Whether you’re a professional or an amateur at soccer, one of the most important gear to have is a shin guard.

Since soccer is a physically demanding contact sport, shin guards are crucial in avoiding injuries. Shin guards are systems that have existed since the ancient times, and they were mainly used by warriors in the field of battle to protect themselves.

They were mainly made of bronze or various kinds of hard and sturdy materials.

Shin guards, nowadays, are mostly used for sports like soccer, hockey, and other contact sports, rather than fighting on an actual battlefield. They are designed to prevent injury and they serve as a protection to the sensitive bones of your body.

Most shin guards that you can find in your local stores are made up of lightweight materials to improve a player’s movement without bulkiness.

With shin guards, choosing the ones that make you comfortable is the best way to go. However, there are a lot of points to consider e.g. the material used to make the shin guards and if the material is comfortable and lightweight for you.

The protective features are the most important parts of the choosing process, since the whole point of having shin guards is to protect your legs while playing on the field.

Top 12 Shin Guards For Protection

ImageProductMaterial
ZONE 14 CARBON GUARD 33ICarbon Fiber and Fiberglass
NIKE USA MERCURIAL FLYLITE SHIN GUARDMolded Foam
CHAMPION SPORTS SOCCER SOFT SHIN GUARDSPlastic
PUMA EVOPOWER 5.3 SHIN GUARDSpecial Plastic
ADIDAS GHOST REPLIQUE SHIN GUARDEVA
VIZARI MALAGA SHIN GUARDPP shell
ADIDAS F50 LESTO SHIN GUARDS polyurethane
NIKE J GUARD SHIN GUARDPP shell
NIKE MERCURIAL LIGHTSPEED SHIN GUARDpolyurethane
VIZARI PRESTON SHIN GUARDPlastic
PUMA POWER PLATE GUARDEVA foam backing
UHLSPORT SOCKSHIELD LITE SHIN GUARD2 Density Foam

Each person will have his or her own opinion as to what are the best shin guards. Velcro or slip-on, or sleeved or not sleeved, there are so many varieties and customization to choose from.

Although tons of players dislike wearing shin guards, one thing you must know is that they don’t just protect you, but they also improve the way you handle a soccer ball.

Different Types:

There are three different types of shin guards in soccer and each one suits a different kind of player.

The first type: Slip-in Shin Guards.

As the name implies, these shin guards basically slip onto your feet. They are mostly used by soccer players who are already in their intermediate to high-level stages, since they are lightweight and they provide plenty of impact resistance and protection which can increase freedom of movement.

Slip in guards are also on the expensive side but well worth it if you can afford it. The freedom they provide with there light weight can be crucial when you are on the field.

The second type: Ankle Shin Guards.

This particular type of guards has extended padding that provides maximum protection from your shin to your ankles. It has elastic straps which extend to your ankles and wrap around your feet to lock them in place.

They are perfect for beginners as they are simple, easy to put on, cheap and are carried by almost every brand out there. So if you are buying for your kids or yourself who is just starting to play then these are the ones you want to get.

The top of an ankle shin guard has a velcro strap to keep it intact on your leg. Ankle shin guards are used mostly by beginners who are still practicing their kicking moves, since they are still prone to get injured without them.

Lastly, the Sock Style Shin Guards.

These shin guards are the least commonly used ones, since they do not really provide that much of a protection which defeats the point of having them.

A sock style shin guard combines a soccer sock and the guard into one package, which is why it comes at a lower price point than most shin guards. Sock style shin guards are mostly worn by players who just want convenience.

These can be perfect for if you are planning on playing with your friends and you know that nobody will be wearing cleats and there is low chance of injury. For actual games not so much.

