Types of Shin Guards & How to Choose the Best Ones | Storelli
Jan 20, 2022
When it comes to buying shin guards, parents and players often think that picking the first thing off the shelf is good enough. But not all shin guards are the same. There are at least three types of shin guards. Each has its pros and cons, and soccer players need to know the differences. This quick post will take a look at these shin guard differences and offer pointers on which ones are best.
Slip-in Shin Guards
Slip-in shin guards are portable and lightweight. You can wear them right under your socks. Generally speaking, you need to use tape or compression sleeves to keep slip-ins secure under the sock. But some socks have a snug fit that can hold slip-in shin guards in place.
Ideally, slip-in shin guards are best reserved for more experienced players. These are the players who prefer a greater degree of flexibility and movement. We don’t recommend them for younger kids, but older youth players can wear them.
Ankle Shin Guards
Ankle shin guards offer more protection than slip-in shin guards. They usually come with extra padding on both sides of the ankle. Ankle shin guards also have stirrups that slide under the feet as well as a strap or elastic band to place around the calf for a secure fit.
Ankle shin guards are the standard and recommended choice for youth players. They offer an ideal balance of protection against kicks and impacts, while still allowing for adequate movement.
Shin socks look like socks but have the built-in padding of traditional shin guards. That makes them convenient and ergonomic. They’re a good option for youth players and take the hassle out of proper placement. You simply put them on and that’s it - you’re good to play.
High school soccer coaches need to ensure that their players wear shin socks approved by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE). This is easy to spot since the NOCSAE stamp will be on the front of the shin sock.
Position & Shin Guard Type
Some shin guards suit players based on their age and experience, but a player's position is a bigger factor. Some positions involve more contact than others and carry higher injury risks. You should consider your position when buying leg guards.
Defenders: Get Ankle Shin Guards. Defenders take the most “damage” from contact and need extra protection as a result. That’s why we recommend ankle shin guards for this position.
Midfielders: Get Slip-In Shin Guards. Midfielders take hits but move more than defenders do, and as a result, need a little more flexibility. Slip-in shin guards are ideal for them.
Forwards: Get Slip-In Shin Guards or Shin Socks. Forwards need maximum mobility for the bursts of speed and quick cuts they make on the attack. Lightweight options such as slip-in shin guards are ideal, although shin socks may work for some forwards as well.
Goalkeepers: Get Slip-In Shin Guards or Shin Socks. Goalies need less protection than field positions. A lightweight option with little padding is ideal such as slip-in shin guards or shin socks.
Is There a Middle Ground
The short answer is "yes" - you can find leg guards that are hybrids and allow for some flexibility. Sometimes, you need the option to switch between different types of leg guards. For example, you might want the simplicity of a shin sock by itself for some performances. But at other times, you might need the added protection of an ankle shin guard.
There are leg guards that allow you to add and remove protection where needed. These leg guards often have pockets that can fit extra padding. For example, our line of Storelli leg guards can function as standalone guards, but also let you insert pads for extra protection.
Protect Your Shins, Earn Your Wins
Leg injuries are the most common type of injury you can get in soccer. That's why you want to protect the legs with the best soccer protective gear possible. With that said, you want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your shin guards by choosing the right ones.
You have options and different shin guards are more suitable depending on your needs. But there is an ideal leg guard for everyone.
Are you looking for high-performance leg protection? Browse through our selection of leg guards!