Hayabusa Ikusa Charged Shin Guards Review
Hayabusa are a popular brand, with strong ties to MMA, but also branching out to various individual martial arts as well. They strive for high performance, and many of their products feature bold, unique designs. They are currently working alongside Glory Kickboxing as the official equipment suppliers.
About the shin guards
The Ikusa Charged range is the latest evolution of Hayabusa’s popular Ikusa line. While there have been upgrades to all of the gear, the most obvious change was to the shin guards. The previous shin guards (the Ikusa Recast Shin Guards) were very similar in style to the Hayabusa Pro Shin Guards we reviewed a while back, however these have greatly increased protection on the foot and below the knee, as well as a number of other improvements. They actually look closer to Hayabusa’s Tokushu Regenesis Grappling Shin Guards, with a number of improvements.
These are primarily grappling shin guards and are designed to have no exposed Velcro as well as a tight fitting neoprene backing so that they stay in place during training.
The Ikusa range has always been one of Hayabusa’s more visual range, featuring interesting designs. The style may have changed slightly, but these also follow that same trend. The charged range features 6 different coloured boxing gloves, all with the same style, however at the moment the other items in the range, including these shin guards are only available in the single colour.
We personally think it looks great anyway, and the black, white and grey design work well with the diagonal ‘slashes’ across the shins. Behind that is a faint geometric pattern. The pattern isn’t really noticeable from a distance, but looks really cool up front.
So far we’ve been really impressed with the materials on these shin guards. We can’t tell if these are real leather or a really high quality synthetic (it also doesn’t specify online anywhere), but it seems to be sturdy and durable from our testing so far, without being too stiff.
The inner material is what’s really luxurious about these though – they’re lined with a smooth satin lining which is really nice to the touch and makes these feel a pleasure to wear.
These have a full perforated neoprene backing, which gives the shin guards their calf-hugging, elasticated fit. The guards slip on over your foot, with the neoprene backing covering up to the top of the calf. Unlike other grappling shin guards, these seem to be cut slightly higher up, so they stop a long way before the ankle. They instead have a second elastic strap around the back of the foot, similar to most striking shin guards. I personally found this to have a much better fit and helps hold the shin guard in place much better.
Overall these shin guards are fairly well made. The stitching seems well done, there are one or two loose threads, however these appear just to be lose ends and are showing no signs of coming loose.
The strap on these has been designed to make sure that no Velcro is exposed. It’s not clear to see from the images, but it features a double sided Velcro tab which is looped through the top of the shin guard on the end of an elasticated strap. This tab then sticks between the neoprene in front of the knee, and the padding, locking itself in place.
The neoprene is also designed with a strip of leather down the back. Its purpose is to help pull the shin guard on and off. Personally I never needed to use it, but I did find it’s made the backing a little sturdier, eliminating the problem I had on the Hayabusa Pro Shin Guards where the stitching got caught on the heel.
Hayabusa have tried to replicate the protection of a striking shin guard with the fit of a grappling shin guard, and from using these it’s fair to say they’ve done a good job. They’re nice and light which makes kicking nice and quick, which is great for getting shots in. The protection on the foot covers everything nicely and is a huge upgrade from most grappling shins which barely cover the top of the foot at all. The rest of the padding is also a huge jump up in thickness from other grappling shin guards, and makes it much easier to feel confident kicking hard. That said, you’re still going to feel it if you directly kick somebody in the knee (trust me, I discovered the hard way).
I did find these a bit weird to put on for the first time. The strap system is a little different to usual, but once you have the strap set up the first time, they’re pretty easy to slip on and off. Thanks to the neoprene backing, once the Ikusa Charged shins are on though, they hardly move at all. They still aren’t perfect, and if your sparring partner catches the top of the guard it can pull it off or twist it round slightly, but overall this is a rare occurrence.
These aren’t the cheapest shin guards out there, coming in at £80 when new, but if you’re serious about your training these would make a great all-round shin guard. If you’re purely doing striking you may opt for something a little more traditional, however these still have a good amount of protection and are probably one of my personal favourite grappling shin guards out there so far because of it.
+ Tight fitting
+ Great materials
+ Good protection for a grappling shin guard
– Not as good protection as a striking shin guard
– Strap is a bit confusing when putting on for the first time
Looking to buy these?