Muay Thai is a martial art discipline that emphasises the use of heavy blows and clinching to defeat opponents.
In order to fully prepare yourself for a fight, or even just enhance the timing and speed of your strikes, a good quality pair of pads really are a must.
Muay Thai pads are very important to training because they allow the fighter to develop different aspects of their striking game, whilst also running a pretty low chance of sustaining and injury.
Of course, you can get hurt throwing a punch just like you can get hurt taking one, so having the right pair is absolutely crucial for training.
The pads that you use for Muay Thai fall along a spectrum in terms of size, shape, and price.
Let’s get right into it by taking a closer look at Muay Thai Pads.
What Are Muay Thai Pads?
First things first, you’re going to hear other names for Muay Thai pads like Thai Pads or Kick Pads. They are used interchangeably, but you’ll be aware of that going forward.
Muay Thai pads tend to be rather large and bulky that have straps on the back. These straps are used by trainers to wear them on their forearms. They can also have either a curved design, or a straight design, but we'll touch on that in more detail shortly.
Basically, they are smaller versions of a punching bag that you have strapped to your arm. These Thai Pads are able to take a beating but still get moved around easily so that dynamic training can take place. The pads aren’t exactly lightweight, but they are mobile so the trainer can instruct their student in their exercises.
It is common to see these pads get used during drills that have the trainer call out a certain combination of punches, kicks, elbows and knees and then the student perform them.
Since the pads can take some good punishment, the trainer can ask for a high kick, a knee, and punches all without worrying that he’s going to get knocked around too much.
Of course, it's in the pad wearers interest to find the most shock absorbing pads, at these will make for a more comfortable training session.
Thai Pads Vs. Focus Mitts
Now that you have a good idea of what Thai Pads are all about, it’s a good idea for you to learn why you want them and what they do better than other pads, like focus mitts.
You have probably seen a pair of focus mitts at some point. These are pads that are worn on the hands of a trainer and commonly seen boxing.
These mitts tend to cover the trainer’s hand and are noticeably smaller than Thai Pads, which is due to the fact that they're designed to solely be struck by punches.
The major difference, aside from the fact that focus mitts are much smaller in size than Thai Pads, is that they don’t offer enough protection from certain strikes.
This limits focus mitts from being used in Muay Thai or other martial arts that use a lot of knees and kicks. The padding on focus mitts is just not good enough to protect the trainer or the person throwing full-power kicks or knees.
That said, focus mitts are great to be used in conjunction with focus mitts, as they really allow you to open up your hand speed and get your timing down.
What to Look for in the Best Thai Pads
There are a lot of different ways to approach the concept of the best Thai Pads. The shape, thickness, materials, brand, and price are just some of the things you need to consider when looking for a great pair of pads.
Curved & Straight
The first thing that we’re going to take a look at in terms of what makes Thai Pads great is whether they are curved or straight.
A pad that is pre-curved for you is a lot easier to use for beginners because it’s easier for the person wearing the pad to catch a kick or strike with the pad. The curve allows the kicks to land on the pad without glancing off or sliding away.
Another great thing to consider about curved pads is that they take less time to break in. Most of the time that you start off with a straight pad, you are waiting for it to become a little curved from taking blows. We prefer the curved ones because that part is already done and it breaks in even better over time.
That way, you can still land strong kicks and it will be comfortable for the kicker and keep the wearer safe as well.
With all that said, it really is a matter of personal preference, and as you can probably tell, I much prefer curved pads!
Size & Thickness
Muay Thai pads come in a lot of different sizes and shapes.
For example, you can find smaller pads that don’t have as much thickness to them. These are lighter and will let the pad wearer them held up for a while without getting tired. At the same time, you won’t be able to count on getting as much protection from them, either.
Depending on the kind of training that you are doing for that particular session, you could have sets for high intensity strikes and for the strikes that are lower in intensity.
When you are looking at the size of the pads that you’re going to be using for training you will want to consider the size of the person that you area working with.
