Apart from beach soccer, all players are mandated to wear shin guards in all other forms of soccer—and it is for their own good.
The right pair of shin guards have the capacity of protecting the shin from major injuries like fractures that may occur if a soccer player takes a direct hit on the tibia.
Wearing the wrong pair of shin guards (in terms of size and material) can be detrimental to a soccer player’s performance. Nevertheless, even if you are wearing the right pair, having it sliding down as you run will distract and discomfort you which will also impede your performance.
This problem usually arises when players wear the wrong pair of shin guards. Considering that there are myriads of shin guard sizes made of different materials, you won’t blame soccer players for not adding the details they should consider when buying a shin guard to the list of their problems.
The right pair may not move around as much as the wrong pair but with the stumping of the feet on the ground as you run around the court, you will likely feel it slip around unless you take some steps to stop it.
If you are one of the soccer enthusiasts or players looking for a way to keep your shin guards in place, we are here to answer all your questions. We have highlighted the consequences of shin guards going out or place and all the techniques you can use to stop this menace.
Why and when shin guards will not stay in place?
The major reason why your shin guards will slip is when they are not the right pair. If the shin guard is a little wider than your shin, keeping it in position will be a huge problem—but the right size can also slip or go out of position too.
When a soccer player is running on the field or court, each stump of the feet on the feet on the ground generates a vibration that travels all the way up to their hips. This continuous vibration will rattle the shin guards causing them to move out of place if they are not firmly secured.
One of the purposes of soccer players wearing socks is to help keep the shin guards in place. However, if the shin guard is the wrong fit or not firmly secured to the calves, it will just pull the socks down with it.
This leaves the player in an awkward situation where he or she has to bend down often to readjust their socks and shin pads.
Sometimes, the reason for shin pads going out of place is far from constant impact with other players during a tussle to play the ball. Sliding during tackles or goal celebrations can also make the shin pads go out of place.
Nevertheless, we cannot dispute the fact that the ease at which your shin pads will go out of place will depend on the fit and the type of your shin guards. Some types of shin guards will move out of place easier than others.
Types of shin guards
We have been talking about how the type of shin guard you are wearing can affect how easily it moves out of place. Thus, to further buttress this point and make it easier for you to understand, it is important that we talk about the different types of shin guards.
Basically, there are four different types of shin guards. Inasmuch as they are all designed to serve a similar purpose, their designs differ significantly.
1. Shin guard socks
These are literally socks that have shin guards sewn onto them. This is commonly used among younger soccer players because they never have to worry about positioning the shin guards correctly.
You pull it up like the regular socks and it saves you the stress of buying other accessories to hold the shin guard. However, it is less common among professional soccer players because they like to adjust their shin guards from time to time.
Another possible reason why professional soccer players shun it is likely due to the difficulty of finding the one that matches the team’s jersey color or finding the right fit.
2. Shin guards with calf straps
These shin guards have the design of the standard model but have two straps positioned at the lower and upper parts of the shin guard. You are meant to wrap these straps around your calves and ankles and stick them in place.
These straps are meant to increase the grip of the shin guards making it more difficult for them to move out of place.
However, during a heated game under sunny weather, these shin guards may still not keep to their position when you start to sweat unless they are taped.
3. Shin guards with ankle straps
These categories of shin guards come with extra protection for the ankle in the form of soft padding that cups the ankle. You will mostly find this type of shin guards in use among youth and college soccer players.
While the ankle support is a great idea, don’t expect them to do a wonderful job in preventing you from getting injured in that area. In fact, they can even impede your movement—particularly if you are using them for the first time.
4. Slip-in shin guards
These are the most popular shin guards and the ones you will likely see professional soccer players wearing. As the name goes, you are supposed to slip them under the socks.
Without straps, they are the ones that suffer from moving out of place the most and you will likely need to beef them up with accessories to avoid this movement.
How to keep soccer shin guards in place?
Soccer players use a number of techniques to keep their shin guards in place. Since professional soccer players mostly make use of slip-in shin guards, it will be our focus.
Nevertheless, it is important to mention that the shin guards with straps can also benefit from some of the techniques that we will mention below to further strengthen their hold.
Use of tapes
Taping has become one of the common methods used by professional soccer players to keep their shin guards in place.
The process is simple and straightforward—although there are different types of tapes to choose from. When properly taped, the shin guards will stay in position throughout the duration of the game.
There are three popular ways of taping the shin guards namely below and above the shin guards, wrapping the tape around the shin guard, or taping the shin guards first to the skin before putting on your socks.
Pros of using tape
- Some tapes only stick with each other and will not leave residue on your skin
- You determine how tight you want it to be
Cons of using tape
- Constant motion can loosen the grip of the tape
- Excessive sweating can cause the tape to lose its adhesion
Use of shin guard sleeves
Some shin guards come with sleeves. The sleeves are often made of breathable, flexible microfiber material.
Shin sleeves are considered the perfect alternative to the use of tapes. Wear them and pull them up to the position where you want your shin guards to be.
Place the shin guards inside the sleeves making sure they are properly covered by the sleeves. Pull up your socks to cover the shin guard sleeves.
You may decide to tape the socks below the shin guards to further enhance the efficiency of the sleeves and keep your shin guards in place.
Interestingly, there is a DIY technique for making shin guard sleeves which will come in handy if your budget doesn’t support the purchase of a new one. All you need is a pair of old hose or tights.
Lay the hose on the ground and place the shin guards you want to use on top with the bottom of the shin guard at the narrowest part of the hose. Cut the hose at the top about 3 inches above the shin guard—and do the same below.
If you stick to the DIY technique for making your own shin sleeves, it is important to choose a really tight hose. Don’t worry about how tight they are initially because they will gradually stretch out. Also, they need to be really tight to keep the shin guards in position.
Pros of shin sleeves
- Comfortable. Almost feels like you are wearing another pair of socks
- Effective for keeping the shin guards in place
Cons of shin sleeves
- You have no control over the tightness and it may be too tight for you
- May still have to combine with tape to improve the effectiveness
Using cinch straps or shin guard straps
Both cinch straps and shin guard straps do a similar job to the tape. However, unlike taping, they are more comfortable and you will not irritate your skin as some tapes will.
Last update on 2023-11-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Also, they are reusable and will save you a lot of cost over time. Just like in the tape, you have to wear your shin guard and socks. Then, wrap the cinch strap or shin guard strap just below the shin guard, in the same position that you will normally place the tape and you are good to go.
Pros of using cinch or shin guard straps
- They are reusable
- Don’t cause irritation like some tapes
- Tightness is adjustable
- Shin guard strap provides ankle support too
- Will not be affected by sweat
- More environmentally friendly than tapes
Cons of using cinch or shin guard straps
- They can easily feel like a huge weight on the legs
- Often uncomfortable to wear
While taping and strapping are the two common ways of keeping the shin guard in place, some soccer players may get too cautious of keeping their shin guards in place and make the strap or tape too tight. This can cut off circulation leading to a numbing feeling and pain on the legs—and this is not healthy.
While shin guards are meant to protect your shin from impact from soccer boot cleats, it is important to make sure you have the right size. Shin guards are meant to protect you and not to impede your performance.
If you have a pair of shin guards that does the latter, consider shopping for a new pair. This time make sure they fit and are really comfortable.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!