Rash Guard for Muay Thai: Training in Style

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Updated 13 April 2020: About time to get this article updated with the most and functional stylish rash guards of the moment!

Are you thinking about wearing a rash guard for Muay Thai training?

As mixed martial arts (MMA) get more popular, more and more fighters are cross-training several forms of combat sports. Many gyms are responding to this demand by offering a variety of classes such as boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and wrestling under one roof. While rash guards are more commonly worn by BJJ or MMA practitioners, it’s not surprising to see one or two of your Muay Thai gymmates rocking a funky rash guard at your Muay Thai training. Most of these guys possibly cross-train a few combat arts or practise MMA. So if you are training primarily in Muay Thai, are rash guards an ideal form of workout apparel?

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Rash Guard for martial artists

The Ki/Gi is the standard outfit for BJJ and looks almost identical to the ones worn in Judo or Karate due to its Japanese roots. Before the popularity of MMA, BJJ grapplers wore surf rash guard or general compression wear for no-gi BJJ practice and competition. As MMA got popular, new fight apparel companies appear onto the scene and started to promote rash guards designed specifically for BJJ/MMA. This include both the top (compression shirts) and bottom (compression pants sometimes referred to as spats). A number of my Muay Thai instructors have taken to wearing rash guards for our training sessions. Another sign of the rash guard’s gradual extension into Muay Thai and other martial arts, testifying to its popularity.

Benefits of Rash Guard For Muay Thai

As its name suggests, rash guard is worn to protect the wearer against rashes or mat burn (from rolling around in BJJ). So how would they benefit your Muay Thai training?

In most Muay Thai gyms, training topless -for men- with just a seasoned pair of shorts has been the tradition and standard. Whereas in more modernised fight gyms, where BJJ and MMA are practised alongside Muay Thai, many fighters have taken to wearing rash guards during training. You don’t have to make any rash decision. Here are 5 wonderful benefits of rash guards :

#1 The moist sweaty environment of a gym is a breeding ground for bacteria. Sustaining wounds in the form rashes or cuts are invitations for potential infections. Rash guards will protect you from rashes and also cuts and scrapes that sometimes result from clinching and sparring practice.

#2 Researches have shown that compression wear prevents acute muscle injuries and help speed muscle recovery. This is especially beneficial if you intend to train everyday. Some studies have also shown that compression wear improves overall athletic performance by improving blood circulation. While they do improve blood circulation, its effect on athletic performance remains debatable.

#3 Because they are form-fitting and lightweight, rash guards allow the full range of movement for your body compared to the standard tee and shorts combination. This is advantageous in Muay Thai where you often execute exaggerated bodily movements.

#4 Unless you are one of those people who don’t perspire easily, the high intensity workout of a Muay Thai session will always leave you drenched in your own sweat. Rash guards help to keep you dry and also odour-free by wicking the sweat away faster. It certainly can get a bit awkward when your heavy perspiration starts leaving wet patches over the training mats or worse, on your training partner! *gasp* It HAS happened.

#5 Superficial but true: Rash guards make you look stylish and a little more bad ass than your usual gym get-up.

How to choose a good rash guard

If you are now convinced or enticed to get rash guards for your next Muay Thai class, note that not all rash guards are built equally. Here are few tips for you to look out for when shopping for your rash guards:

#1 The inner seams and stitching are very important given the tight-fitting nature of rash guards. If stitched poorly, they may cause irritation, abrasion and *gasp* rash to the wearer, particularly around the underarms.

#2 The wicking technology of the fabric is designed to keep you cool and dry during training. Make sure you see some sort of wicking capability or technology listed on its tags.

