Apaks Warriors The Iron Shin Protection Shin Guards Review
Apaks Warriors are a Martial Arts & related sports apparel brand. The brand was started in 2013, operating primarily out of Colorado, USA, but with a growing presence in the United States, South America, Europe, Australia and Asia. The brand are easily recognised by their distinctive triangular pyramid logo and pattern found across their gear. Apaks sent us a couple of items from their range to review and provide our feedback on.
About the shin guards
The Iron Shin Protection is the name given to Apaks Warriors’ shin guards. The name is actually quite fitting, but I’ll go into that more in a moment. They’re a stand-up style of shin guard, so are designed mainly for striking rather than grappling. They go really well visually with the matching Apaks Warriors The Ringside Boxing Gloves which we reviewed here.
Apaks have a great, consistent visual style throughout all their products, and these shin guards are no exception. As with the other items in the current range, the shin guards are available only in black, with grey outlining around the edges. The back strap features the Apaks logo next to a red arrow for a touch of colour, with the size labelled on the strap below, however the most important visuals on shin guards are of course on the front. Many people like this contoured style of shin guard, and these pull it off really well, with the raised section being covered with a brilliant looking ‘carbon’ effect. The front is also detailed with the triangular pyramid (taken from the Apaks logo) up towards the top of the shin, with some Japanese symbols on the foot. We’re no experts at Japanese, but from what we can work out, the text roughly translates as “Army of God”, a great hidden message for your opponents as you deliver a roundhouse kick to the face!
Apaks have chosen to use an artificial leather for The Iron Shin Protection, to match with the material used for The Ringside Gloves. Artificial leather can be a bit hit and miss, sometimes it just ends up feeling low grade with a plastic feel and sometimes you could almost be forgiven for thinking it was real leather. Thankfully, as we found out with the boxing gloves, the material Apaks have used seems pretty good. While it’s never going to be as refined as real leather, there are no defects in the material that I can see, and it even feels nice to the touch.
On the rear side (or the inside), the shins are covered with a thick padding, lined with a thin fabric. It’s nothing special material-wise, but from my experience these shins don’t absorb quite as much sweat compared to other shin guards, which is great for keeping your gym bag and gear fresher. The straps on the back are formed with two wide straps, which loop round and secure to themselves. The Velcro is pretty sturdy and holds well, meaning that you can get a really tight fit. The elasticated strips around the feet are usually an area that tend to wear down quickly on striking shin guards. The elastic seems sturdy on these, however will no doubt fray over time. Thankfully the elastic strip under the foot is 3 inches wide, so should last quite a while and hold well. My worry is about the much slimmer strip around the back of the ankle. These are often caught and sometimes snap from repeatedly getting caught when putting on the shin guards, which makes me worry that it’s a bit more likely to break off over time
As mentioned previously, these shin guards have a panelled design, with a raised section on top of the regular section. This sort of design means that the front section, which in this case is a much tougher material, often means that the shin guard material holds its shape longer. The panels are double stitched on so that they stay in place no matter how much use you subject them to. The rest of the shin guard focuses on being made with as few separate parts as possible, with the straps all being cut from the same section of artificial leather as used for most of the front.
The only part of the build I’m not really sure about is the section of padding across the instep. Stand up shin guards like this often leave a section with very little padding between the leg and foot padding sections. Many people who’ve been training for a while will know just how annoying it is to throw a hard kick thinking you’re protected and having somebody check the kick, with their knee connecting directly with the exposed area. Some brands choose to do things like overlap the padding sections to make sure it’s all covered, but Apaks have chosen a different approach. They’ve stitched in what I can only describe as a padded ‘flap’. This arced flap covers this section perfectly. The issue is, when you bend the foot, as you would in a standing position, and then straighten the ankle again, this flap seems to point downwards, leaving part of the section it should be covering partially exposed. I can’t help but feel it should be stitched into place to prevent this.
The first thing to mention about these shin guards is that the padding is incredibly thick. After a little bit of use, they start to break in and moult to your legs slightly, however even then, they’re still incredibly thick. The foot is especially noticeable compared to other shin guards. The foot padding must be around 2 inches thick, with the thickest sections on the shin perhaps up to 2.5 inches. While this sounds a bit over the top, it has both positives and negatives. Getting the negatives out the way first, the shins feel overly weighty, and can feel a tiny bit sluggish to use at times. They also make you feel like your mobility is somewhat reduced and you become a bit more heavy footed. On the plus side, the protection these shin guards give is unbelievable. When I started using these shin guards, I was just getting over a minor foot injury sustained in my last fight. The amount of padding on these meant that I didn’t have to worry in the slightest, as I honestly couldn’t feel a thing.
They’re also pretty hard hitting. The harder panel on the front means that kicks hit pretty firmly. Between this, and the brilliant padding meaning you can’t feel a thing mean that you can deliver some pretty hard hitting kicks. For amateur kickboxing or Muay Thai competitions which require shin guards, this is a great trait. I’m not so sure about during training however. I’ve been told that some training partners aren’t so keen, because my sense of control was reduced and it’s hard to tell how hard you’re actually kicking.
The shin guards strap on with relative ease. I’m personally a big fan of this sort of strap as opposed to the two overlapping straps, as I find they’re easier to put on and secure tightly. Unfortunately, because the shin guards are so bulky, they’re a little bit prone to slipping, however they still aren’t as bad as most of the other shin guards I’ve used.
Apaks currently sell these shin guards for $69.99. This is a good price for a competitive shin guard. I’d definitely suggest these to anyone who’s looking for maximum protection out of a shin guard, especially for the foot. While the price range may be a little bit higher than total beginners would like to pay, they’re still great value for more advanced fighters.
+ Brilliant protection
+ Great visuals
+ Straps secure well
– Too hard hitting for sparring
– Slips slightly
– Bit too bulky
Looking to buy these?