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Soccer Shinguard Buying Guide

Every player participating in an organized soccer game is required to wear shinguards. The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) recently issued standards for shinguards for all High School and College games. Referees will enforce the NOCSAE standards and will not allow you to play without them. They offer excellent protection from serious leg injuries. There are many different styles from which to choose based on your position, age, and style of play.

Choosing the Right Shinguard

Soccer shinguards can be broken into three parts so that you can find the best guard to fit your needs. The first criterion is material. Soccer shinguards are made of materials from plastics to Kevlar. Second is components. Shinguards can either be a slip-in, full guard, or detachable. Lastly, a shinguard needs to be tailored to the type of player you are or would like to become.

      Shinguard Materials  
  Shinguards are made to either deflect or absorb the impact of a kick. At the same time they should be comfortable and not interfere with your game. Shinguards are made from a variety of materials: Fiberglass, foam rubber, polyurethane, plastic, and EVA foam.
is lightweight and stiff and offers excellent protection
Foam rubber
is light and moldable but offers less protection
is slightly heavier and less moldable but offers extreme protection
is generally a less-expensive shinguard
EVA foam
or lycra backing is commonly found on the backside of all guards for comfort


      Shinguard Components  
  Ankle protection is a big factor in deciding which type of shinguard you would like to wear. Many shinguards include padded ankle protectors which attach to the bottom of the guard. These protect the ankles and Achilles tendon against direct kicks, but are soft and flexible enough to not interfere with movement. Ankle protectors are strongly recommended for players ages 12 and under.
Slip-in Shinguards do not offer any ankle protection. However, they allow for the widest range of movement.
Full Shinguards offer the maximum ankle protection. However, they may restrict the your foot's range of movement
Detachable Shinguards give you the option of wearing the ankle protection. A player can pick and choose when to use the ankle protection.


      Type of Player  
  Young soccer players should choose a shinguard which offers superior protection and is lighter weight than others.

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