Are Shin Guards Really Necessary In Soccer?

Soccer players wear shin guards, as it’s part of the essential soccer gear. As the name implies, they safeguard the shins from any sort of injury.

Despite being a skill-based game, soccer can have its fair share of horrific moments. Players may unintentionally, and sometimes deliberately kick their opponents’ shins as they play ball.

The safety of the players during a soccer match, however, is something that the football governing body takes very seriously.

FIFA recommends that players wear shin guards to protect themselves from hurt. These shin guards must adhere to specific guidelines to ensure their safety and effectiveness in providing protection.

What exactly are these rules? Well, that’s what this post will get into shortly. Before we proceed, it’s crucial to emphasize the significance of shin guard use during soccer matches.

Whether you’re a parent who wants your child to play soccer or an aspiring soccer player with some experience.

This article will explain why shin pads are necessary at every level of play and why you should wear them every time you play soccer.

Are Shin Guards Really Necessary In Soccer?

Are Shin Guards Really Necessary In Soccer?

Yes, soccer players must wear shin pads, they must be donned on the field regardless of their skill level.

Shin pads have always been an aspect of the game, but they have only been required since 1990 when FIFA declared them to be a necessary piece of gear for soccer players in competitive matches.

Soccer players are required to wear them together with a jersey or shirt with sleeves, a pair of shorts, socks, and cleats, according to the FIFA rulebook.

The laws further stipulate that shin guards must be made of rubber, plastic, or suitable synthetic material, and it is up to the match officials to evaluate if the gear being worn poses a threat to the player wearing it or to other players on the field.

The shin guard must be fully covered and worn underneath the socks. During a game, if a player’s socks should fall during play, the referee will instruct them to pull them back up.

The assistant referee will instruct the player to leave the field if they refuse to wear one or if the shin guards have developed a fault of any kind. They can then come back after being fixed and inspected.

Shin guards are necessary whether you play soccer for your high school, Sunday league team, or professional league.

Why do soccer players wear shin guards?

A soccer player’s shin is guarded with a piece of gear known as a shin guard or shin pad. They are inspired by the idea of a greave, a piece of gear designed to safeguard the shin. Their main function is to shield the player from injury.

They have been a necessity in professional soccer games for the past 30 years, although still only optional accessories in amateur games.

Players can play a contact sport with confidence knowing they can do it safely when wearing shin guards. They come in different styles depending on the position on the field that a player plays!

For instance, goalkeepers just need a small shin guard, which provides them with the barest level of protection, as they usually do not come into direct contact with another player’s legs.

However, the defenders would require considerably more, and they often wear stronger shin pads that also help to safeguard the shin.

While midfielders and strikers will wear shin pads that provide significant protection but don’t limit their movement on the pitch.

Why Do You Need Shin Guards?

One of the most delicate areas of a player’s body is the shin. They are always at risk of being kicked during a game or training because they are so close to the feet of the opposing players.

Anyone who has ever been kicked on the shin or had an impact there will understand how excruciating the pain can be for an unprotected shin. Even the thought of it would make you cringe.

Shin pads protect a player’s legs from injury and provide them the self-assurance to contend for the ball because they know they have a low probability of sustaining an injury to the shin.

If you have any hesitation about wearing shin guards during a soccer game, I strongly advise against it. Injury prevention is well worth the expense or effort, whether it’s for you or your kid.

However, despite their evident advantages, you might be asking if soccer players could choose not to wear them. The truth is that they can’t afford not to wear one.

What are the shin guards’ rules?

Shin pads are governed by a number of rules in addition to the fact that they are mandated by the rules of the game.

  • Socks are required to cover shin guards

All professional soccer players wear long socks, as you know of this. If you’ve ever watched a soccer game, you’ll be able to tell that right away.

Possibly you failed to see any shin guards. this is due to the fact that the players’ socks cover them. The shin guards must always be worn underneath the socks according to FIFA standards.

