Different positions need different types of protection from their soccer shin guards, so consider your position on the squad when you're picking out shin guards. For example, defenders need a heavier shin guard with extra ankle protection, while midfielders need to be able to move easily, requiring shin guards that don’t restrict foot and ankle movement. Soccer shin guards feature a hard front shell plate, which can be made of a variety of materials, including fiberglass, K-resin, polypropylene and polyurethane. Polyurethane is a heavy and very sturdy material that offers almost complete protection from most impacts. The backing is the area that faces your body, and therefore is usually made of a softer, shock-resistant material, such as EVA or foam, to provide cushioning. Some shin guards feature an anatomically left- and right-specific fit for contoured comfort.
Slip-in shin guards are shells that are held in place by your soccer socks or by shin guard sleeves, which may be included. Shin guard sleeves generally feature a compression fit which promotes blood flow to the center of your body and ensures that the guards don't slip out of place while you're on the pitch.
Ankle shin guards are usually held up with single-strap closures which provide an adjustable, secure fit. They always feature extra ankle protection in the form of ankle socks or ankle guards which are usually adjustable. Another alternative are all-in-one socks, which feature embedded shin guards and padded ankles for optimal protection. While you're looking at soccer shin guards, be sure to consider a pair of matching soccer cleats.