If you have someone that is large and going to put a ton of power behind their hits, then you want the larger pads. If the other person is smaller, then you can get away with smaller pads.
You want to optimize the pads based on how much protection the user and the wearer are going to need together.
Brand & Price
When you’re looking for the best pads for Muay Thai, it’s always a good idea to consider the brand and price of the products. As we’ve said before and will say again, you get what you pay for in terms of anything related to martial arts.
That means you can expect to pay anywhere between $100 and $150 for high quality Muay Thai pads. Of course, you'll find pads cheaper than this, but the chances are they'll be made with sub-par materials to sub-par quality.
In terms of the brands that you are going to want to use, it’s best to opt for brands that you know and have a reputation for high quality products.
There are always brand products out there that you can count on to deliver you top quality for pads, but there are also a couple good guidelines that you need to keep in mind if you don’t recognise the brand.
If you buy from brands in the U.S. or Thailand you are likely to find high quality products. However, if you choose to go the cheaper route to save money and buy from the lowest price warehouses in China, you’re going to end up with a bad set of pads.
After all, those companies just want to get your business and they don’t necessarily care that the pads break down in practically no time.
If you are completely clueless as to what brand to go for, then keep reading. We’re going to provide you with a whole list of the best Muay Thai kick pad brands in just a little while.
When it comes to the materials that you are going to want on your pads, you always want to look for genuine leather. This is one of the most expensive materials that you are going to find out there, but the fact is that splurging on this will help you out in the long run.
Genuine leather is tougher and last longer that the other materials, such as synthetic leather.
The pads that are made from genuine leather will hold up for a long time, but synthetic leather can start to show signs of wear and tear after it has been used for a while.
The bottom line is that genuine leather is going to be the best option out there even though it will be an investment initially.
But, as we always say, the investments are worth it if you can afford to make them at the time.
If you're unable to afford genuine leather, we've included some synthetic leather options that should hold up relatively well.
List of the Best Muay Thai Pads
Right, I think that's enough chit chat.
Let's crack on with the list.
Fairtex Muay Thai Lightweight Pads
The Fairtex Muay Thai Lightweight Pads are probably one of the most popular options amongst serious Muay Thai practitioners.
Quick word of warning, there's a tone to talk about with these pads, so we're going to go pretty in-depth.
First things first, the price tag might scare you off, but you have to keep in mind that you get two pads for buying this and they are high quality.
They are handmade in Thailand, so you know that the Fairtex name carries weight and you can count on them having quality that will suit the company’s reputation. They might be on the pricey side, but they're an investment that will pay off a lot in the long-term.
The quality of the material is definitely something that you want to think about, and for this price ,you are getting pads that are made from a blend of genuine cow hide leather and synthetic leather.
It’s important to note that the genuine leather is in the places where the pad is going to be struck. But the designers added in the synthetic leather where they could so that they would be able to lower the price for you a little bit.
The pads are already curved, so that helps out the beginners that are going to be throwing kicks as well as people who just don’t want to take the time to break in new pads. Either way, they are good for people of all experience levels.
The size of the pads is also really nice. They measure in at 38x20.5x 6cm so you can have your training partner land kicks, punches, and knees. Still, as the name insists, these are not heavy and thick pads. They are designed to be lightweight so that you can work on more dynamic training rather than making it feel like you strapped a heavy bag to a person.
The pads were revamped to put lighter materials in the core, using a newer foam to provide a lot of cushioning as well as a design that is easier to hold up for the wearer. You’ll have a lighter, stronger pad that helps both the wearer and the person training.
Speaking of helping the person wearing the pads, this set comes with a microfiber inlay under the straps so that you can wear it and not have to worry about excess sweat or smells.
The pads took everything that the Fairtex light pads has used before and just made it better for this model, including providing a new stitching method that decreases the likelihood of injuries for people that are kicking. The stitches are really hidden on the back side of the pad so that there is no edge formed on the pad.
