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Best Shin Guards Reviewed & Rated for Quality

last updated Mar 05, 2019

In many contact sports, a pair of shin guards is an essential tool to prevent injury. This kind of protective gear is recommended and even required in sports such as hockey, soccer, baseball or football. This is because in most high-action and intensive sports, especially those like soccer, the lower parts of the human body are often left unprotected and vulnerable to harsh contact from the ball or other players. In this way, a shin guard plays a vital role in protecting the bone and delicate tissues and muscles around the shin area and can offer valuable protection against any kicks, strikes, or tumbles that often occur in any contact sports game.

This is the best product on our list that is currently in stock:

icon
Storelli BodyShield
90/100 our score
Breathability
90
Comfort
95
Fit
90
Protection
85
Shock Absorption
90
Storelli BodyShield
Why is it better?

The material has been enriched with anti-bacterial treatment to reduce germs, odors and to minimize the chance of infections on the field.

The sleeve itself is highly breathable and wicks any moisture away from the skin.

The plastic shell is held in place by a uniquely innovative sleeve that comes included.

The sleeve gently hugs the curves of the lower leg to sit comfortably around your leg and offer you optimum mobility.

The product includes padding that can absorb up to 90% of any impact.

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Storelli BodyShield
Test Winner: Storelli BodyShield
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Researched Sources
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Reviews Considered
11
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Hours Researching
6
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Products Evaluated
20
Products Evaluated
Sorting Options
Breathability Comfort Fit Protection Shock Absorption By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
Breathability
96 %
Comfort
94 %
Fit
92 %
Protection
87 %
Shock Absorption
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (05.12.19)
Amazon Link
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
Breathability
90 %
Comfort
95 %
Fit
90 %
Protection
85 %
Shock Absorption
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (05.12.19)
Amazon Link
$28.00
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.4
Breathability
88 %
Comfort
86 %
Fit
88 %
Protection
95 %
Shock Absorption
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (05.12.19)
Amazon Link
$29.22
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.6
Breathability
90 %
Comfort
90 %
Fit
92 %
Protection
86 %
Shock Absorption
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (05.12.19)
Amazon Link
$29.99
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.4
Breathability
85 %
Comfort
82 %
Fit
88 %
Protection
90 %
Shock Absorption
87 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (05.12.19)
Amazon Link
$19.95
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
Breathability
85 %
Comfort
85 %
Fit
86 %
Protection
88 %
Shock Absorption
87 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (05.12.19)
Amazon Link
$6.34
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Breathability
87 %
Comfort
85 %
Fit
83 %
Protection
85 %
Shock Absorption
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (05.12.19)
Amazon Link
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Breathability
85 %
Comfort
85 %
Fit
90 %
Protection
80 %
Shock Absorption
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (05.12.19)
Amazon Link
$24.50
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.2
Breathability
82 %
Comfort
84 %
Fit
80 %
Protection
85 %
Shock Absorption
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (05.12.19)
Amazon Link
$9.61
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83
Breathability
90 %
Comfort
95 %
Fit
85 %
Protection
75 %
Shock Absorption
70 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (05.12.19)
Amazon Link
$10.99

10 Best Shin Guards

1. Nike Mercurial Lite

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
Nike Mercurial Lite
Amazon Link
Breathability
96
Comfort
94
Fit
92
Protection
87
Shock Absorption
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

The Nike Mercurial Lite is available in a wide assortment of colors and color combinations.

Each set includes a pair of hardened shell guards together with snug-fitting sleeves to keep them in place.

Sleeves feature a seamless design together with waffle-fabric to wick moisture away from skin.

The guards features a low-profile design to offer you protection without distracting you during the game.

The sleeves and guards are very easy to wash and keep clean.

Cons:

The sizes tend to run much smaller than standard sizing guides. You should buying at least one or two sizes larger than your regular size.

