Blitz Sabre Shin and Instep Guards Review
Blitz Sport is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of premium and approved martial arts equipment, offering everything from boxing gloves to Aikido Bokken to Ninja suits. While they also stock a range of other brands on their website, including Badbreed, Everlast and Shock Doctor, the area where they really excel is in producing vast ranges of their own equipment. Blitz sent us some of their Sabre Shin and Instep Guards to review.
About the shin guards
The Blitz Sabre Shin and Instep Guards are the standard training shin guards Blitz offer, and come in five colours; red, purple, blue, black and white. They’re fitted with a double padded shin, neoprene backed, and three sectioned instep guard with the standard elasticated strap to secure it to the foot. Because of the neoprene and close fit, they’re similar to what most people know as ‘hybrid’ shin guards. The shin guards are held in place by two pairs of neoprene and Velcro straps at the back of the calves.
Weight and distribution
The majority of the protection of these shins is of course on the padding at the front of the shin, which measures about 3 centimetres at its thickest, but they are well padded all across the guard. Despite the thickness, this padding doesn’t make them feel like a dead weight, once they’re tightly fitted they’re barely noticeable, and the thick padding blocks the pain from all but the hardest of checked kicks.
These shins have a very simple aesthetic. The ones we reviewed were white, which were our personal favourite. The front material is a matte colour, with all colour variants featuring a black neoprene backing and the ‘Blitz’ logo boldly printed down the front. Initially these shin guards didn’t look as elaborate or fancy as many other brands, although after some time using the shin guards the clean cut look has really grown on me, and I personally think they look great.
Blitz have used synthetic leather on these shin guards, which they advertise as improving durability and flexibility, and from the use I’ve had out of them I find it hard to disagree, they’re easy to move in and have held up well throughout many tough sparring sessions. There’s no sign of any wear on them so far, other than a couple of minor loose stitches. The elastic around the foot can often be an issue with shin guards, however these seem to be holding up well. The neoprene lining is anti-bacterial, which will help on the long run with keeping the shin guards fresh.
The shin guards certainly appear to be produced to a high standard. It doesn’t specify on the website but it’s safe to assume they’re machine made, as the manufacturing seems consistent all over. The stitching is well done, three neat rows cross the foot to separate the sections of the instep guard, and the rest is hidden in the neoprene backing. As I mentioned before, the stitching has held together really well, with only two loose stitches. Otherwise you wouldn’t be able to tell the shin guards had ever been used!
In the time I’ve been using these shin guards, I’ve found them a pleasure to use. Once they’re fastened tightly they’re easy to move round in, don’t rub or slip too much and have enough padding to give me confidence both throwing and checking hard kicks. Some people may prefer more of a Thai style striking shin guard for a little bit more foot protection, however this comes down mainly to preference and the type of training you’re doing. My only real complaint with these shin guards is the two pairs of straps that hold them in place. They use a dual strap system rather than the more common single strap that loops through an eye and joins to itself. It can be quite frustrating trying to get a tight fit and can take a little bit longer than usual to get the fit right. Because of this, I’ve found I’ve often been the last person ready to spar during training. This strap system does have its benefits however, as other kinds of straps can sometimes get caught and aren’t suitable for training grappling or MMA. The strap type hasn’t ruined my opinions of them, but it would be the main improvement I would recommend for these shins.
As with most Blitz products, the cost is one of the obvious plus points of these shin guards. I’m normally a firm believer in you get what you pay for, especially when it comes to fight gear, but these shins come in at a wallet pleasing £25, though can sometimes be found for as good as half of that. At this price we can’t do anything but say they’re great value for money and would be ideal for beginners just looking at starting sparring, or even for more experienced fighters looking for a brilliant deal on a pair of shins.
+ Great value for money compared to other brands
+ Thick Padding
+ Anti-bacterial lining
– Calf straps difficult to get a tight fit
– Basic design and colours
– Less foot protection than striking style shin guards