While some see shin guards as ceremonial pieces of equipment, it’s an essential component to the player’s safety while playing or practicing. It’s as important as the player’s uniform or soccer cleats. It’s very important to equip players with the right shin guard since it offers them the protection they need out on the pitch.
Consider the player’s position and look for the right size of the shin guard to ensure that they’re comfortable and can easily maneuver with them on. Above all, it should offer players maximum protection. To help you narrow down, here’s a review and guide to buying the best shin guards in 2019.
- Features to consider in Good Shin Guards
- The Best Shin Guards 2021
- 1. Nike Mercurial Lite Shin Guard
- 2. Adidas Performance Ghost Pro Shin Guards
- 3. Vizari Malaga Soccer Shin Guard
- 4. Franklin Sports Superlight Soccer Shin Guards
- 5. DashSport Soccer Shin Guards
- 6. Storelli Protective Soccer Shin Guard
- 7. Diadora Uragano Shin Guard
- 8. Sportout Adult Youth Kids Soccer Shin Guards
- 9. ActionEliters Youth Soccer Shin Guard
- 10. ProForce Shin Guards
- Guide to Buying the Best Shin Guards
- Bottom Line
Features to consider in Good Shin Guards
Shin guards are important for sports that involve a lot of physical contact. Despite soccer being a sport that doesn’t allow physical confrontation, unintended tackles are likely to happen and may lead to serious injuries. Professional soccer players like Demba Ba and Aaron Ramsey have had to sit out full Premier League seasons because of broken legs. Shin guards come in handy to protect players from potentially career-ending injuries.
It can be a difficult and confusing task if you’re trying to figure out which are the best shin guards. Therefore, take into consideration the following features when searching for the best shin guard.
This is one of the most important features that a shin guard should have. The best shin guard will be determined by its ability to protect the player’s shin. You should be on the lookout for shin guards that are made of high-quality protection material. Often, the materials are placed in layers to offer maximum protection. Alongside the hard-outer shell, the shin guard should also have an inner foam layer for cushioning against heavy impacts.
The hard outer shell and inner foam padding work hand in hand in protecting the shin. The more the number of layers in a shin guard, the more the protection it offers. Nonetheless, this isn’t always the case as more layers may cause the shin guard to be bulkier hence restricting movement. Customer reviews are a great way to determine the level of protection a shin guard can offer, particularly if you aren’t sure.
Players are likely to have their shin guards on for extended periods. For example, soccer matches can last up to 120 minutes if there’s extra time to be played. If a player is in the match for the entire duration, they’ll need to be comfortable. That’s why it’s important to also look at how comfortable a shin guard is besides its ability to offer protection.
There’s a noticeable difference when kicking the ball with a shin guard on. Shin guards add weight to your leg and can affect your mobility and kick. Practicing with your shin guard will help you to get used to playing with them. The shin guards must be comfortable because you’re going to be having them on for long. A foam padding and soft linings will help with this. The shin guard should provide a proper fit to ensure the player is comfortable.
There’s nothing as irritating when practicing or playing a match as having to bend over to manually adjust the position of your shin guard. Shin guards that don’t fit properly or are made from low-quality material are likely to keep slipping around affecting your performance. In the end, the constant stopping to readjust them will exhaust you before you make an impact on the game.
Slipping shin guards can also expose you to serious injuries as it leaves you vulnerable during tackles. If the shin hasn’t been properly covered by the guard, then a single hard tackle and you’ll be sidelined with a fracture for the next matches.
The shin guard should be able to withstand the abuse it’s going to be subjected to. All the hard tackles and heavy impacts should all be absorbed by the shin guard without it warping or breaking.
A shin guard that keeps breaking upon impact isn’t going to keep you protected for long and will need to be changed after a few uses. If the shin guard breaks upon impact, you’re left at risk of having pieces of material pierced into your shin. Therefore, it’s best to get a shin-guard that’s made from high-quality materials.
There’s a lot of sweat generated when playing or practicing. Your shin guard is likely going to stink very fast because of this sweat. Your shin guard will need to be constantly cleaned to keep it fresh and free from the development of bacteria, fungi, and odor. Since not everyone wants to scrub their shin guard, a machine-washable shin guard is an easy way out.
