In this guide you’ll find reviews of our 8 picks of the best soccer shin guards in 2024.
The shins and ankles are prone to injuries during matches and practice sessions. Soccer shin guards protect both and give players the confidence to play to their full potential without the fear of injury. There are different sizes, shapes, and designs, and, ultimately, the choice of shin guard design is a personal one.
Read on to find out more.
Best Soccer Shin Guards of 2024
Solid shin guards form a shell around the shin that offers great protection, but they can be restrictive and they can leave the shins and lower legs struggling to get a flow of fresh air.
Mitre Aircell Carbon Shin Guards have a honeycombed design and the small honeycomb holes allow air to flow in, behind, and around the shin guards. They have a sock fixing, so they fit snugly against the foot and ankle, and the Aircell Shin Guards come in a good variety of sizes and fits.
While the honeycomb design does a good job of encouraging airflow, and the double foam-backed design do provide good protection, the lattice material is prone to long-term damage so these won’t last as long as some of the other models that use a solid design.
- Honeycomb design is breathable
- The guards are flexible
- Sock fitting fits neatly to the foot
- Not long lasting
Franklin Sports Shin Guards are traditional guards. They have Velcro straps that fasten around the calf and keep them in place, but they don’t have a sock or foot strap so they won’t feel as secure as some other guards. They are lightweight, too, which means that movement is not restricted at all.
And they are among the cheapest soccer shin guards on this list, while an additional layer of high-density foam ensures there is a good level of protection for the wearer. They are youth shin guards and are designed for players up to 5’3” and even for those that are under this height, the guards are narrow so it can be difficult to maintain proper protection of the whole shin.
- Lightweight design prevents movement restriction
- High-density foam offers good protection
- Narrow guards struggle to cover the whole shin
The G-Form Pro-S Elite Shin Guards are expensive guards, costing more than any others on the list. These full guards are slid over the calf and fully encircle the lower leg, which does offer excellent coverage, but some might find the G-Form guards too restrictive. For those who do like the additional support, the design tends to fit well, although there will be exceptions. This design also makes them more difficult to put on and take off in a hurry.
The shin guards use SmartFlex technology so the guards stay flexible and malleable under normal load, but they firm up and form a shell under impact. Following impact, they take their original flexible form. The guards do last and they offer very good protection, but the design won’t be to all players’ tastes and they do carry a hefty price tag.
- Flexible but offer very good protection
- Lightweight design makes them comfortable
- Fit well over most calves
- May be too restrictive for some
Nike Mercurial Lite Shin Guards are slip-in guards that are designed to slip inside the sock. As such, they don’t have straps or fastenings. This does give a feeling of freedom when running and playing, but it means they can slide around after a tough tackle or if you slide on the ground. The included sleeve helps prevent slippage.
The guards have holes that keep the weight down, but this type of shin guard will typically become damaged and degrade over time, so they will need replacing more often.
The Nike Mercurial Lite Shin Guards are a little on the expensive side, and they won’t offer total shin protection for taller players, but they are a good option if you want greater freedom of movement.
- Design is lightweight and comfortable
- Slip-in design means they do not feel restrictive
- Includes sleeves to help keep the guards in place
- A little expensive
- Not suited to taller players
Adidas Tiro Match Shun Guards have a single Velcro strap. It is well designed and comfortable so it won’t cause rubbing or irritation but because there is only a single strap, the shin guards are prone to slipping and moving around especially if you tend to slide on the ground. You might find you need to use tape to ensure the guards stay in place or look for a different pair if you are prone to shin guard slippage.
The guards are quite short compared to other similar models, so they are better suited to smaller players. They are an average price for shin guards, and the molded EVA backing does a good job of protecting the leg and absorbing shock from strong tackles, but the single strap may prove a deal-breaker for the more physical player.
