How To Wear Shin Guards

Do you play a sport professionally or passionately? Does this sport pose a risk for leg injuries?

Many athletes take extra safety precautions to protect their body so that they can play a sport for a long time without worrying about experiencing pain or injuries. Along with other sports equipment, shin guards have been worn for a variety of sports to increase safety.

With so many professional athletes wearing shin guards to help maximize their abilities, you might be wondering how to wear shin guards properly. Knowing this will help you get the most out of them and ensure they’re effective. Some people buy shin guards or shin pads according to the sport they’re playing, but they don’t know how to wear them properly. 

So, we’ve designed a guide to help you learn not only how to wear shin guards, but also how to style them.

After reading this guide, you’ll understand: 

  • How and when to wear shin guards
  • How to style them
  • How to take care them
  • Where to buy shin guards 

What is a Shin Guard?

Before we can think about how to wear shin guards, it’s important to understand what they are and the purpose of wearing them.

As the name suggests, shin guards are pads that are worn to protect your shins, which is the area at the front of the leg just below the knee. This protective equipment is worn during lots of sports. These sports, which tend to be a bit more dangerous overall, carry a risk for a potential shin injury, such as soccer, hockey, football, cricket, and lacrosse. 

Different types of shin guards are worn for different sports. In soccer, the most common injury is a shin splint, so it’s very important for players to protect their lower legs. The key thing to remember when picking out shin guards (for maximum protection) is to ensure they’re not only the correct size for you but also the right fit. 

When to Wear Shin Guards

Along with thinking about how to wear shin guards, athletes like yourself also wonder when to wear shin guards. As we mentioned above, shin guards are worn during many sports that require the agile movement of your legs.

You could choose to wear shin guards for any of your practice and home games, but they’re a requirement for many of the sports played at a regional, state, or national level of competition. Basically, when the stakes of the game are higher, the players are more competitive—so more protective equipment is required to ensure the safety of all athletes.

Depending on the weather, some shin guards can cause rashes when worn for too long (especially during rainy or very humid weather). So, you can wear plastic shin guards with adjustable straps during spring/fall days when the weather is clear and not so humid. 

In contrast, try the fabric ones for the extreme cold and hot days, so that your skin doesn’t experience rashes.

Now that the question of when to wear shin guards has been answered, let’s get a little more in-depth. Next, we’ll check out the different shin guard options you can try out for your next big game.

What Type of Shin Guards Can You Get?

When deciding how to wear shin guards, it’s important to think about the different options that are available for you to try out. Although different sports require different types of shin guards, the build of these protective gear is quite similar to one another.

There are three types of shin guards that you can get (particularly for soccer): slip-in shin guards, ankle shin guards, and shin socks. Each one of them has a different purpose, which we’ll discuss below:

  • Slip-in shin guards: Known for their ability to provide athletes with the ultimate freedom to move around, these light and easy shin guards are technically a slip-in under your socks, which creates the perfect fitted shield for your shins.
  • Ankle shin guards: These shin guards are recommended to the younger players by experts since they provide extra protection from opponents’ kicks by shielding the player’s ankles and shins.
  • Shin socks: These are basically knee-high socks with built-in shin guards. Players prefer this style for the convenience of not having to slip in or tape on an extra piece of equipment on their body, along with the ease of movement on the field.

The type of shin guard you should get depends on your personal preference, and which type a particular sport requires. Keep in mind, some sports only allow you to wear certain shin guards. So, it’s a good idea to turn to your coaches, since they can help you determine which styles you’re allowed to wear.

How to Wear Shin Guards

Shin guards can make your legs look quite bulky, and they do somewhat limit your free movement. But, their advantages far outweigh their not-so-appealing features. 

Even though these shields are vital to protect you from painful lower leg injuries, if the fit isn’t correct, they won’t do much good for you. As a result, learning how to wear shin guards properly is essential. Doing so will help you to minimize the limitations imposed by them on your body while maximizing the advantages of these protective shields. 

Different players have developed various techniques of fastening these guards to their legs. Here are a few common methods:

  • Use tape: 

Using tape for your plastic or for slip-in shin guards allows you to ensure that your shins are protected in the most effective way possible. Wrap tape around the shin guards to secure them in place on your lower legs, so there’s no chance of them slipping away.

  • Use compression sleeves:

Compression sleeves are a great way to keep your shin guards in place without having to fasten them with adjustable straps or tape. These work best with slip-in shin guards and can give you the liberty to move around without feeling bound by extra weight on your legs.

  • Stirrups and elastic band: 

Some shin guards also feature extra protection for your ankles with a shield that can be fastened with stirrups under your feet, and an elastic band to secure behind your calf. These guards are on the bulkier side of protective equipment but can keep your shins and ankles protected from your opponents.

How to Choose The Best Shin Guards

Choosing the best protective gear for your legs can sometimes be even more daunting than the question of how to wear shin guards. So we’ll outline a few factors for you to consider when you’re deciding how to pick the best shin guards.


Depending on the type of shin guards and where you’re purchasing them from, you can spend anywhere from $15 (Amazon) to about $100 (Nike). The style and make of the shin guards determine how much you’ll be paying for them. 

It’s important to do a bit of research beforehand to figure out which style is better for you. That way you won’t overspend on something that’s of no use to you. Usually, slip-in shin guards are cheaper than ankle fastening guards or shin socks. These are also great options if you’re in the beginning stages of trying to find the right fit for you.


The quality of shin guards is important to think about when considering which one to purchase. For instance, plastic shin guards are great for providing proper protection and have adjustable straps to go along your calves. These, however, can damage easily if the shield cannot withstand an impact due to the cheaper quality of plastic used.

Though the label or make of a product doesn’t always guarantee a good quality purchase, it’s still important to consider buying shin guards from a reliable retailer. After all, you are making a purchase that will help prevent a painful injury in the future. 

