I get this question a lot! Especially from new people to the sport/art of Muay Thai. “What kind of gear should I get”?
Well, that all depends on what your goals are and how long you have been training as well as if you are a beginner or a advanced athlete or even a coach. Before we get started let me first say that what brands you choose will be purely a choice based on your own experimentation. I have brands that I love in sparring gloves but hate in Thai Pads etc etc. for the sake of this article I have stayed brand neutral and included a variety of different ones for you to look at. I definitely have my favorites for different kinds of equipment and if anyone is interested in what they are, feel free to contact me personally.
let start with the basics.
if you are new to Muay Thai you will undoubtedly need a few essentials.
1. Muay Thai shorts. If you are training in a authentic Muay Thai environment, you will undoubtedly see the bulk of the students wearing actual Muay Thai shorts and not MMA board shorts or some other style of shorts. Authentic Muay Thai Shorts serve a purpose. One, they are to be worn very short. This enables the legs to be the freest win throwing high kicks. Some people may feel a bit self-conscious culturally in the beginning. However, once you realize that everyone in your gym has them and is wearing them, you will blend right in. Some gyms require you to wear their uniform style of shorts. Others, you may wear any color or style you wish. This is just a preference of the Academy. Some like uniformity, some don’t care.
2. boxing gloves.
there is absolutely a difference between Muay Thai Gloves and western boxing gloves. The big deal here is not to go with the cheapest stuff you can find. Do not shop at the local sporting good store or even Amazon to get your equipment. The local sporting goods store May seem like a good idea due to the price. However, the equipment sold there is the lowest of the lowest when it comes to quality. Mini online retailers and even wholesalers are offering black market equipment and it is very cheaply made even though it may have the brand you like. Always consult with your teacher when it comes to buying good equipment. You will want to start out with a pair of 16 ounce gloves if you are an adult. And lighter gloves if you are a Youth. The 16 ounce gloves are kind of a utility purpose kind of glove. You can do pad work and partner drilling with these kind of gloves. However, in the long run you want multiple styles of gloves. Do you want a pair of gloves for sparring. These are generally 16 ounces and also made softer then other styles of gloves and have a certain kind of Padding on the palm and the back of the club to safely take the impact of kicks. Next you will want a pair of lighter gloves for example 10 ounces. These gloves are generally used for specialty training such as pad work and have a bad work. You will be able to use these ones to go round after round and not be quite as tired. Next you will want a pair of pure bag gloves. These gloves are very lightweight and generally do not have Velcro straps. You can do pad work have a bad work and also clinch with these gloves on and not scratch up your training partner.
3. Hand wraps. You will want to wrap your hands for the majority of your training if you are an adult. Children generally do not have to wrap their hands as they are much lighter and do not run the risk of injuring their wrist and small bones in their hands as they do not generally punch as hard. This is an exception and not a rule. You will generally want the hand wraps that are the longest as possible if your teacher knows how to rap hands like a hand wraps. You will want to wrap your hands for the majority of your training if you are an adult. Children generally do not have to wrap their hands as they are much later and do not run the risk of injuring their wrist and small bones in their hands as they do not generally punch as hard. This is an exception and not a rule. You will generally want the hand wraps that are the longest as possible if your teacher knows how to wrap pants like a “Thai”. The shorter wraps will not make these traditional styles of wrap where you can create a knuckle pad out of part of the hand wrap. Generally you will want to do three pairs of hand wraps in order to wash them and use another pair the next day.
I recommend you get shinguards very soon into training, however you can start without them. A good pair of leather shinguards is a must in order to protect yourself during partner training and sparring. What brand you purchase will definitely depend on your level of comfort and your style preference. Do not go the cheap route here. One good pair of shin guards can last you a couple of years if you take care of them. There are also thinner style of shinguards that slide on like socks. These are good for competitions and lighter weight children. For general training you want the thicker leather ones though.
5. Ankle wraps.
these are not a necessity but nice to have. They give ankle support and definitely stop any kind of rubbing from the bottom of shin pads if you are wearing them a lot. They also provide a visual of where not to strike while doing Thai style kicks. If you are wearing the ankle wrap, you can tell yourself to strike above the wrap into your shins. This is the proper way.
6. Thai pads.
if you are not coaching, you may not need your own pads. However, it is nice to have. When it comes to pads the biggest thing to keep in mind is what age group and size of person you are dealing with. If you are teaching children you will definitely need smaller softer pads. If you are working with advanced Fighters or heavier guys. You will need thicker larger pads. Some pads have one strap for the arms, sometimes pads have multiple straps. This really is just a preference. However for myself I tend to use the single strap even if there are multiple straps. This allows me to clinch better with my guys then having the double straps and the pad in the way.
This is a essential piece of equipment once you start sparring. I prefer open faced headgear. I do not like headgear with the cheek and chin protectors. The reason for this is that in my Thai we throw knees. If there is any obstruction to seeing the lower line, it is difficult for you to see he’s coming. A good headgear is very important. The headgear helps to stop the potential cut from elbows as well.
The belly pad is an essential piece of equipment for each coach to have. It is also nice if you’re on your own. However you definitely can get away with out one in the beginning. The belly pad is used for the coach to catch knees without injury. Also the push kick and many other weapons can be used against it.
9. there are other pads that are pictured that would definitely be a great benefit if you are coaching. Such as, the thigh guards. These are large guards that are worn over your thighs and allow your partner to throw the low kick without worrying about injuring you. Also, there are other styles of pads that are used for striking with knees and elbows. also not pictured is the Thai Suitcase or big shield. These are great for throwing full power kicks and have many other benefits.
10. Other considerations would be a good mouthguard, a green cup for males. Boxing liniment to warm your muscles. Etc. etc.