Maybe you have read our article on the health benefits of kickboxing and now think that you need this sport in your life. Maybe you have seen some of the kickboxing world champions on the TV and have been inspired. Or maybe your mate brought you along to a class and now you are hooked, obsessed, addicted.
Either way, if you are going to be taking your new favourite sport seriously, you are going to have to think about some of the gear you are going to need. And, from protective gear to your clothes and training equipment, there is really a lot to think about. Kickboxing is one of the most dynamic of combat sports, remember – so you need to be prepared.
As a casual kickboxer, your boxing training studio or gym will most likely supply most of the equipment for you. Yet, if you are going often, you don’t really want to be using for too long a boxing glove that’s been passed around a thousand people. And then think about sharing the boxing shoes, the ankle support, and – God forbid – the mouthguard. Let’s not actually think about that.
Anyway, at some point, you are going to want to be buying your own training gear. Whilst it is an expense, it is just, simply easier. So, here are some of the key bits of boxing equipment that you are going to need in your kickboxing gear bags. And, at the bottom, we show you some of the best places to buy it all.
What Style of Kickboxing Should I be Doing?
A lot of the equipment that you will need will depend on the style of kickboxing you will be doing. Kickboxing, Muay Thai, and savate (French kickboxing) all have very different requirements, different levels of contact, and different conventions. So, it is worth being clear on which you will be doing before going ahead and buying the whole lot.
For example, a lot of stuff is going to change if you are doing kickboxing in a cardio-fitness class rather than Muay Thai. In the former case, you aren’t going to need a mouth guard, because no-one really should be punching you in the face at all.
Meanwhile, if you are going to into a Muay Thai competition, you will need to consider the obligatory fightwear that Muay Thai fighters wear. This is a convention that you don’t need to follow in your home gym – but is necessary when you are participating in official bouts.
So, think about all this quite clearly. You don’t want to end up with savate footwear when you simply don’t need it. And people might look at you a bit funny if you went into a kickboxing ring wearing Muay Thai rope hand wrap.
Check out our article on the different types of kickboxing.
What Do I Need to Go Kickboxing?
But let’s get down to it. Here are some of the essential things you’ll need when you are kick boxing – both for protection and for fitness.
The iconic and essential boxing gear: the gloves. Lightweight MMA gloves or the rounded leather gloves, effective handwear is absolutely essential for all boxers – for the sake of your hands and for the sake of your opponent’s face.
This stands for those using punching bags as well as those who are sparring. Don’t bother with bag gloves: whilst these are more lightweight – as they have less padding – if you ever want to level up to proper competitive bouts, you’ll need the real thing. Get them in fourteen- or sixteen-ounce sizes.
You don’t need specific Muay Thai gloves: these sizes will do for sparring gloves and training gloves in both kickboxing and Muay Thai.
Mitts – or focus mitts – are the pads that, whilst training, will protect your partner’s or coach’s hands from your punches. Whilst you won’t benefit from them yourself – unless you are swapping the puncher and the trainer – they are all-important. And they will make your training more effective.
Whoever wears the mitts will call out combinations and return some pressure to your punch or kick.
You’re wearing your kickboxing gloves. That’s all good. But when taking boxing very seriously – and doing it a lot – you may want to consider handwraps.
These you wear beneath your gloves, and they provide compression, security, and stability to the muscles and tissue in your hands. They provide extra protection, essentially – and a harder hit to your opponent.
In Muay Thai, you may have noticed that fighters wrap their hands in rope. Whilst different regions do this differently, the main aim is, again, protection. It will cover your hand and knuckles, give wrist support, and, sometimes, even extend to your elbow.
Check out some of the world champions of kickboxing.
Body Armour: Shin Guards and Head Guards.
Body armour sounds a little intimidating. But, remember, in kickboxing, you are fighting – and, in fights, people get hurt.
The point in protective guards is to prevent more serious injury than is absolutely necessary. (In Muay Thai, the aim is to knock your opponent out, so injury to some extent is inevitable.) That’s why protection is usually used for particular pain points: the head and the shins.
Your headgear will protect your temples and forehead, primarily. For styles like American kickboxing, in which low kicks are forbidden, you will expect kicks to the head – and it’s worth having something there between you and your skull.
Meanwhile, in styles like savate, shinguards are fairly indispensable – as low kicks can go straight to an extremely painful area.
Talking of extremely painful areas, guys, get a groin protector too.
A must in your sparring gear, a mouthguard or gum shield will prevent a tinkling of teeth to the floor after a wallop in the mush.
It’s fairly self-explanatory this one – but as important as all the rest.
Remember, if you are not intending to do fights, then all of this stuff is superfluous. A punch bag won’t punch back.
In kickboxing, you’ll be striking your feet constantly. And, to ensure that you are protected from the force of your own strength, it is important that you take care to wear the correct foot protection.
Kickboxing foot guards give support to your muscles, tendons, your little bones in your toes, and your ankles – and they won’t obstruct your footwork at all.
If you are doing savate, you’ll need some special shoes for this style. There are quite strict rules from the presiding body, so it is important that you take care: no hard bits, no parts that can snag on an opponent’s clothes. In savate, the shoes are your main weapon, so make sure they are comfortable.
Learn about the kickboxing rules here!
When kickboxing, the chances are that you are going to get really hot and sweaty. So effective sports clothing is preferable – if not essential.
You want clothes with some breathability – as well as boxing shorts that are not too baggy. Otherwise, they’ll just get in the way, and that’s not something you want.
For beginners, decent sports gear will work well enough.
Whilst far from essential if you are going to training at the gym, a punching bag of your own is great if you want to bring your kickboxing training into your home.
Whether they hang from the ceiling or they are freestanding, the punch bag is the indispensable piece of gear for your practice. Whether you are just boxing for your own general fitness or you are training actively towards a bout, a punchbag is the way that you will improve the quickest.
Gear for General Fitness Training.
Whilst we’ve listed the essentials, you’ll find that you’ll become a better kickboxer if you commit hard to your general fitness. This means cardio, weight training, and strength training – and there are plenty of tools you can use for this.
Take the skipping rope, the famous exercise tool of the boxer. This will help you develop your agility, speed, and cardio.
A kettlebell or a selection of dumbbells are handy for strength training too.
Where Do I Buy My Kickboxing Gear?
There are all sorts of places that sell kickboxing gear – from generic online marketplaces like Amazon to specialist local sports shops and your boxing gym.
You’ll find specialist stores online too, like BoxFitUK, Geezers Boxing, Fight Outlet, and SugarRays. All of these places will provide you with all the equipment that you could possibly need.
Look out for some of the best brands in the boxing and kickboxing market. Everlast is a classic, with some of the most famous names in the sport using their products. Otherwise, Twins make quality equipment and Blitz too.
Finally, learn everything you need to get started in kickboxing!