Shin guards are an essential piece of safety equipment that are standard at all the top levels of the sport so it’s definitely worth spending some time thinking about which ones are best.
Thankfully, we’ve taken some of the time out of that decision for you! We’ve gone through every pair of soccer shin guards you can get online and compiled them into this handy guide.
Table of Contents
- Why Do Soccer Players Wear Shin Guards?
- Our Top Picks
- Buyer’s Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
Why Do Soccer Players Wear Shin Guards?
If you don’t follow soccer that closely or are new to the sport, it’s a fair question to ask why soccer players actually wear shin guards.
Sports like American football and ice hockey involve a lot of contact between the top halves of players’ bodies, which is why players in those sports wear a lot of safety equipment from the waist up.
Soccer is different because there isn’t nearly as much contact between players above the waist. Instead, players are much more likely to foul and kick each other’s legs.
That’s why soccer players wear shin guards under their socks- to protect the part of their body that is most likely to get whacked during a match.
Now that we understand the importance of soccer shin guards, let’s dive into our favorites and look at what makes a good shin guard good.
Our Top Picks
We’re kicking things off (excuse the soccer pun) with a fantastic pair of shin guards from a very reputable brand. Nike is one of the biggest names in sportswear.
There’s a good chance you own some of their clothing or equipment if you’ve ever done any organized sport before!
There’s a good reason they have such a strong reputation, it’s because they produce some of the best equipment for soccer. These particular shin guards are no exception to that rule.
Available in three different sizes and three different colors, the Mercurial Lites provide pretty much everything you need in a shin guard.
It simply slips into your sock and has a material on the back side to help hold it in place on your shin. They also come with a sleeve to go inside your sock to ensure even further that you won’t have to keep pulling them up.
They only weigh about 100g (3.5oz), so you’ll hardly even notice they’re on while you’re playing.
Like most other shin guards, these are made with EVA, which is a very strong and lightweight material. However, unlike other shin guards, the Mercurial Lites use a combination of EVA with K-resin which arguably makes them slightly weaker than average.
However, it is highly unlikely that you’ll notice that difference in strength during an actual soccer match unless an opposition player REALLY doesn’t like you!
Overall, this is a very reliable pair of shin guards that will provide all the essential safety features you’ll need.
The only major downside to this set is that the sizes often run far too small for most people. Plenty of customer reviews have highlighted this issue so you’re probably better off getting a couple of sizes higher than you think you need.
- EVA – This is a great material for maintaining strength and lightness
- Supportive sleeve – Instead of using uncomfortable straps, these shin guards come with an interior sleeve to hold them in place
- 3 different sizes and colors – You won’t get to see the cool design on these shin guards during a match but at least there’s plenty of versatility
- Sizes run small – Plenty of customers have pointed out this flaw in Nike’s sizing ranges
This is the second pair of Nike shin guards on our list because it’s one of the best brands out there for any kind of sporting equipment.
This set is a slightly older, simpler and more budget friendly alternative to the Mercurial Lites.
The Nike Js are made with a highly protective front plate, consisting mostly of polypropylene. However, EVA is used for the backing and provides a comfortable cushioning for the part of the guards that come into contact with your leg.
There is a healthy variety of style, color and size options available, though the same problem persists that Nike’s sizes are often way smaller than they should be.
There isn’t any kind of interior sleeve or strap to hold these shin guards in place. Instead, they rely on the non-slippery materials used on their inside and the tightness of your socks to stay in place.
Whilst this isn’t the best system for ensuring the shin guards don’t slip down inside your sock, it is definitely one of the most comfortable ways to wear them.
In general, this pair of shin guards is very similar to the previous Nike set we looked at, only with some simpler features and a smaller price tag. If you’re not looking for anything fancy and just want some guards that will protect your legs, this is the set for you.
- Variety of styles and colors – There are a few different color and style options so you can always find something that suits you
- EVA cushioning – The interior of the guards are made with soft, comfortable materials
- Budget friendly – These are a slightly less expensive alternative to the other Nike shin guards we’ve looked at
- Sizes run too small – Again, the common problem of Nike’s sizes being smaller than normal persists with these shin guards
- OFFICIAL NIKE SHINGUARD
- EVA FOAM PADDING
- ONE PAIR FOR PACKAGE
These shin guards from Vizari represent some of the best value for money you’ll find on our list. Despite being some of the most budget friendly on the internet, they provide some pretty advanced protective features.
