You have probably seen or heard of shin guards and socks for soccer players, but how familiar are you with shin guard sleeves? Shin guard sleeves may be considered the unsung heroes of soccer equipment because although they are not always seen, they are very useful. Below we will explain why shin guard sleeves are so helpful by covering the different types and their advantages.
Benefits of Soccer Shin Guard Sleeves
According to FIFA rules, shin guards must be worn, and they must be covered. This is where shin guard sleeves come in. Shin guard sleeves cover shin guards and, due to their compression, also keep shin guards in place. Shin guards wouldn’t be very effective (or comfortable) if they constantly moved around beneath the sock. To maximize the protection offered by shin guards, they need to remain in place while covering the shin and lower leg. Shin guard sleeves ensure that they do this while having the added benefit of increasing blood flow and keeping an athlete warm.
Shin guard sleeves are typically worn over shin guards and beneath socks; however, there are some cases where sleeves can completely replace shin guards and socks. These sleeves, known as leg guards, combine the compression of sleeves with the padding of guards.
Things to Consider
When shopping for shin guard sleeves, you’ll want to consider the following:
- What type of shin guard sleeve are you looking for?
- What kind of shin guards do you have?
- How much do you want to spend on shin guard sleeves?
- Do you have a favorite brand or color?
Shin Guard Sleeve Features
You should look for the following traits and features when buying shin guard sleeves:
- Shin guard compatibility
- Easy to clean
- Maximum coverage
- Shin guard stability
Types of Shin Guard Sleeves
There are a few different types of shin guard sleeves that all serve to keep shin guards in place. The amount of coverage and protection a player prefers can greatly influence which sleeve is worn.
Shin Guard Sleeves
A standard shin guard sleeve is a compression sleeve for your leg. It is worn under the sock and offers no additional protection, but it does keep shin guards in place. It also conforms to the leg, providing more stability and comfort during play.
- Keeps shin guards in place
- Conforms to leg
- Compression increases blood flow
- Another layer to be worn under socks
- No added protection
- Can cause discomfort if too tight
Shin Guard Straps
Shin guard straps are also meant to keep shin guards in place, but they do so from on top of the soccer sock. They wrap around the ankle to keep shin guards from sliding down beneath the sock. They are typically held in place with a loop closure or velcro.
- Keep shin guards in place
- Are small and unobtrusive
- Don’t leave residue behind
- Offer very little protection
- Worn on top of socks which may be irritating to some
- Doesn’t cover the whole shin guard
- Some leagues may not allow these if the color does not match the socks
Leg guards are compression sleeves with built-in padding. They are lightweight but have all of the protection of a traditional slip-in shin guard. Some leg guards have a sleeve for shin guards instead of having the shin guard built in. This gives the buyer the option to use their preferred shin guard while still having the padding and compression of the leg guard.
- Can eliminate the need for additional sleeves or pads
- More protective than shin guard sleeves or straps
- Keeps guards in place while maintaining mobility
- May not be as effective as other shin guards
- Compression can cause discomfort
- May be bulky under socks
Shin Guard Sleeve Brands
When in the market for any of the above-mentioned types of shin guard sleeves, there are a few brands to look out for, including Nike, Adidas, and Storelli.
Nike shin guard sleeves are made with Dri-FIT fabric and stretchy mesh to keep the athlete cool and dry. The shin guard straps or stays have a hook and loop closure and come in a variety of colors. The sleeves can be purchased for $10, while the straps go for $7.
Adidas sells a one size fits all soccer shin guard strap for $12. These straps have a hook and loop closure and come in a universally flattering colorway. The shin guard sleeves are similarly priced at $12 and have a pocket to insert a player’s shin guard of choice.
Storelli is best known for its leg guards. These guards have padding around the ankles and on the outside of the legs. The guards also feature a pocket designed for holding shin guards. Secured around the top with a latex band and around the bottom with a stirrup design, these guards are unlikely to move and retail for $35. A pair of their leg guard sleeves are around the same price, at $30.