A kick or knee to the groin is no joke. Any man who has experienced receiving one in the nuts will do whatever it takes to avoid it from ever happening again.
Even though groin strikes are forbidden in combat sports, accidents happen and it’s a hard lesson for those who are ill-prepared. Groin guards, also known as groin cups or groin protectors, are essentials for all sorts of full contact sports.
Think of them as shields designed to protect the “nuts and bolt”. When it comes to the crown jewel, you definitely need the best groin guard for Muay Thai sparring or fighting. Your future kids will thank you for that.
What are the Best Groin Guards?
The best groin guard for Muay Thai should be able to encompass the “complete package” in its entirety i.e. no slippage, while not overly bulky to hinder movement.
The guard should fit firmly such that it doesn’t shift about during movement but should also be comfortable.
Last but not least, the cup itself should be tough and durable for proper protection against accidental hard knocks.
No groin guard is 100% injury proof but wearing one reduces the impact, thereby lowering the risk of injury and minimizing the pain. Before we go into the detailed individual reviews, here’s a quick look at my picks of the best groin guards for Muay Thai:
What to Look Out For
There are 3 main types of groin protectors based on how they are worn. The 3 types are jock straps, compression shorts and the Thai-style lace straps.
There are pros and cons to each design based on comfort (how comfortable it is to wear for prolonged periods), security (stay secured during sparring/fighting so you don’t have to keep adjusting), and protection (how much of an impact it can absorb).
The other thing to look out for when selecting a groin guard is the material used for the cup and its industrial design. Many modern manufacturers use plastic or a plastic composite material compared to the harder steel used by Muay Thai brands.
Plastic cup does not absorb impact well as it can flex inwards. There have also been reported instances where plastic cups actually break or crack on impact. However, there are exceptions to the rule as you will see in my recommendations below.
Best Groin Guard for Muay Thai
Men are more vulnerable to the dangers of groin strikes, biologically speaking. However, female fighters are just as prone to receiving low blows which can hurt them too. So in this review, we will look at groin guards made specifically for men and also women.
Here is a closer look at some of the top groin protecting options available in the market:
Diamond MMA Athletic Cup
The Diamond Athletic Cup is the ideal choice for those training MMA and Muay Thai on the side. The cup is designed to be used together with the jock strap or the compression shorts. For those training purely Muay Thai, the jock strap is a more appropriate option for wearing under Muay Thai shorts.
Designed by Stanford engineers, the cup itself features a polycarbonate core which is the same material used for bulletproof glass. In their tests, the Diamond Cup is able to withstand repeated hammering of a 20-pound sledge hammer without breaking while many competitors are shattered with one blow. The Diamond Cup is the gold standard in terms of toughness and protective quality. Nothing comes close.
It is heavily endorsed by UFC and MMA athletes, and even medical professionals who attest to the cup’s protective qualities and durability. It is also recommended by Joe Rogan, a often-quoted propagator of the product. The only con is its price. But if you can afford, there is just no competition.
Lo-bloo Thai Cup 2.0
- DESIGNED BY ATHLETES: Tried and tested by elite athletes active in a multitude of sports.
- UNRESTRICTED MOVEMENT: Our patented fitting system provides 100% protection and agility.
- ONE TIME SET UP: Just adjust the straps. Do it right and you’ll be set forever.
Lo-bloo (pun for lo-blow?) has been getting lots of rave reviews from many Muay Thai fighters. After trying one out myself, I now get what the hype is all about.
The Lo-bloo may be a Swedish brand but it is inspired by the traditional steel cup used by Thai fighters. The end product strikes the right amount of balance between protection, security and price.
Although it is made of plastic material (no details provided on its composition), it is exceedingly hard. It boasts a patented fitting system, and like Thai cups, it takes some practice to get it to fit right.
The Lo-bloo fits comfortably, staying properly secured during sparring and can be worn under Muay Thai shorts. The security is provided by a waistband and thin elastic straps.
This system is very similar to the classic Thai style steel cup but offers the advantage of being easier to put on, although some bigger folks have commented on the straps being a little tight.
The added advantage of Lo-bloo cups is the ventilation holes which helps to keep things cool down there.
There are not as many options available for women who sometimes choose to forgo the groin guard. The wonderful thing about Lo-bloo is that it fills this gap by making pelvic protectors for women. It’s no surprise that female fighters have taken to Lo-bloo guards.
Thai Steel Cup
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The OG groin protector in the world of Muay Thai. For the Thai fighters, steel cups are worn during fights but not so much for sparring.
The steel cup is secured with three laces for extra safety. This is definitely the most secure option since it doesn’t shift around but it can be a hassle to put on compared to jock straps. Once you get used to it though, it does get easier to put on.
Steel cups seem like the most natural choice when it comes to safeguarding the crown jewels. It’s steel over balls and you can’t go wrong with that level of protection.
Instead of you feeling it, your sparring partner is more likely to feel the impact more than you if he kicks or knees below the belt.
If you are competing in Muay Thai, this is a recognized competition standard which makes it the right cup to get. There are other steel cup options from brands like Ring to Cage, RDX, and Hayabusa but the Fairtex (and Twins Special) is the one that is tried and tested on a daily basis in the stadiums of Bangkok.
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Shock Doctor Ultra Pro (Budget Option)
A jock strap option with a “Ultra Pro Carbon Flex” cup from Shock Doctor. The Carbon Flex (plastic) cup is basically a rubber cup with added carbon fiber material which can actually flex on impact (not a good thing).
The Shock Doctor jock strap itself is comfortable but not as secured when compared to the other options on the list.
This is a cheaper plastic cup model and I hesitate to recommend this. However, if there is only light sparring involved and you’ve got a smaller budget, this could be worth the consideration.
Ultimately, if you want a peace of mind, I would recommend going with better protections namely the Diamond MMA and Lobloo cups.
They are compulsory for competitions and highly recommended for sparring. Some coaches and trainers mandate the wearing of groin protectors for all sparring to ensure the safety of their fighters.
It doesn’t matter what level you are at because when it comes to groin accidents, everybody hurts. Internal bleeding/swelling is a potential risk from devastating groin injuries.
If you are sparring often or fighting, investing in a high-quality groin guard can be a life-saver.