As with all our buyers guides we try here to offer a real view of the best Thai kick pads to buy whether its for personal or gym use... please read on!
After many years coaching and now several running an MMA & Muay Thai store its always interesting to look at people’s perceptions of how one piece of equipment is superior to another and also as to how a particular piece of equipment will be used.
Lately the Thai Kick pad
or pads have become quite a battleground on the UK MMA market and it’s interesting to see as MMA brands with their super cool logos and high price endorsees move in on what has traditionally been Muay Thai turf.
Let’s face it the Thai kick pad is a piece of tough layered foam encased in leather or now quite often a manmade or “Synthetic leather” covering with a handle on it and a couple of straps. A recent innovation is the curved Thai pad which I’m guessing sprung from the observation that after a lot of daily use a straight pad will begin to get a nice comfy curve where it has been repeatedly struck and manufacturers have sought to replicate this.
In my opinion the Thai's still make the best pads and Fairtex, Twins and Top King are still by far the market leaders in terms of quality and value for money. Firstly all three of these companies produce 100% full cowhide leather pads with Top King and Twins still offering the option of Velcro or buckle straps. Fairtex and Top King also offer curved or straight options on the pads. Much of the choice between the three brands is down to personal preference especially between the Top King and Fairtex which are quite different in their design.
The MMA new boys.
Hayabusa, Badboy and Venum have both brought out versions of the Thai pads looking to cash in on the Thais turf. Venum have gone the whole hog and have their pads made in Thailand with the choice between full leather and synthetic. The Venum pads are evidently well made and with the recent price increases of the main three brands could now become a really excellent alternative to any of the more traditional Thai brands.
Hayabusa on their first attempt have in my view done nothing other than cash in on a market which their logo will sell. Their rather expensive Thai Pads are bulky (ok if you are a poor aim with your kicks) and only 20% leather however are often described as leather. On viewing them they look rather cheap certainly not as good as in their photographs’ which is a shame and rather lets down the excellent Hayabusa apparel range perhaps they will do better on a second attempt.
Badboy....I doubt we can even talk about Badboy Thai Pads without contravening several laws so we shall just focus on the positive and say Buy Thai!
The one notable exception in all of this are REVGEAR who have spent 17 years making equipment including for other well known US based brands such as Triumph United and until 2010 Badboy. Their Thai Pads are very good value for money and could certainly be considered alongside the Thai brands.
Unless you are sure or have used the equipment you are about to purchase then plump for a well known Thai manufacturers for Thai pads as you won’t go far wrong, these companies have been doing this for decades and are far ahead of the MMA new boys on this level, aside from Fairtex the reverse could often be said in terms of MMA clothing made by Thai manufacturers!