How To Wear Soccer Shin Guards (Why You’ve Been Doing It Wrong)

Soccer shin guards, a gear once intended for protection only, are now…evolved, let’s say.

Just like buying soccer cleats, shin guards must suit you and your style of play.

Whether you want to look good while playing soccer, protect yourself as much as possible, or simply feel lighter on the field, there are many ways to wear (and rock) soccer shin guards with socks.

Let’s explore how to wear soccer shin guards, whoever you might be.

Choosing the Right Shin Guards

There are four types of shin guards that soccer players use, which are allowed according to soccer rules:

  • Slip-In
  • Strap Shin Guards
  • Ankle Shin Guard (With the Straps)
  • Shin Socks (With Ankle Support)

Depending on which ones you take, how you wear them will vary.

The slip-in, for example, is commonly worn with 2 pairs of socks by professionals…and most aspiring soccer players like myself.

The ankle shin guards or shin socks are common amongst young or beginner players who need extra protection for the ankles and tibias.

Note: The are only two factors when choosing shin guards: Comfort and Protection.

If you value more comfort, then slip-ins are for you. For better protection, then the ankle shin guards are a better option.

How To Wear The Slip-In or Strap Shin Guards

How to wear soccer shin guards

Let’s dive into the most popular shin guards used in the soccer world. The slip-ins are light and do not compress any body part, making you feel lighter during dribbling, ball control, and shooting.

How To Wear Shin Guards with One Sock

Wearing shin guards with one sock is a fairly straightforward process.

Choose lighter and smaller shin guards for a more custom and comfortable fit. If you plan on using one sock, the sock has to be compressed to a degree…not too much so it hurts, but enough to hug and keep your shin guard tight.

Steps to wear soccer shin guards with once sock

Step 1

Start by putting your soccer sock (the long one) only to your ankle.

Step 2

Once there, place your shin guard between your ankle and your knees. Too low will hurt your movements and annoy you (trust me), and too high is not protecting your tibia anymore…

Step 3

Once placed, hold your shin guard while you push your socks over and around it up to the maximum stretch.

Depending on your in-game style, either stretch your sock over your knee or fold it back under it.

Of course, the shoe comes on at the end.

Note: To add stability, you can use tape and wrap it around the leg to keep your shin guards from moving up and down. You should wrap once under and once over the shinguard, not too tight to prevent cutting circulation.

With Two Socks

Two socks are used for the perfect balance between comfort and protection. These are the most used among regular soccer players and futsal players.

For this method, you will need your standard long soccer socks, some normal training socks (grip socks work as well), and your small and light shin guards.

Don’t choose two heavy socks…your legs will feel weird with the ball at your feet.

Steps to wear soccer shin guard with 2 socks

Step 1

Put your normal training socks on at full stretch, reaching right under your knees. 

Step 2

Place your shin guards tightly under the socks.

Step 3

Wear your long, traditional soccer socks over your other sock and shin guard. 

Note: It is very common to cut your traditional soccer socks. This way, only your training (or grip) sock is over your ankle and foot, giving it more mobility. The sock should be cut directly over the end of the tibia and fibula (the two bony balls on your ankle).

With a Shin Guard Sleeve

Nike shin guard sleeve
Image taken from

A shin guard sleeve is a sleeve you place around your shin guards to hold it in place. It’s lightweight and compressive.

You can wear a shin guard sleeve with or without double-socking (previous method), depending on how much you like to wear while playing.

Step 1

Place your shin guard between your ankle and knee.

Step 2

Wear your Shin Guard sleeve around it.

Step 3

Depending on preference, wear 1 or 2 socks over them.

Learning How To Wear Ankle Shin Guards And Shin Socks

Shin socks
Image taken from
ankle shin guards
Image taken from

Wearing ankle shin guards and socks is easy, and pretty common among defenders or players who tend to play more aggressively.

Since stability is offered with both models, you don’t need to go the extra mile with double socks to hold it in place.

All you need to do is to wear your ankle shin guard or shin socks first, and then put your soccer socks over them.

Remember: Choose the right sock. If the sock is too tight, you or your kid will not be happy after the game. It will hurt and give you blisters!

What Are The Perfect Socks With Shin Guards?

To play soccer well, you need good shin guards with the right socks. While there are many socks out there to buy, you must consider what is your style of play and your comfort level.

For players who hate to wear too much gear:

Best socks to wear with shin guards

The short training socks are the best options for you. They could hold your shin guards in place while still giving you that ”freedom” feeling.

