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When it comes to fixing up your kid for the new football season, they're always going to be more excited about getting their hands on a brand new jersey or a stylish pair of boots than they will be about a set of shin pads.
But shin pads are one of the most crucial pieces of kit when it comes to making sure kids are protected on the pitch. Children can be rough on the pitch, making the use of shin guards essential for cutting down on the prospect of injury.
We’ve put together the very best shin pads available today – and also answered some commonly asked questions to help ensure you buy the best possible pair depending on your needs.
The shin pads included in this article
- Best overall kids' shin pads: Adidas Predator Match
- Best budget kids' shin pads: Sondico Flair Ankle
- Best compact kids' shin pads: Adidas Tiro Match
- Best kids' star-studded choice: Adidas Messi Match
- Best kids' shin pads for comfort: Adidas Predator Match
- Best Nike kids' shin pads: Nike Charge
- Best alternative Adidas kids' shin pads: Adidas Tiro League
- Best Umbro kids' shin pads: Umbro Neo Classic II
Why do you need shin pads?
Simply put, without shin pads, a player increases their risk of injury. Sliding challenges and reckless lunges for the ball are not intended to hurt the opposition, but unfortunately, they can often lead to injuries on the pitch.
A nasty injury can put a child off playing the game in future - and while some may not want to wear the added bulk of guards, it could go a long way to ensuring they are safeguarded for future performances.
What size shin pads do I need?
Shin guard sizes for children depend very much on where you buy them from - but traditionally, they are dictated by height above all else, rather than age.
Adidas, for example, sell small guards for kids between 3'3" and 3'10", and large for those between 4'7" - 5'2".
With that in mind, here are the best kids' shin guards that you can get right.
Best overall kids' shin pads: Adidas Predator Match
If you're looking for something to provide all-around superior coverage and protection, then look no further than the Predator Match from Adidas - a top-of-the-line shin guard that will help insulate your child's shin from the risk of serious damage. Its injection-moulded shell is explicitly crafted to shrug off the blows of any challenge, while its stirrup sleeve design reduces the chance of unnecessary slippage.
Best budget kids' shin pads: Sondico Flair Ankle
There's no need to break the bank when picking up a shin pad that will do a quality job of protecting the shin. The Sondico Flair Ankle is proof of that, offering a small and effective guard that can take the wear-and-tear of matchdays. It's designed to fit the anatomical form of the leg to provide the best support and protection possible. An ankle guard and lopp add additional security to ensure the shin pad stays in place.
Best compact kids' shin pads: Adidas Tiro Match
If your child doesn't want to wear something bulky, the Tiro Match will do the trick - a compact, small shin pad that slips comfortably under any football sock and will not leave their movement hindered. An anatomically designed asymmetric shield and ankle guard combination are paired with a single loop closure to reduce excess material. Meanwhile, its hard shield construction is perfect for letting those impacts bounce off.
Best kid' star-studded choice: Adidas Messi Match
Gather some inspiration whilst you're on the pitch with the Adidas match shinpads inspired and design-focused around Lionel Messi. You'll get plenty of support with these, too, as there's extra padding around the ankle and the attached hard shields have a absorb shock for any defensive tackles you might take on. There are plus points for sustainability, as part of the shinpads are made from Adidas recycled content.
Best kids' shin pads for comfort: Adidas Predator Match
These Predator pads from Adidas provide an extra level of comfort with additional padding to reinforce their strength. That thick interior can help shrug off the more brutal blows that come the way of any player while offering durable protection throughout the entire length of matches. The hook and adjustable strap also mean you won't be weighed down by bulk but have a snug fit to your leg instead.
Best Nike kids' shin pads: Nike Charge
Want to pick up the best pair of shin pads from Nike? The Charge won't let you down, producing a superb pad that brings plenty of protection to the game. Its low-profile design will appeal to kids who don't want something too cumbersome, and its stirrup set-up keeps it secure and tight even as your children move through the paces on the pitch. It's an excellent quality effort to have in the kit bag.
Best alternative Adidas kids' shin pads: Adidas Tiro League
Scaling down Adidas' tried-and-tested tech for a junior size, the Tiro League may not look like much - but it'll more than do the job when it comes to protecting your child in the midst of a game. Secured in place by a compression sleeve, this ensures a superior and snug fit to work with going forward and additional insulation for when the days are cold. Also, an EVA backing will help produce additional airflow around the body.
Best Umbro kids' shin pads: Umbro Neo Classic II
The Neo Classico doesn't just come with a sock version - it's also constructed in traditional loop-lock design, offering the same depth of protection with a tad more freedom and flexibility. Among the best that Umbro has to offer in their range, its high-profile edges reinforce the need for strong coverage all-round - and a slick red colour scheme will give a touch of class to the shin.