It should be noted that these shin guards are designed and marketed for children, so it’s unlikely that even the largest sizes would be appropriate for adults.
The importance of correct sizing isn’t lost with this set, as it uses a strap around the ankle to help hold the guard in place.
Where most shin guards will either have a strap that goes around your calf or simply slip into place under your sock, the Vizari Malagas act almost as an interior sock themselves.
This ensures a high level of comfort and works well to minimise how much the guard might slip inside your socks.
However, there is still a strap that goes around the calf, towards the top of the shin guard. This could make it a little less comfortable to wear but certainly helps with holding everything in place.
In terms of variety with this product, you really are spoilt for choice. There are 10 different color options and 7 sizes! You won’t find that much versatility with most other soccer equipment producers anywhere.
Unfortunately, for the reduced price tag and extra comfort, you won’t get the same strong materials as you will with other shin guards.
Vizari states that the guards are made from a synthetic material but does not specify which one. This means that they are likely made from a slightly weaker or less durable material than others.
- Value for money – You won’t find many shing guards online that have this many great features for such a low price
- Comfort – Many of the features of these shin guards have been designed with comfort in mind
- Ankle strap – This makes the guards more comfortable to wear and stops them slipping around inside your sock
- Synthetic material – The exact materials used for these guards aren’t specified but they’re likely not as effective as others
- Sizes run too small – Again, some customer reviews highlighted how the sizing chart was a little off on their measurements
- Lightweight PP shell for protection.
- Foam padded backing.
- Front strap closing system.
- Comfortable, Durable and Lightweight to play in
- Vizari. Game On, Always
With these shin guards from Noper, we’re looking at a fairly basic set that does the basics well.
You can choose from 9 different colors and 3 different sizes to suit your legs and your style. However, only having 3 sizes available does somewhat restrict the level of tailoring you can have to your body, specifically.
This is also another set that doesn’t require straps to hold the guards in place, rather it uses a sleeve that goes inside your sock to prevent slipping.
This is a very effective system as it keeps the whole set comfortable to wear and still minimises the amount of slippage you’ll experience.
The guards also use an EVA foam to effectively disperse the force of any impact across the whole of the guard, protecting your legs well.
This is a great set of shin guards for children, though sizes may not be appropriate for most adults.
- 9 color options – There are plenty of style choices you can make with this product
- Internal sleeve – This is a great way of keeping the guards comfortable to wear, whilst still minimising slippage
- EVA foam – This is one of the best materials you can have in a shin guard for minimising the risk of injury during impact
- Sleeve can be deceiving – The sleeve is meant to help keep the shin guards in place but they will only be effective if the sleeve itself is a perfect fit
- WHAT YOU PAY: 1 pair of soccer shin guard and 1 pair of calf sleeves。
- BEST YOUTH SHIN GUARDS: Unlike Slip in Style soccer socks, our shin guard sleeves can prevent shin guards slide down, Light weight and great fitting your leg shape and super super comfort.
- COMPREHENSIVE SHIN PROTECTION: EVA foam can offer excellent cushioning which helps disperse energy from impacts to prevent violent injury.
- YOUNG PLAYERS: Our shin guards are made for boys, girls, kids and teenagers to keep them protected while still being comfortable and flexible
- SURE FIT: Please See Our Sizing Chart in the Images Section, or the Description Section Below, for Selecting the Best Fit. If there is any problem with the product, please don't hesitate to contact us. We will give you 100 points of satisfaction.
Another super reliable brand in the sporting industry is Adidas. This set of shin guards is one of their simplest but most effective for young soccer players.
The whole set contains an entire pair of socks that can be worn normally in any soccer match. These socks also come with a pair of shin guards that fit perfectly inside them and are designed to fit well against the shape of your legs.
The guards aren’t just a solid sheet of plastic though, they have been designed with specially crafted ventilation areas to make them easier to wear for long periods without sweating and overheating making them uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, whilst these shin guards have been well designed with protection and comfort in mind, many customer reviews have pointed out a flaw in their sizing.
The socks that come with the package are very large compared to the much smaller shin guards, meaning the guards are likely to slip around inside the sock.
Therefore, whilst these shin guards do provide a high level of protection and comfort, you will likely find yourself adjusting them frequently during a match.
