Not sure what to wear to Muay Thai class? In this article, I will explain everything you need to wear to a Muay Thai class, the gear that you simply need, and the gear that is not mandatory but still nice to have.
Everything will be split up into categories to make it easier for you, and if you need different equipment if you are a guy or girl. But this is what everyone needs to wear to a Muay Thai class.
- Boxing Gloves
- Hand wraps
- Muay Thai shorts
If your interested in getting the best Muay Thai gloves for your money check out these Limited edition Fairtex Gloves from Amazon. Premium quality at an amazing price!
What To Wear In Muay Thai Class
There is quite a lot of gear you need to bring with you to Muay Thai, but depending on your own unique goals and how seriously you are taking the sport, some equipment is more essential than others.
Essential Muay Thai Equipment
Muay Thai/Boxing Gloves
Boxing gloves are essential as they protect the hands and wrist when your throwing punches, check out my recommended Muay Thai gloves here which includes a sizing guide so you can get the correct size right for your body type.
I recommended buying Muay Thai gloves when starting as they better than pure boxing gloves as they allow you to open your hands more and get a better grip whenever catching kicks, or during the clinch. See my comparison between the two glove types here.
What To Look For In Muay Thai Gloves
There are many things you should look at for with a Muay Thai glove, here I will list a few of the main things.
- Size. Size does matter with Muay Thai gloves, and generally, the more you weigh the heavier gloves you need to Check out the handy chart above for an idea on what you should get. Although 10-16 oz is acceptable
- Cost. High-quality leather gloves made in Thailand should cost you around $70-$100 online. The lower price is if you buy the gloves in Thailand or have a contact there.
- Material. If you want your gloves to last you need good padding and ideally genuine leather as it lasts longer. However synthetic leather has improved in recent years, but most name-brand gloves should be made from good materials.
- Lace-up Vs Velcro? Whilst lace-up offers a more secure fit you need someone else to put them on. Velcro is the best option so you can easily put them off and take them off by yourself.
- Muay Thai Vs Boxing Gloves? Boxing gloves will have more padding around the knuckle, but I’d go with the Muay Thai gloves as they are designed more open allowing for clinching
I recommend your first glove to be 14-16oz, anything lighter risks you hurting your opponents during sparring, 16oz will be perfect for most of your needs.
Having two pairs of gloves, one for sparring and another for hitting pads and bag work is ideal, but I understand Muay Thai gear is not exactly cheap so getting one pair ideally a pair of training gloves to start with is perfectly fine.
Top Muay Thai Glove Brands To Consider
- Fairtex. The Fairtex training gloves(amazon link) get my recommendation, as Fairtex gloves are all made with genuine leather and are the most popular Muay Thai brand outside of Thailand
- Yokkao. This brand only started in 2010 but has made crazy improvements in design and quality, and are the most stylish gloves you can buy
- Twins. Twins are the most popular Muay Thai brand in Thailand, and they offer good wrist support and protection ideal for any beginner to Muay Thai.
- King. King is common in Thailand and is owned by the brother who owns Twins. King gloves look cool and have excellent cowhide leather craftsmanship.
- Windy. Windy has been selling gloves since 1951 and prides itself on simple simplicity and genuine leather with excellent workmanship
- Hayabusa. Now, these are a little more expensive but Hayabusa prides itself on constant innovation in their products like moisture-absorbent fabrics.
Like Boxing gloves, hand wraps are mandatory for training as they help keep your hands and wrists supported when your training. If you DON’T wrap your hands, you can get injured hitting the heavy bag or during sparring, also your hands might shake after training.
We have our recommend hand wraps here complete with video tutorials on how to wrap your hands, and how to know if your hand wraps are on correctly.
Hand wraps provide nice support for the knuckles and you can get a solid covering of protection for your knuckles. If your using smaller gloves 8-12 oz then this extra layer of protection is even more important to stop you from hurting your knuckles.
Make sure you clean your hand wraps after every session! Having dirty hand wraps is a one-way ticket to smelly gloves and depending on the material this smell is very hard to get out! Don’t be that guy or girl.
Avoid low quality wraps made of a rough material that can cause chafing and irritate the skin of the knuckles, you don’t want your wraps too tight, stick to longer hand wraps made of soft material like cotton such as these (Amazon Link)Fairtex hand wraps.