- Hook-and-loop strap is comfortable
- Molded EVA backing offers good protection
- Designed for mobility during play
- Single strap is prone to slipping
Nike Charge 2.0 Football Shinguards have a pull-on stirrup that sits around the bottom of a foot, and a single Velcro strap. The guards themselves feature a hard shell that provides the protection and a foam back that contours to the shape of the shin and offers comfort.
The guards are reasonably priced and are sold as large. The pull-on shin guard does a good job of keeping the guards in place when running or for general use, but they will slip a little if you regularly slide in.
- Reasonable price
- Stay in place for general use
- Foam padding offers a comfortable wear
- Slip-on design can move if you slide in
Vizari Malaga Youth Soccer Shin Guards are another set of shin guards with a slip-on design. They are very reasonably priced and the shell guard is taller than a lot of guards, so you get extra protection and they are suitable for taller players, although these are designed for youth players.
The Vizari guards have a plastic shell for physical protection, foam backing for enhanced comfort, and a foam backing that prevents twists and similar injuries. A sleeve sits around the guard to help prevent slippage.
The size of the guards means they do a good job of protecting ankles as well as shins. However, they do have an odd fastening that requires the straps go all the way around the guard before fastening and while the shin protection is good, the protection offered to the ankles is minimal.
- Offers some protection for the ankles
- Decent sizing
- Ankle protection is minimal
- Odd strap fastening arrangement
Nike J Guard Royal Shin Guards are lightweight, simple guards. These inexpensive guards are lightweight plastic so they don’t restrict movement and they don’t feel heavy during use. They do have foam padded backs, which sit comfortably against the leg, and the overall design is lightweight and unobtrusive so they are comfortable, easy to slip on and off even during a match, and they make affordable options for the regular player.
However, the lightweight design means they don’t feel as protective as the thicker, heavier guards, so they may not provide the peace of mind that other guards offer.
- Lightweight design doesn’t obstruct play
- Easy slip on design makes them easy to put on and take off
- Not as much protection as bigger, heavier guards
Buyer’s Guide To The Best Soccer Shin Guards
Leg injuries are serious and can be commonplace in soccer. Whether they are caused by malicious play or accidental contact when trying to play the ball, shin injuries can be painful and can potentially end a player’s career. Shin guards are essential for all players regardless of position or any other factor, but there are different types of guards with some benefiting certain types of players over others.
Types Of Shin Guards
Slip In Shin Guards
Slip-in shin guards are lightweight. They slip inside the sock and do not typically have any other means of fastening, but you may need to use tape or some kind of compression sock to keep them in place and prevent them from moving around. They generally only cover the front of the shin and do not provide any additional protection. Slip-in shin guards are usually worn by midfielders as well as strikers that need more flexibility and freedom of movement, and do not necessarily need the most protection.
Ankle Shin Guards
Ankle shin guards not only protect the shins but also have extra padding at the sides to help protect the ankles. They have a strap that fits around the leg and a stirrup that sits under the foot, so they are less likely to move around than slip-in guards. However, some wearers still use tape to ensure they really stay in place. These offer a lot of protection and are usually preferred by defenders because of the additional ankle protection they afford.
Shin socks are like thickened socks. They are worn in the same way but they have extra padding that protects against knocks and hard tackles. They offer greater flexibility and are preferred by strikers and forwards.
Do I Really Need Shin Guards?
Shin guards are a necessity for any game of soccer, and they should be worn during practice so that you can get used to how they feel and to avoid any accident injury or damage to the lower part of the legs and ankles.
Verdict – What Are The Best Shin Guards For Soccer?
Shin guards perform a vital task – they protect the shins and ankles from intentional and accidental damage. Although they all strive to afford the same protection, shin guards come in different shapes, sizes, and designs. We found the Mitre Aircell Carbon Shin Guards offer a good compromise of protection and freedom of movement thanks to the honeycomb design of the guard, while the Franklin Sports Shin Guards are lightweight and easy to slip on and off.