Oh crap forgot my soccer shin guards again! No worries it's happened to us all, borrow some from a friend for today or just jump on the referee probably wont even notice anyways! The beautiful world of shin guards, it may look pretty straight forward just some padding on the leg for when you get kicked in a game, or when you kick yourself with your own cleat (not you of course, no never).
Different styles, sizes, fit, weight and protection all go into selecting the shin pads (yes start calling it that now in your soccer circles) that are right for you and your game. Soccer shin guards (I means shin pads) are created by every company that you think of and with lots of different materials so try a few out before you go with the one you like. Hey if money is an issue you can make your own at home (yes I said make), a little cardboard and elbow grease will do the trick, okay just go out and buy one for cheap, welcome to the wonderful world of soccer shin guards.
Just your standard pair of soccer shin guards here. Many come with sleeves in case you want to put them on first to help hold the shin guards in place on your leg. Some people prefer it with or without the sleeves so the choice is completely up to you.
These are your standard shin guards with calf straps and ankle straps. Everything is the same as typical soccer shin guards except the extra straps and ankle protection. These are more common in youth players but can also work for anyone just starting up and playing in a local pick up league or recreational league. The ankle support has a thin piece of plastic that cups your ankle and is supposed to protect them if someone hits you there. To be honest they don't protect you a whole lot in the ankle and they can affect your touch when controlling a ball as well.
These shin guards are your standard model with two straps around the back to help keep them tight around the shin area and prevent them from sliding down your leg. The truth is they just kind of help, after you start sweating these shin pads like any that aren't taped will start to slowly creep their way down.
Ever seen one of these bad boys? Literally a sleeve with a built in pair of soccer shin guards sewed into them. These are nice because you don't have to worry about where your nylon holders and guards are and you can just throw them into the wash with ease. A little less common because players like to be able to adjust their guards form time to time.
1. Comfort is King - The last thing you want is some itchy, piercing and uncomfortable feeling under your socks rubbing up against your leg while you're playing. Whether you choose the simple slide in shin pads, something with a strap or slide in ones remember to try them on and see if there is any discomfort when moving around.
2. Size Matters - You're not Brad Pitt in the movie Troy so stay away from the shin guards that go from ankle to knee like a catcher in baseball. These shin guards will weigh you down, hurt your mobility and just be overall annoying. Speaking of annoying soccer shin guards also stay away from the tiny miniature ones that look like playing cards in your sock. Not only do these not protect you like they should some referees will send you off the field to replace them because of their size, a few inches under the shin is standard. Not too big and not too small when choosing your next pair of shin pads.
3. Don't Break the Bank - Just relax on dropping more than $25 on a pair of shin guards that light up and score goals for you. They are simple pieces of rectangle plastic that go in your sock for crying out loud. This isn't a fashion show (not that people can see them anyways) grab a pair that fit and are reliable, nothing more, nothing less.
4. Foam Layer - Most quality soccer shin guards these days have a soft layer of foam or sponge between your shin and the hard protective part of the shin pads. Some don't and can be irritating so be sure yours have this layer on them, this is good for absorbing sweat as well.
5. Molded Hard Shell is Best - Stick to a molded shell when choosing your next shin pads. Not these flimsy paper towel looking shin guards that wrap around your shins but don't really do anything. You'll know a good molded hard shell shin guard if it makes a good knock sound when you hit it gently with your knuckles. These not only wrap around the front of your leg but also provide the best protection against a tackle.
1. Keep it Cheap - Don't go spending anything more than $25 on a pair of soccer shin guards. Get something that does the trick (protects the shin, light weight and feels good) and you should be all set. Anything that has some flashy technology or colours in it that claim to do this or that just completely avoid, simple and cheap is best here.
2. All About the Feel - At the end of the day the most important thing about any of our soccer gear (cleats, uniform, shin pads etc.) is how they feel when playing in the game. Always try them on with a pair of soccer socks and see how they feel as you move around with them on before you make your final decision (brain surgery right?).
