Our Reviews of the Best Soccer Shin Guards in 2020

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There is only one required piece of safety equipment for all soccer players, and that’s the soccer shin guard. An entire game played almost exclusively by kicking is going to result in a lot of shins getting hacked, and the smartest thing to do is cover that area with a protective amount of padding.

Soccer Shin Guard Reviews

When looking for a new pair of soccer shin guards it’s a good idea to consider your position on the field and your style of play. If you’re a defender who’s going to be doing a lot of stopping and blocking, you want something with a bit more protection. If you’re a nimble attacker looking for the biggest advantage in speed, you’ll want the lightest and lowest profile guard available.

Brand
Top Pick
​G-Form Pro-S Elite
Best for the Money
​Adidas Performance Ghost Pro
Best Cheap Pick
Vizari Malaga
Product
G-Form Pro-S Elite Shin Guards, Black/Yellow,...
adidas Performance Ghost Pro Shin Guards, Energy...
Vizari Malaga Shin Guard, Black/White, Small
Style
Sleeve
Sleeve, front plate combo
Ankle and stump
Size Range
S - XL
XS - XL
XXS - L
Rating
Top Pick
Brand
​G-Form Pro-S Elite
Product
G-Form Pro-S Elite Shin Guards, Black/Yellow,...
Style
Sleeve
Size Range
S - XL
Rating
Best for the Money
Brand
​Adidas Performance Ghost Pro
Product
adidas Performance Ghost Pro Shin Guards, Energy...
Style
Sleeve, front plate combo
Size Range
XS - XL
Rating
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
Vizari Malaga
Product
Vizari Malaga Shin Guard, Black/White, Small
Style
Ankle and stump
Size Range
XXS - L
Rating

Best Soccer Shin Guards Overall – G-Form Pro-S Elite

The G-Form Pro-S Elite Shin Guards are different from your standard slip-in shin guards. They’ll need to be put on before your socks, but don’t let the extra bit of effort scare you away. Constructed with a focus on both comfort and protection, it’s great jump forward in the best soccer shin guard technology and design. They are a bit more expensive than our other choices but well worth the money.

G-Form Pro-S Elite Shin Guards, Black/Yellow,...

G-Form has created a proprietary and patented molded composite that allows the pads to stay soft and only harden on impact. This Reaction Protection Technology provides flexibility throughout the entire shin guard while running or sliding, and excellent protection when the ball or a stray kick reach your shins. In addition, the low-profile nature of the pads will keep them from getting in the way of your socks or feeling too bulky on your shins.

At the base of these soccer shin guards is a moisture-wicking, UPF 50+ compression fabric to keep the player dry and comfortable. They are lightweight, breathable, and the sleeve design helps them to stay in place. Another benefit of the sleeve design is added calf compression which can promote blood flow, helping to prevent fatigue and cramps.

Sale
G-Form Pro-S Elite Shin Guards, Black/Yellow,...
  • TECHNOLOGY: A revolution in PROTECTION, G-Form is the world's first SOFT, FLEXIBLE, sleeve-style...
  • ULTIMATE PROTECTION: SmartFlex pads on this soft, flexible shin guard harden on impact and with no...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT COMFORT: The Pro-S Elite is G-Form's most LIGHTWEIGHT and BREATHABLE shin guard reduces...

Even though the design looks a little odd, the G-Form Pro-S Elite meets NOCSAE and CE standards for play throughout the USA and EU.

They are also one of the few sets of soccer shin guards around that are machine washable, but be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Overall, this strong and flexible advancement in protection technology is worth the extra money.

Product Specs
  • Size Range: S – XL
  • Style: Sleeve
  • Weight: 2 oz
  • Material: RPT® pads and moisture-wicking compression fabric
  • Certification: NOCSAE and CE
  • Youth Sizes Available: Yes

Best Soccer Shin Guards for the Money – adidas Performance Ghost

Going back to the classic “slip-in” shin guard design, the adidas Performance Ghost Soccer Shin Guards add a new multi-shield design that helps these best shin guards perform at a high level. They come with a pair of breathable sleeves to keep them in place and are available in an assortment of colors.

adidas Performance Ghost Pro Shin Guards, Energy...

This set of best soccer shin guards are made of 3 different shields fitted together for highest flexibility and perfect fit. This shell should give you excellent protection from striking impact.

The padded foam backing is made of soft and durable EVA foam to absorb additional pressure on the shins. Channels within the shin guard allow for ventilation so your legs don’t feel like they’re overheating.

adidas Performance Ghost Pro Shin Guards, Energy...
  • Separated front plate for perfect fit and comfort
  • Compression sleeve feels like you're not wearing a guard
  • EVA backing for high comfort and durable cushioning

It’s not recommended to wear these best shin guards without the best soccer socks covering them.

Even though they come with an included compression sleeve, you’ll experience them moving around quite a bit without the extra support of a long sock. Reviews mention that these best shin guards run small and recommend ordering a size up from the manufacturer size chart.

