Shin guards are so effective in preventing injuries to the lower leg that they are now compulsory in league matches for players of all ages. This is important as the shin areas are very sensitive and prone to being kicked and knocked during training and matches. In addition to protecting the tackled player, they protect the tackling player from damage to the shin. The shin, being situated at the front of the leg, bears the brunt of most tackles. This a hard, brittle area of the body; therefore, it is very susceptible to breakage. Shin guards also provide protection from ankle sprains.
Ankle guards are recommended for younger players because of the extra protection they afford. They have extra padding on either side of the ankle that protects from impacts and can also reduce the chance of an ankle sprain. Ankle-shin guards usually have stirrups that are positioned under the feet and a strap that goes around the calf, ensuring a tight fit. Younger players often find that they are kicked in the ankle region as the other players learn how to effectively tackle someone to gain possession of the ball.
As you might expect, this guard is built into the player’s sock. This is great for really young players who find it hard to fit separate guards and for whom impacts tend to be less powerful. Shin socks, unlike other shin guards, may be included in team football kits. As the player gets older and bigger, shin socks will need to be replaced with ankle guards.
Slip-in shin guards are lightweight and are worn under the sock. Some socks will hold the guards tight enough, but it is better to use some tape, compression sleeves or stays to hold them securely in place. Many more advanced footballers prefer slip-in guards because they offer greater freedom of movement.
It is very important that your shin guards fit well and cover as much of the leg between the ankle and knee as possible, ending around two inches below the knee. Most online suppliers, such as kitking, will have a sizing guide to help you find the best pad for you. You should ensure that they fit comfortably under the rest of your Football Training Kits.
The FA website has more information on the requirement for shin pads and other essential football equipment.
Shin pads can take a lot of punishment and quickly become worn, so be sure to keep an eye on how much wear they have experienced and replace them once they start to become ineffective. It is worth spending a few extra pounds on a decent set of pads that will last.