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If your kids play any kind of contact sport, shin guards are really important to keep them well protected (and are even mandatory in most football leagues).
Your child's shins are one of the most vulnerable and sensitive parts of their body, but a good pair of shin guards will keep them safe, give them confidence and give you peace of mind. The rules vary between different sports but most parents will find that shin pads are mandatory for kids who want to join a football or hockey club, among many others.
Because they're such an essential piece of kit, finding the right ones can feel daunting but our top ten list will help you get the best of the bunch. When working out what size shin pads you need, make sure to measure from the bottom of your child's knee cap to just one inch above the top of their shoe as this is the length of the area which a shin guard should protect. They should fit your child snugly, covering the entire shin.
Kidadl's Top Pick
All the shin guards on this list will do the job well, but if you're short on time this is our top pick of the best kids' shin guards you can get based on protection, comfort and price.
1. Mitre Aircell Power Ankle Protect Football Shin Pads
Combining comfort with a great level of protection, these Mitre shin guards are a great choice for footy lovers. The Aircell covering is very breathable and lightweight but is CE and SATRA tested for use at all levels of the game, while the dual density foam absorbs impact from tackles and ensures a comfortable fit. It should be noted that the ankle protection is on the slight side, as the thick sock which holds the guard in place is not fitted with plastic inserts, but this is more than many standalone pads offer. Sizes range from kids to junior all the way up to adults and overall these are a great pair of guards at a good price.
- Price: £9.99
- Age: 8+
Best For Families On A Budget
2. Rooks Shin Pads
These shin guards offer straightforward protection and are designed to be adjustable, with elastic and velcro straps that will allow them to be used year after year. Available in two sizes and four colours, these shin pads for kids can be used for football, hockey, rugby, baseball, boxing or any other contact sport. The hard front surface is durable while the lightweight backing and airflow vents ensure they are comfortable too.
- Price: £7.99
- Age: 4-12
Best For Comfort
3. Nike Charge Shin Guards
Available in a range of bold colours that are sure to appeal to children, these Nike shin pads have a simple stirrup pull-on design which is easy to wear and keeps the guards securely positioned. A little bulkier to look at than some other football accessories, the bold design and lightweight feel make up for that. Reliable and durable, the contoured foam backing is what sets these guards apart, making them so comfortable your kids might even forget they're wearing them.
- Price: £12.95
- Age: 5+
Best For Ankle Protection
4. Adidas Predator 20 Match Shin Guards
With these Adidas shin pads, kids can play with confidence, as the EVA-backed hard shield will absorb impacts and the attached ankle guards provide extra coverage and good support. The sizing comes up a little small so do look at the measurements in the sizing guide carefully and consider sizing up. However, in the right size, these are some of the most comfortable shin guards around.
- Price: £11.95
- Age: 6+
Best For Shock Absorption
5. G-Form Youth Pro-S Compact Shin Guards
Unlike most other junior shin guards, these G-Form guards don't have a hard shell. Instead, the foam padding that covers the front of the sleeve hardens on impact, making these ultra flexible and lightweight with a 'second skin' fit that will still give you the best protection available. The foam design also makes these exceptionally comfortable, moisture wicking and machine washable too.
- Price: £39.28
- Age: 7+
Best For Breathability
6. Mitre Aircell Carbon Slip Shin Pads
If you're looking for a less bulky shin pad for your child, these junior shin pads from Mitre use their classic Aircell design minus the ankle socks, making this an exceptionally light and breathable shin guard option. The extra-cushioned foam backing in these shin guards and the easily adjustable velcro strap means they are very comfortable, while the foam also works with the harder covering to absorb even high-level impacts.
- Price: £7.99
- Age: 4+
Best For Easy To Wear
7. Adidas Sock Guard Jn11
These are the best shin guards if your kid doesn't like strap on guards and prefers something more discreet and easy to wear. A simple hard shin guard with a foam backing fits inside a special pocket in the knee high socks, offering a high level of protection with minimal fuss. Another Adidas product, these shin guards are not nearly as showy as other branded guards as they come in plain black with just a small logo visible on each sock. The size comes up a little small so do consider buying a size up.
- Price: £6.50
- Age: 4+
Best For Older Kids
8. Nike Premier League Charge Older Kids' Soccer Shinguards
A more muted take on the Nike Charge shin guard in a larger size, these Premier League versions are the best shin guards for older children. Like the younger girls or boys' shin pads of the same design, these shin guards feature the pull-on stirrup design that are easy to wear, ensure they remain securely in place and offer some ankle support. The hard shell gives excellent protection and the contoured foam make them so comfortable it's easy to forget you're wearing shin guards at all.
- Price: £12.95
- Age: 10+
Best For Hockey
9. Grays Shield Shin Guard
These hockey shin pads from Grays are a great product, available in a bright pink that little girls are likely to love. Useable for football or other contact sports too, these are among the best shin guards for ankle protection. The fitted disk guards and achilles padding means that these shin guards give full coverage below the knee, keeping your little one well protected, while the durable plastic shell and shock absorbing foam lining mean they are sturdy but comfortable even after repeated impacts.
- Price: £9.82
- Age: 7+
Best For Martial Arts
10. BeSmart Kids' Shin Instep Pads MMA Muay Thai Kick Boxing Guard Protector
If your child prefers boxing and martial arts to pitch sports, these are the best shin guards you can get to keep them safe and sound in the dojo. The dense EVA foam protects against impact and as well as a shin guard, each sock includes a lightweight padded instep to protect those feet during their signature kicks. The soft fabric of the socks wicks sweat away and also acts like compression tights, increasing blood circulation. Machine washable and easy and comfortable to wear, this shin guard is a must for any aspiring Jackie Chans out there.
- Price: £9.99
- Age: 3+
Kidadl Best Buys selects the top products for families of all ages. If you liked our suggestions for the best shin guard for your kid, take a look at these great kids' trampolines or check out our list of the 10 best kids' punch bags for budding athletes.
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