Now you might not use shinguards every class but they are still essential Muay Thai equipment, shin pads are boxing gloves for your legs as they protect the feet and legs when sparring and doing drills.
Your gym will likely have communal shinguards for everyone to use, but do you want to put on those disgusting smelly shinguards? I didn’t think so.
Check out my recommend shinguards here together with a sizing chart so you can get the one that fits you!
What To Look For With Muay Thai Shin Guards
Whilst no Shin Guards are perfect, it is important to find the right balance between protection, balance, and size.
- Sizing and fitting. Shin guards come in the standard sizes, small/medium, etc so the taller you are or how big you’re calves change what size you should get. It’s like Goldilocks when your shinpads are too big they move too much during sparring. When their too small they don’t offer maximum protection, You need to find the balance between protection and comfort.
- Protection & Mobility. The bulkier the shin pads the better protection, as they cover more of your legs. The problem is this slows your movement down. But the smaller the shinpads are the better mobility but also the less protection you have in sparring. This also works the other way when you kick your opponent.
- Real Leather Vs Synthetic Leather. Like gloves, genuine leather is preferred as it usually lasts long but high-quality synthetic leather has caught up in recent years. They also have flashy designs and more color options to choose from
- Muay Thai Shin Guards Vs MMA Grappling Shin Guards. MMA shin guards are not as bulky as Muay Thai shin guards as you grapple in MMA. They also don’t offer the protection Muay Thai shinguards do.
Whilst you can train Muay Thai without fighting(see my post here) if you ever plan on sparring or clinching in Muay Thai then a mouthguard is essential.
Depending on where you live, fixing a whole set of teeth will be far more expensive than a $10-30 mouthguard that keeps your smile intact!
I have my recommended mouthguards here with a buying guide and what to look for when buying a mouthguard.
Even if you’re a beginner, you might need to do dutch drilling which involves your partner hiting you, and you never know what can happen during drilling so it makes sense being cautious.
Different Types Of Mouthguards
There are three different kinds of mouthguards you can get.
- Ready-made mouthguards. These are the cheapest and can be found in most sporting goods stores, but they won’t protect you well or even fit comfortably.
- Boil and bite guards. These are better than stock guards and will fit very well and you boil the guard in water and offer good protection
- Custom-fit mouthguards. The best mouthguard you can get, as it’s made from a mold of your teeth. They are super comfortable and even allow you to talk without feeling like your getting choked. They are more expensive but the OPRO Pro mouthguard(amazon link) works just as good.
I would avoid ready-made mouth guards as the protection is not worth it. If you have the budget and want the best protection possible custom-fit mouthguards or the OPRO Pro are your best bet.
Boil and bite guards work very well and are an excellent beginner option or if the other mouthguard options are out of your price range.
Muay Thai Shorts
Nothing is stopping you from training in athletic shorts but Muay Thai shorts are like the unofficial uniform of Muay Thai, just like you should wear a Judo Gi when training Judo you should wear Muay Thai shorts when training Thai boxing.
Check out my recommended shorts here with includes a list of the different styles of Thai shorts and shows examples of each so you can choose the one that fits your own unique body type.
Some people in the west don’t want to wear Thai shorts because of the short length, this short length is because in Thailand it gets very very hot, however, you don’t have to wear Thai shorts as Thai’s do, pick the short length that you feel most comfortable with.
Ideally, you will have around 3 pairs of Muay Thai shorts so you can rotate your shorts so you don’t have to wash them every day after training. Investing at least $20 in shorts makes sense, as they are made of good quality materials and will last you a good few years.
Best Material For Muay Thai Shorts
- Nylon. Nylon is both the cheapest and lighted material used for Thai shorts. The issue is when the material gets wet they become see-through making them a bad option for girls, and the colors don’t pop as much as satin material used for flashy short designs.
- Satin. Traditionally this is the material used for most Thai shorts, satin can come in a wide variety of colors and the designs vary a lot. It is also comfortable to wear and train in. However like with Nylon when the sorts get wet they get see-through especially if you’re wearing white!
- Sublimination Satin Print. Unlike normal Muay Thai that have sewn-on patches and images, sublimation images are printed on the material. They are lighter than Satin shorts because of the production method, and don’t train too much water from your sweat but will become see-through if they get super yet; which is why they are made from harder colors.
