best shin guards

The 9 Best Shin Guards for Promoting Youth Athlete Safety

If you believe soccer is a “soft” sport, think again.

One of the common injuries in soccer is related to the inflammatory condition or fractures of the shin bone. For this reason, shin guards come under compulsory soccer gear as per the rules of the game.

While it’s not mandatory to wear shin guards for recreational games, it’s best that young players wear them to reduce the risk of serious leg injuries.

The choice of shin guards depends on multiple factors. We have listed some of the best shin guards to help you balance your requirements with your budget.

nike shin guards

1. Nike Mercurial Lite Shin Guards


  • Attractive design
  • Good balance of comfort and protection
  • Minimum slippage
  • Provides a contoured fit


  • Size is on the smaller side

With a low-profile design and comfortable cushioning, the Nike Mercurial shin guards are great options for the high-school soccer season. And the slip-in design makes them a lightweight option that provides a barely-there feel.

Beyond the thick outer layer, there is an EVA inner layer that effectively cushions impacts. Besides, the guard is also breathable, thanks to the holes cut out in its body. 

When placed under the socks, the guards stay in place. That said, they will move if you do a slide. However, Nike has included sleeves that you can use to keep them sticking to one location.

For taller players, these aren’t the largest pair of shin guards for covering the entire shin. But for kids, they offer good protection even with a minimalist design. 

If you ask me, they are a solid option that offers excellent value. In fact, some studies suggest that the Nike Mercurial is a better choice than the Adidas Predator shin guards.

adidas shin guards

2. Adidas Unisex Tiro Soft ground Match Shin Guards


  • Tough injection-molded outer shield
  • Affordable price tag
  • Good comfort levels
  • Includes an ankle guard


  • Not resistant to slippage 

The Adidas Tiro are super-affordable shin guards for junior players. They come with hook-and-loop straps for fixing and molded EVA backing for shock absorption.

I have seen many young players having issues with shin guards with straps. Usually, the problem is an uncomfortable or itchy sensation. However, the velcro straps in the Adidas Tiro are well-designed and extremely comfortable. 

That said, the single strap setup can cause them to slide down. It’s best to use some tape to keep them fixed in position.

The Tiro also packs an ankle guard that offers additional protection.But the level of ankle protection it offers is average at best.

Note, the Tiro runs a bit small. So, check the size carefully before ordering. Other than that, the Tiro is a budget-friendly option for beginners looking for reliable lower-leg protection.

franklin shin guards

3. Franklin Sports Soccer Shin Guards


  • High-density shield
  • Affordable price tag
  • Dual straps for a secure fit


  • Not wide enough for thick calves

The first thing you notice about these shin guards from Franklin Sports is their fantastic looks. Beyond that, the abrasion-resistant outer shell does a good job in providing impact protection.

For additional protection, there is a layer of high-density foam. The ultra-lightweight design is a big plus that adds to the overall comfort factor.

While the dual velcro straps ensure a comfortable fit, some users found the velcro scraping the skin.

I have seen young players using this for years and the material holds up well enough. And you can always upgrade from small to large as the kids grow up. Franklin mentions that the large size can protect the shin area of players up to 5’11”. Still, we wouldn’t recommend them for adults.

On the downside, it lacks the anatomical design of high-end shin pads. But considering the price and the excellent level of protection offered, we aren’t complaining.

adidas tiro shin guards

4. Adidas Tiro League Shin Guards


  • Offers good protection
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Compression sleeves for a snug fit


  • It runs small

If you’re looking for the best youth shin guards for soccer, the Tiro League doesn’t disappoint. It works especially well for midfielders and forwards.

The soft EVA padding effectively absorbs impacts and the outer hard shell can take hits like a champ.

The overall comfort levels are better than the Tiro Soft version, but it lacks ankle support. 

Admittedly, single-strap closures don’t offer the most secure fit. But each guard comes with a stretchy retaining sleeve which feels more comfortable that the Velcro straps in the Tiro Soft.

The downside is, it's easy to lose the compression sleeves. 

