There are a few pieces of equipment that you will definitely need and some that can wait, such as;
- Boxing gloves: These will protect your hands and just as important, your wrists. You can buy any gloves you like but I would personally recommend the following brands in order of most expensive to less expensive; Twins, Yokkao, Fairtex, Sandee, MTG. Yes there are some brands that are cheaper than this and by all means you can start at this point, but bear in mind they may not last long. A typical cost you can expect is anywhere from £50 (maybe less) to £120. In terms of sizing, 14oz to 16oz for sparring and 8oz to 12oz for pad and bag work.
- Shin guards: Not just for sparring, also just for training, you will need shin pads. Ideally Thai style shin pads with velcro, as opposed to pull-on ones used in amateur style fights etc. Again, the same brands as for gloves, however, a lot of cheaper brands will do the job for a while.
- Mouthguard: Massively important to protect your teeth when sparring, so don't go really cheap. Having said this, you shouldn't need to spend much more than £20. Lots of great brands but a few I like are Opro, Shock Doctor, Venum, Safejawz, Sisu.
- Groin guard: You gotta protect your balls!!! - Again, don't skimp on cost, I would go for a well-reviewed groin guard specific to martial arts, not boxing. Lots of great brands out there, you can pay as little as £10 but I would go closer to £20 +
- Hand wraps: One simple bit of advice is to go for a minimum of 4 metres in length but ideally 4.5 metres. You will need elasticated wraps as these are easier to use and much more comfortable. In terms of brands, just keep in mind that the less you pay, the less time they will last, specifically when washed regularly, which you should do!!!
- Ankle supports: It is totally up to you, if you feel after a little training you need ankle supports go for it but don't fall into the trap of seeing others wear them so you should.
- Shorts: Totally up to you again but I would advise wearing proper Muay Thai shorts, ideally satin style, as they are much more comfortable. In terms of cost, it really can vary by quite a bit. No need to spend more than £50 and can be as little as £15.
You can buy most of this equipment online and there are lots of great suppliers. I would also urge to go second hand for some of it (not the mouthguard) as not only will it save you money but it's sustainable. Having said that, gloves and shin guards need to be in good order.
It is vital you choose the right size and bear in mind, specifically with shorts, the Thai brands will come up much, much smaller than western sizing.
You don't need everything all at once but the main things to have ready are hand wraps and gloves, maybe not for the first session but certainly after you have decided that Muay Thai is for you!
Just to summarise some of the great brands out there....
And the Online Stores I would recommend....
As ever, any questions let me know