How to Wear Soccer Shin Pads: Your Questions Answered | Your soccer home (2023)

If you are new to soccer, you may have questions about how a player should wear their shin pads. In this article, I want to walk you through each step of the process to make sure you know how to wear shin pads.

In order to wear shin guards for soccer, you must first identify the right type of shin guard for your needs. Then put a shin pad on each of your shins and cover them with the long socks that are part of your team's uniform.

These are the basics of wearing shin guards. But as I'm sure you know, the process involves a lot more detail, especially if you want them to be comfortable and stay in place for the duration of a game.

Let me walk you through each step of the process to make sure you're set up and ready for your next game!

How to Wear Soccer Shin Pads: Your Questions Answered | Your soccer home (1)

1. Identify the right shin guards for your needs

The first step in wearing shin guards is to decide what type of shin guards you need.

All soccer players wear shin pads.The rules of football require that every player wear shin guards in every competitive game. If a player is not wearing shin pads, the referee will stop that player from playing.

Learn a lot more about it in my article –Do you need shin guards for football?

Shin guards are a necessary piece of equipment for every soccer player. In fact, there's really only one scenario where you don't need to wear shin guards.

If you are playing a casual game of soccer with friends in your backyard or in a park, you can play soccer without shin guards. But if you play a football game, you must wear shin pads.

And even if you don't "have to" wear them, I would highly recommend you do, as I've seen too many people endure serious pain from choosing not to wear their shin pads that day.

How to Wear Soccer Shin Pads: Your Questions Answered | Your soccer home (2)

There are two main types of shin guards - those with ankle support and protection and those without.

Shin guards with ankle protection are typically worn by youth footballers rather than adults. This is because young soccer players are still growing and developing physically and the extra protection and support is an advantage.

I know when I played youth football I often wore shin guards such asThese onesat Amazon that offer ankle protection.

However, when I played at adult level, I switched to wearing shin guards with no ankle support(likeThese ones)Feeling like I didn't need them anymore, I preferred the extra freedom that the shin guards offered without ankle protection.


(Although I have to say I sometimes missed the ankle guard when I got a hard kick in the ankle from another player!)

Shin guards with ankle protection are not always better. Although they offer more protection to the wearer, they also restrict the player's range of motion and can cause skin irritation around the ankle.

Ultimately, this will come down to personal preference.

There is rarelya requirementAnkle support to use in youth football and there isnothing that could stop youbefore wearing shin guards with ankle protection on one adult level.

2. Make sure you have the right fit

Once you've decided whether to wear shin guards with or without ankle support, you need to make sure you have the correct size shin guard for your leg and that it fits properly.

As you can seeHere on, Shin guards come in a variety of sizes from small youth sizes to large adult sizes.

It is really important that you wear the right size shin guards to optimize your performance on the soccer field.

Shin guards that are too large will restrict your movement during play and too small will not provide your legs with the protection they need.

Of course, the size you choose depends on the size of your shin!

soccer.comprovides a useful shin guard size chart. Check it out in the table below and find out which size would be best for you.

size of the player(in feet/inch)Suggested shin guard size
4’7″ bis 4’11″XS
4'11" bis 5'3"S
5’3″ bis 5’7″M

Once you have the correct shin guard size, focus on making sure it fits properly.

Football shin guards should fit securely and comfortably. They should wrap around the front of your lower leg, with the top of the shin guard at least 2 inches from your knee and the bottom of the shin guard at least 1 inch(2,54 cm)above your ankle.

Don't worry if the fit isn't quite perfect.

As long as they're comfortable, don't impede your movement, and protect your shin, they're fine.

And if you're not doing well with the shin guards you have, try another pair to see if they're better.


3. Find out which shin guard fits which leg

The next step in putting on your shin guards is to make sure you are wearing them on the correct legs.

How this works depends on the specific shin guards you are using.

For example, many pairs of shin guards are exactly alike. It doesn't matter which leg you put on. They will be effective either way.

But my favorite shin guards,These oneson Amazon are slightly different from each other as the protective part of one shin pad is higher on the left side and the other higher on the right side.

If shin pads are higher on one side than the other, you should always place the higher side on the outside of your leg. This provides extra protection from tackles coming from the side.

The best way to remember which shin pads go on which leg is as follows:

If the two shin guards are identical, it doesn't matter which leg they go on.

If one side of the shin guard is higher than the other, place the high side on the outside of your leg. And if the shin guards are marked with an "L" and "R", then place the shin guard with the "L" on your left leg and the one with an "R" on your right leg.

Most shin guards are designed to fit comfortably around a player's shin. If you put them on and they don't feel comfortable, try them on the other leg to see if that fits better.

4. Cover the shin guards with long socks

Once your shin guards are in place, the next step is to cover them with your socks.

How to Wear Soccer Shin Pads: Your Questions Answered | Your soccer home (3)

When you wear shin guards for the first time, knowing how to wear them properly can be confusing. But one thing to note:

Football shin guards always go under the socks. In both youth and adult competitions, soccer players prefer their shin guards over their socks as being able to see a player's socks is an essential part of the game.

Each player on a team, with the exception of the goalkeeper, wears the same colors as the rest of his team.

Check out my article –The reason why soccer goalkeepers wear different colors – More information about it.

(Video) Game Day Quirks | Pro Sock Taping Routine

This includes the socks worn by a player.

The referee needs to be able to quickly and easily identify which team a player belongs to, and the unique color of the team's jerseys or equipment helps him to do this.

If the socks were covered by a player's shin guards, it would make a referee's job significantly more difficult. Especially since shin guards are available in a wide range of colors.

If each player wore different colored shin guards, the referee could quickly get confused!

