The Lobloo Aero Slim Female Groin Guard
- very well designed – light weight, simple, effective, comfortable
- could improve technique – groin confidence in clinch, kicks, knees
- free shipping, arrives fast
I love the Lobloo female groin guard. For the most part, I think women don’t even wear groin protection because there are so few options for us – my friend Emma Thomas wrote about these nightmares here – btw, she’s getting one now too – and of those available very few are functional and/or comfortable…but the Lobloo is both. While I obviously like that this groin guard protects me from knees and kicks that are incredibly painful, I love it because the simple fact of wearing it brings awareness and confidence to the area of my pelvis, which in Muay Thai is immensely important for technique and power. Basically it boils down to this: I can tell a difference between wearing it and not wearing it, and wearing it has positive mental effect. It’s well fitted, it’s comfortable, it works, it’s relatively inexpensive (comparable to most pieces of equipment, like gloves, shinguards, etc), and it’s a single piece of equipment that doesn’t require special clothing so you can wear it with whatever you normally wear for training/fighting. That last part is important to me.
You can find and order the Aero Slim Female groin guard here. Ordering from Thailand it cost me a little over $30, including shipping and it seems I had it in about 10 days. I found the Lobloo female guard through this comprehensive review of groin protectors.
[Edit: The Aeroslim guard is even cheaper for 8limbs.us readers. After seeing this review Lobloo reached out to me to offer a 15% discount to any readers who wanted the Aeroslim female groin guard. Enter the promo code SYLVIE-AEROSLIM on check out and receive the discount on only that guard. That makes it about $28 or 1,000 Thai Baht, with free shipping around the world.]
My Short Vlog Review
Comparison to the Steel Thai Cup
The Thai steel cup had previously been the only groin protection I had tried.
Above, you can see the comparison between the Lobloo Aeroslim female groin guard and a standard Boon Thai steel cup, which is designed for men and the kind of cup that is common for protection for men in Thailand. I’d previously worn the male cup a few times in fights because getting a knee or a kick in the groin hurts and leaves nasty lumps that take a good 5-7 days to go away and that simply sucks. But the steel cup, while it is effective in protecting against that impact from knees and kicks, isn’t comfortable to wear because it’s not designed to fit a female groin. The Lobloo is flatter, which is not only more comfortable but also means you don’t have a bulge in your shorts, and also narrower at the bottom for a better fit, which I notice mostly in how secure it is when strapped on but also allows me to kick and move my legs without feeling the plastic on my thighs or any kind of obstruction from movement. That’s awesome.
Stiffness for Protection
the above photo is a comparison of the Areoslim to a Shock Doctor offering (read the full article here), showing how the stiffness of the plastic in the Lobloo does not “give” upon impact. The hardness is great for protection and doesn’t seem to cause any kind of discomfort when worn for training or fighting in Muay Thai.
I’ve worn it in training for about 5 days now and in a fight and I’ve never felt the plastic piece to be uncomfortable, nor have the edges of the plastic ever moved where they shouldn’t.
The men’s cup in the photo comparison is made of steel. I actually witnessed a fight in New York where one opponent landed a faulty inside-thigh kick, hitting the steel cup and breaking his foot on the steel. That’s some instant-karma for a groin kick. So, steel is pretty effective in protecting your junk. But it’s also heavy. The Lobloo is made of a hard plastic that’s lightweight but still immovable, so even if you get hit hard it’s going to disperse the power of that impact across the surface. And it’s very comfortable as a well-fitted and still slim “shell” across the pubic bone and the softer tissue of that area. I’ve worn it in training for about 5 days now and in a fight and I’ve never felt the plastic piece to be uncomfortable, nor have the edges of the plastic ever moved where they shouldn’t. The straps are flexible and soft, so they don’t dig into the skin and if you correctly adjust them to fit they will stay in place and you won’t be any more aware of them than you are of bra straps on a well-fitting bra. That said, all of this is my experience on my body and obviously different body types will have different experiences, but the guard is adjustable.
The Fit – How to Put on the Guard
The straps are a little tricky to thread through without watching the video on the Lobloo company website (and embedded at the bottom of this article), but seeing it done on that video makes it quick and easy enough to do on your own. Once you have it threaded, depending on your body size it’s pretty easy to just keep it all threaded all the time and make adjustments for tightness and fit once it’s on, but if you have to undo any of the strings to put it on it’s easy enough to rethread as soon as you’re familiar with the patterns. I keep it all threaded and just slip it on as one would a pair of shorts. Below is a video showing the straps and how easily it slips on, which can be a factor in some Thai fight and training settings. You want something you can just step into:
Some Notes About Putting On Your Guard in Thailand
For training, I put the guard on in the restroom before clinch and sparring, and sometimes for padwork because I’m also using the guard for technique purposes. My trainer, Pi Nu, puts on a male steel Thai cup every session for holding pads and he also does this in the restroom of his house. He’s a gentleman. But for fights, it’s not at all out of place to see young boys and men having their cups tied on right out in the open, on the mats where they get their massages and warm up. They just drop their shorts to their knees and someone ties the cup on over their underwear. You’ll see some guys in the Thai gym with this kind of immodest approach – mostly westerners – or sometimes the Thai guys will stand between the rings or kind of off to the side near a wall for just a modicum of privacy. If a cup comes undone in the ring during a fight, the fighter will step down off the ring to have it re-secured. All that said, women don’t generally share this same openness, both out of their own modesty and out of the stares you’ll get. The only Thai girl I’ve ever seen change her shorts on the mat was Phetjee Jaa, who was 12 years old at the time; I don’t know that she’ll do that at 14 and 15 years old. Both she and I wear longer undershorts, so you’re not in your underwear out on the mat, but you still get stared at. I kind of alternate between changing quickly into my shorts with my boxer-briefs on the mat and hurrying to the restroom to change; it depends on how far away or crowded the restroom is, really. But the option of putting a groin guard on out in the open seems like a step further in the stare-factor game for women. Happily, it’s very easy to slip the guard on, so it not only doesn’t require assistance from one of your cornermen (when I wore the male steel cup I had to have my trainer tie it on, which was awkward), but it’s also swift. I’ve fought opponents who are wearing the male cup – you can feel it when you clinch – but I’ve never seen it being put on in public. Female groin guards are pretty non-existent here in Thailand, so even just seeing one at all would draw a lot of attention. When Pi Nu saw me take the Lobloo out of my bag to shoot my review in the ring he was fascinated, “what is that?” When I told him, he almost didn’t believe me, telling me he didn’t know they even made them for women, adding that he didn’t know getting hit in the junk even hurts women. So yeah, it will attract attention.
