I’m sure you’ll agree that a soccer shin guards must have enough coverage and comfort to protect you while playing a game. That was our top criteria for selecting the best soccer shin guards. If you want to cut to the chase, the Vizari Malaga Shin Guard scored high marks in all areas and is our top pick for when you hit the field.
Soccer Shin Guards Comparison
|Material||Polypropylene||Polyurethane||EVA||EVA||Polyester||Leather||Polypropylene||K-resin / EVA||Plastic||Spandex|
|47.25 – 74.33||55.25 – 76.75||47.25 – 76.75||63.00 – 63.88||55.25 – 72.25||55.25 – 76.75||55.25 – 76.75||55.25 – 72.25||68.88 – 72.33||68.88 – 72.33|
|10.38 – 15.13||12.25 – 15.38||10.38 – 15.38||14.00||12.25 – 15.38||12.25 – 15.38||12.25 – 15.38||12.25 – 15.38||15.13||15.13|
|12.00 – 17.00||14.50 – 18.13||12.00 – 18.13||16.25||14.50 – 17.00||14.50 – 18.13||14.50 – 18.13||14.50 – 17.00||17.00||17.00|
Soccer Shin Guards Buying Guide
There are several different styles and kinds of shin guards on the market today for players to choose from. Each design is available in a variety of different materials which we talk about below. The three main designs used when designing shin guards are:
- Shields – The shield design of shin guard is the most common type used by athletes. The shield design has an outer layer that is hard and several inner layers that deflect an impact from hitting the shin directly. The quality of construction and the materials used will determine how well they protect the shin.
- Wand system – This design is more traditional and is comprised of a mixture of solid and hollow wands that are positioned to run up and down, length-wise throughout the shin area. This system helps to deflect the impact of a kick away from the body so no direct contact is made. This type of shin guard usually has foam and fabric to help with cushioning.
- OSi – These are most often used with professional players since the cost is much higher than the other types of shin guards. OSi designs are essentially custom made shin guards that are created using a medical cast that molds the shin guard to the individual player’s shin. Fiberglass layers protect the shin from injury. The more layers of fiberglass there are, the more protection the player has. The number of layers will depend on the shin guard model.
Shin Guard Materials
There are many different types of materials that are used to make shin guards. These materials can include foam rubber, plastic, polyurethane and fiberglass. The type of material they are made of will determine how much protection they provide, how much flexibility they have, the sturdiness they offer and their weight.
The material you choose will be determined by several factors including personal comfort, budget, and level of protection needed. You will want your shin guards to be sturdy and to absorb and deflect any impact. Additionally, shin guards should have foam on the underside of the guard which will protect the skin from chafing when the player is wearing it.
We have listed below the most common materials used to make shin guards along with information about each type so you will understand the differences. Understanding the different materials and what makes them each unique can help you decide which material is the best for you.
- Fiberglass – This type of shin guard is sturdy, hard, and lightweight – a good combination that offers protection and support and enables the player to play hard without fear of injury to the shin. This material is the most expensive choice. It’s comfortable to wear but does not offer much in the way of movement during play.
- Foam Rubber – These shin guards weigh less than fiberglass and provide the player with a lot of ease of motion. Unfortunately, the added comfort comes with a cost which is a decrease in protection from impact. Foam rubber shin guards are more likely to wear out and tear but they are one of the least expensive styles on the market.
- Plastic – Plastic shin guards provide more support than foam but are not very comfortable. Plastic is not expensive but it doesn’t hold up against heavy abuse the way fiberglass and poly shin guards do.
- Polyurethane – This material results in shin guards that are the most rigid and the heaviest. Although poly shin guards provide the player with the most support, it is the most uncomfortable material to wear.
Choosing Ankle Protection
Shin guards either come with or without ankle sleeves. Ideally, you want to find shin guards that offer the most protection while also offering comfort.
- Shin guards with ankle sleeves – Shin guards with ankle sleeves provide some protection for your ankles along with your shins. The guard is held in place by a strap that goes under your foot. A common problem that occurs with ankle sleeves is that the strap pulls the shin guard down causing the guard to become very uncomfortable. They recommended and designed for young players – 10 years old and younger.
- Shin guards without ankle sleeves – Guards that don’t have ankle sleeves are much lighter than those with sleeves. They are also much more comfortable. Shin guards that don’t have ankle sleeves are slipped into socks which holds them in place. They are less expensive but offer much less protection than guards that offer ankle protection.
Proper fit is very important when it comes to protective gear. You want to be certain that the guards you purchase fit properly. The best placement for shin guards is starting 1” from the top of the cleat and not going higher than 2” below the knee. Many shin guards are designed and sized per a player’s height. Certain senior guards are suited for players that are over 5’4”. Junior guards are best for players under 5’4”.
It is best to use a measuring tape rather than just relying on S, M, and L sizing. Even if you find shin guards sized in this manner, there should still be a length on each package that can help you determine the best size.
Position and Protection
Your position on the soccer team determines how much shin protection you will need. Certain positions on the field need a lot more shin protection than others. Below we listed the recommended type of shin guards for a few popular positions.
- Forward – The forward position requires strength and speed. They players experience the most amount of movement, especially running and quick turns. They need shin guards that are lightweight and that provide plenty of support for the ankle.
- Midfielder – The midfielder plays both defense and offense positions depending on the situation. The shin guards that are best suited for this position are lightweight but more protective than what the forward needs.
- Defender – This player is responsible for stopping the other team and making sure they don’t score. This means the defender will make contact with other players much more often. For this reason, they need shin guards that are heavy duty and very protective to absorb the impact from other players.
- Goalkeeper – The goalkeeper’s shin guards need to be lightweight yet must protect the whole calf area – all the way around the leg. Goalkeepers must be able to jump and move at a moment’s notice to stop the opposing team’s ball from getting into the net. A heavy, cumbersome shin guard would negatively affect this position.
The right shin guards will allow you or your child to play with confidence and without worry of injury. Injuries can still happen, but the right shin guards can minimize these risks and lessen the degree of injury. Having the right shin guards for the position you play will enhance your performance as well.
With so many different types and styles of shin guards on the market it is easy to be overwhelmed if you are not sure what to look for. The information in this buyer’s guide is designed to help you understand the different types of shin guards and how to choose the right one for your specific needs.
With this information, you will be able to sort through all the choices available and make the right decision for you or your child – a decision that will provide you with the most amount of comfort and protection that doesn’t impede performance.
- Vizari Malaga – http://www.vizari.com/
- Nike Mercurial – http://www.nike.com/us/en_us/
- Adidas – http://www.adidas.com/us