If you’ve ever been annoyed at drooping protective gear, you should look no further than the Mercurial Lite. Extremely lightweight and comfortable, this protective gear offers a hard shell constructed from K-resin that is held in place by highly breathable sleeves. The shells themselves offer a barely-there feel thanks to its ultra-lightweight construction. The K-resin shell is backed by EVA foam in a waffle pattern to ensure a comfortable fit as well as extra overall padding. The shells themselves are then kept in place by the included sleeves.

Shock Absorption
The Mercurial Lite offers one of the most shock absorbing products on the market thanks to the high-density EVA foam used on the inside of the plastic shell. The foam itself is inserted in a waffle pattern for added comfort and optimum shock absorption for harsh blows and impact.

Breathable Sleeve
The included sleeves have been constructed from Nike’s very own patented Dri-FIT fabric. This unique synthetic fabric has been optimized with the athlete in mind and effectively wicks away moisture from the skin, while simultaneously providing some air circulation and breathability to the area.

Cost and Value
While the Mercurial Lite is somewhat more expensive than most products, it offers a comprehensive protective product that is comfortable. Each purchase includes the plastic shells as well as Dri-FIT sleeves.

2. Storelli BodyShield

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
Storelli BodyShield
Amazon Link
Breathability
90
Comfort
95
Fit
90
Protection
85
Shock Absorption
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$28.00
Pros:

The material has been enriched with anti-bacterial treatment to reduce germs, odors and to minimize the chance of infections on the field.

The sleeve itself is highly breathable and wicks any moisture away from the skin.

The plastic shell is held in place by a uniquely innovative sleeve that comes included.

The sleeve gently hugs the curves of the lower leg to sit comfortably around your leg and offer you optimum mobility.

The product includes padding that can absorb up to 90% of any impact.

Cons:

The sleeve elasticity is susceptible to wear out over time that compromises the overall fit.

The LegGuard shin pads need to be purchased separately.

Storelli’s BodyShield is perhaps one of the most-innovative “barely-there” products when it comes to protective sports gear. This product consists of a pair of hardened plastic LegGuards that is kept in place by the highly innovative lower leg sleeve. The result is a highly protective yet comfortable experience that offers any athlete plenty of protection and mobility. This is a great option for more experienced athletes who need to get the most out of their gear.

High-Performance Sleeves
It’s the sleeves of the BodyShield that is truly the star of the show. The sleeve itself is constructed from performance fabric that wicks moisture away from the skin and gives you plenty of mobility. There is also plenty of padding in very vital areas to offer support and protection to the entire leg instead of just the shin area.

Anti-bacterial Fabric
This fabric is treated with an anti-bacterial product to minimize germs and odors and reduce the chances of infection. This added extra allows the athlete an easier way of keeping their gear clean and sanitary during their performance.

Cost and Value
The Storelli BodyShield is perhaps one of the most expensive products on our list of top-rated products, especially considering that the purchase only includes the sleeves and not the LegGuards. However, this product features plenty of high-tech extras as well as sheer high-quality performance to appeal to the advanced athlete.

3. Adidas Performance Ghost Pro

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.4
Adidas Performance Ghost Pro
Amazon Link
Breathability
88
Comfort
86
Fit
88
Protection
95
Shock Absorption
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$29.22
Pros:

The shell is constructed from polypropylene and TPU for optimum flexibility.

High level of protection together with comfort makes this ideal for any kind of athlete.

The shell is kept in place by a compression sleeve for high performance protection.

The plastic shell is backed by EVA foam for added comfort and padding.

The Performance Ghost Pro is available in a dozens of different eye-catching colors.

Cons:

Sizes tend to run much smaller than standard sizes. Opt to buy a size or two larger than your regular size.

The Adidas Performance Ghost Pro is very likely one of the most flexible options out there when it comes to protective sports gear. With its beautifully sleek design, comfortable fit, and comprehensive protection, this product is ideal for any kind of athlete and is a firm favorite in the contact sports world. The plastic shell offers comprehensive to its wearer without compromising flexibility and comfort.