The Best Shin Guards 2021
The Nike Mercurial Lite Soccer Shin Guard offers different design features that make it best suited for playing soccer. It’s designed with a tough but lightweight shell to help guard against the impacts of the game. The shin guard has a backing made of mesh-like EVA foam. Despite the use of less material in making this shin guard, the Mercurial Lite is still comfortable due to the increased breathability.
Moreover, the shin guard has an anatomical left/right-specific fit contoured for comfort. This ensures that the guard will naturally stay on your shins. This is aided by the contoured sleeve that offers a comfortable secure fit during intense action. Unlike other soccer shin guards, the Nike Mercurial is less likely to slip down.
Nike puts enough time and energy when it comes to making sports equipment. It has invested in specialized material that helps in improving the general standard of the soccer shin guards they’re making. Whereas most shin guards are made from polypropylene, the Mercurial Lite Soccer Shin Guard is made from Nike’s proprietary K-Resin which constitutes 69% of the material used. This material is stronger and lightweight compared to polypropylene. EVA foam is also used in making this soccer shin guard and constitutes 31% of the material used.
The Dri-FIT compression sleeve that comes with this soccer shin guard is made from 65% polyester, 19% rubber, and 16% spandex. The compression sleeve is breathable and helps to wick away sweat to prevent the shin guard from slipping. Moreover, you can wash this sleeve by hand.
Size and Style
The Mercurial Lite Pro Soccer Shin Guard is available in 23 different styles. It’s available in different colors like black, white, yellow, green, light crimson/dark grey, orange, flash crimson/silver, and bright magenta among other color combinations. The NOCSAE certified soccer shin guard is also available in five different sizes. These are X-small, small, medium, large, and X-large. Getting the right size won’t be a hustle.
The Ghost Pro Shin Guard has an outer shell that’s made form a 5% TPU injection-molded plastic and 95% polypropylene. The combination of these two materials forms a flexible plastic that can mold into a player’s shin. The plastic also provides maximum protection and will last through several seasons of the soccer league.
The opposite side of the shell has a moderately dense foam that absorbs the impact completely. The EVA foam is also comfortable ensuring there’s no irritation while playing. The layout of the grooves and cutouts on the foam are also similar to those found on the shin guard’s foam. The shin guard offers better protection from impacts due to the individual pieces of foam on the individual grooves.
This soccer shin guard has a snug-fitting compression sleeve that doesn’t bulk. It’s comprised of three separate shields put together to create the perfect fit. The anatomical fit of the Adidas Performance Ghost Pro Shin Guard means that your shin is well-covered with the plastic’s flexibility and shape. Unlike most shin guards on the market, the Ghost Pro is taller and covers a large area of the shin. While it provides a comfortable feel on the shin, this guard lacks a secure lockdown. However, it has sleeves that help keep the shin guard in place.
Size and Style
This shin guard is perfect for both beginners and advanced athletes. It’s available in a range of common sizes that include small, medium, large, X-large. It also comes in many different color combinations.
This soccer shin guard has a two-layer construction that features a lightweight but hard PP shell on the outside. Your shin is protected from the impact that comes from other players by this hard shell. The shin guard’s interior has sufficient foam padding to make it both comfortable to put on and absorb blows. The comfort offered by the padding makes it comfortable to use it during long practice hours.
The soccer shin guard from Vizari is made for convenience. Whereas some shin guards feature a Velcro enclosure, the Malaga Soccer Shin Guard features a strap closing at the front. Should your shin guard slip out of place, the front strapping makes it easier for you to fix the shin guard. Nonetheless, this shouldn’t be an issue since this shin guard is more secure and will stay in place during the entire game.
The Vizari Malaga Soccer Shin Guard is available in 5 different sizes designed to fit small children and moderately sized adults. The sizes are XX-small, X-small, small, medium, and large. The sizing system used by Vizari may confuse some users. To help you choose the right size, you should know that the small sizes are designed for younger players whereas the medium and large sizes are designed for adults. While there’s no specific labeling regarding this, little ones shouldn’t get anything larger than a small-sized shin guard and adults should use the medium as the smallest.
