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How To Buy Soccer Shinguards

Every player participating in an organized soccer game is required to wear shinguards. Referees will not allow you to play without them. They offer excellent protection from serious leg injuries. There are many different styles from which to choose based on your position, age, and style of play.

Choosing the Right Shinguard

Materials

  • Shinguards are made to either deflect or absorb the impact of a kick
  • At the same time they should be comfortable and not interfere with your game
  • Shinguards are made from a variety of materials: Fiberglass, foam rubber, polyurethane, plastic, and EVA foam.
    • Fiberglass is lightweight and stiff and offers excellent protection
    • Foam rubber is light and moldable but offers less protection
    • Polyurethane is slightly heavier and less moldable but offers extreme protection
    • Plastic is generally a less-expensive shinguard
    • EVA foam or lycra backing is commonly found on the backside of all guards for comfort

Player/Position

  • Young soccer players should choose a fiberglass shinguard which offers superior protection and is lighter weight than other materials
  • Defensemen should choose a heavier, more protective shinguard
  • Midfielders need a combination of protection and lighter weight
  • Forwards need a lighter weight shinguard and should also look for one with superior ankle protection
  • Some shinguards can be molded and custom designed to fit your leg

Components

  • Ankle protectors
    • Many shinguards include padded ankle protectors which attach to the bottom of the guard
    • These protect the ankles and Achilles tendon against direct kicks, but are soft and flexible enough to not interfere with movement
    • Ankle protectors are strongly recommended for players ages 12 and under
  • Closures
    • Most shinguards come with hook-and-loop, Velcro-type straps that wrap around the back of the leg for adjustable closure
    • Others have no closures and are designed to simply be worn inside the sock

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Determining the Right Size Shinguard

  • It is important that your shinguards fit you properly, ensuring sufficient protection and comfort
  • Shinguards should cover most of the area from your ankle to your knee
    • Measure your shin from just below where the knee bends to about 1 inch above your shoe top
    • This is the proper length of your shinguard
  • Some manufacturers label their shinguard sizes according to age
    • Senior (or large) shinguards are generally designed for players taller than 5'4"
    • Junior (or medium) guards are designed for players shorter than 5'4"

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