Best Thai Pads Reviewed
Muay Thai Pads, more commonly known as “Thai Pads”, or “Kick Pads”, might be the single most important piece of equipment in the striking development of a fighter. These are the primary pads used in Muay Thai training and other striking skill sets that involve kicks and knees.
At most western gyms, like those in the US and the UK, the striking sessions are class-based and commonly require members to hold Muay Thai Pads for each other. Although gyms typically don’t expect their patrons to bring their own Kick Pads, you may develop a preference for your own gear once things get doused in strangers’ sweat.
Best Thai Pads
I’ve always been very particular about the Thai Pads that I use. I was the head coach of a fight team for over 5 years in Florida where I regularly held pads for numerous amateur and professional fighters of varying styles and sizes. I always preferred a pair of Thai Pads that were light in weight so I could move them quickly but fairly heavy in padding for harder kickers and larger fighters. Some of the things you should consider as you read this guide should be; how comfortable the straps are on your arms, how heavy the individual pad is, and what you specifically prefer when you’re holding them for other people.
Editor’s Picks & Things to Consider When Buying Thai Pads
1. Fairtex KPLC2 Curved Thai Pads
Fairtex is one of the monoliths of combat sports equipment. You can be blindly assured that any authentic Fairtex equipment will stick around through years of heavy use. These particular pads are probably the most versatile on this list. They are relatively lighter in weight but are pretty heavy in padding and they have padded straps so if you like to keep your pads secured tightly to your arms, you won’t walk away with unsightly bruises.
My only personal qualm with these is that they are a bit too bulky for my liking. They move fast and offer adequate protection, they are good for heavy kickers along with quick strikers and you can use them once a week or all day every day without worry. Highly recommended for the person who wants a solid, all-around, versatile set of Thai pads.
- Thick 2-inch knuckle padding for striking.
- Comfortable feel.
- Durable finger strap design.
- Velcro strap has been known to deteriorate over time.
- A bit bulky for grappling.
2. Combat Sports Muay Thai Pads
Combat Sports as a brand doesn’t get enough attention in my opinion. Most people like to stick to the staple Thai brands like Fairtex and Twins and I don’t blame them, but if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative in Thai Pads, Combat Sports doesn’t skimp on quality.
I was a member at a gym where for nearly 3 years these were the only Thai pads around. They would get passed back and forth and used heavily every day and didn’t start tearing up for nearly two years. These pads are pretty big though, larger than the Fairtex mentioned before.
These are best if you are consistently holding pads for heavyweights and big kickers. They are a bit clunky for faster fighters and aren’t curved so they work well with straight kicks like front kicks and sidekicks.
- Best price vs quality
- Solid Velcro straps
- Great finger strap construction.
- The thumb seam may be problematic for training partners
- A bit bulky for grappling.
3. Ring to Cage GelTech Deluxe Thai Pads
These are my personally preferred Thai Pads. Ring To Cage does not necessarily specialize in Thai Pads but for whatever indiscernible reason, they hit the ball out of the park with these. They are smaller, faster, lighter, without lacking too much protection, and comfortable on the handle and forearms.
The handle is seamless and sewn into the outside stitching on the pad which makes it more durable and less likely to catch and rip in unforeseen circumstances. The forearm straps come with pads for extra protection but honestly, I got rid of those almost immediately because they moved around too much and the straps themselves were perfectly comfortable on their own.
They are curved and comfortable handle all types and sizes of fighters, however, with heavyweights you will feel some of that power come through the pad.
- Light weight and easy to move around; ideal for training fighters up to 185lbs
- Comfortable straps
- Durable construction
- Lighter padding for increased speed makes these less than ideal for larger or more powerful fighters
4. Twins Special Muay Thai Pad with Velcro
This particular Thai Pad design is the oldest and most widely recognized on this list. Everyone has used these and if you haven’t yet, you will. Twins special, as a brand, is a lot like Fairtex, tried and true over generations of fighters throughout the gyms of Thailand.
They are primed for heavy use and may take a while to break in because of how durable they are. They can be a bit heavy and bulky but these are simply the most reliable and durable Thai Pads that you can buy. The heaviest kickers will struggle to dent your forearm through these unless they are truly unique in their power.
These are recommended for those who are looking for durability over all other attributes.
- Most durable Thai Pads on this list
- Brand recognition
- Heavy padding for hard kickers
- Larger and harder to move around
- Can be difficult to break in and hard on the shins of those kicking them for a while when first getting them
5. RDX Orbit Thai Pads
These RDX Kick pads are light weight, heavily protected, and have a unique shape that prevents punches from sliding off the sides (as much). The oval shape of the pad helps you catch incoming punches from inexperienced fighters a little more solidly to ensure that none of the incoming strikes stray away and land on you instead of the pad.
They are heavily padded and respond well to heavy kickers while simultaneously having a smaller than average size that allows them to maneuver a bit faster for quicker strikers. They can feel a bit stiff in the beginning of using them but are overall a very solid choice for those who are looking to spend a little less money and not skimp on quality.
- Good price vs quality
- Smaller size with a bit heavier padding for larger fighters
- Good shape for inexperienced fighter’s aim
- Handle has been known to rip at the seams after a year or so of use
- Might be a bit harder to break in in some circumstances
Things You Should Consider When Purchasing Muay Thai Kick Pads
Of course, when looking for anything, you want to make sure you’re getting a good quality product versus the price you’re spending on it. All of the Thai Pads on this list will satisfy that basic requirement. After that, my biggest concerns have always been comfort, weight, and size.
I personally like a lighter pad that’s on the smaller side of “medium” that still offers a good amount of protection. This is because I’ve grown accustomed to holding pads for fighters under 185lbs for long periods of time which is why I value comfort so highly.
When I do hold for heavier fighters, the lighter weight pads still do the trick but I have significantly less rounds in me with those as opposed to their heavier cousins. You will want to get a solid idea of the people who will be kicking those pads before making a decision on which you will be happiest with. Comfort is a big deal if you’re holding for an hour straight without taking them off. It’s less of a concern if you only have a few rounds in each training session to hold for.