If you take a look at any Muay Thai gym around the world, one of the most common shin guards you will see is Top King shin guards. Top King shin pads are extremely popular because they are built with quality, they fit well, and they offer good protection when you spar.
When I first started training in Thailand over 5 years ago the first pair of shin guards that I bought were Top King shin guards. This was the first time I had every used Top King equipment, and I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised.
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Back in my fighting days, I used to train twice a day/six times a week, which allowed me to put my Top King shin guards through a lot of wear and tear. My conclusion from the heavy use was that Top King is one of the best shin guards you can find on the market.
One thing that sets Top King apart from some of the other shin Guards is their narrow design and reinforced shin padding area. While there have been a lot of other brands that have copied that Top King style, they were the first company to come out with this type of design.
The benefit of having a narrow shinguard profile is that you don’t feel overburdened when you are sparring because these are light and well padded. The only downside to the design is that it offers less protection around the side of the leg, something that is only a minor detail.
Top King Shin Guard Models
For the most part, Top King uses the same base design for all of their shin guard line. The only difference between the shin guards is the outer material that they have, with a few minor modifications here and there. The “Empower Creativity” and the “Super Star” models have full Carbon Kevlar print on the outside of the pads while the “Pro” models are made with genuine leather on the outside of the pads.
The actual design of the pads is really similar between models so it really comes down to which model fits your personal taste. Here is a list of the 3 main models of shin guards that Top King offers and a brief overview of each model.
Top King Shin Guards “Pro” (TKSGP-GL)
The cheapest Top King Shin Guards that are available is the Top King Shin Guards “Pro.” The basic “Pro” model can either be made with semi leather or full leather. The semi-leather is a cheaper model, but I haven’t seen anyone ever use that model. Most of the “Pro” models are all made with 100% genuine leather made in Thailand.
These shin guards come in basic colors and don’t have any fancy design. As a result of the basic colors and design, they are the cheapest models available. If you are looking for a good pair of Top King Shin Guards and don’t want to spend the extra money on design, get the basic model.
Top King Shin Guards “Super Star” (TSKGSS-01)
The second model of Top King shin guards you will find on the market is the “Super Star” Collection. These shin guards are designed with full Carbon Kevlar and have a very shiny look and feel to them. They are the premium model in the range and offer good protection with the same fit as the other shin guards available.
The design and look is very similar to the other models available, the only difference is really the outer shell of the pad is padded entirely with a very slick material. If you are the type of person that likes to wear fancy designed equipment, this is definitely an option for you.
Top King Shin Guards “Empower Creativity” (TSKGEM-01)
The third Top King shin guard you will find online is the “Empower Creativity” model that is available. This is the most popular Top King shin guard model that is sold because of the nice looking two-tone design. The design is similar to the other models available, with the difference being this one is a mix of leather and Carbon Kevlar print.
While the “Pro” model is single color and the “Super Star” model is a single print, the Empower model has a nice fancy design in the middle of the shin pads. This is the exact model that I bought before because I liked the look and feel of the pads.
The Main Features
When you compare Top King to other brands like Twins, they are more narrow in their design. I personally like the narrow design because it makes the legs feel less bulky. The front of the shin guards has an extra layer of padding that offers good protection if you land a strike on your opponent’s shin.
The bottom of the shin guards which cover the foot, provide decent protection of the feet when you end up kicking an elbow. That being said, the padding is light, so if you land a hard kick on your foot, it will still end up hurting later on.
Depending on the model that you purchase, your shin guards will either by full leather, carbon kevlar or a mix of the two materials. Top King offers a number of designs that look really good. I think this is one area that they shin when you compare them to other Muay Thai brands like Twins and Fairtex.
As I mentioned earlier, I bought a pair of Empower Creativity shin guards when I first arrived in Thailand. Those shin guards lasted be about a year of hard training twice a day for 6 days of the week. I was pleased with the quality of the shin guards, and if I had cared for them better, I am sure they could have lasted longer.
When you train in a country like Thailand, the biggest issue you will encounter with shin guards is keeping them dry. Due to the very high heat and humidity, you end up sweating profusely in training, which makes all your equipment wet. What happens when the shin guards get wet is the hook and loop straps become soaked on the inside, causing the metal piece that lines the hole of your strap to rust.
This is not unique to Top King Shin guards; it happens to every single pair of shin guards you use in Thailand. Unless you can keep your shin guards dry, whenever they get wet they will end up rusting after a while. If you live in a cooler climate that doesn’t have a lot of humidity, you will find that your shin guards last much longer.
Protection and Padding
The Top King Shin Guards are designed with extra padding right at the front of the shin pads. This is going to give you the most protection if you have a shin on shin collision during sparring. The sides of the shin guards have less padding, so if you do no turn your shins outward when you check low kicks you will feel the impact of those kicks on the sides of your legs.