Useful Muay Thai Equipment
Now, whilst the following equipment is not mandatory to do Muay Thai you will likely buy the equipment soon or later on. Skipping rope in my opinion is very close to essential.
Skipping Rope/Jump Rope
The skipping rope is a superb method of cardio used by Muay Thai fighters, and in most gyms across the world, you need to skip before training to warm up the muscles and improve your endurance.
Your gym likely will have ropes, but I highly recommend you getting your own as not only is skipping great cardio, it will help you with your leg conditioning, footwork, and balance. Check out my recommend skipping rope page here, complete with sizing and how to skip guide.
Why Should You Jump Rope?
Skipping is usually mandatory for Muay Thai and every Thai fighter will use a jump rope to warm up, here is why it’s so beneficial
- Fantastic warm-up. Warming up is key for Muay Thai and skipping is an ideal warm-up routine as it’s a full-body workout that gets the blood circulating with your shoulders, wrists, legs, and arms all getting ready to train.
- Improves your cardio. Skipping is a fantastic cardio workout that can be down anywhere. Try to skip for 6 minutes at a FAST pace or 15 minutes at a moderate face and you will see how tired you can get!
- Strengths The Lower Body. All your leg muscles notably the fast-twitch calf muscles crucial for Muay Thai will get a great workout, also the hamstrings and quads. All these muscles make your kicks stronger
- Improves Your Footwork & Coordination. Boxers don’t skip for fun! It’s superb for training your footwork and coordination which are vital no matter what combat sport you do. All the impressive moves like reverse jumps and double unders will improve your performance on the ring and the street, what’s not to like?
- You Can Skip Anywhere! When I traveled to China my speed rope traveled with me, so I could always get a high-intensity workout in, anyplace anywhere!
Have you ever been kicked in the nuts without protection? I haven’t as I am always careful but I’ve been seen countless people in my gym fall on the floor as they wince in agony. Don’t be that guy without protection!
Groin protection is very important as you whenever you clinch, drill, or spar you have no control over your partner opponent kicking you in the nuts, I’ve done it myself whilst it’s an accident it does happen quite often as it’s the nature of the sport.
Check out my recommended groin protectors here with a groin guard sizing guide so you can get the one that fits you. If your a girl getting hit in the groin still hurts, and you still need protection.
This Lobloo pelvic cup(Amazon link) is the first choice for female fighters in Thailand and will give you all the protection you need.
Most guards will be around $20-$50 dollars from midprice to high tier groin guard. If you want to fight in amateur competitions you need a groin guard or “borrow” someones else, and are you sure you want to do that?
Groin Guard Things To Remember Before Buying
- Comfort & Fitting. You can buy cheaper groin guards that offer good protection but they won’t feel nice to wear, you want the fit to be as nice as possible so you want to wear it. Since people come in all different shapes and sizes the comfort of the guard will depend on the person. Look at the reviews on YouTube or Amazon and try to find someone with your body type and see what they say
- Protection. Different groin guards are made from a different material so the protection groin guards offer to vary. All should protect you well against strikes with the biggest difference between the comfort between the brands.
- Size. Different brands will have different sizing instructions so you know which size short to wear. Don’t get a size too big otherwise the cup will move when you train. Certain protectors have a cup that fits everyone that allows you to adjust the strap to fit your needs. These are designed to be worn over your underwear.
- Price You will spend between $20-$80 on a new groin guard with $80 getting you the Diamond cup for the very best protection and comfort you can get. It might seem a lot but groin guards last a long time and you will be thankful whenever you get kicked in the crown jewels!
Whilst not mandatory a good pair of ankle guards are excellent as they provide added support and help absorb the shock from kicks to protect the ankle joint.
I’ve felt ankle pain from Muay Thai before and I was glad I was wearing my ankle guards as the pain would have been a lot worse without it.
Make sure you buy the right size, otherwise the guards could be too tight and cut off blood circulation, or not tight enough, without providing the necessary joint support.
They are not that expensive and considering they could save you from ankle pain(it’s not nice), they are an important part of your Muay Thai gear. I recommend having it at least 2 so you don’t have to wash them after every training session
If your worried about getting hit in the head or getting any cuts to your face by punches, consider purchasing some form of boxing headgear. Most people will not use it when sparring, but don’t worry if you want that added protection no one will judge you.
See my recommended headgear page here, with a video on how to select the right headgear for you.
