Shin guards are required if you’re planning to play in any organized league and highly recommended even if you’re just playing pickup with friends in the park. If you play high school soccer in the US, look for shin guards with the NOCSAE sticker to ensure that they are compliant with the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment.  

Slip-Ins → These do not include any ankle protection but are easy to take in and out of your socks, while keeping your cleats on. Some slip-ins include straps to secure around your calf while some rely only on the sock to hold them up. Ankle

Guard → Many youth and beginner shin guards offer extra ankle protection via an ankle guard. Depending on the brand, this may be removable or not. 


The moral of the shin-guard-sizing-story is that you want them to cover the bulk of your shins from just above your ankle to just below your knee. Most brands size their shin guards from XS or S to L or CL with many offering kids’ sizes as well. Keep in mind that the larger sizes will be longer in length and width.


Sleeves → If you choose a slip-in style shin guard, you may want to purchase a shin guard sleeve to keep your guards from falling down around your ankles. These are especially useful if your socks aren’t very tight!

Tape → Some players choose to use tape on their socks to keep slip-in shin guards from falling down. There is shin guard-specific tape out there nowadays, but general athletic tape will do the trick as well. 

soccer player rachel daly wears shin guards under her socks in a game


This may seem obvious to many but if you’re brand new to soccer, shin guards are generally worn under your socks. But hey, you do you!


Shin guards generally run between $12 and $25.