How to Wear Shin Guards for Distraction-Free Play

Mar 10, 2023

Buying shin guards and wearing them should seem pretty straightforward. But it’s not uncommon for players and parents to make mistakes when buying them, contributing to all sorts of nuisances on and off the pitch. How do you find the right shin protection?


Choose the right type of shin guards, to begin with 

The biggest mistake parents and players usually make with shin guards is choosing the wrong ones. By “wrong ones” we mean the wrong type, not necessarily the wrong size or brand although those can be problems as well. There are different types of shin guards,  three to be exact, and they each work better (or worse) for some players depending on their age and experience. 

Three types of shin guards

  • Slip-in shin guards: Slip-in shin guards offer a lightweight feel, giving players lots of mobility and easy movement on the pitch. They get the name “slip-in” because they’re designed to go underneath the socks, typically compression socks, which hold them into place. Slip-in shin guards are ideal for older youth or adult players.  
  • Ankle shin guards: Ankle shin guards contain stirrups that go under the feet and have a strap or an elastic band which goes around the calf to secure the guard. They usually come with some extra padding along both sides of the ankles. These types of guards offer more protection than slip-in guards, and are recommended for younger players as a result. 
  • Shin socks: Shin socks are essentially knee-high socks that contain built-in shin guards. This design is convenient because it combines two components, the socks and the guards. And, as a result, they’re easy to wear—you just slip them on. The advantage of shin socks is convenience. 

So how do you choose the right one? If you’re going by the guidelines listed above, we’d recommend using ankle shin guards or socks for younger players and slip-ons for older ones. Younger players benefit from more ankle protection since their shins are smaller and less conditioned, hence, why ankle shin guards are ideal.

Of course, comfort and preference matter as well. Also, consider the rules of the league you or your kid plays in, as they may have guidelines on what you can and can’t wear.


How to put shin guards on 

The type of shin guards you buy will dictate how you wear your shin guards. That part is usually straightforward. 

If you’re wearing shin socks, it’s as simple as putting them on like you would any sock, ensuring the protective portion is right over the shins. Ankle shin guards go underneath the socks

  1. You put the shin guard on first
  2. Secure the strap to tighten it
  3. Then wear then pull the sock over them 

Slip-in shin guards need an extra step—you put your socks on first, put the slip guard on after, and then pull the sock up and over the guard. Those are the basics. 

Many of you will choose ankle shin guards, especially if you have a youth player. But there are some things to keep in mind here. 

  • First, avoid choosing or wearing overly bulky shin guards because they are uncomfortable and can feel restrictive (and distracting). Your best bet is to wear guards that “hug” your shins, rather than wearing ones that jut out on the sides. 
  • Second, ensure the socks are tight (but not too tight) and pull them up to the knees. This helps to keep the shin guard more secure. 

Storelli leg and shin guards

Our line of BodyShield leg guards is more like the shin socks mentioned earlier. However, with our leg guards, you don’t have to put your shin guards underneath them. Rather, there’s a pocket on the outside of the sleeve that you put the shin guard in. 

The pocket holds your shin guards in place. It’s a design feature that combines the convenience of a shin sock, but allows you to add a shin guard to provide more protection than what a shin sock may offer. It’s the best of both worlds. 

Additionally, our leg guards contain 3 mm of impact-protection material, which provides additional cushioning from blows to the ankles, shins, and lower legs. 

Best of all, in 2024, we launched our debut line of slip-in shin guards. They feature a wedge design that locks into the our leg guard sock pockets, preventing them from slipping and sliding. This further enhances your ability to play without the need to adjust them during a game or practice.  

How to wear (and wash them) to avoid rash and dermatitis

Most parents and players don’t think about allergic reactions or rashes when choosing shin guards. It’s not a common problem, but it happens to some unlucky players. Shin guard dermatitis is any form of rash, itching, or irritation that affects the shins after wearing shin guards. 

There’s no singular cause but it may come from: 

  • Heat, sweat and friction 
  • Sensitivities to the material used in the shin guard
  • Bacterial or fungal infections

Regardless of the cause, shin guards can aggravate this condition depending on how they’re worn. It’s important to remove shin guards immediately after wearing them, and then washing them after games with warm water and mild soap. It also is wise to moisturize the skin and use skin care that may prevent or treat a rash. 

However, it’s also a good idea to pay attention to the guards' materials since they can irritate sensitive skin. By extension, that means being selective of what guards you buy. For example, our BodyShield leg guards contain materials that are moisture-wicking and antibacterial. They keep the shins cool and dry and contain a treatment that prevents microbial growth. 

Guard your shins, boost your game

With lower leg injuries being some of the most common injuries in soccer, it’s a no-brainer that shin guards are a crucial protective gear. But choosing the right ones are important too, because the right guards will eliminate distractions. 

Guards that don’t itch, slip, or slide around go unnoticed, which is perfect for helping you stay in the zone. And the more you can lock in the game, the more of a beast you will be on the pitch.  

Looking for shin protection you can rely on? Check out our Storelli BodyShield Leg Guards for no-nonsense, irritation-free coverage!
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