How to Wear Shin Guards

How to Wear Shin Guards

Wearing shin guards helps to protect your shins from injuries. Not wearing them can result in painful bruises, cuts, or even broken bones.

However, it’s not enough to just wear them; you need to wear them properly to ensure they provide enough protection against the opposition.

How to Wear Shin Guards

One of the things I’ve noticed recently is the love for smaller shin pads. I strongly advise against this for obvious reasons…it leaves the majority of your shins at risk. In fact, at my son’s game yesterday, I saw a kid get whacked in the shins. Unfortunately, a normal pair of shin guards would’ve helped the situation but he ended up on the bench the rest of the game.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to learning how to wear shin guards for ultimate protection.

Wearing Your Shin Guards Properly

Wearing shin guards should be a straightforward process. Let’s not overcomplicate it! Here are some things to keep in mind.

Preparing Your Legs

Start by wearing soccer socks that are comfortable and fit snugly around your feet. This will help keep the shin guards in place and prevent them from slipping down during play.

It is also a good idea to make sure your legs are clean and dry before putting on the shin guards.

Putting on the Shin Guards

  1. Put your soccer socks on like you would wear them in a game.
  2. Slide the shin guards down from your shin towards your ankle.
  3. Center the shin guards on your shin and not off to the side. Adjust if you need to.
  4. If your shin guards have straps, adjust them so they are snug but not too tight.
  5. If your shin guards do not have straps, make sure they fit well and do not move around too much during play.

Securing the Shin Guards

Once your shin guards are in place, it is important to make sure they are secure.

One way to do this is to wear soccer socks that are designed to hold shin guards in place. Or, use a shin guard sleeve that is sometimes included with the shin guards or can be bought separately.

Another option is to use athletic tape to wrap around your shin guards and socks. This will help keep them from slipping down during play.

Finally, make sure your shin guards are comfortable and do not restrict your movement on the field.

Additional Shin Guard Tips


If you want to ensure the best fit and protection from your shin guards, here are some additional tips:

  1. Make sure your shin guards fit snugly. Loose shin guards can move around during play, leaving your shins exposed to impact. Shin guards that are too tight can be uncomfortable and restrict your movement. Try on different sizes and styles to find the best fit for you.
  2. Wear long socks. Full-length socks are recommended to hold your shin guards in place and prevent them from slipping down during play. Compression socks are a great option as they provide added support and protection against injuries. Also, you can wear a combination of grip and soccer socks.
  3. Position your shin guards correctly. The shin guards should cover the front of your shin, from just below the knee to just above the ankle. Make sure they are centered and not off to the side.
  4. Take care of your shin guards. To ensure they last longer, hand wash them with mild soap and hang them to dry. Some shin guards are machine washable, but be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions. Also, make sure they are completely dry before each use to prevent odors. Here is an article we wrote, ‘How to Wash Shin Guards‘.

Why Wear Shin Guards?

Why should soccer players wear shin guards in the first place? They are designed to protect your lower legs from injuries that can occur during a game.

Here are the main reasons why you should wear shin guards:

Choosing the Right Shin Guards

Choosing the right shin guards can make a huge difference in your comfort and safety on the field.

Here are some things to consider when selecting the right shin guards for you.

Size Matters

When it comes to shin guards, the size really does matter.

You want to make sure that your shin guards fit properly to provide the best protection.

The shin guard should cover this area and fit snugly, but not be too tight. If your shin guards are too small or too big, they won’t provide adequate protection.

I know the style in today’s game is to wear the smallest shin guards possible but this can backfire. It leaves a lot of room for a potential injury. If you prefer a smaller shin pad, go one size smaller…not three.

Here is a general guide but make sure you check with the manufacturer before purchasing a pair.

  • Extra Small: Under 3’6″
  • Small: 3’6″ – 4’7″
  • Medium: 4’7″ – 5’3″
  • Large: 5’3″ – 5’11”
  • Extra Large: 5’11” and taller
Nike Mercurial Lite Shin Guards

These are great for youth and adult soccer players. They are lightweight, sleek, and made from quality materials. And, they are very comfortable to wear!


Shin guards are made from different materials, including plastic, foam, and carbon fiber.

Plastic shin guards are the most common and affordable option. They are lightweight and durable, but may not offer as much protection as other materials.

Foam shin guards are more comfortable and offer better protection, but may be more expensive.

Carbon fiber shin guards are the most expensive option, but they offer the best protection and are the most lightweight.


There are two main types of shin guards: slip-in and ankle guards.

Slip-in shin guards are the most common type and are worn under your socks. They are easy to put on and take off and provide good protection. Most older youth and professional soccer players wear this type of shin guard.

Ankle guards, as the name suggests, also protect your ankles in addition to your shins. They are bulkier than slip-in shin guards and may take some getting used to, but offer more protection overall. You’ll find that many kids younger than 8 will wear these types of shin guards.

When choosing the right shin guards for you, consider your position, playing style, and personal preferences.

Ultimately, the right shin guards are the ones that fit well, provide adequate protection, and allow you to play your best!

Do Goalkeepers Have To Wear Shin Guards?

How Many Goalkeepers Should a Team Have

Yes! Goalkeepers have to wear shin guards, just like every other player on the field. The rules of soccer require that all players wear shin guards to protect their legs from injury.

When it comes to choosing shin guards, goalkeepers may opt for a lighter and less bulky option than field players. This is because goalkeepers need to be able to move quickly and have more freedom of movement, which can be hindered by bulky shin guards.

What Happens If You Don’t Have Shin Guards On?

Why Do Soccer Players Shave Their Legs

Playing soccer without shin guards can be a risky move. Your shins are one of the most vulnerable areas of your body when playing soccer. Without shin guards, you are exposing yourself to possible injuries that could be very painful and take a long time to heal.

Not wearing shin guards is a violation of the rules of the game. Every youth and professional soccer league (that we know of) requires players to wear shin guards during games. If you are caught playing without shin guards, you may be penalized or even suspended from future games.

Whether it’s a game or practice, not wearing shin guards is not worth the risk.

It is important to invest in a good pair of shin guards that fit properly and provide adequate protection for your shins.


Wearing shin guards is just part of the game.

It’s important to choose a quality pair that protects your shins from any bumps, bruises, cuts, etc.

It is also important to choose the right size and style of shin guards and to wear them correctly.

This typically involves positioning your shin guards in the proper place and keeping them in place with your soccer socks.

By following these basic steps and referring to the manufacturer’s size chart, you can help reduce your risk of painful lower leg injuries and stay safe while enjoying the sport you love!

Beau Bridges - Soccer Novo Hey 👋 I’m Beau. A proud Dad, former coach and soccer enthusiast. I continue to love the game of soccer today the same way I did when I was 7. I created to share what I know about the game as well as provide a platform so other parents can learn more about youth soccer in the U.S.

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