Highly Protective Shell
Each shell is made from a mixture of polypropylene and TPU injection-molded plastic. The anatomy of the shell consists of 3 different shields that covers a much larger surface area than the average product. The shell is then finished off by high-quality EVA foam for a snug and comfortable fit.

Versatile
However, one of the most standout characteristics about the Performance Ghost Pro is perhaps its accessibility. This product is suitable to be used by any athlete on any level. This together with its great price and various available sizes and color, makes it easy to see why the Performance Ghost Pro continues to be a best-seller.

Cost and Value
As expected the Adidas Performance Ghost Pro is somewhat more expensive than the average product. However, considering its optimized shell together with its high-quality endurance, the Performance Ghost Pro is well worth the splurge.

4. G-Form Pro-S Elite

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.6
G-Form Pro-S Elite
Amazon Link
Breathability
90
Comfort
90
Fit
92
Protection
86
Shock Absorption
85
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$29.99
Pros:

Unique RPT innovation allows the product to stay soft and flexible and harden upon impact.

The Pro-S Elite has been made from breathable materials that wick moisture away from the skin.

The product fits snugly around the curves of your lower legs to stay put during activity.

You don’t need any additional tape or sleeves to keep the Pro-S Elite in place.

The Pro-S Elite is easy to keep clean and sanitary, simply put it in the laundry machine after use.

Cons:

The product could experience delayed hardening especially in the case of soft blows or mild impact.

G-Form combines lightweight comfort with hardcore protection with their unique Pro-S Elite product. This sleek looking protective gear represents the very latest in protective gear technology with their own patented Reactive Protection Technology (RPT) that allows it to harden on impact to make sure that you stay protected. The soft and flexible design allows it to fit snugly around your shin area for an optimum snug fit.

Reactive Protection Technology
Perhaps one of the most innovative design to come from protective gear technology in the last few years is G-Form’s Reactive Protection Technology. This allows the protective plastic itself to remain soft and flexible throughout the game but is able to automatically harden upon impact.

Lightweight and Breathable
Despite the fact that this protective product wraps around the entire leg, it remains surprisingly lightweight and breathable for a more comfortable experience. The unique performance fabric successfully reduces sweat and heat throughout the game in this area.

Cost and Value
This product is perhaps marginally more expensive than the average product. However, the Pro-S Elite is backed by years of protective gear innovation to bring you one of the most comfortable products to date. Each purchase includes a pair of the Pro-S Elite and this highly durable product will definitely last longer than most.

5. DashSport Youth

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.4
DashSport Youth
Amazon Link
Breathability
85
Comfort
82
Fit
88
Protection
90
Shock Absorption
87
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$19.95
Pros:

The product has a reinforced ankle sleeve for added protection in the vulnerable ankle area.

The DashSport Youth is available in up to four different colors including blue, pink, red, and white.

Each product is covered by a 1-year warranty by the manufacturer.

The DashSport Youth has been designed and optimized to suit the needs of younger players.

The straps wrap completely around the leg to keep the guard in place.

Cons:

The ankle sleeve may be susceptible to fraying after prolonged use.

Made with the young player in mind, DashSport has innovated a product that delivers easy and lightweight protection that feels comfortable and secure on younger shins. With its unique slip-on design, the DashSport Youth protective gear will likely appeal to any age group. Considering its great price and flexible feel, this is the ideal choice for any young players from toddlers to teens! The product has a wide range of sizes and will surely become a favorite in any school sports team.

Protection and Shock Absorption
The product consists of the traditional hardened plastic shell that is backed with foam. The foam backing allows the guard to rest comfortably on your lower legs and provides added shock absorption. The plastic shell is kept in place by two velcro straps that can be adjusted to firmly wrap around the entire leg.

Ankle Support
What makes the DashSport Youth a great choice for younger players is the added ankle reinforcement that you get from the ankle sleeve. This sleeve is made from highly breathable fabrics so as to not interfere with your performance. However, it does fit snugly enough to offer some added support to this vulnerable area.

Cost and Value
Priced very competitively, the DashSport youth shin guards are a small investment for a big return. You can never pay too much when it comes to protecting the children and with this particular product, you won't have to.