We’ve all had those moments of pain where you catch a bundle of fabric on a pad, but this model has worked to prevent that from happening as much as possible.
There is not a lot out there in the way of color schemes. You are going to have to look at deal with the black and gold look, but that doesn’t really matter all that much when you actually enjoy hitting the pads.
All in all, these are some very high quality pads that anyone should be thrilled to own. They are a little harder on the wallet than some of the others that you are going to see out there today, but the simple fact is that you won’t find such high quality just anywhere, so it’s worth the price.
Twins Special Muay Thai Kicking Pads
Another noteworthy entry into the running for the best Muay Thai kick pads comes from Twins Special.
You are going to wonder what makes these so special since we did say that you are probably going to want curved pads and these are actually straight.
Well, for starters, these pads are made by Twins. If you don’t know that name in relation to Muay Thai, then it’s time for a lesson. Twins is one of the biggest names in Muay Thai gear and they make all of their stuff right in Thailand. They’ve been around for almost 30 years, working on their combat gear and helping people train by providing high-quality gear.
That being said, your eyes are still going to bulge out of your head at the price if you select the extra-large pads. That’s a completely fine reaction because they are pretty high in price. However, we wouldn’t steer you wrong; there’s a reason for the price.
One of the things that make the Twins so great is the fact that they are completely made of genuine leather. All of the leather that you feel on these is durable, long-lasting leather that is designed to suffer and not show it.
Another immediate quality of the Twins that affects the cost is the fact that you can get the pads in different sizes. They come in a small, medium, large, and extra-large, with increases in pay along the way. The large pads are the standard ones that most people will consider buying, and they measure a decent 40x20x6 cm.
The Twins are very adjustable to the wearer, giving you the chance to slip your arms into the leather straps and then tighten them like you would a belt. At the top of the pad is going to the bar that you use to get your grip on the pad, and even that is coated in durable leather.
Like we said, these are straight pads, so they are not that great for beginners because they might send kicks glancing off. Also, you’re going to need some time to break these in which can vary in time by the amount that you end up using them. That being said, we’ve found that a solid month of use is all that’s needed to have them broken in enough to use comfortably.
These also come in a nice variety of colors, too. You can find red and blue, black and red, and black and blue. The secondary colors are mostly seen around the end of the pads where the stitching and the straps are, but it’s nice to have so many options in terms of color.
Another reason that you are going to like the Twins in particular is that they have pretty thick core and filling. That means these are great for absorbing blows from knees, elbows, and kicks without destroying the person holding the pad.
In that same vein of thinking, these are not exactly light pads even if you get the large size. So you are going to need a good pair of arms behind them and some decent breaks to make sure that the pads are always where they need to be.
Overall, this is a solid option, especially if you are going to be working on a lot of kicks. The quality materials means you will be able to take your time and break the pads in to give them a little bit of the curve that they don’t have to start, and the price might be scary but they’re worth it.
Fairtex Superior Muay Thai Kick Pads
It should not be a surprise to anyone reading this list to come across another Fairtex product. Like we’ve already said, Fairtex is a top quality, Thailand-based Muay Thai equipment provider that is always on the bleeding edge of new products.
Your first impression of the product is probably going to be the name. They say extra thick and they mean it. You’re going to quickly find out that the pads are about an inch thicker than the other Thai Pads out there, so they are going to provide you with superior protection on many fronts.
Starting off with the skin, they are made with genuine cowhide leather. This stuff is the real deal. It’s not synthetic leather that is going to crack and show its age. The leather coating is going to stand up to beatings time and time again without breaking apart. That means that the pads have a great chance of lasting a nice and long time without having to replace them.
The next layer inside is made up of foam that is designed to absorb impacts and distribute the energy so that neither the person striking or the person holding the pad feels too much of anything.
They made this happen by adding in four layer of specialty shock-absorbing foam. This contributes to the overall thickness of the pads as well as the ability to train with bigger people that are going to put a ton of power behind their kicks and knees.