- Ventilation areas – Makes the shin guards more comfortable to wear when sweating
- Socks included – This saves you the trouble of finding a separate pair of socks that work with the shin guards
- High level of protection – The materials used for these guards and the way they’re designed makes them very protective
- Poor fitting socks – The socks are generally too large compared to the size of the shin guards
- Potential for slipping – There aren’t many measures in place to stop the guards slipping down inside the socks
- Soccer sock guard for training or playing
- Integrated shield for secure and fixed protection without straps
- Removable shield for easy washing
- Fitted fit
- Sizing runs small
This is another pair of shin guards that is designed and marketed mainly for children, though in this case the large size will theoretically fit anybody up to 5’11”.
The design of these guards is very old fashioned but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s a very simple set of materials, using a high density foam on the interior side to provide great impact absorption.
The hard outer face is also designed to withstand plenty of force and hefty impacts so you shouldn’t have to worry about them breaking too easily.
The thing that makes the design seem so outdated is the two straps that go around the calf to hold each guard in place. This is the way most shin guards used to be but the trend is now heading towards strapless ones instead.
The straps can get a bit clunky and feel uncomfortable at first when you feel them under your tight socks. For example, if there’s an awkward crease in the straps, you’ll definitely know about it.
The good thing about having straps in place is that they provide the best method for avoiding the guards slipping down your leg. You certainly won’t have to worry about constantly adjusting your shin guards during a match.
- Won’t slip – The two straps on the guards mean they will stay in place during a match
- Good interior padding – This makes the guards more comfortable to wear and disperses energy effectively
- Range of sizes – The interior padding makes these guards fairly malleable, meaning a variety of heights and body shapes can use each size
- Straps could get uncomfortable – This isn’t always an issue but you will have to worry about it more than you would with strapless shin guards
- Lack of color and style options – Unfortunately, there’s only one style and color combination available for these shin guards
- Medium: up to 5' 3", Ages 6-12 years
- Lightweight construction with distinctive chrome accented design
- High density abrasion resistant shield, Symmetrical design provides anatomical fit
- Double adjustable self-stick straps adjust to provide a firm and secure fit
- High density foam increases energy absorption
If you’ve read through our list and still haven’t found the right shin guards for you, don’t worry. There are still plenty of other options available online so feel free to look around for something that works for you. However, there are a few things you should consider before purchasing:
Color And Style
Most of the soccer shin guards you’ll see online will have a variety of color and style options. Obviously, this is great for those fashion conscious soccer players who want to have good looking kit and equipment.
However, you should remember that shin guards are meant to be worn inside your socks. Therefore, during a match, nobody will actually be able to see your shin guards.
For this reason, color combinations and stylish designs shouldn’t be your primary concern when shopping.
We’ve mentioned how EVA is a good material to use in shin guards but realistically this material isn’t much better than others.
You’ll find a range of different plastics and carbon fiber materials used for shin guards and they all work pretty much as well as each other to protect your legs.
You should always check how much the guards weigh, though, as this can be affected by the type of material. You want lighter guards to allow you to play better but not so light that they won’t protect you.
Straps VS Strapless
Most modern soccer shin guards are now strapless and will work by simply slipping them inside your sock, where they’ll stay pretty well in place.
However, this method does leave more of a risk of them slipping down your sock and forcing you to readjust during a match.
Guards with straps will have a much lower risk of slipping but could be slightly more uncomfortable to wear for long periods. There’s no better or worse option, it’s simply a matter of personal preference.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Professional Soccer Players Use Shin Guards?
Yes, professional players absolutely do use shin guards. They are an essential piece of safety equipment for playing competitive soccer.
At the higher levels of the game, defensive challenges will often be more forceful, increasing the risk of injury to both players. That’s why shin guards are so important, even for the pros.
Are Nike Shin Guards Good?
Nike is one of the best brands on the market for all sports equipment, including shin guards. They have a variety of options available to suit a range of different styles and preferences. The only issue with Nike shin guards is that their sizes tend to run a little smaller than average
Are Slip-In Shin Guards Safe?
Yes, slip-in shin guards are perfectly safe to use, when worn correctly. The only issue with these types of guards is that they tend to slip down inside the sock more easily.
Players tend to choose them because they’re more comfortable but they are certainly just as safe as other sin guards when used properly.
Hopefully, you now have a better insight into which shin guards are best for your game. There’s no single shin guard that’s better than all others, they each have their own unique benefits and drawbacks.
Take a look through our list and make your own decision about which one covers all your needs the best.