Most probably, the reason why you opened this post and wants to proceed on reading is because you’ve seen your child, niece, nephew or godchild developed a particular interest in soccer.
Well, you did take the right step clicking onto this post because shin guards are considerably part of a soccer player’s uniform, along with a jersey and cleats. In fact, in professional match plays, shin guards are a mandatory part of the uniform according to the IFAB Laws of the Game.
However, soccer players in general do not feel very comfortable wearing shin guards but, in seeking for their comfort, their physical well-being is compromised.
Why Do Soccer Players Wear Shin Guards (30 Second Explanation!)
Primarily, shin guards need to be worn to protect the player’s shin. Considering that in soccer, shin is prone to getting injured from getting kicked by other players and from the impact of a kicked ball. It is vital that your shin is well guarded throughout the game so you can focus on playing rather than limping around (Source).
Having said all those, in this post we reviewed the top 5 best soccer shin guards for youth toddlers. Among the five in the list, our top choice comes from one of the sports brand giants – the Nike Mercurial Lite Shin Guard.
It is a lightweight, slip-in shin guard that also comes with its own sleeve to keep the guard in place. The shin guard itself is made of polyurethane which is an ideal material to keep the shin guard as light as possible. The sleeve, moreover, comes with a mesh lining that keeps the moisture out while bringing air in. It also prevents the sleeve from sliding down.
You also have different sizes to choose from – making it fit both for younger players and more advanced ones. There are also different colors – from neutral black and white to flashy neon green, pink blast, etc. You can easily find one that will most suit you or your child’s personality
Sizing is quite off; oftentimes sizes are found too small
2. G-Form Pro-S Shin Guards
G-Form Pro-S Shin Guards are manufactured with the brand’s Reaction Protection Technology (RPT) that makes the foam stiffen upon impact in order to dissipate energy. Yet, when you try to feel it with your hands, the foam is soft and flexible. With such technology, the Pro-S Shin Guard is comfortable to wear yet toughens up just when you need it to.
Another fact that you’d surely appreciate is that the pads are flexible. They are divided into sections that make it easier for the pads to mold and adjust itself around your leg. You might also expect that the shin guards are heavy but the opposite is true. They are still extremely lightweight, weighing only 2.5oz. You won’t even be able to notice any additional weight while you’re on the field.
Seeing the sections of the pads, you might also think that it’s quite difficult to keep the guards clean. The good news is, you may literally wash them with your machine for utmost cleanliness. It is durable enough to also endure its cleaning requirement. However, you must not toss them into the dryer for that can already destroy the foam. Natural sun heat is enough to dry the Pro-S Shin Guards.
The BodyShield Leg Guards from Storelli offer premium lower leg protection that extends down to the ankle. It is made with PORON XRD foam that provides extra protection against kicks and tackles.
They also serve as shin pads pockets; meaning, in each leg guard, there’s really a pocket where you may insert your shin pad. This design is intended for slip-ins and will really keep them in place no matter how much you move your leg. However, you still need to buy the pads separately.
Anyway, the leg guards are soft, stretchy and comfortable to wear. The foam is designed to absorb impact when hit. They can also reduce germs and odors with their enhanced anti-bacterial treatment, and can even protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
The Adidas Performance Youth Sock Shin Guard is the most affordable choice on this list. It’s a sock style shin guard that covers the lower leg and the whole feet. As the name implies, its sizes are smaller than normal adult sizes since they are primarily intended for the youth.
This shin guard has a snug, stay-put fit so you can just wear it then forget it as you play. It also comes with a removable sturdy shield for additional protection. You may slip it in easily when you play and remove it for easy washing.
Another important thing that should interest you about this shin guard is that it is NOCSAE SEI-certified meaning it has passed the standards for athletic equipment. Such certification alone is a testament that this product is reliable for sports use.
Fits well for younger players
Covers the whole lower leg and whole feet
Comes with sturdy, durable “shield”
Easy to wash
Removable shield may restrain movement
5. DashSport Soccer Shin Guards -Youth Sizes Best Kids Soccer Equipment with Ankle Sleeves – Great for Boys and Girls
The DashSport Shin Guard is another popular choice for younger soccer players. DashSport Soccer shin guards are ankle shin guards with Velcro strap to position it under your knee cap and a cushioned ankle support for better protection.
Additionally, the guard is made of light and durable PP shield to deflect any injury from your shin. On the other side of the hard shell is foam-padded inside to make it more comfortable especially for the kids.
Should you fined and concern with the product, the manufacturer offers one-year free replacement guarantee.