Considering the superior build quality, you can expect these shin guards to last for years. While they are priced a bit higher than the Tiro Soft, they are a good pick if you don’t prefer shin guards with velcro straps.

vizari shin guards

5. Vizari Malaga Youth Soccer Shin Guards 


  • Offers good protection
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Minimum slippage
  • Offers excellent value


  • Limited ankle protection
  • Users faced issues with sizing

This product from Vizari is one of the most popular shin guards available on Amazon. Not only do they look impressive, but the level of protection you get is also on the higher side.

Made from a combination of lightweight and durable PP shell and foam padding, these protective shin guards feel robust.

Each guard has an adjustable strap that allows you to customize the fit. In addition, there is foam-padded support around the ankles.

Thanks to the unique design bu Vizari, these guards provide excellent coverage. And they aren’t too heavy either.

The overall comfort levels are good and it’s easy to use the guard with soccer socks. The material feels comfortable against the skin and also absorbs sweat effectively.

All in all, the Vizari Malaga soccer shin guards punch above their price category. For young soccer players starting out on a soccer team, they are a great option.

nike j guard shin guards

6. Nike J Guard Royal Shin Guards


  • Offers good ventilation
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Low price tag


  • Lacks straps or sleeves
  • Not the best choice for junior players

Quite simply, the J guard is for adult players who dislike shin guards. They are super lightweight and you hardly feel them while playing.

Unlike the hard shell of most shin guards, the shell material in the J Guard is flexible and allows the guard to bend as needed.

That makes the fit good and the material feels super comfortable against the skin. Also, there are plenty of perforations to keep the skin cool.

Note, the J Guard has a minimalist design and won’t cover the complete shin area. The outer material is a thin layer of plastic and it’s backed by an inner layer of spongy foam. 

If you are looking for superior impact protection, the Nike Mercurial Lite is a better option. The Mercurial Lite also comes with sleeves and is a better investment on the whole.

But if you aren’t a fan of full-leg shin guards and prefer something extremely lightweight, the J Guard is one of the best shin guards you can pick.

g form pro shin guards

7. G-Form Pro-S Vento Soccer Shin Guards


  • Excellent protection
  • Lightweight and super comfortable
  • Absorbs moisture effectively
  • Feels like a second skin


  • Pricey option
  • Not easily removable with cleats on

The Pro-S Vento is an upgrade over the G-form Pro-S Elite shin guards. G-Form mentions that the Pro-S Vento has a streamlined design that’s lightweight but provides ample protection. 

A premium feature is the use of SmartFlex technology. While the material stays soft and flexible in its normal state, it hardens up during impact.

Once the impact dissipates, the material returns back to its original state. That ensures better impact absorption than traditional hard shell leg guards.  

Moreover, the integrated sleeve provides a secure fit. In my experience, the calf compression in G-Form guards is perfectly optimized for comfort. Plus, you just put it on like a sock. 

Without a doubt, the quality of protection that G-Form shin guards offer is top-notch. These are guards that will protect you against rough tackles without failing.

While they aren’t cheap, the Pro-S Vento shin guards are worth the investment. Young players looking for superior protection during competitive soccer games will find them a great choice.

dashsport shin guards

8. DashSport Soccer Shin Guards


  • Maximum shin protection
  • Provides a good fit
  • Feels comfortable


  • The sizing can be complicated

Even though these aren’t the lightest shin guards on the market, Dashport scores well when it comes to safety. Quite simply, these are for young players who need good protection at an affordable price. The outer design looks great too.

The hard outer shell and the cushioned backing provide a good level of impact protection, There are dual velcro straps for fixing the guard. 

Personally, I don’t find velcro straps comfortable while playing in hot conditions. But that may not be true for everyone. 

Dashport has ensured excellent fit and finish and you can expect these guards to last a long time. But they run small and players with thick calves might find the straps on the shorter side.

mitre shin guards

9. Mitre Aircell Carbon Shin Guards


  • Lightweight design
  • Works great in ho conditions
  • Stays in place
  • Offers excellent value


  • Long-term durability issues

The Mitre Aircell Carbon shin guards have an anatomically shaped outer shell and dual-density foam inners to provide the best performance. In addition, they have Aircell technology that ensures superior breathability and keeps the legs cool.

