kids Shin Guards For Soccer - How to Choose

Kids shin guards header

One of the essential pieces of youth soccer equipment you need to search for is kids shin guards. You want to know how to properly size them and you also need to choose which is the best type of shin guard for your child. This post will help.

Before looking at specific shin guards, you need to know what kind of shin protection is available. Knowing what kind of shin guard is best can be confusing, but we're going to jump right into that first and tell you the best type to get for your young soccer player.


The best Type of Shin Guard For Your Child

There are 3 three types of shin guards for kids. There are slip in shin guards, ankle strap shin guards and then there are shin socks. Here are the details, starting with best match first for new and younger youth soccer players.

1. Shin Sock

Kids shin socksKids Shin Socks

I recommend the shin sock as the best shin guard to get for young soccer players. There are 4 good reasons you should consider a shin sock as the right choice for your child.

CONVENIENCE: Both you and your young soccer player want something easy to use. You simply slide the shin sock onto your leg and your done. It is the sock and the shin guard combined into one.

AFFORDABLE: Despite their multi-functional design, there is intense competition for your soccer mom dollars. High competition and  popular demand keep the prices low.

SIMPLICITY: Shin socks are the sock and the shin guard combined into one piece. Rather than 2 socks and 2 separate guards, you only have 2 shin socks.

PROTECTION: These guards provide plenty of protection to keep the kids legs safe from injury during the physical contact that come with playing soccer.


2. Ankle Strap Shin Guards

Ankle strap shin guard with ankle protectionAnkle Strap Shin guard
With Ankle Protection

Coming in second in line for recommended type of shin guard is the ankle strap shin guard. This type of guard stays in place extremely well. It's securely held by the stirrup strap underneath the foot combined with the strap around the back of the leg, and properly fitting soccer socks.

Shin guards that slide around out of position can be annoying and interrupt your focus on the game while repeatedly having to adjust its position. The stirrup straps go right inside your child's cleats.

I recommend you get the kind with the ankle protection feature. Young kids don't tolerate getting kicked in the ankles very well. The added thick protection of the ankle pads keep the game fun for little soccer players.

3. Slip In Shin Guards

slip in shin guardsSlip In Shin Guards

The slip in shin guards are the lightest and generally don't offer as much protection. These are the most popular shin guard in older and more advanced soccer players.

Higher level players like to have very precise control of the soccer ball using the sides of their legs. The thin design and smaller surface area of the slip in shin guards allow better control of the ball when touching the various areas on the leg.

Young children may struggle with sliding these into their snugly fitting soccer socks. On the flip side of this point, slip in shin guards are great for toddlers because kids this young will be getting assistance from someone older anyway.


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size of shin guards

How do you know what size shin guard is the right fit for your child? Kids come in all shapes and sizes and so do shin guards. The table below this illustration of shin length will act as a helpful guideline to start with. You may have to adjust the size with your particular child to find the right fit.

Diagram: How to measure for shin guardHow to measure the shin for sizing shin guards

You can use both the measurement of your child's shin along with their age to determine the best estimate for the correct size of shin guard.

RECOMMENDED SIZE SHIN LENGTH AGE OF CHILD
X Small 6 - 8 Inches 2 - 5 Years Old
Small 8 - 10 Inches 4 - 8 Years Old
Medium 10 - 11.5 Inches 7 - 14 Years Old
Large 11.5 - 13 Inches 12 - 18 Years Old



What do Shin Guards Do

You might be wondering why shin guards are even needed in the first place. They do serve a very important function and it's not about fashion.

Shin guards main function is to protect the bones and to protect the soft tissue areas of the lower leg. Good shin guards spread out the energy from collisions and act like shock absorbers to reduce the likelihood of injury to the soccer player's legs.


Shin Guards For Toddlers

Toddler with shin guardsSwarm of soccer players
Shin guards included

What about toddlers. Do toddlers need shin guards? Although toddler soccer doesn't involve hard kicks like the bigger kids, shin guards can protect the kids from bumps and bruises. 

Soccer at his level often involves a closely packed swarm of soccer players crowded around the ball and more likely to bump into and kick each other accidentally.

A basic small shin guard will easily protect a toddlers entire shin area.


Kids shin guards with the best protection

The absolute best protection of those soft tissues and bones of the shin is provided by carbon fiber shin guards. According to  the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, a study titled Effectiveness of Shin Guards....  concluded that: "Carbon fiber shin guards possess protective qualities superior to those of commercial polypropylene shin guards."

There are three characteristics of the carbon fiber shin pads that make it an attractive choice for the best kids shin guard.

  • STRENGTH: Layers of carbon fiber reinforced neoprene are pressed together for added strength with the shin guard
  • THICKNESS: Carbon fiber shin guards can be made thinner for better comfort.  Just 2 mm of carbon fiber gives the same strength as 40mm of plastic
  • WEIGHT: Carbon fiber is very light in weight. Shin guards that are light won't bog you down and you're less likely to even know you have them on.

Shin Guard Accessories

To get the best performance, or the best fit, or the best protection, there are a few shin guard accessories you can consider.

SHIN GUARD TAPE: Shin guard tape can be used by players on both the top and the bottom of their shin guards on the outside of their socks to keep it securely in place. It's more popular for older players than beginning youth soccer players

SHIN GUARD STAYS: Shin guard stays wrap around your leg with a hook-and-loop closure to hold your shin guards in place. They are an alternative to using a new piece of tape each time they wrap.

SHIN GUARD SLEEVES:  Shin guard stays are often used by players who prefer to use the slip in type of shin guards. These stays are designed to prevent your shin guard from moving during play.


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How do you buy shin guards for kids

This short video made for Dicks Sporting Goods shows you the 3 types of shin guards that you can buy for your child.

Shin guards, soccer socks, and cleats are the 3 pieces of soccer gear that kids wear for both practice and games. Only the very youngest soccer players can defer wearing them until they get older.

Remember our mission to inspire a child today!

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Coach Bruce Lovelace started playing soccer in 1974 when, as a young boy, he constructed his own makeshift soccer goal. He played in high school, then intramurally in college and beyond. He started to coach his own children in the 1990s and then ran a Soccer Shots franchise for 12 years. Now, Coach Bruce publishes the soccer-for-kids.com website. You can also get lots of great ideas on Soccer-For-Kids PinterestFind out about what Inspired this website.


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