In soccer, shin guards are a prerequisite to playing competitively. No referee should allow a player to compete unless they are wearing adequate shin guards. FIFA, world soccer's governing body, determines three requirements of players' shin guards. They must be: "entirely covered by the stockings (socks)"; "made of rubber, plastic or a similar suitable material"; and "provide a reasonable degree of protection." This final point is key when it comes to considering how to size your shin guards. A reasonable degree of protection means the guard will cover a reasonable width and length of your shin.
Things You'll Need
- Pair of soccer socks (stockings)
- Pair of soccer cleats (shoes/boots)
- Tape measure or ruler
Put on your stockings and cleats as you would if you were about to put on shin guards. Leave the stockings rolled down around your ankle, leaving your shin and calves exposed. Ensure that your arrangement with your stockings and cleats are comfortable and well adjusted. Tie the laces of the cleats.
Measure the length from the bottom to the top of your shin and write it down. Most shin guards come with strapping for around the bottom of the guard (and sometimes the ankle as well) which provides protection to your foot, but room for this guard must be taken into consideration. Start your measurement from about an inch above the cleat and measure upwards to within a couple of inches below the kneecap. You can vary the length of this measurement to personal preference. You must make a compromise between protection of the shin and the impact that a bulky shin guard could have on your performance and control.
Measure the width from one side to another of your shin and write down the measurements. Shin guards start narrow at the bottom and get wider towards the top, taking into account the shape of the human shin, so there is merit in measuring the width of your shin at the bottom, halfway, and the top of the shin pad.
Also take into consideration that the shin is a convex shape. This is not an issue if you're using a tape measure, which you can wrap onto the shin, but if you use a ruler, you will need to hold it flat against the shin and take an approximate measure.
Tips & Warnings
- Strike a balance between protecting your shin, ankle and foot and leaving your legs free to play effective soccer.
- Photo Credit soccer legs image by jimcox40 from Fotolia.com
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