Protection is of prime importance when playing sports of any kind. One of the most crucial bones in the body that requires optimum protection is the shin bone. It is imperative that soccer players wear shin guards for their safety and protection. Many soccer injuries occur when the shin is hit, so it’s crucial to protect this area while playing (or even practicing). Shin guards are a part of the protective gear of both women’s and men soccer uniforms. They are so essential that the laws governing association football have made their use mandatory.
How to choose the right shin guard?
Shin guards are usually made of plastic and molded into a curve to fit the lower leg. A shin guard must fit accurately and be comfortable for the player. Furthermore, they should allow the player full range of motion.
Shin guards should extend about two inches below the knee and above the ankle bend. A shin guard typically comprises a shield-shaped front plate, a cushioning backing, and a clip for closing. The majority of them are made from hard plastic or polypropylene to withstand harsh blows.
The backing of the shin guard absorbs contact and prevents the shield from causing friction against the skin. They are generally made out of EVA foam or synthetic rubber, which is glued to the front plate.
Finally, a closure ensures that the guard remains firmly attached to the lower leg. However, some shin guards are built to fit inside elastic soccer leggings and do not have closures.
Types of shin guards
- Slip-in shin guards
Wearing slip-in shin guards under your socks offers a lightweight shield. Snug socks are sometimes enough to keep shin guards in place, but some players opt to tape, wear stays, or compression sleeves to remain in place. More advanced players typically prefer the freedom of movement provided by slip-in shin guards.
- Full-Length shin guards
Full-length shin guards offer the highest level of shin and ankle protection and are recommended for youth players as well as intermediate players. For keeping the shin guard in place, the upper part has an elastic strap, and the bottom part has a stirrup. It also has padding around the ankles for additional protection.
How to wear shin guards?
- With Ankle Guards
The majority of youth players wear shin guards with ankle guards. If you are wearing it with socks, you must put the shin guard on first and then connect the Velcro strap around your calf. Then, the ankle guard should be straightened into place. Place the shin guard on your foot and pull your socks over it so that they cover the entire unit.
- Without ankle guards
Soccer players generally do not wear ankle guards with their shin guards. Before positioning your shin guard, put your socks and cleats on. Pull the sock over the shin guard once it is in place. To keep your shin guard in place, wrap athletic tape around your leg at the bottom and the top.
Shin guards are of utmost importance in both women’s and men soccer uniforms. Even if you are an amateur-level player, you should consider wearing decent-quality shin guards during practice and game to avoid unnecessary injuries.