#3 One of the advantages of wearing rash guards is that the compression feature helps with muscular well-being. You certainly want them to retain compression even after repeated washes and usage. Some of the lower end brands get loose after a relatively short period of wear which brings us to the next point-

#4 The quality of rash guards from most well-known MMA brands are usually of high standards and will satisfy much of the above criteria. If you purchase a rash guard from reputable brands such as Tatami, Hayabusa, Venum etc., you are almost guaranteed a hardy fightwear that will last a mighty long time. That said, there ARE brandless cheapie compression shirts that are pretty hardy but it will take some luck to find.

MMA/BJJ Rash Guards vs Compression Garment vs Surfing Rashie

As far as our experience and research goes, there is little to no difference between all 3. The term rash guards or compression wear can even be used interchangeably. The added feature of a surf rash guard is that it offers UV protection since it’s an outdoor sportswear. A BJJ/MMA rash guard will sometime have an added design that prevents the top from rolling up the belly. This will not be very important for Muay Thai training since the rolling up is caused by rolling on the mats which is applicable only to BJJ/MMA.

If the design and style is not of importance to you, a regular compression shirt from a sporting brand, or a surfing rashie would do just fine for your Muay Thai training. They are usually priced more affordably. A higher range rash guard may not significantly or always outlast a cheapie, but they offer the one quality that sets them apart: cool aesthetic designs. Functionally, rash guards made for MMA/BJJ won’t make you a better fighter but they sure look good. To be honest, it was what motivated me to get one in the first place.

Best Rashguard for Muay Thai MMA BJJ

Style is very much a personal choice but there is bound to be something out there in the fight wear marketplace that suits your taste. Given the high density of MMA/BJJ brands out in the market, you certainly have no lack of options. Even Muay Thai fan-favorite Fairtex has taken to creating rashguards. From the most functional to the most stylish, here are my top choices for the best rash guards:

Best Rash Guards for Men

Let’s begin with our pick of the best rash guards for the dudes:

Hayabusa Marvel Rash Guard

Buy on Amazon

This Hayabusa Marvel collaboration is one bad boy of a rash guard. Available in Captain America and Ironman designs, the Punisher Skull is the one that truly stands out. I would honestly buy it just for the looks alone.

Hayabusa’s sleek rashguards are easily one of the most comfortable rashguard around with good compression and excellent wicking tech that keeps the body feeling dry at all times. This is an all-rounder that looks good and feels good.

The Marvel rashguards come in both short- and long-sleeves designs. For those looking for a more subtle design, Hayabusa’s signature Metaru rash guards are a great option.

User Feedback
– “It’s a 5 stars for me but pricey. Good compression shirt. Will fit you EXCELLENT with a size up.
– “This is a good looking and feeling rash guard shirt.

>> Click here to shop Hayabusa at Amazon Now << 

Anthem Athletics HELO-X Rash Guard
Anthem Athletics
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The USA-based Anthem Athletics specializes in gear and equipment for combat sports and fitness with an emphasis on performance and affordability.

What they lack in striking, outrageous aesthetics, they make up for with excellent build quality and comfort. That’s not to say they look bland or dull. The hex, pinstripe or camo accents add a subtle yet tasteful touch to the classic black tops. Perfect for those who want to prefer a more low-key look without sacrificing style.

The HELO-X goes up to XXL to fit muscular bodies comfortably. This is shaping up to be a very popular choice for martial arts and fitness training.

User Feedback
– “Anyone who is looking for an affordable yet very comfortable rashguard this is the product you must buy!
Fit perfectly and matches the quality of another rash guard I have from a major company that cost twice as much.

>> Click here to shop Anthem Athletics at Amazon Now << 

Hawk Sports Compression Shirts
Anthem Athletics
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Hawk Sports compression shirt One of the best-rated rash guard that is designed for fight sports. In terms of style, this is as simple as it gets but the affordability fits the budget-conscious. Nothing fancy, just a basic top that gets the job done.

The makers of this rash guard have chosen to focus on things that matter: durability, comfort and affordability. The sales and good ratings/reviews for its customers says it all.

Like most rash guards, this fits a little snug and many reviewers recommend ordering a size up from your usual shirt size.