When I wore my guard in my last fight I excused myself to the bathroom to slip it on. Even though I was in the privacy of a stall, I felt rushed because I was the first fight and the show was starting soon. So I didn’t take the time to really adjust the straps and make them tight and secure. It still stayed in place the whole fight and did its job, but because it’s a piece of equipment that is meant to make you feel protected (as well as actually being protected), I suggest you really take your time with it. Don’t rush, even if you have people staring at you.
How to Assemble – The Lobloo Video
Below is the Lobloo video on how to assemble the groin guard. It’s very nicely done, and super clear. It can be assembled in only a few minutes.
I actually experimented with the threading and came up with something I like a little better, including adding a little slip tie that I read about from another blogger. You can see that in this video below:
The Importance of Groin Confidence in Muay Thai – Hip Forward Technique
In addition to reviewing the Lobloo groin guard for women, I want to also talk about why we finally decided to go ahead and try it. I’d fought 128 fights in Thailand and only wore groin protection maybe 3 times, and all of those were the male, steel Thai cup. I only occasionally get smashed in the groin, so it’s a small hazard, but it really hurts those few times that it does occur and wearing a guard feels totally worth it. The difficulty though is that a guard needs to be 1) effective, and 2) comfortable. If it’s ineffective, why wear it? But even if it’s effective, if it isn’t comfortable you might forego it anyway, which is what was happening with my attempt at the male cup; it offers protection, but it’s so uncomfortable I just didn’t ever want to wear it. So, I’m doubly happy that the Lobloo guard is both functional and comfortable, which means I’ll wear it, but the real reason why I’m keen to wear it often is technique.
I now wear this groin guard not only in fights, but in a lot of my padwork and clinch training because I believe it improves my hip-forward technique, and confidence.
I’m a clinch fighter, and hip position is of enormous importance in Muay Thai. I’ve come to believe that there are fundamental body-image differences (and body mapping) between Thai and Western students of Muay Thai, and a big one between them is willingness to put the groin forward. Westerners like to pull their butt back, as a form of basic protection and maybe a little subliminal cultural habit. The sports of boxing and Greco-Roman wrestling go ahead and re-emphasize this ass-back posture. But Thais – and I think this goes to cultural issues of how the groin is thought of, as a body area – learn that pushing the groin forward is a place of safety, or even signaled aggression. Consider for example when two men in the west push their chests and foreheads together to signal aggression and dominance – we look at that and know what that is, but Thais don’t do that. More than this, a hip-forward body position is woven into almost technique in some way, it’s part of the range of motions that are necessary for proper Muay Thai technique. And it is position that westerners struggle with. Bringing the hip forward and through goes for kicking, but even more importantly it is vital in clinch technique.
So I’m a clinch fighter, and I’m really pushing my technique to get to the next level. My husband noticed that I’m still struggling with ass-back moments in my clinch positions, despite working very hard on this for the last year and half, so he revisits the idea of getting a groin protector… not so much for protection in fights, but for psychological reinforcement in training. His thought was: maybe unconsciously not having a guard is adding to the instinct to keep the ass back. Wearing the groin guard brings awareness to that area, and having it be protection gives me more confidence in that awareness. It’s win/win.
My Amazon Strap
The results of confidence is freedom. In a way, bringing your attention to something that gives you the thought, “this is strong and protected,” then allows you to stop thinking about it. So, while I was keeping my ass back in order to kind of protect that area (unconsciously) and because it’s not “polite” in the culture I come from, by feeling that I’m invulnerable there now allows me to (unconsciously) put that part of me forward. It’s like how you might pull kicks without shinguards, before you’re used to that. Or how you might try to protect your face by turning your head away at punches, but wearing a mouthguard gives you confidence to bite down and drive forward. Same kind of semi-conscious awareness of fortitude.
In training, I’m aware of the groin guard pretty regularly and I feel strong in it. In my fight, I was less aware of the guard because I was concentrating on other things, but that’s also good – I felt protected but didn’t have to think about it, instead I just responded and acted out of that confidence. It’s a story that is just starting to unfold, but its enough to say that this female guard has been a big, welcomed benefit.
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As a note: In writing this I had no connection to the Lobloo company, and I paid full price for the item, which I love. After publishing my post Lobloo contacted me and offered a 15% discount on the Areoslim guard only, with the promo code SYLVIE-AEROSLIM on checkout.