6. Vizari Malaga

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
Vizari Malaga
Amazon Link
Breathability
85
Comfort
85
Fit
86
Protection
88
Shock Absorption
87
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$6.34
Pros:

The plastic shell is constructed from PP for a lightweight and flexible performance.

Hard shell casing is padded with foam for added comfort and a better fit.

The Malaga is available in various colors and sizes for both adults and children.

This product is taller than average which covers more of your shin area for ultimate protection.

Has extra padding around the ankles for added stability and comfort.

Cons:

It does not wrap around the entire leg, leaving parts of your lower legs still vulnerable to injury.

The Vizari Malaga is a firm favorite among athletes of all levels thanks to its comfortable fit and complete protection. The product itself consists of a hard PP shell that covers the entire shin area with ease. The back of this hard shell is padded with high-quality foam to provide some additional shock absorption for hard blows. The relatively low-price together with the various colors available makes this a great product for kids or entry-level athletes.

Protective PP Shell
The shell is kept in place in two ways. It fits snugly around the ankle with an attached sleeve, while also using velcro strips that wraps around the lower leg. The sleeve fabric is breathable enough to not interfere with the athlete's performance, while the strips themselves ensure a secure fit.

Ankle Support
The Malaga offers some additional padding and support around the vulnerable ankle area. This added support is great especially for younger players as it helps add some stability and reduce damage during injury.

Cost and Value
Compared to other products the Vizari Malaga is very competitively priced. For this price you receive a pair of high-quality and durable guards that offers added ankle support. The accessibility of this product makes it a great all-rounder for any level of athlete.

7. Diadora Scudo

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Diadora Scudo
Amazon Link
Breathability
87
Comfort
85
Fit
83
Protection
85
Shock Absorption
85
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

The plastic shell is made from high-density polypropylene to withstand mild to severe impact.

The shell itself has ventilation slits for increased air circulation to the area.

This product is available in a wide array of sizes and colors.

This is a more cost-effective option than several other similar products.

Backed by foam to ensure a comfortable fit and additional shock absorption.

Cons:

The product can only be used beneath socks and does have the ability to stay in place without a sock.

While it may be a more traditional looking option when it comes to protective sports gear, the Diadora Scudo still performs well when it comes to protection. This product is a great all-rounder that offers plenty of breathability and mobility in its performance while still being affordable. This product is primarily aimed at kids and teens and has been designed with their specific anatomy in mind.

High-Impact Shell
On the surface, the Diadora Scudo is simply an old-school guard that has the plastic shell, backed by foam, hugs the shin area and is kept in place by an included sleeve. The shell itself has been constructed using high-quality polypropylene to ensure protection against harsh blows. In addition, the shell has ventilation slits to increase the airflow circulation in this area.

Great for Kids
Made with kids and teens, in mind, this is the ideal product for any junior athlete. The high-impact shell offers all the protection needed at a younger age, while the guards themselves are easy enough to take on and off unassisted.

Cost and Value
The Diadora Scudo is very competitively priced especially considering the sheer value for money. Each purchase contains a pair of polypropylene shells along with a pair of sleeves to hold the product in place. The very low price makes this perfect for the beginner athlete.

8. Venum Kontackt

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Venum Kontackt
Amazon Link
Breathability
85
Comfort
85
Fit
90
Protection
80
Shock Absorption
80
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$24.50
Pros:

Includes reinforced instep and ankle protective padding for optimum protection.

The Kontackt is available in up to thirteen different bright colors.

The sleeve itself is constructed from highly breathable cotton.

The velcro strap at the top allows you to adjust the product to suit your fit.

The product is machine-washable and easy to keep clean and odor-free.

Cons:

This product is only suitable to be used for fighting sports such as kickboxing, MMA, karate, etc.

Just because you enjoy fighting sports does not mean you don’t need adequate protection. The Venum Kontackt has innovated its protective gear to provide adequate support as well as comfort for the entire lower leg area. With its sleek design and handy extras such as the reinforced instep and ankle protection, the Venum Kontackt protects as well as it looks.