User Feedback
I’ve bought about 15 of these same types of rash guards in 2012 and train & teach at an MMA gym 5-6 days a week, religiously. Most of them are still in good shape, being used weekly & machine washed after 1 use.
The rash guard/work out shirt is durable and feels good. The material feels strong.

>> Click here to shop Hawk Sports at Amazon Now << 

Best Rash Guards for Women

Women’s rash guards are usually designed to be a tad longer and more form-fitting than men’s for a more feminine silhouette. Here are some of the brands that offer women’s rash guards:

Raven Fightwear

Raven Fightwear Women's The Candy Rash Guard MMA BJJ Black 2X-Large
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Raven Fightwear Women's Skadi Nordic Rash Guard MMA White Small
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Raven Fightwear Women's Dragon and Tiger Rash Guard BJJ MMA Black 2X-Small
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Raven Fighwear makes some of the best looking rashguards for women. The extra length means that you don’t have to worry about the shirt riding up, which is also great for taller women. There are many styless to choose from that inspired by a range of cultures including Japanese Irezumi, Nordic design and pop culture references. These are all head-turning stunner. You can’t go wrong with Raven Fightwear.

User Feedback
I absolutely LOVE this rash guard! It is thick and the colors are beautiful.
It is really nice and cool design, very light and comfortable, it fits perfectly according to size chart. The material is good quality. I would buy more of this brand!

>> Click here to shop Raven Fightwear at Amazon Now << 

Sicchic Women Rash Guard
Anthem Athletics

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Sicchic offers a wide range of designs and colors to choose from: What more could a girl ask for? Affordable, high quality, comfortable and great fitting compression tops, perfect for your every workout. Comes in both long and short sleeves.

User Feedback
Love this rash guard! The fabric is thick, and so far the stitching has held up.
The colors are vibrant and crisp, the design is beautiful! I will definitely buy more items from Sicchic!

>> Click here to shop Sicchic at Amazon Now << 

Most Stylish Rash Guards

If you are all about style, then there is no better training apparel than rash guards. They are the canvas for imaginative brands and artists to unleash the wildest wearable art possible. In rash guard fashion, anything goes. Either you love it, or you loathe it. “Style is saying who you are without having to speak.” Let these rash guards do the talking:

Hardcore Training

Hardcore Training Koi 2.0 Men's Rash Guard Compression Long Sleeve Jiu Jitsu MMA No-Gi Tight BJJ Grappling Base Layer (as1, Alpha, s, Regular, White/Black)
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Hardcore Training MMArio Men's Rash Guard Compression Long Sleeve MMA No-Gi Tight BJJ Grappling Base Layer Combat (as1, Alpha, m, Regular, Regular, Blue/Red)
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No products found.
No products found.

This MMA brand has so many of the sickest looking rash guards that we can’t decide on which one to feature! Almost got brain cancer trying to pick our favorite designs to show you what the Hardcore Training designers are capable of. I love them all! If you like sick graphics, this is THE brand for you. Available in mens & womens as well as long- & short-sleeves.

User Feedback
But let’s be honest, you’re not buying this for function alone. I love it because it is so multi-colored.
The stitching is high quality and the stretch fit is extremely comfortable.

>> Click here to shop Hardcore Training at Amazon Now << 

Raven Fightwear

Raven Fightwear Men's Tiger and Dragon 1.0 Rash Guard MMA BJJ Black Large
Buy on Amazon
Raven Fightwear Men's Berserker BJJ MMA Rash Guard Medium Black
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Raven Fightwear Men's East Meets West MMA Rash Guard Black 3X-Large
Buy on Amazon

Another contender for strong aesthetic designs, Raven Fightwear has a few head-turning rashguards that will make you the centre of attention. If you can’t yet beat your sparring partner with your sparring/clinching skills, you will gain an advantage blinding him first with some Raven Fightwear rashguards.