I don’t find many shin guards offering the right level of ankle protection that many young players require.

But the Mitre Aircell Carbon has ample padding around the ankles and offers good support to the joint. Not to forget, they are super lightweight and won’t make you feel restricted while moving fast.

Since these guards are CE and SATRA tested, they are suitable for competitive play at the highest level. In terms of size, they are available for kids, as well as adults. However, all the sizes may not be available on Amazon.

At this price, the Mitre Aircell Carbon shin guards offer excellent bang for your buck. If you prefer a combination of soccer shin and ankle guards, go for it.

The Best Shin Guards - Buying Guide

To ensure the best protection, choosing the right soccer shin guard is essential. To start with, let’s take a look at the main types of shin guards. 

Shin Guard Types

If you check the history of shin guards, you will find that it wasn’t till 1990 that they were made mandatory. Since then, mainly three varieties of shin guards are available for soccer players.

Slip-In Shin Guards

These are the lightest shin guards that you can pick. They are worn with the included shin guard sleeve or placed inside the sock, with or without the support of tapes.

While the slip-on design is lighter and allows complete freedom of movement, they don’t provide the best level of protection. So they are not the best option for young players who need the best protection.

Ankle Shin Guards

Ankle shin guards come with extra protection for the ankle joint. It usually consists of extra padding that wraps around the joint.

But many senior players find them inhibiting their range of movement. However, young players may find the extra protection to be beneficial.

Shin Socks

Shin socks fit like socks and have an extra layer of protective armor on the front. They are a hassle-free option as there is no need for sleeves or tapes for fixing the guard in place.

Just slip them on and you are good to go. Besides, sock-style shin guards offer more comfort than traditional shin guards with straps.

soccer shin guards

Shin Guard Sizing

Shin guard sizing is not as complex as choosing other soccer gear like goalie gloves.

Basically, the size of a shin guard will depend on the size of your shin. The process of choosing a shin guard is based on the height of the player. The larger the size, the longer and wider a shin guard is. 

Keep in mind, the sizing standard for each brand is different. Wrong sizing will not only reduce the protection level but will also affect the comfort factor.

Safety Standards

Safety standards for shin guards vary depending on the manufacturer. The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) has specifications for shin guard testing.

Some manufacturers follow the EN 13061:2009 European Standard for testing shin guards.

Other than that SATRA test methods are also followed in some cases. These include safety testing of the materials used in shin guards.

Some of the best soccer shin guards are also CE-marked to ensure the health, safety, and environmental protection standards of the EU.

Positional Preferences

The level of shin protection you need will depend on the position that you play. For example, defenders need the maximum level of protection, whereas goalkeepers need the least. 

Midfielders can choose between full-length and slip-in designs based on their preferences. Since forwards need to move fast, they prefer lightweight slip-in shin guards.


What type of shin guards are the best?

That depends on individual preferences. A shin guard that offers good comfort and the right level of protection is the best choice

How do I know what shin guards I need?

Follow the sizing method specified by the manufacturer. Ideally, they should cover the area from above your ankle to a couple of inches below the knee.

Are all shin guards the same?

No. Shin guards come in different sizes and offer different levels of protection based on their design.

How do you keep shin guards from falling down?

Shin guards come with straps or sleeves to keep them fixed in position. Or else, you can fix them by using tape.

Final Thoughts

Hope this list of protective shin guards helps you to make the right choice. 

Quite simply, the best shin guard for someone else may not be the right one for you. Make sure to pick the right quality and size to protect your legs from soccer injuries like impact fractures.

Once you have purchased a shin guard based on the size chart, the first step is to check the fit.

The easiest way to try it out is on a  DIY backyard soccer field. And as long as you have the Open Goaaal Soccer Trainer, you can enjoy uninterrupted backyard training sessions without having to chase down balls.

In case you haven’t tried out our premium 3-In-1 trainer yet, give it a go.

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