Traditional Muay Thai Clothing: Understanding Its Unique Ring Fashion

(Last Updated On: August 2, 2019)

There’s more to Muay Thai clothing than what meets the eye.  What some may perceive as a “regional” thing, traditional clothing actually poses a lot of advantages to a fighter when training, or fighting in the ring.  It turns out that even from centuries ago, fighters who started the discipline also embraced the “dress-for-success” mantra when it came to Muay Thai.  This had been carried over from one generation to the next, and subsequently improved over time to enhance performance, boost confidence, and provide more freedom of movement.

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In the realm of Muay Thai, the following are traditional clothing worn while in a fight…

Source : muaythaipros.com
  • Muay Thai Shorts.  First thing on the list is the “shorty-shorts” worn by most fighters.  As observed, Muay Thai shorts are designed to be shorter than most sportswear in other combat sport disciplines like boxing, MMA, and kickboxing, as seen from the image above from MTP.  Tight-fitting on top with slightly flared bottoms, traditional Muay Thai shorts are usually made of premium quality satin material unique in the South Asian regions, particularly in Thailand.  These shorts (see Yokkao’s top selections below) are shorter with enough room for the legs to maneuver themselves and without any restrictions.  Designed initially with Thailand’s hot climate in mind, it’s cut to ensure maximum air flow and optimized mobility, necessary when performing various kicks.
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Yokkao Top Selection Shorts

  • Hand Gloves.  In addition to the shorts, a Muay Thai fighter wears no shirt nor footwear when training, or in a fight.  Hand gloves like traditional boxing, however, is a requirement.  As a rule, a trainee must have 3 types of hand gloves– for training/sparring, bag drills, and for competition.  Bag drills or clinching gloves are often more lightweight at around 8 to 14 ounces.  Sparring gloves are often more padded at around 16 to 20 ounces to protect trainees.  While finding a glove that exactly fits the shape of one’s hand adds more potency to a fighter’s blow, it can be costly as the best way to have it is to find a local custom outfitter.  Heavier gloves for training though are encouraged as it can also stimulate strength training.  You can check out these traditional hand gloves from www.best-muaythai-equipment.com pictured below.
Source : best-muaythai-equipment.com
  • Mongkol/Mongkhon.  Ever wonder why most local Muay Thai fighters traditionally wear a headgear in various colors and designs like the one below?  It’s called a “mongkol” or a “mongkhon” and they are usually unique to each and every training center as some sort of trademark by the trainer handling a fighter.  Given to fighters deemed ready for the big leagues, it is worn while performing the Wai khru Ram Muay, a pre-fight ritual.  Laden with superstitions, this sacred headgear must only be between trainer and fighter as it represents both respect and loyalty.

    Source : rawaimuaythai.com
  • Pakama.  Riddled with superstitions, traditional Muay Thai fighters also wear a colorful plaid sash, usually tied around the waist.  Like the mongkol, the pakama is worn when performing the Wai Khru Ram Muay and often, removed thereafter before facing an opponent.  It represents a fighter’s home and family ties bearing their colors.  Usually hand-woven, some manufacturers nowadays incorporate such designs into their shorts (see below).

    Source : billionmore.com

Dress For Success

The short-shorts with flared bottom and hand gloves are must-have sportswear.  These gear are worn not just to improve performance but also to protect and prevent injuries.  However, traditional Muay Thai clothing often calls for unique gear like the mongkol and pakama not heard of in any other sports.  When dressing for success in the realm of Muay Thai, always remember to focus on enhanced mobility and personal preference.  As always, your personal beliefs and comfort should take first place when wearing something to a fight.