RDX T2 MMA Shin Instep Guards (formerly RDX Cow Hide Leather MMA Shin Guards) Review
RDX is one of the UK’s most widely known fight brands, who are now pushing their products over to the US, as well as already having popularity in a large number of countries. They have a reputation for producing quality gear for any level, with reasonable price tags. They’re often people’s first choice for equipment when they’re starting out in martial arts.
Note: Since we originally wrote this review, RDX have made some minor updates to the product name and printed logos. As a result, some details may not be fully accurate, although the review is still representative of the current product.
About the shin guards
These shin guards are built with what RDX refer to as Tri-Slab Shell-Shock Gel, to form one of their more protective shin guards. To avoid being too thick, they have an additional layer of padding just up the centre of the shin and on the foot, which optimises protection without increasing the thickness of the whole shin guard. Because of this, they’re more optimised towards striking sports such as Muay Thai, however work just as well in more rounded sports such as MMA.
Weight and distribution
As with most shin guards, the majority of the weight is down the shin, but as long as they can be tightened sufficiently the distribution is unnoticeable as it’s tight against the leg. This is the case with these RDX guards, they’ve used their ‘Quick-EZ’ Velcro closures, alongside a standard elasticated underfoot strap, to make sure the shins fit well. Unfortunately, the extra padding on these shins means they aren’t quite as light as other thinner shin guards.
The RDX T2 shin guards only come in one colour, so there isn’t much variety, however they are in RDX’s most common colour combination – black and white with red highlights – which means these pair up nicely with the visuals on a lot of their other gear. Overall, the visuals aren’t the most refined, however are nice and bold, with the sections of white and the outlining surrounding most of the black. The RDX logos are placed down the shin and on the foot as well, as well as some other minor detailing on the leather section attaching the shin and instep, and also on the leg straps.
Shin guards are designed to be durable, and we’ve found no issues with these. Due to the long leather section between the shin and instep, these have much a much better range of motion in the feet, so are able to move around with you. This means there is hardly any strain on the materials. The leather used is only of a medium quality, but is noticeably nicer to the touch, and much longer lasting than vinyl alternatives are. On the inside of the shin is a porous fabric which attempts to wick away sweat and moisture, however the shins definitely still need airing out after use when possible. As for the feel on the skin, they’re definitely comfortable, however don’t seem to offer much in the way of grip to prevent them from slipping.
The Velcro on these is brilliant, and I’ve never personally had a problem with them coming loose during training. The straps are just over an inch thick and effectively go round the whole back of the leg. Even after 6 months of regular use, they still require a deliberate tug to detach the straps.
In most places the stitching is neat. Only one or two loose threads are on each shin guard, and they aren’t very noticeable. My main issue is around the raised white section along the front of the shin. The stitching there doesn’t seem to be quite straight. It’s very slightly wonky, and the exposed edge of the black leather along with the thread seems to be fraying slightly, although this is only really a cosmetic issue. The stitches are all deep and secure, and have lasted easily.
When it comes to use, I really can’t make up my mind about these shin guards. They’re somewhat different shape has both positives and negatives to it. Out of all the things these shin guards aim to achieve, protection is obviously the most important. For clean kicks, these offer a lot of protection. The raised platform really comes into it’s own and protects both the shin and your sparring partner superbly.
Unfortunately, it isn’t all perfect. The leather section between the shin padding and the foot padding is about an inch long, and the padding is less than half of the rest of the shin guard, with a small strip which has almost no padding at all. Catching an elbow or a knee in this small section is unlikely, but can be extremely painful, especially for a beginner who isn’t used to the hard contact. Because this strip only covers the front, it also means that the ankles are completely left exposed, more so than other shin guards, so it’s important to watch out for unexpected elbows.
One thing these shins are good for is footwork. Most shin guards have fairly limited movement in the foot, which with some bulkier shin guards can make it feel rather restricting. These are different though. The fact that the foot and shin pads are further apart means that they have more flexibility and can bend with ease, so you can move around no problem.
On the down side, the fact they aren’t connected means that the shin guards don’t always stay in the right place. They’re secure enough to stay on most of the time, however with these shins I found that sometimes when throwing kicks they slip down or around on the shin. Because of the shape, there just isn’t the natural structure to hold them in place, so I found myself having to adjust myself more times than I would have liked.
The RDX T2 MMA Shin Instep Guards shin guards RRP for around £35, which is good when compared to the general market, but higher than most of RDX’s range. I would personally say these shins are good for beginners, or people who focus mainly on boxing and use less kicks.