3. Any Brand - Don't make this harder than it needs to be. It' hard to mess up making soccer shin guards so the brand is not the most important thing like other products. So when selecting your next pair of shin pads remember to focus on the qualities that make it right for you for the long term, Nike, Adidas etc doesn't matter here.
4. Hard or Soft - Let's stay focused now. Stay away from those soft padding like shin pads and stick to the hard outer shell type. These hard shell soccer shin guards wrap around the bone better and will protect you from collisions you might give or get.
5. One Pair is Enough - Nobody needs two or three pairs of shin pads. Get the pair you want and throw them in your bag and keep them there.
1. Too Big and Bulky - You don't want to be lumbering around with goalie hockey pads on your shins. Keep the light and a medium size relative to the size of your leg. Stay away from those long, wide and thick shin pads that will hinder your game and provide an unnecessary level of protection.
2. All About the Looks - Just because there is some fancy design, colour or made up technology in the shin guards it doesn't make them a good choice.
3. Ankle Protection - Try not to get the ones with ankle protection around the bottom part of the shin guards. Not only are they not in fashion and don't do a whole lot in terms of protection, they can affect your touch if it the ball hits is the wrong way.
4. Too Small - Stay away from those tiny soccer shin guards that don't really cover anything up and also make you look sort of foolish on the pitch. Shin pads that small can also be so easy to lose so try and stay away from those being your standard go to pair.
5. Flimsy Material - Stick to the hard plastic and nothing that is too soft or lacks proper protection.
Okay Mr. Perfect don't pretend like this has never happened to you. You show up to the game you put on your socks, shoes and you're feeling good but there's one thing missing. That one time you lent them to a friend or washed them and forgot them at home has happened and now you have to come up with another solution. You ask all your teammates but no luck, so you get creative and find another way to replace your soccer shin guards with things you may have in your bag, car or around you. You're welcome.
1. Cardboard - There's always a piece of cardboard either in your car, a random box in the building you're playing or a box of equipment your coach just brought to the field.
2. Insoles - Yes you heard me right, worst case scenario is using the insoles of the shoes you're playing in but you probably showed up to the game in another pair of shoes so use those insoles just for today. If you wore sandals then hey maybe those will do the trick.
3. Newspapers/Brochures - Every soccer park or indoor facility has random posters, brochures or newspapers hung up, take them and fold them up to get the size you need. I'm like the Tesla of soccer shin guards.
4. Socks - Yup a rolled up sock or two will do the trick to make it look like a shin guard is there and will get you through this game, who knew your clothes had so many uses.
5. Water Bottle - Those solid big water bottles won't do the trick but the ones you buy in a 12 or 24 pack will fold up nicely once the water is out. The real question is, is there anything you can't use for soccer shin guards?
One of the real struggles in life is keeping those pesky soccer shin guards from sliding down your leg during a game, if only there was a way to stop it from happening, but wait there is! Many shin guards come with ankle or calf straps to help keep them up but to be honest the methods below are really your three best chances of keeping them from falling down. The truth is they are going to slip down a little bit no matter what you do but these three ways will keep them pretty firmly in place throughout the game or training session.
Top 3 Ways to Stop your Soccer Shin Guards From Falling Down:
Tape - Take some tape (athletic tape is best but any will do the job) and wrap a piece of it around your leg on the outside of the sock just under where the shin pads sits and just above it as well. This will keep the shin pad from sliding down your leg, make sure to get it tight enough to keep it in place but not too tight where it's hurting your leg.
Velcro Strap - There are velcro straps you can buy that do the same thing the tape does but you don't have to keep buying tape and have it handy. You can also adjust the tightness to suit the way you want it to fit.
Pre-Wrap - You can buy this yourself or borrow some from your athletic therapist/trainer. Typically it is used to tape ankles you can use it directly on the skin before you put the sock on to keep the soccer shin guards tight against your leg.