Shin pads, a necessity in football. Especially Sunday League football. The last thing you want is to get a studs up tackle to the shin with no shin pads. That could end your career! I’m evaluating the different types of shin pads, because though the concept of a shin pad is simple, but there is 2 types of shin pads that all differ from each other in one way or another.
Slip on Shin Pads:
Slip on Shin pads are well probably the easiest pads to put on, but at times I question the protection that they offer. These are the ones that you see most professionals wear, and there are countless occasions where they fall out just by the way the person may fall etc. I’ve worn slip on shin pads before but what concerns me is if the pad will move out of place, when you’re in a game the last thing you want to be doing is rearranging a misplaced pad. A method of stopping this is by wearing tape around the outside of the socks, this tape keeps in line with the shin pads and keeps it tight to the skin meaning that there is little chance of movement. However, tight tape can have its downsides. Most importantly from a phycsical point of view, having the tape tight means that your calf is compacted, meaning that you are more likely to pull up in a game as theres not really any room for them to breathe (if that makes sense!) From a guy who has torn both calf muscles its just a no no for me with tape. Plus nitty gritty referees might say the tape has to match the sock colour else it will cause confusion. Lastly, there is the possibility that tape could fall off and again thats just unwanted hassle having to re-tape your shin pads.
Ankle pad Shin pads:
This is the type of shin pads I’ve most commonly worn throughout my football career… if you can call it that! I just feel shin pads with these offer so much more than the slip on shin pads. Putting them on over your feet means theres no chance that the shin pad is actually gonna fall off in a game. Plus as the shin pad is strapped to the front of the ankle pad it means that it means that its unlikely that it will move around a lot in game. As well as this there is a elasticated strap which can go round the back of the calf that keeps the pad in place, however if like me you have calf frailties it can make it very tight. I tend to just tuck the elastic in inside the pad, its not uncomfortable and protects my calfs as well as my shins from injury!
Look and Touch?
Shin pad designs aren’t really an issue for me. They aren’t like football boots in the sense that they are visible so I don’t really see the point in getting jazzy shin pads. That being said if there are jazzy pads on sale I’d get them just because no one really is bothered about the look of them. The material depends on how much you are prepared to pay. Normally shin pads won’t cost anymore than £10-£15. Most are made from durable plastic thats made to take a lot of force. Although again the more expensive ones do have carbon fibre in there. I wouldn’t know the difference that makes as I’ve never worn them but having been wearing enforced plastic ones all my life not once has it ever snapped on me so its fine!
Thats all for shin pads, probably the most undervalued football accessory out there, but certainly the most vital!