider choosing the Velcro strap option. However, if you want durable shin guards that can withstand frequent training, opt for lace-up shin guards. Investing in the lace-up option will provide more value for your money in the long run.
As with all the other training gear mentioned, try on shin guards to ensure a proper fit. You’ll know the guards fit right when the top of the guards reaches your knees, and both sides of your shins are adequately covered.
Muay Thai Shin Guards Size Charts
Each brand of shin guards has its size chart, which can vary significantly. Providing random numbers based on a single brand or two wouldn’t provide thorough information. Therefore, we will cover size information in a separate article focused on Muay Thai Shin Guards, providing more valuable information for finding your ideal gear.
Now let’s move on to the next topic and discuss Muay Thai mouthpieces.
Muay Thai Mouthpiece
Do you need a mouthguard for Muay Thai? Before beginning your Muay Thai training, purchase a mouthguard and wear it during all types of contact training and kicking bags or pads training. Wearing a mouthguard during these sessions will help you become accustomed to it. If you’ve never used a mouthguard before, it may feel unfamiliar and require some adjustment, including getting used to breathing and any discomfort from having a large piece of plastic in your mouth.
As with the other training gear, you have options available that are provided to you in different shapes and sizes. There are mouthguards to fit everyone.
If you wear braces and have been hesitant about training in Muay Thai or wondered if it’s possible to do so, you don’t need to worry. You can train in Muay Thai with braces using special mouthguards designed for this purpose.
You have the option of choosing between single-layer and double-layer mouthguards. Single-layer guards attach to your upper teeth, while dual-layer guards fit both your upper and lower teeth, securing your jaw. Single-layer guards are generally more comfortable and better to breathe with than dual-layer guards, and that’s why they’re a popular choice for many people.
The dual-layer mouthguards provide the best protection as they prevent your lower jaw from crashing into the base of your skull, which is the common cause of knockouts. When hit with a blow, the dual-layer guards absorb the impact and distribute the force evenly, reducing the risk of injury.
As for which brand to choose for your Muay Thai training, there are many good options.
If you prefer not to purchase a mouthguard from any of the brands I’ll be covering, you can always opt to have a custom one made by your dentist especially tailored to fit your teeth. However, dental mouthguards tend to be more expensive compared to available brands.
To clarify, getting custom-made mouthguards from your dentist can be expensive. I speak from personal experience when I say that I regretted it. Before concluding this section on Muay Thai mouthguards, I would like to provide some instructions for preparing them for your training. While the brand you choose will likely provide instructions, having additional information can be helpful.
How do you mold a mouthguard in boiling water? Mold a mouthguard using the boil-and-bite method, follow these steps:
- Heat a pot of water until it reaches a light boil.
- Dip the mouthguard into the water for about 15 seconds or until it becomes soft.
- Remove the mouthguard from the water and let it cool for a few seconds.
- Place the mouthguard in your mouth and bite down while gently sucking in.
- Finally, remove the mouthguard and let it cool down completely.
Now, let’s move on to the headgear.
Muay Thai Headgear
Do I need headgear for Muay Thai? Headgear is not mandatory equipment for Muay Thai training if two partners familiar with each other are sparring lightly. However, if both partners have agreed to fight hard, it is highly recommended to wear headgear. Set the terms with your training partner before starting to spar. Wearing headgear does not make you look weak, and it is essential to prioritize safety during training.
Wearing headgear during sparring is not a sign of weakness but rather a way to protect yourself from injury while continuing to train in your chosen combat sport. In situations where you’re sparring with someone you don’t know well, consider the potential risks and agree on the intensity of the sparring beforehand. Even if you start with light sparring, things can quickly escalate if one person gets a good hit. In such cases, having headgear on can be a lifesaver and prevent unnecessary injury.
When I first started my training as a beginner, I was paired up with someone highly skilled, similar to a black belt level. During our sparring session, he threw a kick that lifted me, knocked the wind out of me, and left me completely stunned.
As a beginner, I believed I was a good fighter, but that experience taught me otherwise. When my instructor asked me how many times I thought I had been hit, I guessed around two or three times. To my surprise, he informed me I had been hit more than 23 times.
That experience was a wake-up call for me and made me realize the importance of proper training and protection.
As it turned out, my instructor had instructed my sparring partner to take it easy on me and not make any contact. However, I’m not quite sure what I did wrong, maybe I was overconfident, but my partner decided to demonstrate that he was far more advanced.
My advice, wear headgear because you never know who you’ll be sparring with and what level of skills they have.
What is the best headgear for sparring? Ensure the best protection during sparring by choosing high-quality and durable headgear. There’re many brands and styles of headgear available for Muay Thai. Two popular options are open-faced headgear and padded face bar headgear.
However, the padded face bar headgear is often recommended because it provides better protection against pain and potential nose injuries.
