If you’ve been looking to add the best shoes for Muay Thai training to your Muay Thai outfit before you join a class, we have to tell you that this type of martial arts doesn’t actually call for the use of trainers. Most Muay Thai fighters use ankle wraps (or ankle guards), but there are some that are known for relying on Vibram shoes when they train, as well. After doing a lot of research on the topic, we concluded that the first option you should consider is the Sanabul Battle Forged Striking Gel Ankle Guard for Muay Thai. The gel protection boasted by this item makes it worth bearing in mind since the gel layer distributes impacts better so that you can kick the heavy bag or your sparring partner or opponent without worrying about getting your ankles and shins damaged. 

If this item is no longer in stock, we suggest that you have a look at our next favorite option, the Wonzone Foot Protector

Best Muay Thai Shoes (Reviews)

If you’re in the market for the best Muay Thai shoes, it’s a good thing you ended up here. As we have previously noted, a combination of good Muay Thai shoes and an ankle protector is the winning one, but you have to size up to make sure that they fit. 

Here are some models that have gathered a lot of appreciation over time and that we think are worth checking out. 

1. Sanabul Battle Forged Striking Gel Ankle Guard for Muay Thai (Pair)

Sanabul Battle Forged Gel Ankle Guard (Black/White, Large/X-Large)

If you’re looking for some good shoes for Muay Thai training, this pair of ankle guards should be the first one on your list. They’re battle tested, so they’re rugged and reliable and they are made from tougher material. 

Sanabul takes pride in the fact that some professional UFC athletes use this type of ankle guard, such as Michael Bisping. Thanks to the design boasted by the unit, you don’t have to worry about slipping on the mat. 

As for the actual protection that the model can offer you, it’s a good thing that they come with a gel layer that better distributes the force of any impacts that you might suffer from your sparring partner, opponent, or the heavy bag.

As per the reviews that this item has received, it’s super comfortable and made of neoprene-like material that fits as if it were your second skin. These so-called Thai boxing shoes have anti-slip rubber bits on the bottom and an eye-catching design, too. 

Check it out

2. Wonzone Foot Protector

Wonzone Taekwondo Training Boxing Foot Gear Martial Arts Protector Sparring Gear Muay Thai Kung Fu Tae Kwon Do Feet Protector TKD Foot Gear Support for Men Women Kids (Large)

If you’re in the market searching for some cheap Muay Thai shoes and you haven’t made up your mind on something in particular, check out this pair of foot protectors. It’s available in several color combos and sizes, so it speaks to the needs of male, female, and young fighters. 

The product is made from PU leather, elastic cloth, as well as a layer of EVA sponge which can protect you from a variety of nasty impacts. The lycra fabric and the PU leather work together to keep your ankle wrapped and protected adequately. 

It’s also worth noting that the foot protector comes with a moisture-absorbing lining that makes it possible for your foot to remain dry and comfortable. This feature also extends the life of your gear, allowing you to save your hard-earned cash and avoid getting a replacement ahead of time.

The only complaints that we found with regard to this model is the velcro at the back. If you don’t get the right size, the velcro isn’t going to keep the protectors in place.

Check it out

3. Vibram Men’s V-Train Cross-Trainer Shoe

Vibram Five Fingers Men's V-Train Fitness Shoe (42 EU/9-9.5, Black Out)

As unconventional as this might seem for an article where we should have showcased good Thai boxing shoes in the form of ankle guards, the truth is that we checked some forums and noticed that some fighters wear Vibram shoes while training.

Whether that is a good or a bad idea, we can’t say. But if you tend to do a lot of sparring outdoors, you definitely need a pair of shoes instead of a pair of ankle wraps. Most of the opinions that we have found in this sense note the use of traditional running shoes, but if you’re using a mat, Vibram shoes might make the right choice. 

Getting back to the actual model, you might want to know that it’s made of a mix of polyester and spandex. The rubber sole, along with the flexibility of the barefoot shoe itself provides you with plenty of freedom of movement.