In order to prevent players from wasting time trying to adjust their shin pads every now and then, they are required to wear the guard underneath the socks.

In a professional game, you hardly ever see a soccer player stopping to adjust their shin guard. This is because when the shin pads are wrapped with socks, they hardly move at all.

Secondly, the referee won’t have to worry about the shin guards’ colors if they are worn underneath the socks. The colors of the jersey and short matters a lot in soccer, as they must be of the same colors or shades.

For instance, if a soccer player wants to wear tights in cold weather, the tights should either match the short’s exact color or have a very similar shade.

Players will definitely be forced to wear shin guards that match their socks’ color if the shin guards are worn above the socks.

However, if the shin guards are worn underneath the socks, this problem is avoided and the shin guards’ effectiveness remains unaffected.

  • Replace bad shin guards 

Although it is highly unlikely that this scenario will occur, the laws still apply. The FIFA rules of the game state that players must replace their shin guards as quickly as possible if they feel the guard is bad.

The player must leave the field as soon as the ball is out of play in order to replace the shin pad.

  • Shin guards must be built with suitable materials.

The best shin guards are made from materials like glass fiber, and carbon fiber.

FIFA specifies that the shin guards must be made of materials that can offer the players sufficient protection, though they don’t go into full details about the specific types of shin pads that the players must wear.

From a football club’s viewpoint, it costs far more to lose an outstanding player for a few weeks due to injury than it does to invest in a wonderful pair of shin guards that might protect them from specific injuries.

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What are the types of shin guards?

Shin guards come in three basic varieties that can be used for various purposes.

  • Slip-in

These are made to slide into socks. Because they provide safety and seem to be lightweight and do not restrict the player’s freedom of movement.

They are the sort of shin pads that professional players wear. They are generally more expensive than other models.

  • Ankle Shin Guards

These pads, designed for beginners, protect not just the shin but also the region from the knee to the ankle.

Professional soccer players tend to stay clear of them because they can restrict movement but are incredibly durable and provide a lot of protection. They are less expensive and affordable than the slip-in types.

  • Sock-style

These are designed exclusively for occasional soccer players and offer the least protection. They are merely socks with a pad placed where the shin bone is situated, and because they provide very minimal injury protection, they should not be used during a game in which the opponents are wearing cleats.

However, they are usually affordable.

A brief history of shin guards in soccer

In the mid-1800s, shin pads were first worn by soccer players, and they were originally worn beneath heavy wool socks.

As soon as the sport evolved from rugby, players began using shin pads, and the use of the feet as compared to the hands was prioritized more.

However, shin guards were not commonly worn until around 100 years later, in the 1960s and 1970s, because many players thought they were unnecessary and uncomfortable. Many players made the conscious decision to take them off as they were not required to wear them.

Shin guards gained enormous popularity in 1990 after FIFA mandated that all soccer players must wear them at all times while playing.

As a result, countless innovative styles of shin pads were introduced, giving soccer players a wide range to choose from.

Best Shin guard recommendations

When selecting the best shin guard, there are a number of things to take into consideration. They should be as light and comfortable as possible while also providing the highest level of safety.

  • Rawxy Soccer Shin Guards (Best for shin & ankle)

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These shin guards by Rawxy Soccer are a fantastic choice to wear on the field because they come in a variety of colors and are incredibly lightweight. Nevertheless, they provide adequate shin and ankle protection and are the best option if you often engage in physical contact while playing.

They are affordable and perfect as a backup pair of shin pads to take in your backpack for training as well as your main one.

We’ve picked these Rawxy Soccer shin guards as our top choice for shin guards with ankle protectors because, regardless of the color and style you choose, they provide excellent value for money and adequate protection while you’re out on the field.

  • Vizari Malaga Shin Guards

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This is my favorite because it has all those features and also protects the shin and ankle. They are made of polypropylene, which makes them lightweight while also providing an excellent level of protection.

A comfortable foam-padded backing and a Velcro strap that secures the guard at the top of the shin prevent it from slipping while playing.

