One of the newest pieces of Muay Thai training equipment that have become very popular in the past few years are Muay Thai Thigh pads. Thigh pads are designed to allow you to throw low kicks in a realistic fashion, without requiring the pad holder to do anything.
I never used to see these worn back in 2010-2011. But as of 2017, I’ve seen a number of Thai trainers using these to work with students on low kicks.
The ergonomic shape and contour of the pads allow you to throw clean low kicks and have a nice solid feel when you land them on the pad holder. The design allows you to target the inner, outer and the middle of the thigh utilizing different low kicks.
The benefit of the Thigh pads is it allows trainers to call out combinations that focus on punches followed by low kicks in rapid succession. Because the pads are secured to the legs of the trainers, it gives a great deal of protection and will absorb most of the impact of the kicks.
Fairtex Muay Thai Thigh Pads
It should be mentioned that you will need to get used to wearing the thigh pads as can shift around depending on the size of your leg and the tight you make the laces. While the pad holder can get the student to throw more low kick combinations, the downside is that the pad holder has less mobility and is unable to throw kicks using the legs that have thigh pads secured to them.
Design of the Pads
The design of the Fairtex Thigh pads is fairly simple yet very effective. The first thing you have to do is to put one of your legs throw the thigh pads and tighten the lace up rear enclosure on the pads. To make it easier you should allow some room so you can easily put on and take off the pads. Once you have the leg through the pads you then need to use the belt around your waist that holds the weight of the pads.
As you can see from the above image you have to slide your leg through the laces first, tighten up the laces, then you put the hook and loop around your waist and secure it. Do this for the back leg first then put on your front leg pad after.
The hook and loop waist needs to be secured because that is going to be holding the weight of your pads. You may find this uncomfortable at first, but you will get used to the weight after a while. The pads have 4 target points on each leg to give you specific area of the leg that you can target with your kicks.
If you wear two thigh pads one pad will sit a little bit higher up than the other because you have to wear two hook and loop belts on your waist. The left leg will usually be the one to sit a light higher up if you are holding for an orthodox student.
The design of the pads allows students to throw powerful low kicks, without requiring a trainer to physically hold a pad for the kick. Before the Fairtex Thigh pads came along you would have to hold a kick shield with one hand, and then hold one pad in the other hand when working on combinations.
This meant that you would only be able to throw one or two punches at the single pad because the other arm was occupied by the kick shield that the trainer was holding. The Muay Thai Thigh pad solved this problem by being attached to the trainers leg which allows for inner and outer low kicks to be thrown by the students.
Size and Materials
Fairtex designed these pads as a one size fits all solution. This means that if you are really small, they might be a bit bulky on your leg. They offer 3 inches of protection, which is enough padding to block the force of most incoming kicks you will face.
These pads are hand crafted in Thailand and are made with a mix of Synthetic leather and nylon materials. Most retailers sell the pads as a pair, but make sure you confirm this when you are about to purchase it.
Ideal Pads for Low Kicks
In my opinion, these pads are great for people who want to focus on hand combinations followed by low kicks. Trainers can work with Thai pads or boxing pads to hold for punches and get their students to follow with low kicks. This can help train students to instinctively follow every combination they throw with a low kick.
By having the Thigh pads secured at all times, trainers don’t have to worry about a student accidentally hitting their leg when they shift the pads down. These pads are absolutely great for developing better low kicks, so if you want to improve your students low kick during pads, these are definitely a set of pads you will want to have.
For Westerners who like to teach a lot of low kicks, this is an essential tool that can help you emphasize the importance of low kicks in training. If you are looking to purchase these pads for your own use, you only need to buy one set for you and a training partner.
I have noticed that most trainers actually only use one Thigh pad at a time. This allows them to emphasize the low kick on the lead leg, while giving them more mobility and being less bulky with both pads on.
One thing that some people have complained about with the Fairtex thigh pad is that the material connected to the belt and the pads ends up tearing after a few years of heavy use. If this happens to you then you need to reinforce the area with some more fabric to prevent this from happening.
Some people complain that it doesn’t stop all of the impact of the kicks if you have heavy low kicker, but it is all relative. No pads are going to stop the brunt force of a heavy kick regardless of whether you are holding a Thai pad or not. So if you have someone who throws thunderous low kicks and you don’t have conditioned legs, you may feel some of the impact of the kick.
That being said, this is much less of an impact than you would feel with regular Thai pads or no pads at all. So if you want to condition your legs, these pads are a great way to start getting used to feeling a small impact on your leg.
Another issue that some people may find is that they can be a little bit bulky if you are an active trainer that likes to throw a lot of kicks. These pads are ideal for working on specific combinations, and less ideal if you want to flow your pad work and move around as a pad holder.
Fairtex Muay Thai Pads
The Fairtex Thigh pads are an excellent “extra” set of pads that are very nice to have in addition to your regular Thai pads and focus mitts. While you need to have regular Thai pads for your general use, these thigh pads can help you augment your pad holding to further develop low kicks.
Any trainer who wants to emphasize low kicks with their students should definitely have a set of these pads lying around, so you can spend a few rounds working on some good low kick combinations.
The biggest drawback is the lack of mobility for the pad holder, so don’t expect to throw a low of kicks at your students or training partners when you have these pads attached. You’ll also want to go light on the teeps (if your trainer manages to wear a belly pad at the same time — which I have seen before) as he won’t have a lot of balance and mobility while wearing these.
Overall, the Fairtex Thigh pads are excellent training pads that are used to emphasize low kicks in training. There is no reason why you shouldn’t add these pads to your collection if you have the money to throw down a few hundred bucks to buy them. Definitely worth the investment in the long run.