Buying Shin Guards: 5 Things You Should know

  1. Make sure you get the right size Shin guards have different kinds of sizes to cater to various leg sizes. It is very important to get the right size in order to get the optimal performance you want. Your shin guards must fit you perfectly and not compress your leg too much. They should also provide protection in all the right places such as your shin and your ankles. Shin guards that are wrong size can be very troublesome during games when they can interfere with your gameplay or worse slip out.
  2. The material matters Every shin guard is composed of different kinds of materials that do different things. Most are made up of fiberglass, rubber foam, plastic, and polyurethane which can help in making the shin guards comfortable and durable in the long run. Plastic is, by far, the cheapest material for shin guards. It may work, but it is more prone to breaking easily hence sacrificing your safety. Fiberglass is more stiff and sturdy, which makes it more resistant to impact, unlike rubber foam which is just lightweight. Soccer shin guards with polyurethane material, however, are the strongest which means they will offer more protection. If you choose polyurethane-made shin guards, expect a more expensive price tag.
  3. How it attaches You can attach a shin guard to your leg in different ways. The most common ones are velcro and slip-on. With velcro shin guards, velcro strips are used to wrap them around your leg. They have the advantage of fitting perfectly and they can be easily taken off without removing any other gear like your cleats. However, some people may prefer the slip-on variant since some are sensitive to velcro, particularly small children. The slip-on basically loops up over your foot up to your leg. It can be harder to remove since you have to take your shoes off first.
  4. Always wash your shin guards As you use your shin guards, sweat and bacteria will most definitely build up whenever you use them, making them nasty over time. This occurrence could lead to diseases and they are all caused by not washing. When buying guards for you, always check if they are machine washable or hand washable so you can wash them and still not cause any damage on the materials they are made of. As much as possible, alternate washing and using shin guards to decrease the possibility of an infection.
  5. Reviews Scour online marketplaces and check for reviews on the shin guards to get an idea of what to expect and what to avoid. There are loads of forums that discuss these products which is amazing since it will be easier for you to determine whether a particular equipment is something that you should consider buying or not. This also proves the credibility of the seller since reviews from previous customers will show if the seller gives out authentic products. If you consider buying the shin guards online, it is best to check customer reviews before purchasing to avoid any mishaps and wrong sizing.

Now that you are clear on different types and what you should look out for let’s jump into reviews and our selection.

12 Best Soccer Shin Guard Reviews

As there are many guards available currently in the market, choosing the best may be quite a daunting task since you have a lot to consider like the features, comfortability, size, weight, and also the price. Below are some of the best shin guards as of this moment.

ZONE 14 CARBON GUARD 33I

These guards are made out of carbon fiber and fiberglass material which makes the guards lightweight and durable even on increased amount of use. They provide immense impact protection so you can play as hard as you want on the field.

With the Zone 14’s Reinforced Beam Construction feature, the extra carbon fiber in its central spine can strengthen and deflect your impacts better. Zone 14 shin guards can definitely protect your shins and absorb shocks better than any basic shin guard.

NIKE USA MERCURIAL FLYLITE SHIN GUARD

The Nike Mercurial FlyLite is designed to be lightweight to enhance your speed. It has a hard shell with a molded foam underneath for optimal shock absorption and shin protection. Mercurial Flylite perform effectively, especially during long training periods as they help keep your legs from getting easily tired.

These shin guards are extremely lightweight. It also has breathable sleeves meant to keep you comfortable as you play.

CHAMPION SPORTS SOCCER SOFT SHIN GUARDS

If you are looking for a more basic look that will give you the best performance either for training or an actual game, Champion Sports Soccer Soft Shin Guards are perfect.

They are made of plastic which is perfect for beginners since they are easier on the wallet. They have a stirrup that locks them in place in your cleats and they have a velcro attachment up top which some people may prefer.

PUMA EVOPOWER 1.3

Puma Evopower 1.3 shin guards are slip-in shin guards that fit incredibly. They provide total protection and durability, and they are absolutely lightweight. They are made up of a special plastic that has an ability to mold into any surface and put pressure on it, which means these shin guards basically fit into your legs snugly.

They are very lightweight which makes them feel like they are not on your leg when you play. Also, they are very flexible but still very resilient. The foam back is very soft and it absorbs impact effectively. The Evopower 1.3 is perfect for extended wear without feeling any discomfort all throughout.

