Bamboo Shin Guards Review (Legend Soccer Co.)

IMG_1790While Nike J Guard and Mercurial Lite shin guards have dominated the market for their protection and affordability, there are a new pair of shin guards on the market that are worth taking a look at. They’re called the LEGEND 1, they’re made out of bamboo, and, as the company claims, they’re the only pair of shin guards you’ll ever need to buy due to their strength-to-weight ratio higher than graphite. They’re available to purchase here.IMG_1782

Tech Specs

Designed for high performance, LEGEND 1 is ridiculously lightweight, relentlessly strong, and offers a low-profile that gives you the freedom to play. With a 100% bamboo shell, this is the world’s first sustainable shin guard, so LEGEND 1 makes a statement. The shin guard weighs in at a staggering 1.5 oz, which gives a player the feeling that they’re not even there. Utilizing the natural properties of bamboo, the outer shell has a strength-to-weight ratio higher than graphite, a higher tensile strength than many alloys of steel, and a higher compressive strength than many mixtures of concrete. LEGEND 1 has been tested in 20,000+ hours of game time and can withstand any tackle in a match. 

LEGEND 1 span just 7’’ long and 3’’ wide and have 1/8 inch padding to protect against the highest of impacts. Through their innovative tear drop design, they’ve provided 7 inches of protection at the highest impact zone while maintaining a minimal profile. Through the anti-microbial properties of both bamboo and their closed cell protective padding, LEGEND 1 shin guards are nearly odorless. This high performance foam will help protect from moisture, mildew, and keep the shin safe at the same time.IMG_1771LEGEND 1 is presented in a customized box, which has a set of shin guards and their custom Legend sleeves. Their sleeves complete the package by keeping your guards tight to the shin to prevent movement while playing in the game. Everyone wears their guards differently, but they recommend using the sleeves to keep LEGEND 1 up and out of the way.

LEGEND 1 shin guards run one size fits all (ages 13 and up), are shipped worldwide, and can be customized for teams, tournaments, and camps with names, numbers, tournament logos, or team crests. Whether it’s a gift for your team, a tournament prize, or a gift for your camp attendees, Legend Soccer Company can make it happen. The LEGEND 1 shin guards are available to purchase here.IMG_1784

The Verdict

Intrigued by the idea of the world’s first sustainable shin guard, my expectations were pretty high when I first received my pair of LEGEND 1 shin guards. After putting them through their paces, my expectations were not only met, but exceeded. 

At first, I was a little taken aback at how small they are, only spanning 7 inches long and 3 inches wide, but after playing in them for a few hours, that concern quickly went away. As Legend Soccer Company states, they really do provide protection at the highest impact zone while maintaining a minimal profile. They sit comfortably on my shins with their custom Legend sleeves wrapped snugly over them and they’re so lightweight, only weighing in at 1.5 oz, that I often forget I’m wearing them. When I put these on at practice, my teammates always look and ask about them since they’ve never seen shin guards like these before. I gladly inform them that they’re made out of bamboo, they weigh in at just 1.5 oz, and they’re nearly odorless. They look at me like I have ten heads, wondering how there’s a shin guard as revolutionary as this one, but there’s no denying that there is. And on top of all that, they have a higher compressive strength than many mixtures of concrete, the solid material that we walk on everyday. IMG_1774I did experience a few tackles while testing these shin guards, which I was thankful for to see first hand just how strong they really are. I must say, the strength, protection, and durability of the LEGEND 1 is very impressive, making it worth its $59 USD price tag. Not only are they stronger, lighter, and much less bulky than many of the popular and inexpensive shin guards currently on the market, they’re also less smelly due to the anti-microbial properties of bamboo and the closed cell protective padding which protects against moisture and mildew. Having played in both the LEGEND 1 and Mercurial Lite shin guards on extremely hot, sweaty days, this closed cell padding on the LEGEND 1 is a real game changer.

With all the affordable shin guards currently on the market from top brands like Nike and Adidas, I’d be skeptical of spending $59 USD for a single pair of shin guards, too. But unlike those shin guards, these are much lighter, stronger, less stinky, and smaller yet still more protective than all of those shin guards; and since you haven’t tried out these revolutionary shin guards, you just have to take my word for it—these are worth every penny. You can purchase a pair for yourself here. 

Click here to watch our LEGEND 1 unboxing video.Legend+1+Package-03

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3D Printed Shin Guards Review (Zweikampf)

3dp_shinguard_Zweikampf_full-e1461056833555Yes, 3D-printed shin guards exist and you can buy a pair! They are 100% developed and made in Austria by Zweikampf, a team of creative heads determined to prove that 3D-printed products are ready for the Champions League. The shin guards feature a 3D-printed shell, a unique “Y” structure for diffusing shocks, XRD Technology, and much more. They’re available to purchase here.

IMG_5710Tech Specs

-100% developed and made in Austria

-Innovative 3D-printed shell

-Ultra-high impact protection thanks to a unique “Y” structure that ensures maximum impact deflection

-3D grip profile and high-friction coating for perfect support

-Optimal fit in three different sizes

-Weighs just 75 grams and is 7mm thick

-Option for name and player number customization on the inside of the guards

-XRD® Technology custom layer: choose the inlay that suits you: comfort, all-round, or performance

-XRD® Technology soft touch layer: the last layer is the comfort zone of the guard

-Zweikampf string bag and two rolls of Zweikampf sock tape come included

Zweikampf Shin Guards are available to purchase here.

3dp_shinguard_3dp_processMy Thoughts

Zweikampf’s 3D-printed shin guards sit a cut above the rest in terms of build quality, design, and technology. They feature a plethora of unique features such as the unique “Y” structure that ensures maximum impact deflection, the two layers of XRD® Technology (a comfort layer and a soft touch layer), and the 3D-printed shell, to name a few.