So, purchase shin guards from retailers that understand the world of athletes, and the potential risks associated with competitive sports. 


As mentioned above, most shin guards’ front plates are made of hard plastic. There are others that are also made from a carbon fiber material³, making them strong enough to take a kick from your opponent without letting you feel the impact. 

These materials are consistently used in various types of shin guards, even if they’re attached to certain knee-length socks.

Before you can think about how to wear shin guards, you need to figure out the material that sits best on your skin. When deciding which material to go for, think about how much padding you’ll need along with any types of skin conditions or allergies that you may have. 

These preliminary factors determine whether you need more or less fabric backing in your shin guards—which will provide an extra layer of protection—and help prevent rashes and friction burns.

How to Style Shin Guards

Of course with all of the care and consideration that’s put into choosing the best type of shin guards to wear, it’s only natural to think of the different ways you can style shin guards. We’ll show you some style options below. So you’ll have lots of inspiration for how to wear these bulky, protective shields as style statements for your next game.

These black Nike Soccer Shin Guard Socks are an excellent option. They fulfill the purpose of keeping your legs safe and also looking nicely toned. The built-in shin guards in knee-high socks provide both comfort and confidence to the athletes as they play on the field, without any stress about the shin guards shifting around.

The stretchy fabric allows your leg muscles to breathe during extensive movement and keeps the front of your legs secure. The padding also protects your shins from any type of impact. This style of shin socks is unisex and can be worn when playing sports like soccer, hockey, and football, to name a few. 

For a professional look, style them with a black or white uniform and sport-appropriate shoes. This look is most popular for playing in the colder months since it allows you to cover your legs up to your knees when wearing athletic shorts.

The other option is to go for small shin guards inside your mid-length socks. These provide athletes with lower leg coverage when playing sports such as soccer.

In soccer, injuries generally occur in the area above the ankle. Based on your preference, you could go either for slip-in guards or shin socks of this length as both options are available to athletes. 

Although some sports may not accept the short shin pads, some allow you to proudly wear these with your uniform on the field. The style advantage of lower sitting shin guards is that they perfectly show off the toned muscles of your legs that you’ve worked so hard to develop. 

Plus, lower shin guards look great with athletic footwear since they provide an illusion of length, and also a sense of composure to your overall look. Not to mention, they’re a much better option during the hot, humid months of summer.

Another not-so-popular (but useful) option is the shin pads with attached knee pads that some players choose to go with. These pads come with adjustable straps in three places: above the ankle, mid-calf, and over the knee, which gives you a snug fit with maximum comfort. 

These shin pads are especially useful when you’re confused about how to wear shin guards because they can easily fit over or under your socks (depending on how you want to wear them).

This is another great option for playing in the colder months since they’ll not only protect your knees and shins but also keep them toasty warm throughout the game.

With these style options in mind, you should have a good idea about how to wear shin guards now. So, the next thing we need to consider is how to best take care of them.

How To Take Care of Shin Guards

Shin guards can last a long time if they’re properly taken care of. You can always hand wash your guards and hang them to dry. Most, if not all, shin guards are also machine washable and can be cleaned really well with just a bit of time and patience. It’s suggested that you scrape or wipe excess dirt off of the guards before placing them in the washing machine. 

You should place your shin guards in a laundry bag prior to putting them in the washer so that they don’t hit the walls of the machine. Also, dry the washed shin guards by hanging them up rather than putting them in the dryer, since the heat from the dryer will ruin the material of this protective gear. 

In addition to this, try not to wash them too often since the detergent chemicals can corrode the material. Instead, wash them about once or twice a month depending on the frequency of your practices and how dirty or smelly they are. You can always leave them out in the open to air them out a bit before your next match. 

Best Places to Buy Shin Guards

Where you decide to purchase your shin guards is a personal choice, but there are some things to consider before you spend a little—or a lot—of money on this protective gear. 

As previously mentioned in this guide, look for retailers that understand athletes, their game, and their lives. Choose affordable and functional options along with brands that promise quality and longevity when it comes to their products.

Some brands that offer choice options include Nike, Adidas, Sport Chek, and Puma, to name a few. You can also find shin guards online through small-scale retailers on platforms like Amazon and Dicks Sporting Goods. On these sites, you can check out customer ratings and reviews to determine which items are worth a second look, if not an immediate purchase. 

These stores and brands understand the value of protective gear in an athlete’s life. So, when shopping for their gear, you’ll be certain that you’re making a well-informed purchase. After all, buying protective gear becomes easy when you know that the brand that you’re buying from truly cares about you and your passion for your game.

Final Thoughts

As a player who is passionate about their game, you probably want to do whatever is in your power to continue playing the sport for a lifetime. And wearing the right type of protective equipment plays a major role in ensuring the longevity of your game. 

Wearing gear such as shin guards allows you to play a sport without fear of getting injuries that can be detrimental to your performance. To give you the maximum protection from any sort of impact, we put together a list of tips and styling techniques for you. So you can refer to this guide when you’re thinking about how to wear shin guards properly.

The key is to check with your coach or administration about the types of shin guards the athletes are required to wear. After this, try a few different styles to see which ones you’re most comfortable playing in (depending on size, height, and fit). 

Once you’ve found a good fit, explore the ways they sit on your skin (i.e. over or under the socks), to determine what’s most comfortable for you.

Essentially, with protective gear, you have to prioritize comfort above the overall style, because the gear has to fulfill its role of protecting you from injuries before it can do anything else for you. Then, once the comfort of the fit is sorted, the style options are endless!

Broaden your fashion horizons by checking out some of our other articles:

How To Wear Joggers

How To Wear A Watch

How To Wear Combat Boots

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *