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SHIN GUARD GUIDE

Shin guards are as much a part of the player’s uniform as cleats or a jersey.  A required piece of equipment, it can be hard to decide which shinguard is right for you. For example, a midfielder may not require the same type of guard as a forward. A youth player will not wear the same type guard as an older player.

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Shinguards, like footwear, are built and designed around molds of actual legs. The above forms are a mold of legendary Italian striker Francesco Totti.

Diadora Production Line - Customized Shoes For Francesco Totti

SOCCER.COM has a wide variety of shinguards to meet the needs of players of every age, position, skill level and budget.

NOCSAE APPROVED

The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) sets the standards for equipment. Since 2008, all US high school players are required to wear NOCSAE approved shin guards. Shin guards that have been approved will have a NOCSAE stamp on the shin guard itself or on the attached tag. On SOCCER.COM, you’ll notice the NOCSAE icon next to all approved guards.

SHIN GUARD TYPES

There are two basic types of shin guards:

SLIP-IN SHIN GUARDS

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A light shield that slides into place underneath the sock. Most slip-in guards come with a compression sleeve to hold them in place. This is a basic design without straps or stirrups. A sleeve, tape or a snug sock is necessary to avoid any movement. This type of shin guard gives the widest range of motion and mobility. This shin guard is recommended for more advanced players.

ANKLE SHIN GUARDS

Guards with ankle protection put soft padding on both sides of the foot to help protect against kicks to the ankles, as well as sprains. Ankle protection can be attached or removable. These guards are recommended for younger and intermediate players.

POSITION SHIN GUARD RECOMMENDATIONS

Different player positions require their shin guards to provide different types of protection and fit.
DEFENDERS need the most protection. They need a heavier shin guard with extra ankle protection.
MIDFIELDERS need protection, but also need to be able to move freely.
FORWARDS need a light shin guard with protection and ankle support.
GOALKEEPERS can wear a light shin guard with minimal protection.

THE ANATOMY OF A SHIN GUARD

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Shield/front plate – The main part of the guard, this is the shin protection. The front plate is usually made of a hard plastic or carbon fiber to better absorb impact.

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Closure – Some guards come with built-in adjustable straps, others rely on a sleeve (included or sold separately), or can be taped to the shin.

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Backing – Cushioning foam that lines the shield/front plate to help absorb impact.

SIZING

Shin guard size is solely determined by height. Sizing does not reflect apparel sizes  (just because you wear a size large jersey, you won’t necessarily wear a size large guard). The larger the size guards are longer and wider. A good rule of thumb is that guards should fit from a couple inches below the knew to just above the bend of your ankle.

General guide:
Small: up to 5’2”
Medium: up to 5’10”
Large: up to 6’4”
X-Large: up to 6’10”
Nike Shin Guards:
XS: 4’7”- 4’11”
S: 4’11”-5’3”
M: 5’3”-5’7”
L: 5’7”-5’11”
XL: 5’11”o-6’3”
YS: 3’11”-4’3” (age 4-6)
YM: 4’3”-4’7” (age 7-9)
YL: 4’7”-4’11” (age 10-12)
adidas Shin Guards:
XS: 3’11”-4’6” (age 6-9)
S: 4’7”-5’2” (age 10-13)
M: 5’3”-5’9” (age 14-17)
L: 5’10”-6’1” (age 18+)
XL: 6’2”-6’5” (age 18+)

 SHIN GUARD CARE

To prolong their lifespan and prevent odors, it is important to keep shin guards clean. Use soap and water, with baking soda to prevent odor. Some shin guards can be placed in the washing machine, then air dried.

SHIN GUARD ACCESSORIES

We also have a wide selection of shin guard accessories includes tape, sleeves, and odor prevention accessories.

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  • Dana Booth

    This is super helpful information. Thank you!!

