As with any sport, having the right protective gear is crucial, and in soccer, one of the most essential pieces is the shin guard. Soccer shin guards not only protect players from potential injuries but also offer confidence in tackling and dribbling past opponents.
Here are our top choices for 11 best soccer shin guards available in 2023…
Best Soccer Shin Guards
1) Nike Mercurial Lite (Best Overall)
- Ultra-thin, lightweight design blends soft foam and a durable shell
- Good Value
- NOCSAE certified
- Great Reviews: good fit, feel great, great price
- Some users find the sizing a bit tight
2) Adidas X SpeedPortal Pro (Best For Speed)
- Lightweight, minimalist design.
- Soft EVA for extra comfort and shock-absorption.
- Great reviews: comfy, great design, and quality
- Expensive, therefore SpeedPortal League shin guard may be an alternative option
3) Nike Adult Charge (Best Value)
- Attached ankle supports deliver additional padding for full-length protection
- Durable polypropylene shell
- Great Value for price
- Many positive reviews: comfortable, good protection, and good price
- Some users claim width of shield is too large in proportion to ankle sleeve
- And some say fit is too small and ankle fits too tight.
4) Adidas Tiro Club (Most Affordable)
- Robust hard shells
- Great Price
- Mostly Positive reviews: good for beginners, comfortable, light
- Some users claim they were small.
5) DSG Adult Ocala
- Reinforced padding provides extra protection around Achilles and ankle
- Good Value
- NOCSAE certified
- Good reviews: does its job as a shin guard
- Not stylish
- Not many reviews
6) Adidas Predator Edge
- Protective shield
- Compression sleeve
- Mostly Positive reviews: comfortable, good size and protection
- Some users claim that shin guards don’t remain in place too well
- Also, sleeves were too long
7) Nike Mercurial Hardshell (Best For Defenders)
- Lightweight with foam cushioning
- Hardshell and stylish design with different color options
- NOCSAE certified
- Good reviews: Offers more protection, sturdy
- Hand Wash
- Not too many reviews
8) Puma Ultra
- Move freely in lightweight protection
- Compression sleeve with slip pocket keeps guard in place
- Mostly Positive reviews: lightweight, easy to put on
- Some users claim that they are too small and very thin
- Even some users say they do not protect at all
9) Northdeer (Best on Amazon)
- Shin guards with insert pockets, prevent slipping out
- Breathable mesh fabric
- Good Value
- Great reviews: comfortable, breathable, great fit, soft, hold shin guards well
- A few users claim that they were too small for adult sizes
10) Rawxy soccer Shin Guards
- Reinforced ankle protection
- Ventilated holes and flex groove design, therefore more flexible ,light-weight, breathable
- 100% Money Back Guarantee
- Good reviews: good protection, great ankle cushioning and protection, great comfort
- Some users claim there were too small for adult sizes
- And straps were too loose
11) Racbeuk (Good All-Around Protection)
- Reinforced and padded ankle and calf protection
- Lightweight & durable
- Good reviews: comfortable, guards the shin well, good ankle protection
- Some users claim they were uncomfortable where the foot meets the ankle
- And the size chart was wrong, therefore too small.
How To Choose The Right Soccer Shin Guards?
When it comes to selecting soccer shin guards, the right choice can greatly influence a player’s comfort and protection on the field. To make an informed decision, consider the following factors:
1) Protection Level
- Coverage: Depending on your position or playing style, you may want shin guards that cover more or less of your leg. For example, defenders might want more comprehensive protection, while forwards might opt for lightweight, less restrictive guards.
- Ankle Protection: Some shin guards come with added ankle padding. This can be beneficial for younger players or those wanting additional safety.
- Most shin guards use a combination of materials, including foam, plastic, and rubber. The outer shell should be hard enough to disperse impact, while the inner padding should provide comfort.
3) Types of Shin Guards
- Slip-in Shin Guards: These are lightweight and provide basic protection. They typically require compression sleeves or tape to stay in place.
- Ankle Shin Guards: These have added padding around the ankle and are held in place with stirrups under the foot. They offer additional protection but might be bulkier.
4) Consider Your Position and Playing Style:
- Forwards/Strikers: Lightweight and low-profile shin guards that don’t impede movement.
- Midfielders: A balanced shin guard that provides both protection and mobility.
- Defenders: Shin guards with maximum protection, possibly with added ankle guards.
- Goalkeepers: Shin guards that are flexible with good padding.
- Wingers: Lightweight and snug-fitting shin guards.
5) Size & Fit
- Length: The shin guard should cover the area from just above the ankle to below the knee.
- Width: It should match the width of your shin without feeling too tight or too loose.
- Always refer to the sizing chart provided by the manufacturer.
- Lightweight shin guards are typically preferred by attacking players, offering agility. In contrast, defensive players might opt for heavier, more protective shin guards.
7) Ventilation & Breathability
- Some guards come with perforated designs or breathable fabrics that help in reducing sweat and allowing the skin to breathe.
8) Straps & Fastening
- Some shin guards come with straps, while others use sleeves. Depending on your preference, make sure the shin guard stays in place during play.
- The shin guard should allow for natural movement. Too rigid guards can restrict motion, while overly flexible ones may not provide adequate protection.
- Ensure the shin guards are constructed with high-quality materials and can withstand the wear and tear of regular play.
11) Price & Brand
- While brand names can be an indicator of quality, don’t rely solely on them. Ensure that the shin guards you choose offer the protection and comfort you need, regardless of the brand.
- Set a budget, but remember that investing in good quality shin guards can prevent potential injuries.
12) Design & Aesthetics
- While the primary purpose is protection, many players also consider the design and how it complements their soccer cleats and entire kit.
13) Cleaning & Maintenance
- Choose shin guards that are easy to clean and maintain. Some models are machine-washable, while others might require hand washing.
Do You Really Need Shin Guards?
Based on my own experience and that of other soccer players, the answer is a definite YES! For me, wearing shin guards serves two essential purposes: protection from injury and a boost in confidence on the field. It not only safeguards you from potential harm but also empowers you to fearlessly engage in the game.
Shin guards are a standard piece of protective equipment for soccer players, and here are the many reasons why:
Protection from Injury
The primary purpose of shin guards is to protect the tibia, or shin bone, from potential injuries. Soccer can involve a lot of physical contact, from tackles to stray kicks, and the shin is particularly vulnerable due to its lack of muscular or fatty protection.
FIFA, the international governing body for soccer, mandates the use of shin guards for all players in official matches. The same goes for most other soccer organizations and leagues worldwide.
Reduce Impact Severity
While a shin guard may not prevent all injuries, it can certainly reduce the severity of impacts. A direct, forceful kick or impact to a bare shin could result in fractures, contusions, or more severe injuries. Shin guards help in absorbing and dispersing some of this force.
Confidence in Play
Knowing you’re protected can make a difference in how you approach the game. Players with shin guards are more likely to tackle with confidence, go for 50/50 balls, and play without the fear of injury.
Some shin guards come with ankle support, which can add an extra layer of protection and potentially reduce the risk of sprains.
It’s a Standard
Just as helmets are standard in American football or ice hockey, shin guards are the norm in soccer. It’s an accepted part of the game and a sign of professionalism and preparation.
While recreational players or those just having a kickabout might sometimes forgo shin guards, it’s generally a good idea to wear them, especially in any competitive or physical setting. The potential risks of not wearing shin guards, especially in a game with potential for high-impact collisions, typically outweigh any perceived benefits of going without them.