Another aspect to consider when looking at this choice is that it comes with a circular lug pattern for excellent grip while performing lateral moves. So slipping on the mat isn’t going to be an issue to deal with. 

Besides, the Vibram shoe comes with an antimicrobial poly fabric sock liner known for wicking sweat away and keeping your feet dry and clean. 

Check it out

Muay Thai Trainers Guide

If you’ve been tossing and turning about getting some Muay Thai shoes and you don’t know how to go about things, it’s a good thing you’re reading this post. In the guide below, we have showcased some of the essential factors that you should keep in mind when shopping for such products. 

Where are you going to train?

If you regularly go to the studio and train on a mat indoors, what you need aren’t Muay Thai shoes per se, but ankle guards. We have written an extensive article on ankle protectors in the past, so we aren’t going to go into too much detail about them. 

Generally, though, they have to fit properly and boast a layer of gel or foam that can provide you with the protection you need. 

Vibram Five Fingers Men's V-Train Fitness Shoe (42 EU/9-9.5, Black Out)

On the other hand, if you want to train outdoors, especially when the weather’s nice, you still need a mat, but the likelihood of hitting harder terrain with your feet is higher. Some Muay Thai practitioners train on the ground, and this can put a lot of pressure on your feet if you use just ankle guards.

In such situations, you should use very thin shoes, such as those made for running or cross training. While these aren’t going to protect your ankle just as well, you might want to have a talk with your sparring partner so that you both avoid damaging each other’s ankles. 

Materials

Shoes can be made from a variety of materials and their quality can effectively impact their durability. However, what we couldn’t help noticing while going through a lot of Muay Thai shoes reviews is that the grip is one of the most important features in them.

Usually, the grip is ensured by a rubber outsole. It’s crucial for you not to slip on the mat, because most ankle injuries actually happen because of slippage, not because your opponent has hit you in that area. 

Overmont Taekwondo Kick Pad with Curved Punching Surface Karate Kicking Shield PU Leather for Boxing Martial Art Kickboxing Training

Ideally, the shoe should come with a sock liner that has moisture wicking properties. If possible, the liner should also be antimicrobial so that your feet are protected on this account, as well. 

Size

Some ankle protectors come in generic sizes such as small, medium, or large, so you can’t know for sure whether the one you will order online is going to fit or not. But shoes are a lot more specific than that. 

Look for the manufacturer’s sizing chart to find out the exact measurements of each size and then compare the figure with your foot measurement. Check out some reviews while you’re at it since they can tell you whether size-related issues are common or not. 

Elite Sports Foot Grips (Green, Small/Medium)

Closure

This detail can be a matter of personal preferences, but we have noticed that lacing systems along with velcro ones (both in the same pair) work best. In this case, you are reassured that the shoes aren’t going to slip off while you’re training. 

Comfort

Some people can be a little more specific in terms of what they expect or need from a pair of Muay Thai shoes or ankle protectors. Fighters’ feet aren’t equal. Some can have wider feet, others can have bunions, and there are also Muay Thai practitioners that might have pes planus (also called fallen arches or flat feet). 

Runworld Taekwondo Training Boxing Foot Protector Gear Martial Arts Fight Muay Thai Kung Fu Tae Kwon Do Feet Protector TKD Foot Support For Men Women Kids Children (Black, Large)

While you can alleviate discomfort with the use of the right insoles, you should first pick the right shoes. They don’t have to be restrictive or tight in any way, but they also shouldn’t be too large as they might slip off your feet or make you feel like you’re swimming in them. 

What about the cost?

Well, it depends on what you’re looking for. If you want to get ankle guards, the majority of those that we have come across are priced at around thirty to forty dollars or more. If you want to get good shoes for Muay Thai, they might set you back up to one hundred or more. 

Just remember, it all boils down to your own needs and preferences, so you should pick the right product in this respect. 

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John is a devoted high level amateur MMA practitioner whose passion has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years. He founded US Combat Sports to help MMA practitioners of all levels find the right gear to improve their personal performance based on his experiences while also saving money in the process.