How to Choose Kickboxing Shin Guards
Here is what you need to do...
Now I know that you can't always go to a store and try things on, especially if you bought something via the internet. However, our good friends at Century Martial Arts Supply make it really easy. If you decide to buy some shin/instep guards, they come with a foot size scale that will help you to accurately size your gear.
If you tend to get like me and plant an idea of going out and sparing after work and you simply can not wait a few days for shipping; I'm sure you have a Sports Authority or other sporting goods store around you. If this is the case, the sizing scale my not be applicable since the sparing gear may not be Century. What you will have to do at this point is go by either an age scale, or just a simple look and guess.
The most important thing in any shin guard in the padding over the shin bone, (the Tibia). You want to be sure that there is adaquate padding over the area that is directly in front of this bone. Be sure that it extends from the top of the foot, to just below the knee, for any significant blow to any part of the Tibia can lead to bone fractures and serious, significant pain.
The next key area to ensure protection is the lateral side of the lower leg, that is the outside of each leg. The protection here is key because there are two bones in the lower leg. You already know about the "shin bone", but don't forget about the Fibula. This bone is very skinny and no where near as dense as the tibia. While the fibula is not normally injured as often as the tibia, when it is, it is a loooonnggg sloooow recovery.
So, from the top; padding from foot to just below the knee is most important. Next is the dense padding over the tibia. And last, but certainly not least is lateral padding; that is padding that covers the sides of your lower leg. Remember to train hard, but train smart. Hopefully you can practice with the pads on a heavyweight bag, or some other target before you test your purchase on someones elbow or knee.
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Having the wrong size equipment is always a no-no! It can lead to injuring yourself or your opponent. Trust me it only takes one sparing round where you forgot your shin guards so your wore your lil sisters, (which are two sizes too small), to never.....ever forget your gear again.
When did you first do this & how did you get started?
I've been sparing competitively in Tae Kwon Do for over 15 years, and have been sparing in MMA style for 6. Shin protection was a necessity early on after I injured my left leg in a tournament due to improper leg protection.