How To Choose The Best Shin Guards For kids

Shin guards are protective gear for soccer players and your kid will not be allowed to play without wearing one. Buying it for your kid is easy but you need to know which one is the best. Follow this guide on how to choose the best shin guards for kids who play soccer.

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Importance of wearing shin guards

How To Choose The Best Shin Guards For kids - Shin guards protect the legs from injuries
Shin Guards Protect The Legs From Injuries

Shin guards primary function is to reduce the likelihood of tibia fracture in the player. They also prevent injuries to soft tissues such as cuts to the shin area.

Studies showed that fractures can happen even when wearing shin guards. So choosing the best shin guards that actually work is critical.

There are some criteria that you need to check first before making any purchase.

To help you make your decisions better I want to cover some background information about what part of the body we are protecting and shin-guards in general.

Soccer regulations reference

According to FIFA Law 4 of the Laws of the Game, shin guards are mandatory equipment all players must wear.

Any player ignoring this rule will not be allowed to participate in the match.

Types of shin injuries in soccer

The shin has 2 bones, the tibia, and fibula, from the knee to the ankle.

This area is exposed to injuries such as stress due to intense training and fracture due to collisions with other players.

1. Shin splint

This is an inflammatory condition of the outer lining of the tibia (shinbone) known as medial tibial stress syndrome.

Normally due to intense training and overtraining in sports that involve running and walking.

soccer player hurting leg

2. Shin fracture

According to a study by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information in 1999, 62% of shin fractures occurred after an impact on the shin.

And the recovery time from shin injuries may take up to 10 months.

What are shin guards made of?

Shin guards are actually a piece of ancient equipment used by the spartan warriors to protect their shins during battle.

It was made of bronze and other strong material to deflect any flying spears, arrows, or axes.

Nowadays shin guards are used in sports such as hockey, cricket, and soccer purposely to reduce injury to the shin from sliding tackles and collisions.

Modern-day shin guards are made from a variety of synthetic materials like fiberglass, foam rubber, polyurethane, plastic, and metal.

Of these materials, metal and polyurethane are strong but heavy, and plastic and foam rubber are light but not strong.

Fiberglass or carbon fiber, on the other hand, is strong and lightweight.

Types of shin guards

There are mainly 3 types of shin guards as described below:

1. Slip-in shin guards

This type offer freedom of movement because a player can roll down his or her sock and slip in or pull out the shields.

Normally slip-in shin guards come with a sleeve, like an open-ended sock, that you wear first before wearing the sock.

However, if the sock or the sleeve becomes slack after many uses the shield may come or move sideways and expose your shin.

How To Choose The Best Shin Guards For kids - Slip-in shin guards
Slip-In Soccer Shin Guards


  • Easy to wear and take off
  • Does not move to the sides when playing


  • The sleeves (black sock-line material in the photo above) tend to wear easily
  • No protection for the ankles

2. Ankle shin guards

Ankle shin guards provide protection to the ankles as well but they can be cumbersome and limits movement.

However, it is best for beginners and defenders who did a lot of attacking roles.

How To Choose The Best Shin Guards For kids - Ankle shin guards
Ankle shin guards


  • Best overall protection including the ankles
  • Comfortable


  • It can become soggy with sweat
  • It can restrict movement around the ankles

3. Shin guard socks

Shin guard socks come with foam or plate to insert in the sock while others are built-in and cannot be removed.

Some shin guard socks also have ankle pads that are sewn into the socks.

This is convenient for kids because they do not have to worry about shin guards coming off and easy to wash as normal socks after removing the foam inserts.

How To Choose The Best Shin Guards For kids - shin socks
Shin Socks Shin Guards


  • Easy to wear and take off
  • Don’t need to buy socks


  • Shin coverage area may not be adequate
  • They tend to be tight

Choosing the best shin guard

1. Player position

When choosing a shin guard you need to consider the soccer position your kid is playing.

If your kid is a beginner, defender, or goalkeeper I would recommend the ankle shin guards because it offers protection to the ankles as well.

If your kid is a midfielder, striker, or winger then I would recommend the slip-in shin guards or the shin socks.

If you are really not sure what type of shin guard to buy then opting for the ankle shin guards is your best bet.

2. Size

The more shin area the shin guard can cover the better, ideally, it should be 2 inches below the knees and just above the ankle.

It should fit snugly and hug the contour of the shin as opposed to sticking out on the sides which may hamper performance.

3. Comfort

A good shin guard should have foam lining between the plate and the shin so that it is comfortable for your kid.

Also, I prefer the velcro strap to be secured on the front of the shin guard plate instead of behind the calves. Because the velcro can dig into your kid’s skin causing irritation.

A Boy Wearing Shin Guards
A Boy Wearing Shin Guards

How to wear shin guards

1. Slip-in shin guards

  • Wear the sleeves first
  • Slip in the plates
  • Wear socks to cover it
  • Wear the soccer cleats
  • To take it off, roll down the socks
  • Pull out the plates

2. Ankle shin guards

  • Wear the shin guard first
  • Slip the foot into the ankle guard elastic band
  • Strap the plate securely (not too tight) with the velcro
  • Wear the socks over it
  • Wear the soccer cleats
  • To take it off, you need to take off the cleats and the socks

3. Shin socks

  • Slip the plate into the pocket inside the socks
  • Wear the shin socks
  • Wear the soccer cleats
  • To take it off, roll down the socks then pull out the plate.


When deciding to buy a shin guard for your kid you must ensure that the material is strong, lightweight, and comfortable.

Choosing the right type of shin guard also depends on your kid’s structure, age, experience, and position.

Overall, every kid who plays soccer must wear a shin guard.

Be safe.

Related: 15 Best Soccer Shin Guards For Kids 2020



Green photo created by freepik –

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