This soccer shin guard is available in several color styles. The most common color appears to be black. However, the shin guard is also available in green, pink, and blue. The color you’re going to choose will greatly depend on your preference but you may want to keep in mind the colors of your team’s uniform. You should also note that not all colors are available for each size. Be sure to check that the color you like comes with the right fit for you.
This shin guard features a lightweight construction with a distinctive chrome accent design. Because of the neutrality of the black and white color, this shin guard can go with any soccer uniform. The design should fit most people’s tastes. This shin guard has a two-layer design. To protect players from blunt force and falls, it features a high-density abrasion-resistant shield at the top. The player is protected from blunt force blows by the high-density foam that absorbs this shock. This layer of foam that’s found on the shin guard’s inside also adds to its comfort.
The interior of the Superlight Soccer Shin Guard from Franklin Sports has a high-density foam padding that helps protect players from cuts during the game. It also protects players from heavy impacts as it increases energy absorption. The foam spreads the impact of being hit by a ball eliminating the chance of feeling any pain. Moreover, the shin guard has a hard, plastic, exterior shell that also helps to deflect any impact protecting the player from injury.
For ultimate protection, the shin guard has a top and bottom strap that keeps it in place. The Velcro double adjustable self-stick straps can be easily adjusted to customize to the player’s fit. However, you should be aware that the Velcro straps are thin putting them at risk of aging fast. This can happen if they’re worn too tight.
The Franklin Sports Shin guard comes in three different sizes that are suitable for kids of all ages and heights. It comes in small, medium, and large sizes. However, it may be quite difficult to find the perfect fit since there isn’t a wide range to choose from.
Youth Shin Guard
The soccer shin guard from DashSport is great for youth players in need of an extra level of support. Some of the design choices used in making the guard make them well suited for such players. The shin guard offers maximum protection for the ankle and the shin ensuring the young player is safe from injuries that may result from hard tackles. It also features a Velcro closure in the back that makes it easy to put it on and take it off.
Sizes & Style
The unisex soccer shin guard is available in 3 different sizes suitable for youth players. The X-small guard measures 3’3-3’11, the small-sized guard measures 3’11-4’7, whereas the medium-sized guard measures 4’7-5’3. The guard’s flexibility ensures that it can work with various leg sizes due to this variety of sizes and design options. The DashSport’s sizing guide can help a youth player in selecting a guard that fits them perfectly. Moreover, the black shin guard comes in combinations with 4 other color styles. The 4 color styles are blue, pink, white, and red. The neutrality of the black color ensures that you can use it with different uniform colors. It also has a no-hassle one-year warranty that ensures you get a free replacement.
It features a sock-like strap at the bottom that loops over the foot to help keep the guard in place. This strap also provides support to the ankle. The top portion of the guard is kept in place by a Velcro styled strap. The DashSport Soccer Shin guard has a hard, outer shell made of polypropylene that helps in protecting the shin from any blows. This protection is enhanced by the foam backing that provides the shin guard with cushioning from these impacts.
The Storelli Protective Soccer Shin Guard features a revolutionary design that holds the shin guard in place without the need for constant adjustments. This premium soccer shin guard is armored with flexible but heavy-duty 3mm XRD Extreme Impact Protection padding that offers excellent protection to the ankles and outer legs.
Engineered to maximize protection to the lower leg and ankles, the Storelli is made from materials that absorb up to 90% of the impact. It achieves this without having to compromise on the guard’s performance or comfort.
This shin guard is made from lightweight materials that wick away sweat from the legs to ensure maximum breathability. The body fabric is made from 82% nylon and 18% spandex. The foam padding that provides comfort and absorbs the shock from impacts is made of 100% urethane material.
Without proper cleaning, shin guards can be breeding grounds for bacteria, fungi, and odors. The Storelli Leg Guard employs anti-bacterial and anti-microbial treatment to prevent the development and spread of bacteria and fungi. The skin is also protected from harmful UV rays by the guard’s UV resistance design.
Shin Sock Style
The Storelli comes with a pair of leg guards that feature built-in guard pockets to keep the guards in place. This reduces the need for having to manually adjust the guard. The shin sock style of this guard provides the best fit whether used with a slip-in shin guard or not. Besides, his leg guard provides enough protection to the shin while also being one of the most flexible shin guards available on the market.
