With the intense running and close-range kicking involved in the game of soccer, shin — or tibia — injuries are common. Soccer players frequently endure something called shin splints, or an inflammation in the outer layer covering the tibia. To protect themselves from injury, soccer players of all ages and all skill-levels wear shin guards.
To help you get started with this important piece of soccer gear, we researched six of the best shin guards for youth, those on a budget, or for players who need extra ankle support as well as protection around the shins. We even found an eco-friendly option.
What’s for certain, the best soccer shin guards to buy are, in fact, tough enough to provide the protection players need, while remaining light enough so as not to interfere with natural running and kicking movement.
Pick any of the guards from our ranking, and we feel certain you’ll barely notice them at all.
Our Top Picks
Here are the high points of each soccer shin guard we reviewed.
|Best Overall: Nike Mercurial Lite Shin Guard.|
Minimalist and lightweight, these shin guards have dense foam padding for added protection.
|Eco-Friendly Pick: GreenGuards Shin Guards.|
These soccer shin guards don’t just protect you while you play, they’re also good for the environment.
|Youth Pick: DashSport Soccer Shin Guards.|
For young players, we like the PP shell and added ankle support from the DashSport shin guards.
|Budget Pick: Vizari Malaga Soccer Shin Guards.|
With added padding and ankle support, Vizari Malaga shin guards aren’t just effective, they’re affordable.
|Deluxe Pick: G-Form Pro-S Elite Shin Guards.|
With patented molded composite construction. G-Form makes the best high-end soccer shin guards to buy.
|Cloth-Type Pick: ProForce Shin Guards.|
Head straight for the cotton and machine-washable shin guards from ProForce are what you prefer. Bauer Supreme 3S Pro Ice Hockey Skates
A Closer Look: Best Soccer Shin Guards
Keep reading for a closer look at each shin guard in our ranking.
1. Nike Mercurial Lite Shin Guard
The best soccer shin guards overall.
Brand: Nike | Construction Material: K Resin/EVA | Kid Sizes: N/A | Ankle Support: N/A | Price: 💰💰💰
The Mercurial Lite shin guards from Nike are made from a K resin and EVA blend. Highly ergonomic, these guards contour to your shins, putting the cushioning where players need it the most. There’s also a durable shell bonded to a dense foam backing for an otherwise low-profile design.
Staying snug against your leg, these shin guards are very light, and don’t move much once they’re put in place. They fit well, protecting players without any added distractions. Some say they may not be the best for particularly aggressive players, but feedback also reports they minimize pressure from direct impact.
There are also no kid sizes or ankle support available, but some young players say they fit fine, anyway.
- Not restrictive
- Sleeve subs for soccer socks
- Barely notice them while playing
- Tend to run small
- Sleeve that goes over the top has to be washed
2. GreenGuards Shin Guards
The best eco-friendly shin guards.
Brand: GreenGuards | Construction Material: Recycled HDPE | Kid Sizes: Yes | Ankle Support: N/A | Price: 💰💰💰
Available in three colors with kids sizes available, GreenGuards shin guards are made from recycled HDPE plastic, making them not only great to wear while playing soccer, but a good choice for the environment.
There are primarily three parts of the shin guard: an exterior shell, an interior layer, and low VOC adhesive binding it all together. GreenGuards are also sold and shipped in recyclable and compostable bags for packaging.
Otherwise, GreenGuards are comfortable, sliding under socks without much effort, and the rubber layers keeping them securely in place throughout a game in which a player had some pretty rough collisions.
- Strong shell
- Easy to clean
- Odor resistant
- Limited availability
- Slip a bit when sweaty
3. DashSport Soccer Shin Guards
The best youth soccer shin guards.
