In Part 1 of our guide to Muay Thai shorts, we helped you understand the history, fit and styling of Muay Thai shorts, as well as a little about their use in celebrity culture. In this second part of the article, we’ll now be taking a closer look at the different brands and how they fare.
Haven’t read Part 1? Feel free to head back and check it out.
Muay Thai shorts are usually made with one of three materials; Nylon, Satin, or more recently polyester/elastane.
With low quality material such as nylon, your muay thai shorts become rather translucent when they get drenched with sweat, especially with the lighter colors. Having said that, there ARE some thicker, reasonably good quality nylon shorts and the great thing about them is that they dry up really fast. Ideal choice as a daily workhorse training gear or for lounging about at home. Another cool thing about nylon is that they are usually really cheap compared to satin shorts.
Out of the three, Nylon is the lowest cost, meaning you can get some seriously cheap shorts. Nylon shorts are typically pretty durable and don’t tend to soak up a huge amount of sweat, but despite the positives I honestly can’t say it’s the best material in the world. Nylon shorts lack in comfort compared to the alternatives, often feeling too stiff, meaning the thicker options out there can feel restrictive, scratchy or just end up being a little noisy.
Satin is the standard for Muay Thai shorts, especially among the authentic Thai Brands – and for good reason. Satin shorts are more durable than you would expect, and a solid pair can last you for what feels like forever. Because satin is a much more flexible material than nylon, satin shorts often feel like a much better fit, moving with you rather than shifting around you.
Finally it’s worth mentioning that there are a few brands out there moving towards polyester and elastane blends, which results in a 4-way stretch fabric which excels in terms of movement. Often these are marketed more as MMA/Hybrid shorts, although they’re worth mentioning anyway. While they can be great for performance, the blend of materials makes a huge difference on the comfort, durability and how much sweat they soak up.
Buying your shorts
Unless you happen to be out in Thailand, or your gym has it’s own equipment store, you’re very likely forced to buy your Muay Thai shorts online. We usually suggest trying stuff in person as much as possible, but it’s sometimes not a possibility. We’re well aware how difficult that makes buying your new pair, which is why we’ve written plenty of Muay Thai Shorts reviews under our Clothing section.
Something we can’t really help with is sizing. It’s sometimes said that Thai sizes are smaller than western sizes, although that’s not a good rule to follow, as with Thai shorts it can sometimes even be the opposite. There is no standard across the industry, so sizes can vary between brands, and sometimes even between products from the same brand. The safest approach is to check for a size guide – most brands have them now, and that should help to at least take some of the guess work out of it.
If the shorts have good elastication then it’s not the end of the world if they’re slightly too big or small, although you need to be realistic about it. You want something that isn’t too tight and uncomfortable, but also not so loose that they don’t stay in place well.
Best Muay Thai Shorts
Right, so here’s the bit you wanted to get to – what shorts are the best?
Is there a single best option? Short answer: No. Which shorts are best is highly dependant on you and what sort of fit and style you want, so instead of telling you what you should buy, we’ll let you know a little about each to help you choose the best pair of Muay Thai shorts for you.
We can’t feature every brand as there are more Muay Thai brands than anyone could keep an eye on, with some only operating in certain countries. Instead, we’re going to cover 5 of the most sought after Muay Thai short brands.
It might be tempting to ignore these and go for a lesser known, cheaper brand, although while it might make your bank account look a little healthier in the short term, buying the wrong product can just end up with you needing to buy a better pair anyway, spending more overall as a result. We’re not saying to blindly follow our word, but if you can’t find a single genuine user review, then there’s probably a good reason.
Note: We’ve ordered this list alphabetically for convenience, rather than best to worst
Fairtex is one of the most respected Muay Thai brands, and as such their shorts are a first choice for many. Many of their shorts are a longer fit with wide leg openings, although more recently they’ve been releasing shorter cut shorts, giving them a pretty rounded selection to choose from. Their designs aren’t always as flashy or creative, but there are a few more interesting designs such as their shorts with laced sides.
Top King is another established Thai brand. Their designs are often a little on the flashier side, with bold colours and a tendency to feature some sort of tribal tattoo designs. Their shorts are often a fairly wide cut, with thick waistbands, although they’ve also released some shorter cuts too. Top King’s shorts are liked by many, but the loudness of their designs might be a deal breaker for some.
Personally, I’m convinced that Twins have more Muay Thai short designs than any brand out there. They’re another Thai brand who love bright colours and designs, but unlike Top King, they aren’t quite as dependant on Tribal designs, meaning there’s a little more variety in style. Most Twins shorts are a medium length with quite wide legs.
Yokkao are likely the reason that the “retro” fit is so popular today. The brand is well known for their Carbon shorts (we’ve reviewed multiple pairs ourselves), short cut shorts with iconic ‘carbon’ panels on the sides, which many brands have since tried to emulate. They’ve since pushed that a little further with their Carbonfit shorts, a slight variation without the panels on either side. Yokkao have a good sense of style, with some bolder colours, some more minimal designs, and then some more creative designs. In terms of visuals, there’s likely something for everyone.
Venum don’t fit in quite so closely with the other brands on the list, as they have a much more global focus, and are more known from their early association with MMA. That said, Venum have a great selection of Muay Thai equipment, which caters to western tastes more than the flashiness of typical Thai designs. If you’re after something more exciting, they have you covered there too, and are regularly releasing new designs. Most of their shorts are a short-to-medium cut.
Hopefully we’ve helped to point you in the right direction when it comes to choosing your Muay Thai shorts. If you have any other questions, or any suggestions of your own which might help other fighters like yourself, then feel free to leave a comment down below.