Size & Style
This soccer shin guard comes in two colors and is available in five different sizes. You can get all the sizes in either black or white colors. The sizes available are youth small, medium, large, youth medium, large, and youth large. With all these sizes, adult and youth players can get a shin guard that properly fits them.
Whereas many shin guards available on the market are made from polypropylene, the Diadora Uragano Shin Guard’s outer shell is made of Kevlar and fiberglass. These materials are combined in 7 layers to provide excellent protection and flexibility. Diadora has made this shin guard taking into consideration the different weather conditions. In extremely cold weather the brittle materials will be more prone to cracking. Besides this, the soccer shin guard has Cool Max Lining that offers breathable padding. The guard’s breathability makes it easy to wick away sweat providing comfort to the player during intense games or training.
The Uragano Shin Guard has a rich history in the world of soccer. They were specifically made to assist Francesco Totti, the Italian National player make a successful comeback in the 2006 World Cup. It’s safe to say this guard helped Italy secure the World Cup that year. This guard has been designed to provide additional protection wrapping around the leg.
It also features a self-wrapping design that helps them stay in place. However, you still need a compression sleeve to get a snug fit. The smooth anatomical PP shell and EVA shaped backing improve the comfort and protection offered by this shin guard. This soccer shin guard from Diadora was designed for protection and performance without compromising on it being too heavy.
Size and Style
This excellent quality soccer shin guard is available in different colors and sizes. It’s available in 3 different sizes that make it easy to select one that fits you properly. It comes in small, medium, and large sizes for both boys and girls of all ages. The unisex shin guard is available in bright yellow and white, royal black colors.
The Sportout Adult Youth Kids Soccer Shin Guard offers comprehensive protection to players with the hard PP front plate. This plate is lightweight, durable, and can offer the calf and shin with comprehensive protection against violent impacts. This shell has an EVA padded backing and features low-profile construction. The low-profile construction gives the shin guard great breathability and offers the player with a snug fit.
It also features Dri-Fit high elastic sleeves that are seamless, breathable and offer a comfortable and secure fit. This shin guard has a double-tube construction design that helps the shin guard to stay in place during play without sliding. Besides, the anatomical design of this shin guard fits the calf contours well whereas the chocolate shaped EVA foam provides excellent cushioning to the shin. This foam helps in dispersing the energy from impacts to prevent any serious injuries.
Durability & Fit
Besides the great level of protection, this Sportout Soccer Shin Guard is also machine washable. Washing it several times won’t degrade the material or fit of the guards. The material can withstand all conditions of play and weather. The EVA foam backing helps to keep the shin guard in place by preventing it from sliding around. The player is also protected from the hard tackle by this foam that absorbs the force of blows.
The Sportout Soccer Shin Guard is available in 5 different styles. You can get it in blue, orange, silver, and two different designs that come in black. All the styles of this shin guard were made with uniforms in mind. While some shin guards don’t go well with some team’s uniform, the neutral black color of the Sportout fits almost every color design and scheme. Moreover, they can be easily covered under any pair of socks preventing any color from being visible.
This soccer shin guard is available in 4 different sizes meant to fit both children and adults alike. Sizes available are small, medium, large, and X-large. The X-large shin guard comes in either blue or orange whereas the other sizes come in all the 5 different colors.
The ActionEliters Youth Soccer Shin Guard is designed to fit kids aged between 5-12 years. It comes in a range of unisex colors that will appeal to both boys and girls. The colors available include black, blue, and black/white. Compared to other shin guards, the ActionEliters are taller allowing them to cover a larger part of the shin to prevent any injuries. They’re also great for toddlers since they’re easy to get on and off. Little ones can easily do this for themselves.
This shin guard features a thick EVA lining that makes it comfortable for your young soccer player to wear. This lining prevents the guard from irritating a child’s sensitive skin. A comfortable lining is important and will help prevent any possible argument that may ensue when it comes to making your child put on protective gear. The guard’s ergonomic design provides a perfect fit and prevents it from sliding off the leg while playing soccer.
The ActionEliters Youth Soccer Shin Guard has adjustable elastic sleeves that have been crafted using a durable and flexible band. This makes it flexible and easy to fit ensuring that your kid can comfortably wear them for the entire game. You can also wear this shin guard and still put on your socks.
