There are quite a few people who underestimate the physicality of soccer. Even though it might not have the same type of contact as other team sports, it can still be pretty rough in certain situations.
There is limited protection in soccer, but one area that does get proper protection is the shins. Plenty of people count on shin guards for every single batch, but how much production do they provide?
Why do soccer players wear shin guards? Shin guards are necessary in soccer because they help provide the ultimate amount of protection to the shins and the entire lower leg. This cuts down on lower leg injuries, cuts, bruises, and more. In most leagues, shin guards are a mandatory equipment.
Starting Early With Shin Guards
In just about every youth league imaginable, shin guards are a basic necessity before a player is on the pitch. Yes, even in practice. It is a very standard piece of equipment in youth leagues, as it helps to provide protection and safety for developing athletes.
Players can take injuries in that area from the ball, other players, and more. All it takes is one freak incident to occur for a serious leg injury to happen, and while shin guards do not eliminate that fear, they reduce them significantly.
As players start to progress, they can decide whether or not to wear shin guards on a regular basis. Some players get in the habit, and they feel like they are worth wearing the same ones in the future as well. Others will eventually move away from bulkier options, but they might start wearing them again if they suffer an injury.
Different Types of Shin Guards
Right now, most shin guards will fall into one of three categories. They all have positives and negatives, and it is up to a user to figure out which ones make the most sense for them.
Ankle Shin Guards
For players who want the most protection, ankle shin guards are the way to go. These go underneath a person’s sock, and it comes with a plate that adds the most amount of protection. It all attaches with a strap around the calf, and as the name implies, it provides ankle protection and shin protection.
The good news is that most companies offer an option to remove the ankle protection part of the setup if they want. This is nice for people who might not feel like they always need it, but it is there for when they do.
It is a little bit bulky to have ankle shin guards on, but players bouncing back from injury might be eager to go with them. It is worth it for the added protection, and players do not have to feel like they are running the risk of getting re-injured when they are out on the pitch.
Slip-In Shin Guards
As far as convenience is concerned, it does not get much better than slip-in shin guards. They can go into just about any setup a person already has, as the plates sit directly on a person’s shin to have quite a bit of protection.
For these to work, the socks need to fit properly. If a person does not have socks like that, they do make socks that have pouches for people to slip these shin guards in. This can help keep everything in place, so keep that in mind if a person has to deal with too much movement.
The reason why people like using slip-in shin guards is that it feels very close to not wearing any protection at all. Players who want a minimalist look and feel will love the way that they ride on the shins. The key is having a proper sock to keep everything in place, as they can be annoying if they are moving around.
This is the final option for those who want to have protection by wearing a special type of sock. Instead of slipping shin guards on, a person needs to wear the same pair of socks all the time for these to work.
This is good for people who do not want to mess around with having so many different parts to keep track of. When it is time to play soccer, putting on socks is easier than putting on extra layers for added protection.
These are especially popular with kids, as they do not have to worry about that extra step that adults need to do with similar setups. It is worth trying out for kids who might be a little tough to get them to follow directions.
Choosing Shin Guard Sizes
Generally speaking, the biggest companies in the world for soccer offer numerous sizes for different levels of players. Starting from a youth small and going all the way up to an adult XL, players can find the exact fit they need so that their shins are adequately protected.
Sizing goes off of the player’s height. However, if a person feels like they are in between sizes, they can also measure for shin guards to see what fits the best. The key is that the front guard plate should fall a couple of inches below the knee, and the bottom should be right near the ankle.
Why Shin Guard Protection Matters
Even if it seems a little restrictive, soccer players get used to it at an early age. Everyone coming up in soccer these days understands that shin guard protection is important.
Companies have spent a lot of time and money to make sure that they offer quality options that feel lightweight and comfortable.If possible, try to order a couple of sizes and see which ones fit best. Many companies offer specials online so that people can take advantage of trying things out first and returning if necessary.
Ultimately, soccer players will have multiple shin guard options to turn to so that they stay clean, fresh, and supportive for everyday use in matches and practices. If you haven’t picked up a pair of shin guards yet, check out my current recommendations in this post.