If you have that monster of a person in your gym that nobody wants to train with, then these pads can finally offer you some better protection.
As we’ve already said, these are designed so that they can be as protective as possible. On the other side of that coin is the fact that they are going to be a bit heavier than the other pads you might have used in the past.
They weigh in at almost 6 pounds each. However, for all their protection, they aren’t going to be too bulky and unwieldy. You will be able to go through an entire session of drills without having to swap pads. Some companies have made extra thick pads that are like strapping on some wrestling mats, but that’s not the case with these.
Since they're so thick, the stitching on the back of the pad is really far out of the way of the kicker. This is great as you aren’t likely to wrap your entire foot around the pad and hit the back to hurt yourself unless something really goes wrong.
One of the tradeoffs of getting high quality, great protection, and everything else that we have discussed is that you have to consider the price. After all, you get what you pay for and you know the rest.
This is an investment, but you’ll be surprised to learn that these pads, for all they give you, are not among the most expensive ones that you are going to find. They are right in a good price range that respects the brand but won’t make you go broke.
Now, these pads are not going to do a whole lot for you in the way of style. They only come in red and black, so you can’t really count on being able to get any specific gym colors, but that’s okay.
The final thing to keep in mind here is that the pads are straight, not curved, so you need to take some time to break them in.
All in all, you’re getting a great pair of pads for heavy work at a pretty decent price.
Meister Curved Muay Thai Pads
Not every set of pads out there for Muay Thai needs to have a pedigree from a well-known company to be great in their own way. That’s exactly the reason that we have put the Meister Curved Muay Thai Pads on this list. After all, they are hand stitched with genuine leather, and still provide a fair level of quality.
Let’s start with the price point, which is a pretty good indicator of what these are doing on the list.
They are the on the low end of the spectrum that we identified earlier, and they can be even lower if you opt for a single pad. That makes them good for replacements as well as getting a starter piece of gear if you're really on a budget. We always appreciate when companies provide good quality gear without breaking the bank.
The outer shell of the pads is covered by premium leather. That means the pads are going to last a while and not show signs of breaking down. That’s one of the most important facets to consider, as you will get the a long lasting pair of Thai pads, which is awesome considering their affordable price tag.
They come in a pretty standard 37x19x11.5 cm size, which means that you will be able to land blows on them well enough without any issues. You’ll definitely like the fact that these pads are curved so that you don’t have to break them in a bunch to land clean hits. However, the curve is not very pronounced, so be prepared to take a little while to loosen the pads up a bit.
One particularly neat feature about these is that they have a target dead center in the middle of the striking surface. This is particularly ideal for beginners, who are not yet sure of where they should be landing their shots. What's more, the curved design of the Meisters' also help the pad man to catch kicks, again making these extra-suitable for beginners.
We thought that one of the better uses of these in particular was for working with lighter, faster blows rather than the full-force, because these are lighter than a lot of others out there.
Weighing just 2lbs each, the wearer will be able to move around quite quickly, without tiring. That way you can really push the pace of the training, allowing the your partner to fully work on the speed and timing of their shots.
Finally, their look is pretty unique. They have a black and white color scheme with a target in the middle that is colored red.
The bottom line is that these are some pretty awesome Muay Thai Pads. They have a low cost, good quality, and a pretty neat design.
RDX Muay Thai Strike Pads
Although RDX aren't known for producing the best gear in the world, they are known to produce some absolute gems in terms of value for money. Yes their gear won't last as long as some other brands, but it will hold up a decent amount of time, especially for it's price tag.
In terms of what you should be looking for in Thai Pads, the RDX's tick a lot of boxes, however you'll notice they're pretty damn cheap...
and there's are a few reasons for that.
For starters, they only sell one pad instead of two, so that drops the price.
The next interesting thing that you’re going to look at is the fact that the entire thing is made of synthetic leather. It’s Maya Hide Leather and it’s pretty strong, but it’s not going to last the same way that the genuine leather will.