The shin guards have a highly protective hard PP front board that’s lightweight and durable. This board helps in protecting the shin and calf against any violent impacts that may cause serious injuries. The high-strength PP shell helps to effectively reduce the impact on the leg muscles and bones. The EVA backing provides a durable and high-comfort cushioning to the player’s shin.
The ProForce Shin Guard provides all-around protection to the player since the pad covers the ankle and shin area. The sleeves are great in preventing shin splits as it helps you maximize your performance by pulling in more blood into your calves. The full-length sleeve makes the guard easy to slip on and off. The lack of straps means there’s no need to constantly adjust or slide the guard into place. Besides, the machine-washable sleeve makes it easier to clean this gear ensuring it’ll last you for long.
This shin guard from ProForce features an outside sleeve that’s made from a thick and sturdy material. The material used to make the sleeve is soft and comfortable. The fact that it doesn’t stretch a lot means that it provides a secure fit to the player. The thin foam padding that slides into this shin guard offers a slight level of protection. However, the materials hold up well and will last you through several soccer games.
Despite this shin guard being difficult to put on and take off, they offer a secure fit to players. They offer protection from the ankle to the shin and will stay in place as you train for the next big game. The snug fit of the ProForce Shin Guard ensures that you’re not exposed to injuries that may result from hard tackles. Some users find that it’s quite difficult to take off which can be very frustrating.
Overall, the shin guard is quite comfortable due to the foam padding. However, some reviewers have complained that it has a seam running on the underside of your foot. This seam could become burdensome with time as it digs into your skin. Cutting off this extra piece of thread and re-stitching can help solve this inconvenience adding to the overall level of comfort.
The caveat of this shin guard is its breathability. Most users agree that the material used doesn’t breathe well at all. It’s going to cause you some discomfort when you sweat during training since there’s no good flow of air. If you want to stay cool during training sessions or a game, then a shin guard with an open back will be best for you.
Guide to Buying the Best Shin Guards
Soccer can be a very boisterous game and many players can be exposed to leg injuries. The more a player protects their leg the safer the game will be for them. You can even try to pull out some skill moves on an opponent, knowing very well that your shin is protected by a shin guard. Shin guards are an essential piece of protective equipment that you need to wear when playing soccer. With the many types of shin guards available on the market, it may be difficult to select one. So, what do you need to look out for when purchasing soccer shin guards?
The effectiveness of a soccer shin guard will be determined by the type you choose. Therefore, it’s important to consider the type of shin guard you’re going to purchase depending on your preference. There are three types of shin guards used in soccer.
Slip-in Shin Guards
The most basic type of shin guard is the slip-in. It’s often one of the most affordable shin guards on the market. This type of shin guard is lightweight and can be worn under your socks. Players often prefer using tapes, stays, or compression sleeves to keep the guards in place. However, some socks provide a snug fit to prevent the shin guards from moving. The freedom of movement offered by slip-in shin guards makes them a favorite for professional soccer players.
Ankle Shin Guards
This soccer shin guard protects both the ankle and shin. Protection to the ankle is often a secondary benefit of these shin guards. Due to this additional benefit, this type of shin guard is recommended for intermediate and youth players. The ankle is shielded from kicks by the additional padding found on both sides of the ankle. Most ankle shin guards feature straps that slide under the feet to ensure a secure fit. Some brands offer removable ankle guards. This allows younger players to only wear the shin guard as they get more playing experience.
This type of shin guard comes with the pads built into the socks for convenience. The hassle-free design of shin socks makes them quite popular with young players. However, this type of shin guard doesn’t come with thick enough shell and may be considered as a hybrid of a sleeve and a shin guard. It features a sleek design and is far more flexible compared to the other types. Shin socks provide players with a lot of flexibility but don’t always offer the protection required.
Bigger brands like Nike and Adidas will always prefer to innovate their proprietary materials when making sports equipment. However, the other generic brands often use some of the most common materials used in making shin guards. These materials are:
Most shin guard shells on the market are made from polypropylene (PP) which appears to be the primary standard for the shin guard market. PP is durable enough to withstand all the heavy impacts during a game and won’t feel like an extra pair of socks.