Ankle and Instep Support
What makes the Kontackt stand out over other products is the fact that it entirely protects both the ankle and instep. The additional reinforcement and comfortable padding add support to these vulnerable areas that are frequently damaged in fighting sports.

Snug Fit
The Kontackt was designed to fit like a second skin. This product is available in a wide range of sizes to suit every leg build. However, there are also two velcro straps located at the ankle and above the calf to be adjusted to suit your specific needs.

Cost and Value
Despite its comprehensive protection to the more vulnerable parts of the foot and ankle, the Venum Kontackt is still moderately priced. Each purchase includes a pair that is durable and machine washable.

9. Franklin Sports Superlight

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.2
Franklin Sports Superlight
Amazon Link
Breathability
82
Comfort
84
Fit
80
Protection
85
Shock Absorption
85
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$9.61
Pros:

This product is available in a wide range of sizes for both kids and adults.

Plastic shell is backed with soft, high-density foam for added comfort and optimum shock absorption.

The uniquely symmetrical design ensures that your entire shin area is completely covered.

The product is held in place by self-stick straps that are incredibly easy to adjust to suit your needs.

This product is suitable to be worn beneath traditional sport socks or without.

Cons:

Sizes tend to run much bigger than standard sizing expectations. Opt to buy a size smaller than your regular size to ensure a snug fit.

As the name suggests, the Superlight from Franklin Sports is most notable for its incredibly lightweight design. The hard protective plastic shell is constructed from a highly durable plastic. The unique design of the outer shell is completely symmetrical that gives you more complete coverage than other products. The product itself features a clean, chrome-accented and geometric design that can be worn both inside socks and out. It is available insizes for both adults and children and considering its very low retail price, this is the ideal option for a beginner or casual athlete.

Shock Absorption
On the inside, the shell is backed with high-density foam that offers plenty of padding to the discerning athlete and offers more shock absorption for those harsh knocks. The product is kept in place by self-stick straps that easily wrap around the leg and can be adjusted to fit with your body. These straps make it somewhat easier to put on the protective gear - a great feature for any beginner athlete!

For Any Athlete
The clean design together with the wide variety in sizes for both kids and adults makes this a great choice for almost any athlete. Kids and beginners will love how easy it is to use the Superlight, while adults will likely benefit from its hard protective shell.

Cost and Value
At its current price, the Franklin Sports Superlight is one of the most cost-effective options on the market. Despite its low price, it offers plenty of high-quality protection and an overall lightweight and durable performance that will impress even intermediate to advanced athletes.

10. ProForce

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83
ProForce
Amazon Link
Breathability
90
Comfort
95
Fit
85
Protection
75
Shock Absorption
70
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$10.99
Pros:

The ProForce product covers your entire lower leg from the ankle to just below the knee.

The fabric wraps around the entire leg to give coverage to vulnerable areas such as the ankles.

The sleeve fabric is highly breathable and does not interfere with your performance.

The ProForce is a more cost-effective option compared to other similar products.

The fabric is machine-washable and easy to keep clean and sanitary.

Cons:

The soft padding will not provide adequate protection against harsh impact.

While it may not be entirely suited to harsh impact sports, the ProForce is notable for its sheer comfort and breathability. This is a single product that comes in the shape of a compression sleeve that wraps around the entire leg and reaches all the way from your ankles to below the knee for ample coverage against mild to moderate blows.

Comfortable
The fabric itself is highly breathable and stretchy for added comfort. The inside of the sleeve features added soft padding, especially around the shin area, for optimum support. However, the rest of the sleeve still provides support and mild padding to give some level of protection to the entire leg.

Versatile
The soft padding ensures a highly comfortable sporting experience. However, this product can also be used for much more than contact sports. The soft padding and comfortable sleeve makes it ideal for individuals recovering from a lower leg injury and would like some added protection to the area. It is a highly versatile product that comes at a great price and can be used by beginner athletes with ease.

