Football, as the name of the sport implies, is a ball sport. But at times it can also feel like a contact sport. And in today’s times when players are getting more aggressive and defensive plays like gegenpressing, mistimed tackles or deliberate physical play can result in career-ending injuries, especially to the shins. As such, protective gear has become more sophisticated; shin guards for that matter ensure that you can continue to play without worry despite a very physical play.
Some players like nice big shin pads for as much protection as possible, others like England’s Jack Grealish like to get away with the bare minimum, the rules state you must wear shin pads, many players like small lightweight carbon fibre pads that are hardly noticeable when playing.
Top 10 Best Shin Guards:
Consider comfort, fit, and priorities when selecting your pair of shin pads, the Big 3 brands in the football gear industry, namely Nike, adidas, and Puma, all have their respective entries to the list of top shin pads in the market today, though lesser-known brands are also able to it with their respective high-performing ones.
1. Nike Mercurial Lite
Usually partnered with the Superflies and Vapors, these slip-in shin guards are composed of low-profile, lightweight yet durable shells that have specific left-right designations and perforated foam cushions for fit and comfort. They are kept in place by their snug elastic sleeves.
4Kickerz make lightweight, personalisable with your own photos or design and built with 4K Impact Free Foam for protection, grip pad technology and hyper lock to stop them sliding around, try making your own shin guards.
3. Mitre Aircell Power
Aside from being ankle shin guards, the higlight of these pair is the Aircell technology which refers to the perforations on the pro-level guard and dual density back foam for a breathable, cooler shin protection.
4. Puma Ultra Flex
Puma’s entry to the list is a pair of slip-in shin pads that is designed for high impact play. The sleeves have pockets for the pads themselves, making the whole setup ergonomic, comfortable, and easy to wear most of the day.
5. G-FORM PRO-S ELITE
This revolutionary shin pads combine the sleeves and the actual pad into one seamless design, making it easy to slip them on and off. The pad is not just soft and light-it hardens on impact, providing both comfort and protection at the same time.
Carbon Athletic is an AU-based brand whose PROGUARDS shin pads boast a strong carbon fibre shell and a custom EVA formula for its backing. Dani Alves and Moise Kean have both tried the said shin guards.
7. Under Armour Flex
Aesthetics aside, the Under Armour Flex offers significant breathability, as both the outher shell and 3mm foam have strategic perforations. Its durability is worth noting considering the amount of flex the pads have.
8. adidas Tiro Match
This adidas ankle shin guards have hard shells for heavy-duty impact protection and EVA backing for the impact absorption and diffusion.
9. Nike Charge
Nike make sures that they cover all possible options with the Nike Charge. With the Charge, you get an ankle type of shin pad with low-profile shells and grooves to minimize slippage.
10. adidas X Speedportal League Shin Guards
Perforations on the cushion add an element of breathability to shin protection.
Shin pads today have better build and materials to give you a lightweight, comfortable, and durable protection. The general construction of a shin pad shows an outer shell supported by a soft cushioning so that the pad gives protection while not being abrasive. Sleeves put the pads in place, with some being separate from the actual pads and some being built-in to the pads themselves. Other ways to lock in the pads are straps and other connected slip-on constructions. While the trend nowadays is towards being lightweight, other shin pads still retain relative thickness to appeal to those who prefer maximum protection. In terms of the length and width, some extend significantly to cover as much ground as possible. Others though are small so that they don’t go on the way but still protects the essential area.
FAQs about Shin Pads
What are the best shin pads for football?
Slip-in shin pads are preferred by those on the higher levels of football primarily because of their lightweight design and plentiful impact resistance. Slip-ins are those that have separate sleeves to put them in place.
What type of shin guards are best?
Sock-style shins are best for those casual games where there is low risk of injury. For beginners and intermediate players, ankle shin guards, which have additional elastic wraps for the ankles, are good shin pads to start with before transitioning to slip-ins.
Do professional footballers wear shin pads?
Yes, professional footballers wear shin pads. Shin guards are already mandatory. The frenetic pace, high energy, and hard physicality of top football leagues make shin pads a must for professional players. And just like football boots, some shin pads have signature colourways for some of the sport’s biggest stars.
Why do football players wear small shin pads?
Like how some players, who feel collars get in the way of their ankles, prefer low-cut boots, some feel restricted with big shin pads. They, therefore, wear small shin pads that are just enough to cover the central area of the shin. The rules state they must wear something, so they go as small as possible.