If the shin guard you’re going to purchase comes with a sleeve, there are high chances that the sleeve will be made of polyester or nylon. These two materials have very different properties. Nylon is more durable whereas polyester is more resistant to water. However, this doesn’t affect their function when it comes to shin guards. They’re similar in price and use.
Players in different positions on the field will require different types of shin guards to help enhance their game. You’ll want to look for specific features if you play in one position.
Players in this position require the least protection from shin guards since no one is going to be tackling them. If you play in this position, a lightweight shin guard with minimal padding will suit you.
If you play as a defender, you’re going to be performing a lot of tackles against opposing midfielders and forward players. You’re going to be taking a lot of punishment during a match. This position requires a shin guard that provides enough protection that even covers the ankles.
Midfield players will be moving up the field to supply forward players with goal-scoring chances and falling back to help defend their team’s position. This position will require a balanced shin guard that offers the player with both flexibility and sufficient protection.
As they move up the field, forward players will be facing defenders who’ll be willing to defend their goal with their lives. Players in this position will require shin guards that allow them to make quick runs and direction changes. Small and lightweight shin guards that provide optimum mobility will best suit forwards.
Shin Guard Accessories
To have the best experience while playing soccer, you need to be on the lookout for some shin guard accessories. Some of the shin guard accessories you need include:
You don’t have to worry if you buy a shin guard without ankle protection. You can always add ankle guards later on to such shin guards. Ankle guards are often sold with the same strap design that you can find in ankle shin guards.
Shin Guard Sleeves
For players wearing slip-in shin guards, a shin guard sleeve may come in handy to give them a snug fit. Nobody wants to end up with a shin guard that keeps moving or sliding down your leg when you have to defend a lead or look for an equalizer.
Shin Guard Tape
As mentioned earlier, players can use socks or tapes to help keep their shin guards in place. Players that use shin guard tape wrap it around their socks at both the top and bottom to secure the shin guard. Unlike socks, the tape allows the player to decide how firm they want their shin guard to be.
Shin Guard Stays
This is a great alternative to players who find shin guards uncomfortable or a great hassle. Shin guard stays have a hook-and-loop closure that wraps around the player’s legs to keep the shin guard in place.
You need to ensure that your shin guard properly fits you. The sizing of shin guards is determined by the player’s height. Your shin guard should cover the area between your ankle and knee. The right size if shin guard will come from a specific measurement or the wearer’s age. Not every player will fit into a standardized size. That’s why sizing charts are made available to act as a reference as you shop around for the best soccer shin guards.
Extra small (XS) shin guards are designed for kids aged between 6-9 and under 4’6” in height. Small (S) shin guards are meant for kids aged 10-13 and are between 4’7”-5’3” tall. An inch may be taken off the top height measurement by some manufacturers.
There’s a wide variation when it comes to medium-sized shin guards. Manufacturers like Adidas indicates that this size is suitable for kids aged 14-17 and are 5’3”-5’9” tall whereas Nike specifies this size for 5’7” tall kids. However, this size may be suitable for kids and adults who are up to 5’10” tall.
You can also find Large (L) and Extra Large (L) sizes available on the market today. Shin guards of these sizes are meant to be worn by adults who have a minimum height of 5’7” and a maximum height of up to 6’10”.
Certain manufacturers like Nike also offer youth sizes. Shin guards are labeled in youth sizes that range from small to large. There’s Youth Small (YS), Youth Medium (YM), and Youth Large (YL). These sizes are meant for players in under 6 (YS), under 9 (YM), and U12 (YL) soccer leagues.
The use of shin guards in soccer is mandatory since the governing body made it a rule in 1990. The rule requires soccer players to put on sports equipment that’ll help to protect their shins and ankles. Soccer players will be looking for a shin guard that offers protection, is stylish, and comfortable. However, not all shin guards provide these three features at the same time.
The best shin guard for soccer should protect the player’s shin and be comfortable enough for them to have it on for the entire match. Player’s will want a high-quality shin guard that’s ergonomic, effective, and made from durable material. Moreover, there are different styles of shin guards that can easily match the player’s preference. There are shin guards available on the market that protect the player’s shin and ankle too. The above-reviewed shin guards are also available in different sizes and styles to suit players of different ages and heights.