Cost and Value
You’ll be hard pressed to find a product more competitively priced than the ProForce. While it may not offer protection as comprehensive as some other products, its comfort and use of use make it ideal for a wide variety of beginner athletes.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Breathability

If you were playing any kind of contact sport even just ten years ago, you likely remember the sensation of having to peel sticky and sweaty shin guards from your legs after playing. However, most sports manufacturers have been turning to more lightweight and breathable alternatives even when it comes to protective gear.

In the last few years, several studies have confirmed that there is a definite link between the breathability of the athlete’s equipment and subsequent performance. When we talk about breathability, we essentially refer to a fabrics quality to either absorb moisture and dry quickly or simply to wick moisture away from the skin. Any fabric that can not do this, can cause severe discomfort during intense activity and in severe cases could lead to rashes or irritations formed on the skin, which is why breathability is such a key factor in picking out your sporting gear.

While the plastic shell and padding system may not offer much in terms of breathability, it might help to look for products with highly breathable sleeves. Ideally, sleeves should be made from synthetic fibers such as nylon or polyester, and perhaps even cotton. These fabrics offer the most breathability. However, certain manufacturers, such as Nike or Adidas also offer their very own patented performance fabrics that have been enhanced for maximum breathability.

Comfort

Many athletes, especially beginners, truly hate protective gear and understandably so. Most entry-level products offer general protection but are so uncomfortable that it hugely interferes with the athlete’s performance. This is especially discouraging to beginners who are just learning the game.

The comfort of any given piece of sportswear can make or break your overall experience and the same goes for shin guards. Since many leading governing bodies, such as FIFA, are more and more insisting that players wear protective gear at all times, the best you can do is find equipment that is most comfortable for you.

When we speak about comfort, there are a variety of factors to consider that determines a product’s overall comfort, such as a product’s weight, mobility, fit, breathability, and overall feel.

Since it could be difficult to determine a product’s comfort when shopping online, your best course of action is to look at what each product is made from. Plastic shells made from plastic or plastic composites, K-resin, fiberglass or polypropylene are the general standard in most products since they provide the most lightweight and durable protection.

As for fabric, any breathable fabric is the best option. In addition, you should look out for sleeves that offer compression for a second skin fit and adequate support.

Fit

Finding the proper fit for shin guards is notoriously tricky since there is no standard sizing guide. Sizing guides differ for kids and adults, and most manufacturer works on their own sizing standards.

What makes the fit even more complicated is that there are so many different varieties of shin guards and each has their own specific fit requirements. For the most part, any shin protective gear should fit comfortably around the shin area. A tight-fit will ensure that your product stays in place throughout the game.

As for the actual fit, a good starting point would be to measure your leg first. The ideal product should cover your leg from just above your ankle to about two inches below the knee. Measure this area accurately with measuring tape and compare it with the manufacturer’s sizing guide to find the best possible option for you.

Once you try it on, it’s important to walk around in it or run on the stop. An ideal fitting product should not feel restricting in any way. This will also help you to determine a product’s comfort before buying. If you are buying online, you should confirm that you can return products in the wrong size.

Protection

When it comes to protective gear, of course, one of your primary considerations should be just how much protection does it give you? Your protective needs will also vary depending on your preferred contact sport, age, and sporting level.

Young children and beginner athletes will likely need the most protection no matter what kind of sport they participate in. This is because their bodies are still developing, making the fragile tissue and cartilage more susceptible to injury and could cause long-term damage.

Kids will also require added ankle padding. As they start finding their way around the sporting field, they will likely still be quite clumsy until they start learning some footwork. This clumsiness makes them more liable for trips and falls and additional ankle padding is a great way to add support to the area and potentially minimize damage in those inevitable falls.

The most comprehensive protection will ideally cover the entire lower leg, feature ankle padding, and include a hard shell made from either fiberglass or polypropylene.

For more intermediate athletes, the level of protection will vary depending on their chosen sport. Generally speaking, sports that are prone to frequent harsh blows and impact such as fighting sports or soccer will require much higher protection than other alternatives such as mountain biking.

