Best Soccer Shin Guards for Players of All Ages

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Hey there, soccer parents! Ever found yourself in the sporting goods aisle, completely overwhelmed by the sheer variety of shin guards on offer? You’re definitely not alone. Trying to find the *Best Soccer Shin Guards* for your soon-to-be champ can be a daunting task. And choosing the right pair isn’t just about style or fitting into their team colors. It’s about keeping those budding soccer stars safe while they’re giving their all on the pitch. 

But fret not! That’s why we’re here. Armed with decades of coaching experience and a passion for educating parents on all things soccer, we’re going to guide you through the wide world of shin guards, so you can make an informed choice. 

From distinguishing between different types of shin guards, understanding the right sizes for younger players, to even knowing whether shin guards should be worn under socks, we’ve got you covered. By the end of this guide, you’ll be familiar with the best shin guards available on the market today, whether you’re looking for ventilation, flexibility, budget-friendly options, or even specialized gear for goalies. 

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in and find you the right shin guards!

Jump ahead to Our List of The Best Soccer Shin Guards

What size soccer shin guards do I need?

Great question! The size of the shin guards is incredibly significant because it can impact the level of protection your young players get. It’s crucial for the shin guards to cover the area from the bottom of the knee to the top of the foot for effective protection.

Here is a basic guide showing the different sizes from several popular manufacturers:

best soccer shin guards

Bear in mind, however, that the size chart will vary slightly depending on the manufacturer and style. Shin guards should fit snugly, neither too tight to restrict movement nor too loose to offer insufficient protection. 

Remember, a comfortable fit is a key to ensuring the shin guards provide the protection they’re designed to. Ideally, they should end about two inches below the knees. Keep experimenting until you get the right size!

Can soccer shin guards be washed?

Got some dirty shin guards on your hands after a fierce match? Not to worry! Soccer shin guards can indeed be washed, but it’s important to exercise caution so as not to damage them.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Check the manufacturer’s instructions: First things first, always look for any care labels or instructions provided by the manufacturer. These will give you the most accurate advice on how to safely clean your shin guards.
  2. Hand wash: Many shin guards are best cleaned by hand. Simply fill a bucket or sink with warm water and add mild soap. Place the shin guards in the soapy water and gently scrub them using a soft cloth or sponge. Be careful not to scrub too hard as this can damage the material.
  3. Air dry: Once you’ve washed the shin guards, rinse them thoroughly to ensure no soap remains. Then leave them to air dry. Avoid drying shin guards in direct sunlight or using a machine dryer as this can cause them to warp or crack.
  4. Avoid harsh cleaners: Stay clear of bleach or other harsh cleaning products as they can deteriorate the material of the shin guards over time.

By keeping your shin guards clean, you’re prolonging their lifespan and ensuring they provide optimal protection for your young player’s legs during every game.

Are soccer shin guards worn under socks?

This is another common question we get from soccer parents, and the answer is a resounding yes! Soccer shin guards are typically worn underneath the socks. This helps to keep the shin guards securely in place and ensures comfort for the wearer.

The typical sequence for traditional shin guards with ankle pads: shin guard, then sock to hold the shin guard in place. Some shin guards come with an ankle sleeve or straps, and these are also worn beneath the sock. Alternatively, some players like to use shin guard sleeves, which hold the guards in place without the need for an additional sock. No matter the method, the aim is to ensure the shin guard stays securely fitted to provide maximum protection on the soccer field.

Remember, playing soccer should be enjoyable for your kids, and having the right and comfortable protective gear plays a big part in that.


Shin guards may seem simple, but they’ve evolved greatly over the years to fit the specific needs of different soccer players. Here’s a breakdown of the basic types of shin guards:

Ankle Shin Guards: These are a common choice, especially for younger players. They come with additional padding around the ankle and a strap that passes under the foot for a secure fit. Ankle shin guards offer a higher level of protection, but they might be a bit bulkier compared to other types.

Slip-In Shin Guards: These are the way to go! I’ve done my share of fighting to get those traditional shin pads on. All the frustration magically disappeared when we discovered this style of shin guard.  As the name implies, these simply slip right into the socks or compression sleeves. They’re a hit with more experienced players because of their lightweight design that doesn’t compromise on protection. Slip-in shin guards are usually made with a plastic shell and foam backing for comfort and shock absorption.

Shin Socks: These are designed for the youngest players and beginners. The shin guards are built directly into the socks, offering a hassle-free solution for kiddos who might struggle with separate guards. However, they don’t provide the same level of protection as dedicated shin guards do.

Compression Sleeves Shin Guards: These are similar to slip-in shin guards but with an added compression sleeve. The sleeve helps to secure the guard to the shin without the need for straps or additional socks.

Each type of shin guard has its unique benefits, and the choice typically comes down to personal preference and the level of protection your player feels they need. As players grow and their style of play develops, their preference for shin guard types might change. The key is to keep evaluating and ensuring the best fit for them on their soccer journey.