Product Specs
  • Size Range: XS – XL
  • Style: Sleeve and front plate combo
  • Weight: 12 oz
  • Material: 95% Polypropylene, 5% TPU injection-molded
  • Youth Soccer Sizes Available: Yes

Best Cheap Soccer Shin Guards – Vizari Malaga Shin Guard

If you need a pair of backup shin guards for practice or as a spare to keep in your bag, you don’t want to spend a lot of money. Consider the Vizari Malaga Shin Guards as an option for days when you forget your main set.

Vizari Malaga Shin Guard, Black/White, Small

These soccer shin guards are made for youth soccer players, but the sizes go all the way up to an adult Large (for players up to 5’11”).

This is a great design for smaller players who are looking for a little more level of protection in the ankle area. You have to pull these soccer shin guards on before your socks, but you really can’t get ankle protection without a design similar to this.

Vizari Malaga Shin Guard, Black/White, Small
  • Foam padded backing for comfort
  • Front strap closing
  • Excellent players shin guard

In addition to the thin and strong polyproylene shell, these have foam padded backing for comfort. They boast super lightweight, all-around protective construction.

For adults, it’s highly recommended that you order the largest size available. For kids, be sure to read the size charts shown in the reviews. Without any chart available in the product description that’s about the best you can do.

Product Specs
  • Size Range: XXS – L
  • Style: Ankle and sturrup
  • Weight: 6.4 oz
  • Material: Polypropylene
  • Youth Sizes Available: Yes

Best Soccer Shin Guard From Nike – Nike Mercurial Lite

Sometimes players gravitate toward a specific brand, either from personal preference or because their fellow players offer recommendations. Since we already recommended a pair of shin guards from adidas it’s only fair that we show you the Nike Mercurial Lite Soccer Shin Guards. The Nike Mercurial Lite soccer shin guards bridge the price and performance gap between the G-Form and adidas recommendations we previously mentioned.

Nike Mercurial Lite Shin Guard [Black] (M)

The Nike Mercurial Lite soccer shin guards are designed with a strong, lightweight, K-resin shell to help guard against impact you will experience in practice or matches. The Mercurial Lite’s shell is also low-profile to make sure it doesn’t get in the way of your socks or your touches.

One of the standout features of the Nike Mercurial Lite is the waffle-patterned EVA foam backing. The Mercurial Lite create additional airflow around your shins to reduce sweating and keep your guards in place while also dispersing energy from impact. The Nike Guard Lock Sleeves are seamless and made of dry-fit material for breathable calf compression. They are designed with a contour to provide a comfortable, secure fit during intense action.

Sale
Nike Mercurial Lite Shin Guard [Black] (M)
  • Authentic Nike Soccer Gear Guarantee
  • Size M

These soccer shin guards are very lightweight and very small. They are intended for players who want to get just enough level of protection on their shins to fall within the rules, even if it only protects a small amount of the leg. For attackers who are looking for the least obtrusive level of protection that won’t limit their mobility, these are the way to go.

Product Specs
  • Size Range: XS – XL
  • Style: Sleeve and front plate combo
  • Weight: 8 oz
  • Material: 69% K-resin/31% EVA
  • Youth Sizes Available: Yes

Best Cloth Type Shin Guard – ProForce

If you’re looking for a pair of shin guards that have the flexibility of our top pick G-Forms but don’t want to spend that amount of money, it’s worth looking into a cloth type soccer shin guards.

ProForce Shin Guards

This type of soccer shin guard pulls on like a pair of socks but directly over your leg. They’re generally recommended for younger players because they are so easy to put on as opposed to slide-in shin guards.

A very modest, yet popular, pair of these cloth type are the ProForce Soccer Shin Guards. There isn’t much in the way of advanced features here, they’re basically a sleeve with an attached piece of foam. As simple as the design is, they’re extremely comfortable since there isn’t a hard plate attached to them.

These soccer shin guards provide a very good level of protection for younger soccer players, but adults should be wary.

ProForce Shin Guards
  • CLOTH SHIN PAD
  • Covers ankle to top of shin.
  • Great for padding injured areas.

As bodies get bigger and kicks get stronger, they can’t protect the player as well as soccer shin guards with a hard outer shell, or newer technologies that harden on impact.

If you want something that’s extremely comfortable for practice these are a great choice, but we wouldn’t recommend them for adult match play.

Product Specs
  • Size Range: S – XL
  • Style: Sleeve
  • Weight: 8 oz
  • Material: Flexible fabric
  • Youth Sizes Available: Yes

Best Youth Soccer Shin Guard – DashSport

When you’re looking for a pair of soccer shin guards for your child you need to consider both protection and ease of use. If they can’t put them on easily and correctly they won’t want to wear them,  an ankle sleeve/hard shell combo is a great choice.

DashSport Soccer Shin Guards -Youth Sizes Best...

These DashSport Soccer Shin Soccer Guards have a light and durable hard polypropylene shell to protect the shin. Padded foam on the inside helps distribute impact and keep the guard more comfortable on the leg.