Other brands like Twins offer a bit more overall protection but are also bulkier. You will often find there is a constant battle between size and protection. The bigger the shin pads, the more protection they offer.
The one area that is a weak spot on the pads is your ankle. The elastic material that surrounds your ankle is not highly protected. This means that if you end up kicking an elbow with your ankle, you will probably have the ankle swollen up the next day.
This is something that you have to live with because if you put a lot of padding around the ankle, it takes away from your mobility and makes the shin guards very stiff. Most shin pads offer little protection around the ankles, so this is something you can expect.
The design of the Top King shin guards is the strength of this brand. These shin guards look good when you compare them to Twins or Fairtex shin guards. They have some really nice looking fancy designs that make them stand out.
Top King offers 4 models of shin guards from S, M, L, and XL. The size that you choose will come down to your height and length of your legs. If you are short, you probably want a small pair, nd if you are really tall you’ll get an XL pair. The hard part is deciding whether to get a medium or a large size.
I am an average height of 5′ 10″ (178cm) and I purchased the medium size. The medium shin pads ended up fitting well for my size and body type. I tried both the medium and large models and I could have gone with either of them. I personally like having less bulky shin guards, which is why I went with medium.
If you are around six feet in height I would probably recommend a Large size and if you happen to be 6′ 2″ or taller I would definitely get an extra large size. You don’t want something too small or too big, otherwise the shin pads will not offer full protection of your upper shin (too small) or it will be too bulky and move around (too big).
If you are under 5′ 6″ I would probably go with a small depending on the fit of the shin guards. It really comes down to how the shin guards fit on you. The back straps are adjustable so if you have thicker legs you can expand the back part of the pads.
Comparing Top King Shin Pads to Other Brands
If you compare Top King Shin guards to their main competitor Twins, you will find that Twins is a much thicker and wider make than Top King. While Twins offers slightly better overall protection, I find that the bulkiness of the Twins shin guards make them less attractive than the Top King.
The Top King is more narrow compared to twins and that gives them a lighter feel. While Twins does have a lighter model that is less bulky, that model doesn’t offer the same level of protection on the shin area as Top King.
When you compare Top King to Fairtex the first difference is in price. Fairtex is typically more expensive than all of the other brands out there. Fairtex provides good protection and simpler designs, however the overall quality and design of both shin guards are equivalent.
I prefer Fairtex gloves to Twins and Top King, as the quality is superior, but when it comes to the Shin Pads, it’s about even.
In my experience, most of the brands that are made in Thailand all offer quality shin guards that are built to last. The biggest difference is when you start looking at brands made in Pakistan and China. Those brands are typically made with cheaper material and will not last nearly as long.
If you are going to purchase shin guards then you will obviously be doing a lot of sparring with them. I found that top King offered good protection in sparring, but there were definitely days when my legs felt a bit banged up when I was sparring at a hard pace.
Since my legs and shin bones are already well conditioned, I really haven’t had any issues with pain on my shins during sparring. That being said, if you have sensitive shins that hurt when you kick a heavy bag, you may feel a shock when you block a hard kick.
The biggest negative that I found with these pads is that sometimes they can end up shifting around when you take a hard kick. This can be annoying because you have to stop the sparring session and readjust your pads. This usually happens when your legs are soaked with sweat, which makes them shift around because the straps do not have a good grip on your back leg.
This also happens with other brands, so I think it is is simply a side effect of having shins that are completely soaked with sweat. It makes it harder for them to stay in place when you take impact on your shins.
Like most Muay Thai shin guards, the ankle is another area that is a weak point. If you kick an elbow you will feel the shock in your ankle and it will probably swell up. This is something you simply have to live with because every shin guard I have used doesn’t have much protection around the ankle.
- Great design and look of the pads
- Narrow design doesn’t make them feel bulky
- Adequate padding on the shin area
- Comfortable fit
- Can shift around when your leg gets sweaty and you take hard kicks
- Protection around the ankle is not the best
- Less padding on the side of the pads
Top King Boxing Shin Guards
The Final Word
If you are looking for a new pair of shin guards I would definitely recommend you give Top King a shot. These are quality shin guards that are made in Thailand with quality materials. If you keep your shin guards dry, you can end up getting a few years of solid use out of them.
Top King offers a number of really good designs that you can choose from, while keeping the same feel and look of the shin guards. The only issue I had with these shin guards while in Thailand was the metal piece on the leg strap rusting after a few months of being constantly wet and not drying. Most equipment in Thailand doesn’t last that long, so it is not something I am too concerned about.
Overall these are an excellent choice if you are looking to find something that is stylish, yet offers you good protection when you are Muay Thai sparring. Recommended.