Our List of The Best Soccer Shin Guards

Understanding the importance of the type of shin guard for your player is key. With that in mind, let’s get into our specific recommendations for each type from our years of experience:

Best shin guards for ventilation: Nike J Guards

These slide-in shin guards offer excellent ventilation, helping your player stay cool and comfortable during even the most intense matches. 

Great Ventilation
Nike J Soccer Shin Guards Black | White S Nike J Soccer Shin Guards Black | White S
  • Easy to clean & Lightweight
  • My son wore these while playing U8-U10
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01/22/2024 03:20 pm GMT

Best slip-on shin guards with ankle protection: Adidas Match Predator Soft Ground Shinguards

These shin guards come with additional ankle protection and top Velcro straps for a very secure fit. They provide a balance of protection and convenience.

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01/22/2024 04:20 pm GMT

Best budget-friendly shin guards: Vizari Malaga Shin Guards

Not sure how committed your child is and not ready to start dropping real money on soccer equipment? Been there and this is what we went with. They are budget-friendly but offer great protection and comfort; the Vizari Malaga Shin Guards are an excellent option for soccer families watching their pennies. They are comparable to the Franklin guards, but some players might find the styling of Vizari more visually appealing.

Best For New Players
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01/22/2024 04:35 pm GMT

Best all-around slide-in shin guards: Adidas X League Shin Guards

These slide-in shin guards tick every box: comfort, secure fit, durable and excellent protection. They are suitable for players of all ages and skill levels.

Best Overall
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01/22/2024 01:30 am GMT

Best shin guards for Goalies: Storelli BodyShield Leg Guards paired with either Adidas X League Shin Guards or Nike J Guard

Different from other shin guards, Storelli BodyShield Leg Guards provide enhanced protection for the ankles and lower legs but do not contain shin guards. To ensure complete protection, we recommend pairing them with slide-in shin guards like the Adidas X League or Nike J Guard. This combination offers the comprehensive protection goalkeepers need while maintaining comfort and flexibility.

Best sleeve shin guards for younger players: G-Form Pro-S Vento Shin Guards

G-Form shin guards are some of the best for this style of shin pads. These shin guards built into the compression sleeves ensure a secure fit and offer high impact-absorption for robust protection. Super easy to clean as well.

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01/22/2024 09:50 pm GMT

Best Sleeve Shin Guards for Older Players: G-Form Pro-S Elite Shin Guards

Designed with older players in mind, these shin guards come with a comfortable compression sleeve, while also packing impressive impact-absorption properties. They’re perfect for more experienced players who need higher levels of protection during tougher matches.

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01/22/2024 10:15 pm GMT

Best flexible slide-in shin guards: Nike Mercurial Lite Shin Guards

These shin guards stand out for their slim design that doesn’t compromise on protection. They’re lightweight and versatile, perfect for players who prioritise flexibility.

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01/21/2024 11:55 pm GMT

Choosing the best shin guard is not only about picking the one with the highest ratings or recommendations. It’s about considering your child’s position, comfort, fit preference, and the level of protection they need. The right shin guard will meet these needs, helping your budding soccer star to shine on the field.


The type of shin guard preferred can also be influenced by the player’s position on the field. For example:

Forwards and Wingers: These agile players need lightweight options that don’t hinder their speed and movement. Slip-in guards like the PUMA Ultra Flex Sleeve or the Nike J Guard work great.

Midfielders: Midfielders need a proper balance of protection and mobility. They’re often involved in intense tackles and also need to move freely across the field. The Adidas Match Predator Soft Ground Shinguards or Adidas X League Shin Guards could be a fine pick.

Defenders: Defenders often face the most aggressive tackles. So, more substantial shin guards with ankle support and broader coverage like the G-Form Pro-S Vento Soccer Shin Guard might be beneficial.

Goalkeepers: As discussed earlier, goalkeepers would benefit from the advanced lower leg protection provided by the Storelli BodyShield Leg Guards in conjunction with sturdy slide-in guards like the Adidas X League or Nike J Guard.

Choosing a shin guard based on the position not only provides players with tailor-fit protection but also ensures that they can perform at their maximum potential.

Looking For More Recommendations On The Best Soccer Gear For Kids? Check Out These Articles As Well!!!

Key Takeaways

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this guide, and choosing the best soccer shin guards can be quite a task. But, it’s a crucial task to ensure young players’ safety on the soccer field. Here’s a quick recollection of what we’ve learned:

  • Size matters: The right size of the shin guard ensures maximum protection and comfort.
  • Proper maintenance: Shin guards can be washed but with care, following manufacturer instructions.
  • Usage: Shin guards should typically be worn under socks.
  • Type preference: Various types of shin guards cater to specific needs – slip-in, ankle, shin socks, sleeve, and hard shell.
  • Position on the field: Player’s position can influence the choice of shin guards.

As parents and coaches, our goal is to provide the best for our children and players. And while we all love a good soccer game, let’s ensure the safety of our little soccer stars is never compromised. Whether it’s the budget-friendly Franklin Sports Shin Guards or the all-around Adidas X League Shin Guards, each product on our list is there to help protect our players while allowing them to enjoy the beautiful game to the fullest. Happy playing!