The shin guards are a low-cost choice that should last for a long time due to their hard-plastic shell. They also have the luxury of being suitable for players of all sexes, young and old.

  • Nike Mercurial Lite Shin Guards (Best slip-on)

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Some players prefer slip-on shin pads since they are much lighter and let you move with the ball without feeling uncomfortable. After all, some shin guards with ankle guards are heavy, which isn’t ideal if you’re a player who likes to attack.

If you’re looking for a basic, comfortable, and reasonably priced pair of shin pads to use during soccer games or training, these slip-on shin guards from Nike are exactly what you need.

Despite their low weight, they are strong and durable, providing safety against even the most severe threats.

Furthermore, they have a wonderful aesthetic and come in all sorts of colors, allowing you to choose the perfect shin guards to go with your team’s uniform.

Why Do Professional Players Wear Small Shin Guards?

After understanding that soccer players must wear shin pads, you might be interested to know about the kind of shin guards they use. Most players wear relatively small shin pads, they are occasionally so small that they are hardly noticeable.

Even though shin pads are necessary, many professional soccer players, especially attacking players, use small shin pads since they want to be able to move around the pitch comfortably. So they wear small shin pads rather than big ones that would restrict their ability to control the ball and move freely.

Footballers that hate shin guards often wear the small ones. Manchester City forwards Jack Grealish, Paolo Dybala, Thomas Muller, and several others wear small shin pads.

The fact that these players mentioned are attacking players is no coincidence. However, retired Chelsea defender John Terry also wore short shin pads, so it’s not just attackers that do so.

The fact is that soccer players want to have the best advantages possible while playing, as nothing should prevent them from moving around. Therefore, if they think wearing small shin pads gives them an advantage, they will do so.

Furthermore, there is no standard size for shin pads or a rule that indicates shin pads should be of a particular size.

Small shin pads won’t provide as much protection, but many soccer players believe they offer them an advantage on the field.

What material are shin guards made from?

Shin guards can be made from a variety of synthetic materials, all of which have both pros and cons.

  • Fiberglass – is lightweight and sturdy, but it can be rather stiff.
  • Foam rubber – is very light, but not as solid and sturdy as fiberglass and do not add the same degree of protection.
  • Polyurethane – is arguably the best because they offer almost complete protection from most impacts although they are rather heavy.
  • Plastic – is light and offers less protection than all the other types; and
  • Metal – offers a high degree of protection but they are heavy and uncomfortable to wear.

What Shin Guards Does Lionel Messi Wear?

Messi is regarded by many as one of the world’s best footballers, h e is considered a ” GOAT” by some of his fans. The shin guards that Lionel Messi wears are supplied by his major sponsor, Adidas.

Inspired by the design of the Adidas Messi 15.1 Boots, the Adidas Messi Shinpads are mainly black with a unique light blue geometrical graphic pattern. The upper features the famous Adidas Messi branding and the Adidas Performance logo.

Lionel Messi is most likely the only footballer in the world that wears camouflaged shin pads. Even elite footballers, such as Neymar, take to the field wearing customized carbon fiber shin guards.

What Shin Guards Does Cristiano Ronaldo Wear?

It should come as no surprise that Ronaldo wears Nike Mercurial Lite SuperLock Shinguards given that Nike is one of his major sponsors.

Many accuse the Manchester United star of being a little vain but his personalized shin pads seem to take things to another level. Still, it’s better to have his own face on his shin pads than the face of another pro footballer.



Final thought

I hope this article has properly answered all of your key questions concerning soccer shin guards!

Again, if you are a player—even at a beginner level—please think about wearing shin guards of reasonable quality to prevent any needless injuries, even when you are training!

Then, you want to take all the necessary precautions you can to safeguard yourself.

However, maintaining a healthy balance is preferable so that you don’t overly affect your ability. This sort of balancing may be essential when wearing shin pads.

Take a look at the ones we recommend above; they’re great.



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