Cageside Premium MMA Shinguards
Let me start by saying that I was very pleased with my order from Cageside MMA. I feel that there are a number of websites out there pushing the same merchandise at comparable prices. I feel that the level of service you receive from a website is what sets one apart from the other. Not to rail against one merchant or another, but if your customer service sucks, you're not likely to get my return business...if you get it at all.
So, props to you, Cageside. Boomer was friendly and on his A-game when it came to dealing with me.
I train at two schools. At one school I order for about 50 students. At the other, I come in contact with TONS of people. I'm always looking for a good deal on equipment. I placed an order with Cageside for some equipment (boxing gloves, training MMA gloves, and shinguards). I ordered (through Cageside) items from Windy and Combat Sports thinking that the name would be quality items. The same day I ordered, I received an email from Boomer suggesting I try their in-house brand of equipment. I was assured that the quality of the equipment would meet or exceed that of their competitors. I decided to take a chance and see how the house brand worked out.
For this review, I'll be comparing the Cageside MMA shinguards against Windy Muay Thai shinguards. I've had the Cageside brand shinguards for a week and a half. I've trained everyday since receiving them for about 3 hours a day.
Durability - I scored the Cageside brand an 9. I've only had the shinguards for a week and a half, so I can't say their indestructable, but I can say that they look like they will hold up very nicely.
Flexibility/Mobility - Here's where I'm liking the Cageside shinguards. They stay in place while allowing you to train without having to stop every ten seconds to adjust straps or move the shinguards back into place. There is an interesting elastic/velcro strap that can be used to fit the padding over the top of your foot with quick adjustments. I found it pretty handy. It seems to hold the pad in place better while training and I like having something that seems to fit me slightly better. In contrast, the Windy shinguards just have the single strap of elastic that either fits you or it doesn't. I find myself constanting adjusting the top of the foot to get the pads back into place. I hate that.
The only concern I have with the adjustable strap is the fact that it is elastic and velcro. If one were to overuse the strap, I could see that the velcro would potentially rear its ugly head and maybe scratch someone. Maybe.
Ease of use - Put em on. Take em off. It's not hard.
Material/Production Quality - Here's where I'll rail on Windy for a bit...if I could find a way to contact Windy, I'd send them my shinguards back and I'd pee all over them. I purchased a pair of Windy shinguards about 8 months ago. In comparison to the Windy brand shinguards, the Cageside appear to have a better design. I'm a stitch Nazi. I am pretty picky about purchasing equipment when I can see that the stitching is uneven, frayed, poorly done, or if it just doesn't look right. The lines on the shinguards are stitched very well. The edges of the guards are secured in place with a piece of material that completely covers the edge of the guards all the way around the edges. The foot protection appears to be a single piece construction. This is an important point for me. The Windy shinguards are two seperate pieces sewn together. The Windy shinguards didn't make it four months before the stitching at the foot pad/shin pad junction started coming apart. I paid $70 for the shinguards last year and they got moderate use. I think it's crap that the Windy shinguards lost a foot pad in less than a year.
Another knock on Windy (and plus for Cageside) is the straps. Cageside has a neoprene strap with velcro connections. The neoprene is slightly curved to fit the back of the calf muscles. This helps to prevent the shinguard from slipping around the leg when kicking. I love it! On the other hand, Windy has two leather straps (durable, yes) that loop through a piece of plastic (not so durable) and velcro down for attachment. On both shinguards from Windy, the stitching at the plastic loop has come out. The loop is busted and I generally think Windy sucks.
Protection - I've managed to not get dinged up while wearing the shinguards. I'm very pleased that I've not had any slippage while training. The padding on the top of the foot is not as thick as the Windy brand, but I don't think it's going to be a major factor in injuries while wearing the Cageside brand.
Overall, I think the Cageside brand shinguards are worth the price. I feel they are targeting a mid-range market where people want a higher quality piece of equipment but don't want to jump off into the high-end Fairtex market. I also feel that if you are a school owner and purchasing equipment for your people, and are like me and pass on discounts to your students, these are definitely the way to go. I feel like Cageside is willing to stand by their products and I would recommend this particular item to my peers.