Protects the shin down to the ankle
Cool design and other colors available
1-year hassle-free replacement guarantee
Arising concern is the durability, especially of the velcro
Types of shin guards
When it comes to shin guards and soccer players, “one size fits all” just can’t apply. As such, there are three different types of shin guards suitable for different kinds of players. The Sport Bro presents these types and how each one may be more suitable to certain kinds of players.
Slip-in Shin Guards
Slip-ins, as the name indicates, easily slips onto your feet. They are lightweight, and with improved impact resistance and protection. Compared to other types, slip-ins can give you much freedom to move around.
Because of these characteristics, slip-in shin guards are preferred by intermediate and advanced soccer players. To keep them in place, some just wear them under their socks while others still use tape, stays or compression sleeves.
Ankle Shin Guards
Compared to slip-ins, ankle shin guards have extended padding that goes down to ankles. Their elastic straps also extend around your feet to keep them in place. The top portion of the shin guard, on the other hand, is designed with a velcro strap to make it stay in place, protecting your leg.
They are cheaper than slip-ins and are recommended for beginners. Even kids will not have a problem with this type since they are designed to be simple and easy to wear. However, some also comes with ankle guards that may be removed should the user or player improved or grew up.
Sock Style Shin Guards
Unlike the previous two types, sock style shin guards are primarily manufactured for convenience. As such, they are least commonly-used type.
Sock Style Shin Guards are designed as soccer socks with guards but they do not offer significant of protection to be used in actual soccer games. Instead, this type is good only for leisure plays with friends where there is less possible chance of being injured.
How to choose soccer shin guards
Aside from the type, there are also other factors that you may want to consider as you choose for a shin guard. Based on Authentic Soccer and Dick’s Pro Tips, factors include player position, material, and size.
If you play a specific position, there are some features that you may want to be in your shin guard to improve how you play.
Defenders: if you are a defender, then you are expected to bear much pain during the game. As such, your shin guard needs to be able to provide sufficient protection, down to your ankle if possible.
Midfielders: if you are a midfielder, then your shin guard must be able to provide protection and be flexible at the same time. Your shin guard must not compromise flexibility; otherwise, you won’t be able to move freely. Protection is equally important for you to keep playing in the field with less injury.
Forwards: for forwards, the key aspects for your shin guards are weight and size. You would want to have the lightest and smallest one that will not hinder with your speed and agility.
Goalkeepers: compared to other positions, goalkeepers do not need much protection. If you are one, then a lightweight shin guard with minimal padding will work fine with you.
Depending on the material used, a shin guard may either deflect or absorb the impact of a kick so it would also be helpful for you to know the specifics of your shin guard, particularly the material used.
Fiberglass: stiff, yet lightweight and offers optimal protection.
Foam rubber:lightweight and moldable but provides less protection.
Polyurethane:provides the best protection yet quite heavier and less moldable.
Plastic:less expensive in general.
EVA foam or Iycra backing: commonly found on the backside of shin guards to provide comfort.
Last among the factors is the size. You need to make sure that your shin guard is of perfect size so it won’t bother you while you play.
Ideally, your shin guard should cover the area between your ankle and knee. Specifically, it must be at least 2 inches below the knee. When buying a shin guard, it is best to read the guidelines and the size chart provided by the brand of your choice.
How to wear your shin guards properly
Before putting on your socks, shin guards must be worn properly first. So here are the steps how (Source):
Slide the shin guards from your feet up to your shin.
Position them at the center, and not to the side of your shin.
Fasten the straps to secure and protect your leg. Make sure it’s not too tight or too loose.
Use tape if necessary to keep them in place.
Put your sock over the shin guards.
Do Shin Guards Go Over or Under Socks?
There are some who say that how you wear your shin guards and socks depend on the type of shin guard you want to wear.
Some players, especially younger ones, prefer to wear shin guards that are designed with ankle protection under their socks. On the other hand, for shin guards without ankle protection, some players wear them over their socks and cleats (Source).
In a more general perspective, shin guards are worn under the socks regardless if the guard comes with ankle protection or not (Source). This practice helps keep the shin guard in place, offering as much protection as it can. During match plays, it is also imperative that your socks cover your shin guards.
Before you leave this post, allow us to re-affirm you that you are making a good choice for your child, godchild, niece or nephew, for buying him/her a shin guard. It is foresight that led you to preventing your child to suffer any pain and/or injury because of soccer.
Shin guards may not help them improve their skills as much as other equipment but they help them focus on the game rather on their legs, shins or ankles.
Don’t think twice anymore. You’re doing the right thing to protect the kids and help them feel more comfortable and safe during the game.