Shock Absorption

When kinetic energy collides with another object it is bound to have some impact. In layman's terms, once you come into contact with other human beings or balls at a high speed, the force of the collision could cause severe damage.

Shock absorption works by literally absorbing some of the impact that is caused by any collision. The shock absorber generally converts the kinetic energy into a different kind of energy. When it comes to protective sports gear, the foam padding acts as the shock absorber. Effectively it works by softening the blow to the wearer.

High shock absorption is critical in high-activity contact sports such as soccer or hockey. You can determine a product’s shock absorption capabilities by the kind of foam that it uses. Ideally, you should look for a high-density foam, such as EVA that is commonly used by top manufacturers such as Nike and Adidas.

The amount of padding is another important consideration. Generally speaking, the thicker the padding, the more effective the shock absorption will be.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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#1
ico Protection
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#2
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#3
ico Shock Absorption
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#4
ico Fit
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#5
ico Breathability
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expert tips icon
Who Needs 'Em?

Shin guards are worn on the front of an athlete's shin to protect this sensitive area of the leg from injury. If you've ever banged your shin, you know how incredibly painful even the smallest bump can be. Most commonly, shin guards are worn in contact sports like football and hockey. But athletes who play other sports like lacrosse or baseball can benefit from investing in a pair of shin guards, too. Even cyclists can reap the benefits of shin protection.

The History of Shin Guards

Believe it or not, the idea of shin guards have been around since ancient times. Though they didn't look like the shin guards we know today, they were commonly used during battles throughout history. Originally known as a "greave," this battle armor was typically made from bronze and were around in Italy as early as 550 BC. There is actually a passage in the Bible that mentions Goliath as a warrior who wore "bronze leggings."

Other Factors to Consider

Adjustability

Because no two athletes’ legs are the same, it is vital that your product offers plenty of adjustability when it comes to its fit. Rigid and inflexible products will more often than only prove to be uncomfortable and could possibly compromise your performance.

Adjustability also allows for more versatility. You can adjust the fit and perhaps in this way extend the life of your product. Most products will offer you either adjustability in the sense of velcro straps that could be adjusted to fit your leg or in the form of a highly stretchable sleeve.

In the case of velcro straps, you should look for a product where the straps are properly secured to the guard or pad itself. Moreover, the straps should thick enough to securely hold the product in place and offer enough room for versatile adjustment.

Sleeves are somewhat less adjustable since any fabric can only stretch so much. However, the fabric itself should be highly breathable and machine washable. Sleeves do have their benefits as they hold a product in place somewhat better and are considered more comfortable. For the most part, beginners will likely prefer velcro straps while advanced players know their sizes well enough to opt for sleeves instead.

Essentially the ideal option will be the product that feels the most comfortable for you.

Materials

At the end of the day any product is only as good as the materials that its made from. This consideration becomes even more vital when it comes to a product that is your main protection against heavy blows or impact.

Traditionally, shin guards were made using either wood or metal. Thankfully, over the last few decades, manufacturers have been turning towards more lightweight and breathable materials such as plastic or fibreglass to do the job.

The ideal materials that you should look out for will depend largely on what kind of protection you’re after. Products made from fibreglass will offer comprehensive protection and a sturdy product. But the material may make it completely inflexible and uncomfortable for the wearer. In comparison materials such as plastic, K-resin, and polypropylene will offer a more flexible product while still offering plenty of protection.

For those products that do come with sleeves, you’ll want to look for fabric that has been constructed using highly breathable fabrics such as nylon or polyester. Some manufacturers also have their very own patented performance fabric. This is a kind of synthetic fibre especially created by the manufacturer to offer plenty of support and breathability to the athlete.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: How do I determine my size?

a:

Most sellers and manufacturers will likely have a sizing chart to help you determine which size would fit you the best.

