If you’re training MMA or Muay Thai, quality protective shin guards are essential.
As you progress through the sport, the knocks get harder, so your protective equipment needs to match your ability.
RDX are an excellent choice for MMA gear, so I’ve written an in-depth review of their entire shin guard range here.
I will walk you through everything, from budget to premium shin guards, looking at quality, materials, craftmanship and more, to ensure you buy the right shin guards for your training needs.
RDX T1 Shin Guards
The RDX T1 Shin Guards are the budget end of the range, but are still suitable for newcomers to the sport or for casual training.
They’re made from a moulded design rather than the multi-layer construction you find in the more expensive guards.
Steps have been taken to improve comfort in the T1’s by incorporating shock gel and foam, plus a sweat-absorbing QD-1 technology. They have a nylon outer layer, which isn’t the highest quality – but will be OK for a casual trainer.
- Decent level of protection – dual padding from Shell-Shock gel and Supremo-Shock foam
- Very budget friendly – cheapest in the RDX range
- QD-1 moisture absorbing technology, making sweat a problem of the past.
- Securely fitting straps to keep the guards in place.
- Classy and simple black design
- The foot protection is longer than some, so may not suit those with small feet.
- Some users suggest the straps are a little tight – a problem if you have big calves
- Nylon outer is not as protective as the maya hide leather options on this list
RDX T2 Shin Guards
If it’s serious protection you’re after, the RDX T2 shin guards are right up your alley. They come in a little more expensive than the T1, but they’re made from real cowhide leather paired with a thick, shock-absorbent gel.
With thicker, stronger calf straps the T2’s are perfect for those who are training and competing at a serious level. These shin guards are built to last and will take a lot of punishment, even if you are exchanging tough kicks with your sparring partners
- Top quality construction – made with genuine cowhide leather.
- Strong, sturdy calf straps. These shin guards won’t be slipping out of position.
- Able to take the toughest of shots without denting or deforming.
- Great multi-colour design.
- Fantastic quality for the price point.
- Narrow padding on the shins – if you have big legs this may be a problem.
- Some users report issues with the foot strap snapping, although this is rare.
RDX T4 Shin Guards
If you’re after a top quality shin guard, look no further than the RDX T4’s.
These are the Rolls Royce of the RDX range, offering superior build quality and much better protection than the other shin guards in this list.
The Tri-Slab Shell-Shock Gel disperses impact perfectly and the authentic full-grain cowhide leather means that these guards will take serious punishment and still last a long time.
- Great build quality and real leather – the toughest and most durable in the RDX range
- The pads stay in place really well, even during heavy use.
- Amazing protection for both the shin, ankle and foot.
- High impact technology disperses impact, protecting against injury and product damage.
- Like the T2 shin guards, they look great in the multi-colour design.
- Being quality leather, they may take a while to break in.
- Short straps might be uncomfortable for those with big calves.
- Most pricey in the range
Also check out my Venum Shin guards review
How to choose the best RDX shin guards for you
In this section we’ll run through the different variables of the products, how they will affect your training and what you need to consider before you make your purchase. With such a wide range of shin guards available, it’s worth your while considering what you’ll need from your shin guards and why.
Similar to buying Muay Thai gloves, a lot of your decision making will come from what you need and like, not what others suggest is important. Here are a few things to consider…
By exterior we mean the materials and construction of the shin guards. Do you want to sacrifice build quality and materials for price?
Do you want genuine leather, or will synthetic external materials do? Genuine leather is more expensive, but will typically last longer and makes for better protection. Synthetic materials are cheaper and slightly lighter, but be prepared that they won’t stand up to the same amount of punishment as leather.
How about stitching? At a higher level of competition and training the impact forces will be greater, so cheaper build quality may not be worth it in the long run.
The interior is largely the functionality of the shin guards. At a higher price point you’ll typically receive greater impact protection from thicker, more absorbent padding. At lower price points you’ll receive less padding, but the overall guard is likely to be lighter.
In higher quality RDX shin guards, protection doesn’t come at the expense of usability – higher-grade materials deliver fantastic impact protection without adding too much weight.
There’s also the wear and tear aspect to consider. More expensive guards will be made from genuine leather and higher quality stitching. This will cost more, but the chances are they will last significantly longer and will offer better protection.
When you consider the protection of a shin guard, there’s a good chance you’ll think only of the striking and impact areas – the shin and foot. Don’t forget the ankle though – if you’ve suffered in the past, it may be worth considering the level of ankle protection you need, as ankle knocks can be very nasty.
If you’re wearing your guards for hours in training and competition, they have to be comfortable. Your mind can’t be wandering off to how uncomfortable your shin guards are during sparring or fighting, so select wisely when it comes to your guards.
Consider your leg size and shape – do you have long legs? Big legs? Big calf muscles? These will impact the shin guard size and fit you require.
What are the guards made from? How padded are they? How stiff are they? If you’re at a high level of competition where the impacts are greater and more frequent, you’ll need a higher quality guard.
Check sizing charts, read what others have said about them and make an informed decision.
All of these have a bearing on how comfortable your guards are, so don’t leave a stone un-turned in the quest for comfort, size and fit.
There are certain non-negotiables in life, and one of them in budget. If you have a fixed budget, you have to work to it. I would suggest with your shin guards though, get the best you can afford – you can never be too protected in fight sports.
Do remember though, your protection shouldn’t be limited by money, so if stretching your budget a little buys you a far superior product, it’s worth considering saving a little longer.
Don’t settle for an inferior product, if the product you want only costs a little more.
Choosing the best RDX shin guards for your training
In this article I’ve reviewed every different pair of RDX shin guards on the market – we’ve seen guards at various price points and each with their own unique features.
Decide what kind of features you want and need from your RDX shin guards, then look at your budget. Consider size, frequency of use, level of competition and impact protection, then make a decision.
We’ve learnt in the article that RDX offer shin guards for all budgets and requirements, so you’ll find the perfect pair for your needs.
Good luck with your training!