  • dferiante

    Do anyone make shin guards any more that cover the whole shin? My son is a 6’2″ very aggressive goalie who keeps getting cleated above his shin guard. The Adidas XL is a joke on him barely covering half his shin. Does any one make a guard in the 12-13 in range (not including the ankle protection)?

    • Aleks

      Have you found a solution to this? I’m also an aggressive goalkeeper with the same problem

      • guest

        You guys should look at field hockey shin guards. Check with your local league to make sure they are ok to wear as they are much heftier than football shin guards

      • SOCCER.COM

        Aleks – see above: G-Form is a guard that seems to be a little bit beefier and bc it’s attached to a sleeve you could probably shift it up the shin a little bit. They specialize in impact protection products. You could also look at a Storelli leg guard. It wouldn’t go any higher up the leg but it has protection for the calf and sides of the leg as well.

    • SOCCER.COM

      G-Form is a guard that seems to be a little bit beefier and bc it’s attached to a sleeve you could probably shift it up the shin a little bit. They specialize in impact protection products. They could also look into a Storelli leg guard. It wouldn’t go any higher up the leg but it has protection for the calf and sides of the leg as well.

    • Kentrik

      I also have this problem, except I mostly play defender. I’m a big dude (6’2″, 300 lbs) who doesn’t like running, but will do it if it comes in soccer form, haha. I have a pair of the XL Messi F50 guards, but they always sink down to my ankles. I like how light they are, but they are about half an inch too narrow, and because of this, seem to gravitate downward. They also only cover about 1/2-to-1/3 of my shin. Would you recommend the G-Form for me as well?

    • Mark

      The G-Form Knee-Shin Guard Pro X that is used for cycling still allows for movement could be a possibility for keepers. It’s the same as the soccer shinguard, but allows for protection all the way into the knees.

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  • SoccerMom

    Your sizing is wrong on the Nike Youth Small shin guard. If it is for a 4-6 year old, there is very little chance they are going to be 4’7″ to 4’11” unless they are giants.

    • Lisa

      I don’t see that the chart specifies “Youth” at all. I assumed it was adult sizing… Referring to anyone meeting those height measurements. I’m trying to fit an 8.5 yr old that’s 4’6″. His XL youth shin guards are not covering his shins! So he’ol need to move up to these size brackets regardless of age.

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  • unknown user

    idk

  • John Medlin

    One of my high school boys is 5’10, 330 plus. His XL pair are not big enough to fit his calves. Any suggestions on finding a bigger pair?

  • John Medlin

    I have a player that has XL shin guards that don’t fit because his legs are too big. Any suggestions on where I can get a bigger set of nocsae approved?

    • @disqus_nRuHybt1y0:disqus We can definitely help you find a pair of shin guards to fit your player. Are his or her current pair not wide enough or not tall enough? We have two suggestions to start:

      G-Form Pro-S Shin Guards are your best option. They are a sleeve-style guard that are soft and flexible for comfort, but harden on impact for elite protection. They meet NOCSEA standards. While a bit more expensive that the average guard, the G-Form Pro-S is well worth it for the technology and customized fit. These have worked for others as you’ll see in previous comments.

      Nike Premium Attack guards also meet NOCSAE standards. They offer added width and XL sizing and fit within a sleeve.

      Of course, we will accept returns if these don’t work, so there’s no risk in trying. Let us know how it goes.

      • John Medlin

        His current ones are not wide enough. His legs are fairly big.

      • John Medlin

        Joe,

        Thank you for the insight. I like the G-Form but unfortunately they do not have the NOCSAE stamp of approval on them so they would not work. I will look into the Nike Attack. If you have any other suggestions, please let me know.

  • Soccer mom22

    Can you an you buy a separate ankle protector/guard? My son is u12 he mostly plays defense and has recently switched to the slip in shin guard. We are finding that his ankles are getting very bruised. I have been searching for the separate ankle piece but no luck so far. Thanks

  • Statalyzer

    “Shinguards, like footwear, are built and designed around molds of actual legs”

    Much like footwear, it sure doesn’t seem like they are.