Love em or hate em, but you have to wear them. In this 2 part series, we will highlight the best shin guards currently available. We split it up into
Love em or hate em, but you have to wear them. In this 2 part series, we will highlight the best shin guards currently available. We split it up into two tiers to cater to different budgets and product needs.
The top tier includes the absolute best shin guards on the market, which are for those people who really need supreme protection, or for those people who want to invest in the best quality shin guards that they will be able to keep reusing for years to come. The second tier is for those players who require a quality shin guard to protect them without getting in the way of their game, but who don’t want to shell out for the fanciest guards on the market.
So here is our second tier. Have a look and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section below. Click on any link to purchase a pair of those guards for yourself.
All shin guards listed here are acceptable according to the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE). All prices are according to what’s listed on Amazon.com, the least expensive place to find soccer gear (in our experience). You can click on any product name or picture to go to Amazon.com to view or purchase the shin guards you want.
The G-Form Pro-S Elite hardens on impact to deliver excellent protection, so that the harder you are hit, the stronger the material becomes. However, there is no hard shell at all. The whole guard is one big sleeve that covers a good portion of your shins, is washable, breathable, flexible and convenient. It absorbs impact very well and has a thin profile. This is our top guard of the second tier because it delivers excellent protection and performance. There is no additional tape or sleeve required, which I love.
Imagine how well a rubbery shin pad would mold to your skin, and how sticky against your leg it would be. Now imagine if that shin pad actually protected your leg and, at the same time, was thin and breathable. That is what you get with this shin pad. Gooey protection, awsome flexibility. It feels customized to your leg. It also comes with awesome sleeves that do a great job of holding these pads in place. In this price range, you can’t beat it’s durability, fit, comfort, or weight. Unfortunately, the protection that it offers leaves a little bit to be desired. It could be better at protecting you, but, if you’re one of those players that wears shin pads simply because the rules say you have to (I must admit, I am guilty of this), this guard is perfect for you since you won’t even notice it is there. This is why I rank it at #2 on this list.
3. Nike Mercurial Lite
The Nike Mercurial brand is all about speed, minimalism, and feeling light weight. This guard was designed with all of that in mind. It is mainly made of a hard plastic shell, which makes it very rigid and inflexible. This plastic is going to protect you from the hardest hits you’re likely going to receive playing in most competitive leagues. The foam backing has cutouts which creates a textured, checkered appearance. This allows some air to circulate, helps to wick away sweat, and, importantly, helps to absorb impact. Although it is not exceptionally thin, it dries quickly which helps keep it lightweight. These guards look pretty cool (if you’re into that type of thing) and they are quite durable.
The Nike Protegga Pro offers great coverage and a solid, anatomically designed K-resin shell. It has a nice thin profile and good protection overall. The drawbacks to this type of guard is that the Phylon foam backing is not the most breathable, and the guards could be a bit more flexible to optimize comfort. That being said, if you’re not used to ultra-high quality shin guards, you probably won’t notice the difference in breathability between this guard and any other similar one on the market.
When comparing this guard to the Nike Mercurial, I personally prefer this type of shin pad to the Mercurial, because it feels a lot more solid, and it looks less flashy. The foam backing on the Protegga does not have the foam cutouts that are present on the backing of the Mercurial, but the Phylon foam on the Protegga is a higher quality, more breathable EPA foam than what you get on the Mercurial. So in my opinion, they feel about equal. However, the Mercurial is much more popular because of it’s light weight design, so, in the end, it’s a personal choice.
5. Adidas Ghost Pro
The Adidas Ghost Pro is approximately equivalent to the Nike Mercurial Lite. It is made of the same hard, inflexible plastic, which makes it a good, solid shin guard. It offers decent coverage of your shins and comes with a quality sleeve that hold the guards firmly in place. The backing is very similar to the Nike Mercurial Lite. It is made of the same EPA foam and it has the same cut outs which help absorb impact and promote moisture wicking and air circulation. This guard also comes with a standard set of sleeves. These shin pads are pretty much identical to the Nike Mercurials, except in how they look. So if you’re stuck between choosing one of these two, go with brand loyalty or go with appearance. I ranked the Mercurial higher just because it seems to be more popular, and sometimes there is wisdom in the masses.
I never play with ankle guards, however, if you do you are:
A) probably smarter than I am
B) probably worse at receiving a ball than I am 🙂
C) in luck because I will also include for you a few of the best ankle guards down below
Since I haven’t worn these things since I was young, I have included a selection of the top ranked ankle guards on Amazon. I believe that if you are youth player, these are a great investment to make to protect yourself from potential injuries down the road. If you are a bit older and you chose to wear these, you should invest in a pair that is going to allow you to feel the ball well without compromising protection. Here are my recommendations (for some reason, adblock seems to not let you see them sometimes. If you have this issue, pause your adblocker and refresh the page):