Welcome back to my online diary documenting my very amateur experience training in Muay Thai. If you missed the previous entries on Bloody Elbow, read them here.
When I first started out my training a year ago, I received a lot of advice about what gear to purchase. Some of it I used, some I did not. (Nothing personal, but, well, I was cheap, what can I say?) I'm appreciative of all the guidance I've received in this area as the world of gear acquisition can be incredibly daunting to a new trainee. There are just so many different pieces out there, and so many options for each one. Do I need ankle wraps? How about head gear? The super expensive mouthpiece or a more basic one? The Muay Thai steel cup, or something simple? 16 oz gloves? 14? 12? It's a lot to process.
There's no shortage of reviews online, but these can also be confusing. In particular, I found that many reviews focus on the user's initial impressions, but don't always address how the gear holds up over time. So this week, I'm focusing on my gear and providing a quick review of how it's holding up one year later. Hopefully it will help you if you're looking into something similar.
Gloves - I went with your basic Everlast boxing glove, 16 oz - this one I believe. Yes, yes, I know one of the first things you'll hear is that Everlast is the devil, but I chose these because I could try them on at my local Sports Authority, and they cost around $30. My first impression was that I had indeed made a bad choice, as part of the stitching quickly came loose. But 1 year later, I'm still using them, and they're fine. They're starting to get a little worn down, and I'll need to upgrade within the year, but for $30 I am happy. For new folks looking to get started and looking to not immediately drop a huge chunk of change, I think this is a good option.
Wraps - Along with my gloves, I bought a pair of Everlast hand wraps (in snazzy yellow). They're OK, and again, I'm still using them, but not the best. The trouble is they tend to come loose as training goes on, especially if I am taking pads or gloves on and off. Need something tighter, or perhaps just need a better lesson in proper wrapping technique. I probably could have done better, but for around $8 they're fine.
Shin pads - My best purchase. A have a pair of RevGear Defender Gel Shin Guards purchased online at MMA Stop. They cost me about $60 and are fantastic. I'm a tall guy with long legs, and these cover my entire shin and the foot with no trouble. They're big, so at first I felt a bit awkward in them, but with a few sessions, I was fine. I've used them a lot and they show absolutely no wear and tear - like, nothing at all. Perhaps the only downside is that when I drill a lot of leg kicks and checks, they will get knocked askew on my shin, but that's not a big deal. An enthusiastic thumbs up on these (and another thumbs up for MMA Stop, who was great to deal with).
Cup - A terrible cup from Target. It has done OK for me, but I need to upgrade.
Mouthpiece - I got a basic fitted mouthpiece, again from Target. I know I need something better, as I can tell it's not providing me with enough protection, and that's a bad thing.
Headgear - Haven't purchased one yet, but am currently on the prowl.
And that's it. I don't have ankle wraps, a fancy bag, Muay Thai shorts or my own pads. Of those things, my next purchase will probably be shorts, partly because they will be helpful, and partly (I admit) just because they look cool. Of course, those are my specific experiences based on my gym and trainer. Anyone starting off should have a conversation with their trainer to find out what is needed and hear their suggestions. But don't let the cost of the highest end gear turn you off from jumping in and getting started - you can always upgrade later, and better to get going now then wait until everything is perfect.
Question(s) of the day: What is your best gear purchase? What was terrible for you? What did you not have that you needed?