ADIDAS GHOST REPLIQUE

Adidas Ghost Replique shin guards are perfect whether you’re a beginner or an advanced athlete. These are ankle shin guard so they have extensive coverage from your shin to your ankle. You can do hard kicks with these without worrying about getting injured.

They have a soft and durable backing which makes them durable and lightweight, perfect for cushioning and comfort. Furthermore, they fit really well especially if you are looking for the maximum protection and long-term durability.

VIZARI MALAGA SHIN GUARD

It uses lightweight PP shell material that enhances protection, and it has comfort foam padded backing for added protection. For a shin guard that is basically cheaper than most, Vizari Malaga Shin Guard still provides comfort and high-quality build which makes it very durable and ultra protective.

Like every angle shin guard, it protects most of your leg providing maximum ankle protection. You should put this into consideration, especially if you’re a beginner and training for the big leagues.

ADIDAS F50 LESTO SHIN GUARDS

As an addition to Adidas’ F50 line, they have come up with their brand new line of shin guards. The F50 Lesto shin guard is a slip-on shin guard that is highly comfortable and lightweight due to its synthetic and EVA padding.

It is made from polyurethane which is why it is lightweight. It also fits really well on any leg. With all the materials that the F50 Lesto is made of, this particular line of shin guards is meant to last for a long time before wearing out. 

NIKE J GUARD SHIN GUARD

It is a small, lightweight, and sleeveless slip-in shin guard that’s great for players who prefer not wearing shin guards at all. It has an EVA foam backing, which makes it really comfortable and absorbent to shock. It has a PP shell as well, which is very durable and perfect for intense plays on the field.

You can slip it on a sleeve to make it more stable but other than that, this is a solid choice for any player looking for affordable soccer shin guards. 

NIKE MERCURIAL LIGHTSPEED

This shin guard is meant for more advanced and elite players since it provides the maximum protection needed for bigger leagues with more intense gameplays. It is made up of polyurethane, which makes it lightweight for maximum movement speed. Moreover, it is a slip-in type of shin guard and it has its own sleeve to keep it in place. It has a mesh lining, which prevents it from slipping off and helps with keeping moisture out and bringing air in.

VIZARI PRESTON SHIN GUARD

It is a unique guard because it gives you the option of removing the ankle guard that comes with it. If you are playing around with friends, take the ankle guards off. If you are playing with people you don’t know, it may get really aggressive so it may be best to put it back on.

However, keeping the ankle guard on is definitely not a hassle since it is very lightweight. It is also made with EVA foam backing, making it a really comfortable and durable option for you.

PUMA POWER PLATE GUARD

Puma being one of the world’s leading sporting equipment manufacturer, it is no surprise that they released one of the best on the market.

Their power plate shin guards offer minimal protection to make you have the ability to move around freely while still having protection. The Puma Power Plate soccer shin guard has an EVA foam backing, which makes it really comfortable. It also comes with a handy sleeve to keep it from falling off. It is certainly a much affordable take on shin guards and a good alternative to similar products.

UHLSPORT SOCKSHIELD LITE

If you are someone who is new to the soccer world, there is a chance that you might not have heard about Uhlsport. One thing you should know about them is that they create exceptional and high-quality gear, perfect for your protection. Their shin guard comes with a compression sock, which makes it visually appealing all the while keeping it at a great fit.

It has a removable protection plate, so you can switch out from different plates that you prefer. Like most of their products, Uhlsport’s shin guards are very durable, perfect for a long time use. The Uhlsport Sockshield Lite is currently unavailable on Amazon because of high demand.

Soccer shin guards are necessary, especially if you play the sport all the time. A shin guard keeps you safe and it lessens possible injury when out on the field.

Finding the best is imperative in completing your gear, whether you’re a beginner or a professional player. Some may like their shin guards smaller, so they can run faster. Others also want them larger for more protection. But, everything is up to you. Always consider what you feel comfortable in and what you feel might make you perform better and safer on the field.

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Adam has been a college coach for 10 years and is also a certified physician. Experience in sports equipment to help new enthusiasts to pick the right products for the money.

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