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The Ultimate Muay Thai Shorts Guide

The Ultimate Muay Thai Shorts Guide


Questions about Muay Thai shorts? Look no further: Revgear answers all your questions

Muay Thai shorts or Thai shorts are the short shorts that are used for both practice and fighting. They are distinct and practical as well as being stylish in their own right. Muay Thai shorts allow anyone to express themselves due to the wide range of styles and designs.

Over the years, the team at Revgear have had countless enquiries about Thai shorts. In this article, we answer the most common questions that we are asked. Here is everything you wanted to know about Thai shorts and more.

Why do people wear Muay Thai shorts?

People wear Muay Thai shorts for training and fighting because they are custom built to ensure freedom of movement, as well as making sure they don’t fall down. The construction of the shorts starts with a thick elastic waistband that holds its place no matter how hard you are training.

Thai shorts also have short inseams and a loose fit around the thigh area so that kicks and knees are not restricted, allowing for full range of motion. Muay Thai shorts are made specially for Muay Thai. After almost a century of development, they have been honed into the modern iteration, like the perfectly engineered Revgear Muay Thai Shorts which combine tradition with innovative materials and design.

Muay Thai Shorts

Do you need Muay Thai shorts for Muay Thai?

You don’t need to wear Muay Thai shorts for training, but it is highly recommended. Any short, roomy, pocketless shorts with an elastic waistband will work, but nothing is as appropriate as Muay Thai shorts. Thai shorts are custom made for the sport, give full range of motion, are hard wearing, stay in place, and look stylish.

If you try to replace them with something similar, the question is, why? Instead of trying to find something like Thai shorts, you may as well just get Muay Thai shorts.

Are Muay Thai shorts supposed to be tight?

Muay Thai shorts are not meant to be tight. They should have a firm hold on the waistband, but the legs of the shorts should have at least a couple of inches of room away from the thigh at the lowest point. This is so that you can kick, knee and block without any hindrance.

Old school Muay Thai shorts had a much looser leg fit than the modern style, like the Revgear Muay Thai Shorts, which have a more fitted feel and sleek design, without compromising on range of motion.

Muay Thai Shorts

What do people wear under Muay Thai shorts?

Usually a pair of decent underwear is all that you need to wear. Boxer shorts are not a good idea as you may expose more than your defensive weaknesses. Boxer briefs are the standard, as they keep everything in place and fit close to the body. Some people opt for compression shorts like Vale Tudo shorts, as they feel secure and sometimes have space for an athletic cup. Others like to wear spats or compression pants like the Revgear Bionic Compression Pants. The only other thing that is worn under Muay Thai shorts is a cup. Wearing protection during training is always a good idea.

How high should I wear Muay Thai shorts?

How high you wear your Muay Thai shorts is a personal preference, but you need to ensure that the elastic waistband is on or above your hips. There are two main schools of thought on this subject: rolled, or unrolled waistband.

If you choose to keep your waistband unrolled, then the elastic section will cover your navel. Wearing them this high makes sure that the shorts are securely in place, while giving full range of motion to the legs.

The other option is to roll the waistband down – to fold it over itself. This makes a shorter short. The waistband then sits closer to the hips while keeping the shorts at the same height on the thigh as in the unrolled iteration. The Revgear low waist shorts do the job for you.

The Thais will take this to the extreme, pulling up the rolled waistband shorts higher and higher while fighting or training, until they are not much bigger than underwear. You may not want to go to this level, but however you choose to wear your Muay Thai shorts, make sure they are secure and comfortable.

Muay Thai Shorts

How many Muay Thai shorts should I have?

While some people own a couple of pairs of shorts, some are collectors and have dozens of pairs. With so many styles and color variations, it is easy to see how Thai shorts can become an addiction.

Muay Thai shorts allow for full expression of your personality. From subdued patterns and colors, to bright day-glo and stylized writing, the range of options in Muay Thai shorts is astonishing. Whatever your style is, you can guarantee there is a Thai short out there for you.

While this can lead to vast collections over time, the more practically minded may just want to keep it down to the bare minimum. It then becomes a question of how often you train. If you are training 3 times a week, then you will need at least two pairs, unless you put on a wash every day. If you are training 5 times a week, then you will need at least 3 pairs.

What color Muay Thai shorts should I get?

While there are certain colors of Muay Thai shorts that carry significant meaning in Thailand, with some symbolizing devotion to the king for example, the choice is truly up to you. First and foremost, you should choose a color you like and inspires you to push hard in your training. Perhaps your gym has a set of colors that it uses and you might like to stick to that to feel like you are on a team. Whatever color you choose, you can always get another pair of shorts and mix it up, wearing a different color for a different mood or style combination.

Muay Thai Shorts

Why are Muay Thai shorts so colorful?

There are a lot of different colors of Muay Thai shorts from subtle blacks and grays, to bright, shocking colors. Many fighters and Muay Thai enthusiasts opt for the brighter colors for several reasons.