User Feedback
Raven Fightwear compression shirts have some of the best graphic designs ever!
great fit, great quality.

>> Click here to shop Raven Fightwear at Amazon Now << 

Venum Rash Guard

Venum Gladiator 3.0 Long Sleeve Rashguard - Black/White - M, Medium
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No products found.
No products found.
Venum Nogi 2.0 Rashguard - Long Sleeves - Black/White-S, White, Small
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Another mma fan-favorite. Venum has a good range of smart looking rashguards adorned with their viper logo. Like most rash guards and compression wear, they run a little tight, so you may want to order a size or two larger. Other than that, this is a very good option and will match nicely with their  gear.

User Feedback
Love it ! Can’t wait to order more !
good fit and very slick.

>> Click here to shop Venum at Amazon Now << 

Best Rash Guards for Fat Guys

It is common for overweight people to sweat more easily and profusely than normal-weight individuals. This is because fats have an insulative quality that tends to raise body temperature. If you are on the heavier side of things, wearing a rash guard is going to help wick the sweat away faster, leaving you dry and feeling more comfortable. At the same time, chafing is a common problem for overweight people. Wearing rash guards will help to ease and even prevent it, particularly for areas such as underarms and inner thighs.

Wearing a rash guard won’t make you look slimmer, and could even emphasize your middle section. However, the benefits far outweigh this little snag. Get suited up in your favorite gear, train hard and you will achieve your ideal body shape. As most rash guards are designed to fit tight, you may find that their largest offering -often an X-Large- might not fit you adequately. Fortunately, there are a few brands that offer 4XL or even 5XL compression wear that you plus-sized folks can turn to:

Under Armour Heat Gear
Under Armour

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This is one of the best compression shirts for plus-sized folks out in the market. Under Armour shirts run up to a behemoth 5XL and tall sizes. There is a bewildering range of colors to choose from so training never gets dull.

The Heat Gear is one of UA’s most popular top and comes in both short- and long-sleeves. Oh, there’s also a sleeveless version but for the best protection, short and long-sleeves are the way to go. This has everything made for your needs, from excellent wicking capability to durable material. As an added bonus, they offer SPF30 protection, great for those who want to use it for any activity/workout under the sun or at the beach.

User Feedback
in my opinion this is still probably the best compression shirt available on the market.
if you are lean, buy your normal size. But if you are a bulkier build, definitely one size up.

>> Click here to shop Under Armour at Amazon Now << 

Best Rash Guards for Kids

Your kids deserve the best. Rash guards will provide them with excellent overall protection and boost their training performance. With kids-centric graphics, all young martial artists will fall in love instantly with these fightwear. I wish they made some of these designs in adult size!

Hardcore Training

Hardcore Training Raude Black/Red Rash Guard Kids Unisex Compression Base Layer Tights No Gi BJJ Fitness MMA Workout
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Hardcore Training Angry Vitamins Black Rash Guard Kids Unisex Compression Base Layer Tights No Gi BJJ Fitness MMA Workout Grappling
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Hardcore Training Kids Rash Guard Compression Base Layer Tights No Gi BJJ Fitness Workout Running Boxing Multiplie Colours (US, Age, 14 Years, Black White)
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Hardcore Training’s range of rash guards are cool and stylish shirts that appeal to young and old alike. There is an interesting range of rash guards designed specially for kids that young warriors -and their parents- will appreciate.

>> Click here to shop Hardcore Training at Amazon Now << 


Other than making a fashion statement, there are several benefits of wearing rashguards during your muay thai training as highlighted in the article. What you wear to train should be comfortable and allow your body a great range of motion. Working out in rash guards will offer you these advantages. And besides, you know you are going to gas out at training, so why not gas out in style? Add some variety to your fightwear wardrobe and give these a trial at your Muay Thai training. We look forward to hearing about your experience wearing these for Muay Thai.

Chok dee!

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