IMG_5696Upon receiving the shin guards, I was impressed with the thought and detail put into the packaging and presentation. They came in their own presentation case with a specific section for each shin guard, a string bag, and two rolls of sock tape. It’s important to note here that the shin guards cost roughly $170 USD (€139,00) so the presentation and attention to detail should be nothing below subpar.

IMG_5709IMG_5719After testing, it’s evident that Zweikampf’s 3D-printed shin guards are thinner, lighter, and stronger than just about everything else on the market. They have a sleek, modern design with options to customize for each player’s personal preference; you can opt for a comfort, all-round, or performance XRD® Technology inlay. Being 3D-printed means astounding weight and thickness measurements, 75 grams and 7mm thick, are easily achievable while maintaining a solid, durable structure. In addition to its unmatched build quality, the unique “Y” honeycomb structure absorbs and diffuses shocks and hits by distributing the force throughout the entire structure. This distinguishes Zweikampf shin guards from virtually every other shin guard on the market. The high-friction coating does a decent job of gripping to the sock, but I personally prefer to use shin guard sleeves instead.

IMG_5715Although I am very impressed with the comfort, protection, and technology provided by Zweikampf’s 3D-printed shin guards, I don’t know if I can justify the roughly $170 USD (€139,00) price tag. They are much more technologically advanced than the majority of shin guards on the market, but creeping near the $200 USD range is soccer cleat territory for me. They definitely aren’t for everyone. Soccer gear fanatics and professional players are likely to relish in the thought of purchasing these, not your average youth soccer player. If you’re interested in the technology and don’t mind the high price tag, I highly recommend picking up a pair for yourself here.IMG_5692

Cobra Custom Moldable Shin Guards Review

IMG_4796When you buy a new pair of shin guards, you’re often stuck with the lackluster fit that the pre-molded plastic provides. You no longer have to settle for that pre-determined fit since Cobra Shinguards have created re-moldable shin guards that provide a truly custom, comfortable fit, tailored specifically to your leg shape. In addition to being re-moldable year after year, they also remain stink free due to their closed-cell foam and come with a free pair of Cobra shin guard sleeves that keep your guards sandwiched in place at all times. They’re available for just $29 USD per pair here.

Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 11.59.28 PMTech Specs

Moldable: Cobra Shin Guards fit perfectly on your shin since they’re able to be molded specifically to your shins. The custom molding technique ensures a tight fit around your leg and eliminates bulky looking shin guards. They provide you with a light, comfortable, custom fit, are made of durable, high-impact material, and are re-moldable, so they grow with you as the shape of your legs change.

No more tape or straps: Cobra shin guard sleeves come with every pair of shin guards, keep your shin guards in place, and allow proper blood circulation for your legs so they can function without fatigue throughout the entire game. They perfectly cover the size of the shin guards and keep them steady in place while offering a comfortable fit.

Stink Free: Cobra Shin Guards are made of a closed-cell foam used for odor control while still providing cushioned comfort.

Cobra Shin Guards are available in sizes small, medium, and large for $29 USD per pair here.

IMG_4813IMG_4815My Thoughts

When I first learned about the ability to custom mold your own shin guards, I was very excited to try it out and discover if it was actually effective. Now, having molded them and worn them, I’m even more impressed than the mere thought of being able to do such a thing.

To create the perfect, custom, molded fit, you simply place the guards (plastic face down) in a large pot/pan with one inch of almost boiling water in it. Wait one minute or until they’re soft and pliable before taking them out; in the mean time, put the Cobra sleeve on with the top of the sleeve just below the knee. The center seam should be positioned above your ankle where you want the bottom of your shin guard to be. Using a spatula, lift the shin guards out of the water and place them on a dry towel, gently wiping off any excess water. Immediately place the shinguard on your leg where you would like them molded. With the guard still warm and pliable, pull the lower half of the sleeve up over the guard. The guard should now be sandwiched between one layer of the sleeve underneath and another layer folded over the top. Use your hands to form the guard to the contour of your leg; the guards will mold to the exact contour of your legs, so remain standing while the guards cool off and harden. Leave the guards on for a total of 5 to 10 minutes.

A1QUbVtyBCL._SL1500_Once I completed the quick and simple molding process, I noticed how well the guards fit the shape of my legs. For years, I’ve been stuck wearing $20-$30 plastic Nike shin guards that always slid around, no matter how much I taped them; I’m beyond glad that, coupled with the double layer Cobra shin guard sleeves, these guards stay perfectly in place. The guards feel very comfortable and lightweight on my legs while playing; I hardly even notice I’m wearing them. The double layer Cobra shin guard sleeves are hourglass-shaped; you turn them inside out, pull them on your legs, pull the ‘top half’ up over the ‘bottom half’, and then slide the shin guards in. I found that this type of sleeve does an incredible job of keeping the guards in place at all times, much better than the subpar job Nike’s shin guard sleeves do. When playing soccer under the hot, sweaty sun in the summer, it’s very common to come home drenched in sweat, and have all of your gear, including your shin guards, smelling stinky. I am glad that shin guard stench is now one less thing to worry about since these guards are stink free due to the odor control closed-cell foam. For just $29 USD per pair, a comparable price to plastic Nike and adidas shin guards that you cannot custom mold to the shape of your legs, these Cobra shin guards are an incredible bargain and will be the only pair of shin guards you’ll ever need, since they’re re-moldable year after year. For more information or if you’re interested in purchasing, click here and check them out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.IMG_4792IMG_4794