While shin guards may not be fun to wear, they’re just as necessary as soccer cleats or a jersey. After all, they do protect you from painful shin injuries and, depending on the type of shin guard, they may protect you from ankle injuries, too. Today we’re going to be discussing the two main types of shin guards and which model is the best in that category.
Slip-In Shin Guards
Arguably the most popular among professional, high school, and collegiate players, slip-in shin guards are lightweight, thin, and easy to insert or remove. They usually come with a pair of sleeves to keep them in place, or they can be held steady with stays or tape. If your socks are snug enough, the guards technically can be worn alone, but this isn’t recommend since, regardless of your position, they will most likely end up sliding around in your socks and become a hassle trying to keep in place.
Best Pick: Cobra Shin Guards
Having worn Nike, adidas, and Puma slip-in shin guards for years, none quite compare to Cobra shin guards. Constructed of a lightweight, high-impact material, Cobra shin guards are remoldable year after year, meaning you get a truly custom fit tailored to your leg shape. Nike, adidas, and Puma only sell pre-molded plastic shin guards, and while they are lightweight, you’re stuck with the pre-determined fit that might not fit your legs perfectly. With Cobra shin guards, you can mold them to fit your legs specifically, and if your leg shape ever changes, there’s no limit to how many times you can remold them. In addition to providing a custom fit, the comfortable, closed-cell foam on the inside of the guards eliminates odor, the high-impact material on the outside protects against hits, and the double layer sleeves (comes free with each pair of shin guards) hold the guards in place better than any other shin guard sleeve on the market. For only a couple more dollars than Nike, adidas, or Puma’s most popular slip-in shin guards, Cobra shin guards will last for years and will provide you with a truly custom, comfortable, protective fit. You can pick up a pair for yourself here and read our full review here.
Ankle Shin Guards
Because of the additional protection they provide, ankle shin guards are most popular with youth or intermediate players. This type of shin guard offers additional padding on both sides of the ankle to shield it from kicks and features a stirrup running underneath the foot to keep the padding in place. It also features an elastic strap that wraps around the calf to provide a secure fit. Some ankle guards can be removed from the shin guard.
Best Pick: Nike Protegga Flex Shin Guards
The Nike Protegga Flex shin guards are an all around durable, comfortable, and protective pair of shin guards that will last a long time. Crafted from a high quality K-resin material, they provide superior protection and coverage from abrasions and tackles on the field. The anatomically correct shell and soft EVA foam backing absorbs the force of impact and offers a comfortable and protective fit while the reinforced padding protects both the ankle and the achilles tendon. The ankle guard is removable on the Protegga Flex, therefore allowing you to choose the level of protection you want. The elastic strap at the top wraps around your calf, ensuring a secure fit. The Protegga Flex is available in a variety of colors, giving you many choices to choose from. You can pick up a pair for yourself on Amazon.