For The Traditional Players Or Youth Soccer Players

Long socks are your best bet because they secure the whole area and do the job pretty well.

Plus, it does not feel that complicated.

For The Soccer Gurus:

Grip socks are the best thing for die-hard soccer fans. These socks are equipped with anti-slip pads at the bottom so you do not slip into your shoes and give you that extra grip feeling.

Generally, you pair grip socks with long socks (that you cut) to give you the best look and feel when you play!

If it’s wintertime, then some winter soccer socks are a good idea for warmth while still maintaining mobility.👇

Note: The normal short socks are also used sometimes during games. They are worn either under long soccer socks or with long socks cut. Since they are shorter, they do not cover your shin guards, however.

The Importance of Shin Guards

Importance of shin guards

Why Do Soccer Players Wear Shin Guards?

Although this question has an obvious answer, there are things to consider when looking for shin guards.

Shin guards are worn to protect players’ tibias. It is also a soccer rule and a mandatory piece of equipment. You cannot play without them.

Another reason why the shin guards are important is because they should suit your style and comfort level.

If you’re a defender spending most of the match tackling and challenging opponents, then you might need extra protection compared to a winger, for example.

Let’s see how shin guards should be chosen:

Sizing: Choosing Shin Guards That Fit

  • Shin guards should be placed between ankles and knees, and therefore cover a good area of it.
  • Shin guards should always hug your tibia around. At no point should the guard not touch your tibia.
  • Weight is an important factor. A shin guard should never feel too heavy.

Mos shinguards are made of plastic to fit right between comfort (light material) and protection.

Common Mistakes When Players Wear Shin Guards

Turning Shin Guards the Wrong Way: How to Tell You’re Wearing Your Shin Guards Correctly

One of the common mistakes when wearing shin guards is having them the wrong way around.

The correct way to wear soccer shin guards is with the strap and padding facing towards the inside of the leg, and the curved area should perfectly align with the shin’s contour.

Most models have “L” for the left shin and “R” for the right shin.

The Consequences of Ill-Fitted Shin Guards

Shin guards that don’t fit properly can lead to discomfort and may leave areas of your shin unprotected.

This could result in severe injury, especially when playing in a new soccer game where accidents are likely to occur.

Wrong Sock/Shin Guard Mix

I’ve played so many games where I either had socks way too tight to support my shin pads or way too loose to hold them in place.

Just like cold weather soccer gear, soccer socks should feel tight yet still comfortable. 

My trick is this: Shopping for shin guards also means shopping for socks. They go together.

For slip-in shin guards, tighter socks are required to hold them in place. For ankle shin guards and shin socks, looser socks are preferable to not compress the area.


How should I properly wear soccer shin guards?

Wearing your soccer shin guards properly involves placing them against your shin and then securing them in place with soccer socks. Depending on your style, you either double sock or only use one.

What are the best shin guards for youth and adult soccer players?

The best shin guards are those that provide a comfortable fit and offer adequate protection for the lower leg during play.

Generally, for protection and comfort, strap shin guards are the safest bet.

What are some tips for keeping soccer shin guards in place during a game?

You can wear soccer socks that hold the shin guards in place or use compression socks to ensure your shin guards stay secure.

A shin guard sleeve is also a great addition to secure them in place.

Using tape to hold them is common too.

What should I do if my shin guards aren’t staying in place?

Try wearing long soccer socks or using shin guard sleeves to prevent your shin guards from moving during play.

You can use tape to prevent them from moving.

How do I make sure that my shin guards are secured properly?

To ensure your shin guard stays in place, make sure it covers the top of your shin and fits snugly against your leg.

Can I wear soccer shin guards with ankle protection?

Yes, there are shin guards available with ankle protection for added safety during play.

The ankle shin guards and shin socks are made for this purpose.

What is the correct way to wear soccer shin guards with socks?

Place the shin guards against your shin, then pull your soccer socks over them to keep the guards in place and ensure a comfortable fit.

How do I know if my shin guard fits properly?

The shin guard should cover the entire area it’s meant to protect and should feel secure without causing discomfort.

What are the different types of shin guards available for soccer players?

Soccer players can choose from various kinds of shin guards, including those with ankle protection and compression sleeves, based on their preference and playing style.

Why is it important to know how to wear shin guards properly?

Wearing your shin guards correctly is essential to ensure your lower leg is adequately protected and to prevent potential injuries during soccer play.

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