Last but not least is brand recognition. You aren’t going to pay the same amount of money for RDX as you will for some of the other big names that come right from Thailand.
That doesn’t mean you won’t get some great quality out of these pads. For example, you’ll notice that the pad has a curve to it, meaning that there is less of a need to break them in and they will be great for beginners.
In other words, the price and design seems to indicate that these pads are perfect for people who are just getting started and don't want to spend a tone of cash on new gear.
Despite using synthetic leather, RDX have taken some steps to ensure their gear lasts a decent amount of time. For example, you'll notice that there is triple stitching in place to keep the pad together while also adding some rivets to the leather straps to keep them in place for a long time.
Next up, the cushioning on these pads is pretty good. They use three layers of gel-infused foam to give the user a good striking experience. It absorbs and distributes the force pretty well, so that you don’t have to worry about blowing over the guy that is holding the pads for you.
Some of the other little things about these pads are nice, too. They come in a decent variety of colors like red, black, and blue so you match them to the rest fo your gear. The design is pretty cool and features the company logo high on the front of the pad.
Their size is another thing to consider, since they measure in at 37 cm long and 19 cm wide. They might be slightly smaller than some of the other options that you have used in the past. Moreover, they only come in this one size so you can’t order a size up.
All in all, as one of the cheaper options, the RDX model could be the way to go for a lot of people. It has quality where it counts and offers great value for money.
Sanabul Battle Forged Muay Thai Pads
The Sanabul Battle Forged Muay Thai Pads are another great potential option for people that are looking to shop on a budget. They're definitely on the lower end of the pricing scale, so keep in mind that the quality made not be the best.
That being said, Sanabul is a well-known name in the world of martial arts and MMA, are have become incredibly well known for producing decent quality fight gear for an affordable price.
You’ll find that the pads have three options for color that include black, brown, and white, which are actually rather unique as far as pads go. Their outer layer is made from SBL engineered leather. As we’ve said before, the engineered leather might not be as good as the genuine leather that you see in some of the more expensive options, but it will still get the job done for beginners.
The only issue is that it can start to crack over time, but the higher quality synthetics, like this one, take longer than the polyurethane covers. Basically, you’ll be able to get some good use out of the pads before they start to show signs of wear and tear.
Another important thing to look into is definitely going to be the padding. The Sanabul's use San-Air Ultra-light foam in the construction, providing every them with decent protection for when they are being struck.
Now, this leads us to two important points. First off, this model in particular are very light weight. They are designed to be something that is going to reduce the fatigue of the trainer and allow them to get into position faster, allowing for a more intense, fast paced training session.
What's more, they'll be able to keep the training session going and faster, as their arms aren’t going to get tired a few minutes into the work out.
Yet, the other consideration that you have to make here is the fact that the pads are not going to be able to offer the kind of protection that you want for all of the move sets and combinations that you’ll practice in Muay Thai.
Basically, you are probably not going to want to have someone throwing really strong kicks at you if you’re using these pads. They offer some decent padding and protection, but once they get broken in a bit, you’re going to feel it when someone is aiming to push through the pads.
With that in mind, the Sanabul's are definitely more suited to training speed, as opposed to explosive power (somewhat similar to focus mitts, however better suited to take kicks).
The Sababul's are easy to wear for the trainer as you can just slip your hands in, and Velcro them into a tight yet comfortable setting on your hands. They’ll definitely stay in place while the pads are getting rocked by your training partner.
All in all, this is a pretty solid addition when you are looking into some of the best Muay Thai pads on a budget.
They are lightweight and provide decent protection for the users. The padding makes them easy to use for a long period of time without tiring out the user, so that’s always helpful.
Most people are going to look at the price tag and love it, but you have to keep in mind that you are not going to get all the bells and whistles with the less expensive brands out there like this one.