The Thais culturally have often preferred bright colors in their day to day life. Any traveler to Thailand will notice the wide array of pinks, yellows, oranges, reds, blues and greens on display all around them. Bright colors are cheerful and what else would you expect from the “Land of Smiles.”

Bright colors also allow a fighter to stand out to both the crowd and the judges of a Muay Thai fight. There is no mistaking which fighter is which from the back row of Lumpini stadium when their shorts are bright yellow. Fighters who come from the northeastern region of Isaan sometimes opt for the pakama pattern, which is similar to tartan. It distinguishes them as coming from the famed home of top Muay Thai fighters.

This has bled into the worldwide Muay Thai culture, with vibrant colors being the preferred style. It is a feedback loop, people who like bright colors tend towards Muay Thai and Muay Thai makes people like bright colors as they get deeper into the culture.

What do pink Muay Thai shorts mean?

Pink Muay Thai shorts, like yellow ones, are associated with loyalty to the King of Thailand, particularly the previous king. The colors of King Bhumibol Adulyadej were yellow and pink, with pink being particularly important in his last years: even the Thai army wore pink during ceremonies.

The days of the week also have colors related to the traditional Hindu astrological system of pre-Buddhist Thailand. Sunday is red, Monday is yellow, Tuesday is pink, Wednesday morning is green, Wednesday evening is gray, Thursday is orange, Friday is blue, and Saturday is purple. Thais tend to wear these colors on these days. A fighter may also choose to wear the color of the day he was born.

Pink remains a popular color as it was the color of King Bhumibol, the most popular king in recent history.

Muay Thai Shorts

What do red shorts mean in Muay Thai?

While red is associated with Sunday in Thai astrology, the main reason that people wear red shorts is that the two corners of a Muay Thai fight are red and blue. Many people like to wear one of those two colors, or black which is a neutral color associated with either corner. These days, most professional promotions and venues do not make fighters wear these colors as shorts, keeping to coloring the gloves instead. Professional promotions often supply the shorts for the fight to the fighters in the colors of the promotion. In amateur Muay Thai, the two fighters must wear the color of the corner they are allocated: either red or blue.

BONUS: Best Shorts for MMA and Jiu Jitsu

Jiu Jitsu shorts, also known as no gi shorts, also known as MMA shorts, are a catch all style for any martial art that involves grappling. The difference nowadays is that some Jiu Jitsu shorts are often made without velcro and are becoming shorter than the traditional MMA shorts. Ultimately, as styles come and go, the biggest difference is length and fit.

What are compression shorts for MMA?

Compression MMA shorts are known as Vale Tudo shorts. They were originally worn for the Brazilian style of MMA that came out of the grappling scene called Vale Tudo – “Everything Goes.” Vale Tudo first became popular in Brazil in the 1920s as a circus side show along with wrestling. The tight shorts worn by wrestlers became the standard for Vale Tudo and throughout the years, Brazilian MMA fighters that came from Vale Tudo continued to wear the tight shorts when crossing over to professional MMA.

Can you wear Thai shorts in MMA?

It is permissible to wear Thai shorts for MMA, but they may not necessarily be the best option. Many strikers who transition to MMA like to wear Muay Thai shorts, as they feel unimpeded for their striking. Since grappling is involved in MMA, Thai shorts are not always the best option, as they often have a wider diameter at the thigh, which can cause a tangle. The more modern Muay Thai shorts which have a more fitted profile, such as the Revgear Muay Thai shorts, can work, since they are not as billowy as the traditional Thai shorts. However, a better option would be grappling shorts, as they are designed for the purpose.

How to choose MMA shorts?

With several options to choose from, selecting a pair of MMA shorts comes down to whether you like a tight fit, or a looser fit.

The MMA shorts that were more popular in the early 2000s were longer, knee-length shorts with a drawstring and velcro waistband. This style has remained popular among old school MMA guys. They give more cover, but can be a little more restrictive than the more modern style.

The more modern version of this short is aligned with the no gi BJJ scene. While the shorts may retain the velcro waist and drawstring, they are often shorter and made of a more lightweight material, like the Revgear Stealth shorts. Some variants are no gi shorts which have an elastic waistband and are a little shorter still, longer than Thai shorts, but shorter than standard MMA shorts.

Vale Tudo compression shorts are an option for people who want to have compression and no extra fabric in the way of their MMA. You need to be very comfortable with your body to have the confidence to wear them, but they are the sleekest and least restrictive of all shorts options you can choose for MMA.

Tom Billinge Tom is the Editor of Revgear Sports and the founder of WarYoga. He is a 10th Planet purple belt and a Muay Thai Kru having spent over two decades in the sport in Thailand and around the world. Tom has trained Lethwei in Myanmar, Kushti wrestling in India, Zurkhaneh sports in Iran, boxing throughout Europe, and catch wrestling in the USA. Tom also resurrected the ancient techniques of traditional British bareknuckle pugilism from archaic manuals.