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Gear Used for Kickboxing

author image Henry Halse
Henry Halse is a Philadelphia-based personal trainer, speaker, and writer. He's trained a wide variety of people, from couch potatoes to professional athletes, and helped them realize their own strength, determination and self-confidence. Henry has also written for various fitness and lifestyle publications, including Women’s Health, AskMen and Prevention.

Don't show up to your first kickboxing class looking like a full-fledged boxer. The gear you need for kickboxing depends on whether you're taking a class meant for self-defense or one that's simply for cardio exercise. For the latter, you probably don't need much other than a good pair of shoes and moisture-wicking workout clothing.

For the former, though, proper gear ensures that you're suited up safely. Kickboxing requires more protective gear that other martial arts like boxing or Jiu-Jitsu, and ff you're planning on sparring or contact kickboxing, you'll need even more.


Safety first is the motto in martial arts, even in a dangerous sport like kickboxing. Invest in a quality piece of headgear that can protect you from dangerous kicks and punches to the head. Slip it on whenever you're fighting an opponent, so it can dampen blows to your head with padding.

The most popular style of headgear goes around your head but leaves the top open since it's the thickest part of your skull. They also cover the ears and cheeks. There is a strap that goes under your neck to keep it on. Some also have a crossbar of padding that goes over your nose, if you have a sensitive nose.

Pick headgear that protects your head but allows you to see. Some can be too restricting on vision, which can be even more dangerous. If you can't see a strike coming, you can't defend yourself.

Read More: Home Training for Kickboxing

Shin Guards

Shin guards are one of the most essential pieces of kickboxing equipment, and your shins can take a beating if you're not careful. When kicking an opponent, you might hit a hard part of their body — say, the elbow or knee — which can seriously damage your shin if you don't wear guards.

These aren't like soccer shin guards, which have a hard shell. Kickboxing shin guards are soft and cover the lower leg, as well as the top of the foot. If you're an experienced fighter and never hit with your foot, you can buy guards that only cover your shins.


Don't jeopardize your pearly whites by neglecting to wear a mouth guard. You can get them for less than $10 from a pharmacy or splurge by purchasing custom-made guards that cost more than $100. Having a layer between your bottom and top teeth prevents them from hitting and chipping. It also helps absorb impact from hits such as an uppercut, which strikes the jaw.


Boxing gloves work perfectly well for kickboxing. There are, however, sport-specific gloves that have a shorter wrist and more compact design because a kickboxer needs the flexibility to throw elbows and grab their opponent.

Gloves help protect your hands from damage. Throw punches can be very dangerous, especially if you make contact with harder bones like the elbow or top of the skull. You can also use them to block your opponent's shots because they have padding.


Hand wraps are another layer of protection for your hands. They help keep your bones in line when you hit an object because they can bend out of place if you're not careful. Typically, you wrap them around your wrists, knuckles and each individual finger.

Knee and Elbow Pads

Not every kickboxing gym uses or requires knee or elbow pads, but they can take some of the risk out of training. You can throw knees at an opponent in kickboxing, which can be very damaging because the knee bone is so hard. Throw on knee pads to spare your own knees and your opponent's body. Elbow pads protect your elbow from getting damaged if you hit your opponent with it and protect your own elbow from a serious blow.

Read More: Calories Burned Kickboxing for 45 Minutes


To complete your kickboxing look, purchase some official kickboxing trunks. They are soft, light and very short. You want to wear shorter shorts while kickboxing to give yourself some room to throw high kicks and knees.

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