For this reasonIt is important that you place your socks over your shin guards.

Pull the socks up your leg as far as possible until the shin guard is completely covered.

You can then either let the top of your sock cover your knee or alternatively fold the sock up so the crease sits between your knee and the top of the shin guard.

5. Attach the shin guards to keep them in place

Once the shin guards and socks are in place, you're ready to hit the field.

Occasionally while playing you will find that your shin pads slip when you wear them. This is not uncommon and happens when the socks you are wearing are not tight enough to hold them up.

Don't worry too much about this as there are a few ways to prevent this from happening.

The best way to keep your shin guards from slipping is to tape them in place.To glue your shin guards, wrap the tape around your lower leg just below the shin guard and over the sock. Also, place tape around your leg, just above the shin guard but below the top of your sock.

Placing tape both above and below your shin guards will anchor them in place for the duration of the game. Just make sure the tape is tight enough to secure the shin guards in place, but not too tight that it's uncomfortable!

This also ensures your socks stay up and you don't spend the game pulling them both up!

Although tape is effective in preventing your shin guards from slipping while you're wearing them, you may want a more long-term, reusable solution.

If that's the case, I'd recommend getting a football sleeve.

(Video) Dettol Football Rituals Shin Pads

Soccer sleeves are used to keep a player's shin guards in place. They prevent the shin guards from slipping and prevent the shin guards from irritating the wearer's skin while playing.

To wear shin pads with sleeves, first place the shin pad on your leg and then slide the football sleeve up your leg and over the shin pad. The cuff should completely cover the shin pad and keep it securely in place.

There is a wide range of football sleeves but I really like themthis Nikeon Amazon.

And if you are looking for football sleeves with the added benefit of ankle and side protection then check out the Storelli Bodyshield shin guard holders. They have a pocket to insert shin guards and also protect the side of the leg and ankle.

How to Wear Soccer Shin Pads: Your Questions Answered | Your soccer home (4)How to Wear Soccer Shin Pads: Your Questions Answered | Your soccer home (5)

6. Decide if you're going to wear anything under the shin guards

The last thing to consider when putting on shin guards is whether you want to wear anything underneath the shin guards between them and your skin.

Some players dislike the feel of the shin guard against their skin and prefer to wear either another long sock or a calf sleeve directly over their leg before donning the shin guard. This can help reduce skin irritation if that's also a problem.

Personally, I don't mind if the shin guard comes into contact with my skin. I've never had any problems and it works for me.

This is another area that ultimately comes down to personal preference, as there aren't any particular benefits to wearing anything under your shin guards, aside from potentially increased comfort.

But I would recommend trying it both ways.

If you find the feel of shin guards against your skin uncomfortable, consider wearing socks under shin guards. That extra layer between your leg and the shin guards could provide more comfort and allow you to focus on the football game you are playing.

Just remember that no matter what you wear under your shin guards, you still need to wear long socks over them.

So if you don't like wearing layers on your legs, you should avoid wearing anything between your leg and the shin guards.


As you can see, wearing shin guards is pretty simple.

As long as they're comfortable, protect the shin, and are covered in a long sock, you should be good to go!

(Video) How to wear Football socks like a PRO

For more helpful information about soccer gear, check out one of these previous articles I wrote.

  • How to Choose the Best Football Shirt: A Buyer's Guide
  • Why expensive soccer shoes are worth it
  • Can you recycle an old football?
  • 17 ideas for old soccer jerseys: reuse and repurpose


How do soccer players wear shin guards? ›

Slip-in shin guards are smaller, lightweight guards that slide right into your soccer sock. They can be held in place but a tight-fitting sock, ankle shield, or tape. Professional and advanced players often use slip-in shin guards because they do not interfere with their movements.

How do kids wear soccer shin guards? ›

Younger players typically wear shin guards with included ankle protection. These go on first, and then you pull the sock on over them, and the cleats go on last. Slip-in guards go inside socks—put the socks and cleats on first, and then put the guard on and pull the sock up over it.

How are shin guards supposed to be worn? ›

It's a good idea to wear soccer shin guards with socks. However, the socks you wear are your choice. Some soccer players like ankle socks, while others prefer long shin socks that cover their calves and go up to the knees.

Do soccer socks go over shin pads? ›

Pull them up high too, taking care to make sure the ankle padding is positioned correctly if the type of shin guard you purchased includes that. Then take the top of the soccer sock and fold it over the shin guard. So to answer a popular question, soccer shin guards are worn both over and under soccer socks.

Do pros wear shin guards? ›

Yes, every single player must wear shinpads. Under section 4.2 of the laws of the game (opens in new tab), which outlines compulsory equipment for players, it lists "shinguards", stating: "Shinguards – these must be made of a suitable material to provide reasonable protection and covered by the socks".

Do soccer shin guards go over or under pants? ›

Pull them up high too, taking care to make sure the ankle padding is positioned correctly if the type of shin guard you purchased includes that. Then take the top of the soccer sock and fold it over the shin guard. So to answer a popular question, soccer shin guards are worn both over and under soccer socks.

Where should soccer shin pads sit? ›

How should shin guards fit? Find that bump just below your knee. The top of a shin guard should rest just below that, about an inch down. The bottom should end an inch or two above the ankle.

Do soccer shin guards go under pants? ›

Shin guards are to be worn under the socks. So, push your shin guard up and past your ankle and shin.

What do you wear under shin pads? ›

Shinnerz are a shin tube / inner-socks to wear under your shin pad. They help prevent the shin guard rubbing and chaffing your leg by providing an under layer which cushions your leg while wicking away the moisture formed between your leg and the shin pad.


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