When shopping for headgear, look for an all-leather outer shell and a suede leather interior for maximum comfort and durability. It’s also preferable to choose headgear with lace-up closures instead of Velcro straps, as they tend to last longer. Finally, most headgear is one-size-fits-all, but be sure and check the sizing information before making a purchase.
Muay Thai Traditional Wear
The next item I’ll discuss is not related to protective training gear. It’s about traditional and sacred amulets that Thai fighters hold in high regard. These amulets are treated with the utmost care and considered disrespectful to drop them or step over them.
What is a Pra Jiad? The Pra Jiad is a sacred armband worn by Muay Thai fighters. It has origins dating back to ancient times in Thailand when mothers tore off a piece of their Surong (traditional dress) to give to their sons for good luck and protection during the warring era. Muay Thai fighters who wore them believed they were receiving the blessings of their mothers for safety and would write prayers and spells on them. The torn piece of the mother’s dress was then tied around a fighter’s arm(s) and was worn before and during the actual fighting.
The Prajet or Pra Jiad has been a tradition since ancient times in Thailand. It was torn from a mother’s Surong (traditional dress) and tied around the fighter’s arms for good luck and protection during the warring era. Nowadays, they can be bought like any other Muay Thai product, but for traditional Thai fighters, there is still a ceremony for making a Prajet. The armbands are now made by fighters or instructors, with the belief that the ones made by instructors hold more power.
The meaning behind the Prajioud has changed to represent a ranking system within foreign Muay Thai schools, similar to other martial arts schools that use the belt system in the West. You should respect and understand the traditions and beliefs associated with the Prajet, but ultimately, the reason for wearing it is personal.
Moving on to the next topic. Jumping rope is a vital part of Muay Thai training.
Muay Thai Jump Rope
Is jump roping good for Muay Thai? Jump roping is a beneficial exercise for Muay Thai as it helps develop cardio conditioning, strengthens the legs, and improves overall rhythm and coordination between the upper and lower body. However, jump roping for Muay Thai is different from the way other Western boxers and martial artists use the ropes. The jump ropes trained by Thai fighters are large, heavy, and thicker than the ones used in Western countries. Therefore, use the correct type of jump rope for Muay Thai training.
How heavy is Muay Thai jump rope? Muay Thai jump ropes are designed to build strength and improve cardio conditioning. They are thicker and heavier than speed ropes, weighing around 1.5 to 2 pounds, and are typically made from thick plastic or rubber rope with wooden handles. If you want to take your training to the next level and improve your overall fitness, using a Muay Thai jump rope is a great way.
What are the benefits of using a Muay Thai jump rope?
- Increase heart rate
- Explosive power
- Stronger calves
- Stronger shoulders
- Stronger punching
Be mindful that the Muay Thai jump ropes are thicker and heavier than speed ropes, weighing around 1.5 to 2 pounds, and are made from thick plastic or rubber rope with wooden handles. While they can help you build strength and improve your cardio conditioning, it’s crucial to be cautious and avoid losing your rhythm if the rope swinging onto your feet can be very painful. Therefore, if you’re new to jumping rope for training purposes, start with a smaller one until you have a good handle on the technique.
How do you jump rope in Muay Thai? For beginners who are starting jump roping for Muay Thai, it is recommended to start with small jumps on the balls of the feet while hopping over the rope with as little distance as possible. To create small circles with the forearms, use small wrist movements.
As a beginner, you should also focus on breathing while performing jump roping. You can inhale through your nose and exhale out of your nose or mouth. Correct breathing is often overlooked by beginners during training. Learn to breathe correctly as a combat fighter or in any martial art.
Jump roping for Muay Thai should be practiced at a moderate pace for 15 to 20 minutes or 7 to 10 minutes at a fast pace to dramatically increase stamina and muscle endurance. Beginners should start slowly and gradually work up to these time frames. It’s important to avoid overexertion and not to exceed one’s physical capabilities. Once you reach the ideal half-hour time frame, you can continue to build up gradually. The aim is to prepare your body for training techniques and develop endurance. In the next section, we will discuss the sparring vest and whether it is necessary to use one.
Muay Thai Sparring Vest
The sparring vest is a piece of equipment designed to protect your midsection during training or amateur fighting competitions. It is specifically designed to allow you to move freely and with a full range of motion while wearing it. Most gyms and amateur competitions will provide sparring vests for their fighters.
However, if you choose to purchase your own, look for a vest with a leather or synthetic leather shell and foam chest plates. These materials make the vest both lightweight and durable, able to withstand the force of strikes during training or competition. Additionally, when shopping for a sparring vest, check it has an adjustable back for a comfortable and secure fit.
What should I wear to a Muay Thai class? When attending a Muay Thai class, it’s recommended to wear comfortable workout shorts and a T-shirt. It’s important to also bring a towel and sufficient water to stay hydrated throughout the class. It’s important to note that socks and shoes are not typically worn during training. Additionally, it’s a good idea to bring a change of clothing after the class, as you will likely sweat and want to change into something fresh.