Muay Thai is an intensive sport and injuries are common in both competitions as well as training. Besides proper stretching and warming up, accessories like Muay Thai ankle support can help minimize such risks.
Muay Thai ankle supports are also commonly known as ankle guards. In this article, we explore the benefits of wearing them for Muay Thai training and list some of the best ankle guards in the market.
What are Muay Thai Ankle Guards For?
Muay Thai ankle guards are worn to protect and support the ankle joints. Although they are not as essential compared to boxing gloves or Muay Thai shorts, many Thai boxers wear ankle supports during training or fighting. This is because the extra support helps to minimize sprains from rolling the ankle.
Ankle guards are made using a blend of cotton and spandex for both breathability and snug support. They are designed this way to provide support to the ankle joint while reducing slippage hazards.
Most Muay Thai fighters wear them on both legs while some fighters may choose to wear only one on the ankle that requires more support.
Benefits of Muay Thai Ankle Supports
As mentioned above, many Muay Thai fighters and practitioners wear ankle guards during training or competitions.
Minimize Ankle Injuries
Ankles provide fundamental support from your foot to your hip that contributes to athletic performance. This is why it is beneficial to keep ankles stable especially for an intensive sport like Muay Thai.
Ankle guards stabilize and support the ankle joints. The snugness helps to lower the risks of your ankles rolling over which can lead to sprain injuries.
Providing your ankles with stability and support promotes better biomechanics while training. Good biomechanics equates better form by using the intended muscles and so improves performance over time and avoids injuries.
Bear in mind that wearing an ankle brace is not a 100% injury-proof solution but they can help to lower the incidence of acute ankle injuries.
If you are prone to ankle injuries or undergoing rehabilitation, ankle guards help to provide some immobilization to support recovery. They can prevent our foot from twisting which can aggravate an existing ankle or Achilles tendon problem.
Wearing ankle guards can also provide some relief to pain and swelling during the recovery phase.
Some people continue to train in spite of an ankle injury. It is important to consider proper treatment and allow time for the injury to heal before returning to training.
Ankle guards also provide superficial protection for instep and a small area above the ankle.
We sometimes kick with the instep instead of the shin like we should in Muay Thai. The impact can sting or scrape the skin. For a beginner, ankle guards can help to take away some of the impact of kicking the heavy bag or Thai pads and minimize scraping on the skin.
Ankle guards are also good for providing some traction and friction against slipping especially if the mats are a little slick.
Best Muay Thai Ankle Support
Almost all Muay Thai brands offer ankle guards. They are relatively affordable and easily available for purchase. Most ankle guards are very stretchable and come in either one-size-fits-all or two sizes in kids and adult options.
Most ankle guards feel very snug when you wear them fresh out of the pack. They will require some time to break in but will feel more comfortable the longer you wear them.
Here are eight of the best Muay Thai ankle support that you can get:
This the number one choice on Amazon but also a popular brand for Muay Thai fighters. It is also the only Thai ankle guards that come in two sizes for adults. These provide great support and you can wear them for long periods of time comfortably.
- Made in Thailand
- Fabric is a poly/cotton blend.
- Free size
Simple design, great quality but comes only in one size for adults. These get the job done and you know you can always count on Fairtex for delivering top-notch Muay Thai gear. Get a pair in pink and one in neon green to replicate the Yodsanklai Fairtex mismatch style.
These are soft, snug and comfortable. There are 5 different colors to choose from and come in 2 sizes – adult and kids. Saenchai wears these whenever he trains so you know you can count on it.
Top King is another popular option among Muay Thai practitioners. Tribal patterns, snug fit that gets more comfortable over time and provides the ankle support you need.
You may not have heard of Nationman since it is not a Thai boxing brand. Nationman is actually a Thai sporting goods manufacturer with a diverse range of products. It specializes in Muay Thai protective equipment such as head guards, knee guards, groin guards and ankle support.
Nationman products are more affordable compared to similar offerings from traditional Muay Thai brands. These are also among the cheapest on the list.
Venum Kontact Evo Foot Grip
Venum foot grips are good alternative to the standard ankle guards. These Kontact Foot Grips stand out from the rest by using Neoprene fabric. The fabric has long-lasting flexibility and durability. It also has great compression and heat retention, making these great for recovery support.
The foot grip design is a good touch as it improves mat traction for even better and faster movement. The downside to foot grips is that they provide less stability compared to standard ankle guards.
Meister ankle supports are very affordable at less than $10 a pair and are available in adult or youth sizes. There are lots of colors to choose from. Definitely not the best quality or durability but they are worth buying for the price and light usage.
Sanabul Battle Forged
Sanabul is a budget brand for all martial arts related gear and equipment. The Battle Forged Striking Gel Ankle Guards feature gel padding for that extra instep and ankle protection. These also feature mat traction like the Venum Kontact Evo.
Unfortunately, Sanabul also added some Sak Yant designs to make these look more “Thai-style”. The designs feature the twin tigers on the instep but also the Hindu deity, Hanuman on the Achilles heel. Sak Yants of deities are considered as sacred in Thai culture and to have on the feet is distasteful. Think twice before getting these.
|A Note on Washing Ankle Guards
Ankle guards will soak up the sweat easily during training and will require regular washing. Use a laundry bag for your ankle guards to keep them from getting tangled with other clothing in the washing machine. This helps to minimize piling and prolong the life of the ankle guards.
To reiterate, Muay Thai ankle support is not mandatory for training. It does offer benefits for a better or improved overall training experience. I highly recommend getting a pair just to try out and gauge for yourself since they are fairly affordable at under or around $20 a pair.
Muay Thai ankle guards won’t make you a better fighter but they may help to provide stability to your form and reduce injuries. A little investment for the greater reward of less injuries – I think it’s worth it.
Images courtesy of Parinya Wongwannawat: instagram.com/wongwannawat