Best Muay Thai Pad Brands
There are some brands out there that are legendary when it comes to producing the best pads for Muay Thai. For all intents and purposes, these brands are just worlds ahead of the others because they live and breathe Muay Thai, while actually being based in Thailand, home of Muay Thai.
The Fairtex Company was founded in 1975 and has a rich history in the world of Muay Thai.
Their gear has been seen in many major training gyms throughout Thailand and around the world as a whole. When people are wearing Fairtex gear, they know that they are getting high quality products that are specifically tested to withstand the rigors of Muay Thai.
They are not just another company producing gear to make money- this is about passion. In that same vein, some people might scoff at the price tag. That’s all well and good, but if you ask any serious Muay Thai fighter about their preferred brands, Fairtex is going to be one of them. They are going to be some of the more costly products on the market, but they are going to be worth every single penny.
Another one of the major companies out there for Muay Thai gear is Twins Special.
They were also founded in Thailand and bring high quality gear to the mainstream. Their goal is to emphasize the idea that practice makes perfect, and that you have to be wearing the right gear to make that practice count.
While they’ve only been around for about 30 years, they are renowned for their Thai Boxing equipment as well as the stuff they make for other mixed martial arts. Everything from robes and gloves to custom head gear are on the menu for people that decide to wear this incredible gear.
Twins Special is a company that has gained a lot of renown because they frequently send their products out for testing on the world stage. They strive to produce products that are no just superior quality in Thailand, but superior everywhere else in the world as well.
They have gotten accolades in Asia, Europe, and the U.S. for providing great quality products for their customers. The fruit of the company’s labor can cost a fair amount, but you can guarantee that their products are going to provide safety, comfort, and quality.
The time has come to take a look at what we consider to be the best Thai Pads out there. Although we usually will say that one product is definitely better than the others, we have two for you to check out as the top choices here.
Fairtex Lightweight Thai Pads
The Fairtex Lightweight Thai Pads are an excellent choice because they have more protection and features than you will know what to do with. They are made of high quality material that increases the lasting power of the product. The pads use genuine leather and synthetic leather where it was possible to cut down on costs while giving you everything that you need in terms of protection.
The pads come curved making them good for beginners and pros, even though the price tag might be a little on the high side. However, the price tag represents a top quality investment rather than just paying for the cheapest pads out there.
The bottom line is that you will love these pads for a ton of different reasons... and for many years to come.
Twins Special Kick Pads
If you’re looking for kick pads that are more heavy duty than the Fairtex brand, you will want to get the Twins Special. The extra-large size for these is nothing short of massive, providing you with top of the line protection and thickness. You can count on these pads begin able to take a beating from the biggest and strongest people in the gym without worrying the people that are behind the pads and holding them.
These are seriously thick and have quality materials integrated into their construction. They are a little heavier than the Fairtex ones that we mentioned here, but they aren’t really heavy, just highly protective.
All in all, these are a fantastic addition to anyone’s pad collection, but they will cost you a fair amount if you opt for the larger sizes.
How to Hold Muay Thai Pads
If you're just starting out in Muay Thai, in can get a little confusing being the pad man. Not only do you need to know the combinations, you've got to call them out and have the pads ready to be struck.
With that in mind, check out this video by Systems Training Centre, which should help ease the learning curve.
Now that we have gone over the best Muay Thai pads, you should have a really good idea of the different options that you have.
As we’ve said, there are going to be some brands that are simply better than others because they are steeped in the Muay Thai culture. The main brands that come out of Thailand are always going to provide top-tier products, even if they do tend to cost you a little more.
That being said, quality investments are always worth making from our point of view. With this knowledge, you can pick out a decent brand and set of pads even if they aren’t the very best on the market.
We really hope that we helped you learn something about Muay Thai pads, their uses, and the quality that you should expect from them.
As always, feel free to leave a comment to let us know what you think about our picks as well as any feedback. We always appreciate hearing from our readers. Thanks for stopping by, and we hope that you decide to use us as your future source of knowledge for all things related to MMA gear.