Top King Professional shin guards
So after I got fed up with my MMA neoprene-backed shin guards, I opted for something a bit more specialized to kickboxing, since I don't grapple, and so have no need for my pads to accommodate that. My gym has a deal with Top King, so pretty much all of our gear comes through them, and I picked up a pair of these. After having them for about a month, here's my thoughts-
Durability, N/A- Unfortunately, a month isn't long enough to judge this just yet.
Flexibility/Mobility, 7- Better than you would think for something quite as bulky-looking as they are. Seriously, online pictures don't really do them justice, these things look like plate mail boots. Which I happen to think is awesome, but your mileage may vary. That said, they're surprisingly light, but the little bit of padding that comes up to the knee does take a bit of getting used to if you've only used the much smaller MMA-style guards. One other thing to note is that the padding over the foot covers the whole foot, so that'll also be an adjustment.
Ease Of Use, 9- I haven't really got a ton of love for most "traditional" style shinguards, due to the inadequate fastenings and how much they slip. Top King apparently also hates them, because they do it pretty much perfectly. The velcro straps actually keep the pads in place for pretty much everything but the most ferocious shin-to-shin contact. Also of note in the second picture is the extra elastic strap near the bottom, which is something a lot of other traditional shin guards lack, and probably helps to keep them secured. And after having the neoprene-backed MMA pads, taking these things off after a workout is a sheer joy.
Material/Production Quality, 9- Well-constructed and solid design. No complaints.
Protection, 9- Seriously, go kick a light post in these. You probably won't even feel it. I've hit knees and hips with these and not had any more reaction than a slightly different thumping noise instead of the "OW GODDAMN IT" you usually get. The extra padding over the shin is much better-designed than a lot of the other guards out there who just slap a thin ridge over the shin and call it done. The padding covering the entire foot is also nice for your kicks that aren't exactly perfect. The only reason these don't get a perfect 10 is the unpadded ankle joint. It WILL hurt like hell if you bonk an elbow or a hip with that part of them, but there's not a whole lot that can be done about it.
Long story short, these aren't really the cheapest shinguards on the market, but you'll get what you pay for. Unless you're one of those people who has to feel like a truck ran over them to feel like they accomplished anything from training. You should probably just stick to those tiny cotton sock pads and stay the hell away from the rest of us.