Ideally, this kind of protective gear should sit two inches below the knee and end just above the bend of your ankle. Measure this area and compare it to the manufacturer’s sizing chart to get the best size for you. Do not purchase an item based on the sizes of a different product as there is no standard sizing guide for protective apparel.

q: How can I tell the difference between kids and adult products?

a:

Surprisingly finding the difference between kids and adult products can be more difficult than it sounds, thanks to vague product descriptions.

Most reputable sellers will be very clear in their product description for what age group their product is made for. If you are still in doubt however, simply look at the sizing guide. If the measurements seem too small for an adult, it’s likely because the product is made for kids.

q: What is the difference between fibreglass, plastic, k-resin, and polypropylene?

a:

These are all simply substances that a shin guard is commonly manufactured from. However, these substances all result in a different kind of protection.

Any product made from fibreglass will be exceptionally lightweight and sturdy. However, it will be entirely inflexible and may impede mobility if not correctly designed.

K-resin provides a tough and sturdy protective shell. However, these kind of shells may have difficulty when it comes to breathability and mobility.

Shin Guards can be made from a wide variety of plastic or plastic composites. Generally speaking, hardened plastic will perhaps be less tough than k-resin or fibreglass, but will be much more flexible and breathable.

Polypropylene from the polymer family is becoming more readily used in a wide variety of goods and equipment thanks to its durability and easy manufacturing process. This kind of guard will be more durable and sturdy than plastic will still providing a lightweight and breathable product.

q: What is EVA foam?

a:

EVA is actually an acronym for Ethylene Vinyl Acetate and is used in a wide variety of products across almost all sectors thanks to its safety and versatility.

The foam itself is soft and highly durable and is commonly used as a more accessible and versatile alternative to PVC. Its unique cell-structure and density make it an ideal candidate to be used in protective sports apparel as it can provide a more comfortable fit while serving as a shock absorption mechanism upon impact.

q: What kind of sports can I use my protective gear for?

a:

You can never be too safe! While protective gear is commonly used for contact sports such as soccer, football, softball, hockey, lacrosse, and rugby, it can also be used for fighting sports and other physical activities. In fact, some governing bodies of contact sports, such as FIFA, have ruled that protective gear is essential during matches.

Some products have been particularly designed to be abrasion-resistant which is great for mountain bikers or other outdoor enthusiasts.

q: Can I wear the product inside my socks?

a:

For the most part, it is recommended that you wear your protective gear beneath your socks. However, how you wear your product will depend on your product type and your personal preference. Products with added ankle support are typically placed around the ankle and leg first and then covered by your sock or sleeve.

Products without ankle support are traditionally secured either by velcro straps or it is held in place by sleeves. To put these on you will be required to put on your shoes and shocks first, and then secure the guards either within your socks or sleeves.

q: How tall should the shin guard be?

a:

For optimum protection, the guard should sit about two inches below your knee and end just above the ankle bend. However, this may vary from product to product. For example, any product with ankle padding will continue beyond the ankle bend.

q: How do I keep the product in place?

a:

The product will be kept in place either by adjustable velcro straps, your socks, or sleeves that are either included in your purchases or that you buy separately.

q: Is ankle padding necessary?

a:

The necessity of ankle padding will differ depending on your age and skill level. Generally speaking, ankle padding is considered essential for kids and other young, beginner players.

As kids start to learn about footwork and mastering difficult kicks, some additional ankle support will give this vulnerable area added protection and could be the saving grace in the event of a nasty fall or harsh impact.

Sources

  1. Yasar Tatar, Nusret Ramazanoglu, Asiye Filiz Camliguney, Evrim Karadag Saygi, and Hasan Birol Cotuk, The Effectiveness of Shin Guards Used by Football Players, Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
  2. Patrick Hutchinson, The Proper Way to Wear Soccer Shin Guards With Socks, Livestrong
  3. Grace Lynne Fleming, Soccer Shin Guards 101: Everything You Need to Know, Soccer Mom Survival Guide
  4. Staff Writer, A Simple Guide to Choosing the Perfect Shin Guards, Worth View
  5. Professor Plastics, What is Polypropylene Plastic?, Plastics Make it Possible