Tuff MuayThai Hybrid Shin guards Review
Tuff are one of the lesser known Thai brands that have been producing a wide range of fight gear since 2003, they offer a wide range of gloves, shorts and shin guards in a variety of colours and interesting designs.
About the shin guards
The Tuff shin guards reviewed are the black ‘gladiator’ design. We got these alongside Tuff’s 16oz gloves with the same design (See the review here). They are designed for hybrid usages with nice tight fit that means they can be used whilst grappling as well during striking.
Weight and distribution
I found these shins to feel very light, they weigh in at just under 12 ounces, with the majority of the padding on the shin, about an inch thick. The padding on the foot however is not as protective.
First impressions with these shin guards were that they look great, even better than shown in the pictures. As mentioned previously, these Tuff shins come in a range of designs, each with matching boxing gloves. I have to admit I did personally prefer the white version of the gloves, but the Tuff website only stocked black shin guards which was a slight disappointment! Despite that, the gladiator design looks great on the matte black background and the gold detailing around the outside of the shins just completes the look. The back of the shin guards have neoprene around the top half of the calf and a single strap at the back of the ankle, again highlighted with a gold trim and with ‘TUFF’ printed across it in white. The instep guard is split into three sections to allow it to bend round the ankle joint and cover the top the wearer’s foot, and it has a band of neoprene around the edge which lets it mould to the contours of the foot as well.
These shins are made of a synthetic leather with a neoprene inner coating for comfort and to stop chaffing. The synthetic leather feels high quality, and there isn’t much of a noticeable difference between it and real leather. To hold the guard in place on the back, there’s a neoprene band with adjustable strap, an adjustable synthetic leather strap and an elastic strap under the foot to hold the instep guard in place. The velcro on the adjustable strap is fairly strong, so won’t need re-tightening at any point.
The craftsmanship was the main area that I felt let these shins down. Overall, the shin guards are well made and the shins have held together very well and are neatly stitched in all areas. There are a few stitches which came loose after several weeks of use, but this is not a massive issue and has not caused any problems. The area that has really let this product down is the elastic strip underneath the foot. It’s hard to tell if this is down to the choice of material rather than the craftsmanship, but after about a month and a half of average use, the strap is fraying very badly, as seen in the image below.
These shin guards are incredibly comfortable to wear, the straps can be adjusted to get a nice tight fit, holding in place well with help from the neoprene. Once broken in they become nice and flexible which means you can move around with ease, to the extent that even running around is comfortable. This combined with the lightness of these shin guards give the feeling of not wearing anything and made sparring brilliantly comfortable. Thankfully, the light weight nature doesn’t take anything away from the protection, and these are easily capable of blocking all but the hardest of impacts. The padding on the foot is minimal however, and would offer little protection against catching a knee for instance. They also do not cover the knee, however this is something more down to personal preference, as some people would rather have knee protection, and others find it more comfortable without. The half neoprene coverage at the back, as well as being great for comfort, is also good because it doesn’t get as hot as many full neoprene backed shin guards.
You can find these on the TUFF website for around £40 ($60) with free worldwide standard delivery. I initially thought these were great value for money, but since they don’t seem that durable I’d say that the value has gone downhill slightly. They’re still an amazingly comfortable and generally great pair of shin guards and if TUFF could improve durability then these would have very few flaws.
+ Extremely comfortable
+ Good flexibility
– Lack of durability of material/craftsmanship lets them down
– Only come in black, while gloves are available in black, white and red
– Minimal foot padding
Feel free to add your own thoughts on these in the comments below.