Sale
DashSport Soccer Shin Guards -Youth Sizes Best...
  • Young Players: Our Shin Guards Are Made for Boys and Girls to Keep Them Protected While Still Being...
  • Complete Protection: Unlike Slip in Style Guards, DashSport Youth Shin Guards Have an Ankle Support...
  • Sure Fit: Please See Our Sizing Chart in the Images Section, or the Description Section Below, for...

The cushioned ankle supports help protect tender ankle bones and create a handy target to slide the foot through to set them up for perfect positioning.

Be sure to look at the size chart provided by the manufacturer. This chart gives general sizes based on height and age, but also gives the specific size of the shin guard so you can measure it against your child.

Product Specs
  • Size Range: XS – M
  • Style: Hard shell
  • Weight: 5.6 oz
  • Material: Polyester
  • Youth Sizes Available: Yes

Additional Protection – Storelli BodyShield Leg Guards

These soccer leg guards aren’t soccer shin guards by themselves, instead we would consider them the best soccer shin guards accessory. Many of the highest rated soccer shin guards slip into an included sleeve that holds them in place and adds a small amount of compression. Storelli’s BodyShield Leg Soccer Shin Guards are a highly protective upgrade from standard sleeves.

Storelli BodyShield Leg Guards | Protective Soccer...

While a standard shin guard protects the area in the front of the lower leg, these soccer shin guards add additional impact protection to the sides and back of the lower leg, as well as the inner and outer ankle. 3mm of stretchy Poron XRD® padding in these areas is soft and comfortable when worn, but does an excellent job of absorbing impact.

These hold soccer shin guards in place like regular sleeves, but the better material adds an additional amount of calf compression that you can’t get from standard lycra and other thin materials. A latex grip elastic band holds the Soccer Leg Guards up so they don’t sag. One of the best features, a built-in shin guard pocket, holds your shin guard perfectly in place so you don’t have to worry about it sliding to the side of your sleeve.

Sale
Storelli BodyShield Leg Guards | Protective Soccer...
  • IMPACT PROTECTION: Materials absorb up to 90% of impact to ensure a safe landing on any surface....
  • FITS MOST SHIN GUARDS (NOT INCLUDED): Comes with 2 leg guards (1 pair) featuring built-in shin guard...
  • BREATHABLE AND SWEAT WICKING: Employs lightweight materials that wick moisture away from the body to...

This is a product built for people whose lower legs take a lot more damage than the average player. If you’re a defender or any player whose strong challenges cause impact more often than not, or an attacker who always gets hacked, we’d recommend this added layer of protection.

Product Specs
  • Size Range: Youth Small – Adult Large
  • Style: Sleeve
  • Weight: 8 oz
  • Material: 82% Nylon, 18% Spandex. 100% Urethane Foam
  • Youth Sizes Available: Yes

Different Types of Soccer Shin Guards

Slip-In Shin Guards

The most basic form of of the best soccer shin guard is the slip-in. These shin guards typically sport a hard outer shell to absorb initial impact, with padding to disperse the pressure across the shin instead of focusing it in one place.

Slip-ins will normally come with a compression sleeve. This sleeve is used to hold the shin guard in place. We still recommend that players wear a sock over the sleeves for additional stability even if you’re at practice or in another non-uniform situation.

Two boys on a field wearing shin guards

Sleeve Shin Guards

One of the easiest types of shin guards to put on correctly, the sleeve style is one piece (normally made up of separate segments) that simply slides over the foot and onto the lower leg.

These shin guards can provide a higher level of compression to increase blood flow to the lower leg, reducing the change of cramping and fatigue.

Sleeve style shin guards are normally extremely flexible. Because the protective element has to be combined with the entire construction and the ability to slide over the foot, a hard shell isn’t possible with this type of guard.

Flexibility helps the shin guard conform to the lower leg around the bones and muscles that make up the shin, making the fit closer than a standard slip-in can reach.

Ankle Shin Guards

This type of shin guard is a mix between a slip-in and a sleeve. The guard structure is a large piece that is pulled over the foot, with ankle protection, and normally has a velcro strap at the top to add stability. This is one of the types of shin guard that can be worn comfortably without socks since there is an additional level of support with the velcro strap.

Just like sleeve shin guards, these are an excellent choice for youth players because of the ease of placement. Slide them on, and make sure the protective part is facing forward. This style has advantages of both sleeve and slip-in guards. They provide extra protection around the ankles, but also leave the area behind the shin open for ventilation. The main protective layer can also be a hard shell because of the hinge construction.

Safety Standards and Requirements

Shin guards are required equipment in every different level of soccer. In the United States, the National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS) sets regulations for all equipment used in a game.

The NFHS began requiring all high school soccer players to wear shin guards approved by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) in 2008.

Many shin guards not on the list have a tag which displays “Meets NOCSAE Standards,” which is good enough for the NFHS. Check to see if your guards have this tag before getting on the pitch in a high school match.

Conclusion

The best shin guards can be critical to your game. If you’re worried about protection, get a pair of soccer shin guards with more padding. If you’re worried that the soccer shin guards will get in the way, get a smaller pair or ones with a lower profile.