Brand: DashSport | Construction Material: PP Shell/Foam | Kid Sizes: Yes | Ankle Support: Yes | Price: 💰💰
Kids love soccer. The best soccer soccer shin guards for youth come from DashSports. With a PP shell and a foam interior, these shin guards also offer cushioned ankle support. It’s all held in place with a durable velcro strap. And both the shin guards and ankle strap can be hand washed with soapy water and a cloth — just what parents like to hear.
Reports from the pitch say these shin guards fit well and that they’re made from quality materials. But even though they’re sized for children, petite female players also like to wear them, calling them sturdy. Overall, these shin guards don’t slide around, providing great protection with much less bulk than other shin guards.
- Not too tight
- Don’t bunch up around the ankle
- Better than more expensive options
- Ripped strap reported
- Sizing a little off, some say
- Isolated fraying incident, ankle area
4. Vizari Malaga Soccer Shin Guards
The best soccer shin guards on a budget.
Brand: Vizari Malaga Soccer Shin Guards | Construction Material: PP Shell/Foam | Kid Sizes: Yes | Ankle Support: Yes | Price: 💰
The best soccer shin guards to buy for not a lot of money come from Vizari Malaga. With both youth and adult sizes available, these shin guards are made from a PP shell with comfortable foam padding, and they’re secured by a front strap closing system.
Otherwise, some young players don’t like the feeling of a strap under their feet, but most get used to it quickly, based on feedback. The extra padding around the ankle is another particularly popular feature, covering a good amount of shin without dropping too low on the ankle.
They even come in a few nice color choices to match your uniform. We like the XXS small youth size, which can be pretty hard to find — small enough for a 3-year-old!
- Fun colors
- Comfortable and long-lasting
- Wrap-around closure helps get tightness just right
- Unvented foam
- Elastic could be better quality
- Not the best protection from side impact
5. G-Form Pro-S Elite Shin Guards
The best deluxe soccer shin guards.
Brand: G-Form | Construction Material: Patented Molded Composite | Kid Sizes: N/A | Ankle Support: N/A | Price: 💰💰💰💰💰
Even though you’ll pay up for them, the most tricked-out, high-end deluxe soccer shin guards are the Pro-S Elite shin guards from G-Form. Made from patented molded composite, the guard’s RPT rate-dependent technology hardens upon impact, helping to dissipate energy. And the fully-articulated construction fosters a lighter, more comfortable fit.
Feedback on the product says they go on easy and stay in place. They’re also flexible enough to conform to the individual shape of the shin. Those who’ve experienced chafing issues with stirrup-style shin guards find the Pro-S Elite far more comfortable.
And according to some, these G-Forms are so breathable they forget they’re even wearing them. No kids sizes are available, but they are machine washable.
- Stay put while running
- Not too tight, not too loose
- Won’t make you too sweaty
- Some stitching issues reported
- When in doubt, buy one size up
- Different design, takes some getting used to
6. ProForce Shin Guards
The best cloth-type shin guards.
Brand: ProForce | Construction Material: Cotton | Kid Sizes: Yes | Ankle Support: N/A | Price: 💰💰
For maximum comfort and agility while feeling like you aren’t wearing anything at all, many soccer players prefer cloth-type shins guards. The best cloth-type shin guards in our ranking come from ProForce.
These guards won’t add much weight to your leg, and they hold tight without slipping. Should you have to kneel at any point, they can easily be pulled up and over your knees, doubling as knee guards. But they’re maybe not the best choice for extra-sweaty players, we heard.
Those who have played soccer in these versatile shin guards, however, otherwise call them highly durable, and a good choice for players who just can’t quite get used to the rigid type. Made from cotton with kids sizes available, these guards cover the shin area from the top of the ankle to right below the knee. They’re also machine washable.
- Fit snugly
- Stretchy material
- Made from thick foam
- Hard to pull on and off, some say
- Comfy, but not the most protective
- To prevent twisting, some use tape
For this guide on the best soccer shin guards, our team spent 5 hours researching the most popular options from over 20 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about 3-5 user reviews per product (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 6 shin guards on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.
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