Which shin guards should I buy? (a comprehensive buying guide)

When you participate in a soccer game, wearing shin guards is mandatory. To make sure you buy the right shin guards, we have written a comprehensive buying guide. After reading this blog, you will know exactly which ones you need. 

In this blog, we cover the following so you know which shin guards to buy:

  • What types of shin guards are available?
  • What size shin guards I need?
  • Are there shin guards that can be custom made?
  • What brands of shin guards are there?
  • What are the best shin guards?
  • How much do shin guards cost?
  • Where is the best place to buy shin guards?
  • Can I wear field hockey shin guards while playing soccer?

What types of shin guards are available?

Over time, there have been many developments regarding shin guards. Currently, there are three different types available. There are different types because it can vary from person to person what preferences they have. All types come in different sizes. 

Loose shin guards
The loose shin guards are variants you place in your socks. It is actually nothing more than a curved plate of hard plastic or carbon.

Because the shin guards are placed loose in the socks, they can shift during a match. Especially if you make a tackle, for example. Many people therefore choose to put tape around the shin guards. You simply roll tape around the shin guards and your lower legs. You do this on both the top and bottom of the shin guards. 

Shin guards with sock (sleeve)
These shin guards are very similar to the loose shin guards. The big advantage is that they come with a sock (sleeve). First you put on the sock (pull it up to your shins). Then you place the shin guards in the sock. The latter keeps the shin guards in place. 

There are other variations. There are socks with an extra pocket. The pocket is meant to hold the shin guards. This keeps them even better in place. Another advantage is that the shin guards do not sit directly on the skin. For some players, this can cause skin irritation. 

Finally, there is a variant where the shin guard is attached to the sock. This ensures that the shin guard always stays in front of your shin. 

Shin guards with ankle protection
There are also shin guards with additional ankle protection. Under the shin guards is a kind of sock that you pull over the ankles. During the match, this gives some extra protection to your ankles. 

These shin guards are mainly worn by young children. Children's coordination is often not as good as that of adults. It therefore happens more often that the ankles are hit during a sliding tackle. The protection comes in handy in this case. 

What size shin guards do I need?

Determining the right size can be tricky. To give a clear picture, we need to divide size into adult sizes and children's sizes. 

What size shin guards for kids?

When we talk about shin guards for children we are talking about children from 3 to 13 years old. The sizes run from S to L. 

What size shin guards for adults?

Children ages 14 and older begin wearing adult shin guards. Sizes range from XS to XL.

For both children and adults, the important thing is that the shin guard is not too loose but also not too tight. In addition, it should be long enough to protect the shin. Therefore it is wise to try on different sizes. 

In terms of width, there are no different sizes available. This is because the width of people's shins do not differ much from each other. 

You may also find this blog interesting 
14 frequently asked questions about shin guards answered

Are there shin guards that can be custom made?

There are no customized shin guards. However, this is not necessary since everyone can use sizes XS to XL. A standard size will also fit in terms of width.

There are shin guards that can be customized in appearance. For example, some professional soccer players have their family portrayed on the shin guards. 

What brands of shin guards are there?

There are many different brands of shin guards. Well-known brands like Nike, Adidas and Puma have a large selection to choose from. However, there are also other brands such as G-Form, ProSocks and Uhlsport. Finally, there are also unknown brands or unbranded shin guards. 

All brands have their own webshop where you can buy the shin guards. However, the well-known brands can also be bought in sports and soccer stores. 

What are the best shin guards?

By now you know a lot more about shin guards but what are actually the best ones? We cannot give an easy answer to that. Personal preference plays a very important role. 

There are many different shin guards that get good reviews. However, there are two that stand out in our opinion. 

The Uhlsport BIONIKSHIELD is a shin guard with sleeve (or sock). The sleeve also contains a pocket where the shin guard can be stored. This ensures that the shin guard stays in place and does not come into direct contact with your skin.  

The shin guard is flexible and fits exactly to the shape of your shin. Therefore, it is extremely suitable for people with narrow and wide shins. 

The front of the shin guard is equipped with cushioning foam. This provides even higher shock absorption. 

These shin guards are available for both children and adults. 

G-Form Pro-S Vento
The G-Form Pro-S Vento is a shin guard with sleeve. The main advantage is that the shin guard is attached to the sleeve. You pull the entire sleeve over your shins and it fits perfectly. You also have no chance of skin irritation because there is a piece of fabric between the shin guard and your skin. 

The sleeve is equipped with a breathable mesh which makes it comfortable and prevents extra sweating. 

The shin guards fit well because they are not too heavy, are flexible and offer good cushioning. This is due to the multi-layer construction that makes up the shin guard. 

This shin guard is available for adults only (so also for children 14 years and older). 

How much do shin guards cost?

Because there is a very wide range of shin guards prices vary greatly. Because there are many suppliers, the shin guards are offered at a competitive price. 

Shin guards can be bought for as little as $10,- but there are also types that cost between $50,- and $60,-.

As you can see, the prices vary a lot. This has to do with different aspects. There is a difference in quality, the type but also the brand. For shin guards of a well-known brand like Adidas or Nike you often pay a little extra. 

Where is the best place to buy shin guards?

Shin guards can be purchased online or in a store. It is mostly personal preference where you prefer to buy them. After all, both have their advantages:

Buying shin guards online
When you buy them online, you have the advantage of not having to leave the house. You can compare a huge range of products. Because there are so many online shops, you can often buy them at a good price. Wait for a good offer. These are regularly available. 

Buy shin guards in stores
When we say stores we of course mean sports stores. This can be a store that has items for all kinds of different sports or a special soccer store.

The great advantage of buying the shin guards in the store is that you can try them on. If necessary, bring your soccer socks and soccer shoes with you to get a good idea when trying them on. In addition, you can ask for additional advice from the sales associate. 

What else is important when buying shin guards?

By now you know which varieties are out there and which are considered the best. However, there is another important aspect:

They shouldn't bother you
Shin guards are there for your own safety. However, they should not bother you too much during a match. If they are not in the right place every once in a while, it can hinder your game. Keep this in mind when buying shin guards.

Can I wear field hockey shin guards during soccer?

It is possible to wear field hockey shin guards during soccer. Because they are higher than soccer shin guards, they offer good protection. 

However, the size of the shin guard is also a major disadvantage. This is because the size makes it harder to play soccer. Sprinting and agility affect this. The biggest effect is on shooting the ball. This is less easy because of the size. 

Because in field hockey you hit the ball with your stick, field hockey players don't mind shin guards being higher. They simply don't need to shoot the ball.


By now you know exactly what to look for when buying shin guards. Not quite sure which one to buy and need more advice? Then we advise you to go to a sports store (preferably a soccer store). The staff can give you advice and you can try on the shin guards. 

Besides shin guards, there are many other protective equipment a soccer player can wear. Which ones they are, you can read in our blog What protection does a soccer player wear (a complete overview).

We also have other blogs on soccer safety. Click here for an overview if you are curious.

January 23, 2023
Published: January 23, 2023