Do you need headgear? Not really but I think if you find yourself doing a lot of boxing sparring then it makes sense investing in headgear to reduce the damage from punches.
If you spar Muay Thai you need Muay Thai headgear which had good visibility as you need to deal with kicks at the cost of less protection.
Muay Thai Headgear What To Look For
- Comfort and feel. The perfect fit is feeling snug but without being too tight, you don’t want to notice the headgear whilst sparring. The chin strap should be comfortable whilst being snug and not too lose
- Protection. The majority of headgear will cover your forehead cheeks, chin, and the back and sides of the head, will different levels of protection. Visibility is more important than protection as seeing the punches is the best defense to avoid them.
- Visibility. A good headgear must have good visibility, the more punches you don’t see the more you get hit and the more damage you will end up taking; you need to see the punches and kicks coming from different angles. The cheek and forehead protection determine how much visibility you have, prioritize good visibility trust me.
- Weight & Size. With Boxing, you want headgear that doesn’t affect your mobility regarding slipping punches and maintaining good footwork. If you get a super chunky headgear you could end up taking more damage as your getting hit more. Look at the specific reviews to find the perfect balance between protection, visibility price, and size.
- Quality & Price. Unlike other Muay Thai gear, you will see tons of different handguards available, if you value your health just like with hand wraps(gear page) and mouthguard(gear page) make sure to buy the right product as your protecting your brain. However, unlike with Thai pads, Boxing brands like Everlast and Title have been making good kickboxing headgear for a long time.
- Muay Thai/MMA/Boxing Headgear? The big difference between Boxing and Thai boxing headgear is the latter is not as thick because of the clinch, with Boxing headgear offering more protection. With MMA you must have a headgear that protects you from all sides and allows you to roll with them. Generally, if you do MMA and Muay Thai/Boxing buy one headgear for MMA and another for Boxing/Thai
Muay Thai Knee Pads
Knee pads are used for Muay Thai sparring for added protection to your knees and your partner if you land a knee strike. If you have weak knees or aa knee injury then consider purchasing them.
The issue with using knee pads during sparring, is whilst the added protection will reduce the risk of injury, it also will not condition your knees as much as not wearing them. If you ever plan on fighting this isn’t a good thing as you want your body to be conditioned to take hits without any equipment aside from ankle guards.
You don’t need knee pads if you don’t have an injury or sensitive knees, but maybe if you do Wrestling or BJJ and your knees are beaten up you want that added protection when your knees are recovering for Muay Thai.
Muay Thai Elbow Pads
Elbow pads are only to be used by seasoned Muay Thai practitioners, if your a beginner stay away from elbow pads as you can end up hurting yourselves, other people. If you don’t know how to control your power and techniques then you are not ready to spar with elbows.
Throwing random elbows at someone will hurt them or cause a deep cut even with the padding. Elbow padding should only be used for someone preparing for a fight or advanced Muay Thai gymgoers
However, I still suggest training with them on once you have the technique as getting used throwing light elbows in a fight situation, will help you use elbows in a self-defense situation or later on in your Muay Thai career in a fight that allows elbows.
Namman Boxing Liniment Oil
You know this smell if you have been to a Muay Thai gym, it’s the oil used by most Thai fighters in Thailand to help their muscles warm-up before training and to help prevent injuries from occurring and during Thai massage.
This oil has almost mystical properties if you believe the reviews on Amazon here(Amazon Link) and I remember it being everywhere in Thailand similar to Tiger balm and to treat all manner of different muscle injuries and joint pain.
Whilst not essential I still recommended using some form of Namman boxing oil or CBD muscle cream(Amazon Link) to deal with the nagging muscle injuries you will pick up in Muay Thai.
Muay Thai Training Bag
Having a good training bag is very useful for storing all your Muay Thai equipment and certain bags like this Fairtex gym bag have enough space for the largest shin pads, boxing gloves, and even headgear!
As Muay Thai equipment is often very awkwardly shaped it can be difficult to find a normal gym bag to bring everything you need when training.
Muay Thai backpacks and bags will have special compartments that you can unzip from the bottom to access specific things like your training gloves or wraps, so you don’t have to take out everything just to get one thing, you know how annoying this can be!
Not too many people have Muay Thai bags in my gym, but I think they are worthy investment and is an excellent way to bring all your Muay Thai gear in one bag and help keep everything nice and organized.