Shinguard accessories have become an essential kit bag item in recent times. But it wasn’t that long ago that shinnies were the forgotten football gear.Yes, you needed them to play. But, for the most part, they were hidden away in the sock and forgotten about.Now, however, brands have put some heavy research into making them lighter, stronger and more durable. And with that tech drive came plenty of extras to buy. So, to help you figure out what you need, here’s a quick guide to the latest shin guard accessories.
Shin guard sleeves use compression to secure the pads in place. They are typically light, stretchy and fit tight to the leg. If you buy shin pads that need sleeves, then the sleeves should come with the purchase. However, if you’re worried about them going missing at an inopportune moment, then buy some spares.
Pros: Shin pad sleeves are lightweight, allowing for extra movement. Good ones will keep your pads in place.
Cons: Bad sleeves allow the shin pad to slip, which means you may need to buy either tape or stays.
The most sought after shin guard accessory in any Sunday League dressing room, tape has become essential to many a player. As mentioned in our Choosing The Right Sock Tape Guide, tape serves an essential purpose: keeping your shinnies in place. Players will typically strap their tape directly above and below their guards, which keeps the pad in one position.
Pros: Tape is pretty cheap and durable. Electrical tape can be bought from most hardware stores. Decent tape can last the full game without coming off.
Cons: One-use plastic is not great for the environment. Cheap tape has a habit of falling off mid-game.
Shin guard stays serve a similar function to tape – namely keeping your shin guards in place during the game. Typically they’re thin or thick stretchy wraps with a Velcro fastening. Some rely on their elasticity to keep them in place, foregoing the fastening. Typically, players will tie the stays under their slip-in shin pads to stop them from falling down.
Pros: Stays are relatively cheap and can be used more than once. Their reusability means they are typically more environmentally friendly than using tape.
Cons: Shin guard stays need to be looked after (they might need washing). Over time, they can lose their elasticity, which means having to buy a new pair.
Some shin pads come with in-built ankle guards, but many don’t. For that reason, some players opt for additional ankle guards. They function as a completely separate item to the shin guards and provide soft cushioning on either side of the ankle. They shouldn’t be confused with ankle supports, which some players use to provide compression to the ankle, particularly if they’re prone to ankle injuries.
Pros: Ankle guards provide an extra layer of protection, which may not be covered by the shin pads.
Cons: Some players may find them heavy or that they restrict movement.